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long-time reader

I’ve been reading Artvoice since the very first issue. It strikes me that many of the young artists, actors, and musicians working in town today were either not yet in school—or not even born—when the first issue hit the street. I think it’s amazing that there’s such a vibrant arts community in Buffalo today, and your newspaper deserves a lot of credit for helping to foster such an exciting atmosphere. I also think that your paper provides an important alternative perspective on politics and lifestyles.

Here’s what I’d like to know: Should I admit to having been a fan since the first issue—or should I get my hair dyed, have a little plastic surgery, maybe some skin art and piercings?

Or is it time for me to settle down, buy a nice coffee table, and order a subscription to Buffalo Spree?

—First-time Caller

The Gay Perspective: Proudly admit to your age. The body art is up to you. And for the record, we all read Spree too. We adore their editor, Elizabeth Licata, who used to cover the visual arts for Artvoice.

The Straight Skinny: I’ll affirm what AV’s Gay Perspective says: We love Spree and all its editors and writers. Most of them have, at one time or another, written for AV, too, so when we peruse those glossy pages we’re kind of looking in the mirror.

That said, don’t buy a subscription. I suppose some people must buy the thing, but isn’t it the kind of thing you pick up in a waiting room or someone else’s house? I mean, I wouldn’t pay for Artvoice either. We creative types live in Buffalo because it’s cheap, right? We don’t pay for stuff if we can help it, right?

As for age, I think I’d leave the adornments to the kids. Grow your hair a little longer, maybe affect a beard if it suits you. Practice looking wise and wryly amused. No matter what they might pretend, the kids need to believe that there are lessons to be learned with age.

And don’t buy a nice coffee table. Make one. If you want the kids to admire you and treat you like an elder, you’ll need to master a little bricolage. Recycle. Repurpose. Consume only discreetly.

The Photographic Memory: You should definitely admit you have been reading since the first issue. There are few things more satisfying than letting little up-and-coming whippersnappers know that you have been on to something cool for far longer than they can ever imagine.

That doesn’t mean you still can’t dye your hair or have your face lifted a la Joan Rivers. Just keep the Artvoice on the coffee table right next to your copy of Spree!

Dr. Sigmund Fraud says: Ah, yes. I see this all the time. It’s common in American culture for a beautiful and expressive woman like yourself to get caught up searching for an escape from aging. There is nothing new about the phenomenon, really. We see it on infomercials, yes, but Herodotus wrote about it. We’ve been taught since grade school about Ponce de Leon and his mythic quest for the Fountain of Youth. Ponce was the governor of Puerto Rico, but that wasn’t enough for him. He had to go off on his quest for this mythical spring that would arrest the hands of time. In the end, he never found it—but he did discover Florida in the process. Interesting how Florida now boasts one of the largest geriatric populations in the country, as well as one of the most cosmetic-surgery-enhanced populations on the beaches of Miami.

I suggest we have dinner sometime. I have several back issues of Buffalo Spree and Artvoice in my extensive library. Not to mention a priceless copy of the Kama Sutra that I feel you might find breathlessly fascinating—as well as a good, sturdy coffee table to read it on.

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