Back to After 50 Home Page

Gloom settles this late October evening
black cat grooms to my left
after kneading me purring
I needing her why? what for?
and to my right Kathy silently as always
these fifty-six years reading
feeding my senses
needing her in this room where
so long we’ve sat why? what for?

What do we think
we’re doing
have done
leading where we’ve been or will go
following what pattern on whose loom?

She came five years ago
a new focus on why? what for?
and we unwitting fell under her spell
no room for gloom in her frolic
but frolic yields to silence
gloom settles yet again
each time deeper until
needing cat and Kathy in the room
the cycle complete for a moment
I seem to know why what for.


-David Landrey
25 October 2015

ON THE MOVE From Celeste Lawson

H Welcome to November! The holiday season is officially launched as we note our surroundings are pretty much draped, stacked, and piled high with decorations for the house and yard and inside the home to celebrate whichever part of this season is important to you. It’s impossible to buy even a bottle of laundry detergent without crossing paths with a horn-o-plenty, Christmas garland, or glittering berries of some kind. Make no mistake, the push to be festive is everywhere!

However, I call your attention to an important cultural commemoration going on over the past year in our community, the 50th Anniversary of the year 1968, the year that essentially changed the world. It is especially notable for individuals old enough to recall and experience the effects of those events, namely the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April of 1968, then Senator Bobby Kennedy in June of that year. The riots and protests were taking place across the globe, including the anti-war protests in the United States and against all other forms of injustice and oppression by other nations in Eastern and Western Europe. The Beatles were at their peak and Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis. The list of events, both pleasant and horrific, is long for that year and worth revisiting and reflecting upon. More on that soon.

This month’s poem is written by David Landrey, who, in addition to being a highly regarded poet, is also Professor Emeritus of Literature at State University College at Buffalo where he taught for 35 years and developed courses in American Postmodern Poets. Landrey also spent time in Turkey as a Fulbright lecturer. He has published essays on William Bronk, the award-winning poet and career businessman who ran his family’s lumber business for nearly 30 years, as well as star poets Robert Creeley and Joel Oppenheimer. In addition, Landrey has two books of his own work, Consciousness Suite (Spuyten Duyvil Books, 2009) and Intermezzi to Divorce Poems and Dinner Table Scenes. However, I know David best as an unwavering participant in Buffalo’s literary community. He is a popular reader among the poetry-lovers crowd and someone who is generous with knowledge, great at collaboration, and finds the most creative ways to engage poets in their crafts through projects such as Buffalo State’s Anne Frank Project and 100 Thousand Poets For Change, where he was at ground zero in the planning and development of these projects that are now mainstays in our city. I had the privilege of participating in that first (and subsequent) 1000 Thousand Poets For Change event that took place on the Buffalo State College campus. He offers opportunities for poets to stretch their point of view and relationships to writing poetry that I find inspirational. One such opportunity focused on his collaboration with local star poet, Sherry Robbins, by challenging poets to imagine and write poems that correlated to a selection of poems in her book, and, the Whale, in which she wrote a poem for each chapter of Melville’s Moby Dick only focused on motherhood.

Now, David is collaborating with an ensemble of some of our area’s most notable jazz musicians on an initiative called “Jazz Impressions: 1968” conceived by John Bacon, Jr., an outstanding percussionist, composer, and music educator. This inaugural series of concerts is made possible in part by a grant from The Sportmen’s Americana Music Foundation in Buffalo. The project actually got underway in October (yes, regretfully, I missed the beginning of it). Bacon enlisted participation from the region’s most prominent jazz musicians to perform in this concert series. He also enlisted musicians from the Jazz Composers Workshop who will compose music to original poems that are themed or linked in someway to the events of 1968, either on a personal level or the known events of the day. These concerts and others take place this month! I’ve listed the schedule for “Jazz Impressions: 1968.” Thank you, David, for another wonderful opportunity for poets to interact and intersect with other artists and our community in an exciting way!

