Saturday, October 31, 2009

The honorary Hungarian

Major score at an estate sale! I got a heap o'Hungarian linens, many of them beautifully embroidered, all of them trimmed in bright colors. One of them was a runner which, I have been looking for one. That is it up above! I should really iron it but you get the idea. It does not drape over the edge of the table but it does reach exactly from end to end.

Here is a closeup of the haul.

At the Williamsville sale where I discovered these treasures there were these people nearby sitting on a couch, talking in a foreign language. Suddenly they interrupted their conversation and asked me, in English, "Are you Hungarian?"

I was startled and I said, "No, I'm German. Do I look Hungarian?"

That was when I realized they had been speaking Hungarian. They thought I was Hungarian because of my delight over these napkins!

I wrote that on Facebook and my friend Marta said I could be an honorary Hungarian. That is a big compliment because Marta is the ultimate Hungarian. Well, there is also my friend Michelle who is also Hungarian. I have always surrounded myself with quality people and that inevitably means Hungarians. I love Hungarian culture particularly Lehar. There is this great story I have about myself and Lehar and a Hungarian doctor but that will have to wait.

Speaking of music, I also snapped up this record for $1.

Isn't that a great cover? My mother was with me and she would have grabbed it up but I beat her to it. It is a Capitol record. I am starting kind of to collect Capitol records because of their association with Leonard Pennario. Pennario was a great star for Capitol as you can see from the back of the album, where they can be observed hyping Pennario's "Concertos Under the Stars." I did not see that till I got home and I loved it. Click on the picture to read it better.

That was two years ago today I went out to California to see him. I always remember flying out there on Halloween night to sleep in the apartment where somebody died.

Today was a magical day like that one and I am going to commemorate it by having a party where we use my Hungarian tablecloths and napkins and I make ghoulash and we sit around listening to my Capitol "Gypsy" record and Pennario playing the music of Hungarian geniuses including but not limited to Liszt and Rozsa. It will be my first official act as an honorary Hungarian.

Rejoice with me on my new haul!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Call him Ismail

Above is a picture of Sam and his wife at the Ellicott Square Hair Salon. They paid off the mortgage on their home today!

Sam and his wife cut Howard's and my hair! We do not know the name of Sam's wife. Once Howard asked him what it was and Sam said do not bother to learn it, we could not pronounce it.

First I started going to the Ellicott Square Hair Salon and then I got Howard going. Howard used to go to a chi-chi little metrosexual salon out on Transit. I persuaded him that the Ellicott Square Hair Salon was more cool. Not only is it in a building designed by Daniel Burnham...

... with a lobby with a mosaic floor that looks like this:

... but it is also cheaper than on Transit, is the beautiful thing.

We figured Sam was a made-up name and sure enough, we are right. That is because Howard took the picture and blew it up and on the check we can read that Sam's real name is Ismail! And his wife's name is Nafiza.

Nafiza speaks no English. She has been here forever but when she tips your head back into the sink and asks if you want it hotter or colder forget about answering, because it does not matter. That is OK because she always gets it right anyway.

But Sam is a different story. He can talk. And he has been at the Ellicott Square Building for 42 years now. Cutting the hair of and yakking with politicians, reporters, judges, priests, lawyers, secretaries, physicians, taxi drivers, nurses, public servants, you name it. Everyone goes in and out of that shop. I have been there and I have seen it.

Leonard Pennario probably got his hair cut at the Ellicott Square Hair Salon!

We should sit Sam down with a beer and get him talking!

Meanwhile here is another update on Howard's downtown activities. All I did today was sit inside and work on the book and that is funny, it is like sleeping, it is as if the day never happened.

Howard took this picture of the situation on Delaware Avenue downtown what with the cornice of the Statler having fallen down.

Our friend Jim Trimper Jr. wrote on Facebook, "Crane's a good start..."


Watch your head, everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sunrise, sunset

When we were kids at the dinner table my dad would often remind us of something we had done a week before. "Remember, we went to Emery Park," he might say. Or, "Remember, we went Christmas shopping."

