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Dreams, Ballyhoo and Halloween

Singing Buffalo’s praises

It’s going viral, the song “Buffalo, City of Dreams” written by New York cabaret artist Felicia Blumenthal. Buzz admired the clever cabaret ditty in 2009, when Ronnie Whyte sang it on a visit to town. The latest singer warbling Buffalo’s praises is Ilana Walston. Wisely, the song plays it safe by having no real details about Buffalo – instead, it bashes other burgs. “In Warsaw they’re snoopy/in L.A. they’re loopy/In Brussels, it’s chilly and gray..” Certain lines, though, do hit home. Something about how in Buffalo we breakfast on Brie – Buzz did that! And: “At each sidewalk cafe, everyone’s a gourmet.” True!

Passing the torch

One new cafe where everyone’s a gourmet is Ballyhoo, in the Cobblestone District. “We’re the watering hole for General Mills,” we heard one staffer proudly proclaim. A tiny place, it has a tiny menu where you check off what you want from a short list of delicacies including – yum! – an overstuffed, in-house-made ice cream sandwich. Ballyhoo sits at South Park and Michigan where once the Malamute sat. The Malamute was an inscrutable bar. Buzz poked our head in once and we never wound up going in. But we like it because it was there for 49 years and had only one owner. So we were glad when Morgan Stevens – who opened Ballyhoo a month ago with her husband, Tim – said the Malamute’s master had stopped in to say hi. “He’s 83 now. He’s very nice,” she said. “We told him he’d never pay for a beer.”

Ghost of a chance

“As he turned his gaze to the oversized oak hutch, Edward saw something dramatically different inside the mirror, something that had never before appeared. It was the tortured face of a woman ... Speaking words that he could neither hear nor imagine.” That is part of Christina Abt’s scary new novel “Crown Hill.” Want to know how she does it? Ask her at 1:15 p.m. Saturday when she speaks as part of this weekend’s Mystery Writer’s Workshop at Dog Ears Bookstore, 688 Abbott Road. Ten bucks for one class, $50 for the weekend, and think what you’ll learn, from folks like Dr. Michael Albert, chairman of the pathology department at Mercy Hospital, and Gary Earl Ross, whose Allentown chiller “Good Neighbors” was part of “Buffalo Noir.” Call 823-2665 for info.

Warning, warning

When people say, “Have a safe Halloween,” they must they mean to stay away from the occult. Once, we heard local priest Father Rick Poblocki telling a story on Catholic radio about a bunch of teens who didn’t follow that advice. It’s worth retelling, so we asked him to retell it. It happened, he said, at St. Philip’s Church in spooky Cheektowaga. “It was a real quiet night,” he said. “The secretary saw them coming down the street. They threw their bikes aside. They were falling down as they went running into the rectory. They said, ‘We gotta talk to you.’ 'What’s up?’ ‘We were playing with a Ouija board.’ I said, ‘You guys know you shouldn’t be messing with that.’ ” They were nice kids, the padre said. He recalled, laughing, that one was bigger than the others. “He was the one the demon supposedly went after. It threatened his life, so they all freaked out.” Things ended OK. “I prayed with them, blessed them, cast it out.” And told them, no more Ouija board. “I said, ‘Don’t even burn it. Put it in the garbage and leave it alone.’” He sighed. “We get that a lot, about Ouija boards. It’s like, man, don’t do that.”

The buzz

Love those bulletins from the costume front. Our favorite: “Successfully obtained green tutu for Tinkerbell costume.” ... The music of the night: At 8:30 p.m. Friday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, organist Garrett Martin accompanies the silent film “The Phantom of the Opera.” The church says, “Bring the family and come in costume!”


“Around here skulls are considered neutrals and thus go with everything!”

– Cats Like Us in Tonawanda