Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Events Weekly Features Classifieds Contact

Get Involved in the 198 Debate

Click here if you’re interested in the future of the Scajaquada Expressway.


Looking Back at the 1960’s: Academic Portraits – Part 3, A Smoking Jacket

Although most faculty dressed casually, shabbiness raised to the level of acceptable academic convention, I still, from time to time, wore a three piece suit. One colleague, who shall remain nameless, as he himself preferred to be (so no one would interrupt him during office hours when he would be working on indecipherable poems), wore the same tweed jacket for twenty years; and, since he smoked a pipe which burned as fiendishly as the old Bethlehem Bessemers, his jacket-cum-patches smelled as if it been aged in Fitzgerald’s “valley of ashes.” To talk with him was to risk  asphyxiation.  

This colleague, who went to Paris every summer to “fuss” with his oblique poems, talked at length, if one did enter his office, about the “old days in Greenwich Village” where it seemed he had known all of the major literary players of the 20th century. The longer he talked, the less conscious one became which was, in this case, a mixed blessing. In retirement, he calls me from the West Village  from time to time.

It’s easier to listen to him at a distance now; and it may be, at this point, if a personal truth be told, that I have more in common with him now than I do with young people who clutch their smart-phones as if they were electronic rosaries.

In saying this, I “date” myself; but that is my main point: we are born into the atmosphere of a particular historical moment; and if we write, we are likely to become “generational memoirists.” If we abandon the terms of our origins, we’re rootless; if we cling only to these terms and fail to adapt, we become endangered species. Like a healthy tree, we need stable roots in order to flower in a slightly different way every spring. (My transplanted mountain ash can attest to this.)

Darwin is relevant here, and as George Orwell says in “Why I Write”: “But if he (the writer) escapes from his early influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write.” As one gets older, one has both more and less to say as a teacher: one’s values and taste provide points of lucid contrast; at the same time, these same standards become less relevant in themselves.

I still believed in the serious study of traditional literature at the graduate level at a time when the anti-war and counter-cultural movements were ramping up and authority of all kinds – including literary authority and “authors” – were being called into question. In one sense, I was disappointed. After all, I had spent more than a decade preparing myself to teach what F.R. Leavis called the “great tradition.”

Even as I had an inkling, driving from Ann Arbor to Buffalo in the late summer of 1967, that everything I had been preparing to teach was going to be called into question, I never dreamed that the deck of cards would be reshuffled so quickly or that the literary game I had been taught to play – New Criticism — soon would be called “irrelevant” (one of the key words of the emerging period of protest).

In another sense, I felt as if I had been given a writer’s gift: dramatic material to write about. One didn’t have to become a war correspondent, it seemed, like Hemingway to cover the action. University campuses, including UB’s, had become hot spots. Not the padi fields of Viet Nam or the killing fields of Cambodia, to be sure, but places nonetheless where a writer might believe that he had something important to write about.

And the gestures of those predatory talons at department meetings allowed me to think that I, too, had a good fight to wage against those Frenchified professionals who considered the human value of students to be unimportant in the light of critical principles.

I always had intended to be a writer – no matter how I made a living (including the life of an academic) – so, almost from the beginning of my “teaching life,” even before the era of protest heated up, I began to consider the classroom and the institutional environment as a “living theatre” of sorts in which the human drama – the drama of being human — could be observed and recorded.

I say almost from the beginning, because it really wasn’t until the period 1963-66 — when I was a Teaching Fellow at The University of Michigan (where I earned my Ph.D. in 1967) – that I understood in one of those “aha” moments of revelation that a classroom was a temporary community in which the instructor and students interacted in various dynamic ways. Students were “persons” as well as “learners.”


Looking Back at the 1960’s: Academic Portraits is a weekly multi-part series by Howard R. Wolf. Please check back next week for part 4. Click here to view all the parts in the series, as they are added.

Howard R. Wolf is Emeritus Professor and Senior Fellow in The Department of English at SUNY-Buffalo. He is the author of The Education of a Teacher and Far-Away Places: Lessons in Exile. Some of his recent work has appeared in Colere, George Orwell Newsletter, Moment (online), Evening Street Review, Prosopisa (India)and The Buffalo News.  

