CITY April 2023

Page 1


April 2023

Vol 51 No 8

On the cover: Illustration by Ryan Williamson 280 State Street Rochester, New York 14614 phone (585) 244-3329

PUBLISHER Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman

FOUNDERS Bill and Mary Anna Towler


Editor: David Andreatta

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Contributors: Patrick Hosken, Jessica Reilly, Max Schulte, Mona Seghatolaslami, Jasmin Singer, Jeff Spevak.


Director, Strategy: Ryan Williamson

Art director: Jacob Walsh


Sales manager: Alison Zero Jones

Advertising consultant/

Project manager: David White


Operations manager: Ryan Williamson Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis

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Is New York’s medical marijuana program going up in smoke? Patients are leaving in droves as legal weed grows.


How a burgeoning black market is muscling in on local cannabis sellers looking to go legit.



How the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra could create new buzz with weed-friendly concerts.



A close-up look at the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it precision now on view at the George Eastman Museum.



Pregnant women are told to swear off weed. But half of women are open to using while giving birth.


Great local gifts for the stoners in your life who seem to have everything.



We sampled some of the best Flower City strains just for you. (Really, just for you.)

Strain: Watermelon ZkittlesxPink Crescendo Grown by: Farmstand Gaspicks. See page 60. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH


In the know

A big-picture guide to legal weed in New York.

What the hell is going on with weed in New York? A year ago, every authority on cannabis had the adult-use retail market in New York pegged to light up in April 2023.

Yet here we are, with little to show for it.  That’s not to say there hasn’t been any progress. There are legal dispensaries in a few boroughs of New York City, and if you happen to be in Binghamton or Ithaca, you can stock up there.

But the delay has left many people wondering whether weed is even really, truly legal. The short answer is kind of. The longer answer is, well, longer.

Weed is legal to have and consume, although where you can buy it legally is confusing. There are only a handful of legal operations in New York, and none of them are in Rochester.

Here’s the run-down on what you need to know about where cannabis legalization currently stands.


We’re all adults here, but it needs to be said that nothing in this article constitutes legal advice, and every person is responsible for the consequences of their own actions. Consider yourself warned.


Cannabis! Is there a more controversial plant? This ancient staple of humanity has gone from the cornerstone of civilization to a tool of the devil and back again (depending on where you live, of course). Here’s a look back at how we got to where we are.

Dispensaries: What’s the hold-up?

While dispensaries are slowly coming online in other parts of the state, don’t expect to see them in Rochester any time soon.

“There are two reasons there are no dispensaries in Rochester right now,” said Jacob Zoghlin, cannabis attorney and partner at The Zoghlin Group. “One is because the federal court has enjoined an issuance of justice-involved CAURD licenses, and the second is because the state has been slow to issue non-CAURD licenses.”

In layman’s terms, that means that New York and its Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) are currently being sued over their Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program, which is meant to help people who have

12,700 BCE: Cannabis plants evolve in Asia in the regions that are now known as Mongolia and Siberia.

2,800 BCE: Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine, is the first person to record cannabis as a medicine, describing it as a treatment for ailments such as constipation, gout, and “absentmindedness.”

been disparately affected by formerly stringent criminal laws for marijuana use and possession.

The plaintiff is a man named Kenneth Gay, a Michigan resident who has a stake in a California-based cannabis company, Variscite One.

Gay is suing the state in federal court because he doesn’t qualify for the first round of dispensary licenses under CAURD. To qualify, an applicant must have a significant presence in New York, which the OCM loosely defined as residency in New York, bank accounts or property held in state, or “some other connection with or in New York state.” Applicants must also have a previous cannabis conviction here. Gay has neither a conviction nor “some other connection” to New York and doesn’t want to wait his turn for a wider application process. (He does have a previous conviction in Michigan, however.)

At the heart of his argument is the dormant commerce clause, which prevents state governments from discriminating against interstate commerce. Gay cited five regions in his lawsuit, including the Finger Lakes. In response, a judge blocked the rollout of  CAURD licenses in these regions while the litigation is pending, although one dispensary recently opened in Ithaca. Gay has also filed similar lawsuits in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

The state is expected to eventually issue licenses to a broader swath of the

population,  but as of publication, that application process and the criteria to qualify had not been made public. When this process will be released is anyone’s guess.

“We don’t comment on pending litigation,” Trivette Knowles, spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management,  said. “We will continue our work building the most equitable market in the nation and continue to advance retail licenses in the allowable regions. In the meantime, cultivators, processors, and labs continue to be licensed in all regions.”

Steve VanDeWalle, a cannabis entrepreneur from Rochester who is seeking a microbusiness license, is also frustrated by the slow process.

“The whole process has felt like ‘hurry up and wait,’” VanDeWalle said. “I’ve been preparing for this for four years; I have everything ready to go - a turnkey business plan. But not only are all of the licenses not available, we don’t even know when they will be. I don’t even know if I’ll qualify for the license I want.”

How much weed can I have?

A lot. The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) designated possession limits for adults as three ounces of dried flower and 24 grams of concentrates or edibles.

1619: The Colony of Virginia passes legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp, which was legal tender in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

1800: Following his invasion of Egypt, Napoleon Bonaparte prohibits his soldiers from smoking cannabis out of concern that the plant would provoke a loss of fighting spirit.


To put that in context, the average pre-rolled joint has half a gram of weed. Each ounce of flower contains about 28 grams. If you were to buy three ounces of flower, you could roll 168 joints.

Are those corner store pot operations legal, or just kindasorta legal?

Just kinda-sorta. They exist in a gray area. They’re not legal, licensed dispensaries. But New York lawmakers have made clear that they don’t want to re-criminalize cannabis after making it legal, and law enforcement authorities

have shown no stomach for picking nits on the matter.

The OCM has issued cease-and-desist letters to some shops selling cannabis illegally, but they continue to pop up. What can we say other than the industry in New York is the Wild West right now?

The long and the short of it is there are no legal dispensaries in Rochester at this moment. Any place selling THC products is doing so illegally.

“Just because an operator is unlicensed doesn’t mean they’re bad,” VanDeWalle said. “It just means they don’t have a permission slip from the state to do what they’ve done for years.”

How can I get weed, like, right now?

You have a few options, some legal and others less above board. (Remember the “not legal advice” disclaimer?)

First, you can stop by one of those corner stores that sell weed. But you didn’t hear that from us and don’t come crying to us when the cops decide that the day you visit is the day they raid the place. That scenario is unlikely, but we’re just sayin’.  Products here can also be of questionable quality. Do your due diligence.

Another option is ordering edibles online. Products with 2 to 25 mg of THC are available online and can be shipped to most states. How?  Thanks to a loophole in federal law, CBD products with .3% THC or less can be sold and shipped over state lines. Check out brands like Exhale Wellness, Koi, Bubpop, and NuLeaf Naturals.

You can also find some THC products (flower, edibles, vapes) at certain CBD stores. When you visit a CBD shop, ask if it sells “stickers”

1850: The United States Pharmacopoeia adds cannabis as a medication.

1906: The Pure Food and Drug Act passes, requiring labeling of all substances, including cannabis, in over-the-counter products.

1910: The Mexican Revolution prompts a wave of Mexican immigration into the U.S. and

or “memberships.” Many stores get around not having a retail license by taking advantage of a provision in state law that allows adults to transfer, or “gift,” each other up to three ounces of cannabis without compensation. You won’t pay for the pot, but those stickers and memberships will cost you a pretty penny (wink, wink). The practice is a scheme that state officials have railed against but that law enforcement has largely ignored. We weren’t kidding when we said this was the Wild West.

Finally, you can connect with growers online. There have always been weed growers in Rochester, and there continue to be today. The main difference is, you can find most of them on Instagram or Telegram now. Send them a message, but don’t be weird about it. Most of them are happy to share the (literal) fruits of their labor.

Don’t write: “Hey, can I buy some pot from you?”

Write something like: “Hey, love your plant pics. How would I get some flower?/ Do you participate in any local weed events?/ Are you on Telegram?”

What’s the deal with delivery services?

Delivery services will eventually be a separate license type in New York. But — surprise, surprise — as of publication, the OCM hasn’t created the regulations and application process yet. Instead, the agency has decided to allow current license holders to offer delivery. Just don’t expect their range to reach Rochester.

Whether dispensaries will still be allowed to deliver by the time they open in Rochester is anyone’s guess. But if you really can’t wait, see the question above about connecting with growers. Some of them deliver if you ask nicely (and pay a fee).

Can I grow my own weed?

Not yet. Growing weed at home is allowed for medical marijuana cardholders only right now.

Zoghlin noted that MRTA, the law that legalized recreational cannabis, requires the state to issue rules for growing at home no later than 18 months after the first day of legal sales. That suggests the rule should be released sometime in July 2024.

“But,” Zoghlin said, “if the OCM will hit that deadline is anyone’s guess.”

with it, an introduction to the term “marihuana.”

1930: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics is created. Harry Anslinger, the father of American cannabis prohibition, is the first commissioner.

1931: Twenty-nine of 49 states have outlawed cannabis.

1936: “Reefer Madness,” the first anti-cannabis propaganda film, premieres, horrifying a generation with the made-up effects of weed.

August 1937: The Marihuana Tax Act is passed, effectively outlawing the plant.


Clearing up the cannabis confusion

Everything you need to know to consume cannabis with confidence.


There’s a lot of information for any new cannabis consumer to wrap their head around. What’s the difference between marijuana and hemp? THC and CBD? D8 and D10?

Don’t ask Google to be the expert. We reached out to scientists, cannabis growers, and other plant experts to give you the info you need to consume confidently.

Why do I get high?

The simple answer is that intoxicating cannabinoids are interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system. Let’s break it down.

Your endocannabinoid system is a regulatory system with cannabinoid receptors on every single organ in your body. The ECS is responsible for a lot of things – the effects of cannabis being one of them. But it also plays a role in every other biological response you have: hunger, sleep, memories, pain, mood. The list goes on.

“The endocannabinoid system is a master regulatory system,” said Codi Peterson, a doctor of pharmacy who specializes in cannabis-based medicine. “Yes, it’s responsible for cannabis’ effects, but it plays a much bigger role than that in your body.”

Now to the cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is a molecule produced in the cannabis plant. You know them better as

THC and CBD. Some cannabinoids, like THC, have intoxicating effects that can make you feel “high,” while others, like CBD, don’t.

Is cannabis safe?

In a word — yes. The cannabis plant has been consumed by humans for millennia. In its natural form, the plant is perfectly safe for adults to consume.

“Compared to the vast majority of pharmaceuticals, compared to everyday activities like driving to work, cannabis is very safe,” Peterson said. “But like anything you put in your body, side effects can happen.”

The side effects from THC can include dizziness, lack of balance or coordination, delayed response time, increased heart rate, and paranoia. If you’re having a bad time after using cannabis, take a deep breath. You are safe. It will not kill you. The feeling will pass.

Marijuana vs. hemp.

What’s the diff?

Modern cannabis plants have been manipulated to have high levels of THC, but historically, CBD was more abundant. Hemp plants are the same as marijuana (biologically speaking) but hemp has CBD as the dominant cannabinoid, while marijuana plants have THC.

1942: Cannabis is removed from the United States Pharmacopoeia.

1942: The Marihuana Tax Act is lifted temporarily to encourage farmers to grow hemp for rope for sailors. The Department of Agriculture releases the propaganda film “Hemp for Victory,” then denies its existence until the film was pulled from the National Archives in 1990.

What does it do?

Is it legal?

How much should I have?

1944: The New York Academy of Medicine releases the La Guardia Report on cannabis, concluding that the “gateway (drug) theory” is false and the “the sociological, psychological, and medical ills commonly attributed to marihuana (are) exaggerated.”

1951: The Boggs Act is adopted and sets mandatory sentences for drug convictions. A first-

time cannabis possession conviction carried a penalty of two to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

1961: The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is adopted, adding cannabis to the list of internationally controlled drugs for the first time.

1970: Congress passes the Controlled Substances Act,


THC CBD D8 / D10

THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (D9 THC) is the most abundant molecule in commercially grown cannabis plants and is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis.

CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is the most common cannabinoid in wild cannabis plants as well as commercially cultivated hemp plants.

The cannabinoid naturally produced in the largest quantities in cannabis plants is D9 THC. But it’s illegal in many places. So businesses that wanted to get around prohibition began chemically modifying cannabis molecules into other forms of THC. That’s how we got Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, which are not natural.

• Reduce pain and inflammation

• Reduce nausea

• Lower anxiety

• Fall asleep faster

• Feel better or more joyful

• Outlawed by the feds

• Legal in New York

• Reduce pain and inflammation

• Stay asleep longer & wake up easier

• Reduce nausea

•Lower daily anxiety

•Support overall wellness

Legal across the USA

• It will get you high

• Potentially negative side effects

• New cannabis users beware

• It’s a gray area

• A proposed NYS ban is in legal limbo

• Think “low and slow”

• A 2.5 mg edible is a good place to start

• Give it time to kick in before going back for more

designating cannabis as a Schedule I substance that is “highly addictive with no medical value.”

1970: The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is founded and begins the decades-long fight to decriminalize marijuana.

1972: “Weed tourism” comes into vogue with the opening

• Studies suggest 1,500-3,000 mg

• Expect some trial and error

of a coffee shop in Amsterdam where customers could buy and smoke weed.

1972: The Shafer Commission, formally known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, issues a report calling for decriminalizing cannabis. President Richard Nixon ignores the recommendation.

• Too much can back you up

• If you can’t go No. 2, scale back

• Made in a lab

• Its safety is in question

1972: “Reefer Madness” makes a comeback. NORML screens the film on college campuses across California to raise money for an initiative to legalize marijuana. The film becomes a cult classic.

• Use at your own risk



Medical marijuana up in smoke?

Patients are leaving as legal weed flowers.

When staff from the Office of Cannabis Management launched an online information session on New York’s medical marijuana program last month, they took pains to drive home one point: The program still exists.

“Even though adult-use cannabis is now legal, the medical cannabis program isn’t going anywhere,” Karen Vanderzyden, a health and safety specialist with the Office of Cannabis Management, told viewers. “I know it’s a concern for our patients. We are committed to maintaining a robust medical program for a lot of reasons. A medical program is necessary.”

Like other medical marijuana programs in states that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, New York’s program is losing participants at a rapid clip — for myriad reasons — despite the passage of legislation that was intended to support and expand the service.

More than 151,000 people registered for the medical marijuana program between its inception in 2014 and 2021, when state lawmakers legalized recreational cannabis, according to the Office of Cannabis Management. Today, the program has 121,000 patients, according to the office.

The downward trend is no aberration. An Annals of Internal Medicine study found that participation in medical marijuana programs declined in five of seven states where recreational cannabis later became legal. For example, Colorado fully legalized cannabis in 2014 and the patient count in its

medical program dropped from 94,500 in 2016 to 70,700 this past January. Oregon legalized cannabis in 2015, and between 2016 and 2020 its patient count fell to 22,600 from 68,000.

Pinpointing precisely why registrants in medical marijuana programs fall off the

1973: New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller adopts the “Rockefeller Drug Laws,” a series of draconian criminal statutes that would have people imprisoned for 15 years to life for convictions of carrying small amounts of marijuana.

1974: High Times, a monthly magazine, legalization advocate, and cannabis brand, publishes its first issue.

rolls is difficult. But in New York, it is not a stretch to suggest that the limits of the program have been a factor.

The state capped the number of medical cannabis operators at 10, and each was limited to opening four dispensaries. There are 38 dispensaries

across the state, and only two of those are in the Rochester region, both of them in the city — Columbia Care on Ridge Road and RISE on University Avenue. Patients who have traditionally relied on the program may have found more convenient options for their treatment

March 1976: British rocker David Bowie is arrested at the Americana Rochester Hotel on marijuana charges after performing a concert at the War Memorial. A grand jury later declined to indict him. Bowie never performed in Rochester again.


since legalization, even if those options are the unregulated operations now proliferating in corner stores, CBD shops, or as standalone storefronts.

Historically, only a small number of diseases qualified for medical marijuana use, including AIDS, cancer, and epilepsy. Also, patients were restricted from smoking or vaping cannabis flower, which is more affordable than other cannabis variations, and were limited to a 30-day supply.

All of those restrictions were modified under the law that legalized recreational cannabis. Patients can now receive up to a 60-day supply of cannabis, and doctors have the discretion to recommend medical marijuana for any condition.

Lawmakers also allowed each of the 10 medical marijuana operators to open three recreational dispensaries for a fee, as long as they do so in underserved areas. But the law says nothing about how much the fee should be or when it should be set. Early discussions touched on a potential fee of $20 million, and operators have spent millions on lobbyists to lower that figure.

Whether those changes were too little too late for medical marijuana licensees to get in on what some have projected to be a $6 billion market is an open question.

