Alas it’s not a gardening book. I’m hoping to eventually get to do another one of those (the Garden Walk Buffalo book was my first). I’ve got some ideas for a gardening book, but they’ll have to wait until I have the time & resources to make that happen.
For now, I can hone my skills on other people’s books. In this case, it is obsessed-Buffalo-Sabres-hockey fan Suzanne K. Taylor’s (a.k.a. The Aud Braud’s) AUDieu, Buffalo Says Goodbye to the Aud, published by Buffalo Heritage Press. It was released just before Christmas and is a tribute to the role the Aud played in Buffalo’s past as well as a memento for any Buffalo Sabres die-hard fan.
Suzanne was given complete access to the site — including the roof — to document its demolition. Her collection of original photos and researched archival photos is exhaustive, as are her personal and collected stories and quotes from Aud fans.
The Aud was a central character in the lives of many Buffalonians — construction starting in 1939 and hosting its last event in 1996. For me, not so much. I didn’t grow up in Buffalo, am not a rabid Sabres fan, nor am I a huge concert-goer. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I was actually in the Aud in my nearly 30 years here. It was my first big-time concert experience though — Billy Joel — the Nylon Curtain Tour.
It was fun to design. The background image for the pages is concrete. If you spent anytime in the Aud over the years, you remember the concrete. Sections are color-coded to the seat colors of the Aud itself. Chapters & page numbers are defined by small auditorium seats with which Aud-goers are all familiar.
There’s even a flip-book in the corners of all pages of photo taken from a webcam in the tower next to the site. By flipping through, you can see the Aud being demolished (or, go backwards and see it built back up again!)
There’s a photo of the Aud on September 11, 1939 as ground was being cleared and a photo, from the same position, taken on September 11, 2009, exactly 70 years to the day, showing basically the same cleared-site scene.
There’re dozens of great factoids most don’t know — its opening dedication was trumped by just two days by the opening of Kleinhans Music Hall’s dedication opening ceremony; it was intended to also act as a convention center; one of the most famous photos of Elvis, early in his career was taken here; it only took 12 men, and one woman, to demolish the entire building; and many, many more.
How long does it take to produce a book like this? This one happened fast, due to the great (and voluminous) photography Suzanne had taken during the demolition and her relentless pursuit of archival photos and collectible items surrounding the history of the Aud. That, and with the publisher’s drive to have it on store shelves in advance of Christmas, the book was completed in about six weeks. The most intensive work happening moments before it was sent to printer, which happens no matter the production schedule.