This Modern World: Obligatory Donald Trump Cartoon


This Modern World: The Looming Threat


Staycation: Day (or Two) Trips, Destinations 2+ Hours Away

Filed under: Art, Events, Local Interest

Seward House Historical Museum in Auburn, NY

Seward House Historical Museum in Auburn, NY

It’s that time of year again: summer vacation. Unfortunately for many of us, due to finances, work, school, kids, or just an overall lack of free time, the ‘vacation’ part of summer may not fit into the equation. Luckily, Western and Upstate New York, our own backyard, is a vacation destination. Yes, from outdoorsy activities to beach spots to grandiose mansions and castles, ingredients for relaxation, thrills and fun are all around us.  So, have a staycation: here are some cool ideas outside of the typical tourist destinations to feed your wanderlust.  Some destinations can be a weekend trip, a day trip or even a half day trip.

In addition to several features in this week’s this week’s print edition, we have posted near by destinations and day trip ideas here on Artvoice Daily over the course of the past week. Today, the final day, are some farther away destinations to make day trips of, care of Artvoice Staffer Kellie Coppola. To view all of the other prior posts in this series, click here.


Corning Gaffer DistrictCorning’s Gaffer District

Corning, NY 14830, just over two hours southeast / (607)-937-6292

Just steps from the museum is Corning’s historic Gaffer District, replete with shopping, dining and relaxation to compliment your trip to the renowned Corning Museum of Glass. Try the “Finger Lake’s Best Burger” at Holmes Plate 54 ( among other great dining options, and stay at one of the many lodging accommodations available right on Market Street. A day or two in Corning’s Gaffer District is both a perfect way to complete your trip to the museum and a perfect stop on your journey through the Finger Lakes region.

Information on tours, events, festivals, and parking are available on the Gaffer District website.


Rockwell MuseumRockwell Museum of Western Art

111 Cedar St, Corning, NY 14830, just over two hours southeast / (607) 937-5386

Adults (18-54) $10; 55+ $9; students (with ID), Military, AAA members $9; kids & teens (17 and under) free

Combination tickets with the Corning Museum of Glass are available. Information is on the website. Located at Corning’s Old City Hall, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art is a perfect destination for art and American history enthusiasts alike. Featuring exhibits of varied mediums, subjects and artists, the museum’s collection “portrays the spirit, character and values of America through the eyes of American artists, focusing on the complex story of the great migration West” according to its website. Information on tours, events and current and upcoming exhibitions are available on the website.


Seward House Historical Museum

33 South Street Auburn, NY 13021, just over two hours east / (315) 252-1283 /

Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm. Sunday 1:p.m.-5p.m. (through Labor Day)

Adults $10; seniors $9; students $5; children six and under free

Step inside the home of one of the most important politicians of the 19th century, William Henry Seward. Learn about his life, his family and his political career through guided tours of this historical landmark that is a must see for any history buff.


Renaissance FestivalSterling Renaissance Festival

15385 Farden Rd. Sterling, New York 13156, two and a half hours east / (315)-947-5782

Saturdays and Sundays, July 4 – Aug 16

Adults (12 and up) $25.95, children (ages 5-11) $15.95, children 4 and under free

Dig out that suit of armor from your closet and join in the fun at the Sterling Renaissance Festival. According to its website , the festival is one of the most longstanding producers of professional enter interactive entertainment in the world, with over 100 performers and entertainers to take you back in time. Enjoy a royal feast, throw a tomato and watch a jousting match at this perfect day trip destination.



Enchanted Forest Water Safari / (315) 369-6145

3188 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY, 13420, four hours east

Pack up the kids and head over to the Adirondacks to make a splash in New York State’s largest water park. With over 50 attractions and 32 water rides, there’s something for all ages. As it is a further drive, the website provides many nearby accommodations, or maybe you’ll decide to camp in the state park!


Old Forge Lake Cruises

116 Steamboat Landing Across from Water Safari/Calypso’s Cove Old Forge, NY 13420, about a four hour drive east / (315) 369-6473

If you love the water but don’t feel like getting wet at Enchanted Forest, Old Forge Lake Cruises might be a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery as you cruise through the first four lakes of the Fulton Chain. Each cruise lasts two to three hours, pricing and schedule are available online.


