Posts Tagged ‘bar reviews’

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A Fond Farewell To Club Watch

February 20, 2012

As of today, I will no longer be writing Club Watch reviews for The Buffalo News.  After a great deal of soul searching and months of talking it over with my wife, we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on.  As a writer, I’ve reached an age where I’ve started closing some doors behind me in order to go forward into more challenging directions.

Back in 2001, I fell into the hobby by accident.  I approached Jeff Miers (the editor of Buffalo Beat at the time) about doing a weekly column.  He suggested that I start a bar review section for their alternative weekly and (after accepting), he titled it ‘Boozin’ In The Buff’.  After four or five weeks of reviews, Buffalo Beat got bought out and turned into Blue Dog Press, which also went the way of the dodo.

In 2002 I spent three months researching strip clubs in the U.S. and Canada and wrote ‘A Fistful Of Loonies’, one large, exhaustive expose’ about the lifestyle, the sociology behind it and how the entire microcosm worked.  I pitched it to Ed Honeck (the editor of Night Life magazine) and he ran it in four sections.  You can still read the essay in my first book, Born Pissed.  Once all four parts had run their course, I came to Ed and said, ‘What now?’

For the next five years I was Night Life’s point man for bar and exotic club reviews.  I settled into a gonzo style of reporting where I focused on two things: how cheap the drinks were and how hot the women were.  In many reviews I spent more time writing about what sort of drunken insanity my friends and I had gotten into than the bars themselves.  I got to interview a lot of prominent adult film stars including Mary Carey, Puma Swede and Regan Anthony.

By the time 2007 rolled around Lindsay and I were living together in Lancaster.  Covering exotic clubs was getting old and thanks to a different campaign by the Buffalo News (YourHub, a social network that came and went), I was introduced to Brian Connolly, who was the editor of the Club Watch section at the time.  I sent out some sample reviews and he gave me the green light to start covering assignments.  I drove to the publishing offices for Night Life magazine downtown to break the news to Ed and pitched him on a weekly column (‘Big Words I Know By Heart’).  He understood and accepted the column, so for quite a few years I was on double duty writing the weekly column for Night Life and Club Watch reviews for The News.  Since the Club Watch format was a more stringent style of who, what, when, where and why reporting, I took a lot of the funniest Night Life reviews and published Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars.  You can still find that book behind a lot of bars in Buffalo as well as online.

So now, after five years of freelancing with The Buffalo News, it’s time to say goodbye.  While I’ll never say never, I could use a long break.  I don’t ever want to reach a point with any of my writing where an assignment feels like a chore, or I feel like I’m phoning an assignment in for a paycheck or writing on autopilot.  Ten years is a long time to write in any format, and I’m sure you know by now that I’ve got a lot of other plates spinning.

Since 2001 I’ve written for The Buffalo News, ArtVoice, Acid Logic, Buffalo Beat, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo Rising, Boy’s Night Out, Alt Press, The Worldwide Freelancer and a score of other dailies, weeklies and online ‘zines.  I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do and prided myself on getting my assignments in well before deadline where print newspapers were concerned.  For the foreseeable future I’d like to focus more on my books, my publishing house and my radio show.  I’d also just like to sit down on a bar stool for the reasons I fell in love with Buffalo bars in the first place: cheap drinks, great ambience and some of the best conversation in the region.

Thanks for all the memories, Buffalo.

Tom Waters

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Back In The Saddle/Welcome Back To Buffalo!

September 12, 2008

I got back into town yesterday afternoon around 4 o’clock via Southwest airlines after five insane days in cripplingly humid Las Vegas at the luxurious Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort Hotel.  Myself and Curt (my roomate and subsequent co-host) managed to get one episode down for the radio show which is going to transmogrify into the historically epic Big Words One Man Mobile Unit episode 10 some time within the next few days.  I should have pictures up on Myspace by tomorrow night at the latest.  I was a very busy photog while I was out there.  Home again, home again, jiggety jig. 

     It’s good to be back.  I’m in the home stretch on the wedding and autumn is kicking in, which is traditionally a fantastic time of year for me, weather and otherwise.  In three weeks, we’ll be soaking up the sun at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina in the heart of the resort community for the honeymoon and hobnobbing on the Grand Strand during a competing Biker Week at the House of Blues among other things.  Hopefully I can get another podcast down during that, too.

     In classic Murphy’s Law fashion, ‘Our People’ (the rant about my new inlaws) ran in the Buffalo News My View section on Tuesday while I was out of town.  If anyone still has Tuesday’s copy of the Buffalo News, I would truly appreciate a copy of the print run. 

