April 2024

Page 1









280 State Street

Rochester, New York 14614

feedback@rochester-citynews.com phone (585) 244-3329



Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman


Bill and Mary Anna Towler


Editor: Leah Stacy

Arts writers: Patrick Hosken, Daniel J. Kushner

Editorial intern: Joe Morrell

Contributors: Rudy Fabre, Gino Fanelli, Alex Freeman, Dario Joseph, Johnanna Lester, Tama Miyake Lung, Megan Mack, Jacalyn Meyvis, Jeremy Moule, Ron Netsky, Jessica L. Pavia, Abby Quatro, Louis Ressell, Max Schulte, Brian Sharp, Raquel Stephen, Veronica Volk, Ryan Yarmel


Director, Strategy: Ryan Williamson

Art director: Jacob Walsh



Sales director: Alison Zero Jones

Advertising consultant/

Project manager: David White


Operations manager: Ryan Williamson

Circulation: ryan@rochester-citynews.com

CITY is available free of charge. Additional copies of the current issue may be purchased by calling 585-784-3503. CITY may be distributed only by authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of CITY, take more than one copy of each monthly issue.

CITY (ISSN 1551-3262) is published monthly 12 times per year by Rochester Area Media Partners, a subsidiary of WXXI Public Broadcasting. Periodical postage paid at Rochester, NY (USPS 022-138). Address changes: CITY, 280 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the New York Press Association. Copyright by Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, 2024 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner.


WXXI Members may inquire about free home delivery of

including monthly TV listings by calling 585-258-0200.

@ROCCITYMAG APRIL 2024 | Vol. 52 No. 8
the cover:
photo by Alex Freeman. Background photo and design by Jacob Walsh.

Touch grass

Iwas in my 30s before I ever gave cannabis a fair try. I’d traveled around the world and attended many music festivals, but bud never appealed to me. As sort of a goodie-two shoes, I associated it with negative stigmas: laziness, the “gateway drug,” eating too much junk food, yada yada.

Of course, that was narrow minded, and of course, weed is a much more nuanced topic. Since beginning my own cannabis journey I’ve found a quality joint or edible can be enjoyed the same way I enjoy a nice glass of wine or wellmade cocktail. (Bonus, there’s no chance of a hangover with weed.)

In building this issue, our team dug into the many ways cannabis laws continue to change in New York State, how to incorporate cannabis into your everyday life and the fascinating people working in and around the industry. One of the prominent themes through this issue (and in conversations around cannabis) is the healing properties, whether for physical pain or anxiety and depression. We live in a loud, chemically enhanced world. If there are natural remedies available to us, why wouldn’t we explore them?

April is a perfect time to release an issue like this in Rochester. We’re experiencing high levels of cabin fever as spring approaches — the smell of dirt and greenery, a sunny day or the chirp of birds can send us into a rapturous frenzy.

In her poem “Rice,” Mary Oliver writes:

I don’t want you just to sit down at the table.

I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.

I want you to walk out into the fields where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.

I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.

I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing.

These lines always make me think of spring. Gardening. New life. Tilling up the fresh earth and digging into the cool texture of it. There’s something so, well, grounding about that feeling — something you can’t ever replicate with a phone in hand or while sitting in front of a laptop.

As the internet saying “touch grass,” suggests, take a break from the digital world, especially as the weather begins to turn. Get outside and plunge your hands into the earth. And if you’d like to partake in the ‘other grass,’ we have a few ideas in these pages.

Enjoy, L

P.S. Join us at Ziggy’s, 127 Railroad Street in the Public Market, on Tuesday, April 9 from 6-8 p.m. for our monthly CITY social. Hang with our crew, pitch a story and grab munchies. Free and open to all.

Hope to see you there!


CITY Social

CITY 5 roccitymag.com
FOLLOW US TO GET DETAILS ON OUR MONTHLY EVENTS: @ROCCITYMAG Scenes from our March party at Jack’s Extra Fancy on Tuesday, March 4. PHOTOS BY RUDY FABRE



Welcome to CITY R.E.P.O.R.T.S., a monthly questionnaire inspired by a popular TikTok trend — here’s what a few of your fellow CITY readers in and around Rochester are (R)eading, (E)ating, (P)laying, (O)bsessing over, (R)ecommending, (T)reating themselves to, and who— or what—they’re (S)houting out.

REPORTER: Norwood (PJ) Pennewell, age 65. Artistic director, choreographer, rehearsal director, and principal dancer at Garth Fagan Dance.