Then he would say: "How's that for a quick week?"

That is what I am thinking a lot these days!

It is funny just to take your week and think back on it. Mine has been going very fast and it was an odd week, I will say that.

First there was this vegetable.

And then there was this sky.

I worked on this part of the book where Leonard Pennario ...

... was recording Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition." That was in 1953! How's that for a quick half century? I am working on finishing up the first draft of the book and that is very exciting for me. That is one reason the week has flown.

What else did I do? Went to Cole's. Went to the New Phoenix Theatre. Worked. Went to my mom's. Places I ate: Gabriel's Gate. The Irish Times. Oh, wait. Was The Irish Times the week before? I went with my friend Melinda.

I got a wonderful email from a pianist telling me about once when he saw Pennario coaching an orchestra in how to carry off the rhythms of the Khachaturian Piano Concerto. I am looking forward to getting back to this gentleman, maybe getting him on the 'phone.

It is interesting to go back and try that mental exercise and think of everything you did in the last seven days.

Unless you have the flu ... a lot of people do these days ... you will probably end up asking...

How's that for a quick week?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Statler and me

I feel bad for those folks at the Statler because that cornice fell off and smashed and now the street is closed off and everyone is blaming everyone, Buffalo style.

Above are pictures Howard took on the scene of the disaster. He is always on the scene of a disaster which is why he was attracted to me and my life! So he took that picture above with that fantastic sky. When Howard came home lastnight there was a car wreck in front of our house and he took a picture of it too.

Back to the Statler. Now the owners will have to replace that cornice. And they have just bought the building. They can still back out. Although they would lose their deposit, which in Buffalo is a real no-no.

I sympathize with them.

It reminds me of when I bought my house!

When I bought my house I was single so I was in it by myself. And maybe the third night I was in it there was this gigantic BANG in the middle of the night. And this huge fireball, right before my eyes.

I sat up in bed terrified!

What had happened was, lightning had struck this tree next door. There was tremendous drama. Fire trucks came whipping around the corner and were sitting in front of the house, which was more or less unoccupied at the time. I remember running downstairs in my pajamas in case the firemen needed to ask me anything. But they did not. Nobody asked me anything and eventually I went back to bed.

But that was not the end of the story! A few days later I was sitting at work and my friend Mike called me.

"That's too bad about your house," he said.

"What?" I said. "What are you talking about?"

"Well, the roof of your sun room," he said.

My blood ran cold. "What about the roof of my sun room?"

And I learned that a corner of it had fallen off.

Just like the Statler!

Mike opined, and he was right, that what had happened was a branch from the tree that had been struck by lightning came down on the roof of my front sun room. Great!

Ten minutes after that my phone rang again and it was my friend Lizzie.

"I just drove past your house," she said. "I can see what you're so upset about!" I always remember that, because it meant my friends were talking about it. Somehow they had it that I was upset. Whereas I had only just heard about it.

That was when I started to cry. I was on the copy desk at the time and my boss kindly said that maybe I should go and see what had happened to my house. So I did. It was not pretty, I will tell you that. I know, things could be worse, I could live in California where they have earthquakes. Leonard Pennario used to tell me about this earthquake that broke a water main where he lived and destroyed a lot of his his stuff. In the grand scheme of things my situation was not that bad.

But it was not fun having to go through the Yellow Pages and find a roofer seeing that I knew nothing about that and I was single as the day was long.

Eventually I found this roofer named Waldemar Tiedemann. That is a wonderful name! It is like something out of "The Ring of the Nibelungs." Well, that is a whole other story.

My point today is, I have to say that after that ordeal, I felt strengthened. If I could deal with that, I could deal with anything!

I hope the new Statler owners come to feel the same way.

Waxing nostalgic

My brother George and I were at Cole's with a bunch of people and we got talking about the old bluesmen we used to see at the Lafayette Tap Room.

There was Johnny "Clyde" Copeland. Once I went to see him twice in the same weekend. That is Johnny Copeland pictured above. His daughter Shemekia Copeland, or whatever her name is, is no substitute.

