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History among the tights and blouses

Buzz loves when you can go into stores and see evidence of what they used to be.

We used to love the old Woolworth's at the corner of Grant and Ferry because even after it became something else -- was it a Quality or a Jubilee? -- the doors still said: "Air-Conditioned."

The downtown Woolworth's, in the Brisbane Building, is now a Rainbow shop. Wandering the store, Buzz cannot help noticing vestiges of the way things used to be.

There are the old tiles on the floor. And the tile pattern changes on the southern edge of the floor. That is where the Woolworth's lunch counter used to be.

It seems as if the old posts and the ceilings are pretty much what they were, too!

And best of all there is this classic Woolworth's-era ceiling vent. Observe also the fluorescent lights and the vintage trims and moldings.


These are things with which to occupy oneself while waiting in the checkout line in Rainbow which can be long.

History is all around us!

Bit O' Paris

DegasA time machine has been invented, and you may find it this weekend at Rockwell Hall. 

Buffalo Opera Unlimited is staging "Faust," the 19th century opera by French composer Charles Gounod. The opera premiered in Paris in 1859, and it was kind of like 1859 last night.

What happened was, the first half featured occasional appearances by a half-dozen talented young dancers. After Act II, the dancers had nothing left to do. So you could see them exiting the hall here and there, now dressed in jeans and leggings.

They were not going to stick around to see Faust dragged down to hell! Which is what happens at the end of this opera, not to give away the plot.

Let me get to the 19th century part. Each dancer came with friends and family. And you could see the friends and family exiting too, sometimes noisily. One woman actually stood between me and the stage, dancer daughter in tow, loudly chatting with a friend, oblivious to that Tim Kennedy had given the downbeat and the music for the next act had begun.

Authentic Parisian behavior!

Being an opera nerd, I knew enough not to be offended. When Mozart was in Paris in the 18th century, he noted this weirdness, that people were interested only in the ballet part of the opera and nothing else.

A few decades later Wagner was up against the same problem. The situation was, the dancers' significant others would all show up to see their sweeties perform, and they would leave when the dancing was over, and be disruptive the rest of the time.

So, what we were witnessing last night was what French audiences have been seeing forever.

With luck people will experience the same thing Sunday at 2:30, when the opera repeats.

Vive la difference!

Area man gets big ego from Gusto


Howard, the guy Buzz married, is in Gusto today. He plays the piano in the lobby of Statler City, as the Statler Hotel is now known. Brenda Alesii wrote about him in the Club Watch column.

He is now getting an elephantine ego!

But I forgive him because the whole thing is just so darned funny. Howard has blown the picture up so it looks like something published in The Buffalo News in, oh, 1958. And he has added a new caption:

"Join me at The Statler with Ginger, The Millionaire, Mary Ann, and Gilligan."

The Jock

Buzz has been honored to cover the Shane, Brother Shane beat. It was not that long ago that Shane, Brother Shane was the leading deejay, when his voice echoed up and down the Eastern Seaboard. And now, at least for the moment, as Buzz reported the other day, Shane is back in town.

Last year Shane was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame and rumor has it he will attend the Broadcasting Hall of Fame Awards dinner tonight.

A few nights ago there was a classic Shane sighting at Mixology, the bar on Forest Avenue where the Royal Pheasant used to be. Dan Harper & the Magic Show, Buffalo blues masters, were on stage, when Harper announced to the crowd that Shane was there in the audience.

Our correspondent reports: "Bro Shane took the mic in the second set for a couple of songs. Very cool."

Very cool indeed!

It would be fun to have Shane back on the air. He is good on stage with a band but his real strength is how he sounds on the air, just talking. He has a poetic way of talking, the words just tumbling out gracefully and naturally and resonantly, and he can turn a phrase that is absurdly beautiful.

Or just absurd!

In the clip above you can hear him talking about his athleticism - "I climbed up his back like a squirrel," he says. And you can see a rare shot of the WYSL MYSL, the car Shane drove when he was on WYSL. "That car means more to me than my right leg," he has said.

Could you make this up??

Love him or can't stand him, you have to admit, things are never boring when Shane, Brother Shane is within 100 miles.

Watch for a Shane sighting near you!

Frosty, the forecast?

FrostWant to know what really frosts us? (Sorry, could not resist.)

Don Paul, Ch. 4 meteorologist, on Facebook, telling us in the middle of a sunny day that the season's first frost advisory is, well, tonight. That is not Don Paul pictured at left, by the way. That is the poet Robert Frost.

The good news is, this supposed frost forecast is just for Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. Also McKean and Potter counties which, where are those counties, anyway? Frost warnings are not too bad if they are in counties you have never heard of.

The frost warning is not for Erie and Niagara.

Those of us living in Erie and Niagara Counties may carry on with our chicken barbecues and barefoot meanderings through the grass.

And photographing trees in Delaware Park. Here is a picture I snapped earlier this summer.


And strolling on the waterfront. Here is an artsy picture I snapped last week of the Brig Niagara.



Meanwhile, as we go about these pursuits, it might also be time to hide Don Paul on Facebook.

"I am cautiously pessimistic about the upcoming weekend," he writes.

Give this man the cold shoulder!

Announcing the Buzz Blog

What is that intruding on your restful perusal of The Buffalo News' Web site?

It is the Buzz Blog!

The Buzz Blog is new. Appropriately enough it is being announced the the same day as The News' new editor was announced.

Surely the two events are interconnected.

Whatever the case, wish me luck and join me in this adventure.

On occasion we may share pictures, like this one I took of the freighter Cuyahoga stealing the thunder of the Brig Niagara, an event chronicled in today's Buzz column.

We reserve the right to blog at odd hours, including but not limited to the wee hours.

We welcome your comments and pet peeves.

Forward we go!