A trade group for several medical cannabis operators, including RISE’s parent company Green Thumb Industries, is suing the state over its process and criteria for awarding recreational dispensary licenses. The state opened the first round of licensing only to New York residents with past marijuana convictions or their parents, spouses, or children. The plaintiffs argue that the state overstepped its authority in doing so.

On social media, some patients have expressed worries that the state’s new adult-use market could stunt or weaken the medical program.

September 1978: Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong release their first buddy stoner movie, “Up in Smoke,” introducing a generation to the joys of hot boxing.

November 1980: ABC releases anti-weed afterschool special “Stoned” starring Scott Baio. After smoking weed, Baio ruins most of his relationships and nearly kills his brother before swearing off pot for good.

“Patients were a huge part of the advocacy that has helped normalize cannabis and to leave them behind by underinvesting or abandoning the medical program would be a real shame for all of the work that has been done to help folks actually access this medicine,” said Ngiste Abebe, vice president of public policy for Columbia Care, a multi-state medical and adult-use cannabis company.

In states where it’s allowed, Columbia Care operates medical and recreational dispensaries.

“We’ve seen in other states that without adult-use, medical programs struggle,” Abebe said. “We have 122,000 or 121,000 patients in the entire state of New York so that means all of our dispensaries have a maximum of 121,000 customers, and these are folks who are sick and who don’t have the support of insurance coverage to help them access this medicine.”

State Sen. Jeremy Cooney, who supports a robust medical program, said one of the biggest issues he sees with it is affordability.

The cannabis products at medical dispensaries aren’t cheap and health insurance plans don’t cover them, nor are they likely to while cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. The state eliminated the registration fee for patients, but they still have to pay for a doctor’s appointment to get certified, which often costs around $150.

But Cooney does see ways to get prices down. For example, he’s introduced legislation that would get rid of the tax on the products, which he believes would drive down prices.

“We don’t tax other kinds of prescribed treatments,” Cooney said.

“The glib phrase is, ‘You don’t tax Tylenol.’ Well, we don’t tax Tylenol because we know that doctors or overthe-counter pharmacists are providing a treatment to reduce a health ailment.”

October 1982: President Ronald Reagan declares war on drugs and First Lady Nancy Reagan tells children to “Just Say No.”

August 1982: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” debuts and surf bum character Jeff Spicoli becomes a teenage stoner icon.

October 1984: Reagan signs the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, re-establishing

No roof for that reefer

When New York legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the legislation “prioritizes marginalized communities” — namely needy people of color.

Two years later, however, a curious conflict embedded in cannabis laws across the United States persists: Public housing residents remain bound by federal law that defines cannabis as an illegal substance and prohibits its use.

“There is the question of legalization in New York state, but because we live in public housing under the umbrella of (the Department of Housing and Urban Development), we must abide by their rules,” said Florine Cummings, a Rochester Housing Authority commissioner elected by tenants to represent their interests within the agency.

The Rochester Housing Authority serves 26,000 lower-income people in Rochester and its suburbs. About one in five of them live in housing units operated by the agency, and the vast majority of those residents are people of color.

(The rest live in privately-owned dwellings and their rent is federally subsidized by so-called Section 8 housing vouchers. Those units are not subject to federal cannabis laws, although landlords may have their own lease provisions regarding smoking.)

Federal law not only bars public housing residents from consuming cannabis in any form in their homes, but also prohibits the medical use of marijuana. Residents caught using risk eviction.

The American Bar Association last year called the conflict between the federal and various state laws a “great injustice” that

has resulted in “the creation of a second class of citizens when it comes to the legal use of cannabis.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C., has three times introduced legislation to correct the conflict, specifically prohibiting public housing authorities from barring people who use medical cannabis in compliance with state law to federal housing. Those bills have gone nowhere.

Cummings, who lives in the Lena Gantt Estates in northeast Rochester, said addressing the conflict has not been a priority for public housing residents.

“I really haven’t had any residents complain about it,” she said, adding that the number of complaints about marijuana smoking on RHA premises have dropped.

Cummings said most residents are familiar with the strict no-smoking policy and the ban on cannabis use, but acknowledged that consuming edibles in the comfort of one’s home would be difficult to detect.

mandatory minimum sentences and increasing the punishment for possessing cannabis.

October 1986: The United States adopts the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, increasing mandatory minimum sentences for drug cases and creating the “three strikes” rule, which led to greater racial disparity in arrests and sentences.


The green rush

A black market within a black market stokes fear over the future of local cannabis.

When state lawmakers crafted the legislation that would make cannabis legal, they had two main goals.

The first was ensuring the state got a cut of what experts anticipated being a $6 billion industry. The second was undoing decades of harm from the criminalization of marijuana by giving people of color and “legacy” cannabis dealers priority to join the legal industry.

People like Grant “Skribe da God” Atkins.

1987: The first “This is your brain on drugs” commercial airs, forever searing into the minds of impressionable youngsters that all substances will destroy their brains equally.

March 1992: Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, admits that he experimented with smoking

He hustled pot on the street as a teenager, founded the reggae band Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and became a leader in the cannabis industry collaborative group NY Green Coalition and eventually a driving mind behind local cannabis brands Lambsbreath and 6Point Cannabis. He also teaches social studies in Rochester public schools.

On paper, Atkins is poised to

cash in on legal cannabis. But with delays hampering the legal retail market, Atkins worries that he’s already being muscled out by a burgeoning black market. He says his survival as a player has never been more threatened.

“This is the hardest time I’ve ever experienced in the cannabis industry, and I’ve been involved with it since 1997,” Atkins said. “And what’s

marijuana in the 1960s but insisted he “didn’t inhale,” giving stoners new (and hilarious) plausible deniability.

November 1996: California voters pass Prop 215, creating the first medical marijuana program in the nation.

August 1998: “That ’70s Show” airs, introducing audiences to “the smoking circle.”

making it harder is the profuse oversupply of black-market cannabis.”

Stop in just about any corner store in Rochester and there will likely be some sort of cannabis product — flower, extract vaporizers, edibles, or tinctures — for sale illegally. Most of these products come from states where retail cannabis is legal but, for one reason or another, were rejected there. California is a huge source of these products, earning them the moniker of “Cali-pack.”  They are shipped here illegally by the same criminal operations that moved pot into Rochester well before legalization.

There are virtually no legal consequences for the retailers who sell these items. Law enforcement is loath to make marijuana arrests these days. But an ancillary consequence is that people like Atkins, who are looking to play by the rules, are finding themselves being elbowed aside.

“It was tough before legalization,” Atkins said. “It’s next to impossible now.”


July 2001: Afroman releases “Because I Got High,” giving stoners a new anthem in a new millennium.

October 2006: Presidential hopeful Barack Obama acknowledges having smoked (and inhaled!) weed.

August 2008: “Pineapple Express” is released in theaters, introducing Seth Rogen as the new Hollywood stoner.


10 CITY APRIL 2023
Grant “Skribe Da God” Atkins. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE A worker at Vandy’s prepares cannabis flower for sale. PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI

On your mark, get set, go

In March 2021, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act into law, legalizing the possession of cannabis and setting into motion the creation of a regulated marketplace.

It was considered among the most progressive cannabis legalization laws in the nation, putting a high-emphasis on so-called “equity licenses.” That provision was to ensure that people of color, people convicted of crimes involving possessing and selling marijuana in the past, and people from communities disproportionately hit by criminalization would be at the front of the line to enter the legal market. The idea was to foster a sustainable industry led not by massive corporations, but small-time craft growers, processors, and sellers from New York.

But the licensing process has been slow. As of mid-March, only five legal dispensaries have opened in New York. Three are in New York City, one is in Binghamton, and one is in Ithaca.

Part of the delay has been a lawsuit filed by a Michigan-based cannabis company, Variscite, that argues that giving priority to New Yorkers is unconstitutional. The company filed a similar lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles.

It is against this backdrop that the black market cannabis industry in New York has flourished, while those people the law was meant to benefit have yet to reap their rewards.

“It’s the green rush,” said Keith Messenger, of Chrome Grown, a manufacturer of pre-rolled joints, balms, and edibles with plants in Rochester and Binghamton. “Just like in the gold rush, it wasn’t the miners

Pot Purgatory

The situation is no surprise to Damian Fagon, the Office of Cannabis Management’s chief equity officer, and, he said, it is not likely to go away anytime soon.

“We’re three months into our fully-formed supply chain,” Fagon said. “This is going to take years, and I really encourage the legacy guys who are hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to not despair at this initial volatility. It happens in every market, and it’s going to continue until we reach a more stable, sustainable, complete supply chain.”

Fagon described the current cannabis market as “labyrinthine,” rife with complicated nuances. He said, though, that the state wants to support the legacy businesses trying to push into the legal market.

“I think a lot of the legacy guys recognize that we want them in the legal market,” Fagon said. “We want the legal market to work for small growers, craft growers, and communities across the state.”

Fagon said the state does not anticipate eliminating a cannabis black market, but is instead focused on making the legal market preferable to consumers.

making the money, it was the people selling the shovels. …So we’ve got these people looking to make money in the industry that don’t know the industry.”

Messenger lit a joint and took a long drag. He and his business partner, Enoch Henry, are legacy market stalwarts. He, too, said that times have never been harder for them to move their products.

February 2009: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is photographed with a cannabis pipe. He loses sponsors and is suspended from swimming for three months.

November 2012: Colorado and Washington become the first two states to legalize adult-use cannabis, opening access to the plant to anyone over 21.

“They get on Telegram, they start importing stuff, we’ve got people going around bringing in truckloads of stuff from out of state,” Messenger said of the burgeoning black market. “It’s swamping us out. The legacy people like me…are struggling.”

June 2013: The ACLU releases “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” report, which for the first time reveals the staggering racial bias in arrest and incarcerations for marijuana possession. While white and Black people used marijuana at roughly the same rate, Black people were nearly four times more likely to be arrested.

For Atkins, cannabis is more than just a business prospect. It’s a passion, and an industry he sees as having the potential to bind together Rochester’s ecosystem of art, music, and culture.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 13, and I’m 44 now,” Atkins said. “I’ll never tap out, because that would be like not being who I am. It’s almost like I can’t not be Black, so I always have to be engaged on the frontlines of Black liberation. I can’t not be cannabis in the same way.”

December 2013: Uruguay becomes the first country in the world to legalize cannabis.

July 2014: New York legalizes medical cannabis, becoming the 23rd state to create such a program.


12 CITY APRIL 2023
Keith Messenger of Chrome Grown showcases ingredients for edibles. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Home, passive home

No furnace? No problem — even in the dead of winter.

When Joanna and Greg Collins considered building a new home in Lima, they didn’t exactly set out to build a “passive house” — one that maintains a comfortable interior climate without active heating and cooling systems.

For the Collinses, who had raised three sons to adulthood in Avon, their main priority wasn’t reaping the environmental benefits of cutting carbon or reducing energy use that come with “passive” living.

Their needs were much more practical: accommodating their medically fragile 7-year-old son and Greg’s 98-year-old father with accessible, first-floor living quarters.

But in discussing where to move and what to build, Greg recalled reading an article about a passive house and was drawn to the concept. He was also intrigued by the possibility of building a net-zero home — one that produces the amount of energy it consumes through a mix of factors, such as electrification, solar power, insulation, and eco-friendly heating and cooling systems (like a geothermal closed-loop system that draws on the earth’s temperature to manage the home’s temperature).

Strategies like these can make a home significantly more eco-friendly than the standard fuel-guzzler, which,

over the course of two decades, can emit 120 tons of carbon dioxide.

Buildings are thought to account for over a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and

September 2018: Elon Musk hits a spliff on the Joe Rogan podcast.

October 2019: Canada adopts the Cannabis Act, creating a nationwide recreational cannabis program.

March 2021: New York adopts the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA),

buildings in New York are considered among the worst culprits.

“I do feel an obligation from a social contract point to do what I can,” Greg said, “and that’s partly for my

legalizing cannabis for recreational use by adults.

November 2022: A federal judge temporarily blocks New York’s rollout of retail dispensary licenses in five areas of the state after Kenneth Gay, a Michigan resident, challenges the state law that gives preference for licenses to New Yorkers, particularly those in communities disparately

children and for the future.”

It took Greg just a few minutes to find the passive house article, and just a few more to contact its subject, Matthew Bowers, who owns Rochester

affected by formerly stringent criminal laws.

December 2022: The first legal adult-use cannabis sale happens in New York City.

February 2023: A third dispensary in New York opensbut Rochester is still waiting for theirs.

14 CITY APRIL 2023
Greg and Joanna Collins in their “passive house” in Lima. Passive houses use little energy to maintain a comfortable temperature year round, making conventional heating and air conditioning systems obsolete. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Passive House Consulting, and lives in a passive house in Honeoye Falls.

On a recent winter day, the temperature outside bottomed out at 16 degrees, but the interior of Bowers’ house was a comfortable 72. That is perhaps typical of most homes on a frigid winter day. Now consider that Bowers’ house spans 2,800 square feet and that he spends $300 a year to heat it.

“And we don’t have geothermal. We don’t have solar panels. It’s strictly using air-source heat pumps,” he said. “Essentially, two hair dryers put out enough heat to actually heat our house.”

Passive house construction, Bowers explained, can remedy issues such as cold floors, unwanted noise from outside, lingering odors from cooking, and even allergens floating around.

“The certification process for a passive house is to make sure that the thermal envelope — so that’s your floor, your walls, your roof, your windows — only can lose so much energy over the course of the heating season, and can only gain so much energy over the course of the summer season,” Bowers said.

Building a passive house from scratch, like the Collinses did (along with adding net-zero features), is much easier than retrofitting an existing home. The latter is possible, and experts figure it can reduce energy costs by 93 percent, but it is an involved renovation process that can take months and requires homeowners to vacate.

There are five principles of building a passive house from the ground up. The house must have:

• A super-insulated envelope (such as with cellulose insulation)

• Air-tight construction (sealing all leaks around doors, windows, and electrical outlets)

• No thermal bridges (a thermal bridge is an area with less insulation, such as the studs of a house — so to avoid this, dormers and bump-outs are minimized)

• Mechanical ventilation (ensuring healthy air quality)

• Efficient windows, orientation, and shading (triple-pane windows are common with passive houses, and the homes themselves are oriented to take full advantage of natural light and heat).

Though the idea of paying relatively low energy bills is enticing — and the environmental ethic is becoming more and more mainstream — the price of getting a passive home can be high. Building costs range anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent above the home’s value.

But the arrangement has paid off for the Collins family, in more ways than just financially.

For Joanna, who is also a foster parent and animal rescuer, it is both her family and environmental health that motivate her the most. Given the ongoing climate crisis, her goal is to help normalize living sustainably.

“Family is everything for me,” she said. “My first granddaughter was born just last year, and I hope she has a future and an environment to live in when she gets older.”

For the Collinses, there is nothing even remotely passive about that.

The energy recovery ventilation system at the Collins residence. The unit regulates the temperature without using traditional heating and cooling methods.


Musician and visual artist DM Stith has always been an enigmatic singer-songwriter. His music — part ambient pop and part alternative folk — is as inscrutable as it is ethereal.

But “Fata Morgana,” Stith’s first full-length album since he returned to Rochester in 2021 from New York City (where he collaborated with indie music hero Sufjan Stevens), pairs typically cryptic lyrics with a noticeably more straightforward and upbeat sound than on previous efforts such as the at-times frantic “Pigeonheart” and the debut album “Heavy Ghost,” which alternated between somber and ecstatic.

When listening to “Fata Morgana” — released April 14 on Historical Fiction Records — one can’t help but sense that Stith has a lighter spirit, more emotional clarity, and a focused sound world to match. “Dodges and Feints” is positively bouncy.

What has been consistent about Stith’s music is its otherworldiness, a quality reinforced in a line from the opening track “Greyhounds”:

I can’t shake the feeling/ The earth is not my home

And I’m running this alone/ desperate laps in the park

Kinetic release or revenge at the dark/ Flashing your gang signs at the moon

No you can’t make me give this up to you.

Stith’s flexible tenor voice positions itself somewhere between fragile human and mythical angel. The album’s arrangements are typically dense, as electronic and acoustic sounds meld and become indistinguishable from one another.

The magic of “Fata Morgana” is that Stith’s singing is as close and intimate as the instruments’ statements are broad and sweeping. —


Rochester flutist Laura Lentz’s first solo recording, “Jacob’s Triptych,” is not your typical collection of flute music. For one, all three compositions featured on the EP — which was released March 3 — was written by Jacob ter Veldhius, a  Dutch contemporary classical composer of avantgarde sounds with pop music sensibilities.

