Penny's Memorial Birthday Party

[MEMORIAL] If she hadn’t died at the end of August, Thelma Lee Ballard (a.k.a. Penny, with the prefix “Good” or “Bad” added as appropriate) would be celebrating her 40th birthday this Friday. For the 18th time. Instead, her many friends will celebrate her birthday, her life, and her no doubt peaceful passing at the house of a dear friend on Saturday, October 15, with a daylong memorial, all of which she’d be angry (with words to match) about her inability to attend. A service at Forest Lawn’s chapel, with readings and music and reminiscences (2-4pm); a post-service reception at Essex Street Pub (4:30-7pm); and then, perhaps dearest to her heart, a show by her beloved Steam Donkeys, the band of this relentless and cantankerous music patron’s life, at Nietzsche’s (7:30-10pm). The Observers end the show at Nietzsche’s; a shot or two in her honor at Mulligan’s on the way home is appropriate and part of the program. I don’t like to make these write-ups personal, but I will here: I have dents in my shins from dancing with Penny at any number of shows, and I will miss the joyful, painful obligation to give her a twirl. I will miss her in other ways, at moments unpredictable, too. We are all characters; she played out her character for all to see. If you knew her, you need no invitation to remember her. If you didn’t, and you care about local music and what it takes to build a scene, take this Saturday to find out who she was and what she meant to the musicians she lifted up.


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248 Allen St.
Buffalo, NY
Phone: 716-886-8539