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Charles Penney collection goes on sale Friday and Saturday

Features Penney Wippert
The late Lockport art collector Charles Penney in his offices in 2006. Photo by Bill Wippert / The Buffalo News.

Charles Penney, the late Lockport collector whose name adorns the side of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, had a complex relationship with the City of Buffalo. He loved its history and its art but despised the politics of its art community and the leadership of its largest museum, at least as it existed decades ago. For those reasons and others, Penney is largely thought of as a Lockport institution.

But on Friday and Saturday, when parts of Penney's collection go up for sale in the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, some of his connections to Buffalo's history and culture will be on display. Penney's grandfather, for instance, was the district attorney at the trial of Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President Wiliam McKinley.

"Charles Rand Penney was acutely aware of his family's history in the City of Buffalo," wrote F. Gerard Hogan, the lawyer representing Penney's estate. "In fact, he had a substantial collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the Pan-American Exposition. He also had a large collection of City of Buffalo memorabilia."

Some of that material will be on view during Friday and Saturday's event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The sale will include items from Penney's collection of artwork, World's Fair memorabilia, ethnographic objects and more than 700 volumes from Penney's research library.

--Colin Dabkowski

Giving for greatness

Wuhan&DavidAn interesting story in the Wall Street Journal explores the history of patronage in music. The story is tied to David Finckel and Wu Han -- pictured at left -- the husband/wife, cello/piano team who head up the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center is playing host to three concerts by the Jupiter Quartet paying tribute to the Lobkowicz legacy -- Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowicz was a noted patron of Beethoven, giving him money so he could write music.

David Finckel and Wu Han gave a concert on Buffalo's Ramsi P. Tick Memorial Concert Series last spring. On stage, they are a quirky and fascinating team.

Their program here included a piece that Lincoln Center had commissioned -- for $25,000, Wu Han said in a charmingly ditzy introductory speech. I loved how she freely named the amount.  She introduced the piece rather apologetically, and sure enough, it was nothing anyone would remember.

That incident, and this recent story, gets me to thinking that a lot of commissions today offer the opportunities that, for the most part, Mozart and Beethoven could only dream of.  While I have not exactly done the math, I do not think Mozart or Beethoven ever got anywhere near $25,000 for, say, a string quartet. They got stuck also because of copyright laws back then, too. Royalties in many cases did not exist.

Imagine what Mozart could have done with a MacArthur Genius Grant.

I am just saying.

Meanwhile there is a cute detail in the Journal story about David Finckel shaking the hand of William Lobkowicz, descendant of Beethoven's prince.

"I just have to thank you for helping Beethoven!" he said.

That must have been quite a moment!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman


Neil Garvey's larger-than-life spirit

The theater community is still reeling today from the news of actor Neil Garvey's death. News Managing Editor Brian Connolly, formerly the editor of Gusto, just sent me a copy of a 2006 Gusto cover featuring Garvey and fellow actor Katie White, who graciously helped illustrate a story about outsized art by former News Critic Richard Huntington. The picture, by former News photographer Bill Wippert, is sublime:

May 5 06 Gusto cover

--Colin Dabkowski

Remembering actor Neil Garvey

Shakespeare FEA  KIRKHAM tempest 07
Neil Garvey, right, appears with Dew Derek in a 2009 Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of "The Tempest." Photo by Robert Kirkham / The Buffalo News.

I've just received word that Neil Garvey, the longtime Buffalo actor, attorney, writer and Shakespeare devotee, has died at 56. This is terrible news, and a huge loss for Buffalo's theater community, which must now bid farewell to one of its most beloved members far before his time.

There will be more to come, but for now, I am posting this 1996 profile on Garvey written by The News former theater critic Terry Doran:


By Terry Doran


Picture this: 4 a.m., cold and dark, a morning after Thanksgiving. Neil Garvey rolls his Falstaffian figure out of bed. Time to roast a pig on a spit out in the snow. Half a day later it's done. Loads it into the back seat of his compact car and heads into the city, where he unloads, changes into costume. And for what? For art.

