"Soft, sexy, charming, delicious ... with gobs of fat, glycerin and appeal. ... Medium body, excellent balance, and a fleshy, chewy finish."
-- Premier Place wine sale flier description of 1997 Marques de Velilla, Ribera Del Duero.
"Guys and Dolls," now playing at the Kavinoky Theatre, is full of talent, sparkly zoot suits and references to various sins and vices. Too bad that on opening night the show was easily stolen by Irv Weinstein. Weinstein, in a one-night-only, five-minute appearance, played a newspaper seller. Bearing a tin cup and wearing a sign reading "Blind," he won the crowd over simply by sliding his dark glasses off for a moment and being, well, himself. He got a big round of applause! Still, he was modest about his success. "People say there are no small parts, just small actors," he said. "They're wrong. There are small parts, and I've got one."
In this life, God created consultants that we may be ready for everything. Everything! Held at the Park Hyatt Toronto during the Toronto Film Festival was a seminar called "Sounding Bright in the Spotlight." (The emcee's title: "reputation consultant.") The seminar's purpose? "Our experts will help you shape your moment in the spotlight: how to say just enough, how to deliver and how to leave a lasting impression. With their helpful hints, you might just be able to control what the media say about you." Ha ha. The media snickered at the advice offered: Make sure your gown isn't tucked into your pantyhose. Count, in advance, the steps to the podium. And state your goals: Don't miss the chance to announce, before millions, "I hope to work with Steven Spielberg." Next up, we're guessing: "Networking in the afterlife." Spontaneity? Perish the thought.
No door prize
It's big, it's bright, it's garish, and no, it's not Lance Diamond's new suit! It's the new Bills ticket sold at Wegmans. This thing, a whopping 3 inches by 6 inches even after it's ripped, is the Ted Washington of football tickets. It is screaming orange. It does not fit in anyone's wallet. When you're fishing for it, you can't find it, because you confuse it with junk mail. Psst. Ticket sellers. It's our secret belief that the rowdy behavior that everyone has been complaining about at football games rises in direct proportion to the size of the ticket. This is one place where cutbacks are in order.
Two for the road
"They all howl. Some of 'em howl when they're cold, some of 'em howl when they're warmed up. But they all howl." Surprisingly, that's not somebody describing Bills fans -- it's Charlie, a taciturn former train engineer from Clarence, describing Stanley Steamers. These are cars that nobody, not even in a retirement home, can remember. Which is why on Sunday, when Charlie took his black, imposing 1917 Stanley Steamer to the Amberleigh Retirement Community, a crowd gathered to watch him start it up. What an event it was! Steam burst from over and under the car, and it let out a loud, mournful blast, like a steam engine in the movies. When it was ready to roll, we expected clanking and groaning, but it drove away on its big skinny wheels in silence. The millennium seems smaller when we reflect that Charlie and his steamer, which he bought 50 years ago, have been together for one-twentieth of it. When a friend of Buzz's humbly told him, "I'm restoring a car I've had for 26 years," he nodded in approval. "You're gettin' there," he said.
Something worries us about the prostate cancer stamp, recently announced by the Post Office. What kind of graphic will be on it? ... Issued simultaneously by the same publisher: "Meat Loaf: An Autobiography: To Hell and Back," with David Dalton (ReganBooks, HarperCollins, 285 pages, $25) and "Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II" by George Weigel (HarperCollins, 992 pages, $35).