Also there was Robert Jr. Lockwood.

Once my friend Lizzie and I stayed at his house.

Who else? Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

We used to see all these guys at the Lafayette Tap Room!

George was saying and I was agreeing that it is wonderful there was that great blues craze so we got to know these people. The blues craze was driven by college students who listened to it and so the bars got all these old guys to come in and play. We are not sure what college kids listen to now but it is not "Gatemouth" Brown.

The most recent blues guy to pass on is Mel Brown.

We used to go hear Mel Brown and the Homewreckers.

I used to love how Robert Lockwood used to sing "See See Rider." When he was in Buffalo he used to play it for me when I requested it.

A couple times I interviewed Mr. Lockwood for The Buffalo News but it was a disaster because Robert Lockwood was not like Leonard Pennario. I could not get him talking. Robert Lockwood let us stay in his house and use his shower and lock up after he left early to go perform. But he was not a talker. Ha, ha! You can tell by looking at him, you know?

Good bye, great bluesmen.

Water over the falls.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monster or miracle?

There is still this miracle of nature to be dealt with.

It is a Broccoflower!

Or something like that. All I know is, it is very exotic.

It looks as if it came from the moon!

Howard was amazed by it. I was going to show it to him but I forgot and while I was at church Howard came downstairs and saw it. And he was amazed by it all on his own! He took pictures of it. Above is one of the pictures Howard took of the Broccoflower.

The miracle of the Broccoflower as Howard points out is that it has many miniature versions of itself. You have this big crystal-like formation and it is made up of many smaller crystal-like formations. And those formations in turn have even smaller versions of themselves, and so on, into infinity.

What can we possibly make with this miracle vegetable?

Whatever we make, it cannot possibly taste as good as the thing looks.

It is the Leonard Pennario of vegetables.

It is a miracle!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Me and my big mouth

Today, cooking strenuously through my farmers' market folly, I made cauliflower soup and also Eggplant Caponata according to a recipe Art emailed me. We are both in a panic since our shopping expedition. We cannot wait to find recipes in books.

The cauliflower soup used up a cauliflower, two carrots, an onion and a potato. The caponata: two eggplants, two peppers, two onions and a package and a half of mushrooms I bought at Jubilee when I went out to Amherst to see my mom a few days ago.

That is pretty good! All that stuff, used up!

Art, working fast, made a pear tart and a plum galette. That is Art's plum galette pictured above. Good going, Art! Nice work!

Both of us showed restraint in the potato department or else we may have been reduced to building a potato cannon. Someone in Buffalo did that and it is one of The Buffalo News' most-read stories today.

I bet that person was desperate after a trip to the Clinton-Bailey Market!

In the department of situations you get yourself into, this morning I went to Mass totally forgetting about that I have these rubber bands in my mouth. They are like the ones in this picture. That is how they look and that is how far I can open my mouth when I am wearing them.

This morning was the Mass for Leonard Pennario as I may have alluded to earlier. I guess I was distracted by that and I forgot about my band situation. I guess I have been getting used to my mouth being rubber-banded shut. Anyway it never occurred to me.

Until I was at the Communion rail and the priest was standing right in front of me! He was reciting the Latin words and that was when it suddenly, finally, occurred to me that here I was supposed to be receiving Communion but I could not open my mouth.

Ahem. Houston, we have a problem!

The priest was a guest priest filling in for Father Secondo. He is Father Bialkowski from Our Lady Help of Christians. I had no idea what to do so I just put out my tongue and hoped for the best. I can get my tongue between my teeth and out of my mouth if I am careful.

You could sort of see Father Bialkowski hesitate. What in the world, he must have been thinking. What now.

But he gave me Communion and I moved my tongue really fast back into my mouth and somehow all went well. Thank God!

That was a tense moment!

These things you do not think of. I am telling you.

After Mass I was surprised by my Facebook friend John Callahan. He showed up! For the Leonard Pennario Mass! Plus, his Facebook page says he went to two church services today. That means he tacked on an extra one because of me. John, thank you!

