1811 Comics invites Buffalo geeks to Grand Opening party

Geek is chic, now that technology is so prevalent in the world and we all need a geek or two to help us with our smartphones, computers and such. One thing geeks love is comic books. Maybe it’s an unspoken desire to live vicariously through various superheroes who have unique qualities that get attention and help people, too. Or maybe it’s just because comic books feature enthralling story lines and detailed drawings.

Buffalo’s favorite geek, Howard Cadmus, is opening his own comic book store, and it’s going to be epic. Howard doesn’t do anything half-assed. He and his wife Tara own and run several unique businesses, including a chocolate shop, an ice cream shop, and, now, a comic book store. And this new store isn’t a typical one. Get this– 1811 Comics is in that old red mill complex near Glen Park, on Spring Street in the Village of Williamsville. This is that red building from way back when– 1811 actually–that’s basically one of the icons of Williamsville– a picture postcard, if you will. Located next to Glen Falls Park, where Williamsville has a beautiful waterfall, 1811 Comics will be in the same location as Howard and Tara’s “Sweet Jenny’s” ice cream shop.

Howard is passionate about comics. And now he invites Buffalo– locals and tourists alike– to come to the grand opening of 1811 Comics, Dec. 6th…geek attire is suggested but not necessary…if you want “in” the call to RSVP by Oct. 31st: 716-631-2424 and mention you heard about it on BeautifulBuffalo.com. –Mark Weber

1811 Comics
1811 Comics
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Come meet artist Cinnamon LaFever at her Buffalo art opening

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Buffalo artist Cinnamon LaFever, along with artists Dan LaPorte and Christopher Behrend, will be hosting an art opening at downtown Buffalo’s hottest new coffeehouse: The Buzz Coffee Shop on Main Street, next door to Shea’s.

The art opening takes place Saturday night, October 11th, from 6 – 9pm, at The Buzz, 698 Main St., Buffalo, 14202. Meet the artists, see/buy their work, and enjoy homemade food, along with coffee, tea and wine.

Greater Buffalo Knit-a-Thon in Williamsville to benefit Wounded Warriors

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The Williamsville Arts & Culture Committee, lead by Dick and Sharon Rich, is pleased to announce an upcoming Knit-a-Thon to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

You’ll want to call now to reserve your seat at the table for this unique event, where fellow knitters will be knitting squares to make into blankets to send to military hospitals.

If you’re ready to knit, call 716-308-1501 or email knitwmsvl@gmail.com to reserve your spot. The Knit-a-Thon takes place Sunday, Sept. 21, from 10am to 4pm in Williamsville. A minimum donation of $20 (cash or check) is required to participate, as proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior charity.

Piano mysteriously appears on Grant Street in Buffalo

This piano mysteriously appeared on Grant Street in Buffalo on August 31st. Who put it there?
This piano mysteriously appeared on Grant Street in Buffalo on August 31st. Who put it there?

Where did the piano on Grant Street come from?

Today I got an email from one of the owners of Westside Stories, the used book store on Grant Street in Buffalo. She said a colorful upright piano had appeared outside her store on the sidewalk and wondered if it was one of my “pianos in public.” I had placed a piano there in the summer of 2013, but did not place one there this year.

There have been 11 pianos pianos in public around Buffalo this summer, since May, and I’m literally just about to take the pianos off the streets since colder weather is coming and they can’t stay out all year long.

I wrote to two people who might have a clue about this mysterious piano on Grant– my piano mover and a West Side advocate associated with my project– and neither knew where it came from, how it got there, or who was responsible for it. Strangely, it was placed on the sidewalk assumedly on a Sunday morning at the end of August without anyone ever consulting the owners of Westside Stories.

The picture of the piano (posted above) was sent to me from the owner of Westside Stories. It’s a beautiful paint job and whomever put it there was smart to include a cover to protect it from the rain.

I am wondering who put a piano on Grant Street this week…if anyone knows and can solve this mystery, please email me at pianosinpublic@gmail.com. –Mark Weber www.BeautifulBuffalo.com

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A drive through Buffalo in pictures

Here are pictures from “The 33″ coming into downtown Buffalo, and then going through it, onto Lackawanna’s Our Lady of Victory Basilica. These pictures were taken during August 2014.

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Why HarborCenter is better than Bass Pro for Buffalo

The suburbanization of America meant that many American cities, like Buffalo, declined. Why? Well, people with money moved out to the suburbs, where they could have park-like settings, more open space to easily build new buildings on, and “free” parking. Why go to downtown Buffalo and be forced to park in a congested ramp, paying several dollars to do so, and then having to use an elevator to get to your office floor for work when you could park for free in your company’s nice and new expansive lot on former farm land in Clarence or Amherst and just walk in the front door of the one story “campus” building with no hassles?

