Local & regional news

Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Buffalo, NY – Storming the stage in a white three-piece suit, purple tie and stylish fedora, Tommie Babbs became the winner of the first UB Idol singing contest during the Bulls Backyard Bash in Alumni Arena.

Babbs, senior academic advisor in Student Advising Services, performed a soulful rendition of "Always and Forever" by Luther Vandross.

Buffalo, NY – Erie County announced Tuesday that it is giving a parcel of land to a non-profit corporation that will build a boathouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

You can hear the story by clicking the "listen" icon above.

Buffalo, NY – Theatre Critic Grant Golden reviews the Shaw Festival production of "Belle Moral."

Click the "listen" icon above or use your podcasting software to download Grant's review to your computer.

Buffalo, NY – Christopher Jamele presents the August 2005 almanac. Click the "listen" icon above to hear it.

Buffalo, NY – Theatre Critic Grant Golden reviews the Shakespeare in Delaware Park production of "Hamlet."

Click the "listen" icon above.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and they reflect on the role of tragedy in drama in the wake of this week's terrorist bombings in London. Tony cites the Greek tragedy Hecuba currently on a US tour.

Chautauqua Institution, NY – Oliver Thomas knows that his credentials are usually listed as Baptist minister, representative of the National Council of Churches and a lot of other big religious groups. But Thomas points out that he's also co-authored a handbook for the ACLU on religion in public schools, protecting the first amendment for everyone. A minister, lawyer, author and community leader, Thomas delivers next Friday's lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, "Church and State in America: Battle Ground or Common Ground."

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony play a selection from Spam-A-Lot as they discuss CDs from hit musicals. It can be helpful if tickets to the show are hard to come by, but then again not every musical is good. Also, a review of Romeo and Juliet, this summer's first presentation of Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

Buffalo, NY – Jim sings the praises of air conditioning, which makes for a more enjoyable summer theater experience. Jim and Tony discuss the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, although neither has seen it! Tony also talks about his recent New York visit to see Constant Wife (which will also be at the Shaw Festival), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Kathleen Turner, and The Paris Letter. Also, a list of some local offerings.

Kelli Bocock-Natale as Sophie Tucker

Buffalo, NY – Jim is upbeat about the return of the Louis Prima-inspired musical Zooma Zooma at Studio Arena. Tony discusses The Devils at the Mickiewicz Theater, and Tony admits he actually SANG at Monday night's Arties awards. Congratulations to all the winners, especially to WBFO Community Relations Associate Kelli Bocock-Natale and to frequent WBFO contributor Gary Earl Ross.

Adam Guettel

Buffalo, NY – WBFO's Christopher Jamele presents his almanac for June 2005. He continues his chronicles of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 200 years ago. Chris also tells us June is known as National Dairy Month and National Accordian Awareness Month.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear more.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – WBFO Theatre Critic Grant Golden reviews the Shaw Festival Theatre presentation of "You Never Can Tell," by George Bernard Shaw.

It runs in the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario through November 26th.

Golden gives this production his highest rating, adding an "A" to his top rating of "KO," for an "A-KO." Click the "listen" icon to hear his review.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony discuss the revivals of Gypsy, which is featured at two different area locales. Also, Tony recommends Vanessa Redgrave in Hecuba at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the guys remind you not to miss the Tony awards on Sunday.

Buffalo, NY – Here is the May 2005 almanac, written and produced by WBFO's Weekend Edition host, Christopher Jamele. Click the "listen" icon to hear it.

Buffalo, NY – Click the "listen" icon above to hear Christopher Jamele's presentation of his January 2005 Almanac.

One of Western New York's most acclaimed writers returns home to Buffalo Friday night. Internationally known, award winning poet Lucille Clifton is the special guest of the Locust Street Art Center. Clifton will offer a reading and share memories of her early years growing up on Buffalo's East Side.

