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EXIST: Pride First Friday 2018

Pride Week is upon us. Aside from the Gay 5K, the marches and parades, the gay-oriented events and activities, Pride fans can also look forward to a terrific outdoor festival, which is scheduled to take place on Friday in Allentown. The EXIST festival (the first of its kind) will transform Allen Street into a LGBTQA+ fantasy land, with live music, drag, burlesque, art, colorful characters, vendors, exhibits…

“With the disappearance of queer spaces in Buffalo, mainly Allentown, it was important to give artists, First Friday and Pride an avenue for real, queer and gritty local talent.” – Artist and EXIST Festival Founder Mickey Harmon

The festival (5 PM – 10 PM) will take place on Allen Street between Franklin and Virginia Place*, and includes a main stage where revelers will be “celebrating peace, love and humanity with a utopian themed evening of music, drag, burlesque and art.”

This is a free event to coincide with the Pride Center of WNY‘s programming for Pride Week and Allentown First Friday Gallery Walk‘s first full summer event.

Hosted by Community Beer Works and Allentown First Friday Gallery Walk

Performances by:

Curtis Lovell
Tina Panic Noise
Vidalia May
Cat McCarthy
Fifi Laflea
$1300 Cock
Tommy Vē

Sponsored By:
Block Club
Remedy House
Community Beer Works
and Pride Center of WNY

Gallery Programming

Pine Apple Company / Vulnerable: An Illustration Series By Kale Johnson: Vulnerable is a collection of ballpoint pen drawings by Kale Johnson that explores transness in a world that is unwelcoming and often hostile. “In this series, I seek to express the mixture of alienation, fear, and hope that I and other young transgender people have in the face of a society going through cycles of change,” said Johnson, who is a local illustrator, comic artist, and transman. You can see more of his work on Instagram at @coldwavekid or at

Caffèology / First Friday Opening reception for Tim Kujawski: Tim Kujawski will be displaying ‘Everything changes in an…’, a collection of his instant photographs from the past 5 years, for the month of June at Caffeology on Allen Street, he will have a brief talk about the history of instant photography, and have a slide show of his work with Polaroid’s line of instant slide film.

Buffalo Big Print / The Thing Itself – First Friday Opening: Featuring amazing photography from the extremely talented Starr Ockenga. Entry to the event is free, as are complimentary beverages & hors d’oeuvres. Starr Ockenga spent three decades creating a garden on an upstate New York hilltop facing a panoramic view of the Catskill Mountains. Starr quotes Willa Cather from O Pioneers: “We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it for a little while.” Currently, Starr and her partner, Sean McElroy, are taming a raw piece of waterfront land on Lake Erie to collect, grow, and display plants native to Western New York.

Buffalo Melting Point / Soft Advance: An Art Opening:

  • Audrey Bialke is an artist from the Finger Lakes who is currently living in Buffalo. Her methods include painting, printmaking, and drawing. She received a BA in Drawing and Painting from SUNY Fredonia. 
  • Valerie Brower is a California native who attended CSU Monterey Bay with a major in Visual and Public Art. Her focus the last few years has been on de-stressing and tapping into the inner thoughts of the great human mind. These artworks concentrate on overwhelming emotions, the energies of the universe, and how they converge in dreams, intuition, and daily life. 
  • Mike Fridmann is an artist and musician from Fredonia, NY. His visual practice is centered around papermaking, printmaking and sound art. In 2016 he received a BA in Visual Arts and New Media from SUNY Fredonia.
  • Heather Radford is an artist currently living in western New York. Her work is primarily in print and paper media. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from SUNY Fredonia. 
  • Jimmy Scamacca was born. They enjoy being outside, drinking clean water, and breathing.

GCR audio / Jess Pfohl at GCR Audio Recording StudiosMusic Is Art in conjunction with GCR Audio Recording Studios announces Jess Pfohl — Spoiled Inhabiting Robby Takac‘s GCR Audio on Friday, June 1st, Jess Pfohl — Spoiled blurs the line between actuality and imagination by creating scenarios through visual art. Accompanying live entertainment will include a live studio recording session by HEARsay, featuring David Kane, Cathy Carfagna, and Michael Miskuly performing underground classics and original music. The works on display are experimental in nature and use a combination of unusual materials executed in non-traditional techniques. The brightly colored pop art offers reflections on mental health issues, gun control and… flowers! 

Project 308 Gallery / VALUE by Alyssa Capri: In this series Capri explores the idea of value. Using commercial masking paper as her base layer she paints vibrant emotive figures, depicting intimacy in everyday moments. Beauty can be presented and represented in the unconventional. Materials which are hardworking, but not expensive, bleached, or revered serve not only as the backdrop of this series but are distinctly representative of its ethos. Inclusion of thread, fabric, and fibre from personal belongings imbues further personal connection, literally integrating herself into the painting. Things that have been discarded or disregarded because they are seemingly ‘less’ or ‘poor’ create beauty and evoke emotion. She hopes to touch her audience with these brown backdrops. Brown is beautiful. Woman is powerful. Poor are diligent, hearty, clever.

Shop Stops

Allen Street Dress Shop / JBWC@First Friday: Come listen to the stellar Just Buffalo Literary Center Youth Writers read their work before checking out Exist: Pride First Friday 2018 right outside the door!

Queen City Gallery / Art Under the Stars: this event returns to 64 College Street (in the heart of Allentown) With art By: Neil Mahar, David Pierro, Candace Keegan, Chris McGee, Eileen Pleasure, Eric Evinczik, Barbara Crocker, Thomas Bittner, Susan Liebel, Barbara Lynch Johnt, John Farallo, Thomas Busch, 
Sherry Anne Preziuso, Michael Shiver, Alejandro Gutierrez, Michael Mulley on exhibit through 6/30/18

See Facebook event

*In the event of inclement weather the event will be held at the Gallery in the Market Arcade 5-8pm: Queen City Gallery 617 Main Street (Market Arcade) Buffalo NY 14203

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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