Mark Freeland may not be a name that rings a bell around the world, but in Buffalo, the late artist, musician, writer and provacateur is widely held to be the father of the alternative arts movement in our region.
With his impish grin, his wicked sense of humor, his seemingly boundless enthusiasm for life in general and artistic ideas in particular, and his ability to make music out of whatever instruments happened to be at hand, Freeland – who died in 2007 after a battle with cancer – created a blueprint for every Buffalo artist who followed him, whether or not they’d ever met the man. That blueprint demanded the true artist to follow a path of fierce nonconformity and unrelenting individualism.
It was in that spirit that Freeland crafted his paintings, concocted his books, and led bands like Pegasus, Pegasonics, Electroman, Erectronics, Pageantry of Weens, the Fems and many more. And ultimately, it was in that spirit that he created his greatest work of art – his life itself, which was an inspiration to countless Western New Yorkers while he lived it, and continues to be today, even after he’s gone.
Friends, peers, fans and pupils of Freeland will gather at Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) at 9 p.m. Saturday to celebrate his life and art. “Electrorespect: A Tribute to Mark Freeland” will feature performances by Ed Koban, Fems Fatale, Drop D, David Kane, Erectronic, Disobedient Quartet, Funk Monster & Woman, BoBo, John Toohill, Jeff Repeater, Scantron, Official Crew and Pillow Queen. The $5 admission will benefit the Music Is Art Foundation.
In the words of my Buffalo News colleague Dale Anderson, as quoted in Artvoice in 1996, “The only question that remains is, how come a guy this talented, entertaining and full of ideas isn’t as rich and famous as, say, Prince?”
Rock on, Mr. Freeland.
Original Monkees member Peter Tork will prep for a reunion with his surviving bandmates launching in midsummer with a solo tour that includes a stop at the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.) at 8 p.m. Friday. Dubbed “In This Generation,” the Tork solo tour will be presented as an audio-visual tour through the man’s 50 years in the music business, with film, photography, and first-person reminiscences augmenting the music itself. Tickets are $40, and can be found at the club. John & Mary will open.
The Infringement Music Showcase takes over Nietzsche’s on Friday at 10 p.m. Honey Spine, Sonny Baker, the Folk Faces and Mothers will share the bill. Admission is $5.
Bruce Wojick and his band, with Jamie Holka opening, take over the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) tonight at 8 p.m.
Power-pop/metal outfit LA Guns plays the Icehouse, 512 Third St., Niagara Falls, tonight beginning at 7 p.m. Buffalo’s own Hair Nation will open. Tickets are available through Tickets.com or at the Icehouse box office.
Miles Davis composed the soundtrack to Louis Malle’s 1958 film noir classic “Ascenseur pour L’echafaud” and that soundtrack is widely regarded as one of the most incisive and moodily eloquent films scored in the history of recorded music. Tonight, the “Jazz Noir 1950-1966” series at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.) will feature the film in its entirety. The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m.