SOCIAL: garthfagan-dance.org | @pj_pennewell on Instagram | PJ Pennewell on Facebook

HOMETOWN: Schenectady, NY

READING: For print: “CITY,” “Democrat & Chronicle,” “The New York Times.” Listening to audiobooks of “The Weary Blues” by Langston Hughes; “The Rite of Spring at 100” edited by Severine Neff; “My Life With Earth, Wind & Fire” by Maurice White with Herb Powell; “Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original” by Robin D.G. Kelly. On Instagram, I’m keeping up with Garth Fagan Dance, Crooked Media, The Daily Show, NPR, Joy-Ann Reid, Jerry Saltz, and Sunnmcheaux.

EATING: Local favorites include Velvet Belly, Public Provisions/ Flour City Bread, Just Juice, Village Bakery(Culver Road location), Owl House, Han Noodle Bar, Bocaccini’s, and Blu Wolf Bistro.

PLAYING: I have the following podcasts in rotation: “Wait Wait...

Don’t Tell Me,” “Fresh Air,” “Says You!,” and “The Gun Machine.” For movies, I recently caught up on (and recommend) Oscar nominees “Rustin,” “Nyad,” “Oppenheimer,”

“American Fiction,” and “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” For music, it’s any and everything by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis. Plus, Amp

Fiddler, Amapiano, Juanita Luka, and Kassav. On TV, I’m keeping up with Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and (locally) WROC News.

OBSESSING OVER: My own amateur photography, gardening, and house plants. I’m always loving Highland Park, Indian Point Park (Penn Yan), Keuka Lake and Keuka Outlet Trail, the Riverway Trail, Erie Canal Trail, and spring in Rochester. And solitude.

RECOMMENDING: Absolutely see all of Rochester’s Olmsted parks. Take in all Rochester has to offer in the performing arts especially Garth Fagan Dance, Geva Theatre, and Avenue Blackbox Theatre. And visit the Memorial Art Gallery, ROCO Art Gallery, and anything by WALL\THERAPY.

TREATING MYSELF TO: A pistachio or plain croissant from Flour City Bread; online Zara shopping; lounging in the front or back yards when all the yard work is done (for the few days that it is!) during a warm sunny summer day.

SHOUTING OUT: Garth Fagan Dance Youth Ensemble; Pretty Nails nail salon and GVIII Barber Shop on Park Avenue; and Ruby Lockhart’s landscaping whenever any of the garden clubs are giving a tour of her masterwork.

Interested in being a CITY R.E.P.O.R.T.S. interviewee? Send an email to leah@rochester-citynews.com.


Act like you've been there. Based purely on our own opinions. But do whatever you want; it's your life

(even though Snoop Dogg said it once)

And if you want a classic term, it’s Mary Jane. PSA: a spliff has tobacco, and a blunt is rolled in cigar wraps.


A popular internet culture reference to a joint.



A slang term for weed often used by people who don’t smoke. (So, IYKYK.)

Decent weed. BUD


The smokable part of a cannabis plant. Impress the dispensary staff by asking to see their flower menu.

A common cannabis term, referring to the smokable flowers of cannabis.


A strain of weed that’s potent in flavor, smell or effect — and not a negative term.

APRIL 2024

Atafamily dinner

Your dish-topass? A bowl. Easy to share with your cousins just before digging into the turkey and mashed potatoes.

Atthe movies

Take a high-dose edible so it lasts the entire run time of “Dune Part Two” and doesn’t wear off during the sandworm ride. You also won’t smell like weed. Downside: you might fall asleep during “Killers of the Flower Moon.” (Or maybe you’re just tired and you should go to bed.)

Atanoutdoor concert

A joint or vape is socially acceptable in most live music settings now — but be wary of security checkpoints, less weedfriendly venues may confiscate your good time.

Atawork happyhour

Depending on where you’re headed and who’s going to be there, a joint might be the easiest way to either take the edge off or get a social high; especially if there’s a patio.


Atgame night withfriend s

No need to roll the dice; this is a safe space. Get comfy on the couch with a higher dose edible, or sip on a THCinfused seltzer (or two).

Ata dance party Atthepark withyourdog

If there’s a chance you’ll be imbibing other liquids during your night on the dance floor, take it slow with a low-dose edible. Think a 2mg or 5mg gummy or a corner of a chocolate. Microdose mints are also fun; they’ll keep your breath fresh while giving you a small bump.

