Author: RaChaCha

RaChaCha

RaChaCha is a Garbage Plate™ kid making his way in a Chicken Wing world. Since 2008, he's put over a hundred articles on here, and he asked us to be sure to thank you for reading. So, thank you for reading. You may also have seen his freelance byline in Artvoice, where he writes under the name his daddy gave him [Ed: Send me a check, and I might reveal what that is]. When he's not writing, RaChaCha is an urban planner, a rehabber of houses, and a community builder. He co-founded the Buffalo Mass Mob, and would love to see you at the next one. He represents Buffalo Young Preservationists on the Trico roundtable. If you try to demolish a historic building, he might have something to say about that. He is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Things you may not know about RaChaCha (unless you read this before): "Ra Cha Cha" is a nickname of his hometown. (Didn't you know that? Do you live under a rock?) He's a political junkie (he once worked for the president of the Monroe County Legislature), but we don't really let him write about politics on here. He helped create a major greenway in the Genesee Valley, and worked on early planning for the Canalway Trail. He hopes you enjoy biking and hiking on those because that's what he put in all that work for. He was a ringleader of the legendary "Chill the Fill" campaign to save Rochester's old downtown subway tunnel. In fact, he comes from a long line of troublemakers. An ancestor fought at Bunker Hill, and a relative led the Bear Flag Revolt in California. We advise you to remember this before messing with him in the comments. He worked on planning the Rochester ARTWalk, and thinks Buffalo should have one of those, too (write your congressman). You can also find RaChaCha (all too often, we frequently nag him) on the Twitters at @HeyRaChaCha. Which is what some people here yell when they see him on the street. You know who you are.

Most of us would admit, if administered truth serum or enough beers, that our relationship with Buffalo is love-hate. There are things about this city that are profoundly disturbing and deeply unjust: racism, segregation, dysfunction, and economic injustice, to name a few. While all that would make it easy to leave, and many have, others stay – and even come here – convinced that Buffalo is worth investing in and worth fighting for. Why? In part because, many of us have found, there exists something ineffable about this place. Experiences of places, people, and happenings here can burrow deeply, past…

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This Sunday morning, the Buffalo Mass Mob returns to a very special place. Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Ward was the site of the second Mass Mob in January, 2014, an event that was well-covered by the media, including Buffalo Rising, the Buffalo News, and this AP story. The wire service story made the Mass Mob something of a phenomenon, with several cities around the country creating their own Mass Mobs. Co-founders, including Chris Byrd of Broadway-Fillmore Alive and I were invited on radio programs to talk all things Mass Mob. But even more precious were the friends…

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This fall, Blessed Sacrament Church relaunched their church-reform series known as “Church on Fire: Stay With Us!” with an expanded format of lectures, concerts, events and services (as we posted here). What better time to kick off the concert series than the holiday season in which music is most a part of the experience? And who better to kick it off than one of the top church choirs and choirmasters in Buffalo? This Sunday evening Frank Scinta & Friends will present an Advent Candlelight Recital at 7:00 pm in the church located at 1029 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209. Mr.…

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No tables were broken at this tailgate party, but much bread was. A unique event unlike any I’ve seen at a church, Sunday’s gathering at Blessed Sacrament Church was part tailgate party and part parish picnic, but even more it was a reconvening of the larger parish family, friends, and neighbors. After a half year of vaccinations, many of the faithful have resumed attending Mass in person. So Blessed Sacrament Church took good advantage of a lovely late-summer day, and a long-time football rivalry, to renew ties and pick up unfinished business. Principal among that unfinished business is the vital…

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Not all heroes wear capes. The hundreds and even thousands who have “mobbed” churches across Buffalo for the last eight years have contributed at least a one-time boost in attendance, fundraising, and good spirits to churches that remain a vital presence in often overlooked, underserved neighborhoods. Yes, it has been almost eight years since Mass Mob I at St. Adalbert’s Basilica in Polonia, and this Sunday the Mass Mob returns to another prominent Polonia parish. Corpus Christi Church is not the oldest in Polonia; that honor goes to St. Stanislaus, considered the “mother church” as I wrote here. But today…

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After a year off due to the pandemic, Parkside Movies in the Meadow returns tonight, and the lineup looks as smart as ever. As I said about MITM in 2019, You’ll have to go elsewhere to see Harry Potter melt the killer robot from the future in the fires of Mt. Doom aided by a talking raccoon. Parkside Movies in the Meadow offer some of the best summer movie fun around, but not that kind. What the Parkside Movies in the Meadow do offer are a perfect mix of excellent setting (on the lawn behind Parkside Lodge) and excellent curation.…

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Saturday, the sunny streak was sustained. Mother Nature smiled benevolently, as she seems to do for most of Buffalo-Niagara Waterkeeper cleanups, which is not a surprise given that she is a beneficiary of their efforts. Over a hundred volunteers took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to clean up the creek at sites from Cheektowaga Town Park west to West Avenue, near the mouth of the creek. According to WKBW, Saturday’s cleanup not just part of Waterkeeper’s Scajaquada September, but also part of World Cleanup Day. At West Avenue, the cleanup collared a clinking clanking clattering collection of caliginous junk:…

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436 Amherst Street has many stories to tell, so it’s fitting its rehab will debut with an exhibit telling the story of its neighborhood. After a decade of being covered by boards or murals or – more recently – scaffolding, the building that a certain generation knows as “the place where Spolka’s used to be” will wear, on its refreshed face, an exhibit of historic photos and exhibit panels telling the story of Black Rock (details at the end). History buffs will recognize the panels from an exhibit mounted at the Buffalo History Museum in 2014 along with photos from…

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Tonight Buffalo State will show three development proposals submitted for their auto impound RFP. What they won’t be showing is a fourth proposal, submitted by the community, not developers. But we will, along with some background. But first, over the weekend Jonathan Epstein of the Buffalo News had this overview of Buffalo State’s auto impound initiative, including details of how to participate in tonight’s meeting and submit comments. While video of the meeting will be live-streamed (here) and posted after, to participate live you must register here. Buffalo State’s website for the auto impound process is here. Epstein followed that this…

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Note: The Church on Fire: Stay With Us! Lecture and Concert Series has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. This includes the lecture by Sister Helen Prejean. According to organizer Michael Pitek, “New dates will be communicated once we are able to responsibly reschedule them.” Four hundred years ago this year the seeds of a reformation in the French Catholic Church were being planted. At the time no mortal mind knew it, but that would be the effect of several events occurring from 1617 to 1625. They all involved a priest named Vincent de Paul. In the inaugural lecture of…

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