Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don't Worry, I'll Get to Them Soon

I had a couple of longer pieces all ready to write tonight that I've been meaning to get to for a few days or so, but I am getting one of my "in the back of the head (left or right side) weather vane pains" that I get when there is a major change in the atmospheric pressure.
With concentration out the window, I will wait until tomorrow to get to my other posts, including one on my Internet use of "yam bag" (borrowed with care from Chris Smith/Buffalo Geek) as well as a story that contains/connects my optometrist, drummer/artist Rob Lynch and the late Mark Freeland.
Stay tuned.

Commercial Appeal?

Is anyone else out there as sick of the advertisements for "The Transformers" movie and all of the damn commercial tie-ins for it as I am? I can hardly wait for The Transformers suppository and personal lubrication commercials.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good Tribute to Mark

Tina Peel of 107.7 The Lake deserves credit for putting together a very good, 2-hour tribute show to Mark Freeland on the station's Local Show Monday night.
She used parts of several interviews she conducted with Mark over the years, played a lot of his music from Electroman, Pegasus/Pegasonics and Mark solo (including some live Pegasus from McVan's) and interviews and information with/from Robby Takac and Dan Page.
If you missed the live broadcast of the show, go to The Lake's web site for its replay.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary ...

Yes, kind readers, yesterday, June 23, was Val and my 5th wedding anniversary; Val had to work due to vacation spots being all taken at work, but we were able to exchange gifts and go to Trattoria Aroma a block or two from home for a great dinner and relax at home.
I have previously blogged about our wedding day in Las Vegas and the ceremony at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel; coincidentally, our brother-in-law, Brad Dossinger, recently copied our wedding video to DVD and we watched it, to much laughter, a few weeks ago, but it was one of the best days of my life.
While all of our anniversaries have been great, possibly the most memorable was our first anniversary, which we spent in Ireland. We got to visit some of our family's origins as well as lots of other fascinating sites, and we stayed several days at the home of Toby Sachsenmeier, formerly of Buffalo, who lives just outside of Doolin, County Clare, and works as a psychologist for the government.
We spent our anniversary in County Clare, almost all in Doolin itself, having a great seafood dinner with Toby and a couple of other people and then spending hours and hours outside; we had the great timing of having our anniversary on the midsummer's solstice, and the amount of daylight was amazing, staying bright until 10 p.m. or so. Of course, we did stop inside McGann's on Doolin's main street several times for music, talk and liquid refreshment.
One major part of the mid-summer's solstice celebration in Ireland is the building and lighting of bonfires, and there were several serious ones in our location on the mid-west shores of Ireland. One was about two miles south of us, another about a mile or two north of us, but the one that was built on the east side of the bridge just outside McGann's (there is a great photo of Val and I on that bridge that night) was amazing. About 20-30 kids age 8-15 dragged over wood, cardboard and other combustibles, piling them up to about 10-15 feet high, with virtually no help from adults or older teens. The leader was an alpha male, about age 13, in a blue and yellow football/soccer jersey who both ordered a lot of youths around and would lead by example when they weren't sure what he was trying to get them to do.
Finally, the bonfire was lit with the help of a few pieces of burning kindling and some accelerant (possibly gasoline, but no one was saying for sure). The flames easily lept up 30-50 feet, and it burned for hours as we all just watched, smiled and had lots of conversations with new friends. Damn, the Irish we encountered, as well as Americans, Germans, Brits and others that night and 10 days we were there, were friendly, with or without the assistance of Guinness or Harp.
In the end, every anniversary of ours has been memorable and wonderful because it means that I am maried to Val, the absolute love of my life and incredible photographer, web mistress, wife and woman.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday ...

This is a weekend I almost didn't expect would get here and am glad has arrvied; I am exhausted, physically and emotionally, and I have some important things to do; indeed, I have to leave in less than an hour to get it all started.
Fortunately, part of the weekend events is an absolutely wonderful celebration that I will tell you more about later, but let's just say it includes Val and I, with me smiling nonstop since midnight and continuing to smile.
It will also include more remembrances and contact with out-of-town friends, family and colleagues, and Val and I appreciate and continue to be humbled by the many visitors to our blog seeking information and consolation following the death of Mark Freeland.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yep, Dumb and Tired Go Together

Well, lots of things, from work to the events around Mark Freeland's death and remembrance and other activities, have left me a virtual sleep-free zone this week and I am still exhausted.
So, of course, I had a bit of a goof I should have caught in a couple of my posts, referring to a new plane that Mark is on as a "plain." My apologies and thanks to the incredible understanding of an anonymous poster.

