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Jeff Simon

A semi-retired critic and columnist for The Buffalo News. Before that, he spent a couple decades as The News' arts and books editor.


Michael Moore did, in public, the one totally unforgivable thing you could do in 2016: He was right when almost everyone else was wrong. On a July 2016 episode of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," Moore said, "I think Trump is going to win." To Maher's scoffing, gasping, mostly young, left-of-center audience, he said "we're in our bubble" being reassured of the near…

They're mad at Willie. But then these days everybody's mad at everybody so what else is new? What's riling up the current wavelet of anger at Willie Nelson is that later this month he'll be performing at a rally in Texas for Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke, who hopes to up the charm quotient of the U.S. Senate by unseating Ted Cruz. A sizable chunk of Willie's fan…

A funny thing happened on the way to some records being set on publication day by one of the unfunniest books ever published in America. The book is Bob Woodward's "Fear: Trump In the White House." The record it set immediately was this one: Simon & Schuster's pre-order sale of the book was the biggest at the publisher in 94 years. 750,000 copies were sold on the…

Serena Williams kept it together. Her 10-minute news conference after her now legendary "meltdown" during her U.S. Open final loss to Naomi Osaka was admirably composed -- for about nine and a half minutes, that is. And then pure pain and humanity broke through. It ended in entirely understandable tears as the shrieking injustice of it all -- and the indomitabilit…

The funniest moment by far in Sunday's 10 p.m. Showtime premiere of Jim Carrey's sitcom "Kidding" doesn't come from Carrey. He's in the scene, of course. In anything Carrey stars in for TV or movies, he's the franchise after all. But the big laugh that bursts from your belly is a hilarious drollery written by series creator Dave Holstein and delivered by child actor Col…

Books

https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/1035596499554652163 Jay Rosen has been renowned as a journalism professor at NYU and one of the toughest and most esteemed press critics in America for many years. His blog is called PressThink. You could, of course, subscribe to the Voice, too, which I did with great enthusiasm and delight for a couple of decades. The 21st …

America was never the same after Super Bowl XXX. It had nothing to do with the game played Jan. 28, 1996, in Arizona's Sun Devil Stadium. Who now gives a fig the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17? Aside from the inarguable fact all victories by the Cowboys are losses for America, the outcome of that game no longer matters. It was what we at home saw …

"Don't tell Mama." Those were the three semifinal words of HBO's "Sharp Objects" on Sunday. Thereby hangs a tale. To which a spoiler alert should probably be attached, much to my dismay. I am no fan of spoiler alerts. My feeling has always been that once a movie or TV has been shown, its ending is "out there" just like the ending of the Bengals-Bills game Sunday. …

Columns

Cary Grant was 82 when he died after a stroke in Davenport, Iowa. It happened Nov. 29, 1986. What any movie fan might well ask is, "What the devil was Cary Grant doing in Davenport, Iowa?" In my opinion that question – and its answer – are among the most momentous questions and answers to be had about movies and America. It was Grant among American movie stars, wh…

Books

Omarosa Manigault Newman is the greatest star ever created by reality TV. Her closest competition would be the Kardashian family – living symbols of American narcissism and conspicuous consumption – and Richard Hatch, the winner of the first season of "Survivor," who parlayed his nude insouciance into a prison sentence for tax evasion. I've unashamedly been a supporter …

Music

Beauty. Virtue. Excellence. That's what Aretha Franklin's first name signified in Greek. We knew none of that in the America of 1963. In fact, when my friend Bobby and I spent many afternoons at the time hanging out at the Flame Record Shop on Jefferson Avenue (next door to the Apollo movie theater), we knew far more about the Rev. C.L. Franklin than we did about his…

Books

Here's a headline from Forbes magazine: "Millennials Aren't Very Interested in Traditional Radio Anymore." Well, duh, as the younger, more impatient ones might say. They're all still interested in new music, of course, but they're getting it online from streaming sites (Spotify, Pandora etc.) and getting ideas for what to investigate from Internet lists. Here, as summer…

Gusto

The North Park Theatre was almost full--on a Saturday morning no less. Empty seats were few and far between. We were there to see Greg Sterlace's "Catcher in the Rye With Diamonds." Very few in that crowd knew that they were watching the odds-on favorite to be The Outlaw Movie Screening of the Year in Buffalo. They might have guessed it when discovering in the movie's c…

Kaitlan Collins, a CNN White House reporter, was tapped to be the sole "pool reporter" for a White House photo op with President Trump and Jean Claude Juncker of the European Commission -- in other words, at an event that was not designed for questions and answers from the press. She was the pro-forma press reporter on the premises in case something got said. Just becau…

Gusto

It all begins with cinnamon cookies, coffee and a very toothsome slice of traditional black forest cake. Romances – gay or straight – have, no doubt, begun from far less. The Israeli man who travels to Berlin monthly on business wastes no time getting involved with the German cakemaker whose bakery has made him a very happy visitor even though he has a wife back home in…