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Superfreaky Rick James bar/museum planned for Jefferson Avenue

Local native Kenneth Ivy has been talking with the family of the late Rick James about creating a museum in honor of the funk icon.

Ivy's proposal would turn the long-closed Pixie Bar & Grill on Jefferson Avenue near Glenwood Avenue into a bar and museum dedicated to the life and music of the Buffalo-born musician. Ivy, who now owns the bar, said architect Robert T. Coles designed major improvements in 1982.

"The bar was fully restored by my dad at that time and over the years, it has weathered and it definitely needs to be brought up to code on various aspects, such as handicapped doors to the bathroom, making it accessible, fire-rated ceiling between the commercial property on the first floor and the second floor," Ivy said.

Ivy is a retired FBI special agent, still doing some work for the bureau. He has been negotiating with James family members about his plans.

The proposal was before the Buffalo Planning Board Monday. It goes before the Common Council Legislation Committee Tuesday.

Credit Buffalo Planning Board
Pixie's Bar & Grill would be updated and turned into a bar and museum.

"I'm ready to submit for the building permit," said architect Anthony James, who is pushing the project. "As soon as we get the special use permit, I can submit for the building permit. And then as soon as that's through, we have been talking with contractors. So as soon as we get the building permits, the project should start."

James said if the schedule goes according to the plan, the bar/museum will open in the fall after extensive repairs to the outside and inside, with Ivy building an apartment for himself upstairs.

"There are other cities that have memorials for individuals, such as in France. Elvis has his in Memphis and Buffalo needs that," said James. "Rick James, as far as the R&B community, really put Buffalo on the map and he should be honored."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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