Ambitious or ambidextrous might go for a handheld bubbler in one hand with a leash in the other; but perhaps easier is a dogwalker — mini pre-rolls literally named for the activity, and small enough to be enjoyed in the time it takes to do a leisurely lap around the park.

CITY 9 roccitymag.com


A effortjoint

Checking out Rochester Public Library’s cannabis resources.


The library might not be the first place that comes to mind with regard to cannabis — and that’s probably because the Rochester Public Library is one of the few, if not the only, public library systems that offer cannabis programming.

As soon as weed became legal, the RPL’s Business Insight Center, under supervisor Jennifer Brynes, built a hub of cannabis business-related information — including a newsletter, a rich collection of books related to the topic, and meetups that cover everything from seed to sale.

“We noticed a lack of reliable information, and there’s a lot of predatory people in cannabis,” said Byrnes. “Anyone can call themselves a cannabis consultant. We read all the regulations and understand what you can and can’t do.”

Since then, the library established the New York State Library of Cannabis (nysloc.org), and took over HempLab, which was a community education nonprofit in the area before transferring all assets over to the library. With training from the Office of Cannabis Management, the business center also provides technical services for people filling

out or fixing applications.

But why the library? Because programs that accept federal funding — like the Small Business Development Center or the Small Business Administration — are not allowed to work with cannabis companies.

“We were pretty much the only people able to work with them,” said Byrnes.

Recently, the Business Insight Center moved its focus from solely license acquisition to a focus on workplace development through the Cannabis Workforce Initiative, a partnership between Cornell University and the Workforce Development Institute.

Libraries are more than just books – and at RPL, they understand success in this new business landscape must be a joint effort. roccitylibrary.org

10 CITY APRIL 2024

Is cannabis the secret to feeling good and looking better?

Grassroots beauty


Anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, epileptic seizures — the list of conditions cannabis is able to treat seems to grow longer by the day. But beyond making us feel better, one compound in the cannabis plant may actually heal our skin to help us look better, too.

That’s been the experience of Glenna Colaprete, who launched the multi-location Glenna’s CBD & Spa in 2015 after trying a tincture made with cannabidiol (CBD) for her painful nerve entrapment syndrome while visiting family in Colorado.

“It was the first thing that took the edge off my nerve damage and it was just amazing,” said the Rochester-based product engineer-turned-licensed hemp and cannabis cultivator and retailer. “Tinctures were the first step. Next was the salve (for a) bad shoulder injury and hip and back pain.”

Colaprete also has very sensitive skin, so she sought lotions free of filler, eventually creating her own line called Even & Clear.

“We moved into lotions, beauty creams and eye creams,” she said. “These were products inspired by my own needs, but then I realized that my family and my husband’s family loved them and so did our friends. And the business just grew from there.”

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the flowers, leaves and stems of

12 CITY APRIL 2024
Glenna Colaprete poses with one of her CBD-infused beauty products. PHOTO BY JACALYN MEYVIS

the cannabis plant — not to be confused with hemp or hempseed oil, which comes from the seeds and has little-to-no CBD content. CBD offers potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory benefits without the potentially harmful side effects commonly found in prescription skincare treatments. It’s used in its pure isolate form or as broad or full spectrum, meaning it contains some or all of the other 100plus cannabinoids as well as terpenes and flavonoids that offer additional detoxifying and moisturizing benefits.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp with no more than 0.3 percent of psychoactive THC, CBD has slowly been gaining ground as the beauty industry’s next big all-natural solution for everything from acne and hyperpigmentation to premature aging. Besides being offered as a treatment add-on at Glenna’s CBD and other spas such as Relax The Spa in Victor, CBD-infused balms, creams, serums, shampoos, bath salts and more can be found at dispensaries, hemp specialist stores and even some big box chains in Rochester.

Dr. Elizabeth Arthur, a Scottsville native who opened Helendale Dermatology and Medical Spa in 2004 and also curates the Helendale CBD store, discovered the power of CBD while struggling with pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. After finding relief with a combination of tinctures and balms produced by Gnome Wellness near Saratoga Springs, she began recommending it to patients with unusual inflammatory conditions that either didn’t respond well to normal treatments or for which treatments didn’t really exist.

“Back in med school I jokingly said to my friends that


CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system that regulates almost every function of our bodies. As it turns out, nearly all animals have been found to have an ECS, and can therefore enjoy the same benefits of CBD as humans. Next time your dog, cat, rabbit, reptile, horse or feathered friend seems anxious or under the weather, try reaching for any of the hundreds of pet CBD tinctures, chews, balms or bites now on the market.

the root of all evil was going to be inflammation, and I didn’t know how right I was,” she said. “We see so much inflammation on the skin, whether it be acne, rosacea, psoriasis or eczema. And for people who are willing to try something outside the box, they definitely see an improvement.”

