Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pimp That Garage.

The Wife and The House "Big Blue" at 153 Delaware Avenue.

One of the things that I love most about moving downtown and becoming an "urban pioneer" is the old frontier spirit that my neighbors all share with each other.

While the homes on my cul-de-sac are a mixture of historic and newer, each of the owners happen to be relatively new to the street. As on many streets, we have a lot of home improvement going on. A friendly competition has developed among us all and many of our yards are cluttered with construction materials and rental equipment. Fortunately, we all seem to be pretty laid back about things and none of us are overly fussy about making it into Better Homes and Gardens. Most of us park our pickup trucks on our lawns.

I'll give you a brief introduction to my neighbors. They are lots of fun and we all look out for each others places. We pretty much have an informal block club going. The Browns live in the big place on the circle of our Niagara Square cul-de-sac. They rent with an option. The Issas are two doors down and are a nice ambitious young couple in their twenties. Across the street we have some very inspiring recent immigrants and and directly across the street are the Neweras, of the Derby Neweras. They are from a town called Derby and they are in the hat business! How perfect is that! The biggest home improvement showoffs are the Dulskis. That guy has completely gutted the place and is updating everything, and Judi is a real sweetheart too. We also have a new-build going up. The Courthouses bought that lot. I haven't met them yet. I believe he is a judge. I think they are living in the trailers that are on the property. Hey, doesn't bother me a bit. Put the money into the place instead. I don't blame them.

So we all visit each other and we yell out "Neighbor!" when we see each other on the street, and we borrow each other's tools and things. But what happened today really takes the cake. Everybody who knows me knows I love cars and I love spending time in the shop puttering around with them and getting dirty. Well, the one thing about our new house that I pine about is the fact that we don't have a garage. I love everything about the house, so I was willing to live without the garage but I guess I do talk about missing one quite a bit, especially after a couple of beers.

The green square is potentially my new attached garage.

Well, today I found out that one of my neighbors had indicated that he may offer to build an attached garage onto the back of my house. From what I understand, part of it would actually be built-in. And it's huge! I am probably getting ahead of myself but I am really excited. That could be me in there waxing my car! My neighbor Byron hasn't mentioned this to me yet but I found the plans on his website today on page 32. The website says that we would be partners. Hey, that's fine with me. There's all kinds of room in there!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Newest And Last QRS Piano Roll - Michael T. Jones

Yesterday, I stopped down to see my friends at QRS Music at their vintage factory on Niagara Street in Buffalo. QRS is the last surviving manufacturer of piano rolls for player pianos. All that is remaining of the industry is QRS and several small-scale boutique roll makers. It is wonderful to watch QRS in action because they still use the original factory equipment and production methods that they used in 1900.

The video above is of my old friend Michael T. Jones. Michael is a very important employee at QRS because he has the rare talents that are needed to convert great performances by great artists into great piano rolls. You probably have seen Michael playing terrific jazz piano around Buffalo. He married a Buffalo girl, and settled down in Buffalo in the mid 1990's - as I recall from meeting him way back at the Dakota when he was new in town.

The greatest piano players of each era have visited QRS to be immortalized on piano rolls.

I asked Michael to show off a piano roll that QRS recently manufactured of him! The video above is Michael playing the piano roll of his own performance of Spring Is Here, written by Rodgers and Hart. I ask you, when was the last time you ever had the actual artist play their own piano roll for you? This is the stuff of excellence that you have come to expect from BuffaloBloviator Publishing!

Michael and his QRS piano roll.

I am proud of Michael for earning his place in history. This may have been the last piano roll ever produced. QRS has finished a large production run and they appear to be unsure of what the future holds for their piano roll facility.

Buffalo Bloviator Classic