Continue reading "Remembering actor Neil Garvey" »

Talkin' proud: Anthony Bannon gives talk on George "Hound Dog" Lorenz

Events don’t get more "Buffalo" than this one: At 6 p.m. today (Feb. 22) in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Anthony Bannon -- the newly appointed executive director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center -- will lead a 90-minute discussion of George "Hound Dog" Lorenz titled "The Houns’ Aroun’‚" (that’s right, all final D’s excluded).

Why is this as "Buffalo" as events have gotten since 2012 began?

1.) Because Bannon -- former News art critic and Burchfield Penney executive director in its most expansive era -- is returning to the museum he led before going on to his successful tenure at Rochester’s George Eastman House, and the event, to put it mildly, will give people a small indication of one of the many wildly disparate kinds of things he likes doing.

2.) Lorenz may be, when all is said and done, many people’s nomination for the coolest single human being ever to reside in Buffalo -- the primal rock DJ who was one of less than a handful to transform the "race" records of one era to the rock ’n’ roll of a new one. He began at WJJL, moved to 50,000-watt behemoth WKBW and began a pervasive influence all over the Northeastern United States and Canada.

A little later, he helped introduce Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard but his glory, like that of songwriters and producers Leiber and Stoller, was to unite racial cultures in one big tent.

Check out the Hound’s website, as well as Forgotten Buffalo. And then, on Wednesday, the testimony of all those Hound puppies about an era that was close to the center of America’s musical universe.

-- Jeff Simon

All the sad young men

One of the miracles of the Internet is how you can preview CDs. Just now I found myself listening to the great violinist/fiddler Mark O'Connor playing "Old Folks at Home" from his new disc, "American Classics,

O'Connor is coming to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra this weekend to play his just-premiered Improvised Violin Concerto. If it is anything like the Fiddle Concerto he played three years ago with the Orchard Park Symphony, it will be an experience to remember. Someone said that, a stranger, leaving the Orchard Park Symphony after hearing the Fiddle Concerto. "That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said.

I am writing more about this new CD in this week's Gusto but meanwhile, let me just say this one thing, something gets me about Mark O'Connor's playing. I think it is his sincerity. He plays things straight and it brings out the songs' poignant emotion. He just lets the music stand. On his new CD, he is accompanied by pianist Rieko Aizawa who I understand is quite the pianist in her own right, a student of Peter Serkin. But Aizawa is completely in the background, playing accompaniments that are almost not there.

Honest, it just twists your heart. I am a sucker for nostalgia and Stephen Foster, the whole bag, I admit that. My ancestors came from southern Germany. I have that Weltschmerz in my blood. I love the panoramic view this music -- this video -- gives of American history. The poignant photographs, accompanying this nostalgic Victorian song. Starting with Stephen Foster -- who, in case you did not know, died young, a drunk in the Bowery. There are photos of Civil War soldiers. The men at about 2:16, black and white, standing there together, the looks on their faces . ... There are photos of the Bowery, an ancient steam locomotive, minstrels.

Can you take one more video? I know I can.

Where we had sad-eyed Stephen Foster we now have sad-eyed Scott Joplin.

So beautiful.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

Broadway melodies: The BPO salutes Broadway

Anne Runolfsson performs with the BPO

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus are toasting modern Broadway on Saturday with an extravaganza called "Broadway Rocks." Featured are Broadway singers Doug LaBrecque, Anne Runolfsson, Rob Evan and Ramona Keller. (Keller is appearing in place of Capathia Jenkins, who was previously announced.)

The good-natured, over-the-top program runs down an impressive roster of hits from the past few decades. On tap are "The Circle of Life" from "The Lion King;" rock hits like "Proud Mary" and "I Will Survive;" "This is the Moment" from "Jekyll and Hyde;" and "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" -- as well as songs and anthems from other musicals including "Hairspray," "The Wiz" and "Wicked." The very talented LaBrecque, a "Phantom" of grace and experience, will be giving his timeless performance of "Music of the Night."