My Facebook friend John Callahan introduced himself and then he said apologetically, "I know you can't talk."

"John, I can talk," I said. "We're allowed to talk now." Meaning, now that the Mass was over. I thought that was what he was talking about.

But he said, "I meant because of the bands in your mouth."


I forget all about them!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where the wild things are

My friend Art and I went to the Clinton-Bailey Market together and we had no self control. Well, how could we, faced with tableaux like the one above? That is at the stall of a woman we called Cabbage Lady.

She was selling what Art called Global Cabbages! They were the biggest we had ever seen. They were $2. Of course we could not resist.

Here is a picture of Cabbage Lady holding up one of those marvelous cabbages.

It took us a long time to get home, I will say that. We were at the Clinton-Bailey Market for well over an hour. This was my friend Art's first time at Clinton-Bailey and he was awed by its bounty. He did what I like to do, which was swing through first, see what is there and how much everything is, then retrace your steps and buy a few things, then take them to the car, then repeat steps one through three as many times as necessary.

When we decided we were ready to leave it was hilarious. We got in the car and had to drive down the market's main drag, stopping every 10 feet to pick up something that was on hold for one or the other of us.

There was Art's apple stop. He was buying Honey Crisps. Then our squash stop. We were splitting a half bushel of buttercup and butternut squash. Then there was my apple stop. I was buying Golden Delicious. Finally there was the stop for the global cabbages. They were so global that Cabbage Lady put the two cabbages into a huge liquor carton for us.

I was laughing so hard I could not breathe! And after that we went to the Meating Place on Grant Street. Which, I cannot even get into that. That is a story for another day.

Here is the cabbage at home on my dining room table waiting for me to deal with it.

Here is another view which also shows the Brussels sprout stalk that ate North Buffalo.


Zut alors!

What am I going to do with all this stuff?

I think I am going to go back to chronicling the life and times of Leonard Pennario.

I will deal with the kitchen later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brought to you by the letter C

Today I either wanted to go for a big fat Buffalo fish fry or I wanted to go to the circus. One or the other.

Remember, I wrote the circus is in town! I saw its train parked downtown and it looked magical.

As long as the circus is in town I have no discipline!

But I did in the end take the straight and narrow. I went to the gym and then I went home and polished up two more chapters of the book. Leonard Pennario and Tanglewood. That is what I was thinking about!

Not lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Oh my!

I will have to go to the circus before it leaves.

That poster above looks amazing and old! It is wonderful to think that the Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey circus has been around for so long. Well, I suppose that at first they were two separate circuses.

Other things that are old and that I love and that start with a C:



And that all time classic, the Clark bar.

I will have to bring a Clark bar, Cracker Jack and a Coke when I go to the circus.

C's the day!

Sorry, I could not help that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Religion and radiators

Such exciting news yesterday out of Rome! It is like the Middle Ages come to life. It is as if we are back in the Renaissance again.

In case you are not a nerd the way I am, the Pope made this big move to invite Anglicans back to the Catholic Church. It is not only a religious thing, it is a political thing. In England, especially, the papers were buzzing and blogging about it all day. We are talking dozens of separate commentaries, multiplying as the day went on.

The Pope's big move was top secret until the last minute, which was one thing that made it exciting. I am excited about this, I will tell you that. If traditionalist Anglicans join the Catholic Church that means that is one more blow dealt against the schlocky music so many of us have been stuck with over the years.

They would probably even like Latin Masses, the way I do!

I would go to their Masses and hear their choirs, I will say that.

We can use these people and their reverence and their good taste!

Today it was reported that 400,000 Anglicans were immediately taking the Pope up on his offer. There were whispers that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself might become Catholic.

What about the Queen? Might she, too?

I secretly wonder about Prince Charles. I mean, look at them. What do you think? This is perhaps not as impressive as a picture I have of Leonard Pennario meeting Pope Pius XII. But it is impressive nonetheless.

