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Cover Story

The Futile American Dream

by Grace Hood

In 2003, labor activist and writer Barbara Ehrenreich came across an interesting statistic: White collar professionals made up 20 percent of the unemployed, which in 2003 was 5.9 percent of the American population. While the economic downturn following September 11 impacted the corporate sector disproportionately, the 2003 statistic signaled a disturbing era in white-collar America: Corporate job security was dead.

Letters to Artvoice

We left Toronto early on Tuesday morning, heading to Buffalo, New York to see the Dalai Lama, a 90-minute drive. Me, Mary and three of her friends: father, mother, child—Tenzing, Yangki and their son, aged seven. They did not have tickets to the venue but were certain they would get in nonetheless, implying there would be “special tickets” for Tibetans, and anyway they heard there would be a Jumbotron they could watch it on from outside if they didn’t.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ It’s usually in Florida where one reads of lonely widows persuaded to pay extravagant prices for dance lessons, but Mimi Monica Wong, 61, is a different kind of dancing widow, according to an August Wall Street Journal report. A Hong Kong private banker with a top-drawer client list, Wong contracted to pay US$15.4 million over eight years for cha-cha and rumba lessons from two world-class instructors so she could excel on the international championship Latin dance circuit. However, she soured on their motivational approach (“lazy cow” and “(move your) fat arse” were allegedly part of their dialogue) and sued. In September, a court ordered Wong’s $8 million advance returned, and she has since signed on with another instructor whose fee is a bargain: $21,000 a month.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Emilio Estevez was experiencing writer’s block as he worked on a screenplay about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. In his desperation to get unstuck, he jumped in his car and started driving north along the California coast. He stopped at the first random motel that had a vacancy, resolved to make this the place he’d plow ahead on the screenplay. The motel clerk recognized Estevez’s famous face and asked him what he was up to. When he told her about his stalled project, she gasped. She had been at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A. on June 4 and 5, 1968, the place and time Kennedy was killed. As she told Estevez her recollections of that night, he felt his writer’s block dissolving. In the ensuing days, he wrote up a storm. I predict, Libra, that you’re about to experience a similar synchronicity. It will jump-start a labor of love that has been on hold.

Getting a Grip

Nuclear Winter

by Michael I. Niman

Picture seven terrorists with seven nuclear bombs in seven American cities. That’s the buzz floating around right-wing talk radio. And unless we acquiesce to an end of our civil liberties, the story goes, America as we’ve always known it will cease to exist.


The Uncensored Tom Toles

by Geoff Kelly

Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Toles left Buffalo in 2002 to accept one of the most coveted jobs in his profession: editorial cartoonist at the Washington Post, heir to the legendary Herblock, who died in October 2001. His departure was, at best, bittersweet: One is pleased to see a Buffalo native reach the top of his profession, even if he goes elsewhere to do so; at the same time one wishes he were still around to cast an acerbic eye on local politics and public life.

The News, Briefly

Pataki Fiddles, Buffalo Burns

by Geoff Kelly

For the past six months, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo) has been waging a guerrilla war against the State of New York’s Municipal Bond Bank Agency (MBBA), a division of the Housing Finance Agency which holds the liens on 1,499 tax-delinquent properties in the City of Buffalo.

Good Eats

Beer Heaven

by Bridget Kelly

The Buffalo Brewpub has 34 different beers on tap, with a “Beeriodic Table” chart giving an at-a-glance explanation of how each one tastes. It’s one of only two real brew pubs in the area, and the oldest brewpub in New York State; other pubs offer microbrews but do not make them on the premises. Brewpub’s tanks are right there, just off the dining area behind a glass wall.