In fact, ter Veldhuis, who goes by the moniker Jacob TV, said in a recent conversation that he finds most music for flute soloists boring. That explains why TV wrote the compositions for flute and electronics, rather than pairing the woodwind instrument with its conventional accompaniment instrument, the piano.

Fortunately, Lentz — who is the artistic director and flutist for the chamber ensemble fivebyfive — agrees with him. “Jacob’s Triptych” has an experimental streak running through it. Both “Lipstick” from 1998, as well as “Loudly and Clearly,” which TV finished writing for Lentz at her urging in 2022, relies on what the composer refers to as “the beauty of speed grooves.” These songs use the flute to emulate the melodic and rhythmic patterns of spoken word.

The resulting sound is a kind of collage. “Sound is abstract and speech is not,” TV said. “And that combination, to me, is pure magic. It’s overwhelming. And I’m like a beachcomber. I just find something and I work with it.”

Jacob TV is by no means the first to write contemporary classical music in a style of mimicry similar to video memes. Composer Steve Reich helped to pioneer this approach, but TV’s style is particularly high-energy and tongue-in-cheek. “Jacob’s Triptych” makes for a lighthearted listen that rewards repeat hearings.



Music should be at least a little weird. Embracing a strange edge is often the most interesting route for a band, especially one decades into its career.

“Fly, Fly, Fly,” the nearly unclassifiable and addictive new album from longtime Rochester experimental band Nod, is also undeniably weird. But that’s nothing new for this group.

When the trio began playing in basements in the early 1990s, their releases hewed close to the garage psychedelia of The Flaming Lips and their fellow western New Yorkers in Mercury Rev. Since then, vocalist Joe Sorriero has used his guitar more for texture than melody. Bassist Tim Poland maintains grooves while contributing keyboards, and Brian Shafer’s unorthodox percussion can’t be contained to a standard drum kit.

The Nod sound has always been a collage. That’s truer than ever on “Fly, Fly, Fly,” an album punctuated by a clattering seven-minute instrumental called “Ghost Ride” that makes “Revolution 9” sound like “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

Nod prioritizes improvisation. They’re a jam band the way The Velvet Underground were; the noise can stretch on unabated and reveal hidden depths.

“To Another” features gentle vocals over clarinet and warbly keyboard. “Something on The Doorway” luxuriates in a fuzzed-out guitar solo grounded in a rollicking beat.

The jams could go on forever, though Nod wisely limits their experimentation. With moments of blues and free jazz and an undeniable contemporary classical influence, the album feels at home on Carbon Records, the local home of “weird music” since 1994.

It only takes one listen to know “Fly, Fly, Fly” is a beast of its own creation. That beast is your friend.


Anxieties about money, gentrification, the numbing repetition of a 9-to-5 job color the lyrics on the debut album from Rochester band Big Nobody. But the record still sounds like a blast — fitting for a group which makes so-called “heavy pop classics.”

The album, “Ripped From the Dream,” is the effort of Jake Walsh, who works as CITY’s art director when he’s not crafting tunes. It finds Walsh availing himself of the unease and stress of everyday life to churn out loud, cathartic guitar crunches.

The album’s 10 energetic rock songs buzz with unexpected moments. A swirling keyboard melody cuts through thick, anxious distortion on “Know.” Harmonized power-pop guitar materializes to lighten the mood on “Death Fears.”

Those flashes, along with novel lyrical moments like “If it doesn’t rain soon, I am gonna freak out,” keep Walsh’s songs memorable. But the liner notes make it clear how he couldn’t do it alone. Though Walsh played all the instruments on the album apart from some additional guitar and vocal work on the song “Not Moving,” Big Nobody’s live band is credited in full.

Bassist JT Fitzgerald played with Walsh in Big Nobody’s scrappy precursor, Total Yuppies. Drummer Connor Benincasa is known for leading the local indie band Comfy, while guitarist Kyle Waldron has contributed to numerous releases from local and affiliated artists like Calicoco and Barbarosa.

Together onstage, the four transform Big Nobody tracks into searing punk monuments, as they did recently at the Bug Jar. They also covered Everclear’s “So Much for the Afterglow,” a true heavy-pop classic.

With its alternately jangly and ferocious moments, “Ripped From The Dream” may join it in the pantheon eventually.


High Notes ACTIVE

How the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Istood outside the Eastman Theatre on a cold March night preparing to hear the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra play Kodak Hall, as I had done many times before.

But that night was going to be different. The Island Kush joint in my suit jacket pocket guaranteed it. The strain was a hybrid whose name was altogether appropriate: Kush was my nickname growing up, and now I was living up to the moniker.

I even coined some classical musicnerd euphemisms for sparking up: I smoked some Verdi. I wrote the Drag in C. I indulged in the Rite of Spring. You get the idea — I got high.

Then I walked into Kodak Hall, took my $72 plush red velvet seat, and settled in for the ride with Mozart, Schubert, and Rossini.

What I did wasn’t controversial. Getting baked and listening to Pink Floyd — or Bach, for that matter — is an old trope. But it was a different experience for me — someone who uses cannabis very infrequently — and one that was famously encouraged by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in 2014 when it introduced its “Classically Cannabis” series of concerts after recreational use of the drug was legalized in that state.

After getting pushback from city officials who cited a ban on public cannabis use, Colorado Symphony turned the series into four private fundraising events.

Since then, no other American orchestra has attempted anything like it. But is it time one did? Like, say, one in a mid-sized city in New York, where people can smoke weed anywhere they can smoke tobacco?

“It’s an extraordinary topic to explore,” said James Barry, the RPO’s vice president of artistic planning and operations.

could create new buzz with weed-friendly concerts.
CITY Arts Editor Daniel J. Kushner smokes a joint outside Kodak Hall. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

“I would like to debate it in the office and see if it even had any traction, just as an exercise. How much pushback would we even get? I just don’t know. I mean, I think where we would struggle is if there was an expectation that people partake in this exercise in public, and that could be risky for many people.”

Attracting new audiences continues to be a challenge for symphony orchestras. According to a study last year by the research firm IMPACTS Experience, 48 percent of American adults felt unwelcome by orchestras. Researchers attributed the sentiment in part to orchestras’ aging audiences and lack of diverse performers.

This year, in an effort to expand its audience during its centennial season, the RPO is hosting 100 free events. Presenting a concert where cannabis users felt welcome could go a long way

toward bringing new people into the classical tent.

A study commissioned in 2002 by 15 American orchestras found that half of their audiences were 65 years old or older. Even all these years later, those findings appeared to hew pretty closely to the audience at the RPO concert I attended.

Now consider that, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, barely 1 percent of respondents over the age of 65 reported using marijuana in the last month. By contrast, nearly 20 percent of respondents aged 18 to 25, and 13 percent of those who were 26 to 34, reported doing so.

These demographics were what the Colorado Symphony was exploring with its cannabis-themed concert series.

“Part of our goal,” former CSO Executive Director Jerry Kern told The Denver Post in 2014, “is to bring in a younger audience and a more diverse audience, and I would suggest that the patrons of the cannabis industry are both younger and more diverse than the patrons of the symphony orchestra.”

The series appears to have been a financial success, too. News outlets at the time reported that the first show raised $50,000, with the help of $30,000 in sponsorships from marijuana-related businesses. The orchestra had a fundraising target of $200,000 over the four-part series.

RPO President and CEO Curt Long said the possibility of putting on a cannabis-friendly concert would be seriously considered if a cannabis company approached the orchestra about sponsoring such an event. He

added, though, that whether a venue would cooperate might carry more weight than any other factor.

“Over time, it’s quite likely that we’ll find ourselves giving concerts in venues where smoking marijuana is an option or is allowed, whether it’s an indoor venue or an outdoor venue,” Long said. “To some extent, the venues that we play in are maybe more important drivers of what’s accepted or not accepted and how the RPO gets in front of audiences than us going out and trying to build something.”

If and when cannabis lovers get to attend an RPO concert that caters to them, how would their buzz affect the listening experience? Would they be too blazed to appreciate the performance?

Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, once told the CBC that “music combined

20 CITY APRIL 2023

with marijuana tends to produce feelings of euphoria and connectedness to the music and musicians.”

He wasn’t far off, if you ask me.

When guest conductor Mario Venzago took the podium, the aroma of coconut was still on my breath and my head felt toasty, like a campfire inside had just been stamped out. The music — Rossini’s overture to “Il viaggio a Reims” — made me feel as if I were drifting off into the clouds. Pleasant. Peaceful.

By the time soloist Jonathan Biss began playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, I was calm and content. A haze was creeping in.

My forehead started to tingle. I couldn’t take my eyes off Biss’s fingers as they cascaded up and down the keyboard. Mozart’s riffs created a waterfall of sound, but it wasn’t just the fluidity of the melody from one note to the next that wowed me. The pianist’s use of glissando flowed uninterrupted,

from phrase to phrase. The result had a smooth, legato feel, but it was also precise.

With my eyes closed, I thought about how the music sounded like physical shapes. I could hear trapezoids. That makes sense, right?

The last composition of the evening was Schubert’s No. 7. In the opening Adagio, the chord progression sounded a lot like the iconic Allegretto movement in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (you know, the one in the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”).

I would have never noticed Schubert’s Seventh imitating Beethoven’s Seventh without my Island Kush.

Suddenly, the music stopped and the applause began. But I was still lost in the music.

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs at Kodak Hall. PHOTO PROVIDED



A hotel seems like an odd spot for tattoo artists to gather and ply their trade. But when LoveHate Tattoo hosts the 13th annual Roc City Tattoo Expo from April 7 through 9 at the DoubleTree on Jefferson Road, it will turn into a hotbed of tattoo activity.

This year’s iteration of the expo features more than 200 individual artists representing more than 60 tattoo shops. When LoveHate Tattoo owner Joseph DiProjetto, aka Jet, started the tattoo convention in 2009, his idea was to include friends and colleagues in the tattoo business while giving Rochester greater access to artists from outside the area.

“There’s already a lot of talent in our city, but let’s bring the world,” Jet said. “Let’s open up the tattoo world to Rochester. That was my goal.”

Not just any tattoo artist can work at the expo. There’s a vetting process. Artists with experience, references, and a stand-out portfolio of work get selected, according to Jet, who opened LoveHate in 2001 and has been tattooing for more than 30 years.

“I personally know every single person,” he said. “So that’s my stamp of approval.”

At the Roc City Tattoo Expo, there aren’t sideshows or spectacles related to tattoo culture, such as burlesque dancers or suspension artists who use body modification.

“What we do is no-frills,” Jet said.

The LoveHate owner said the event is about promoting quality art and providing a great experience — noting that he’s happy if the expo breaks even from a financial standpoint. It doesn’t hurt, though, that business is booming locally.

“Rochester has turned into a nice mecca for people who want to get tattooed,” Jet said. “And you can tell that by how many damn tattoo shops there are in Rochester. There is a lot, and there’s no shortage of clients.”

Roc City Tattoo Expo day passes are $15, weekend passes are $40. For more details, go to

Blink and you’ll miss it E

very now and then you’ll be the sole spectator of something astonishing, and if you didn’t record it, you’ll be left trying to prove it to someone. Video, or it didn’t happen.

New Jersey-based photographer Adam Ekberg plays in this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it territory with his one-man show, “Minor Spectacles,” now on view at George Eastman Museum’s Project Gallery.

Ekberg’s funny little pictures simulate odd phenomena with the perfect-timing-and-alignment precision of a Rube Goldberg machine.

“I make photographs of things that I make happen in the world,” Ekberg says in a video that plays at the show.

In “Occurrence #2,” milk explodes upward from a glass on a kitchen table, the liquid’s weightlessness presumably captured the moment after an object was dropped into the glass. In “A Minor Shelter,” a stream of milk arcs from a pierced jug onto a paper umbrella protecting the flame of a lighter, which is kept lit by the umbrella’s stick wedged to hold the button down.

Other images are less whimsical and more witchy, like “Burning Skull,” featuring a cow’s cranium ablaze on a sand dune.

Ekberg says he only has two parameters for creating the images: he needs to capture the occurrence at just the right moment, and there is zero digital manipulation. Ekberg admits this often requires a lot of trial and error.

“Whatever transpires in the blink of an eye can be either a minor occurrence or a great spectacle, depending on our perception of that event,” reads the curatorial text to the show. “What happens when we are the sole witness to an event?”

What happens is we either make our own meaning, or shrug and get on with our lives.

“When people see my work, I hope it’s an offering, and I hope it meets them where they’re at,” Ekberg says in the video. “I’m following my own personal rabbit hole to the bottom.”

Ekberg found his rabbit hole shortly after he moved to Chicago for graduate school from Maine, where he had been taking care of people with HIV and AIDS. During that time, he witnessed several documentaries get made about the residents that he felt didn’t quite capture the experience of being with someone at the end of their life.

“And so I drove back to Maine, and with the help of a friend we went up a mountain at dusk and took a picture of a disco ball radiating light throughout the woods,” Ekberg said.

Producing the image involved lugging a car battery, power inverter, and smoke machine to the site. To Ekberg, staging this strange, symbolic event represented the experience of facilitating end-of-life care better than photographing a dying resident.

The resulting image is quietly arresting. Sparkling light dances over the blue-shadowed snow drifts. From skeletal limbs hangs a globe of mirrors emitting beams of light, like the last pulses of an earth-bound quasar.

Not every Ekberg image is so profound, nor is it meant to be. There’s a lot of subtle, silly tension in the balancing acts of stacked objects, or the orchestration of a light beam bouncing between mirrors in a door frame, or tilting dominoes on the brink of toppling.

“Minor Spectacles” continues through Sept. 6. Adam Ekberg will give a talk at the museum at 6 p.m. on April 4.



America’s recent efforts to grapple with its racial history and enduring turmoil has erupted with a vigor that hasn’t been seen since the Civil Rights era. Issues of inequity are on the table for discussion, and so are some under-acknowledged violent events that hampered Black Americans’ struggle to achieve equity.

One of those moments, The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, is the starting point for a new work by multidisciplinary artist Crystal Z Campbell on display at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Media Arts Watch Gallery.

“Crystal Z Campbell: Lines of Sight” considers the massacre, in which mobs of white people killed hundreds of residents and annihilated 35 city blocks of Greenwood, a predominantly Black suburb of Tulsa, known as Black Wall Street due to its prosperity.

“Lines of Sight,” like other works by Campbell, centers on what the exhibition text calls “public secrets,” or stories that are known by many but rarely discussed. Campbell’s installation goes further than discussing the massacre and makes use of rarely seen and heard archival materials to explore Black communities that survived attempts to shut them down.

For example, the film “Flight” runs on several screens and on the walls of a dark room. The movie features footage of successful Black communities in the mid-1920s collected by Black amateur filmmaker Solomon Sir Jones. Sheer fabric panels suspended from the ceiling form fragile veils that adulterate the view.

Layers of audio — including The Gap Band’s “You Dropped a Bomb on Me’’ and testimony of Greenwood survivors  — reverberate throughout the room. Among them is the voice of a 106-year-old woman who recalled living in Greenwood as a 6-year-old at the time of the massacre.

“I was blessed to live with my grandmother in the beautiful Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Greenwood,” she said. “I was lucky. I had a home and I had toys, and I felt very safe. Then everything changed. It was like a war.”

Three collages from Campbell’s series “Notes from Black Wall Street,” displayed just outside of the Media Arts Watch Gallery, are made from archival photos from the rebuilding of Greenwood that Campbell has marked with paint, both decorating and scarring the images.

The show’s curator, Almudena Escobar López, called the installation “a radical way of telling from the inside of documents that emerges in the form of emotional and physical responses.”

“Lines of Sight” runs through Jan. 7, 2024. — BY


The Rochester chamber orchestra Cordancia is entering a new era, with a new conductor at the creative helm.

On April 29 and 30, Evan Meccarello is scheduled to lead his first program as Cordancia’s conductor and artistic director, with a concert titled “Florence Price and the Machine.” Three of the four works to be performed were written by composers of color, and two of the pieces were written by living composers. While this kind of inclusive programming is becoming more of the rule than the exception, it is still rare to see works from the classical canon — written almost exclusively by white composers who died long ago — not be the focus.

Meccarello said his plan for Cordancia and its concert programs is to continue realizing the vision of the orchestra’s founders, Pia Liptak and Kathleen Suher, who started the orchestra in 2009.

“I really have the goal of continuing their tremendous work of bringing rarely played music, both from far into the past and from contemporary living composers,” Meccarello said. “So when approaching Cordancia, it was such a great fit for me because I believe in their mission of doing interesting, unusual programs that you cannot hear other places in Rochester.”

As the title “Florence Price and the Machine” suggests, the program looks at musical compositions as artistic machines. But it’s also about how the machine of culture affects artists, particularly Black artists.

