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Perks and port-o-potties, Amish at Amvets, and recalling a kiss from James Brown

The master

Surely the Erie County Fair was not the only event this summer to set attendance records. Sunday, Shakespeare in Delaware the Park’s “A Comedy of Errors” had audience as far as the eye could see. It was the last performance, and Saturday’s was rained out. Most importantly, there was the voice of Saul Elkin, making announcements beforehand. While anyone can sound great reciting “To be or not to be,” it takes a true artist to make the mundane memorable. With which, the top 10 things we heard Elkin say, oh so mellifluously: City of Buffalo Parking Enforcement. Hot dog. Information table. Port-o-Potties. Perks. Filling out our short survey. Recycling receptacles. Trash. Refrain from flash photography. And the best … wait for it … “Munchies.” Sir, you are the greatest. Take a bow.

Common kora

Pity the musician from Senegal playing the kora at Ashker’s Juice Bar. The kora is a big, bulbous stringed instrument, and he was clearly the master of it, performing African songs and dances. But that’s not enough for us Buffalonians. A woman, probably in her 70s, asked nicely: “Could you play something I know?”

Simple gifts

At one of our fine local AMVETS stores, Buzz was flipping through vintage maxi-dresses when over our shoulder we sensed a figure with a dark headdress. Could it possibly be a nun? We turned and – no, it was an Amish woman. Three Amish women, in fact, in big, boxy bonnets. What do the Amish buy at AMVETS? At the checkout, we asked. “One of them bought an oil lamp,” the cashier said. Buzz was charmed. What else would an Amish lady buy? “They’re thrifty people,” the clerk confided. “They don’t buy a lot of stuff.”

Heart and soul

The James Brown biopic “Get On Up” is awakening Buffalo memories. Mary Grygier, one fan, wonders if anyone else caught his show in December 1984 at the Tralf. “My husband and I were extremely fortunate to be seated at a table right up front. I remember noting that we had better seats than then-Common Council President George Arthur!” she rhapsodizes. George Arthur knows his music, so that is a real bragging point. But something else was even better. “It was a blast,” she added, “and I count myself lucky to be one of the women whose hand was kissed by the amazing Mr. Brown.” Get out! Buzz was awed. Mrs. Grygier was graceful. “I’m sure there had to be others who received a hand-kiss from the Godfather of Soul that night,” she replied. “Maybe you’ll hear from some.”

The buzz

Strangest sponsor of Shakespeare in Delaware Park program: the Buffalo Sewer Authority. Saul Elkin should have put his eloquent spin on that. ... Speaking of eloquence, you can’t top the timeless rhyme seen on a billboard and in front of the Lexington Co-Op: “Beer is here.”


“The juices come in nice resealable Ball Mason jars which you can return for a $1 gift card or hoard forever because you’re moving away in less than two weeks and now you can do that artsy thing with fruit and water, gosh darn it.”

– Recent review of Ashker’s Juice Bar, on Yelp