A glorious thing happened to Buffalo as it raced into the 21st century. It suddenly sprouted a brilliant bumper crop of superb younger writers eager to tell the world in their work that they came from Buffalo. Lauren Belfer's "City of Light" probably came as the biggest shock to the system but Greg Ames' "Buffalo Lockjaw" was, in its way, almost as much of a landmark Buffalo book. It was the first book to have a thorough purchase on life growing up on the Elmwood Avenue "strip" in Buffalo, where young people have congregated for more than 50 years.
At the time of its publication, Ames said in an interview with The News that "I think you have to be sort of fearless as a fiction writer." Should anyone doubt Ames' homegrown fearlessness, his new book is a volume of short stories called "Funeral Platter" which includes one story called "Is The Vagina Necessary?" and another that imagines what it would be like to be Franz Kakfa's "wingman" in search of companions of the opposite sex.
Greg Ames: Book reading and signing, 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center.