Composer Florence Price’s monumental Symphony No. 1 was the first piece by a Black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra, and has seen a recent resurgence in its inclusion in orchestral programs. Meccarello called “Fast BLACK Dance Machine,” a piece by Haitian American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain to be performed by Cordancia, “a statement about the machine of Black music, and specifically Black dance music in America, and its place belonging in the concert hall.”

“Because machines are made by people, they can be changed by people,” Meccarello said. ”Systems can be changed by people because they’re created by people. And I’m really encouraged by the changes that I’ve seen in the artistic world, and in the world of music recently.”

Cordancia performs “Florence Price and the Machine” at 7 p.m. on April 29 at Greece Baptist Church, and at 3 p.m. on April 30 at Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word. General admission is $20; students and seniors are $15. Visit for more information.



Call for Artists and Vendors / Deadline: April 7 / Applications are open for artists and makers to vend Saturdays from April 15 through Sept. 30 at Innovation Square. The booth fee is $65.


Call for Art / Deadline: April 8 / Rochester

Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) / Artists across the world donate six-by-six-inch artworks for RoCo’s annual fundraiser.


Deadline: April 30 / Memorial Art Gallery / Apply to vend at the MAG’s open-air arts and crafts fair, which takes place in September.


Deadline: April 3 / City of Rochester, Bloomberg Public Art Challenge / Grants of up to $1 million are available to cities for temporary public art that addresses an urban issue. The applicant must be a mayor, and the program requires a partnership between government, artists, and organizations. The City of Rochester’s proposal to Bloomberg is titled “Centering Youth: Acknowledging Trauma and Healing through Public Art.” The city is now looking to partner with qualified artists and organizations. bidandrfp/


Deadline: April 15 / Flower City Arts Center / The center will accept 10-15 local and national visual artists at any stage of their careers for year-long residencies in ceramics, printmaking and book arts, and photography and digital arts, and multidisciplinary arts. Benefits include center membership, unlimited studio access, stipends.



Kristin Rapp named executive director at Flower City Arts Center

In late February Kristin Rapp became the new executive director of Flower City Arts Center on Monroe Avenue, a nonprofit community arts organization with studio and gallery spaces that offers arts education and youth outreach programming.

Rapp, 54, is a native of Dansville, Livingston County, and has lived in Rochester for more than 30 years. She comes to the center with a background in both social work and nonprofit leadership. Rapp is an artist and previously ran a private therapy practice for individuals and couples.

“I think the arts are naturally therapeutic,” she said. “And I think we live in a world right now that

needs healing. And so I think that’s a foundational element to what we do and what we can offer. And I think there’s a lot of opportunities for doing more in the community and getting involved.”

The rallying cry of Flower City Arts Center is “Arts for All,” and Rapp said that as the new director, she wants to go forward with that in mind. She says that she wants to help the center magnify and expand what it already does well, such as its Studio 678 program, which is a middle school photo club for Rochester City School District students.

The current participants of that program have an exhibit of their work up at the George Eastman Museum’s new locallyfocused Gallery Obscura.

There are also plans for a community mural collaboration with the Center for Teen Empowerment. But Rapp said her immediate priority has been to learn more about the ideas that current staff members have and put them into play.

Rapp’s hiring marks the third change in the center’s leadership since 2020, when former director Janice Gouldthorpe, who held the position for 15 years, resigned. Photographer and lawyer Ross Lanzafame served as the interim director until January of 2021, when Cheryl McKeiver, whose background is in the finance world, was hired. McKeiver resigned in late 2022.

The center’s Director of Ceramics Kate Whorton, who has been with

the organization for 16 years, said that the past three years have been a period of constant change, and that she feels optimistic about the near future.

“I think we need just what we have in Kris Rapp, which is a very engaged and energetic person,” Whorton said. “And now we’re on the other side of a pandemic, I think we are really ready to go. We’re ready to take off.”

The Flower City Arts Center will host its inaugural Earth Day Open House — with hands-on activities for families — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 22. Admission is free. Learn more at

“I think the arts are naturally therapeutic. And I think we live in a world right now that needs healing.”
Flower City Arts Center's Executive Director Kristin Rapp. PHOTO PROVIDED

todo DAILY

Full calendar of events online at


MUSIC Sam Grisman

Project presents the music of Garcia/ Grisman

The Geneseo Riviera,

Bassist Sam Grisman assembled the musicians for the band that bears his name to pay tribute to the music made by his father, mandolinist David “Dawg” Grisman, and the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. But when that band includes such accomplished songwriters as Ric Robertson and Naples’ Aaron Lipp, along with Rochester drummer Chris English, some original songs are bound to emerge among the covers and traditional tunes. Sam Grisman

Project is a revelation, deftly taking on folk, blues, country, early R&B, and rock with understated virtuosity. The band takes the stage at 7 p.m., with a second show scheduled for Sunday.

Tickets are $28. DANIEL J. KUSHNER


Stryper, Vixen

Del Lago Resort and Casino,

This is no April Fool’s Day joke, ’80s Christian hard rock superstars Stryper, which once released an album named “To Hell With the Devil,” play The Vine at del Lago Resort and Casino along with Vixen, the pioneering all-

female hard rock band from the same era. This celebration of leather, glitter, big hair, and bigger guitar solos starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $35.

flowing melodic sensibility, James makes anthemic pop music that keeps your toes tapping. Supporting act Sarah and the Safe Word will warm up the crowd with fiddleinfused emo rock. The 18-and-over show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15. DK

“The Night Alive”

MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave.,  Playwright Conor McPherson has described this work of his as a modern Nativity tale. There is no messiah in the show, but there is a struggle between good and evil, decency and savagery, and faith and despair in the story of Tommy, a middle-aged man who has given up on life until a chance encounter with a prostitute he saves from being beaten rouses him from his stupor. This enigmatically fascinating play promises to be special under the deft direction of Jean Gordon Ryan. This production, by the Rochester Community Players, premiered in March and runs through April 8. The curtain rises at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 to $20.




Shayfer James

Photo City Music Hall,

Singer-songwriter Shayfer James sounds like he should be playing in a modern speakeasy or at a cabaret. With a theatrical delivery and a


The Queers

The Bug Jar,

The Queers were early progenitors of pop-punk who made a name for themselves with high-energy, tongueplanted-firmly-in-cheek tunes like “I Can’t Stop Farting” and “See You Later, Fuckface.” Today, The Queers are probably better known for vocalist Joe King’s uncanny ability to shove his foot in his mouth with abysmal takes on racial and social issues. But the music is still fun. The Queers play with Suzi Moon, the Raging Nathans, and Lucky 33. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. GINO FANELLI



RMSC’s Space Week

Rochester Museum & Science Center,

You don’t have to be a kid on spring break to appreciate RMSC’s Space Week, which is runs from April 2 through April 8. Specific activities geared toward younger visitors and parents include science lessons on nebulas, hands-on make-your-owngalaxy colorful spin art, an 11-foot model rocket display with footage of launches, space story time, and more. There will be special programming on April 8 with loads of information about the total solar eclipse happening one year from that date. All programming is included in museum admission, which is $16 to $18

depending on age. Free to members and kids under age 3, and $3 with EBT card.  REBECCA

MUSIC Rochester Guitar Festival: Raphaël Feuillâtre

The Little, the

Growing up in a small town in France, Raphaël Feuillâtre knew he wanted to play guitar. After getting toy guitars as presents, he started on the real thing at the age of 9 and hasn’t looked back since. Now 26, he is an international sensation. He won 2018’s Guitar Foundation of America Competition and received attention from several major labels. He brings his sensitive and versatile classical guitar playing to the stage of The Little Theatre to round out the second annual festival presented by Rochester Classical Guitar. The music starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for students. MONA


THEATER “And So We Walked”

Geva Theatre Center,  Cherokee performance artist and activist DeLanna Studi shares this powerful and frank one-person show that recounts her experience walking the 900-mile length of the Trail of Tears with her father on a mission to understand her own identity and conflicts of her nation. Together, they retraced the path her great-great grandparents took in the 1830s during the forced relocation of 17,000 Cherokee from their ancestral lands. Studi received the 2016 Butcher Scholar Award from The Autry

For up-to-date information on protocols, vaccination and mask requirements, and performance cancellations, consult the websites of individual venues.

Museum of the American West for her work. The curtain rises today at 7:30 p.m. and the show plays through April 23. Tickets range from $28 to $72. DA




Montage Music Hall,  Rochester’s death metal scene has been hotter than the flames of hell lately, fueled by some of the biggest names in the genre’s history making stops in town. Suffocation is the latest, though next week Morbid Angel will be in Rochester. Suffocation formed in 1988 on Long Island and proceeded to become death metal groundbreakers. Encyclopaedia Metallum, a compendium of metal bands, says Suffocation pioneered the “balance between brutal and technical sounds commonly heard in modern death metal.” In practical terms, that means a lot of speedy, churning guitars and double bass drums backing guttural, monster-like vocals. Local bands Sastruga, Necrostalker, and Gutted Alive open. Tickets are $20, doors open at 6:30 p.m. JM



Ellen Pieroni & the Encyclopedia of Soul, The Sideways

Photo City Music Hall,

Saxophonist Ellen Pieroni is familiar to Rochester concertgoers as a former member of the raucous Buffalo roots band Folkfaces. When Pieroni left the group in 2020, her next project was unclear. This time around, Pieroni has set CONTINUED


aside Americana in favor of smooth jazz and soul covers. Rochester band The Sideways makes for a perfect pairing. This high-energy show, which kicks off 7 p.m., is bound to be refreshing. 18 and over. Tickets are $10. DK


The Bunny The Bear

Montage Music Hall,

The Bunny The Bear formed in Buffalo about 15 years ago, and the group’s been weird the whole time. One member wears a bunny mask while performing, another a bear mask. And the music? It’s straight out of left field. Chugging, heavy guitar riffs and bursts of jackhammering double bass drums underpin bright and bouncy synths and guttural growls for vocals that are definitely more bear than bunny. There’s not many bands that compare with this outfit. The only one that comes to mind is Horse

the Band, which combined speedy metalcore with 8-bit synths that sounded like they were ripped from a Nintendo game. The Bunny The Bear is sure to be a spectacle of some sort, whether visually, aurally, or both. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15 to $18. JM


THEATER “Once on This Island

Blackfriars Theatre,

This musical about star-crossed lovers in the French Antilles puts a modern spin on the age-old boy-meets-girl storyline: A peasant girl from one clan falls for a boy from another clan. But in this story, racism and class prejudice complicate matters. The girl is “black as night” and the boy is of the “grand hommes,” with their “pale brown skin.” The musical is based on Rosa Guy’s novel “My Love, My Love,” and was first staged on Broadway in 1990, although it has enjoyed

successful revivals. The New York Times called the Caribbean-influenced score “relentlessly grabby and emotional.”

The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $34 to $40. The show plays through April 8. DA


CULTURE  Rochester Tartan

Day Celebration

McGinnity’s Restaurant & Party House,

How do you celebrate the 703rd anniversary of Scottish independence? With bagpipes and haggis, of course. The Scottish Heritage Society of the Rochester Area promises both, along with Ceilidh dancing and a buffet dinner. There will also be a “Scottish Auction” and a “Whaurs the Whisky?” raffle. That’s the correct spelling of whiskey when referring to Scotch, in case you think you caught a typo. A social hour with cash bar begins at 5

p.m. with live music by Step-in-Time. Tickets are $35. JM


THEATER “We Are Continuous”

Geva Theatre Center,  Geva calls this one-act play about a family coming to terms with their son’s HIV diagnosis “a tender, heartbreaking, and hopeful story about how people change and how love evolves.” The show premiered last year at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts to solid reviews and was written by Geva’s Playwright-in-Residence Harrison David Rivers, who notes in the playbill that the work is autobiographical. The show closes today with a 3 p.m. performance on the Fielding Stage. Tickets are $42. DA

28 CITY APRIL 2023

MUSIC Melvin Seals & JGB

JCC CenterStage,

Seals is a fantastic electric organ player with a decidedly funky side who shone on the R&B, gospel, and soulinfluenced songs of the Jerry Garcia Band, led by the late Grateful Dead frontman. Seals was with Garcia and the band a long time. While the “JGB” in the name of this project is a bit of a misnomer these days — none of the current members besides Seals sever played with Garcia — the band is faithful to Garcia’s catalog of music, which was widely varied and infused with Motown soul, classic gospel, jazz, and reggae. The show plays at 8 p.m. today and April 11, and tickets range from $60 to $80. DA

growth,” Carter says. She’ll elaborate at this free talk at 4 p.m. in Hatch Recital Hall. Her talk, which will include a brief Q&A with the audience, will be streamed live on the Eastman School of Music website.


Daffodil Days Daffodil Days Daffodil Days Daffodil Days Days Daffodil Days Daff dil Day

Come see over 20,000 daffodils in bloom at Mt. Hope Cemetery

April 29 & 30


MUSIC Igor and the Red Elvises

Abilene Bar and Lounge,

The Red Elvises, as they will confidently tell you, are your favorite band. Hear them live, and you might be inclined to agree. They bring a cheerfully manic approach to rockabilly with Russian and Eastern European folk influences and a sense of humor, with songs including “Surfing in Siberia” and “Rocket Man” (about a cosmonaut “dreaming of girls and six-pack of beer”). They’ve toured consistently for the past couple of decades, and have shown up in some random places in TV and movies, including the cult classic “Six String Samurai.” They bring the dance party to Abilene starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of show. MS

' '

Daffodil Project at Mount Hope Cemetery

Eastman School of Music, esm.

The noted jazz violinist is coming to town not to play a concert, but to talk about getting lost — and what that means in music, teaching, and in life. “Getting lost and making mistakes can be a gift, a significant opportunity for

“Regina Carter: Finding Direction in Life and Music”
“And then my heart with pleasure fills And dances with the daffodils.”


MUSIC “West Side Story”

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra,

COMEDY Jeff Dunham

Blue Cross Arena,  This veteran of the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” and his puppets are coming to Rochester on his “Still Not Canceled” tour. That title might tell you what’s in store. Dunham has come under fire for his performances and his puppets, one of which is named Achmed the Dead Terrorist, being offensive. This past August, the anti-racism committee for St. Catharines, Ontario, asked city officials to cancel a performance by Dunham at the municipally-owned arena, though the majority of the city’s councilmembers decided against doing so. Despite the controversy, Dunham remains extremely popular and regularly ranks among the top 10 highest-earning stand-up comedians. Expect lots of topical jokes, observational humor, and abrasive ventriloquism. Tickets are $67 and doors open at 6 p.m. JM


MUSIC Sam Swanson

Smokin’ Hot Chicks BBQ, Fairport,

This charismatic full-time cover artist from Rochester puts unique spins on classic pop tunes with a powerful voice and a looping pedal for percussion. He’s a regular on the local live music circuit, but always fun to catch in person, whether it be at a winery, a brewery, a wedding, a corporate event, or a bar and grill that specializes in brisket and ribs. Swanson is on stage from 6 to 9 p.m. DA

Looking for a lively time at the symphony? You may find yourself wanting to dance in the aisles of Kodak Hall at this energetic concert of orchestral dances with origins in Spain, Puerto Rico, New York City, and down the road in Ithaca. Highlights from Leonard Bernstein’s beloved “West Side Story” share the stage with Roberto Sierra’s “Fandangos” and a chance to hear a young star-on-the-rise cello player, Zlatomir Fung. Andreas Delfs conducts the RPO in this concert at 7:30 p.m. today and 8 p.m. on April 15. Tickets range from $35 to 89 for adults, and $22 to 43 for kids. MS


MUSIC Fiddle Witch

The Spirit Room,

Alyssa Rodriguez, aka Fiddle Witch, has forged her own path as the leading Nordic folk musician in the Rochester area. A violinist who also specializes in playing a keyed fiddle from Sweden called the nyckelharpa, Rodriguez’s dedication to Scandinavian string music shines through, whether she’s playing a traditional folk tune or one of her own compositions. The nyckelharpa’s rustic, resonant sound is like no other instrument, and you can hear it tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. Free. DK

30 CITY APRIL 2023


Sandeep Das and the HUM Ensemble: Delhi to Shiraz

RIT, Ingle Auditorium,

“We might sing different songs. But at the end of it all, we are humans first,” says musician Sandeep Das, a Grammy-winning master of the Indian percussion instrument the Tabla. After making his debut decades ago with the legendary Ravi Shankar, Das has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Bobby McFerrin and orchestras around the world, performing traditional music, fusion, and his own compositions. Here with the HUM Ensemble, Das plays music exploring connections in the shared musical heritages of India and Persia. This free concert starts at 7:30 p.m. MS


LITERATURE Reading by Stephen Schottenfeld: “This Room Is Made of Noise”

