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Seven by Seven / Seven things you need to know by 7 a.m.

1. Actress and comedian Carol Burnett used to start her long-running television variety show with a little question-and-answer session with the audience. That provides the jumping-off point for "Laughter and Reflection: A Conversation with Carol Burnett," her one-woman show opening for a two-night run at 9 this evening in the Avalon Theater of Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont. In person, she'll show clips from the show and make plenty of hilarious revelations. Tickets are $106 and $180, and only a handful are left for each night.

2. Critical acclaim greeted Buffalo-born rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Willie Nile when he hit Greenwich Village in the 1970s. Blazing down the path of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, he was poised for big things until legal problems knocked him off his trajectory in the 1980s. Decades later, he still has his streetwise edge as a writer and performer, a point he will prove again tonight when he plays the Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. Tickets are $23. Doors open at 7. Music starts around 8. The local duo Timmy & Amuso opens.

3. Outspoken comedian Chelsea Handler reigns over her "Chelsea Lately" talk show discussion group, but the guys who show up there regularly to trade quips and barbs with her are sharp enough to hold their own. And no wonder. Brad Wollack, Chris Franjola and Josh Wolf are veteran stand-up performers and have years of experience in TV comedy, as well. As "The Men of Chelsea Lately," they come to the Mainstage Theatre in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts on the North Campus in Amherst for an 8 p.m. show. All seats are $25.

4. "Lewiston never smelt so good" is the watchword of the annual Smelt Festival in the Niagara County village, which is one of the best places in the nation to dip a net into the water and catch the tiny, tasty fish. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. at the foot of Center Street along the Niagara River waterfront, where the Niagara River Anglers will batter and fry 350 pounds of smelt to be given out free to visitors; the Lakeside Blues Band will entertain; and the Smelt King will make an appearance. Restaurants elsewhere in the village will offer their own smelt dishes. Look for the ones flying a fish flag.

5. Jeff Warrick, Buffalo's Push-Up King, put himself in the Guinness Book of World Records in June 1998 when he did 46,200 push-ups in the lobby of Buffalo City Hall over 24 hours. Today he starts pushing for a year of peace when he hits the floor from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Edward Saunders Community Center, 2777 Bailey Ave. He will be raising funds for the Youth Prison Prevention Project, which works to keep young people out of jail. He will also have his eye on the record books. To celebrate turning 50 this year, he wants to set 50 world records. For donations and info, call 563-5513.

6. "Motives and Murders," the new crime investigation series on the Investigation Discovery Channel, takes a look at a famous local homicide in an episode called "Body in a Bag" at 10 p.m. It's the May 1999 slaying of Buffalo native Paul Campagna, whose body was found in an old cement quarry near St. Catharines, Ont. The motive was a mystery until Niagara Regional Police turned up Campagna's connection to a marijuana-growing operation. The show interviews Campagna's family, investigators from the Niagara Regional Police and St. Catharines Standard reporter Grant LaFleche.

7. The first of the summer blockbusters shows up today. It's the superhero saga "The Avengers," in which Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor join forces to save the world. Starring are Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth. Also arriving -- the highly regarded campus comedy "Damsels in Distress," the reggae documentary "Marley" and the NC 17-rated French film "Elles," with Juliette Binoche as a journalist investigating the world of prostitution.


Don't miss on

Donn Esmonde, Denise Jewell Gee and Rod Watson discuss the latest issues facing the Buffalo Public Schools in this week's Columists' Roundtable at