Buzz thought we had it bad at our gym, taking a "Get on the Ball" class. We had imagined ourself having fun, bouncing around with a big blue exercise ball, but instead it was the same old grind, with annoying music blasting and the instructor barking unattractive directions like "Squat!" and "Squeeze!" Well, at least we're not like the people working out last week at the Olympia gym. Those poor people suffered the ultimate humiliation: They had to work out next to Cirque du Soleil! Performing at HSBC Arena, the troupe was staying at the Hyatt, whose guests enjoy gym privileges at Olympia. So there they were, lifting 100-pound weights, loping around like gazelles, doing whatever people from Cirque du Soleil do on their off hours. What foreigners! What aliens! Someone, quick, call Zip's and order them a big ol' pizza.
Pink Martini might be an even bigger hit in Buffalo if its name were Blue Light. Still, the 10-piece lounge band from Oregon drew a crowd Saturday to Rockwell Hall. They prepped for the gig on the bus by watching Hitchcock's great "Niagara." (Bling-dappled lead singer China Forbes said she'd never seen Marilyn Monroe look more beautiful.) And after the show, cutie drummer Derek Reith confessed he had Buffalo roots. His dad grew up here. His German grandma was at the gig, sporting purple gloves. Alas, you can't go home again. Looking for the bus later, Reith got lost in Buff State's tunnels. When he finally asked a college volunteer for help, she saw him as a souvenir donor. (Drummer boy: "I'm lost." Volunteer girl: "I need to get my poster.") Pink Martini rolled on to Toronto, where, we hear, folks really do drink pink martinis. Life should be easier there.
Bag o' winds
Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I -- but when blue bins go hurtling past, the wind is passing by. Last week's windstorm yielded lots of strange sights. An urban conveyor belt -- that would be the path at the foot of Ferry Street, and our brother George being swept along it. A box tossed down Scott Street -- to our delight, it made a turn, right through the parking lot gates! A guy paraskiing in Delaware Park, propelled by a giant yellow kite. Best of all, there was the blue recycling bin speeding down Cleveland Drive at about 15 mph. Inverted, it looked almost like a new hybrid car. There's one way to beat gas prices.
Watching Ibsen's "Ghosts" at Studio Arena, you might get a funny feeling about Pastor Manders, a dour character from the brooding Norwegian drama. We've seen him somewhere. But -- where? Wait, wasn't that him in ... nah, couldn't be -- but yes, he was in "The Pink Panther"! Philip Goodwin, whom News Theater Critic Richard Huntington praised for his keen sense of timing, plays a guy who's an assistant to Inspector Clouseau's nemesis, played by Kevin Kline. Goodwin has no delusions about the importance of the movie, which he went to see on a Monday night, when Studio actors have off. We hear he calls it cute. He also had no pretentions about his importance to it, telling co-workers: "My arm shows up in one of the commercials."
Gone but not forgotten, that vintage Gulf sign at the corner of Main and North. ... What we really need this time of year is an excuse to practice our samba. And now we have it! Saturday at 8 p.m., the New Phoenix Theatre, 95 Johnson Park, plays host to a Mardi Gras Masked Costume Ball, co-sponsored by the Allen Street Dance Studio. Tickets are $15 in advance (call 876-6291), or $20 at the door.
"I'm 44, but I have the liver of a 72-year-old."
-- Hard-drinking heartthrob George Clooney, on www.hollywood.com