Writers and Books,  There is perhaps no better way to get to know authors than hearing them read their work in person. University of Rochester English professor Stephen Schottenfeld reads from his new novel, “This Room Is Made of Noise,” a subtle but intense story about a handyman and his complicated relationship with an elderly woman.  The event includes a discussion between the author and his colleague and Pulitzer Prize finalist Joanna Scott. The reading is in person at 1 p.m. at Writers and Books and is being held virtually on Zoom. Tickets are available on a sliding scale of free to $20. DK

“RMSC After Dark: Galactic Getdown ‘Yuri’s Night’”

Rochester Museum and Science Center,

The Rochester Museum and Science Center’s “After Dark” events are all about getting grown-ups in the region to visit and experience the wonders of science the same way as young people. They just do it at night with drinks. Tonight’s party celebrates Yuri Gagarin, who became the first person in space when he orbited around the earth in the Vostok 1 capsule, completing the loop on April 12, 1961. But the event will also hype up the full solar eclipse forecast for April 2024. Rochester is in the path of totality, which means we have a killer view of the celestial phenomenon. Tickets range from $25 for advanced purchase general admission to $40 for VIP admission. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. JM




MUSIC Marcella/Marcello

Pegasus Early Music,

She was a lowly gondola singer. He was a nobleman and magistrate. They fell in love and secretly got married, while creating beautiful music together. No, this isn’t a new pitch for a classical music soap opera; it’s the real-life story of 18th-century Venetian composers Benedetto Marcello and Rosanna Scalfi Marcello. Pegasus Early Music will perform vocal and instrumental pieces by both halves of this musical power couple and share more of their story during a 4 p.m. concert at Downtown United Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $25, or $10 for students and people with low income. MS

MUSIC Prime Time Funk

The Theater at Innovation Square,

It’s simple, really: If you’re the house band for the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, you’re doing something right. For more than a quarter-century, this 10-piece outfit has been holding it down with top-flight musicianship and effervescent live performances. Powered by a five-person horn section, soulful vocals, and an indelible rhythm section, Prime Time Funk is a Rochester institution that shows no signs of slowing. The music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $45. DK



Bug Jar,

Most people associate New Orleans with Mardi Gras and jazz, but it’s also a hotbed of heavy metal. Ugly heavy metal. The kind that snarls like some combination of an angry demon and a caged dog. Goatwhore’s blend of several extreme metal styles has made it one of the heaviest and well-known groups to come out of the city. EYEHATEGOD, however, is a metal legend. It has been crushing audiences under its sludge since 1988, with some hiatuses along the way. The years haven’t softened the band’s sound one bit, and its lyrical themes are as bleak as ever. Locals Necrostalker and Burndwiller round out the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30-$34. Bring earplugs, EYEHATEGOD is very loud and the Bug Jar is small. JM


“The Cameraman”

Dryden Theater,

The news business is a difficult one, and not just in today’s world. In this comedy from 1928, silent movie star Buster Keaton stars in an earnest and zany attempt at breaking into the business as a sports cameraman, all to impress a gal at a movie studio. While his character struggles, Keaton succeeds at creating some of his best stunts and set pieces in this masterpiece. Philip Carli provides live piano accompaniment and an introduction for this 7:30 p.m. screening for the Dryden’s “Silent Tuesdays” series. MS

32 CITY APRIL 2023


MUSIC Carolyn Wonderland

Abilene Bar and Lounge,

Carolyn Wonderland has been playing the Texas blues since she was 15, some 35 years ago. Wonderland made a name for herself with her solo albums and is known as an impressive multi-instrumentalist with an equally impressive voice. She’s enough of a talent that since 2018 she’s played with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, an outfit that in the 1960s helped launch the careers of Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, among others. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 day of. JM



“Drag Night with Some Delicate Flowers”

Comedy @ The Carlson,

Thank goodness we live in New York and not Tennessee, which just made drag shows a criminal act punishable by fines and jail. Instead, we’re blessed to be able to see three of Rochester’s finest drag queens take to the Comedy @ The Carlson stage with song, dance, standup comedy, and all the other elements that make the shows so fun. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Middle fingers to Tennessee are free. JM


“Dazed and Confused”

Little Theatre,

All right, all right, all right! What better mainstream stoner comedy for The Little to show on 4/20 than the modern classic “Dazed and Confused.” The film follows a group of Austin, Texas, teenagers as they celebrate the last day of high school in 1976. One of the key characters is a star football player who moves easily between social groups and likes smoking weed, though his football coach wants him to pledge that he won’t partake of the herb. But that’s just one character of many in this ensemble. Like much of its mid1990s ilk, “Dazed and Confused” follows those characters as they fumble their way through comic and dramatic scenarios before landing at a keg party. The movie’s vibe is hazy and its poster advises audiences to “See it with a bud,” so take that how you will. The film starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $11, though members, veterans and servicemembers, students, and seniors can get in for $7. JM


Rhett Miller Returns

Abilene Bar and Lounge,

Rhett Miller made a name for himself as a solo artist after his success as the frontman for alt-pop-country group the Old ’97s. His sound is uniquely familiar, mashing up tones of folkrock and dulcet alternative country a la Wilco to create something new, refreshing, but rooted in tradition. It’s music that somehow sounds fresh while also feeling like it’s existed for all of time. Tickets are $30. Music starts at 9 p.m. GF

34 CITY APRIL 2023


Wine & Pickle Pairing

Toast Winery,

The pairing of wine and cheese is a time-honored culinary practice. But the oenophiles at Toast Winery are switching things up. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between April 21 and 23 they’re pairing their wines with a local pickle. This is my kind of tasting. What goes with a Polish dill? Does a dry Riesling work? Could you pair it with a red like Zweigelt? I have no idea, but I can tell you where to go to find out. JM



BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Expo

The Dome Arena,

Denmark has given the world lots of great things, but LEGOs are its crowning glory. For many of us, our childhoods were filled with LEGO block creations. They’re a staple of open-ended play that many adults have also embraced. BrickUniverse is a touring expo of all things LEGO and each event includes awe-inspiring replicas of famous buildings, ships and space shuttles, and even of Spider Man. But the event isn’t just about looking at other people’s work. There are also building zones, where kids and adults can turn a sea of blocks into whatever. The fun runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and again on April 23. Tickets are around $16. JM

DANCE/MUSIC  Sankofa African Drum and Dance Ensemble

SUNY Brockport, Tower Fine Arts Center

Mohamed Diaby began playing the djembe in Guinea, West Africa, at age 7, and was performing professionally just a few years later across West Africa and then in the United States.

Jenise Akilah Anthony’s dance and teaching experience includes numerous companies in Trinidad and across the United States, where she has developed her “Modern AfroCarib” style, dancing, choreographing, and tea African Diaspora dance. The two lead Brockport’s Sankofa Africa Drum and Dance Ensemble in lively explorations of music and dance incorporating both traditional and modern elements. MS




Landscape Architects of Rochester

Warner Castle,  The Rochester region has plenty of handsome buildings and a lot of people who know a lot about their designers. But when it comes to the people who designed memorable landscapes around the area, the public’s knowledge often begins and ends at Frederick Law Olmsted. During this program, members of the Landmark Society of Western New York’s Young Urban Preservationists will tell the audience all about some of the people responsible for designing everything from sidewalks to public parks in the area. Registration is $22 and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. JM



MUSIC Sasha and the Valentines

Bug Jar,

If you’re like me, you missed the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas — one of the biggest annual music showcases in the country — again this year. But tonight, this Austin-based band brings SXSW to you when it performs its dreamy pop-rock at the Bug Jar. Millennial alt-pop vibes meet atmospheric ’80s nostalgia in the songs of this Sarah Addi-fronted group. The band’s debut full-length album, “So You Think You Found Love?” is the perfect soundtrack for basking in the warm fuzzy of young romance. Felt Out, also from Austin, as well as Rochester artist Croix, play in support. This show is 18-and-over. Tickets are $12 for those 21 and over, and $14 for people under 21. DK


“Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition”

Memorial Art Gallery,

It’s opening day for the Memorial Art Gallery’s biannual showcase of recent work by regional artists. This year, the show was juried by Molly Donovan, curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art, and 110 artists from 27 counties were selected to participate in the show. It’s a truly wide representation of contemporary artists working in just about every medium imaginable. The exhibition continues through Aug. 6. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $9 for college students and kids aged 6 to 18, and free to a variety of groups; check the website for specifics. Admission is half price on Thursdays after 5 p.m. RR


Brit Floyd: “50 Years of Dark Side”

RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre,  Few rock albums have captured the imagination of music lovers more than “Dark Side of the Moon,” the legendary and influential 1973 album by psychedelic pioneers Pink Floyd. Led by guitarist Damian Darlington, the tribute band Brit Floyd has been presenting the sights and sounds of Pink Floyd since 2011. Although five decades have passed since “Dark Side” was released, its cultural impact is as strong as ever. Brit Floyd won’t be playing the album backwards, and the 8 p.m. performance won’t be accompanied by a perfectly synced “The Wizard of Oz.” But it will include “Dark Side” classics like “Money” and “The Great Gig in the Sky,” and other hits. Dynamic pricing starts at $60. DK


“Commotion Dance Theater

MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave.,

Laurie MacFarlane and Ruben T. Ornelas have been co-conspiring on stage, as they put it, for more than 25 years, most recently performing as Commotion Dance Theater. The company is a regular at MuCCC and the Rochester Fringe Festival. This show includes four new dances choreographed by MacFarlane and Ornelas and inspired by music and sound scores, storytelling, and the antics of several unusual characters. The dancing begins at 8 p.m. today and plays through April 29. Tickets are $10. DA


38 CITY APRIL 2023


Marauda “Rage Room Tour”

Photo City Music Hall,

Marauda is perhaps the biggest DJ in the world of tearout dubstep. Known for his relentless sound design and angry mosh pit favorites, the Australian bass music producer’s “Rage Room Tour” gives shine to rising forces on the scene. In this case, that’s Jessica Audiffred, a breakthrough talent in the bass and trap genre from Mexico City. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. DA



EVENT “Imagine RIT”

Rochester Institute of Technology,


Penfield Community Center,

This earnest rom-com was a Broadway bust when it opened in 2006, but it has since been played around the world and become a darling of regional theaters. Its success lies in its shrewd writing and relatable nine interlocking love stories that unfold on a single moonless night in northern Maine. The storylines of the vignettes are varied and so sickeningly sweet that it’s hard not to let the cheese slide and fall in love with this delightful play. Broadway be damned. This production by Penfield Players premieres today and plays through May 13 at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance and $17 at the door. DA

All kinds of cool stuff happens every day on the RIT campus. After all, the home of the Tigers is a small city of students studying the arts, engineering, computer programming, and much more. “Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival” is how the school shows off what happens in its buildings in a fun way. Students, researchers, and faculty offer interactive presentations, handson demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, and research projects across the campus. It’s the kind of event where the kids walk around wide-eyed and awed, as do many of the adults. Imagine RIT runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the RIT campus and it is free. JM

FLASHBACK Roc Prom Rerun 2023

The Wilder Room,

Roc Prom Rerun promises to take you back to high school with dancing, cheesy photos and spiked punch. Unlike your real prom, however, there’s going to be a bar. There will also be hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants and the DJ will spin tunes from the ’70s starting at 7 p.m., the ’80s starting at 8 p.m., and the ’90s starting at 9 p.m. Promgoers are encouraged to dress for the decade of their choice, or “whatever they feel represents prom to them.” Stretch limo, party bus, or hot-boxed conversion van optional. Admission is $64. JM

Business Organization & Planning Licensing & Compliance Capital Formation Investor Relations Real Estate Acquisition, Leasing & Financing Supplier, Distributor & Service Provider Agreements Provider of legal services to the cannabis industry. Contact: Greg Lane, Principal Partner 15 Fishers Road, Suite 215, Pittsford, NY 14534 585.455.3674 •

Tuesday, April 4 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Learn about inventor Mária Telkes, who spent nearly 50 years exploring how to harness the sun’s power. Battling sexism at MIT, she persevered to design the first successfully solarheated house in 1948 and held more than 20 patents.

As we celebrate Earth Day (April 22), here are more environmentally focused specials airing on WXXI-TV this month!

The Letter: A Message for Our Mother Earth

Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 p.m.

In 2015, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’, a letter to the world confronting the looming calamity of human impact on Earth and ourselves.

NOVA: Weathering the Future

Wednesday, April 12 at 9 p.m.

The lessons scientists are learning today can help all of us adapt in the years ahead, as the planet gets warmer, and our weather gets more extreme.

Changing Planet

Wednesday, April 19 at 9 p.m. Join Dr. M. Sanjayan for an environmental health check of Earth’s vulnerable habitats. Courtesy of Chris Vile/BBC Studios

Photo: Mária Telkes with her solar oven. Credit: Courtesy of Dittrick Medical History Center, Case Western Reserve University Credit: Courtesy of Lorenzo Magistrato

Independent Lens: Free Chol Soo Lee

Monday, April 24 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Sentenced to life for a 1973 San Francisco murder, Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee (pictured) was set free after a PanAsian solidarity movement, which included Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Americans, helped to overturn his conviction. After 10 years of fighting for his life inside California state prisons, Lee found himself in a new fight to rise to the expectations of the people who believed in him.

Ruth Stone’s Vast Library of the Female Mind

Monday, April 10 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV

This intimate portrait of award-winning poet Ruth Stone (pictured) explores her life and career as a writer and beloved teacher using interviews with Ruth herself at different ages, as well as family members, students, and well-known poets. Readings of elegy poems written after her husband’s suicide, and animations created by her granddaughter reveal the nature of grief, creativity, and family dynamics.

Credit: David Carlson

How Saba Kept Singing

Tuesday, April 18 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV Musician David “Saba” Wisnia believed that he survived the horrors of Auschwitz by entertaining the Nazi guards with his beautiful singing voice. Join David and his grandson Avi as the pair embark on a journey exploring the mystery of Saba’s past.

Tom Jones on Masterpiece

Sunday, April 30 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

One of the greatest novels in the English language comes to Masterpiece in a four-part adaptation of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, giving a new twist to the tale of a young man’s love for a wealthy heiress. Solly McLeod stars as Tom, with Sophie Wilde as Sophia, the heroine and Hannah Waddingham as the iconic temptress Lady Bellaston.

Photo: Title Art. Provided by Thirteen Media
TV •
Photo provided by Independent Lens Photo: Solly McLeod as Tom Jones and Sophie Wilde as Sophia Western. Credit: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece

Seeking Connection

Sunday, April 2 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

How important are social connections? How does loneliness impact a person’s mental and physical health? And are people looking for social connections in the right places? Join Kimberly Adams, host and correspondent for Marketplace, for this special that explores the relationship between loneliness, mental health, and the power of social connections.

Rachmaninoff 150: A Celebration

Saturday, April 1 at 12 p.m. on WXXI Classical

April 1st marks the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s birth. Acclaimed pianists including Hélène Grimaud, Nikolai Lugansky, Mikhail Pletnev and more discuss and perform his compositions, and Rachmaninoff himself is also heard performing one of his works. Additionally, the composer’s grandson, Alexander Rachmaninoff, remembers his grandfather.

Melodies of Freedom

Thursday, April 6 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical

Enjoy this musical celebration of Passover that explores the power of music to bring people together. Featured music includes A Seder for Peace by Stewart Grant written for a seder that brought together Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims, and Jews for the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Support public media. Whether it’s television, radio, online, or on screen, WXXI is there with the programs, news, and information — where you want it and when you want it. If you value PBS, NPR, PBS Kids, WXXI News, WXXI Classical, and so much more, consider becoming a member. Visit to choose the membership that works for you. There are many giving levels with their own special benefits, including becoming a sustaining member. Become a WXXI Member!

The Met Opera

Sundays at 1 p.m. on WXXI Classical

Transmitted live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, this weekly broadcast presents full-length opera performances. This month, enjoy the following operas:

4/1 Verdi: Falstaff

4/8 Puccini: Tosca

4/15 Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

4/22 Mozart: Idomeneo - Photo provided by the Met Opera

4/29 Britten: Peter Grimes

Eastman at 100: A Centennial Celebration

Premiere Screening • Free and open to the public Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

Tuesday, May 2 • 7:30PM

Join WXXI and the Eastman School of Music for the premiere of Eastman at 100: A Centennial Celebration. Through intimate interviews with Eastman School of Music professors, administrators, staff, high profile alumni and community partners, the documentary takes a look at the guiding principles, values, aspirations, and strategies that have become the foundation of this institution. To learn more, visit Please note: Seats first come, first served.

WXXI Daily News brings you up-to-date local news headlines and in-depth stories from Rochester and beyond. Updated every weekday morning with reporting from our awardwinning news department, you’ll have everything you need to start your day. Subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

240 East Ave

New Movies in April!