The concert takes place at 8 p.m. today (Feb. 18) in Kleinhans Music Hall. Associate Conductor Matthew Kraemer conducts. Admission is $25-$72. Call 885-5000.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

Canadian rockers The Arkells return to Buffalo for two shows

The Arkells return to Buffalo for two shows today         Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

Ever since last July’s already legendary Tragically Hip show at the Erie Basin Marina, fans have been awaiting the return of the Arkells, the Hamilton, Ont.-born band responsible for that gig’s fiery opening set. Those power-pop savvy "punters" will get their wish today (Feb. 18), with not one, but two, Arkells shows in our town. 

First, the band will convene at 3:30 p.m. today (Feb. 18) in Record Theatre (1800 Main St.) for a free acoustic in-store performance. You would be well-advised to check this out -- primarily because it will be an intimate, in-your-face encounter with this exciting young band, and also because Record Theatre has stocked import copies of the Arkells’ most excellent sophomore effort, "Michigan Left," which is not slated for stateside release until April.

Once you’re sufficiently pumped up, prepare for the evening’s main event -- an Arkells headlining slot at 7 p.m. in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), with opening sets from Hollerado (great name!) and Wildlife. Tickets are $15 advance, $18 day of show (box office, 

If you happened to have missed out on the Arkells’ opening set for last summer’s T-Hip show, head over to, where you can stream "Michigan Left" and also sample the band’s full-length debut, 2008’s "Jackson Square."

-- Jeff Miers

Laugh it up: Stoogefest returns to the Riviera Theatre

Three Stooges, The_03
Larry, Curly and Moe bring the laughs to the big screen in the Riviera Theatre

After 20 years as a summer-only celebration, the Three Stooges Film Festival at the Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda) has branched out. The first winter version of the event will start at 7 p.m. today (Feb. 18)  at the theater.

Organizer and chief stooge fan Lenny Potwora asked the crowd at last summer’s Stoogefest if they would be interested in a winter event. "The reaction was pretty strong from the crowd," says Potwora, so he and theater manager Frank J. Cannata agreed on a date.

The Stoogefest will include seven shorts from various phases of the Stooges’ long career. Potwora carefully selects films that feature different plots and even various Stooges. Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard were the mainstays, but after Curly’s health failed in 1946, Moe and Larry worked with Shemp Howard, Joe Besser and Curly Joe DeRita.

The Stoogefest will be preceded by a concert on the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Door prize and raffle drawings for Stooges items will be held during intermission.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and available at the box office (call 692-2413), online at and at Hollywood Collectables in the McKinley Mall. For more information, call Potwora at 432-6827.

-- Anne Neville

Rascal Flatts to kick off country shows at Darien Lake; Beach Boys details revealed

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Rascal Flatts

The lineup for this year's Batavia Downs Casino 2012 Country Megaticket at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center has been announced.

On Saturday, June 30 Rascal Flatts will headline with Eli Young Band and Edens Edge opening. On Sunday, July 29 Toby Keith will headline with Brantley Gilbert opening. On Saturday, Aug. 11 Brad Paisley will headline with The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery opening. And on Saturday, Aug. 25 Jason Aldean will headline with Luke Bryan opening.

The "Gold package" (a 200-level seat) is $350. The "Silver package" (a 300-level seat) is $295. The lawn package is $125.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. at Available for a limited time only. All dates, acts and ticket prices subject to change without notice. Ticket subject to applicable service charges.

Live Nation also announced The Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston & David Marks) 50th Anniversary Tour will stop at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday, June 29 at 8 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $95, $75, $55, $35 and $25.00 for the lawn. Lawn 4 packs are $75. Plus fees, not available day of show. Tickets available online at, or Charge By Phone at 1-800-745-3000. Darien Lake Theme Park tickets available in advance for an additional $14.99 above concert ticket price. All dates, acts and ticket prices subject to change without notice. Tickets subject to applicable fees.

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