Friday, November 2, 8pm

Burchfield Penney Art Museum
The Buffalo Jazz Octet will present their arrangements of well-known pop songs from 1968. Their special guests will be music historian, Charles Mancuso and poet, Michael Hopkins.

Saturday, November 10, 7:30pm; Sunday, November 11– 2:30pm

The Buffalo History Museum.

Star People Plays Miles Davis in 1968. This performance will feature music from the 1968 Miles Davis recordings “Filles de Kilimanjaro” and “Miles in the Sky.” Special guests for this concert include Jeff Miers, Buffalo News critic who will offer some insight and social commentary, and Constance Caldwell, actress, who will interpret short selections from the writings of James Baldwin, Denise Levertov, and even William Shakespeare as they relate to 1968 and today.

Wednesday, November 14, 8pm

The Buffalo Jazz Composers (BJC) Workshop and Landrey’s Poetry Alliance at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center.

The BJC Workshop is a collective organized by saxophonist, Kelly Bucheger, and the performance will feature the results of original poetry written by members of the the Alliance put to newly composed music by BJC Workshop musicians. Yours truly will be among the participants, and I am truly excited!

Friday, November 16, time TBA, likely 7pm

Second Reader Bookshop on Hertel Avenue where poets and musicians come together and not only read one or two of their original works, but a poem from a writer who was active and outspoken in 1968. This should be lots of fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 6pm

Jazz Impressions: 1968 – Let’s Celebrate!

At some point, all the fabulous musicians who are part of this project will be on stage sharing their talent and we will send special shout-outs to Sportmen’s Americana Music Foundation, The Cullen Foundation, and The Buffalo Jazz Collective.

There is still more to do and other great entertainment options for you to explore. Make November your month to enjoy it all. Please remember to honor and celebrate the men and women in our Armed Forces this Veterans Day, both active and inactive.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s

Now thru January 2019, 10am-5pm

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14222

Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s revisits the vivacious imaginings of one of the most culturally, politically, and artistically significant periods of the twentieth century. Admission: $12. For more information, call 882-8700 or e-mail

The Three Musketeers

November 1-18, Thursdays, 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 2pm
Shea's 710 Theatre, 710 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14202

Set in 1625, this classic tale of swashbuckling adventure explores the themes of heroism, secrets, and love. This is a collaborative production by five local theaters. Tickets: $44. For information, call 847-1410.


November 2-18, Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30pm; Sundays, 2:30pm

Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY, 14086

The award-winning, late-60s megahit based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Tickets: $30. For more information, call 683-1776 ext. 0.

Tim Reynolds & TR3

Saturday, November 3, 8pm

Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14222

Tim Reynolds, Dave Matthews Band guitarist and two-time Grammy nominee, is on the road with his group, TR3, featuring bassist Mick Vaughn and drummer Dan Martier. TR3, is known for their fusion of funk, rock, and jazz. Tickets: $30-$35. For more information, call 878-3005.

Buffalo’s Original Art Walk

Friday, November 9, 5pm-9pm; Saturday, November 10 and Sunday, November 11, 10am-5pm

This open studios weekend features over 100 artists. Many locations have numerous artists exhibiting their work. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore these studios not usually open to the public and visit with the artists in a relaxed setting. For more information, call 881-2199.

Puddles Pity Party

November 9, 8pm

Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14222

The “Sad Clown with the Golden Voice.” This Pity Party is not all sadness; it is peppered with a brilliant sense of the absurd, mixing lots of humor with the awkward, tender moments. Puddles has appeared on America’s Got Talent and video collaborations with Postmodern Jukebox. Tickets: $35-$45. For more information, call 878-3005.

Buffalo Chamber Players– It’s Just A Phrase: Composers and the 1960s

November 15, 7:30pm

The 1960s were a time of social, political, and cultural unrest and this manifested itself in the art and music of the period. Complementing the Albright-Knox’s exhibition Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s, the Buffalo Chamber Players concert program explores the various musical trends of the 1960s. The program also features Ann Burnidge Dance of Buffalo. Tickets: $20. For more information, call 882-8700.