Anyway this is all great fun and it took my mind off the rubber bands in my mouth. It is thrilling to have the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury, pictured at the top of this post, in front page headlines and dominating Web logs. It is like being back in the time of Geoffrey Chaucer.

One headline I loved: "Archbishop of Canterbury Critical of Rome For Springing This Announcement On Him."

Ha, ha!

Speaking of being back in the time of Chaucer, we had to do the winter-is-coming thing and clean all of our radiators. Everyone must be doing the same thing. It is that time of year. Isn't it fun?

Here are our radiators from Big Blue gathered for cleaning.

This is a big task and Howard is thinking he will have to take the radiators to a collision shop.

It is a heavy job!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ugly Betty and me

Ugly Betty is supposed to be getting her braces off this season and so am I.

I read about Ugly Betty in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. God knows how people find time to watch TV, let alone decide on any show among the hundreds out there. But they do! They do! And they are watching Ugly Betty.

She is one of those thinly disguised TV heads who, they put a pair of glasses on them and a set of braces and you are supposed to accept them as ugly.

Yeah, right. As Leonard Pennario would say. That was one of his expressions and I use it now in his honor.

Anyway. Quoth the Journal, the creators of Ugly Betty are worried that once her braces come off, their ratings will fall. I certainly hope that is not the same for me!

This is funny. Reading about that show it clicked in: "Ugly Betty" must have been what was playing on the plane that time, when I was heading home from California with my new braces and I was all worried about how they looked. And I looked up and the TV was showing braces on someone's teeth and the screen was flashing "Ugly! Ugly! Ugly!"

It must have been Ugly Betty!

And it took me till now to figure that out!

Yesterday there was a disturbing new development. Besides giving me orange braces for Hallowe'en ...

... the ortho put rubber bands on my teeth. Now I cannot open my mouth! Howard said this is a miracle of science, up there with the moon landing, to stop me from opening my mouth. But it is weird!

I keep telling myself people pay to get their jaws wired shut, and look, I get it as part of the package.

It feels very strange. I have my top teeth rubber-banded to my bottom teeth and I cannot even yawn. What if I get tired or bored? I cannot express myself!

I get to take these rubber bands out when I eat but they have to be in every other time, including when I am sleeping. And it is not fun putting them back in, I will tell you that right now. Yesterday after I had to put them in myself it took me forever. Actually it would have been funny had I not had to get to work. The things were flying all over the bathroom.

For 15 minutes, then 20, I kept working at it. I had this pair of tweezers. The Internet has some advice involving a hook-like instrument you are supposed to get from your ortho. It said: "If your orthodontist does not have this make him get it."

Ha, ha! I love how this advice is all geared toward teen-agers.

I finally had to give up which, being German, I hate to do. I am programmed from birth to work at something till I die. I bundled up all the bands and my tweezers and went to the office. When I got a second I took my little package and went down to this bathroom where nobody goes. It is the Second Floor Bathroom! And I went to work.

That time I succeeded. In 10 minutes.

I could not believe it!

Later the bands were pulling so bad that I went back to the ortho and had them check my work. Zut, I had them in right.

I was hoping they would say, "Oh, no, Mrs. Goldman, these are hurting you because you have them in all wrong."

That implement with the hook, the ortho said he did not have it. Everyone was in kind of a hurry because the office was closing for the day and they wanted me and my teeth and my rubber bands to go away.

Ha, ha! They gave me the hook!

The bright side is, this rubber band business is a prelude to my braces coming off. The ortho said, maybe by Christmas.

That would be a great Christmas present!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A bash with Bach

Last night I was at a little birthday party for our friend George Caldwell. Above is a picture of him with his wife, the glamorous and perfect Connie, that I took at our friend Gary's house last winter.

George Caldwell is a noted jazz pianist. A noted jazz pianist, get it? He is currently instrumental, ahem, in a show in Pittsburgh about Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald makes an appearance in my book, I am not sure if I ever mentioned that. Her path crossed Leonard Pennario's once backstage in Texas and it is a neat story.

