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Oteil Burbridge has a serious resume. In fact, it's about as serious it gets in the world of improvisation-heavy music. A founding member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit under the direction of the late, great Col. Bruce Hampton, Burbridge spent six years as the band’s bassist, before the Allman Brothers Band came knocking. He became a major factor in that band’s later-caree…

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"Each day we experience is an opportunity to pursue a new chance," says singer and poet Nola Ranallo. "We must go forth. A song keeps moving. If we as humans did not keep momentum, rhythm, we would certainly surrender to expiration." Ranallo knows a thing or two about struggling to keep moving forward. After more than a year spent in an abusive relationship, in the spri…

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When Bill MacDonell opened Route 5 Grill and Seafood in Woodlawn in July of 2017 little did he know that he would quickly need much more space. “We outgrew that location – we didn’t have enough seating or parking,” he said. “There’s a need for what we do with fresh seafood. People love it and we couldn’t accommodate the customers.” MacDonell, who runs the restaurant …

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How do you build a scene? It’s a question that has been plaguing Buffalo-area musicians for decades, as an ongoing series of "one step up, two steps back" movements created a sense of stasis here that left many feeling like they were simply treading water, getting by while so many other music scenes in seemingly more welcoming cities moved forward and grew exponentially…

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If you’d like to take a step back in time and remain standing at a bar with no stools, it’s time to head to a hidden gem in East Aurora. Wallenwein’s Hotel is a true classic now owned by Ben Holmes – the establishment has been in his family for nearly 50 years. Known as part of the East Aurora community since the 1800s, Wallenwein’s regularly hosts fundraisers to suppor…

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Not quite reinvented, but definitely reinvigorated. That’s how you could describe The Roycroft Inn, which has become a bit of a trendsetter in the restaurant industry by continually unveiling new concepts and ideas. Loyal partnerships with area breweries and farms are the frosting on the cake that makes dining local even more delectable. Dan Garvey credits his team f…

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For Connie and Jack Thayer, construction paper with the letters P-I-E changed their lives. The Thayers own Portage Pie, a carry-out pie shop in Westfield that cranks out 18 flavors of scrumptious, homemade pies one by one. But a few short years ago, the Thayers found themselves "dirt poor" after Jack lost his job at a woodworking shop in 2003. After a series of odd jobs…

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When you hear the term bakery, you likely envision sweet treats and homemade loaves of fresh bread. You’ll find that along with ever-changing dinner menus, event space and a new speakeasy bar at Elm Street Bakery, which is now 7 years old. Owners Kim and Jay DePerno are constantly working to reinvigorate the business they founded with new inspiration. After noticing …

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When there’s a chill in the air and days are getting shorter, activity picks up at Schnitzel & Co. where Oktoberfest is celebrated year-round with German food and drink at two locations (Transit Road and Eggert Road). “Our whole menu is Oktoberfest all the time,” said General Manager Phil Christopher. “But it definitely picks up this time of year. We get out of summ…

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“I'd been fighting myself, leading up to the audition day,” singer Blaise Miranda-Mercedes said of the recent "American Idol" auditions at Canalside. “Trying to decide what would be the best song to sing, or whether I should even audition at all. For years, I had very harsh opinions regarding singing competitions and reality TV shows. At some point, they all felt like o…

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No matter what the calendar says, at Cherry Bank Farm, fall officially began a week ago. That’s when a hydraulically controlled gate lifted to let the season’s first Ginger Gold apples roll down a ramp into the roaring maw of the apple grinder at the Sanborn farm. It marked the start of a two-day process that saw Cherry Bank’s first cider of the season sold to waitin…

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It’s a nightmare scenario a family man lives in fear of. In 2016, Every Time I Die vocalist and front-man Keith Buckley was on the road when he was alerted his pregnant wife had been rushed to the hospital. He left the tour and arrived at the hospital to find her connected to life-support machinery. The threat of losing his family stared Buckley directly in the eye. …

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Robby Takac arrived at Buffalo RiverWorks looking like the world’s coolest dad. He’s got his daughter, Hana, with him, and his hair looks totally rock ‘n’ roll, sticking up in all the right spots in a way that would make Tommy Stinson proud. “I’m a little wiped out today,” Takac laughed. “Not much in the way of sleep,” a reference to the Music Is Art Festival warm-up sh…

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Dan Wiedenhaupt has loved writing since he was a child growing up in East Aurora. As a kid, he would dictate his stories to his mother who would type them up and then give them to him to illustrate. It’s a sweet memory he had forgotten until his mother dug those stories out of the basement. He had just sold his first script and she wanted to remind him that he had been …

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LONG ISLAND CITY – Jim Gaffigan was reflecting in the corner of a cavernous Queens soundstage, just across the East River from Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Jeannie, and their five children. “I don’t know if 10 years ago I could have made the brain-tumor stuff funny,” said Gaffigan, who was talking about his wife’s pear-sized brain tumor – which, as he point…