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"I've always been fashion-forward. I mean, I've popularized so many classic looks: the beer helmet, the T-shirt with the tuxedo printed on it. The list is endless."

-- Homer Simpson, in In Style magazine.

And this way lies madness

Another architecture tour, another round of dumb questions. Last weekend a Preservation Society tour guide named Greg led a walking tour of the Theater District. But the poor buildings were all but lost in the storm of interruptions by people who, clearly, just wanted to reminisce. When Greg patiently explained how the Market Arcade was a thoroughfare people would use to get to Chippewa Market, where people would buy groceries every week, someone just had to cut in: "Not only that, but you used to buy them every day." Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all had grandparents. We all know that. Then, in front of another building, Greg's explanation was interrupted by someone asking, "Didn't this used to be a Swiss Chalet?" And wasn't the original Swiss Chalet designed by H.H. Richardson?

< Acts of contrition

How wild is Buffalo? We have priests being thrown out of bars! Saturday night, Father Michael Oliver and his band, Go, Dog. Go!, after winding up Buffalo's Original Music Blast at the Tralf, headed over to Big Shotz, on Chippewa, to support the band playing there. A rude welcome awaited them: Hardly had they ordered their first beer when the keyboardist was strong-armed toward the door. "You're outta here!" bar personnel yelled. Their explanation, hotly contested: "He swore. He gave us attitude." Did not! Did so! When Father Oliver tried to defend his band member, the proprietor turned on him. "You!" he barked. "You're outta here, too!" The entire band had been booted out in the street by the time it was discovered -- surprise, surprise -- to be a case of mistaken identity. The bouncers even apologized. No problem, we would have said. Say six Our Fathers and three Hail Marys, and all is forgiven.

< Smart attack

If folk music czar Michael Meldrum is traveling north on Elmwood Avenue at 45 mph and singer/songwriter Tom Stahl is traveling south on Elmwood at 25 mph, and the two collide in front of Pano's, whose hat will fly farther? And what will be Pano's soup du jour? If you can figure this out, maybe you can explain the messy press release sent by Mensa to announce its admission test, set for 1 p.m. Sept. 25 at Buffalo State College. "$25 fee" was scratched out to read "$30 fee," "Sept. 25th" is rudely inked in after the typewritten "Saturday," and the type is splotchy and uneven, as if written on an ancient mimeograph. Fie on Mensa. And may we add that anyone who would devote a precious Saturday afternoon to taking an exam -- and at a cost of $30 -- can't be too smart.

< In a rut

Why do car dealers insist on involving us in their personal lives? First they had their little kids lisping through their radio commercials. ("Hi. I'm Debbie, and my dad owns the Pinto dealership in Sloan ...") Next they took TV ad time to yell "Hi, Mom" and flash school colors and other obscure bits of emotional detritus from their lives which we doubt even their own families grasp. Now about town are heinously strewn billboards for a local car dealership that sees fit to adorn its ads with two girl moppets. Jumping Joel Giambra! Who are these kids? Who even cares? Is this some subliminal thing we're too fried by election season to comprehend?

< The buzz

Speaking of our beleaguered highways, we observe with awe that muffler neatly balanced atop the Kensington's narrow cement median. About a week ago someone took the trouble to set it there just right, and while orange cones may come and go, this thing stays put. ... Always look on the bright side: JT Wheatfield's will play host to "Happy Hours for Hospice"! The first Happy Hour features Sudden Urge, Wednesday at 5 p.m. ... Art of darkness: "Abandon," an installation by Tony Matelli, opens today at the UB Art Gallery. "Sometimes we look and smell awful," Matelli writes in an opening statement. Hey, buddy, speak for yourself.

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