George drove in from Pittsburgh for his birthday and soon he has to drive out again to resume playing the piano in the show.

Several things were great about last night. One was that one of the other guests was the son of the noted (hee hee) Chicago jazz pianist Gene Esposito. This being Buffalo where hockey is in the air I kept saying Phil Esposito. Ha, ha! "Why do I keep saying Phil Esposito?" I said finally. "Who is Phil Esposito?" Of course he turns out to be a hockey player.

Here is a picture of Phil Esposito.

Ha, ha! It is amazing that Gene Esposito's son did not crown me. That is an expression my mother always used when we were kids. "I'm going to crown you!" It was not a nice thing!

George Caldwell knew Gene Esposito's son not because of their shared jazz roots but because they happen to live across the street from each other here in Buffalo. That is a detail I love! The son's name is Genero but they call him Gino.

Howard played an entire magnificent set on the piano and then George Caldwell played. And here is something else great. Next to the piano was a pile of George's music and on top of the fake books was the Bach-Busoni Chaconne.

That is Bach's great Chaconne for solo violin arranged for piano by Ferruccio Busoni! Busoni made these difficult and wonderful arrangements of Bach. Pennario used to love to play them, I know that.

It is a privilege just to be in the same room with someone who totes around Bach-Busoni as it turns out George does. It does the heart good just to see a score like that lying there. Score! Listen to me. I keep thinking about hockey!

I said, "George, give us some Bach-Busoni." And he began to play it for us. And everyone fell silent and we sat there and sipped our wine and listened to the Chaconne.

After that George made a speech about Bach and what a hep cat he was and how he was the original jazz man. And Phil Esposito's son chimed in in agreement. Did I say Phil Esposito? I meant Gene Esposito.

I loved that discussion.

I loved last night.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cooking with the stars

Today we are visited by the ghost of Senator Barry Goldwater whose chili is in my crock pot downstairs. Senator Barry Goldwater's chili calls for ground beef, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and pinto beans. Dried pinto beans too. I hate all this canned-bean business.

That is a picture up above of Senator Barry Goldwater who was the Father of Chili. Did I say the Father of Chili? I meant the Father of Conservatism.

Howard was just laughing about how vilified Sen. Goldwater used to be in his memory. Howard's father said he was a warmonger and Mad Magazine used to have at him. But now we toast Sen. Barry Goldwater and we agree with many of his philosophies and, most importantly, we eat his chili.

It is fun to get to know famous people through their recipes. Once at the paper I had to call the pops conductor Skitch Henderson and my first words to him were, "I want to thank you for your wonderful Texas Fudge Cake recipe. I have made it so many times!"

That was an ice breaker, I will say that! Here is a picture of Skitch Henderson whose real name was Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson.

Skitch Henderson's cake was more like candy so you did not have to worry about it rising right. That was what made it wonderful. The recipe was in an old Vogue cookbook and when I was in college my friends and I made it for all our parties.

Back to Senator Goldwater and his chili. Besides creating the best chili Senator Goldwater had the greatest glasses.

They are almost as good as Leonard Pennario's classic 1960s glasses!

I love that picture. I love those glasses. Also I love how sitting on the Steinway is someone's takeout coffee, or something? It is probably Jascha Heifetz's because that is Heifetz on the left.

Pennario like most guys could not cook his way out of a paper bag.

I am afraid I do not have any recipes of his to pass along, zut alors.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend warrior

Over the weekend we went to a party honoring our friend the cabaret artist Ruth Killeen. Above is a picture of Miss Killeen entertaining.

Howard took over after her set. Here is Howard at the piano of Peg Keane who was the hostess of the party.

That was fun! One woman who had the wonderful name of Aleta brought homemade truffles made out of Belgian chocolate. Aleta is married to Ruth's masseuse. This is the crowd I run with now. A gentleman named Freddy is a friend of Ruth's from backgammon. When I am through with my book on Leonard Pennario I am going to join them one day for backgammon.

