On a Budget? Check Out These Festival Freebies

piggy bankWhile lots of you are ramping up for back to school season, we’re putting the finishing touches on this year’s Festival! Our full program is now available for download, and you’ll notice that we’ve got quite a few free events that will be open to everyone.

If you’re interested in history, fashion, or gender studies we hope you’ll join us at our opening event on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd at the Buffalo History Museum where Patrick McDevitt will give a talk on the history of the men’s suit. The talk, a pop up exhibit, and a reception (including snacks!) are all free. The reception begins at 7pm and the talk will start at approximately 7:30.

Another new addition to our lineup is the Kids Tent, which will be open all day Saturday (9/26) during Festival hours. The Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Arts Center will host the “Gender Shop” on Rockwell Quad on the SUNY Buffalo State campus, where kids can explore notions of what it means to be a “girl” or “boy” through activities like dress-up and making their own video art. This is a great opportunity for kids to practice critical thinking skills while also getting a taste of what the Squeaky Wheel offers through its TechArts youth programs.

Between noon and 1pm on Saturday, the Rockwell Quad will also host a free “drag break.” In the world of drag performing, a “drag break” is an interlude during a contest when a drag performer entertains the crowd. Buffalo favorites such as Jayme Coxx will sashay through the Dining Tent in full regalia. Please feel free to introduce yourself and ask the performers questions about their professions and personae. These girls aren’t shy!

If you purchase a daypass by Sept. 23rd, you’ll also get a free boxed lunch from the West Side Bazaar. All daypass holders are also encouraged to attend our Gender Bender after-party on the Quad at 4pm, which will feature live music by Alison Pipitone and a cash bar!

Finally, all daypass holders will be given free admission to the Burchfield Penney Arts Center and to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

See you there!

Proudly Presenting Jimmy Janowski!

Janowski dragJimmy Janowski is Buffalo’s foremost interpreter of gender bending roles, and we’re delighted to have him present at this year’s Buffalo Humanities Festival! On Saturday, Sept. 26th from 3—4pm at the Burchfield Penney Auditorium he will discuss his life in drag. Working with the avant-garde theater collective, Buffalo United Artists, Janowski has recreated female heroines from such film classics as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and The Birds, Imitation of Life, and The Poseidon Adventure.  In this Festival session, Janowski will talk about his career of tapping into the Golden Age of gay screen icons. The discussion will be moderated by theater critic Anthony Chase, Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities at SUNY Buffalo State.

Artvoice has featured articles on Janowski many times throughout his career, but if you aren’t yet familiar with his work, this interview by Anthony Chase will get you up to speed.

When asked by Chase what defines a Jimmy Janowski role, Janowski has this to say:

“Especially for gay people who had always veered toward the highly emotional and dramatic Susan Hayward and the Bette Davises, the early ’60s brought us a different kind of heroine . . . For me, there is burning hot emotion inside of Tippi Hedren’s cool veneer. I never really believed that Grace Kelly was vulnerable—not ever. I bet a lot of gay men feel the same way. We love her, but I would be surprised if any gay man chose Grace Kelly as a role model. Straight men love her. Susan Hayward? Gay men love her and straight men don’t even remember who she was! Not at all. She was a volcano waiting to erupt in films like I’ll Cry Tomorrow, Valley of the Dolls, and I Want to Live. I gravitate toward volcanic women who confronted incredible adversity, but with enormous emotion. Almost like Anna Magnani in their intensity.”

Janowski’s latest theater production, Bette and Joan: The Final Curtain, opens on July 24th at the Alleyway’s Main Street Cabaret and will run until August 16th. Get your tickets now and don’t miss this chance to see Jimmy Janowski at his best!

The Buffalo News calls Jimmy Janowski “One of the funniest men performing on Buffalo stages!”  He has been delighting local audiences with his “gender bending” characters for over twenty years.  The recipient of several Artvoice “Artie” awards, Janowski was named “Favorite Actor” by Buffalo Spree in 2013. Don’t miss out on what will surely be an entertaining and enlightening talk!