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Buzz's brush with a legend

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Van Cliburn, who sadly passed away yesterday, was no stranger to the Buzz column. Buzz felt fortunate to be there in the fall of 2007 when he joined Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster Michael Ludwig to entertain at the Rue Franklin.

It was sort of an impromptu performance, and what fun! It is not every day you have a world-famous pianist playing a spinet in a restaurant.

Here they are playing. It was sweet how JoAnn Falletta, the BPO music director, was turning pages. On the Gusto Blog we have pictures of JoAnn and Van Cliburn at their concert at Kleinhans Music Hall.

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It was sweet how jazzed up we all were for this occasion. JoAnn was all dressed up and I was too. Everyone was. And we were all on our best behavior.

Here are Van and Michael taking their bows.

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Afterwards Howard, the guy Buzz married, and Buzz got our picture taken with Cliburn.

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How thrilled do I look?? That was fun. 

And as we got to observe in the Buzz column back when it happened: When Cliburn was playing at the Rue, it was the one time when nobody in the other room could shrug and say, "That pianist, he ain't no Van Cliburn."

Because he was!


Wigged out at the Statler


"Linked Up," the singles mixer over the weekend at the Statler, looked like fun. Of course they never had this kind of thing when Buzz was single! We peeked in and everyone was dancing the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. "Do that stuff!" a deejay shouted.

We hear they had an event like this at the Hyatt not too long ago and it drew an immense crowd.

The best thing at the Statler mixer was the Linked Up Photo Booth. You decked yourself out in a variety of costume props like wigs and funny hats and then you ducked inside to get your picture taken. And people could watch you from the outside. Ha, ha!

Buzz posed with Howard, the guy we married, for that masterful picture up above.

However. Looking at the costume props, we were puzzled. One of these things was not like the others, one of these things just didn't belong.

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Since when is a Bills cap weird attire?

How is anyone supposed to "link up" without one?


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Buzz gets a kick out of this Metro Bus poster.

We get a kick out of riding the bus once or twice a week. There is this bus stop yards from our house. We bought our house with that in mind, that we wanted to be able to take the bus if our car was in the shop, or if the weather was not something we wanted to drive in, or if we were meeting friends for beers, or whatever.

Right now we are planning a bus night out with friends. We are going to coordinate it so we all make our way to the same route and then we are going to go somewhere where we can have beer and wine, as the case may be, and listen to a band, because we are not driving!

But anyway, the poster above, it is funny.

It reminds Buzz of the Grant Street Bus, the route we used to take in our formative post-college years to our bank job. The Grant Street bus, No. 3, is the wildest bus. Buzz and two of our bank buddies used to ride it together and sometimes we would all put our arms up as if we were on the Cyclone.

Once, and we have eyewitnesses to prove it, it was rounding a corner and it went up on two wheels and went down again!

A magnificent bus! A magnificent route.

The poster is right.

Metro Buses are flexible!

Take a ride on the Cyclone


This morning the very cool Buffalo History Gazette posted a great picture of the Buffalo harbor circa 1910. There is this magnificent passenger ship that sailed between Buffalo and Detroit. And off to the right -- it just happened to be there -- was the Americana, outbound toward Crystal Beach.

One thing led to another, as these things do, and we wound up looking up a few things about Crystal Beach, such as when it opened (1888). Then we looked up the Cyclone, the old roller coaster that was there before the Comet. That is the Cyclone pictured above in an old postcard.

Buzz used to love the Comet but our dad always told us that he rode the Cyclone and next to him we were in the kiddie pool.

Now we see what he meant! Because we found this account on Wikipedia by a Canadian soldier named Ed Mills who wrote the Cyclone in 1943.

Every once in a while you stumble upon someone who has a real way with words. This guy did. He puts you right on that Cyclone. You feel as if you are there! Try to find time in your day to give these couple of paragraphs your undivided attention. It is suggested you put down your coffee first.

Continue reading "Take a ride on the Cyclone" »

The auction that ate Buffalo


This fevered report came in from someone who survived last night's Trinity Episcopal Church Snowflakes and Starlight Auction. It was a whirlwind event with wine, hors d'oeuvres and music by jazz pianist Krista Seddon. Buzz used to love going to Trinity's annual White Elephant Sale, now, alas, no longer held. We wish we had been at this auction! But perhaps it is best we were not.