I do not know when the last time was I met someone named Freddy! It is like out of "Gigi."

It is not like the name Yuri or the name Abdul-Rahman. Those Yuris and Abdul Rahmans, they are everywhere! But Freddys! They are rare.

Other great excitement to report: In the church bulletin today they list the Masses for the week and next week and next Sunday's date, that would be Oct. 25, you can see the Mass for Leonard. It says: Latin: Leonard Pennario By Mary Kunz Goldman.

It is as if the book is already done!

One more item to report. Yesterday I went to four (4) sales with my mother. And I did not come home with one (1) thing!

This was the first time ever I came home empty-handed!

My mother bought all kinds of stuff and I had to help her get all her purchases into the house. She bought a brass headboard for a full-sized bed and a pack of beads for some project, I forget what. And a bunch of books. And a little pot about an inch wide that you can hold over a burner and melt butter in.

Not only that, but she informed me that my Mass for Leonard is not his first. Unbeknownst to me my mom has been ordering Masses for him to be said by the Oblates overseas.

That is my mother.

Next to her I am always a step behind.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Clash of the pianists

Gad zooks, I forgot to write on the Web log! But there is still time to get something in under the wire.

Tonight Howard and I went to Kleinhans Music Hall to hear a pianist who has a wonderful name. It is Abdel Rahman El-Bacha!

Now, this is funny but just the way I know more than one person named Yuri I know more than one person named Abdel Rahman. The other one is the jazz drummer Abdul Rahman Qadir whom I ran into at Jubilee not long ago and we were talking in the rice-and-beans aisle.

Here is a picture of Abdel Rahman El-Bacha who wore old-fashioned tie and tails which we loved.

When Abdel Rahman El-Bacha sat down to play the Rachmaninoff First he flipped those tails over the bench behind him and he just looked so cool. His encore was the Rachmaninoff G minor prelude. Darn, I wanted to post Leonard Pennario's performance, because it would knock you out, but it does not seem to be on YouTube any more.

Back to Abdel Rahman El-Bacha. What a contrast between him and what we saw later when we went to the Hyatt. There was a very big man in the lounge and he was wearing a skirt!

He was wearing a big skirt down to his knees and this is not a kilt we are talking.

It was a big skirt!

Jocko said: "I would not want to tangle with him."

Jocko also told us about this guy named Frank Mancuso who had been in the lounge but had just left. "He was very big in movies," Jocko said. Here is a photo of Frank Mancuso is the former CEO of Paramount Pictures. He is at the extreme right.

Jocko said that years ago Leonard Pennario played the piano at a few of this Frank Mancuso's parties. That is not surprising because Pennario always played the piano at parties. That was what he was like.

Then Jocko said that this Mr. Mancuso had said, "But Jocko, I like your playing better."

Ha, ha! That is Jocko!

Without him the evening is just not complete.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Hold my beer and watch this'

Last night they began saying the magic word ... snow!

It is coming early to Buffalo this year.

I have no problem with the first snow fall because then the neighborhood grows quiet and I get to cross-country ski and roast chestnuts and eat pomegranates which, we just started doing that tonight. They had a huge table of pomegranates ...

... at Jubilee! And a big sign over them saying "Pomegranates Are Here!"

When I was in California I missed all this coming-of-winter business. I did not exactly mind but it felt strange to be missing it. There is something exciting about it. When I was in California I had left so suddenly no one knew I was gone and I was still on various email lists and everything when the snow jokes began going around.

This was a joke that reached me in California that I loved.

"Ninety-nine percent of people, when their car veers into an icy ditch, yell @#98#$*!" the joke went. "The other one percent are Buffalonians. They say, 'Hold my beer and watch this.'"

Ha, ha! Leonard Pennario laughed about that too when I told it to him. Because he was born in Buffalo he was allowed.

Last night whatever TV station Howard was watching actually sent a reporter millions of miles so she could go stand in Cattaraugus County and they could film her with this wet lazy snow falling on her.

What a job!

I hope they at least let her say, "Hold my beer and watch this."