     Hennessey’s Bar and Grill on Broadway review ran this morning in the new issue of Gusto in the Buffalo News this morning.  Scoop it up if you’d like. 

     And finally, the first 20 copies of Breathing Room vol. I: Free Verse are en route via UPS as we speak.  The layout couldn’t look any more perfect.  Nick Peterson did a phenomenal job on the internal mechanisms for the book and I’m really excited about gearing up for the upcoming promotional junket!  If you’re interested in obtaining a signed copy of the book, contact me poste haste as there is a week delay in ordering/receiving more copies. 

     That’s all the news that’s fit to print for one day.  I’ll holler back on Monday for the routine update with any more developments.  Thank god I’m back in Buffalo.  Vegas is too crazy for me and there are too many opportunities for trouble out there, so it’s comforting to be back home.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Rock Bottom Club Watch Hits Gusto, or: Hare-Brained Today/Gone Tomorrow

August 1, 2008

After two months of one-review only coverage, my review for Rock Bottom (on Transit Rd. in Amherst) starts off August with a bang.  And with the wedding just around the corner, any extra revenue is truly appreciated.  In the wake of the Buffalo Rising all out cage match, it’s a big plus to get some extra credibility.  Some of us actually get paid to write, and the smarter writers have editors with a high level of professionalism who do indeed edit our work (which is an editor’s job, if I’m not mistaken) instead of telling us to edit it.  I was just talking to Deanna Russo (one of the frontrunners at Buffalo.com’s YourHub) about life, the universe and everything on Wednesday and we agreed that despite what ill everyone may have to say about the Buffalo News (most of them losing competitors), I’ve never had any problems with them.  Their staff and their writers have always had a level of diplomacy and professionalism that is unparralleled in Buffalo and I truly, truly appreciate it.  After working closely with Brian Connelly (the editor for Club Watch) for well over eighteen months now, I don’t think I could ask for a better mentor. 

     And meanwhile, out and about, I continue to tell every living soul about what a reprehensible piece of shit Elena Buscarino is.  Apparently she’s the lead singer in a big band, so if you see her out, feel free to throw some rotten produce in the vicinity of her fat mouth.  A ball gag would serve better, but what’s a fella to do?  The old saw goes that when a customer has a poor experience, he’ll tell ten people.  I’m ahead of the curve on that one.  If I have a poor experience, I just won’t be capable of ending my infinite ire regarding the situation.  You made a very large mistake, BRO.  I want Elena’s job by week’s end, her sanity by the end of August, and the paper to fold by New Year’s of 2009. 

     It would most likely be the best thing in the world if ArtVoice would buy them out (like they did with Blue Dog Press in the yesteryear of 2002) and sink the ship to avoid any media confusion.  And say what you will about ArtVoice, but they are an institution, and they march to the beat of their own drummer instead of kow-towing to the public opinion of a small group of simpletons.  Jamie Moses (publisher) and Geoff Kelly (managing editor) are men of conviction, and they follow their passions wherever they happen to carry them.  AV has vision, drive and intensity, and they make a brilliant bookend to everything that is good and true about Buffalo print.

     I tried to contact Geoff about all of this business this week by phone and via email, but to no avail.  Smart odds would bet that AV is going to sit this one out.  I have yet to speak with Elizabeth Licata (whom Elena Buscarino has been less than complimentary regarding), but I’m interested to see if Buffalo Spree magazine would take the hook on my interviews with Kevin McCarthy, Michael Bly and Bob ‘Ernie’ Insana.  I’m also wondering if ArtVoice will bite before Buffalo Spree.  Perhaps my reputation is shot, but I stopped caring about that a long time ago.  As long as I’ve got the Buffalo News, Night Life and my readership on my side, I could truly and honestly care less. 

     Early response to the radio show has been overwhelmingly positive.  Next Wednesday, I’ll be heading into the studio with Harvey and Eisner Award winning comic book artist/writer Alex Robinson.  There will not be a Buffalo angle.  We’re not so insecure that it’s warranted.  Buffalo does fine on it’s own.  It has enough writers who waste their careers and their creative efforts licking Buffalo’s ass like a lollipop that I’d rather not throw mine away on something so timely and trifling.  The thing about local writing is that it’s here today, gone tomorrow.  After the day, you can wrap a fish in it, toss it in the trash or use it as a recepticle for parrot shit.  Write  a good national interview or universal piece about the foibles of the human struggle, though, and you can pimp that feature out for a lifetime.  This is one thing that a lot of respected journalists (and established hacks) will never get.  Yeah, I’m talking about you again, Elena.  I’m not done with you by a long shot.

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