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Eve ideas Some events to keep revelers occupied on the big party night

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Uh . . . . uh. . . . .

Don't worry if you don't have a ready answer. It's OK to be spontaneous. Sometimes, it's preferable. We spend so much of our lives scheduled, constricted and booked.

This year, live for the moment. Here, for procrastinators and free spirits, are a few choice last-minute options.

*Our ball drop beats all other ball drops but New York City's. Be there in front of the Electric Tower at 11 p.m. Two Jumbotrons will flash local and national events of 2006. The ball drops at midnight, accompanied by one of Ford's new Edge cars (long story). Fireworks go off at midnight, with classic rock accompanying the rockets' red glare. News Reporter Matthew Spina, outlining these events earlier this week, promised, "Eye candy will be everywhere." And it's all free.

*First Night Buffalo, taking place at the Buffalo Convention Center, is full of kid-friendly, jeans-friendly, baseball-cap-friendly activities. Check out master hypnotist Michael Blaine and the percussion and poetry of Sue Peters -- not to mention the Burning Asphalt Racetrack, the Rince Na Tiarna dancers and the warbling of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Youth Choir and the Highgate Heights Select Choir. Also Dennis George, the Quiz Master, will pepper you with questions that will make you happy you haven't drunk all that champagne. Free parking is available at surrounding ramps, and Metro Rail will run late. First Night runs from 5 until 9 p.m., and tickets are $7 in advance and $10 on the day of the event. For more information, call 635-4959 or check out www.firstnightbuffalo.org.

*Want some drama with your champagne? "The Sisters Rosensweig," by Wendy Wasserstein, was called -- by The Buffalo News, no less -- "a captivating comedy of love, sisterhood and life." It'll be performed by the Jewish Repertory Theatre, in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St., on New Year's Eve. Last time we checked, there were still tickets, but call 853-4282 to make sure. (Performances also take place Saturday.)

*Lancaster is becoming Holiday Central. First they scored the old AM&A's window decorations. And for New Year's Eve, the Lancaster Opera House is going Vegas. "A Rockin' New Year's Eve" features a lounge show by the great Rich Derwald -- who was once known in the cult world of '60s zombie rock as Dixie Dee -- and Debbie Derwald. They'll be accompanied by the Live From Las Vegas Show Band. Lights, costumes and excitement. The fun goes from 9 p.m. till 12:30 a.m. Tickets are $30 per person, and $55 per couple. Call 683-1776.

*What do you want on Buffalo's premier nightclub night? Buffalo's premier Elvis impersonator. He's Terry Buchwald, and he brings his Famous Elvis Set at 7 p.m. New Year's Eve to Club Infinity, 8166 Main St., Williamsville. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show, and cover hats, noisemakers, midnight champagne toast and breakfast buffet. Call 565-0110.

*Two words: Lance Diamond. Accompanied by tableside hors d'oeuvres. And a champagne toast at midnight. That's what's happening at the Tralf on New Year's Eve. Doors open at 9 p.m. Show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $25 presale, $30 the day of the show. Call 852-2860.

*Go to the movies! Why not? The art deco North Park Theatre, on Hertel Avenue, can give you a taste of the glamour of auld lang syne. On screen at 7 and 9:30 p.m. is "The History Boys," the movie about students at Oxford and Cambridge that earned three stars from News Critic Jeff Simon. After the movies, you can stop for a midnight toast at the new Empire Grill, the Sidebar, an elegant piano bar, or a galaxy of other bars and restaurants.

*A double entree of filet mignon plus chicken, plus a gourmet chocolate dessert, plus music by Crystal Blue featuring Harry and Rosary from Junction West, plus a big ol' dance floor, plus, glory of glories, a five-hour open bar (from 8 p.m. till 1 a.m.) and, at 1 a.m., a breakfast buffet to give you a second wind. We would say at $65 a person, that's a good deal. It's at Samuel's Grande Manor. Call 634-8425, and see if they can squeeze you in.

*Sometimes, the best New Year's Eve is a laid-back New Year's Eve. The Sportmen, the house band, play the Sportsmen's Tavern starting at 9:30 p.m. There's never a cover. Grab your buddies and go. Drink to good friends, good taverns and the revitalization of historic Black Rock. Call 874-7734 for info.

e-mail: mkunz@buffnews.com

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