From Ari Aster (“Hereditery, “Midsommar”), “Beau is Afraid,” along with Sundance Festival hit “How To Blow Up a Pipeline” and “Chevalier” highlight The Little’s April slate.

More movies plus showtimes at

SO FETCH SERIES: at The Little

7:30 p.m. Friday, April 14

“Get in loser, we’re going shopping.”

It’s not a Wednesday, but wear pink, and make fetch happen (hey, that’s the series name!) with this 2004 instant classic teen rom-com. Tickets and series details at

The Little Concert Series: David Francey

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15 • Tickets at

LIVE ON STAGE | David Francey is a Scottish-born Canadian carpenterturned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star).



Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning animated feature film comes to life in this first-ever stage adaptation — recorded for the big screen — full of dazzling sets, captivating musical numbers, and wondrous puppets of beloved characters.

Join The Little on 4/20 for a stoner classic comedy (cue the “Alright Alright Alright”). Tickets



The Little Theatre,  Short of taking a jaunt “across the pond” to London’s West End, there’s no better way to see some of England’s best theater productions than to catch a screening of the National Theatre Live series at The Little Theatre. Today at 11:30 a.m. is the first of two live

screenings of Shakespeare’s “Othello” the visceral tragedy about conspiracy, betrayal, and racial dynamics featuring one of the Bard’s greatest villains, Iago. Giles Terera, Rosy McEwen and Paul Hilton star, with direction by Clint Dyer. A second live performance will be screened on May 7 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $24. DK

MUSIC Salon Concert

Rochester Academy of Medicine,

The wood paneled living room of the Rochester Academy of Medicine is one of the most magical places in Rochester for intimate, live music. The trio of pianist Rebecca Penneys, violinist Mikhail Kopelman, and cellist Stefan Reuss have brought this space to life in salon concerts now


for years. They wrap up this season with music written by Franz Schubert in the last year of his life, and a lateperiod Mozart piece that moves from confusion and darkness to triumph and light. Admission is $30 in advance, $35 at the door. MS


PUZZLE ON PAGE 70. NO PEEKING! H 1 A 2 G 3 A 4 R 5 B 6 L 7 U 8 R 9 S 10 P 11 E 12 P 13 E 14 C 15 A 16 B 17 S 18 E 19 R O D E E 20 A T I T O 21 N U S A 22 L O U R 23 O O M S E 24 R V I C E P 25 A R T Y 26 L I N E S 27 O D A C A N L 28 E T I 29 T B E A 30 L T O S N 31 U S P 32 E C G 33 A L C 34 L E B 35 A 36 T 37 E 38 T R 39 E A 40 C 41 A R E O 42 L D B 43 O 44 Y 45 O 46 S H A 47 E 48 U R E 49 K A T 50 R A 51 N E 52 M O R 53 H U B A 54 R B M 55 E R L 56 D 57 N A 58 B 59 A N K R 60 A M O N A 61 G 62 E D 63 E G 64 A 65 S G 66 E N I E O 67 M B G 68 A 69 T O R C 70 H A D R 71 O T C W 72 E D S 73 H 74 O U S E 75 A R R E S 76 T H 77 O P 78 E 79 R 80 O S 81 S G 82 O A T G 83 L O S S 84 U 85 R L S 86 P 87 I R E M 88 E N S A L 89 E N I 90 O 91 N I A H 92 A V E A G 93 O E 94 L I 95 E O 96 U 97 T S T E P E 98 R E O 99 B E 100 Y 101 O 102 N R A 103 M P T 104 E S S D 105 E S I 106 G 107 N M 108 O O 109 G S C 110 A R B 111 R 112 T E T 113 U G U 114 G H A 115 T 116 L O 117 A F 118 S 119 P 120 E 121 C S P 122 L U S O 123 N E M 124 A D E P 125 A 126 R 127 L 128 I G H T Y 129 E A R T 130 E A C 131 E R E M O N Y A 132 L O E M 133 A T T O 134 L S E N G 135 U P T A M 136 E S S A 137 L E S H 138 Y E N A G 139 R E E N

Cotoletta is all about cutlets

W Nonna’s basement meets Brooklyn 1956 at this Italian café.

hile he was busy with plans to move his popular bistro Tony D’s to its new location on University Avenue, owner-chef Jay Speranza also opened a new Italian restaurant, Cotoletta, at Elm Ridge Center in Greece.

Cotoletta joins Refresh Smoothie Bar and Dazzling Desserts bakery in the small, newly renovated plaza. The restaurant is marked by green, white, and red racing stripes that beckon visitors to follow them through the doors, like a yellow brick road leading to an Emerald City of Italian comfort food.

Speranza called the new joint, which opened its doors in February, an “all-day


440 Elmridge Center Drive

Greece | 585-563-6007

Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Italian cafe or lunch counter,” and said that everything, from dressings to marinades and sauces, is made in-house with ingredients imported from Italy.

“We still use Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes in our recipes because that’s just how I operate,” he said.

Cotoletta is Italian for cutlet, and the crispy breaded chicken cutlet is the star of the menu.

A variety of “sangwiches” display the cutlet’s versatility, such as the Eh! Paisano! ($15), which stacks a cutlet, rapini, provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, and cacio e pepe aioli between two healthy slabs of bread. The hearty stack is enough

to share or take leftovers home. Other cutlet sandwiches on the menu are the Jackie Jr. ($17), which features capicola, fried eggplant, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella; and the Alphonse ($17), an indulgent cutlet pairing with meatballs, marinara, mozzarella, and parmesan.

The starters menu ($10-$17) features oversized mozzarella sticks and other classics like greens and beans and meatballs, all complementing the couple of pasta dishes that have true comfort food touches — like the chewy-cheese “allcorners” baked ziti ($19).

References to “The Sopranos” characters continue in the menu of

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The Eh! Paisano! cutlet sandwich. Inset, meatballs in sauce. PHOTOS BY DARIO JOSEPH

shareable square pies ($18-$24). There is the Uncle Junior, a white-garlic sauce pizza with mortadella, fried onion, mozzarella, and pistachio pesto, and the Silvio, made with vodka sauce, meatballs, prosciutto, fresh basil, roasted red peppers, and fior di latte mozzarella. The expression “You eat with your eyes first” is taken seriously at Cotoletta.

Unlike the full menu of entrees offered at Tony D’s, at Cotoletta Speranza opted for a simpler rotation of daily specials ($18-$23), featuring one specific platter you can order each day that the shop is open, Tuesday through Sunday. Stand-outs include Wednesday’s penne with sausage, rapini, and pine nuts, Friday’s meatlessminded eggplant parmesan, layered in classic lasagne form, and Sunday’s rigatoni with all-day pork ragu.

Speranza’s attention to detail is not exclusive to the food, and is on full display with the restaurant’s design.

“I wanted it to look like it was built in Brooklyn in 1956 and was operating in 1977,” Speranza said. “Like a combination of nonna’s basement and the Ravenite

Bite Sized News

A new authentic Jamaican joint opened at West Gate Plaza in Greece at the end of March. Livie’s Jamaican Restaurant and Groceries is open at 1577 Howard Road. The breakfast menu is seafood-heavy, and includes saltfish fritters, porridge, hominy, plantains, and arrowroot oatmeal. For lunch and dinner you can get curried or jerk chicken or goat, a snapper sandwich, cowfoot, and stewed oxtail. Sides include rice and peas, dasheen, bammy, yams, and more. Specialty juices blend fruits and herbs. They also offer delectable beef, chicken, vegetable, ackee, or tofu patties with coco bread. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


Eat Me Ice Cream (1115 East Main St., Suite 148) will host several cooking classes with instructor Christin Ortiz for Rochester Brainery this month. On Monday, April 10, learn how to make Homemade Black Bean Tamales ($39). On Tuesday, April 11, hone your Knife Skills with instructor Christin Ortiz ($36). Then on Monday, April 17, try your hand at Homemade Chicken Tomatillo Tamales ($39). Take a Spring Truffle Workshop on Tuesday, April 18 (with Lindsay Tarnoff, $58). Finally, on Monday, April 24, get instruction on Homemade Butter Biscuits ($39). All classes are recommended for ages 14+ and start at 6:30 p.m. Pre-register for each class at

Social Club,” he added, referring to the infamous Little Italy headquarters of John Gotti and the Gambino crime family in 1970s New York.

Speranza and his designer, Eric Rozestraten, achieved just that. Memories of Sunday visits to Speranza’s grandparents’ house for dinner are brought to life with Jerry Vale records displayed on the walls over antique wallpaper. Framed photos of iconic Rochester Italian restaurants, such as Roncone’s, sit on shelves as a clear homage to the past.

Speranza has worked in food most of his adult life. He said his first serious restaurant job, at the Water Street Grill in his early 20s, signaled to him that he could stop pretending he was going to attend law school.

“I fell in love with it, being in the kitchen,” Spreranza said. “The whole atmosphere, the clink of the plates, everything.”

If the popularity of Tony D’s and the warm reception that Cotoletta has received is any indication, he made the right call.

If you love drinking the fizzy health tonic known as kombucha, and always wanted to make your own, you’re in luck. Total pro Kat Schwarz of Katboocha is willing to share her secrets. On Tuesday, April 11, Rochester Brainery and Katboocha will present a Make Your Own Kombucha workshop at the Booch Bar (106 Railroad St.) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. All participants will receive a starter kit (with a slimy puck of bacteria called the scoby, starter liquid farmed from Katboocha, sugar, and tea), detailed instructions, and a bottle of Katboocha kombucha. $35, ages 14+. Register at

Chili may not be the first dish that comes to mind when you think of the Irish, but on Sunday, April 16, Ancient Order of the Hibernians will hold a Chilipalooza at Johnny’s Irish Pub (1383 Culver Road), kicking off at 1 p.m. Bring your favorite chili dish to pass; snacks and tunes will be provided. If it’s a hit, they threaten to make it an annual affair! Free,

On Thursday, April 20, Good Luck’s Executive Chef Dan Martello will collaborate with Roam Cafe’s Argentine expat Moe Kusminsky to present Love to Earth: An Argentine Wine Dinner, a five-course wine dinner celebrating the viniculture from Alpamanta (malbecs and more) and the culinary traditions (steak!) of Argentina. The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Good Luck (50 Anderson Ave.) and tickets are $125. Make reservations at

Flight Wine Bar (262 Exchange Blvd.) will present Classy Time with White Wine from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 24. $40 per person includes wines, small plates, and gratuity. And from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, Flight will host Bingo and Bubbles for Pups, a fundraiser for Ridge’s Rescue, Inc. $30 gets you a glass of prosecco, Hedonist chocolates, and your bingo board. Get tickets at

Cotoletta owner, Jay Speranza, who also is the owner and chef of Tony D’s.

Higher Etiquette

Can I smoke at a dinner party? Do I have to share my stash? Here’s how to get high — politely.

Whether you’ve been indulging in the devil’s lettuce since Spicoli was riding tasty waves with a cool buzz or you’re new to the smoking circle, stoner etiquette makes the joint go ’round.

Now that cannabis is legal, there’s more to consider when partaking in social settings than just sneaking away at 4:20 to blaze it.

If you’re struck with fear over making a pot faux pas at your next social outing, breathe easy.

Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of the renowned 20th-century etiquette doyenne Emily Post, tackled the topic of cannabis etiquette for a new generation in her book “Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, From Dispensaries to Dinner Parties.”

She was born in 1982, the same year the Emily Post Institute first addressed “the problem” of cannabis in the “Party Preparations” section of “The Complete Book of Entertaining”:

“Another problem that many hostesses face today is that of the guests who want to smoke marijuana. If the hostess approves of the practice and is untroubled by the fact that it is illegal, of course, she has no problem. But if she does not approve and is concerned about people breaking the law in her home, she should say so firmly and . . . get some lively games or activities underway to distract them.”

Post has a lot more to say on how to roll with cannabis these days. You don’t have to read her book, we’ve summarized the most important points for you.

Nailing your smoking session etiquette

Ask first.

Before you spark a doobie, make sure everyone is cool with it — especially if you’re inside. Don’t ever pack someone else’s bong or use their dab rig without asking either. Those pieces can be incredibly expensive.

Offer once.

Smoking is better with friends, but it’s not for everyone. Offer to everyone once, and believe them when they say no. Don’t push.


If you’re smoking inside, make sure you have airflow so you’re not creating a hot box. Open a window or turn on a fan to make sure the smoke clears.

Don’t toast the bowl.

If you’re sharing a bowl or bong, don’t torch all the weed on the first hit. Instead, “corner” it by lighting just a small section (or corner) for your hit so everyone else can enjoy fresh green too.

Whoever rolls it, smokes it.

When it comes to first hits, Post suggests asking guests of honor if they want to be the ones to light up. But in most circles, the person who rolls it (or packs it) gets to light it and hit it first.

Don’t bogart the joint.

Puff, puff, pass. No one likes a storyteller who lets the joint go out while they wax poetic — the way Humphrey Bogart let that cigarette dangle from his lips without smoking it.

Pass the dutchie to the left — or right.

Thanks to Musical Youth, passing to the left is ingrained in most people. But passing to the right is also fine. Just pick a rotation and stick with it.

50 CITY APRIL 2023

‘Burning ’ Questions


Can I smoke inside?

Whose house is it? Are you alone or with other people? If you live alone or share space with stoners, lighting up inside is probably okay. But if you’re visiting someone, have a new roommate or friends over, it’s best to ask. If you’re told no, don’t make a fuss, just go outside.

Can I smoke at a dinner party?

It depends.

If it’s a traditional dinner party, probably not. If you’re at a weed-centric dinner party it may be okay. But your host may also want you to keep the combustion outside, and stick to edibles and vapes inside. Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s better to be told no and shown the smoking area outside than it is to make a faux pas.

Do I have to tell my roommates I smoke? Yes.

Whether or not you smoke inside, it’s important that the people in your house know that you consume cannabis, and that it will be around. It’s on you to smoke in appropriate areas and keep your stash safe.

Do I have to share my stash? No.

You don’t have to share with housemates, friends, or curious family members. But it is considered proper etiquette to throw down on a shared bowl or match joint for joint if you’re smoking with someone.

Certainly not.

Do I have to let my guests smoke?

Your house, your rules. You can choose to let your guests light up inside if you’re comfortable with it, or graciously show them the area of the patio or porch where smoking is allowed. If you’re cool with it, keeping an ashtray on the table can give your guests the go-ahead.


Getting high in the delivery room

The list of things pregnant women can’t have is miles long. Deli meat. Wine. Sushi. Rare steak. Canned foods. Even certain types of cookware are to be avoided.

Should cannabis be on that list?

The first instinct is to respond with an emphatic “yes.” But why? Is there science behind that gut reaction? Where is the data?

Those are questions that researchers like Kara Skelton are exploring extensively.

Skelton, a doctor of health education and promotion at Towson University, co-authored a study published last year that explored the attitudes of American women toward using cannabis while in labor. What she found surprised her.

While barely 3 percent of the roughly 160 women polled reported consuming weed while giving birth, nearly half of them — 47 percent — were open to the idea.

The authors concluded that more research was urgently needed to guide clinical practice and advised prenatal care providers to discuss cannabis use during pregnancy with their patients.

“There is no data to support the safety and efficacy of cannabis use during labor or pregnancy,” Skelton said in an interview. “We don’t know the effects on the baby, we don’t fully understand all the drug interactions that are possible with labor medications. There’s so much we don’t know.”

Skelton’s study suggests a sea change is underway, particularly as cannabis becomes more available. More than half of Americans now live in a state where cannabis is legal in some form, and more people are turning to the plant for a variety of reasons.

“This is a conversation that requires a lot of nuances,” said Codi Peterson, a doctor of pharmacy and specialist in cannabis science and therapeutics. “There should be minimal use of any medications during pregnancy, including cannabis because they all have an effect on mom and baby.”

But, he added, there are situations in which the case can be made, even to a medical doctor, for consuming cannabis while pregnant.

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Emily Kyle with her baby. PHOTO BY CASSI V PHOTOGRAPHY
Pregnant women are told to swear off weed.
But nearly half are open to using while giving birth.

One mom’s success story

That was the scenario for Emily Kyle, a married mother of two who owns Emily Kyle Nutrition, a cannabis communications company in Livingston County.

During her second pregnancy, she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a form of excessive nausea and vomiting. She wasn’t able to eat, began rapidly losing weight, and grew increasingly concerned about her body’s ability to nourish her growing child.

“It was a really hard time,” Kyle said. “I was growing this beautiful gift, but my health was rapidly deteriorating. I truly believe cannabis saved my life and my baby’s life.”

Kyle had a medical marijuana card prior to getting pregnant, which she believes helped her make the case to her midwife for using cannabis.

“For me, cannabis was the first line before pharmaceuticals,” Kyle said. “I felt more confident in my choice to consume cannabis than I would have been taking a pharmaceutical for this.”