Some Good Writing on Mark Freeland

Artvoice major domo Jamie Moses did a fine job on his article on Mark Freeland in the paper's newest edition.
Like Val recommended on her blog, Creative Buffalo, while you can click the link above, it is best read and appreciated if you pick up a copy of the new Artvoice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Memories Can't Wait

I don't think I actually could give a full description of how the memorial service and wake for Mark Freeland (I just can't say "the late") went Monday and Tuesday, and it wouldn't have been proper or respectful from my perspective to have taken notes/recorded the proceedings. Hearing, seeing and living them was the right thing to do as Mark left for another plane.
But some observations should be made: the friends and family of Mark who spoke at his service allowed all of us to try to make a bit of sense of his tragic leaving too soon, added some levity, revelation and understanding to Freeland's passing, something we either can't or, in some way, don't want to totally understand and normalize. Tony Billoni, longtime artist, musician, event presenter and friend, did a fine job in coordinating the speakers and presenters as well as shared some interesting, touching memories. (Val and I saw Tony at Tuesday night's Richard Thompson show at the Tralf; Tony made a fine point of noting that it was time for "some musical healing.")
You could see it was hard on all of them to relate either the events and memories that they experienced with Mark, or like Mar Penner, told of of her dream about Mark and his family the morning he died that was so much more than simply a dream.
The attendance of friends and relatives from Buffalo, Western New York and out of town was tremendous; we all noted that while this wasn't the way we wanted to see each other, it did good for our souls and to help muddle through Mark leaving this world to see each other, which Mark was no doubt enjoying. All of the seating in the main room was filled during the memorial, as well as several other rooms and with people standing in the hallways and sitting on the main room's floor.
Of course, if you think about it, most funeral homes would be awfully crowded with the musicians and artists Freeland worked and created with over the years. Some of them could be seen during the visitation time in a separate room, the video room, which played live videos and some interview/first person pieces of Freeland and were absolutely wonderful.
Many people also contacted family and friends through the Internet and by phone; we were honored and touched that so many people checked this blog and Val's Creative Buffalo blog for information on Mark's passing and to comment on the blogs and in private e-mails. If we were in any way able to help people communicate, understand, stay in touch with and touch others about Mark's death, then we feel this blog has achieved more than we ever expected. We also were very happy to see other blogs adding to those communications and appreciate some fine writing, including Beth, who has been e-mailing Val as well.
Val also received an e-mail from Candi, better known to many as Candio or cmercer, one of the best and most imaginative writers on local music I ever encountered and enjoyed, as well as a fashion designer. She is one of the writers I read who made me think I could try this music writing thing.
There will be more memories, greetings and circumstances related to Mark Freeland that Val and I will be writing about (and another photo is coming soon), so I will put this keyboard down for now.

Catching Up

Val and I went to the wake for Mark Freeland Monday night and the memorial for him Tuesday, as well as the following reception at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Due to emotional tiredness and the fact that we attended the Richard Thompson show at the Tralfamadore Cafe Tuesday night, nothing came to mind when I finally sat down to the computer.
I will try to make sense of a few things and relate a few other events pertaining to Mark Freeland and his legacy tonight, when I allegedly get some time, but you should check out some of Val's comments on the whole matter at her blog, Creative Buffalo.
Oh, and that Richard Thompson guy can sure play guitar.

