Saturday, May 26, 2012

Legendary Filmmaker Tony Buba, Part Two!

This is part two of my interview with Braddock, PA Filmmaker Tony Buba.  Part one is here:
Tony, And The Pizza Oven
This installment explores Tony’s views on Pittsburgh and some of the things that make it such a special place, as well as on the evolution of Braddock.  Tony himself will be appearing in June in New York, at the Anthology Film Archives, which is showing a retrospective of Tony's films. Information about the retrospective is at:
That retrospective will be a great opportunity to meet Tony and to enjoy his many features and selected shorts.  But in the immortal words of Marty DiBirgi, “that’s enough of my yakkin!” Let’s get right to part two of my conversation with Tony Buba.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pirates 2012: A Periodic Assessment (Part 2 of 8)

Well, not much to cover here because I summed up my views at the quarter mark in my last piece, focusing on the need for a new GM. I gave Neal Huntington credit for pitching, but noted that the inexplicable lack of effort seriously to address the offensive side of the equation, combined with his abysmal record in that regard over almost five years now, means it's time for a more proven leader.

I guess I can see the argument, though, for letting things play out a little longer. The team is exactly where it was when I wrote the first of these eight assessments - two games under .500. But no one should be satisfied with that. With the pitching we have, it IS fair to ask, why aren't we taking the bull by the horns and asserting ourselves in the Central dvision? The goal of the game isn't mediocrity; it's winning, right? And with the pitching we have, why aren't we?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sorry Neal, But It's over

I am sure he is a good guy who means well
By nature I am not a negative guy. I wish no ill on anyone. While often extremely frustrated, and always upset that the Pirates perennially fail to invest meaningfully in their major league product, I nevertheless tried my hardest to stay with the program as articulated, designed, and implemented by Pirates GM Neal Huntington.  Didn’t accept that it was the only way to resuscitate the franchise; but I tried to believe.

But Huntington has been the GM for four and a half years now. The Pirates have not progressed.  The Neal Huntington era has gone on too long, and it’s time to move on. He probably wasn’t the right guy in the first place. But let’s deal with the here and now. It’s time to let Neal Huntington seek greener pastures.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Legendary Filmmaker Tony Buba, Part One!

Tony Buba, In His Studio
Winter 1989. I am in Baltimore, where my fiancĂ© – now wife of 22 years, thank you! – was living at the time.  Braddock, PA filmmaker Tony Buba was appearing at the Baltimore Museum of Art, at a screening of his 1988 classic documentary, Lightning Over Braddock.  There was a full house, and in the Q and A after the screening, Tony fielded a number of questions from the attendees. My question didn’t quite reflect the depth of knowledge regarding film, or urban decay, as some of my fellow attendees. I simply asked which pizza Tony liked more, Mineo’s or Vincent’s. With a hearty laugh, Tony got it right – Mineo’s.
November, 2011. I am at the Braddock Library for a memorial service for David Demarest, the father of Jamie Demarest, one of my closest friends since High School. I knew David Demarest loved Pittsburgh and its urban landscapes, and loved to spend time in neighborhoods like Braddock.  He was extremely active not only in helping to rejuvenate towns such as Braddock, but in fighting for any number of important social causes.  He is the man who revived “Out of This Furnace,” a book by Thomas Bell that captured immigrant life in a Western Pennsylvania steel town, and he was instrumental in preventing the shut-down of the Braddock library.  The man filming the memorial service was Tony Buba.
After the service I asked Tony if he’d mind setting up a time to have a conversation.  He is a man I have long respected – a local filmmaker who stayed loyal to his home town through its worst years.  We had a fantastic conversation. Tony is an accomplished filmmaker, an icon of the Pittsburgh/Braddock community, and as you would expect, a natural story-teller. And he’s also quite active – he is working on a number of new projects, and from June 8-12 his work will be featured at the Anthology Film Archives, in New York. Here’s the link: