December 11, 2013 - 11:45 AM
A certain Buffalo singer has a gig coming up for a local business group at a local country club. The organizers request two hours of seasonal music -- but no mention of Christmas ...
... or Santa Claus ...
... or even holidays.
What to do??
Well, there's "Winter Wonderland."
"That's right," our singer friend said. "And ....?"
Yikes, even most 96.1 Joy FM standards don't qualify. "Frosty the Snowman" might be OK. And "Jingle Bells." And "Let it Snow."
Beyond that you are on thin ice. Even "Winter Wonderland" has that problematic mention of Parson Brown. Well, maybe people have forgotten that a parson is a pastor.
You could sing "O Christmas Tree" in German because "Tannenbaum" is technically fir tree, not Christmas tree. But try explaining that to your employers as they are showing you the wreathless door.
Two hours of this! Good luck with that, we told our singer friend.
Better you than Buzz!
December 4, 2013 - 1:23 PM
Let other towns settle for silent nights, for carolers singing a quiet "Jingle Bells." In the arena of Christmas celebrations, Lancaster -- pictured above in a recent News photo -- reaches for, well, the arena.
It must have started small, when the town inherited those AM&A's window displays.
But then it grew. And now don't bother knocking, Lancaster's a-rocking! A recent evening found the town's Christmasville throbbing to the beat of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, with wildly blinking snowflakes and synchronized lights.
"It definitely could be heard through the walls of Lancaster Opera House during Monday's Town Board meeting," marvels one woman who was there.
Eventually her head began to pound too. "It gave me a headache and an eyeache."
Hmmm. If your ears, head and eyes are all hurting, that could actually give the burg a boost. So laughed one sympathetic villager. "He told me there's all of about three main Central Avenue businesses."
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which encourages this light-synching activity, must love this riot of rock and light. We get the idea most villagers do, too. But there are at least three people who aren't happy.
Those would be Mssrs. Adam, Meldrum and Anderson.
Surely they are turning in their graves!
November 25, 2013 - 12:14 PM
The bulletins that come out regarding the World's Largest Disco -- it is whispered that organizer Dave Pietrowski writes them himself -- are almost as entertaining as the big blowout itself (pictured above in a shot from the World's Largest Disco's whirling and glittering website).
The disco is sold out, and it is Saturday, and as we get down to the wire, the news releases get more and more lively, just like the atmosphere at the party when you're about to hear "YMCA."
On smoking: "There will be 2 policemen in each bathroom (men’s and ladies). Violators will be arrested, ejected & prosecuted. Smoking doesn’t make you a bad person, smoking illegally at our event and offending others does make you one."
On the coat check:
Continue reading "What You Need to Know About the World's Largest Disco" »
November 24, 2013 - 1:15 PM
We speak, of course, of "It's The Most Buffalo Week of the Year," performed by cabaret legend Guy Boleri and the guy Buzz married, Howard Goldman. Click here to hear it.
It is the musical version of the cover story in today's Spotlight section on how Thanksgiving weekend reveals our city's psyche. The photos are great. Love the shots of Luna. And the World's Largest Disco.
October 30, 2013 - 11:11 PM
A friend in Kaisertown sends out an SOS:
"OMG! Out of candy! And they show no sign of stopping!"
That was a little while ago. We presume they have stopped by now. Although you never know!
Meanwhile we notice Buffalo is given special credit in the Wikipedia entry on Beggars' Night. Here we were looking it up wondering if it was some ancient medieval tradition and no, it is indigenous to Ohio and Iowa and, you guessed it, Western New York.
There is a Facebook page for Beggars' Night in Kaisertown.
Whether 'tis for Beggars' Night or Hallowe'en, Buzz wonders if anyone in Kaisertown dresses up as the Kaiser.
How could you resist?
October 28, 2013 - 11:01 AM
Perhaps it is only natural that the restless dead seek out restrooms. That is all we can think thanks to Buffalo ghost raconteur Mason Winfield's haunted history pub crawls in the Allentown district, which we were delighted to recount in Gusto.
When Mason visits Fat Bob's he tells of a ghost in the Fat Bob's men's room.
And we keep thinking about that ghost in the billowy red dress who is seen going into the men's room at Founding Fathers.