Monday, June 18, 2007


As Val and I drove to meet my mother for a memorial Mass for my late father Edward and take her out for her birthday dinner Saturday, we only listened to one CD in the car the whole time, Mark Freeland's Electrospective, featuring music from Electroman and Freeland solo.
On the way home, we stopped for gasoline, and as we pulled out of the station, song 10, "Girl Power," both of our favorite Electroman song, played; as you might imagine, we absolutely cranked the song. When it finished, I decided to play it again, and Val laughed that she had been doing this for the past few days whenever that song came on the CD. We discovered that from the NOCO station at Genesee and Holtz in Cheektowaga to home in the Elmwood Village of Buffalo, taking the Kensington Expressway to the Scajaquada Expressway and getting off at the Delaware Avneue exit, it takes four playings of "Girl Power," the only song we listened to from that point until we got home.
I am happy and fortunate at how much of Freeland's music, in Electroman, the Fems and elsewhere I got to play while a DJ at WBNY 91.3 FM at Buffalo State College from 1984-1985. As well as sitting in to do The Local Show when then-host John Hudson went home to New York City during breaks, I played all local music from 8-9 a.m. (minus the 8:30 a.m. newscast) during my 6-10 a.m. Wednesday air shift.
The management at WBNY allowed certain DJs who knew the music well to bring in music from there own collections without having to get it authorized first, so I brought in my Pegasonics' "New New York" album among other recordings to supplement the Electroman, Fems, Freeland solo and other music. I am also breaking out as much vinyl and cassettes as I can to go along with Val's Electrospective CD.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Still Way Off Target

Readers here may remember me writing about receiving campaign material and a donation request from Republican presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney a few months ago, something rather interesting for a liberal registered Democrat like me.
I was hoping it would be an isolated incident, sense of humor or not, but I have now received a few mailings and donation solicitations from the campaign of Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
It is oh, so surprising how belligerent his letter is toward Democrats, and is it is almost worth laughing out loud over when the letter states "The American dream includes peace abroad," which he uses to support ... staying on the offensive overseas on the alleged "war on terrorism." It would be funny of more than 3,000 American military personnel and many thousands of other people hadn't already died in this misguided war and occupation.

Billy Joe Shaver at the Sportsmen Sold Out

Yes, that's right, another of the private concert series shows at the Sportsmen's Tavern, on Amherst Street near Grant Street, has sold out, this time the Billy Joe Shaver show slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24.
Dwane, Ken and everybody at the Sportsmen's deserve thanks and congratulations for the job they do booking and promoting shows there, the vast majority remaining free shows, as well as bringing serious big-time shows for prices that allow us to catch some great artists and for the bar to continue to do what it does with the best in honky tonk, roots rock and similar styles of music.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Resiliency, Thy Name Is Carla

It shouldn't be too surprising that through the death and remembrance of musician/artist extraordinaire Mark Freeland, that people are inspired to go beyond what me may think is to be expected of them.
Val and I went to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to see and hear the presentation and talk of Magnum photographer Ken Heyman last night; I dropped Val off near the door and parked the car.
When I met up with her, she was talking to someone who looked familiar but I kept telling myself it couldn't be, but it was; the person was Carla (Levorchick), Mark's partner for many years. Carla seemed in amazingly good shape; while she told Val she was "really out of it," Carla was very clear, intelligent and calm. What we spoke about will remain private, but Val and I have to smile knowing not only how much strength Mark gave Carla over the years, but how much strength Carla gave Mark and continues to give the rest of us.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mark Freeland, RIP

I don't know if I can match the wonderful post Val wrote earlier tonight on the passing of musician and artist Mark Freeland, but I would be remiss if I didn't comment.
Mark is definitely one of the most gifted musicians (singer, songwriter and guitarist), artists (mainly painting) and creative forces this city has ever experienced, and few musicians or artists have either spread the amount of joy Freeland did or displayed the joy he felt in performing and creating.
Inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 1987, Freeland is best know for his bands/bands he was a member of: Electroman, Pegasus/Pegasonics, the Fems and Erectronics, as well as his time in the New York City band Our Daughter's Wedding, to name the best known. Nothing was too outrageous, from music and costumes to comments and subject matter, for Freeland, but Mark was in no way a shock artist and frequently added pop culture and humor.
One of my five all-time best/favorite songs created and recorded by a Buffalo/Western New York band is "Girl Power" by Electroman, off the band's "Come" album. But my best memories of Mark go more to he and Electroman playing "Girl Power" live; Freeland would play off the pounding, martial drum and bass first with power chords, then screaming lead guitar, all the while beaming from an ear-to-ear smile, not only showing his joy with playing the song, but with entertaining the audience and seeing them get off on his performance.
Mark gave a lot, took a lot, lived hard and showed us a lot of talent, caring, joy and love. I considered myself basically a professional acquaintance of Mark for many years, enjoying his music most of the time and writing just that, but also not enjoying and writing critically of him (some longtime readers of mine may remember the late 1990s incident at the Showplace Theater, written about elsewhere). But when Mark saw Val and I start dating and realized how seriously I was in love with Val, our relationship thawed to actually saying hello to each other and for him to invite me to join Val in visiting his apartment a few years ago, He was not only a gracious host, but, not surprisingly, a great story teller. I told Val as we left that I should try to see if Mark would agree to an interview some day; sadly, Mark is in a new plain, but he really did tell his story with music and art.
We send our heartfelt condolences and love to Carla and the entire Freeland family, and Mark and his brother Jimbo will be starting a great band for some new fans.