Adirondack Central Association

Old Forge, NY 13420, 3-5 hours east / (315) 369-6983

What would a trip to Old Forge be without enjoying the 70 miles of earth, water and sky in the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks Central Association’s website details the various opportunities for outdoor activities, including the 2,000 miles of hiking trails, making the Adirondacks the nation’s largest trail system.


NE Classic Car MuseumNortheast Classic Car Museum

24 Rexford St. Norwich, NY 13815 Distance: about a 3 ½ hours east / (607) 334-2886

Open seven days a week 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Adults $10; students (6-18) $5; children under six free

If you enjoyed the Pierce Arrow museum and want to learn more about the automotive industry in New York State, the Northeast Classic Car Museum is the place to go. With over 160 cars on display, including the largest collection of Franklins in the world, Staleys, muscle cars and cars from the post-war era, the Northeast Classic Car Museum will satiate any car enthusiast. Exhibits on WWI and WWII aircraft engines, period fashions and original video footage are also available for those interested.


whitewater challengers incWhiteWater Challengers Inc.

Various Locations:

Lehigh River: White Haven, PA 18661, (570) 443-9532

Hudson River: North River, NY 12856, (518) 251-3746

Black River: Dexter, NY 13634, (315) 639-6100

Salmon River: 48 Riverview Dr, Pulaski, NY 13142,  (800) 443-8554

More information about each location, pricing and reservations are available on the website. If you’re in the Upstate New York region or Poconos and are looking for adventure, a visit to any of the Whitewater Challengers locations will do the trick. Whether you’re interested in a guided white water rafting tour, camping, biking, ziplining, paintball or kayaking, Whitewater Challengers has a place for everything (available facilities may vary between locations, see website for more details).


Einfeld Falls use thisEnfield Falls

Robert H. Treman State Park, 105 Enfield Falls Rd. Ithaca, NY 14850, three hours southeast

Enfield Falls aka Lower Falls is one of the many natural gorges in Ithaca, NY. Just a day trip from Buffalo, Enfield Falls is a part of Robert H. Treman State Park. Explore trails leading to beautiful waterfalls and great views of nature around you.Swimming season begins June 20. Parking fees, pavilion rental rates and camping information are available on the Robert H. Treman State Park website.


Discovery TrailIthaca’s Discovery Trail

Various locations in the Cayuga Lake Area in Ithaca, NY 13148, three hours southeast

If Enfield Falls didn’t already quench your thirst for nature and adventure, follow Explore Ithaca’s Discovery Trail which takes you to various locations to explore and learn a thing or two. The Discovery Trail includes the Cayuga Nature Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Plantations, The History Center in Tompkins County, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Museum of the Earth at Paleontological Research Institution, the Sciencenter, and the Tompkins County Public Library.


La TourelleLa Tourelle Resort

1150 Danby Road (96B) Ithaca, NY 14850, three hours southeast / (607) 273-2734 or 1-800-765-1492 /

After a day of hiking in Ithaca’s gorges, La Tourelle is a great place to eat, and rest up to enjoy all Ithaca has to offer. Complete with a farm-to table bistro and posh steakhouse, La Tourelle has great dining options, aside from the variety of eateries in downtown Ithaca. Take a load off in style and comfort in one of their 54 rooms available, or enjoy a posh camping experience in their Ithaca by Firelight Campsite , where a taste of the great outdoors includes hardwood floors and a luxurious king or queen bed. La Tourelle has access to several hiking trails and is not a far drive from the many unique Finger Lakes wineries for you to enjoy.


singer castleSinger Castle

Chippewa Bay, NY 13623, four hours northeast / toll free 1-877-327-5475 /

Singer Castle on Dark Island  Take a guided tour or spend a few nights at a 100-year old magnificent castle on the Saint Lawrence Seaway. As the only castle on the Saint Lawrence Seaway to ever be completed, the castle houses as much grandeur as it does mystery. Stay in the royal suite or take a guided tour through the rooms and secret passageways and learn the story of Mr. Frederick Gilbert Bourne and his creation, an intersection of American history and folklore. Information on boat shuttles, room rates and on hosting special events are available on the website.

