Olympia Dukakis brings story of pain and hope to Buffalo 2009: Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis brings story of pain and hope to Buffalo

Olympia Dukakis recently had a shock, and it had to do with Buffalo.

Her memories of the city have, until lately, had mostly to do with a visit she made here in the 1960s, when she played Serafina Delle Rose in a production of Tennessee Williams&rsquo &ldquoThe Rose Tattoo.&rdquo Among her favorite recollections: Buffalo&rsquos Italian neighborhoods, which served dinners Dukakis still salivates over. As she puts it: &ldquoThose were some good restaurants.&rdquo Imagine her surprise, then, when she discovered that Buffalo has become, according to the U.S. Census, the third poorest city in the country. &ldquoI never thought of it as a terribly affluent city &ndash but I never thought of it as a poor city either, where one-third of the people are living in poverty.&rdquo PREVIEW: The inaugural "Signature Event" of the Western New York Women's Fund will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Tickets are $100. Attendees will be invited to write a tribute to a special woman in their lives. More details about the tributes and the event can be found on the Web site of the Women's Fund. , or by calling 887-2621. These dual emotions &ndash love for the gritty little Queen City, and concern over its place in national poverty rankings &ndash will fuel the Academy Award-winning actress&rsquo message on Wednesday, when she speaks to a local audience inside Kleinhans Music Hall, at an inaugural &ldquosignature event&rdquo of the Western New York Women&rsquos Fund. The event is intended to raise funds for, and awareness of, the fledgling group that aims to work in targeted ways to improve the economic condition of women and girls in the region.

&ldquoWe wanted to find someone who really fit our mission and values,&rdquo Brigid Doherty, executive director of the Women&rsquos Fund, said of Dukakis&rsquo appearance. &ldquoShe&rsquos multigenerational in her appeal &ndash and she&rsquos really got an interesting story. Her personal story ... is really representative of what a lot of people [in Buffalo] are going through.&rdquo

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