Hey, a ghost's gotta go like anyone else, right? No, Winfield says. He says that because the building is so old, the men's room used to be something else, or maybe she is even going into a long-gone door in a long-gone building that used to stand on this site.
Hold it right there, we say, no pun intended.
We think that the ghost is the manifestation of the resentful energies of women who, packed into Founding Fathers during the Allentown Art Festival or the St. Patrick's Day Parade, were forced to use the men's room because the ladies' room was too crowded.
Could that be the case?
"I might use that," he said.
October 25, 2013 - 3:53 PM
Doc Severinsen, at 86, still manages to eclipse expectations. No matter how sequinned you expect him to be, he will be more sequinned. No matter how loud you think he'll be, he'll be louder.
This morning's Coffee Concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra -- the concert repeats Saturday at 8 p.m. -- were full of memorable moments, and many were just Severinsen talking.
He told us how, down in Mexico where he lives, he often tunes in to the Sirius station that is All Sinatra, All the Time.
"At 2 a.m., I sometimes turn the station on, and the memories flood over me," he said.
The image of Doc Severinsen kicked back in the middle of the night, listening to Sinatra ... unforgettable!
Doc also introduced one number by saying, "So this is 'What is This Thing Called Love?' And if anyone knows the answer, give me a call."
Ha, ha! What else did he say? Well, a little poignantly, he said: "Life is a drama, and I don't know if I'm in the last act."
But he added:
"I am not going to go quietly into the night! I am going to be tap dancing right up to the end."
October 23, 2013 - 1:03 PM
Halloween is off to an early good start with the appearance, on one of Mason Winfield's Haunted History Pub Crawls, of a descendant of Augustine Washington, George Washington's brother.
It is Anne Apfel of Amherst! She came forward with the truth about her ancestry -- where else? -- in Founding Fathers Pub, where the tour was convening.
If you are descended from somebody from one of our country's first families, Founding Fathers is certainly the place to declare it! With George Washington looking down approvingly from the door of the men's room. Coincidentally, Winfield spoke of the ghost of a woman in a billowy red dress sometimes seen emerging from that same men's room. Maybe that has something to do with Anne's revelation, who knows? Here we have a woman emerging from the house of Washington.
Buzz had the honor of exploring the smorgasbord of Western New York ghost walks and pub crawls in a story running in tomorrow's Gusto. It confronts not only Founding Fathers but other taverns such as Williamsville's Eagle House, pictured above.
Buffalo is awash in spirits.
In more ways than one!
October 22, 2013 - 1:26 PM
This is turning into Doc Severinsen Week here at The Buffalo News, what with Doc Severinsen breaking his silence on the book about Johnny Carson, and, today, recalling his days with the roustabout Tommy Dorsey.
In a couple of days Doc will be here, performing with his big band and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. But we still have time for more Doc stories. Here is a dandy.
A retired Buffalo police officer Buzz knows -- he says we can call him Sal J. -- says that years ago, he was pulling into the parking lot of the Towne Restaurant and spotted Doc Severinsen walking past. This would have been during Doc's tenure as the Philharmonic's principal pops conductor.
Our pal Sal realized he had a wanted poster in the car that looked a lot like Doc! It wasn't a photo, just a sketch. He went with it.
"I pulled up to him," he told us. "I said, 'Sir, hang on, you look like someone we are looking for.'
"I showed him the wanted poster sketch. It looked like him! He laughed. He said, 'Hahaha, it does look like me!' He was very nice and personable. And ... he signed it!"
Sal laughed, remembering.
"Real gentleman," he said.
An officer and a gentleman! "I'm going to look for the wanted poster this weekend," Sal said. "It was so long ago."
If he finds it, Buzz will post it.
October 9, 2013 - 11:02 AM
Last night at the Tralf Music Hall, Family Funktion and the Sitar Jams -- the band of brothers opening for Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band -- won our heart with their closing remark.
One of them -- we think it was the sitar player, Naryan Padmanabha -- told the large and roiling crowd: "Obviously you're going to stick around."
Ha, ha! We love self-deprecating humor and that is a classic. We are now a Family Funktion Fan.
In other words: Obviously we're going to stick around!