The Memorial Aud: Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

by Siobhan A. Counihan

The Buffalo News reported earlier this month that after almost five years of trying to bring Bass Pro to Buffalo, the retailer now plans to raze Memorial Auditorium and replace it with a brand-new facility, despite the company’s announcement two years ago that they would refurbish and reuse the 66-year-old building. This news has elicited mixed reactions from Buffalonians, ranging from calls to maintain the building and use it for alternative purposes to calls to tear the whole thing down, regardless of whether or not the Bass Pro deal pans out. The building has been sitting empty since HSBC Arena opened in 1996, so after 10 years it’s clear that something needs to be done, and soon. The question remains, then: Are we better off tearing down a building to make way for a business that may never come to Buffalo? Or should we use what we have and take steps to re-open the Aud?

You Auto Know

The New Phonebooks Are Here!

by Jim Corbran

“The new phonebooks are here,” certainly sounded funnier when Steve Martin screamed it out in The Jerk. Still, even in print it sounds better than “The new 2007 vehicles are here!” After all, people probably care more about the phonebook anyway. C’mon, admit it, you always look for your name, don’t you now?

Author Interview

Gary Lutz

by Forrest Roth

Gary Lutz, author of Stories in the Worst Way (3rd Bed, 2002) and I Looked Alive (Black Square, 2003), will start the second season of Just Buffalo’s COMMUNIQUE Flash Fiction series this Thursday night at Rust Belt Books (202 Allen St.), with U.B. assistant professor and Exhibit X curator Christina Milletti opening.



by Elizabeth Dickhut

On your ankle sits a crude tattoo—

something done after too many drinks

and raucous laughter.


by Anthony Chase

CURTAIN UP! is upon us, and Friday night, September 29, 2006, 14 shows will be up and running in Buffalo. For many, the main event will be the big post-show downtown party. The party is not confined to one street or one bar. Every place downtown should be roaring. If you’re on the lookout for theater folk, you will find actors, directors, stage managers and their ilk aplenty at the Official Blossom Cohan Party at Laughlin’s, 333 Franklin Street at the northeast corner of Franklin and Tupper (one block west of Studio Arena Theatre). Blossom was the legendary publicist and historian for Studio Arena Theatre for more than 40 years, and she set the standard for making life a party. Friday night, we’ll try to live up to her legacy, so be sure to elect a designated driver. The official Blossom Cohan cocktail is the classic martini, but by 3 am, rye and soda will do fine.

Design Matters

Modern Mori

by Albert Chao

Construction will continue, despite the completion of restorations this past summer to Franklin Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House. A new Visitors and Research Center will be erected alongside the newly restored buildings. Toshiko Mori was selected to build the center in 2003 in a design competition amongst four other architecture firms.

Film Reviews

Suspended Love

by M. Faust

Dixie Demagoguery, Perverted Populism

by George Sax

Sweet Dream Baby

by George Sax

Film Clips

The Guardian

by M. Faust

In a recent book review published in The Nation, Ari Kelman identifies a new genre that “seems to have arisen from the ruins of the World Trade Center: the cult of the first responder.” Of course, this has already been going on for a few years at the movies, with Ladder 49 and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center the most obvious examples that come to mind.

See You There

Built to Spill

by K. O'Day

Youth Hockey Night

by Peter Koch

Squeaky Wheel Silent/Sound Screening

by Peter Koch

Elmwood Village Tour of Kitchens

by K. O'Day


Mr. Sparkle

by Joe Sweeney

Panhandlers don’t just ask you for money these days; they always have a well-rehearsed shtick, like “I need bus fare,” or “This real diamond doesn’t cost an arm and a leg,” or “I have no arms and legs.” But every once in a while an enterprising street person will take an honest approach, such as, “I need 50 cents because I really want to get drunk.” When these homeless George Washingtons solicit me, they usually end up with whatever loose change I have.

Left of the Dial

Lou Reed

Catfish Haven

Calendar Spotlight

Tale Me More

by Nikki Kozlowski

Subterranean Puppet Show

by Siobhan A. Counihan

Blue Ox

Betty Serveert

by Siobhan A. Counihan


Peter Case