When companies decided to move en masse to suburban “office parks,” downtowns declined. Without as many people working downtown, that meant less of a need for restaurants, retail and apartments downtown, so places like downtown Buffalo became ghost towns.

Government leaders wondered, “How do we attract people downtown?” For a long time, Buffalo’s leadership was solely focused on “Bass Pro.” For YEARS the idea of Bass Pro opening a giant fishing gear store downtown was thought to be the “silver bullet” project to save/revitalize a dead area. Frankly, it’s a good thing Bass Pro never did build downtown, and I say that because of this: you can get fishing gear anywhere. You can get it at Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Galleria Mall in Cheektowaga or Gander Mountain in Tonawanda. Or order stuff on Amazon.com and have it delivered to your house! With retail, there are no guarantees these days.

But HarborCenter– oh HarborCenter… now that’s a game changer for downtown Buffalo. What could have been just another hotel or office building is, instead, a gathering place for–get this– hockey players and their families. And hockey players spend a lot of time and money practicing and playing hockey. When little Matthew joins a hockey team, he needs rink time– after all, ice hockey is best practiced on ice.

June18 091And here’s the genius of HarborCenter: it has two brand new, giant, indoor, year-round ice rinks and all the amenities a hockey player needs. You can’t find ice rinks everywhere. It’s a major win for downtown Buffalo because demand for ice time is high and the availability of rinks in the region is low.

Unlike building a retail store and wondering if and when it will be successful and truly last, HarborCenter offers people something they can’t easily find elsewhere: indoor ice rinks for hockey practices and games.

In a place where people are passionate about hockey, HarborCenter will, without a doubt, draw thousands of people downtown. It’s one of the smartest developments the Buffalo area has seen in decades. –Mark Weber

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Photos from Buffalo’s Erie County Fair

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Buffalo, New York is in Erie County, one of New York State’s largest and most prosperous counties. Its 175th annual Erie County Fair in 2014 hit record attendance. 1,220,000 people attended the 12 day summer event, which featured local art on display, farm animals, rides, music concerts, demolition derbies, shopping, carnival acts, dancing, comedy, food and plenty more! For more info, click here. –Mark Weber

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Janet Meadows turns her creative skills into a design business

August14 1015Janet’s Meadows Floral Designs creates lasting reminders of people’s good times. Need a hat for church or catching people’s attention at a party? Janet’s got some bold, fun creations, like the purple creation atop LisaAnn’s head at “Taking It To The Streets” in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Janet also creates corsages, bouquets, center pieces, window displays and more. “Working in silks, but making it real” is her motto. Call Janet Meadows at 716-390-0148 or email JanetsMeadows@yahoo.com to connect and let her know you found out about her from BeautifulBuffalo.com. –Mark Weber

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Growing grapes near Buffalo, New York

When you think of Buffalo, New York, think about more than just snow and football…north, east and south of the city and its suburbs, you’ll find farm after farm after farm. The agriculture industry is alive and well in Western New York, with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables growing in the rich, Lake Erie-watered soil.

AgriAmerica, in Silver Creek, NY, is just one of many successful WNY farms. Acres and acres of grapes are grown here. If you ever drink Kedem grape juice, which you might be able to find on the shelves of your local Super Wal-Mart, know this: the grapes come from Silver Creek, NY/AgriAmerica! Besides grape juice, the grapes from AgriAmerica are used to make other products, including the most delicious grape pies you’ve ever tasted. At the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Fest in nearby Jamestown, NY, people love the pies! Grape pies were part of a celebration of “I Love Lucy,” complete with grape stomping and candy conveyor belts as tourists re-enacted classic Lucy moments. Fun!

Grape stomping for fun at the Lucille Ball Comedy Fest in Jamestown, NY
Grape stomping for fun at the Lucille Ball Comedy Fest in Jamestown, NY
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Pianos in Public Buffalo Pictures

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Thousands–yes thousands–of people have enjoyed seeing and playing the dozen pianos out around Buffalo, NY, this summer. With that in mind, BeautifulBuffalo.com presents a slideshow of Pianos In Public Buffalo pictures. Maybe you or someone you know is in one of the pics?! If you take pics at the pianos and want to upload them to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, please tag them #pianosinpublic so more people will see them! –Mark Weber

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Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo f/Taste of Buffalo

Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo is a nice looking street, with a mix of businesses, homes, churches, shops and more. Each summer, the Taste of Buffalo happens on Delaware Avenue, where dozens of local restaurants serve up samplings of their delectable offerings. Hundreds of thousands attend, and it’s a good time. Here are some pictures of what the scene looks like…

