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Hold onto your babushkas!

That was the irresistible heading on an invitation Buzz got for an intimate celebration last night at Buffalo's latest romantic hot spot, Polish Villa II. The iconic restaurant at 1085 Harlem Road in Cheektowaga is not only rolling out the barrel, it is rolling out an elegant new menu.

The Polish Villa II looks beautiful. Over the bar is an incredible ceiling, carved in Poland ...

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... and perfect to look at when you loll your head back, enjoying that perfect sip of Sobieski. They also have authentic Polish paintings, one of which depicts Dyngus Day.

The beautiful people were there.

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Here is, left to right, the comedian and Off Beat Cinema personality Airborne Eddy Dobosiewicz, the fashion photographer Cheryl Gorski and the dapper John Di Sciullo of WBBZ. Cheryl is celebrating the launch of her glitzy new Web site, Fashion Maniac.

Serenading the tables was the great accordionist Tony Krew.

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The apex of the night came when Eddy made an impassioned speech about Polish cuisine. It is time, he said, that it is given the respect it deserves. The Polish Villa II, with its elegant menu (and yummy home-smoked sausages), does that.

"For thousands of years, Poland was invaded and partitioned by other countries," he said. "Now it's time for us to get back. It's our turn to do a little conquering. And we're going to do that with food."

The crowd applauded, with Krew leading the applause with blasts from his accordion. Eddy grew even more eloquent.

"If you like it, tell three people you were at the Polish Villa II and it was wonderful," he said.

"If you don't like it, tell 300 people you were at Pano's."

The funniest part of the Christmas season...

Galleria

... is people trying to tell us how not to gain weight during it.

Buzz is on a million diet and exercise mailing lists and the other day we got a list of pointers on how to work in exercise when you are in a mall. It came from Calorie Count, this app we have and, being a proud Buffalonian, never use.

But still, out of pure curiosity, we opened the list and had a peek. Park farther away from the door, OK, yeah, got that. Use the stairs, not the escalator, OK, we already do that.

However. ...

These Calorie Count folks said that whenever you pass a bench, get down and do push-ups on it.

Hahahahahahaaa!! It is not Buzz laughing. It is all your fellow Galleria shoppers, shown above in a recent News file photo, who are standing around eating cinnamon buns and watching you do your pushups.

Other suggestions, so weird you could not make them up: Use fitting rooms for doing squats and jumping jacks. And ... and ... we can hardly type this because it is just so funny ... Bring along hand weights to carry in your bags as you shop.

We just read this one out loud and a co-worker is going, "Oh ... ow.... owww..." Now Buzz is laughing too so hard our stomach hurts.

Hey ... now we get the point of this list!

Laughing this hard sure gives your abs a workout!

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Lorax
Buzz will be wearing a gold, sparkly dress we bought at the Rainbow Shop, where we were taking pictures yesterday of unmentionables, remember?

The dress was $10! Seeing us hesitating, wondering if it was too short, a girlfriend teased us.

"It's 10 bucks!" she laughed.

You spend more than $10 on a routine visit to Mighty Taco!

So we bought the dress and we took it home and that was when we really fell in love with it. Because when we looked at the label we saw it was made of a fabric with the most marvelous name.

It is Lurex!

Not to be confused with the Lorax, pictured above.

We love that name Lurex. It sounds lurid and alluring and people use it to lure people. We can't wait to wear it to the ball drop.

We will be the talk of Roosevelt Square!

The great thing about early darkness...

... is the opportunity for great photography!

I snapped this masterpiece with my cell phone.

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And this one ...

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Another seascape:

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If you took that in Norway you would show it to all your friends!

Buzz's unsolicited advice: Don't gripe about the early sunset.

Photograph it!

 

Rainbow unmentionables

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You know how they used to call lingerie unmentionables?

Those days are back!

At least at Rainbow Shops. Buzz loves Rainbow Shops. Very often there is a pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow, we have found. You get scarves, gloves, jingly jewelry. We bought a gown there and wore it to a party last summer.

The, uh, unmentionables, though.

Santa must be blushing!

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The life-affirming color, reminiscent of Kmart!

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(Notice the old Woolworth's floor and infrastructure.)

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We saved the best for last.

A camo-sole!

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Rainbow, got to love it.

It lives up to its name!!

NYC man yearns for his new life in Buffalo

Remember Oscar Torres?

Oscar

He was the young man from Brooklyn who works for the Federal Reserve Bank and was sent to Buffalo for a month or so, thus missing Hurricane Sandy. And he was dining every night in the Hyatt lounge, hanging out with Jackie Jocko, going to the Philharmonic, making friends.

Here is the link again in case you have forgotten.

Oscar has not forgotten us.

Jocko said Oscar called him!

"He was crying," Jocko said. "He misses Buffalo so much."

We are not sure if Oscar was exactly crying. Jocko can be, shall we say, dramatic in his speech. But we do take this to mean that Oscar does yearn for Buffalo and the life he had here.

Oscar, Buffalo misses you too! And don't forget, you can always move here.

"I think he will," Jocko said.

'Nutcracker' cracks 'em up

Battle 2

"The Nutcracker" is on stage at Shea's this weekend -- there is another show today at 2 p.m. -- and Buzz is sorry, but this is one guilty treat we just cannot resist. It is a joint production by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Neglia Ballet Artists. We went last night.

