If the point of Rockin the Knox onSeptember 7th was to raise moneyto support the Albright-Knox ArtGallery; if its purpose was to offer
a delectable smorgasbord of entertain-ment melding art and music; if its goal
was to attract more attention to theGallery from a younger sector of ourpopulation, then their aim was not onlytrue. . .it rocked the expectations offundraising-dom out to the ionisphere.
Rockin the Knox has been an annualfundraising event fusing music and art for10 years. In 2005, gallery director LouisGrachos, whose shoot-for-the-starsmentality took it outside the gallery andadded national acts like Blondie in 2006and Wilco and My Morning Jacket in2005. For the past 3 years the talent forthe event has been procured by ArtieKwitchoff and Donny Kutzbach of FunTime Productions. The challenge is tofind musicians who appeal to the massesand yet also have some connection tothe art world. ElvisCostello was the per-fect fit. Costellos inno-vative, cross-genre stylewas just the ticket for itsfirst sellout.
The multimedia eventtook place inside thegallery and outside alongElmwood Avenue. It goeson, rain or shine, and pre-sale tickets were $40 each.Walking into the ElmwoodAve. entrance, we passed acouple of performanceartists; one silver-coated statueturned toward me as I snapped a photoand another group of artists, wearing
artwork on tent cards, played a gameof changing places with one anotherwhen a whistle blew, to bring home theRemix concept of seeing the perma-nent gallery collection re-shuffled.
Vendor, drink and food booths lined
the parking lot sellingT-shirts, posters, liba-tions and noshes tothe 5000+ crowd forthe 5-11pm stretch.Inside the galleryguests were treated toseeing Remix theCollection and Be-yond / In WesternNew York 2007.Jazz was cookin inthe Sculpture Gardenfrom 5-8pm with per-formances by BillyBaroo Jazz Trio fea-
turing AndrewWegrzyn, AnniePhilippone & PatMudd, and the AllenStreet Jazz Band fea-
turing Rose Bond. Outside, on the smaller of the two
soundstages, the crowd boogied to 3local bands, The Stay Lows, MarkNorris and The Backpeddlers, and TheGreat Train Robbery. The main stage
lit up when the red-headed, west coastfolk/pop singer, Brett Dennen, kickedthings off with his acoustic-based set.The crowd began to assemble andmomentum picked up as 20 year old,Paolo Nutini, took the stage next, giv-
ing us several UK chart-toppinghits like Jenny Dont Be Hasty,which prompted the girls in thecrowd to scream We love youPaolo! Next came Feist, freshfrom releasing her third soloalbum, The Reminder, and a world-wide tour. The sound was perfectand the pump was primed whenElvis Costello, returning to solooutings after 12 years, took thestage and really got the crowdjazzed when he blasted off his 90minute performance with one of hisclassics, Accidents Will Happenand then another, The AngelsWanna Wear My Red Shoes.Costello was nothing short of mag-nificent. He played to the crowd,gave us what we wanted and thensome more. The evening endedafter the encore, and appropriatelytimed Whats So Funny BoutPeace, Love and Understandingwhich warmed our hearts and sentCostello on his way to begin histour of the east coast with BobDylan for 13 dates this fall.
Rockin the Knox has become ahighlight of the Buffalo summerconcert season, and reminders ofwhat a hip, world-famous art col-lection we have in our midst wereeverywhere. . . from the number ofsmiling volunteers. . .to the smileson the faces of the sold out crowd.
ROCKIN THE KNOXBy Leith Chamberlain
TheirAim Was True
BY THE NUMBERS:
Money earmarked for the acquisition of new artwork.
$45,000,000Increase in the A/K Endowment
Controversial sale gives the gallery some art world clout.
$7,000,000A/K Operating Budget Staff, utilities, etc. to open the doors.
Proceeds of concert go to this line item
$25,000Cost of Largest A/K Corporate Sponsorships
M&T and Independent Health ponied up
5000Tickets Sold. . .All pre-sale
$1000Cost of two V.I.P. Tent tickets
Muse/Sol appetizers and free-flowing Moet Champagne
300Active A/K Volunteers
200Volunteers at the Event
$40Rockin at the Knox pre-sale ticket price
5%Percentage of the A/K Endowment allowed to be spent each year
1Art Gallery deserving of our support
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEITH CHAMBERLAIN
Costello layout 9/22/07 10:45 PM Page 1