The Munoz family enjoy Pianos in Public

jessicamunozJessica Munoz sent this “family pic” from one of the world famous Pianos in Public Buffalo…It’s a great shot, and is indicative of the project’s purpose– to have anyone, including kids, not be afraid to touch a piano and see what happens. Far too many pianos have ‘do not touch’ signs on them, or they’re under lock and key. That’s a shame, because pianos were made to make noise– joyful noise– from all types of people, amateur and professional alike. Whether or not you are “annoyed” by a kid’s banging away on a piano, keep in mind that their “banging” could someday turn into a passionate love for the instrument/music in general, to the point where they’re entertaining you in concert! Rather than give kids iPads to play games, why not take them to an outdoor piano and just simply enjoy the fun of exploring what sounds the notes make? –Mark Weber

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City of Night Buffalo

For a spiritually depressed person, he or she needs to go back to where they came from in order to reignite their fire. Imagine, for instance, the moment you were baptized, or “saved,” or whatever it is you experienced that brought you new life…the same goes for cities. What made a once great city great? And can people go back to where the greatness started in order to catch the spirit once again?

Buffalo had its heyday many moons ago, when its hulking grain elevators helped elevate it to one of America’s Top 10 cities in terms of wealth and population. Buffalo’s grain elevators were effectively the middleman between farmers and people who needed to eat—so, in a big way, Buffalo helped feed America and its growth. With the grain elevators, trains, and a strategic location between New York City and Chicago, Buffalo was quite the hub of activity for many, many decades. After the 1950s, though, when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened, and trucking became more popular than boats and trains, slowly but surely Buffalo’s grain elevators went from bustling to idle. Couple that with the loss of Bethlehem Steel, another giant employer which helped build and grow America, and Buffalo became a sad shell of its former self. In essence, its light grew dim. The city lost faith and hope, mired in a long, painful depression.

However, something has been happening in Buffalo, New York, as of late that seems to signal a renaissance—a spiritual rebirth, if you will. The government is somewhat involved—ideally by getting out of the everyman’s way—while the creative thinkers, musicians, artists and doers are paving the way for Buffalo’s dramatic, intriguing and all together unexpected new life. Depressed Buffalo? Not so much anymore.

AutoCity 498“City of Night,” the brainchild of the Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, comes from young, civic-minded people like Dana Saylor and her group of fellow Buffalo believers who came up with something as out-of-the-box as could be: having a one-night sight-and-sound art experience on the grounds of—and inside, no less—Buffalo’s old grain elevators.

Most Buffalonians had never stepped foot onto the grain elevator property until “City of Night,” let alone had the awesome experience of going inside these gigantic, tall structures, standing in cement rooms once filled with grain.

The area, affectionately now referred to as “Silo City,” had largely been abandoned and as ugly as urban decay could be–not just for a couple years, but for generations. The grain elevators were and are a symbol of Buffalo, New York. Left to rot and die, they almost did. But then people with vision said, “You know, what if…”

“City of Night 2014” was like an eclectic cross between “Burning Man,” “Woodstock,” the “Erie County Fair,” “Disney World,” “Coney Island,” and the coolest party you could ever attend… Artists, musicians, dancers, merchants, food trucks, and some 15,000 or so guests came together for quite “the happening.” This was not a down-and-out Buffalo. This was a sure sign of Buffalo’s rebirth.

When hundreds gathered at the edge of the Buffalo River to release fire-burning lanterns into the nighttime sky, it symbolized lighting the flame of Buffalo once again. What had grown dim was—and is—now rekindled, literally looking upward for brighter days ahead and a better future for a city well worth saving.

You feel it in the air in Buffalo these days. The city is far from perfect, but for the first time in anyone’s memory—even the elderly—there are several large cranes dotting the downtown skyline. For other cities, cranes are the norm. For Buffalo, cranes and “City of Night,” and newly developed areas like “Canalside” and “Larkin Square” all point to one thing: a new Buffalo, re-purposed for a new century, ready for new growth, and fundamentally ready for new ideas by new people instead of entrenched in the old ways of nothing positive ever getting done. What an amazing time to be living in Buffalo, NY!

Hats off to City of Night’s Dana Saylor and her crew of Buffalo believers, from the people who drove the shuttle buses, to the volunteers who strapped admission bracelets onto visitors, and those who dressed up in costumes to entertain, as well as those who coordinated this truly one-of-a-kind, magnificent celebration of what makes Buffalo a place people want to be. It’s time the world re:think’s Buffalo. “City of Night” is a perfect example of visionaries coming together to help transform a city. The Buffalo you thought you knew is not the same Buffalo it is now becoming. Visit and see for yourself. –Mark Weber, BeautifulBuffalo.com

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The Comeback City

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