It is so entertaining! That is the battle scene up above, charming and weird at the same time the way this battle scene is supposed to be.

And speaking of charming and weird, it is fun just to observe the kids in the audience.

One little girl in a purple dress and sparkling purple shoes kept climbing things in the lobby at intermission. She was fascinated with the big marble water fountain and kept shimmying up it.

Then when Buzz was trying to throw out our plastic champagne glass she was climbing the garbage receptacle! It looked as if she was trying to throw herself in!

There were tots in our row and you could tell they loved being at the ballet.

"Bravo!" they would yell at the end of a dance.

And: "Encore!" Can you believe it?

You could tell what the kids loved because they were vocal about it. They loved the grandfather, who pretty much stole the party scene. He is Fredonia faculty member Paul Mockovak. And they got a huge kick out of it when Fritz, danced charmingly by Sergio Neglia's son Nico, gets thrown over an adult's shoulder and spanked. Ha, ha! They knew what that was about!

One of the best scenes is Mother Ginger, who in the Neglia production is a giant cupcake. Out from under her skirts skip all these little cupcakes. 

"Ah!" breathed a little girl down our row. "Cupcakes!"

So cute.

Plus, when we got out of Shea's, the air was filled with the first snowflakes we had seen this season.

Perfect!

 

Exclusive photos of Buffalo's Black Saturday

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How do shoppers top the excitement of Black Friday? With the History Museum's annual book signing! Local authors turn out to sell and sign their books. It is turning into a big shopping event.

Above, celebrity vocal coach Andy Anselmo, who taught Liza Minnelli, Mandy Patinkin, Tony Bennett and so many other stars. He is promoting his entertaining memoir, "A Star-Crossed Life." That is his nephew with him.

Mike Rizzo was there with his latest book, about the Mafia in Buffalo. It was arguably the hottest sell in the room. People want to read about the mob! They cannot get enough of it.

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Rizzo is a common name in Buffalo and so Mike Rizzo was constantly being asked if he was related to other Rizzos. Hahahaa!

Here we give you Buffalo News food critic emerita Janice Okun, right -- with her book, "Buffalo Cooks With Janice Okun" -- and celebrity historian Cynthia Van Ness, author of "Victorian Buffalo."

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Front and center were Steve Cichon of WBEN-AM, left, and Ed Kilgore of Channel 2, with his book "As I've Seen It: Wide Right, No Goal and Other Buffalo Sports Sagas." When you walked in they were the first people you saw, framed in the doorway.

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But where was Kilgore's turtleneck? The Buzz column has praised Ed Kilgore's fashion sense for years, in particular his taste in turtlenecks. Steve had on his trademark bow-tie. Where was Kilgore's trademark turtleneck?

Kilgore laughed at us as, God love him, he always does.

"If I'd known you were coming," he said, "I'd have worn a turtleneck."

Next year we'll make sure he does!

Thanksgiving the morning after

Pumpkin

There's a special feeling nothing in the world can buy... When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie! ... Buzz wrote that on Facebook, reporting on our breakfast.

Pumpkin pie and coffee is the greatest breakfast!

Then, to my delight, other suggestions came pouring in.

"Mashed potatoes fried in the pan," wrote one gentleman.

"Whipped cream in the coffee. Why should the pie have all the fun?"

"And a tiny shaved-off slice of chocolate cream pie too."

Let the feasting begin.

We have not yet begun to eat!

 

The cowboy at the Sportsmen's

Buzz had no business being out the night before Thanksgiving. There were pies to make. There was the house to clean.

But still. We went out and caught Tom Russell's act at the Sportsmen's Tavern. 

What a show! Russell is a wonderful songwriter. There was not a huge crowd so it was intimate. He started out with "Guadalupe," a beautiful song about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He ended with his raucous song "Tonight We Ride." After that there was an encore because people would not stop yelling for one.

Russell travels with his wife, who is from Switzerland and appears to keep him on the straight and narrow. He made a big deal about how she makes him tea with organic honey -- not easy to finesse at the Sportsmen's, he joked, but she did it.

At the end of the night he not only teased Buzz about the interview we did with him, but we spied him asking for a double at the bar. And he downed it real quick.

So much for that tea.

In a split second his wife was at his side, disapproving. But he got that double down!

Tom Russell is on his way tonight to Toronto. It is not Thanksgiving in Toronto tomorrow night and so that is where his next gig is. Meanwhile, the quotable Tom Russell:

"Are those seats $30 too?" (Gesturing up toward the Sportsmen's balcony.)

(Tickets to the Sportsmen's show were $30.)

"I was in downtown Buffalo. I know what goes on, because I'm an old criminologist. I saw transactions. ... There were people selling crack. But I said no, because I had a show tonight."

"We'll be signing things, preferably CDs. If you have to shoplift 'em, do it."

And, from "Tonight We Ride":

"You don't need no teeth for kissing gals or smoking cheap cigars. I'll sleep with one eye open, 'neath God's celestial stars... And if we drink ourselves to death, ain't that the cowboy way to go? Tonight we ride, boys, tonight we ride."

Dear Tom Russell.

Tonight he rides!

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