Not only did she use cannabis while pregnant, but she turned to the plant

during labor to help relieve anxiety. “I had a scheduled induction, and the anxiety of knowing you’re going to give birth is really hard,” Kyle said “Cannabis helped me manage that.”

Kyle used a dry herb vaporizer she bought at her medical marijuana dispensary. With a vaporizer, there’s no combustion, so you’re not inhaling smoke. Vaporizers are also discreet and work quickly.

Codi Peterson, a doctor of pharmacy and specialist in cannabis science and therapeutics. PHOTO PROVIDED

What’s the danger?

There is not a lot of research on cannabis and pregnancy. Evidence linking marijuana use by pregnant women to adverse outcomes, like premature births or low birth weights, is mixed. Some studies have suggested that children of mothers who used marijuana during their pregnancies have problems with neurological development, but even the National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that more research is needed to disentangle other environmental and socio-economic factors from marijuana use that could contribute to those outcomes.

Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists err on the side of caution and recommend that pregnant women abstain from using weed.

Among the concerns regarding cannabis use by pregnant women are THC’s intoxicating effect and the ability for the drug to stay in their bodies. Cannabinoids are lipophilic molecules — they love fat. That’s why you can test positive for cannabis days after a single consumption; it’s stored in your fat molecules. Even in small doses, THC builds up in your body, and for pregnant women, it may pass to the baby.

Some studies suggest that THC levels in breast milk can be up to eight times higher than THC levels in the rest of mom’s body. Separate studies have shown that THC use by preteens and teens is damaging to brain development, so it’s not a leap to suggest that it’s detrimental to fetuses in utero as well.

This potential build-up of THC is thought to depend on how it is consumed. Using cannabis balms, salves, and bath bombs have not shown to pose the same risk as eating an edible or hitting the bong.

“The exposure concern is mainly with oral and ingestible products,” Peterson explained. “These products get absorbed into the mother’s bloodstream, brain, and breastmilk and get passed to baby. But topical products don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream, and so do not present the same exposure risk.”

And of course, childbirth is altogether different from gestation. Delivering a baby is associated with stress, anxiety, and pain.

“During labor, it’s a very different situation,” Peterson said. “There’s minimal exposure to the baby, and

we’re less concerned about cannabis impacting the brain or body development at that point.”

For some pregnant women, the risk is worth the reward. Many moms who have consumed cannabis during pregnancy report perfectly healthy children who hit age-appropriate milestones.

“My son is 18 months old now, and he is the happiest, healthiest little boy,” Kyle said. “He has hit every development milestone, and he’s bigger than his brother ever was at his age.”

Pregnancy in a post-prohibition world

For women who choose to consume cannabis during pregnancy, it can be an isolating choice.

Legal weed is still so new that many medical professionals are playing catch up, or refusing to admit what they don’t know. This can lead to antiquated approaches based on shame and judgment, rather than curiosity.

One study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 found that one in five pregnant women 24 years old and younger screened positive for marijuana, but also that just one in 10 of them admitted to using the drug.

“We have to remove the judgment and get to the root cause; why are they using cannabis?” Skelton said.

An overwhelming majority of women in her study on attitudes about cannabis consumption during labor reported that a potential benefit to using marijuana while in childbirth was managing pain.

“Having effective clinical guidance and providing a high quality of care is powerful in improving maternal and child health outcomes,” Skelton said. “If providers are focused on shaming women for these choices, rather than taking a harm-reduction approach, we won’t move forward.”

She added that the lingering unknowns are concerning.

“Do the benefits outweigh the risks? We just don’t know,” Skelton said. “Increases in cannabis availability have led to a decreased perception of risk in pregnancy, but there is not enough evidence to support the safety of cannabis use.”

54 CITY APRIL 2023

Kyle relied on a strong support system that included her midwife, husband, and parents.

“I was so scared – the stigma is really strong, even though I knew I was making the right choice for me and my baby,” Kyle said. “I was shaking when I told my midwife.”

For Peterson, the historical context has to be considered.

“Women have been using cannabis while pregnant for decades,” he said. “But we do know that there are some adverse effects, particularly when it comes to continued exposure to cannabis.”

Is using cannabis while pregnant the right thing to do? That’s a deeply personal question that can only be answered by a mother and her doctor.

Peterson paused when pressed as to what advice he would give a pregnant woman consuming cannabis.

“While I don’t support the use of cannabis during pregnancy, I would say to be mindful,” Peterson said. “We know that adverse effects are doserelated, so if you need to, find a way to consume consciously.”

Emily Kyle turned to cannabis during her pregnancy to relieve excessive nausea. PHOTO BY CASSI V PHOTOGRAPHY

Beyond the smoking circle

Reimagining cannabis-based events — for work, home, and play.

On Super Bowl Sunday, while most of the country was watching the big game from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Rochester couple Precious Brown and Brandi Hester-Harrell were among thousands of people just outside the arena making history of their own.

They were working at Consumption Park, a three-day celebration of cannabis and hip-hop billed as the first-ever experiential cannabis pop-up consumption lounge at a major sporting event.

The park featured cannabis vendors, infused foods, complimentary samples, and celebrity appearances, including former Chicago Bears Super Bowl-

winning quarterback Jim McMahon.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Brown, who, with her fiancée HesterHarrell, founded EEWC, a cannabis hospitality and education company.

“I was excited, but also felt, ‘Wow, this is happening,’” Hester-Harrell said.

“...I’m seeing this historical moment, and to be part of it was super cool.”

One Company's Impact

Founded in 2020, EEWC stands for “Entertaining and Elevating with Cannabis,” but it could just as easily stand for “Entertaining and Educating with Cannabis.” The business has two

sides: planning and hosting cannabis-centered events and meals, and collaborating with community partners to educate people about the plant and the economic and job opportunities that come with its legalization.

“Rochester used to be a booming community, especially in the Black community,” Hester-Harrell said. “As a member of this community, it is my duty to tell you that there are jobs here, that there is opportunity here.”

Early projections of the cannabis market in New York put revenue in the billions by 2026, with tens of thousands of new jobs. There are already career fairs and networking

events in every other industry, and EEWC jumped at the chance to fill the gap for cannabis. Brown’s professional background is in organization management, working for organizations like Xerox and Paychex. HesterHarrell has two master’s degrees in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

“I have always been entertaining and elevating with cannabis,” Brown said.

“Curating thoughtful, supportive experiences has always been my passion, and marrying event planning and cannabis was a natural thing for me. I get to take this thing I’ve been doing at home in secrecy, and share it with the world.”

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Last year, EEWC hosted 13 events. I had the chance to join them for a sponsorship dinner before one educational symposium. Held at the Bogart Social Club in downtown Rochester, it was a night of fine dining, cannabis infusions, and connecting with members of the local cannabis community. I sampled vape cartridges, tried Weed Water from local business NOWAVE, and ate my heart out.

Now, EEWC is focusing on forming partnerships with community stakeholders. It has nine events planned, including educational roundtables, three cannabis science symposiums, and a 5k run/walk on July 8. The duo is also actively seeking a location for their Bud and Breakfast, a 420 spinoff on a Bed and Breakfast.

Changing Perceptions

What is a cannabis event? It’s like asking what an alcohol event is. Some events are planned around it and celebrate it. Others simply have it as an option, an accoutrement. It can be any kind of event, really — professional, educational, or communal. They tend to be a blend of fun and sophistication.

“Everything about cannabis is sophisticated. It always has been.” Brown said. “The plant itself is, and the community that consumes it has always been considered the cool kids. Why not create a safe sophisticated space where we can consume?

Zach Sarkis, founder, and operator of FLWR CITY Collective, sees consumption-based events as critical to changing perceptions of cannabis as the legal industry gets off the ground.

“There’s no better way to break the stigma than

to curate safe, informative, and playful experiences around the plant,” Sarkis said.

Last year, FLWR City hosted a statewide bud competition called the FLWR City Cup. In previous years, the competition centered around hemp flower, but the 2022 Cup included THC flower for the first time. Sarkis and his team held pop-up events around the state and the finale at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester. Attendees could browse cannabis vendors, sample products, and compete in a blunt rolling competition.

I was one of those attendees. Even though it was completely legal, it felt deliciously naughty. Watching 10 people sit around a table rolling their best joint was captivating, and I was envious of the judges who got to light each one.

Even though cannabis is now (mostly) legal, cannabis events can still feel clandestine. The thrill of lighting a joint inside, trying infused products, and learning about the plant doesn’t wear off quickly, even for someone like myself who spends most of her time talking, researching, and writing about weed.

The intended audience of these events goes beyond current members of the cannabis community, welcoming anyone who wants to know more about the plant.

“Cannabis is a plant that brings us together — it’s not about color, education, economic status, it is about a plant that is going to give access to funding and dismantling our harmful thoughts,” HesterHarrell said.

Beyond the Smoking Circle

As a stoner, I love lighting up inside and sharing a joint in a smoking circle. But cannabis events are about more than smoking together. They’re sophisticated, curated, thoughtful experiences. One could call them “boujee”

LaCarrie Byer certainly does. Byer, who goes by “Vee,” started the V Experience, a Rochester company that hosts what she calls “Boujee Stoner” private parties centered around consumption, education, and selling  cannabis-related products.

“A Boujeee Stoner event is classy, cute, and regal,” Vee said. “It doesn’t have to be tied to smoking. I want to open it up to people who are novices to the plant and interested in learning more, without being bombarded by smoke.”

What the future of cannabis events looks like depends on who you ask.

For Brown and Hester-Harrell, it’s about education and community empowerment. For Sarkis, they are about celebrating cultivators and bringing people together. Vee sees them as a way to introduce people to “the true power of the plant.”

For me, I envision a group hotbox, where smokers can toke in peace without fear of someone calling the cops.

That’s the beauty of an entirely new industry — everyone gets to bring something to the table.

Brown sums it up this way: “This is the cannabis renaissance.”

Brandi Hester-Harrell. PHOTO PROVIDED Precious Brown. PHOTO PROVIDED

What to buy for the stoner in your life

Our guide to locally-made gifts for the serial chillers who seem to have everything.

Hey man, 4/20 is approaching. Don’t get caught without a little something for your favorite stoner. It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day for cannabis cuties, right? If not, it will be soon. This is America. We don’t miss a chance to commercialize anything.

Weed culture is about to be aggressively marketed by big companies, but that’s no reason to ignore the little, local makers who have been having fun with cannabis-related accouterments for, like, ever.

Here are some fun gift ideas ranging from pot-pride clothing to tools, gear, and art that you can find right here in town.

Artful glass bongs and pipes (prices vary)

Where to buy it: Ghost Dog Glass (631 Monroe Ave.,

There’s no shortage of head shops in Rochester, but if you want a selection of glass pieces made by local artists, Ghost Dog Glass on Monroe Avenue is the way to go. Owner Nate Bernardi is a glass blower and carries the handmade work of others as well. There are lots of pretty pieces of all shapes and sizes to fall in love with at this shop.

Give it with: An indica strain and some records

Brass and wood pipe ($20)

Where to buy it: Puff-Pipes (

Glass isn’t everybody’s thing. (Personally, most glass bowls remind me of college and kids who wore too much patchouli oil. You know who you are.) This little metal and wood dude is durable yet elegant, and more understated than your usual pipe. I mean, look at this thing. It’s fit for a scholar. Or Gandalf, who was kind of a scholar.

Give it with: The bowl pre-packed with some nicely ground herb for an inaugural smoke

Ceramic vase/weed pot ($110 and up)

Where to buy: Richard Aerni (

Local ceramicist Richard Aerni probably wasn’t thinking cannabis when he labeled these gorgeous vases “weed pots.” But if you have a serious stoner in your life who grows their own flower, why not treat them to an upscale vessel for their plant? These pots elevate the look of pot. It’s best if you slip a burlap grow-bag in there, since there’s no drainage.

Give it with: Sativa seeds

58 CITY APRIL 2023

Black light ashtray ($20)

Where to buy: Trippy Trays 420 (

This shop offers whimsical resin rolling trays and ashtrays in retro colors that change (and glow!) under black lights. This one is a chunky square embedded with a cannabis leaf, but there are others shaped like pot leaves that come in different colors and have glitter. If your friend is very ridiculous, get them the one that has a picture of shirtless Pete Davidson for no discernable reason.

Give it with: A blunt-rolling session and meandering conversation

Where to buy: Crazy Dog T-Shirts (21 Humbolt St., crazydogtshirts)

Okay, I don’t make edibles, but I still want this kitchen accessory. It’s cute in that quaint, trendy “Cottage Core” way, with its kitschy florals and old school fabric (no silicon lobster mitt here). Crazy Dog also makes a matching apron and tea towel, and lots of other weed-related clothing, mugs, and more. (Maybe a potholder is next? Get it?) The shop kind of has the local market on printed pot products cornered.

Give it with: Cannabutter cookies or brownies, of course


Where to buy: Stitching by Jenn (

The idea of this burger-moocher hiding your nugs makes me laugh. If Wimpy isn’t your thing, the maker has loads of other stash jars featuring stuffed animals and pop culture characters.

Give it with: THC-infused candy

Purple medallion mechanical dice box ($65)

Where to buy: Mike Shapiro Designs (

The stated use for this little wonder is for storing your Dungeons & Dragons dice, but it makes a nicelooking stash box. Besides, what D&D player do you know who doesn’t smoke? The design, which is made of durable plastic but looks like an inlaid wooden box, comes in various colors and shapes, and the twist-open mechanism makes the top whirl apart in a way that would keep any fidgeter satisfied, high or not.   Give it with: Dice-sized nugs

Where to buy: Crazy Dog T-Shirts (21 Humbolt St.

We already gave Crazy Dog a shout out, but this is my favorite of the company’s many sarcastic 420-related T-shirt designs. It’s an instantaneous way to communicate your mea culpa for mea mindlessness in silence.

Give it with: Wayfarers and a pre-rolled joint to tuck behind the ear

Pot Leaf American flag belt buckle ($70)

Where to buy: Crass Brass Buckles (  What better way to show your pride and dream that legalization will spread nationwide? I could totally see Willie Nelson rocking this thing. The design is acid-etched and longlasting, and you can choose from copper, brass, or nickel. Leather belts are sold separately.

Give it with: A THC-infused beer or seltzer

“The Food Has Weed in It” oven mitt ($13)
Wimpy stash container ($15)
“Keep it Simple, I’m Kinda Stoned” T-shirt ($17)



Every cannabis enthusiast knows weed is never just weed. The world of cannabis is packed with a dizzying array of crossbreeds and designer buds, each fit with an oft-goofy name and unique aroma, flavor, and effect.

2 1


Rochester’s BEST BUDS

We sampled some of the best local strains just for you.

(Really, just for you.)


As Rochester inches ever closer to a full-fledged cannabis marketplace, local growers have wasted no time flexing their muscles by propagating some dazzling horticultural specimens. This small, curated sampling of cannabis found in our own backyard spans classic heritage strains to creations unique to the Flower City.

Strain: Gary Payton

From: Farmstand Gaspicks

Named for the NBA Hall of Famer, this classic strain is a unique hybrid in that its chemical offerings are almost exclusively THC. There’s little CBD or other cannabinoids present in Gary Payton, and while it smokes with a pleasant earthy flavor, this isn’t a bud for newcomers. At its best, Gary Payton is stimulating, euphoric, and all-around pleasant. However, the THC sensitive may find its effects anxiety inducing. Know your limits!

Pairs well with: The album “Ratatat” by Ratatat

Strain: Crop Donkey

From: 6Point Cannabis


1 3 3 4 5 6

Crop Donkey, much like its Garbage Plate cousin, is an indica-dominant strain packing a wallop of THC. It’s a dank bud, with a gassy, skunky character sure to stink up any room. Like Gary Payton, this is a THC-heavy bud with little CBD content, making it particularly potent. While perhaps not the best for a beginner, experienced smokers will find its effects a healthy mix of relaxing and uplifting.

Pairs well with: A very long walk in the park

Strain: Garbage Plate

Grown by: 6Point Cannabis

While the day is young in the world of Rochester cannabis, it’s hard to think anything can set the bar higher than this singularly Rochester original strain whose name seizes on the city’s most celebrated cuisine. A hybrid of Lemon Versace and Donkey Butter, Garbage Plate is uniquely citrus forward, reminiscent of candied lemon or Minute-Maid powder. Its effects are an allarounder, pleasantly relaxing the body while also offering a nice boost to the brain.

Pairs well with: A Dogtown Garbage Plate

Strain: Watermelon ZkittlesxPink Crescendo

Grown by: Farmstand Gaspicks

Marty Beverly at Genius Pack hand-picks a selection of buds from local growers, and while this bud falls into the lower-end of his offerings, don’t let its modest looks fool you. This indicaleaning hybrid packs a robust scent of candied fruit and smokes smooth and sweet. Its effects are a full-bodied relaxation, calming the joints and making nothing more appealing than a nice, soft couch.