Looking Back at the 1960’s: Academic Portraits – Part 2, The Wobbly Chair

It did seem at some critical moments in the 1960’s that the Humanities as we had known them were seriously imperiled. On my own campus at The State University of New York at Buffalo, a smoke-bomb was rolled into the office of the Chair who never recovered from this dangerous assault upon the integrity and assumed autonomy of the Groves of Academe, the Ivory Tower, and the Halls of Ivy (even though we taught in temporary trailers and surplus Quonset huts).

Although I sympathized with the Chair’s fear for his life and the life of the department, I had to admit to myself that I was somewhat wary of his authority myself. One of the department’s leading crazies at the time had advised the Chair to fire me (I had been told), and I wasn’t confident that the Chair wouldn’t take his advice.

My adversary — a former 1930’s socialist who never had recovered from the betrayals of Stalin’s show-trials — saw the students of the 1960’s and faculty who were somewhat sympathetic to them as sanculottes and participants in a neo-Reign of Terror. For him, the peace sign was equivalent to the guillotine.

So far as he was concerned, I was trying to destroy the university through the incendiary methods of what then was called “the open classroom.” This person was convinced he knew something about fire since he once had written (108): “I believe it is in the light provided by the burning of its own bridges that the mind can best see.”

The Chair didn’t fire me, but I, too, became somewhat suspicious about authority and could then, to some extent, view the student protest on certain issues with more than a little sympathy. I never stopped defending “great literature,” but I stopped wearing three-piece suits and began to question my goals as a teacher and writer.

After the smoke-bomb incident, the Chair was understandably terrified by the Student Movement. It was always on his mind, and he suspected that people were plotting against him even in their dreams.

Some years after his reign, during an idle moment in a department meeting – such moments were not uncommon – I leaned over and mentioned that he had been lecturing to me in one of my dreams. He looked alarmed and said, “Stop dreaming about me.” I said I would try as hard as I could.

He retired a few years earlier than anyone thought he would and, with the help of a wife’s inheritance, bought, I am told, a lovely house in the Berkeley Hills where he writing, as I understand it, a book about the Russian Revolution. I see him, in my mind’s eye, if not in dreams, looking down towards Telegraph Avenue, where a rag-tag remnant of the 1960’s, reinvented as Occupy UCal, keeps him on edge and alert. I suspect he sometimes dreams that his house is the Winter Palace.

If I’m in the dream, I probably look like Trotsky.      


Looking Back at the 1960’s: Academic Portraits is a weekly multi-part series by Howard R. Wolf. Please check back next week for part 3. Click here to view all the parts in the series, as they are added.

Howard R. Wolf is Emeritus Professor and Senior Fellow in The Department of English at SUNY-Buffalo. He is the author of The Education of a Teacher and Far-Away Places: Lessons in Exile. Some of his recent work has appeared in Colere, George Orwell Newsletter, Moment (online), Evening Street Review, Prosopisa (India)and The Buffalo News.  

Staycation: A Little Farther, Destinations 1-2 Hours Away

Filed under: Events, Local Interest

Seneca Iroquois Museum

Seneca Iroquois Museum

It’s that time of year again: summer vacation. Unfortunately for many of us, due to finances, work, school, kids, or just an overall lack of free time, the ‘vacation’ part of summer may not fit into the equation. Luckily, Western and Upstate New York, our own backyard, is a vacation destination. Yes, from outdoorsy activities to beach spots to grandiose mansions and castles, ingredients for relaxation, thrills and fun are all around us.  So, have a staycation: here are some cool ideas outside of the typical tourist destinations to feed your wanderlust.  Some destinations can be a weekend trip, a day trip or even a half day trip.

In addition to several features in this week’s this week’s print edition, we will be posting near by destinations and day trip ideas here on Artvoice Daily over the course of the week. Today we have some destinations one to two hours away, care of Artvoice Staffer Kellie Coppola. To view all of the other posts as they are added, click here.