Manmade Earth

Friday, November 16th – Sunday, November, 7:30pm

Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14212

Manmade Earth is at the intersection of performance and installation. The audience for the performance are the authors of the work. In this piece, an ever-shifting landscape of objects and materials are manipulated by the audience. Manmade Earth, how we come together to create what we could not on our own. Tickets: $25. For more information, call 812-5733.

Christmas at the Wurlitzer

November 17-18, 10am-5pm

The Wurlitzer Building, 908 Niagara Falls Boulevard, North Tonawanda, NY, 14120

A wonderful event for arts and crafts lovers in this very special venue; come and experience this beautifully repurposed former manufacturing facility while you cross items off your holiday shopping list!

Mike Super 2.OH!

Saturday, November 17, 3pm

Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda, NY, 14120

Mike Super returns to our stage with a brand new show and all new magic! Instead of 2.0 he calls it 2.OH! because of his newly created, never before seen magical displays of jaw dropping moments! Tickets: $24 - $75. For more information, call 692-2413.

Art of Jazz: The Sullivan Fortner Trio

November 17, 8pm

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14222

The latest in a line of New Orleans piano phenomenon, pianist Sullivan Fortner has been hailed by the New York Times as “a wondrous player, light of touch and vested with fleet, dazzling power.” Winner of the prestigious American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship, Fortner has been heard around the world. Tickets: $29. For more information, call 882-8700.

A Drag Queen Christmas

Saturday, November 17, 8pm

Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14202

This fun and naughty tour rolls through Buffalo – the must see annual holiday spectacular with your favorite contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race (on VH1)! Tickets: $20. For more information, call 847-1410.

Superheroes Soundtrack

Saturday, November 24, 7pm

Kleinhans Music Hall, 370 Pennsylvania Avenue, Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201

A supersized musical treat for Thanksgiving weekend. John Morris Russell features iconic themes and the latest scores from the Marvel Universe. Hear your favorites from Batman, Superman, The Avengers, and more than a few surprises! Tickets range from: $29 - $85. For more information, call 885-5000.

Handel’s Messiah

Sunday, November 25, 7:30pm

Our Lady of Victory National Shrine & Basilica, 767 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, NY, 14218

The orchestra joins the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for a celebration of the season with Handel’s masterwork in one of Western New York’s most beautiful and inspiring churches. Tickets: General Admission: $25, VIP: $50. For more information, call 980-5701.

Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist

Tuesday, November 27, 8pm

Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda, NY, 14120

Lindsey Buckingham is widely considered one of the greatest living guitar players and songwriters of our time. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and 3-time Grammy award winner, Buckingham is a celebrated solo artist best known as the producer, guitarist, vocalist, and chief songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. Tickets: $55 - $85. For more information, call 692-2413.

The Nutcracker presented by Buffalo City Ballet

Saturday, December 1, 7pm and Sunday, December 2, 3pm

Buffalo Academy of the Visual and Performing Arts, 450 Masten Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209

Tickets: $18 -$20. For more information, visit <> or call 833-1243.

Silent Night

Friday, November 30, Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2

Silent Night is a Pulitzer Prize-winning opera. Buffalo Opera Unlimited is excited to present this true story of an unofficial Christmas Eve truce between French, Scottish, and German soldiers during World War I. The opera is sung in English, French, and German; English subtitles will be projected. Silent Night is particularly relevant this year, since 2018 marks 100 years since the end of WWI. Tickets: $30.

Any thoughts, you can email me at


Celeste Lawson is a long-time arts advocate, arts administrator, and artist in WNY. Over the years she has worked with arts organizations locally, statewide, and nationally including the National Endowment on the Arts, Americans for the Arts, NYS Council on the Arts, the NYS Council on the Humanities and the NY Foundation on the Arts.