Pairs well with: A really nice blanket and a silk robe

Strain: Superboof

Grown by: 6Point Cannabis

This newish offering is one that 6Point Cannabis business partner Grant “Skribe Da God” Atkins is particularly excited about. He calls the buds “beautiful.” A cross between Black Cherry Punch and Tropicana Cookies, Superboof is a hybrid strain with a strong fruit-forward finish. It smokes clean and slightly sweet. Its effects are intense, going mostly to the head with a soft, relaxing character with a strong giggle-factor. Ideal movie-watching bud.

Pairs well with: The 1999 Spike Jonze film “Being John Malkovich”

Strain: Pure Michigan

Grown by: Vandy’s

Vandy’s owner Steve VanDeWalle described Pure Michigan as one of the more popular strains to hit the market in recent years, and for good reason. An indica-dominant hybrid of Oreoz and Mendo Breath, this Michigan-born strain now grown here is potent above all else. Pushing 30-percent THC, Pure Michigan carries an intense earthy aroma, smoking clean and smooth with a pleasant, peppery finish.

Pairs well with: Doing nothing for the day

Pre-Rolls from Chrome Grown

Grown by: Finger Lakes Finest and 6Point Cannabis

A healthy blend of local buds dipped in extract and rolled in kief, Chrome Grown’s pre-rolls are packed so fat they’re a struggle to remove from the tube. But quantity isn’t the only game here — the THC-heavy kief balances well with the calming effects of CBD, making it smooth, satisfying, and not overpowering. This bud is offered in hybrid, sativa, and indica varieties, but  the indica was the star of the show for our money. Relaxing, stimulating, and mellow, it is everything a joint could and should be.

Pairs well with: Everything

*Edibles provided by Chrome Grown and Vandy’s

Beers that taste like bud

and we don’t mean Budweiser

Some breweries infuse their ales with the faint taste of weed.

Craft breweries have been experimenting with hops since the dawn of their industry.

First it was the bitter West Coast IPAs of the early 2000s, popularized by Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Massive doses of resinous, piney hops like Citra, Centennial, and Columbus became the hallmark of an in-vogue beer.

That period gave way to the craze for juicy, hazy New England IPAs.

Now, some breweries are honoring another trait of heritage IPA hops: they

taste like weed. Breweries are pumping out beers that play up the tones of cannabis found in hops. The term for these ales is “dank,” and the pot puns are a-plenty.

There is CananDANKua from Other Half Brewing, and Skunk from Three Heads Brewing, and Sticky Trees from Pressure Drop Brewing, to name a few. These beers are heavy on grassy, earthy notes that emulate the flavor of fresh bud.

“It’s been in my experience that a lot of people partake in both,” said

Geoff Dale, co-owner of Three Heads, referring to beer and bud. “If you’re going to smoke weed and drink a beer, it’s nice to have a beer that tastes a little bit like the weed.”

Hops and cannabis taste and smell alike because they’re botanical siblings. Both belong to the small Cannabaceae family of plants that share some of the same flavor-producing compounds.

Myrcene, for example, carries a flavor that is earthy and peppery with just a hint of tropical fruit and is abundant in both hops and weed.

Meanwhile, limonene, which is the chemical that gives hops like Citra a zesty tone, is also common in cannabis.

Pump up the presence of those flavors in the beer and the dank notes follow.

“I think it’s a lot like how you pair beer or wine with food,” Dale said.

“You want it to either complement, to run parallel, or be perpendicular in augmenting the flavor. Since hops are cousins of weed, it only makes sense that you’re going to get something that’s parallel.”

62 CITY APRIL 2023

Drink These Danks

Little Juice Coupe from Three Heads Brewing

Little Juice Coupe is a dank beer in the midst of an identity crisis. It’s neither a West Coast IPA nor a New England IPA, and it isn’t a traditional lager. It’s an India pale lager (IPL) with juicy notes of ripe tropical fruit and earthy lemon rind, culminating in a crisp, delicately bitter finish.

Sticky Trees from Pressure Drop Brewing

If brewer Karl Kolbe sought to capture the magic of a bygone era of West Coast IPAs and showcase a love of cannabis, he succeeded with Sticky Trees. This is a shamelessly bitter, dank, resinous beer that is ripe with challenging notes of pepper, citrus rind, and earth. It lingers on the palate, enticing you to drink just a little bit more, and then lingers a bit more, enticing you to you get the idea.

CananDANKua from Other Half Brewing

Other Half’s raison d’être has been to unabashedly push the boundaries of reason and physics to cram as many hops as they can into a beer. This is one such experiment. Trendy Idaho 7 hops blast through with jammy notes of citrus, contrasting seamlessly with the grounded earthy notes of Columbus hops.

Hemp Double-IPA from K2 Brothers Brewing

Penfield’s brewery, K2, typically begins pouring this beer around 420, and as gimmicky as it sounds, is one of the best IPAs K2 has ever brewed. Packed with actual hemp buds, it’s a grassy, somewhat vegetal beer contrasted mainly by the oftoverpowering spicy resin of Simcoe hops.


Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned Rolling Stoned

25 Fun things to do in Rochester when you’re high

Legal cannabis has made it easier than ever to blaze and explore the outside world. If you were shy about being high in public before, now is the time to see the city with fresh, bloodshot eyes. Don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled 25 fun things to do around town that pair well with being high. We think we have something for every type of stoner, but if we missed your favorite, let us know at

1. Stop and smell the flowers at Lamberton Conservatory

The bright colors and pleasant smells will give your tingling senses a workout. Reality check: If you see a tiny quail run by, your buzz isn’t running away with your imagination. There really are a handful of button quail on the grounds.

2. Watch planes land up close

Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport has a huge public airfield observatory on the upper west end of the ticketing lobby. You don’t have to go through security to get there, but sitting stoned in its rocking chairs might have you removing your shoes anyway. That rumble in your belly as a 737 touches down won’t be the munchies.

3. Melt away at the Bodymind Float Center

Float in a body-temperature pool of 800 pounds of pharmaceuticalgrade Epsom salt like a precog in “Minority Report.” You can float in silence or have music piped in. Caution: If you choose quiet, beware paranoia doesn’t sink in.

4. Get starstruck at Strasenburgh Planetarium

The planetarium’s star projection and laser light shows are guaranteed to elevate your high. Upcoming out-of-this-world experiences include almost daily primers on the night sky, previews on next year’s total solar eclipse, and weed-friendly laser demos set to Pink Floyd or Radiohead.

5. Get baked with Bach at the RPO

Neuroscientists say combining marijuana and music connects us to the musicians. Connecting to 50 classical Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra musicians working in unison is a real trip. Just ask CITY Arts Editor Daniel J. Kushner (see page 18).

6. See standup at Comedy @ The Carlson

You can’t go wrong with this pairing. Pot gives most people the giggles. The Carlson has the best comedy around. If you’re like most people, you’ll still be in stitches even if the standup sucks.

8. Go to the zoo

Getting high and watching nature documentaries is a thing. Why not live the documentary with a trip to the Seneca Park Zoo? Make it a game: Count the spots on the two snow leopards, Kaba and Timila, or mimic the monkeys.

7. Break out the crayons . . .

. . . and get coloring. Think it’s just for kids? The “I’d Rather Color Rochester” coloring book by Shawn Dunwoody is for adults. Its 32 pages are filled with familiar spaces, places, and faces. In your world, the Genesee River doesn’t have to always be brown.

10. Hear your own echo (echo…echo…echo)

The trail through Washington Grove atop Cobbs Hill Park winds through ancient oaks and graffiti-tagged, abandoned metal water towers. Climb inside a tower, light up, and shout. The echo will enchant you. So will the view of the Rochester skyline.

11. Dance at the Rochester Fringe Festival’s Silent Disco

When you’re high, you’re marching to the beat of your own drum anyway. Make it official outside the festival’s Spiegeltent with a pair of noise canceling headphones carrying tunes from across the musical spectrum.

9. Bust out the video games

You could play video games without smoking weed. But why would you? Rochester has the best free arcade games anywhere at the World Video Game Hall at The Strong. Inductees include Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros., and DDR. No quarters needed. Just add weed.

12. Shop for a hard-to-find plant

Weed is easier to come by than ever. But monstera deliciosa albovariegata? That’s a different story, unless you stop in at Stem, the rare and exotic houseplant store on Monroe Avenue. Fiddle Leaf Fig. Green Papaya. Purple Roc Dangles. The plants on these shelves sound like cannabis strains.

13. Roll one in the abandoned subway

Smoking up in the abandoned subway path beneath Broad Street and taking in the subterranean gallery of street art there is a timehonored stoner tradition.

15. Go low at Maplewood Park

If you’re high enough, and the water at Lower Falls is low enough, you can stand directly on top of a waterfall in the center of a city. Where else can you do that?

16. Bake and brew

Blend your vices and take a stoned brewery stroll. Start at Nine Maidens on University Avenue and you can hit Sager, Heroes, Three Heads, and Iron Tug without walking more than a mile. And, let’s face it, you’re not going to want to walk a mile.

18. Hit the bong, then hit the books

The Rochester region is home to 13 colleges. Crashing a class at one of them while stoned might be the coolest thing you’ll ever do. Try “The Art of Astonishment” at RIT, which focuses on magic tricks and magic history. The best part: You probably won’t be the only student on drugs.

14. Fly at The Strong Museum’s Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden

You’ll be transported to a tropical paradise in technicolor. Caution: Seeing butterflies being born in the chrysalis case might move you to tears. Bonus buzz: Go on a scavenger hunt for the garden’s resident panther chameleon and watch it change color before your eyes.

17. Take your bowl bowling

Weed and bowling go together like snack foods and strikes. You don’t have to be in shape to play, and the Lysol hanging in the air will get you higher. The grownups recommend Radio Social, but for a true Rochester experience, hit L&M Lanes on Merchants Road.

19. Shapeshift at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park

The park’s funhouse mirror is the perfect place to take selfies stoned. Move one way and your head swells like a balloon. Shift again, and you’ve got forearms like Popeye. Pro tip: Turn off your flash to avoid a blinding experience.

66 CITY APRIL 2023

20. Travel through time at Genesee Country Village & Museum

Watching a woman named Lucretia wearing a bonnet and 19th-century frock dye fabric is a mind-bending experience when you’re sober. Pair it with pot and your head will explode like cannon fire on the Great Meadow during a Civil War reenactment.

22. Bake while baking at The Brainery.

The Brainery has some incredible cooking classes. Learning to bake brownies while you bake is like Googling “Google.” You’re bound to blow a hole in your space-time continuum. This is your Brainery on drugs. Just say yes.

21. Go to the Pittsford Wegmans

Just go and marvel at the decadence of it all. We mean the people, not the fare.

23. Tour the headstones at Mount Hope Cemetery

More than 350,000 people lay in eternal slumber across this Victorian cemetery’s 196 acres, and as Patricia Corcoran, president of Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, says, “Every one of these stones has a story.” Now, every stoner can have one, too.

24. Go to a yoga class

Blazing and breathing deeply may seem like an obvious pairing, but you may be surprised how much easier it is to stretch, comfortably hold poses, or sit still in a pleasant, present headspace while stoned. Namaste.

25. Stare at art at the Memorial Art Gallery

Some of us can stare for what feels like hours at a painting. Go to the MAG stoned and you might actually stare at one for hours. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. Harvard art history professor Jennifer Roberts has students stare at a single piece for three hours and says they “see things, make observations, and develop original ideas.” We recommend Jacob Lawrence’s busy “Summer Street Scene in Harlem” or Milton W. Hopkins’ uber-creepy “Pierrepont Edward Lacey and His Dog, Gun.”

68 CITY APRIL 2023


1. “Horrible” comic strip title character

6. Obscures, as a distinction

11. Le Pew of Looney Tunes

15. Alternatives to zins

19. Wear away

20. Weird Al Yankovic’s first hit

21. Burden

22. Multi-generational baseball surname

23. ** Hotel amenity

25. ** Political platform that might be toed

27. Recyclable soft drink container

28. Beatles song that was the basis for a “Sesame Street” song about the second letter of the alphabet

30. Two out of five members of a big band sax section

31. Greek consonants

32. Push-up muscle target, in brief

33. Date for a guy, maybe

34. LeBron’s team before (and after)


35. Implement for a cricketer

38. French I infinitive

40. “Without _____ in the world”

42. With 3-Down, what you might call your aging dog

46. Workplace safety org.

48. “I found it!”

50. Second most common Vietnamese family name (after Nguyen)

52. Early 2000s music genre

53. Strawberry pie tartness enhancer

55. European blackbird

57. Gene pool?

60. Novarro of “Ben-Hur”

61. Lay aside in a cave, say

63. Impressionist Edgar

66. Unnamed character in “Aladdin”

67. White House fiscal grp.

68. NCAA in-state rival of a Seminole

70. Infamous “hanging” ballot part in Bush v. Gore

71. Campus military grp.

72. Hump Day, for short

74. ** Judicial confinement to one’s residence

77. Aspiration

80. “Dress for Less” store

82. Bovid domesticated 10,000 years ago

83. Lip makeup that can come in matte or glitter

85. Address where you can surf?

86. Steeple

88. High-IQ society

89. Kansas City QB Dawson

90. Ancient Aegean coastal region

92. “Here, you play this round!”

94. Holocaust survivor Wiesel

96. Stride beyond

98. Poetic “before”

99. Heed a command

102. Highway part with an oftenignored yield sign

104. Thomas Hardy’s “_____ of the D’Urbervilles”

105. The “D” of RISD

108. Vintage synthesizers

110. Much-maligned nutritional molecule, for short

112. GPS output

113. Yank gently

114. Sentiment represented by the emoji

115. Hawks of Falcons, on a scoreboard

117. Big klutz

119. Deets, more officially

122. Guest of a guest

124. Shot 72

128. ** Lightning McQueen’s tire brand

130. ** Ritual with bamboo utensils

132. Vowel-heavy plant loved by crossword constructors

133. Good name for a man who lets people walk all over him

134. “Avengers” star Elizabeth

135. Neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent Sanjay

136. Army meal tent

137. Brewery offerings

138. “Laughing” predator of the savanna

139. ** Color in many slang terms for cannabis; or a word that can go before the first word in the answers to the starred clues

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 70 CITY APRIL 2023
to this puzzle
be found
page 41


1. His counterpart

2. Suffix with buck

3. Better than bad

4. Don Draper, by trade

5. Save from peril

6. “Feel the _____” (2016 campaign slogan)

7. Loo

8. Of use

9. Healthy but flavorless snack

10. Editor’s “Ignore that!”

11. Unhealthy but flavorful snack

12. Helper who’s no help

13. Unadulterated

14. Superlative suffix

15. Rang

16. Landed

17. Stage name for Paul David Hewson

18. Goes after in court

24. Word with bunny or Island

26. Gender neutral replacement for “you guys”

29. Food chain inits.

32. Apiece

34. Mass. neighbor

35. Alternative to beg or steal

36. “Ain’t That _____?” (Fats Domino query)

37. ** Some USB storage devices

39. Expressively varying in tempo

41. ** Old-fashioned library register

43. ** Accountant, disparagingly

44. All: prefix

45. Load-sharing bar for beasts of burden

47. Blood typing system

49. Essayist who went by his middle name of Waldo

51. Primary revenue source for Facebook and Google

54. Director Lee

56. Glassmaker’s oven

58. In the past

59. Woman’s name that is a Hebrew letter

62. Really stick it to

64. Listerene user, e.g.

65. “Hello” singer

69. Syllables of relief

71. Letters on a Monroe County bus

73. Pained

75. Lack of difficulty

76. California wine region

78. Religious leader who walks into a bar in many jokes

79. Pass, as time

81. Body of water larger than a lake but smaller than an ocean

84. What to tell a dog before “stay”

86. Where you might store your snow blower

87. Cut (back)

88. Unruly bunch

91. Berlin sunrise direction

93. East Asian percussion instrument dating to at least the sixth century

95. In a nonsensical manner

97. Boisterous show of discontent

100. Seek to match or surpass

101. Dannon and Chobani, for two

103. Common knee injury spot, for short

106. Needs a scratch

107. Strong puff

109. Exclamations of surprise

111. Black sheep, in an alternative farm idiom

116. Poke fun at

118. Longest, strongest bone in the human body

119. Aggressively close

120. Assemblage of laundry

121. What an all-star coach has to manage

122. Sound of church bells or thunder

123. Texter’s “And yet…”

124. Actress Suvari

125. Bishop of Rome

126. Pot head?

127. Child YouTube star Kaji with over 50 billion views

129. Soprano Sumac

131. 100 yrs.


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