Buffalo, NY – Jim and Tony prepare their crowns, tiaras and toupees for tonight's Curtain Up celebrations in downtown Buffalo. They also pay tribute to Fred Ebb, and discuss the Kavinoky production of Anything Goes.

Buffalo, NY – The project is called "World of Voices," a collaboration to promote cultural awareness through literature. It's a three part collaboration. One part is the funder, the Oishei Foundation. Another part is the publisher, White Pine Press. And the final part is the literary center, Just Buffalo. The goal is to connect with high-need inner city students.

The first of 12 writers-in-residence is Native American author Maurice Kenny. Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mary Van Vorst's Spoken Arts.

Buffalo, NY – Something funny has been going on around here this summer. Wheels. As far as the eye and the imagination could see.

Dozens of local artists put their most creative thoughts into motion earlier this year for "Art on Wheels." Fifty-seven artworks have been on display across the region all summer for "Art on Wheels."

It's getting ready to roll out. But not without one last big "Wheel-O-Rama."

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – The Royal Family by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber continues at the Shaw Festival through November 23rd.

Broadway was at its peak in 1927, the year The Royal Family opened. The ascendancy of the cinema and the effects of the Depression were yet to come, and the power and cachet of the Broadway stage created huge stars who were treated like - royalty!

Buffalo, NY – William Kennedy counts it as a gift that he's been able to stay in one place and know it as intimately as he knows Albany. It's been the site of all seven of his novel, including his Pulitzer Prize winning "Ironweed." His latest work is a political novel called "Roscoe."

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mary Van Vorst's profile of Kennedy in Spoken Arts.

Buffalo, NY – Ken Edwards lives in London, where he writes and runs a small publication called "Reality Street Editions." He and his wife vacationed in Buffalo this summer, exchaging homes with a friend.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mary Van Vorst's profile of Ken Edwards.

Buffalo, NY – Patricia O'Conner is not only a former editor for the New York Times, she's a person who checks her e-mail eight times a day. So, she knows of what she speaks when it comes to e-mail etiquette. O'Conner has come out with a new edition of her book, "Woe Is I: A Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English." She takes on the "wired world" as well as reader questions about "ain't and gonna."

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mary Van Vorst's interview with O'Conner in Spoken Arts.

Buffalo, NY – Fifty-two of the world's most famous paintings are now in Buffalo. "Masterworks from the Phillips Collections" is the latest banner exhibition at the Albright Knox Art Gallery. The exhibit includes rarely traveled paintings from the world-renowned Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to come see the beautiful paintings.

Chautauqua Institution, NY – Margaret Somerville is tackling the ethical issues of our times. In her book, "The Ethical Canary," she takes on euthanasia, human reproduction, organ transplants and more.

Somerville began as a lawyer in her native Australia, then earned her PhD in medicine, ethics and law. She appears this Friday during the week three lecture series at the Chautauqua Institution.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Mary Van Vorst's "Chautauqua Preview."

Buffalo, NY – It's a book for word lovers, especially lovers of rare words, which is in fact the name of the book, Rare Words. Written by a father-daughter team, the book is a collection of what the two call "500 arcane but useful words for language lovers." Click the "listen" icon above to hear Jan and Hallie Leighton as they join WBFO's Mary Van Vorst for Spoken Arts.

Buffalo, NY – Some of the biggest names in jazz are on stage all this week as the Rochester Jazz Festival continues.

Headlining the event is none other than the legendary and timeless Tony Bennett.

Bennett performs at 8:00 Wednesday night at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester.

WBFO's Joyce Kryszak talked with Bennett by phone about what keeps his career singing.

When Bennett's career began, his fans were screaming teenagers wearing bobby socks. Today, Bennett's fans are just as likely their grandchildren.

Buffalo, NY – WBFO's Chris Jamele presents a new feature on Weekend Edition Sunday. It's a monthly almanac. Click the "listen" icon above to hear the June almanac. In the future, we hope to include Chris' script along with the audio feature.