Fasten your seat belts...

Birdcage2Hand-decorated bird houses sold off in dollar increments crept high into $40 & even a piece of carved wood -- trefoil?--that once held stained glass sold for $100+. people reminisced about the glory days of the white elephant sale. a water color flower abstraction provoked high bidding between professional antique dealer & parishioner. she won it in the high hundreds ... fetching objects that people didn't need pulled at heart strings. one working woman who needed no more china said she couldn't resist the "luncheon" set of red plates with gold trim & tea cups. a week at an summer house in Angola also went heatedly into the high hundreds. i had to restrain my mother from bidding on a bird house. one more thing to dust that she DOESN'T need. i was sat to see the china rosette place card holders that i didn't need, but figured i would pay $20 for, were already snatched by someone for $25..

FleckI did wind up w. a bargain   a basket of old bottles! for $7. ... carefully examined the old lettering on a bottle of "bluing" complete with what seemed to be its original lid, with little holes in it like a salt shaker. maybe for sprinkling the blueing? i also got a flex pass for bpo 2 tix this season & $50 at toro for $102! about to call & see if i can get Bela Fleck tix.

BottlesBlueing bottle came w. $20 price sticker making me feel especially smart for getting a basketful for $7. the church was crowded w. people drinking wine, examining merchandise set up in the aisles between the pews. this led one bystander to darkly suggest that there had been something lost since the Bible story about money-changers in the temple. there was such a crowd of mostly older people that when the auctioneer announced there was just a few more minutes to bid before auction closed that i wanted to race to check what i'd bid on & the only way to do that in the minutes i had left was to push & shove my way through a crowd that in other circumstances i would have been showing extreme deference to! i mean these were people in their 70s & 80s & all i want to do was get past them when there were only inches between us. an awkward situation. i'm not proud to admit that my sale-loving self won out. still my elders-respecting self prevented me from actually knocking people over. 

Wow! Three words for our correspondent's sanity.

Going, going, gone!

Priscilla, Lemon of the Desert


It is said that 100 soldiers in lockstep can bring down a bridge.

Thus it should be no surprise that three drag queens in lockstep can bring down a bus!

Whatever the reason, the bus Priscilla, the star of the camp drag queen musical "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," reportedly kicked on stage last night at Shea's Performing Arts Center. The reports came from people who were there and who, trust us, know what they are talking about.

That bus had had it!

There were apparently no mechanics in the house. Where are rednecks when you need them? And so the show continued sans bus. Priscilla is supposed to have issues so the malfunction was not a complete drag.

News Arts Critic Colin Dabkowski loved this show, which gets rolling again tonight.

Priscilla willing...

Florida reacts to Ruff firing


Daryle Pompeo, a Buffalo expat living near Tampa, Fla., writes on Facebook:

I apparently possess some mad voodoo. ...

Continue reading "Florida reacts to Ruff firing" »

Lindy Ruff rough on computer system


Shock followed shock! One minute, it was announced that Sabres coach Lindy Ruff had been fired.

The next, The News' internal Internet crashed!

So many News employees, it seemed, were looking for information on The News' Web site that for a few minutes it became impossible to do anything online for us in the building.

Funny, we never remember this happening for any other news event.

That's life on Planet Hockey!

A nose for a great story


That is Howard, the guy Buzz married, featured in today's pioneering story about nosebleeds.

Those are Buzz's keys held to the back of his neck in the picture! If you look carefully you might be able to make out our Tops and Wegmans cards.

It is right and just that Howard be pictured because he inspired the story. He came down with a heck of a nosebleed and we had never dealt with one before. Hence Buzz's health story.

It is like Mathilde Wesendonck inspiring Richard Wagner to write the Wesendonck Lieder.


It is like Camille Claudel ...


... inspiring the great sculptor Auguste Rodin.


Great art does not come from just anywhere.

In this case, it came from Howard's nose!

A pianist's Valentine's Day fallout


Buzz stopped into the Hyatt over the weekend and saw Jackie Jocko who said that Valentine's Day in the lounge had been busy, busy, busy.

"I played and I played and I played!" he exclaimed.

"What did you play?" Buzz asked.

"'My Funny Valentine.' What else?" he taunted us.

Of course we should have guessed!

Jocko then went into "My Funny Valentine." But with his own twist, of course.

"Is your figure less than Greek?" he sang. "I hope not!"

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