Revelry in the cards

At Valu Home Center, Buzz bought ourself a Christmas present, the City Dining Cards Drink Deck. The decks of buy-one, get-one cards were for sale at the checkout, which we loved: That is so Buffalo, drink cards available at the hardware store along with other necessities. The cards, which specify “Valid at the bar only,” are fascinating. Black Rock Kitchen & Bar describes itself as a “gastropub.” Brodo advertises, “Cozy Circular Bar.” Mezza advertises “Arak.” Whatever that is, we like it! And we are sure to find out what it is, because our New Year’s resolution is to work our way through every one of these cards. At last, a resolution we might be able to keep.

Good tidings we brought

Here’s one way to make your holiday season memorable: Go caroling. No one does it any more, and it’s fun to see how people react. Especially after Dec. 25 – try explaining to Buffalonians on barstools that ‘tis still the season. But even before Christmas Day, it was a hoot. Buzz was part of a group that included several folks in Victorian costume. As we warbled “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” in Wiechec’s Lounge, half the people turned away to watch a game and the other half filmed us on iPhones. In the branch library on Clinton Street, the staff listened happily, if with puzzlement. We got our warmest welcome in a Pakistani deli. The proprietor listened appreciatively to “Adeste Fideles” in Latin, and then asked, in his musical accent: “Would you like any water, or pop?” Why, yes, please. And bring us a figgy pudding!

Club scene

You have to figure that the sale of Buffalo Athletic Club’s co-ed branches to L.A. Fitness was referred to in the Book of Revelations. It is that cataclysmic. Buzz belongs, and all around us are instructors and other members figuring out where to go and what to do. We are mostly fine with it all. Why sweat the small stuff? But one thing concerns us, and that is the future of the venerable downtown BAC branch. It’s been there since 1924, and we have heard about when it was a real club, open to gentlemen who entertained, dined, drank and smoked there. Even in recent years, its exalted nature lingered in spite of iPhones, hip-hop and Buzz’s unprepossessing gym clothes. Must this club lose its name and cachet?

No more blues

The story of jazz pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop, who died Friday, was so much more than just music. There was nothing like the sight of Dunlop, tall and lean, swaggering into a room – and even at 86, he did swagger – sporting a cowboy hat and a big smile. How beautiful, that Dunlop had that hit CD at the eleventh hour. Even more beautiful was the joy he radiated – the joy of a man praising God, playing music, at peace with himself. “I reached up to the sky and brought the house down,” he laughed. “God gave me the talent.”

The buzz

We can still go caroling, right? It’s only the Eighth Day of Christmas, right? No need to get back to work until well after New Year’s, right? … Speaking of New Year’s, can you beat the party at Milkie’s on Elmwood featuring Lance Diamond? Lance will be joined by the 24K Diamond Band, and there’ll be the champagne toast at midnight, complete with Lance playing “Brick House.” Well, we assume he will choose that signature number.


“Dance right into 2014.”

– Lance Diamond, on Facebook