An ear for beer

Buzz is an alumna of the Beer School at Gene McCarthy’s. The class we attended was titled “Classical Music and Beer.” A sultry Ravel Habanera was matched with a white ale. A Blonde Bock made the Prelude from Bach’s First Cello Suite go down mighty easy. Reason we mention this is, Gene McCarthy’s has just announced another Beer School, for 5 p.m. Saturday. This one isn’t classical music – audiences will have to clamor for an encore of that one – but it has a title almost as alluring, “The Inaugural Funky, Sweet and Sour Tasting.” Tickets are $20 (cash only, reservations sold at the bar). Seating is limited, and you get a simple meal plus beer tastings. McCarthy’s is at 73 Hamburg St. in the funky First Ward.

Broadway babies

At the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s tribute Saturday to the late Marvin Hamlisch, the guest stars told stories, and the stories rang true. Donna McKechnie, the first Cassie in “A Chorus Line,” said Hamlisch originally wrote her an unsingable song for the show. She said, “You breathe and pray, and you trust that being the genius he is, he will rethink this.” Meanwhile, Jodi Benson, Disney’s Little Mermaid, said her last name was originally Marzorati, and Hamlisch told her to change it. She was still wrestling with the decision when she mentioned to Hamlisch she had gotten married and she was now Jodi Benson. “I love it!” exulted Hamlisch. “Benson. That’ll look great up there. Great choice!” She had to calm him down: “Marvin, I got married. Benson is my husband’s name.”

We speak disco

The World’s Largest Disco sold out this week, even the VIP tickets, so get on the waiting list and say your prayers. (We suggest St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of beer.) Meanwhile, Buzz happened on a “VH-1 Classic VIP Party Update.” Excerpts: “We’ve added more bathrooms.” “The bathrooms to the left (when you enter the VIP entrance) almost never have a line!” “ ’70s dress isn’t required, but it’s easy to spot who doesn’t wear a costume to a Halloween party.” And the World’s Largest Disco gets the award for the World’s Largest Indifference to French Spelling. The sheet says, “Hot and cold h’orderves will be served.”

Underground piano

Buzz applauds Metro Rail’s efforts to play classical music at the stations. But Friday, deep in the Amherst Street Station, we found ourself suffering through a loud, staticky piano piece. The tune itself wasn’t bad, a kind of half waltz, half polka. But the notes were distorted, and every time it seemed to be ending, it started up again. It made us think of Charming Charlie in Crystal Beach’s Laff in the Dark. Ahem, NFTA. Every venue, even Kleinhans Music Hall, has to tweak the sound system sometimes. It’s your turn.

The Buzz

Could that have been Charming Charlie buried in the walls of the Amherst Street Station? We got on Google. No, it seems old Charlie is at a cheesy haunted house in Cave City, Ky. … Baroque and happy: Warm up for the holidays with the next Viva Vivaldi concert, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Orchestra, soloists, plush church and unbeatable atmosphere, all for $12.


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