Mark Freeland

Mark doing the Conn/Normal mural summer 1988

As many of you may know, Mark Freeland passed away early this morning after a long fight with cancer.
Mark and I were close friends in the late 80's. I was just finishing college (for the 2nd try), and I was, well, pretty green. I decided that I wanted to be the photographer to the stars. That's how we met - I was showing him some shots from an Electroman show, and it snowballed from there.
I saw countless Electroman, Fems and Erectronics shows, as well as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (many, many times). And we just hung out a lot. Watched him make art and practice guitar; we talked about everything and nothing.
Had a class called "Words and Music" at Buff State. As our final paper for the semester, the professor wanted us to pick apart the words and music of the artist of our choice, using recordings and sheet music. Thinking that was pretty cold, I asked the prof if I could interview a musician that I knew, and give him a tape of recordings. Mark was on board - I sat with a tape recorder and he went on about everything (though I tried to keep music as the subject). I wrote the paper and handed it in.
I showed up to take the final exam. The professor caught me at the door with my paper in hand. He gave it to me, and said, in effect, that if I have friends like that, I will be able to learn a lot more about the subject from Mark than I would get from a class. He then excused me from the final, telling me that I already had an A.
That is a story that encompasses my friendship with Mark. Yeah, there were some rough times, but I learned more from him than I knew when it was happening. He was a fantastic artist, and he was so encouraging about what I was doing and what I wanted to be.
I didn't know he was sick until a few weeks ago. We had grown apart; only saw each other every once in a while. I knew that he didn't want people to know. I sent him a card a few weeks ago, under the guise of sending him some pictures that I found. I hope that he saw it....
I know I am in the company of many when I write that Buffalo lost a huge creative force today.
If you are familiar with my feelings about death, you'll know that I'm sure he's on a different plane - no more pain. Hangin' with Jimbo, happy. Rest in peace, Mark.

Note: There are many online tributes to Mark. One is Jeff Miers' tribute in Saturday's Buffalo News, and Beth ( who comments frequently on this and the Creativebflo blog) has a great piece on her SwampCrone blog. Please keep us up on anything else you see in the comments!

Nullstadt Review

OK folks- the Nullstadt review is (finally) up! Sorry it took so long- long stories.....Enjoy (we did!)

Val Has Been Busy

My lovely wife, photographer, web mistress and blogger Val Dunne has been rather busy lately. In particular, I would like to point you fine readers to her coments on the Allentown "Arts" Festival at her blog, Creative Buffalo.
And yes, I know, I promised to write some things about the Allentown shindig this year, and I will, but Val makes some very good points, some I was going to raise, so check it out soon.

Nullstadt at

My review and Val's photos of the Nullstadt reunion show and Mark Nowak's presentation on the band's music and the community around it and The Continental in the early-mid-1980s are now posted at Buffaloroots.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

After being down for more than a week of frustration such as server problems, and its network of blogs finally returned to the Internet over the weekend.
There are some changes, good and bad, and I may check in with more details on them soon; Jaquandor already has, and he isn't overly impressed so far.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stop Me Before I ...

