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COMPILED BY MARY KUNZ GOLDMAN


The words rise to our lips unbidden. The four telling words, prompted by something we encounter. Maybe it is a taste. ?Maybe a sight. Maybe something someone says. It reminds us that we are in a special corner of the world, a place unique upon the earth.Here, we toast the things that give us this certainty. The things we share that make us smile, or, occasionally, grimace…

The sixth annual Bravo International Chamber Music Workshop, a weeklong music camp for young musicians, is all set to begin Monday at Niagara University. And, for the first time, the workshop is welcoming pianists as well as string players.Pianists were not included before because, strange as it sounds, Niagara University had no pianos. An agreement with Steinway dealer De…

Like Beethoven's Ninth, it began as a soft hum. A buzz, almost.Then, crescendo!Now it's loud, the local flap over the national media blitz surrounding Marin Alsop's appointment as music director of the Baltimore Symphony. A big story Monday in the New York Times trumpeted that Alsop was "the first woman to lead a major American orchestra."What about JoAnn Falletta? Buffalo…

Light bulbs can go on in your head at the darndedest times. Say it's 5 p.m., your workday has just ended, and you're downtown, waiting at a Metro Rail stop. The sky's black as midnight. Your fellow passengers are shadows in the darkness.But how about that Electric Building? What a sight it is, with those artistically colored lights -- white, gold and -- what would you call…

Bill Ward isn't a consultant or elected official. He's a 48-year-old guitar picker. But he knows a thing or two about life -- owing, perhaps, to the hardscrabble bluegrass music he plays.Four years ago, Ward had an idea. He looked around the beautiful Chautauqua County village of Mayville, where he has lived most of his life, and imagined a bluegrass festival in Lakeside P…

It's not quite a four-letter word. It's a three-letter word. It starts with A, ends in S and can mean donkey. But it usually doesn't.Used to be, the A-word was crass.They didn't say it on the radio when I was growing up. And if we said it at home, we'd get yelled at. "That's vulgar," my parents would say.Now, though, it has a pass. Talk show hosts sling the word around on …

When our county can't afford toilet paper, or when another large sum of government money can't be accounted for, here's some consolation:At the moment, no one's laughing at us.It's funny how in Buffalo, we always think we're the butt of the world's jokes. A few cracks about our snow and we get all sensitive.Maybe it's time we woke up to the truth.Two Buffalonians -- OK, th…

Party in the library When you've got a polka band playing "I Wanna Be Sedated," a couple with pink hair and pink powder-puff bunny tails dancing on stage, a 10-year-old kid dancing on a table and an old guy with no teeth dancing with two gorgeous young brunets, you could be only one place: the Adam Mickiewicz Library, on Dyngus Day. Oh, the humanity. Bottles of Zywiec. …

His parents named him Ismar. But that wasn't cool enough for him. He preferred to spell it backwards: Ramsi.Ramsi Tick.The son of a Buffalo comptroller, he had the kind of quirky, creative streak that is one of our city's hallmarks.He bought QRS Piano Rolls and made it a success when people thought the business was hopelessly outdated. In the 1980s, he decided to bring bac…

It's not every day you get the chance to save the federal government $90 million. Want to do it? Try this easy experiment.Turn on the TV and the radio. Log onto eBay. And, at the same time, call your best friend.Your buddy is giving you gossip. Dr. Laura is yelling at a caller. You've stumbled on the TV show "Cheaters," where a guy is about to confront his wife, who has be…

CD ReviewBuffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall **** (out of four)No one who heard the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra play Carnegie Hall that rainy afternoon last spring will ever forget it.The hall was filled. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat as the orchestra began the first piece, Kodaly's "Dances of Galanta." You'd think I was on the stage, I was so ne…

Turn off the Kensington Expressway, drive south down Harlem Road, and it's like turning the clock back 50 years.You see Ja Fa Fa Hots, a '50s hamburger stand. And the big Buffalo Drive-In, closed for the season. Turn left on Genesee, and you'll find other old businesses like La Bella Sicilia restaurant.Nearby is Cedargrove Heights, a group of apartments and small homes fro…

Last week, as we raged over Erie County's budget crisis and felt ourselves shaken and dashed against the rocks, there was one calm in the storm, and that was the quiet, sunlit North Buffalo home of Charlie Fogel.Fogel has something of a unique perspective on things.For one thing, he's going to India in a few weeks with fellow members of the Rotary Club to inoculate village…

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt asked the question last week. Now let's ask it again:What's going on here?Hoyt, considered one of the top dogs in our impending race for mayor, dropped out of the running Thursday. "It was a deeply personal and emotional soul-searching between a husband and wife that resulted in the husband making the decision that his family is more important than pol…

The Pan-American Exposition shines again! A few years ago, Lauren Belfer explored it in her popular first novel, "City of Light." Now, Jonathan Lowy, author of a critically acclaimed first novel called "Elvis and Nixon," has written "The Temple of Music," a novel about the assassination of President William McKinley. (McKinley was shot outside the exposition's Temple of Mu…