Heading South:

Seneca-Iroquois National Museum / (716) 945-1104

814 Broad St. Salamanca, NY, one hour and fifteen minutes south

Adults $5.00, Seniors $3.00, College Students $3.00, Children 7+ $2.00

New York State’s long history intertwines deeply with that of the Iroquois Native American league of nations. The museum’s variety of exhibits, permanent and temporary, should enlighten and intrigue as they detail Native American history and culture in greater depth than any textbook.


Allegany State Park / (716) 354-9101 or 1-800-456-2267

2373 Allegany State Park Route 1, Ste. 3 Salamanca, NY 14779, one and a half hours south

Allegany State Park is the largest state park in New York with over 65,000 acres of natural beauty. Enjoy some natural R-and-R with a camping vacation in one of several campsites and cabins available for rent and a plethora of trails for hiking. For those with an adventurous side, head to Thunder Rocks for some climbing and to the Bear Caves to see plate tectonics at work around some collapsed fault lines. Want to get out of the woods? There’s a beach and fishing pier as well.


Rock-CityRock City / 1-866-404-ROCK /

505 Route 16, Olean, NY, one and a half hours southeast

9 a.m. – 6 p.m., $5 per person, $3 children 6-12

Rock City is considered to be the largest exposure of quartz conglomerate in the world. What that means for non-geology nerds: a ton of climbing and and awesome views of the surrounding forest of Allegany State Park. Unleash your adventurous side as you scale prehistoric rock faces, many of which are several stories high. 


Heading East:

JELL-O Gallery

22 E. Main St. Leroy, NY 14482

Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 4p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-4p.m.

Adults $4.50, Children 6-11 $1.50, 5 and under free

JELL-O, “America’s most famous dessert” was invented in Leroy, NY in 1897. Take a tour and learn all there is to know about your favorite afternoon snack. For the JELL-O lover in your life, themed gifts and paraphernalia are available online and in the gift shop.


BelhurstBelhurst Castle

4069 West Lake Road, PO Box 609, Geneva, NY 14456, two hours east

Commissioned in 1888, Belhurst Castle is a beautifully constructed mansion that has over the years expanded its grounds to include Vinifera Inn, White Springs Manor, a spa and an exquisite, award-winning winery. Book your fairytale weekend getaway at one what has been voted One of the Most Romantic Places in New York State and enjoy all of the luxury Belhurst has to offer.

More information about Belhurst and making reservations can be found on the website.


The Wizard of Clay

The Wizard of Clay, 7851 Rt 20A, Bloomfield NY 14469, about two hours east

Open year-round, hours 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Whether you’re looking for a new piece for the house, a pottery enthusiast or are just interested in something out of the ordinary, the Wizard of Clay Workshop and outlet store is a great place to buy, witness and learn about a timeless art vital in the development of cultures and civilizations around the world. The ‘Wizards” at Wizards of clay make great, modern pieces while paying homage to a method from thousands of years ago. Visit the production facilities, talk to the potters to learn about their craft, and even purchase a handcrafted souvenir. A sampling of the products available for sale and more information about the facilities are available on the website.


Bristol Mtn Aerial ParkBristol Mountain Aerial Park / (585) 374-6000 /

5662 Route 64 Canandaigua, NY 14424, two hours east

Ages 7+ $49, Children ages 4-7 $25, After 3:30 p.m. $39

Hours are available on the website. Reservations are required, call for details.

Fly through the forest canopy with over 5,000 feet of zipline. Over seven challenge courses are available and two courses are available for the little ones.


Roseland WaterparkRoseland Waterpark / (585) 396-2000

250 Eastern Blvd. Canandaigua, New York 14424, one and a half hours east

Hours are available on the website.

Regular (over 48” tall)- $27.95, Youth (less than 48”) $22.95, After 3 p.m. (all ages) $18.95, Age 2 and younger & 60+ $9.95. Spectator pricing available on the website.

When you’re done gliding through trees at the Bristol Mountain Aerial Park, cool off at the Roseland Waterpark and Wave Park. According to its website, Roseland Waterpark is the largest water park in the Fingerlakes region and includes nine water attractions.


Roseland WakeparkRoseland Wake Park / (585) 393-9253 /

250 Eastern Blvd. Canandaigua, NY 14424 (same location as waterpark)

Roseland Wake Park provides even more refreshing fun as the first and only cable water park in the Northeastern United States. Learn to ride with lessons and practice on the Lil Bro cable system before your first ride on the lake, complete with ramps and rails ranging in difficulty for an optimal wakeboarding experience.


