Long Story Short: They're baaaack!
Illustration by JP Thimot
My work is not yet done
Carl Paladino is determined to battle his way back onto the Buffalo School Board, from which he was removed in April, 2017. “I’ve got to go finish the job,” says Paladino (according to the Buffalo News). What job is that, we wonder? Considering his past actions, we imagine his work will only be complete when all public schools have been privatized, unions are busted, and everyone on the board sees things his way. His appeal of the commissioner’s ruling evicting him from the board likely has a couple more steps before there is a decision, which should be made about the same time his term ends.
Well, that was quick
You know the neon Las Vegas cowboy, right? Well, Buffalo almost had a neon Rick James. Three accomplished men—Buffalo Rising publisher Newell Nussbaumer, developer Rocco Termini, and designer Tom Mooney—came up with the idea. This was the plan; paint the front of the public parking garage on Elmwood near Hodge, to look like a giant turntable, equalizer, and amplifier, with stacks of cassette tapes. Out front, put a large neon parking sign with a towering Rick James holding a guitar.
Here at Long Story Short, we like kitschy road side attractions as much as the next person. Show us a diner shaped like a doughnut and we’re in. However, a doughnut is food, so it kind of makes sense as a restaurant. But a parking garage celebrating Buffalo music history? Then there’s the glowing garage attendant, funk star James, a man convicted for kidnapping and sexual assault (and accused of much more). It took the public about a day to shoot the idea down. The music tribute parking garage plan will now be revised to exclude James. Though they could always change it to a sports tribute garage, fronted by former Buffalo Bill number 32.
Speaking of which
Last week the Buffalo News gave O.J. Simpson an interview forum to relive his halcyon gridiron days. What did we learn? Simpson didn’t watch the two TV shows about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman (in which he was exposed as the apparent murderer), “because I knew they were all haters, and people will say things that are just not true…” He refers to the horrifying murders and trial as “that crap,” and “the L.A. thing.” He says, “I consider myself a retired person,” which is a nice spin on being unemployable. He was recently kicked out of a casino and is pursuing legal action for "malice and racial prejudice." You know what? The Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, and political affiliation, but it’s completely legal to discriminate on the basis of homicide. Simpson says Donald Trump is “fun,” a real “man’s man.” Well, it takes one to know one. As soon as he is allowed, he wants to come to Buffalo for a Bills game. Simpson says, "I'm a firm believer of doing what you think is right…” apparently oblivious to the irony there. He also says the football players protesting during the national anthem are doing the wrong thing. But, you know what they aren’t doing? Killing anyone.
From London with love
In December, we reported that London art critic Dominik Czechowski was in Buffalo to do a story for Art Monthly, Britain's leading contemporary art magazine. The story—titled “Boom and Bust”—is now out; here are a few highlights: Czechowski admires our architecture and gives the usual boom-to-bust-to-resurgence Buffalo history lesson. "Alongside its multi-layered social and industrial history,” he writes, “cultural innovation has always played a significant role and Buffalo prides itself on its avant-garde heritage and pluralistic, socially engaged forms of artistic expression.” He mentions University at Buffalo’s media program, and Hallwalls, CEPA, and Squeaky Wheel galleries. He drops a few famous Buffalo artist names, mentions the art community’s use of affordable “derelict and newly restored buildings” to produce and exhibit art. He lauds 500 Seneca, CS1 Curatorial Projects, and Dennis Maher’s SACRA project and Fargo House for their community engagement. He admires the “heaving cross-generational audiences lining up at the Albright-Knox” for First Friday. The article ends by calling this a pivotal moment for Buffalo, in which our “rapidly changing economy” (including real-estate escalations) presents risks to the art community. He says Buffalo is a trip worth taking. Thanks to Buffalo Rising, you can read the whole article here.
Marlon Bundo comes to Buffalo
Sunday, March 18, on the HBO show, Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver, the host did a long unflattering rant on Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT history. Near the end, he told audiences about a children’s book Pence would be releasing the next day about his real-life pet rabbit, named Marlon Bundo. Then he dropped the big reveal; Last Week Tonight was releasing its own book about the VP's rabbit called A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. In this version, Bundo meets and falls in love with another boy rabbit, and the two decide to get married. But the stink bug leader (who bears a striking resemblance to Pence) says that boy rabbits can’t marry boy rabbits. To find out how the story ends, you have to buy the book—all proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDs United. There’s also an audio book featuring celebrity voices. The first printing sold out in less than a day.
On Thursday, Oliver announced that the second printing is due out soon, and it will be available at local independent book stores. In Buffalo that means the following: Talking Leaves Books, A to Z Books, and Dog Ears Bookstore. It should be available for Easter gift-giving!
Parts of Buffalo’s mile-long Skyway will be closed for a $30 million-dollar (and change) restoration that will take two or three summers to complete. For those, like Congressman Brian Higgins, who have advocated for years for the Skyway to be torn down, this is not good news. It’s also not good news for the 40,000 Southtowns commuters who soar back and forth daily, a hundred-and-ten-feet above the city. The Skyway won’t be closed completely, but it will be reduced to one lane at times, and commuting will be slower. The work is just preventative maintenance and a paint job, so there won’t even be a design upgrade. Higgins thinks some of the money should be used to fix roads along likely detours like South Park Avenue and Seneca Street. The hope is, maybe people will start traveling through the city again, rather than over it.
Artist and educator Bruce Adams is a longtime contributor to Buffalo Spree.
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