Firewalk with him
"Meet the challenge of a single evening and transform your entire life." The last time Buzz heard an offer like that, we became engaged to be married. (Happily! Happily!)

Now that Buzz has cleared our social calendar for, oh, the next decade, maybe we will take this new challenge, a fire-walk offered January 23 by Rand Stagen, publisher of The Met, in a full-page, full-color ad published in, you guessed it, The Met.

Stagen, whom the ad describes as a "certified fire-walk instructor," offers to teach you "to overcome fears that block you from realizing your goals."

Now, Buzz believes that some fears--of third-degree burns, say--are healthy. And one of our goals is not to be stupid and to avoid doing things like paying someone $95 to allow us to walk barefoot over hot coals.

But never mind that. What interests us is the fact that Stagen is a certified fire-walk instructor. Who certifies these guys, and what happens to the poor shlubs who wash out of the certification classes? Are there a bunch of nubby-legged failures stumping around San Francisco, the center of the fire-walking universe?

It's a mystery, and one we would delve into further, but we have to hurry to the jewelry store before it closes. Flaming coals hold no fear for us, but a wrathful Mrs. Buzz does.

Up in smoke
Dallas theater manager Richard Peterson recently saw his dream to resuscitate the Astro Theater, Dallas' last drive-in, evaporate after a fire swept through the concession stand and projection room on Thanksgiving eve. The McLendon Co., owner of the property, which Peterson managed, decided to pocket an $800,000 insurance payment and sell the land for roughly the same amount.

Peterson's other management project, the Casa Linda Theater near White Rock Lake, shut down this past Sunday after the building was sold. Peterson chose to close it rather than risk running the circa 1945 theater into dilapidation.

Peterson's drive to save the historic Astro was a gallant effort. He garnered loose commitments for roughly half the $1.6 million needed to purchase the 21-acre site and renovate the drive-in, mostly from the Southern Dallas Development Corp. Peterson hoped Dr Pepper or some other corporation would step forward with a contribution in exchange for logos beneath the Astro's screens. He also offered commemorative Astro gift sets for $29.95 in an attempt to raise the needed dough. The set included a strip of 35mm film salvaged from the fire featuring animated dancing and marching concession snacks from the 1960s. Apparently, line-dancing Cokes and Goobers aren't a big draw.

But all is not lost. Peterson says he's working with a group of lawyers to purchase land and open a massive 12-screen drive-in. "I'm 49 years old, and this is all I've ever done," he says. "So I need to do something, other than being a street person."

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Overcome your fears and spare your tootsies; send Buzz an e-mail at [email protected].