So, the weekend can often be for catching up on sleep, huh? Not when the "Unchained Melody" playing outside is from chainsaws.
All week, a crew has been working at and around a house across the street and on a bit of a diagonal from us; I am a 6 a.m. waker and leave for work by 7:45 a.m., so I have not been around when this crew of slappies has started Monday through Friday.
This morning, Saturday, the crew started with the chainsaws, shouting and general banging around and rudeness at precisely 8 a.m., just after Val left for work.
Along with the chainsaw and other noise related to lack of manners, these putzes have conducted their general douchebaggery with voices set to stun, which allows one to realize just how low the mentality of some people using sharp, potent power tools can be. Our particular Elmwood Village neighborhood has very closely packed houses for the most part, so I am getting to hear F&*@#ING everything; so is Walker Evans, who is joining the fray with his barking.
Unfortunately, Saturday morning is not a good time to try to figure out what the noise codes and other law enforcement related laws and rules are in Buffalo, so I don't know if there is a specific time at which these tools are not supposed to be using their tools. Argh; at least I know that they can find where they are going next (and not soon enough), Pine Ridge Road in Cheektowaga.

Can I Be Haunted by a Coin?

Am I the only one freaked out and in no way used to the repositioning of the head of President Thomas Jefferson, and the new facial expression he has, on the new 2007 quarters? I just did a quadruple take on one as I emptied my pockets.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

I had planned on writing about a few things last night, but they will have to wait until later today. I dozed off/fell asleep not once, not twice but three times on the couch, no doubt all to Val's major appreciation.
With Val back to working weekends for the moment, it's not like we had an overly strenuous Friday night, simply going out to dinner and then a stop at, hold on to your hats, Target. At least I gave Val time to work on some computer graphics jobs.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Read All About It, Er, I Mean Mark

I forgot to mention it when it was first posted, but an interview I did with Mark Norris, of Mark Norris and the BackPeddlers and formerly of girlpope, has been posted to our web site, Buffaloroots.
Mark is one of the best singers, songwriters and guitarists I have heard, and he is also one of the genuine good guys of the Buffalo music community. The article also has a photograph of Mark by Val, the web mistress of the site.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sports Bloggers to Meet? In Public?

Yes, a party for us bloggers who congregated with Kevin P. and company at Bfloblog for live threads during much of the Buffalo Sabres hockey season will be held at 8 p.m. tonight, Monday, June 4, at JJ's, the sports bar at Casa di Pizza, 477 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.
Not only will it be fun to meet old and new friends, but Val and I would certainly enjoy watching Ottawa fall behind Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Finals, 3 games to 1.

Read All About It

An interview I conducted with Mark Norris of Mark Norris and the Backpeddlers, and formerly of girlpope, is now posted at our web site, Buffaloroots.
Coming later this week (the story is done and the page needs to be designed and posted) is a review of the Nullstadt reunion show at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Amy LaVere at the Sportsmen's June 6

Amy LaVere and her band have been booked for a free, last-minute show at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at the Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
LaVere is currently number 18 on the Americana charts with her new CD, Anchors and Anvils, on Archer Records, and has been receiving a lot of good reviews. She is also known to many for her portrayal of Wanda Jackson in the Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash biopic, "I Walk the Line."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It Was 20, Er, 40 Years Ago Today (Kind Of)

So, the Beatles' classic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album was released 40 years ago this past week? I was in first grade at Alys Drive (now John A. Sciole) Elementary School in Depew at the time.
I'm guessing that I appreciate the album a little more now than I did back then, and I still scoff at people who call it overrated.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm So Tired, I'm TIred of Waiting ...

One of the Internet sites I visit most, WNYMedia, has been undegoing changes and is about to debut its new self; sadly, it has been a couple of days since the site has been "under construction," and as of last check a few minutes ago, it was still not back in operation.
Fortunately, after being out of action, at least some of its blogs are again accessible, including Buffalo Pundit, All Things Jennifer and Buffalo Geek. I urge you to check them out if you don't already.
For another take on WNYMedia's situation, check out what Jaquandor has written.

Lebron James: The Real Deal

I just watched one of the greatest individual efforts in my National Basketball Association playoff viewing career as Lebron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Detroit Pistons in double overtime, 109-107, to go up 3 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
James scored 48 points, including the last 25 points and 29 of the last 30 Cleveland scored, and absolutely willed and played his team to the brink of going to the NBA Finals. As usual, in his post-game interview, James was modest, responsive, open and cooperative.