Heading Southwest:

-chataquaChautauqua Institution

One Ames Ave. Chautauqua, N.Y. 14722, one and a half hours southwest / (716) 357-6200 / 1-800-836-ARTS

The Chautauqua Institution is a 750-acre educational center on the bank of the Chautauqua Lake on the Southwestern corner of New York State. It is a place to relax on the beach, participate in enriching adult and youth programs, enjoy recreational facilities such as golf courses, swimming pools and tennis courts and, ultimately, to enjoy a relaxing and fulfilling summer. Tickets and accommodations can be purchased on the website.


Panama RocksPanama Rocks / (716) 782-2845 /

11 Rock Hill Rd. Panama, New York 14767, one and a half hours southwest

Just 15 minutes from Chautauqua Lake and 90 minutes from Buffalo lies a stretch of primordial forest. In this forest lies a top-rated visitor attraction: a half-mile ridge of 60-foot high rocks that provide a scenic outdoor adventure. Trek through the natural crevices and passageways and then take a mile long hike on their main trail. For the daring and curious, go off the trail and explore.


Lucy-MuseumLucy – Desi Center for Comedy / (716) 484-0800

2 W. Third St. Jamestown, NY 14071, one and a half hours southwest

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

General Admission: $15, Seniors: $14, Youth (6-18): $10, Child (5 and under): free

Tickets may be purchased in person or on the website.

For comedy buffs out there craving some Vitametavegamins (or that love I Love Lucy enough to get this reference), the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy is a must see. Tour the Lucy-Desi center’s two facilities: Desilu Studios and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, for your daily dose of nostalgia and laughter. A recreation of Ricky Ricardo’s Tropicana room is also available for booking special events. If your trip falls between July 30 and August 2, make sure to book your tickets to see renowned comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Nick Offerman at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.
Photo of Tropicana Room

The Campaign That Never Was: Fumbling the Green Line

No Polo Palm

When last we tuned into the Adventures of Poloncarz and Zellner Taking Over the Green Party, our intrepid exploiters were ready to snatch the fourth ballot line from the pathetic local Greens all over Erie County.   Their Opportunity to Ballot (OTB) on the Green line petitions were due to be filed last Thursday.   Then something happened no one could have anticipated.  Out of the blue,  Green Party County Executive candidate Eric Jones received word that Poloncarz was not going to file his County Executive OTB Green petition.    On Sunday Jones issued the following statement: “I’m thankful that the County Executive decided not to file his petitions, but we are still fighting some OTB’s in other races.  In future elections you are going to see more Greens running for office locally, so it will be harder for the Democrats and Republicans to manipulate our line. ”    It is likely that Poloncarz, facing unexpected stiff resistance to his Green OTB efforts, was unwilling to risk an embarrassing defeat in a race he never needed to enter.    Looks like his Green Party palm cards are instant collector’s items.

ECDC headquarters did file their Loughran Green OTB petition in County Legislature District 5, so Republican Guy Marlette is now faced with a decision on whether he supports Green registered, but Republican designated, Lynette Batt or ask Greens to vote for him in a race which he never wanted to enter.    Jones says the Green Party has no real stake in District 5.   Supporters of County Legislature District 3 incumbent Peter Savage III cannot help but notice that their guy respected the Green’s principles from day one and now Peter is one of the few people in Erie County facing a Green opponent.  As a popular incumbent, Savage is likely to stroll back into office regardless of Green opposition, but his situation raises a valid point.   For Marlette, facing a tight race against an incumbent, this is an important concern.    Ideological purity is lovely in the abstract, but, in the real world, people want to get elected.    It looks like Democratic headquarters’ misguided efforts have made the Green line a thorn in its own side.   From  now on it’s like having Ralph Nader running against every local Democratic candidate for dog catcher, siphoning off votes which would otherwise go to the Dems.    In the future, Republicans may routinely run Green registered candidates on the Green Line to vex the Democrats and raiding and infiltration of the Green Party will likely become a growth industry.

Older Posts »