Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 28, 2013

SINGER: The power of nostalgia

Niagara Gazette — Urban renewal in agglomerations like this one is often an attempt to regain and enhance a sometimes neglected architectural past via herculean, admirable efforts to make that past relevant, pleasing, and useful to the present. Call it perhaps the power of nostalgia, so evident in many other parts of today’s culture.

You see this well as you drive through lush countryside to Jamestown, where the down-sloping Main Street immediately brings back an old-time America that helped spawn the most celebrated expatriate from the area, Lucille Ball. And of course Ball-Arnaz remain great attractions there today.

Fine, old churches and refurbished, brightly painted buildings of yore are simply magnificent here (houses on side streets awaiting their refurbishers remaining a kind of poetic foil). Then you get to the Lucy-Desi Museum, and every photo of Lucy, as well as a magnificent family portrait dominating one room, really shows the character of this sad yet vivacious, intelligent, beautiful, and facile clown-genius, who had emanated from a relatively hardscrabble background in these parts. You also see the symbiotic enhancement produced by a marriage and showbiz partnership with one Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III, hailing from anything but a tough lineage; rather, from one of the wealthiest, most important and privileged families in Cuba, until ruined by the Batista coup of the early ‘30s (Arnaz’ father associated with the previous strongman there).

Onward went the family to Miami, and the world of music for this handsome, noble scion of privilege, who like many in history, was supposed to be a lawyer. Desi’s musical efforts included Latin innovations he brought to America, such as the conga line. And thence to Hollywood, where on the set of “Too Many Girls” he met the lovely redhead who at age 4 had lost her factory worker dad in Jamestown to typhoid fever; but whose grandfather had blessedly supported her fascination with glamorous movies and the possibility of having such a career — even in remote Western New York.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The Bills stadium and the proverbs We are what we are because of the way that we think, and we got the nothingness that have as a result of it.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Say it ain't so, Joe I had just parked my car in front of the Gazette offices on Niagara Street last week Thursday when a man approached me and stood by my door.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Bringing your own parts to repair shop is a bad idea The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Tourism operators ready for new season Niagara area hospitality industry people will mark National Tourism Week, May 3 to May 11, with special events focusing on the assets that shape the Cataract City as a major destination.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: Gothic architecture -- a fitting structure for church services Before we get involved in the new church building, we need to know what happened to the former structure on First Street which was utilized for St. Peter's Church services for 30 years until 1880 when the present stone church was ready for use.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. -- a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area -- are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.

    April 13, 2014

  • SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird? With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed 'Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?

    April 13, 2014

  • Rick Pfeiffer COPS NOTEBOOK: Road rage and turkey shooting

    It would be fair to say Ryan Jackson, of Youngstown, has had a difficult couple of weeks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page