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Michael Farrell

Buffalo News contributor Michael Farrell is a freelance writer, novelist, and graduate of St. Bonaventure University.


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There are the harsh elements throughout the Buffalo area's changing seasons, whether frustrating accumulation of snow to plow or shovel, whipping winds off Lake Erie, or sub-zero temperatures that make leaving home more torture than great escape. But there’s also the romance. Slowly falling snowflakes aside a backdrop of moonlight, or a chill only alleviated by a bundle…

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Paying tribute to the work of legendary musicians is a taxing endeavor. It takes incredible skill and coordination, a commitment to exact replication, and the unwavering aspiration of awaking the artistic brilliance of a cherished act for its legions of adoring, sentimental fans. But until about past decade or so, this work often saddled the expertly trained artists inv…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Planning anything is tough. Creatively devising a Buffalo-area evening that is both entertaining and expertly stitched together is even tougher—until now. The Night Out is a suggested succession of stops for those looking for an arranged game plan for a night on the town. Maybe it’s for you and your friends, ones who can never organize anything. Maybe it’s the blueprint…

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Dependent on your experience or ethnic construction, the term “Irish family drinking atmosphere” can conjure a variety of imagery. Hearty laughs between colorful, cross-generational stories. Frothy pints sipped between sing-a-longs around the kitchen table. Sibling revelry that may take an occasional turn for the worse, dependent upon everyone’s version of history and/o…

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Opening a bar is a decision that, regardless of vocational training, management acumen or basic rationality, people routinely discuss as a viable business opportunity. Is this because it’s an easy gig? No. It’s because the idealistic expectation of the bar, tavern or pub is the monetization of hangout space, crafted for customers who will patronize a place as their pers…

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Drive around Buffalo, and you’ll find plenty shops, bars and buildings that, side by side or block by block, are emblematic of the city’s developing past-vs.-present dichotomy. There are 1800s-era homes next door to inventive craft breweries. Loft apartments inside converted Catholic elementary schools. And an indoor hockey palace across from lines of grain elevators. T…

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There are bands whose foremost connection with their fans is through a tsunami of guitar chords and crashing cymbals, wailing and smashing to whisk away listeners to another sonic universe. Delivery of accompanying lyrics is certainly an element of the operation, but it’s clearly secondary to the instrumental onslaught. This isn’t the case with emo-punk act Bayside, who…

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Amped-up rock acts going acoustic isn’t as revelatory as it once was. Many have turned the trick since MTV’s “Unplugged” first gave acts like Nirvana a way to diversify their material and, in turn, reveal its art in a different manner. New York pop-punk act Bayside has played the acoustic gig before, and played it with poignancy. In 2006, it released “Acoustic” after th…

Art

Welcome home, everyone. We’ve missed seeing you around, but we hope you’ve been well wherever you’re living these days. Now that you’re back, we’re sure you have plans. Shopping, a Tom & Jerry or three at The Place, and you probably want to tour some of the places you’ve been reading about since the last time you were home. As you’re likely aware after talking to…

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Every live show doesn’t have to be a marathon affair, with sweat-drenched musicians testing the depths of their catalog, and concertgoers wondering whether the gig will ever end. Some nights, a short and sweet evening of genuine communion between artist and attendees is more than enough. For the latter, see Joe Pug, who played a comparatively brief but engaging 70-mi…

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Joe Pug isn’t the first singer/songwriter to deal with Bob Dylan comparisons. It’s a convenient label to put on a contemplative guy with an acoustic guitar, sweet head of hair and narrative lyrics that enthrall listeners with their literary vividness and punctuating cadence. (See: Bruce Springsteen, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.”) But the Maryland native isn’t the n…

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If you’ve ventured inside any date-appropriate South Buffalo bar-restaurant over the past 15 years, then you’re likely familiar with the scenery resplendent inside each. Framed photos of the city’s industrial past intermixed with Irish imagery. Traditional drafts and dinner items interwoven with some mildly adventurous fare on tap and tables. Settled-down Generation Y a…

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When the Lodge Bar & Grill opened on West Chippewa Street in 2013, the wild-game spot—with its glistening interiors, antler chandeliers and servings of grilled pheasant – sought to heighten the expectations of a downtown stretch known more for its moonlight street brawls than its culinary bravado. Five years later, the two-level Lodge is no more, but its address is …

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The recent opening of the new music club The Rec Room (79 W. Chippewa St.) also puts the spotlight on the growing list of live music venues in the city of Buffalo. Different stages, different rooms and, thankfully, but they are all stamped with an imprint that is indelibly Buffalo. Indie outfit wailing in a spiritual space salvaged by a locally born indie-folk icon? …

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

There are nights when Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs feel like one big tavern. Neighbors, friends and families hanging inside or on front porches, laughing and drinking and dancing. Live musicians echoing Tragically Hip tunes throughout city and cul-de-sac-strewn neighborhoods. Unexpected meetings with those moved away but never forgotten; and a pervasive feeling t…