Recently, Arthur found success treating post-COVID guttate psoriasis and lichen planopilaris with oral and topical CBD. But it’s the stigma associated with cannabis that so far prevented CBD from reaching a wider audience.

“I think the two biggest problems with opening that conversation with patients are one, their misconceptions about it; and two, they bought crappy CBD and now they think all CBD products don’t work,” said Arthur.

She advises using only thirdparty tested products, to ensure they are free of contaminants, and buying from a licensed, knowledgeable retailer who understands what they are selling. As awareness and acceptance continues to grow, Colaprete sees unlimited potential for cannabis in the health and beauty space.

“I think it’s just getting started,” she said. “My hope and dream is one day it’s just another element on the shelf with all these other great products, completely normalized and accepted.”

CITY 13 roccitymag.com
Glenna’s CBD products are manufactured at a state-of-the-art- facility 20 minutes from downtown Rochester. PHOTOS BY JACALYN MEYVIS
As cannabis laws change, glass pipe artists are
experiencing a reputation revolution.

Pipe dreams


National Geographic recently declared it’s “The Glass Age,” with its February issue focusing on the scientific advancements and applications of glass—but of course, there is much more to it than just windows, vials and cell phone screens. Glass is a medium for unparalleled artistic expression. For centuries, glassblowers and artists have learned to play and sculpt with the material, and today’s artisans are experiencing a renaissance akin to the prosperous days of Murano and the Venetian maestros of old. One particular glassy subculture making the most of the moment is pipemakers.

Once resigned to the dark, mysterious domain of head shops frequented by curious teens and long-haired hippies, the noble glass pipe is now an elevated art form of incredible beauty, complexity and skill. Pipemakers at the forefront of their craft have large social media followings (note local rockstars @SlumGold and @GeoffPlattGlass) and can regularly earn high-value commissions, with some pipes selling for thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars. This has helped pipemakers transcend a reputation that relegated them to the fringes of the art world. Now, they are lauded by museums and art galleries, coveted by collectors and adored by glass enthusiasts worldwide.

To understand the complex history of pipemaking in this

14 CITY APRIL 2024
“We’ll always find a way to keep the torch on and the glass flowing.”

country, one must go back 40 years. In the mid-1980s, legendary flameworker Bob Snodgrass began selling handmade glass pipes at Grateful Dead concerts. By following the band on tour, Bob could sell his pipes to eager Deadheads across the country, and a market was born. In time, head shops embraced the scene and pipes found their rightful home.

But what might have been the start of a glorious pipe-making revolution was squashed as the stigma of cannabis kept the culture hidden. While cannabis remained illegal, mainstream glass was just beginning to take shape and had no room for the heady upstarts. The craft was almost completely

crushed in 2003 when the Drug Enforcement Agency unleashed Operation Pipe Dream, a nationwide crackdown on the sale of pipes across state lines (which had, until then, been a boon for pipemakers taking advantage of a new tool—the internet).

Since then, the craft has remained largely underground.

“You definitely couldn’t talk about it, and it was not acknowledged as an art form,” said pipemaker @EaseGlass of Mecklenburg, NY.

Ease has been working with glass since the late ’90s—a time when it was vitally important to adopt an alias to protect your identity and

CITY 15 roccitymag.com
Rochester glass artist REK.
16 CITY APRIL 2024

livelihood—and has seen firsthand the impact each change to the law had on his profession.

“But the skill level of people doing this has increased dramatically over the last 10-15 years, and that has a lot to do with the relaxation of the prohibition against cannabis,” he said.

Change has been sporadic.

Colorado decriminalized recreational cannabis more than 10 years ago, while New Yorkers had to wait until 2021. As a result, artist @HallieCatGlass33, like many in her field, joined the glass migration west from her home in Cazenovia, NY, to Denver, seeking a more inviting community.

“In Denver, we can cater a ‘sesh’ right at a smoke shop and pair pipes with different strains of cannabis to smoke, like a wine tasting or a medicated dinner,” she said. “It’s more than just doing a drug, it’s a ritual. Pipes are very tactile and should be touched and shared, so with legalization, we lose the stigma surrounding our craft and the risk of having our inventory confiscated.”

Hallie believes New York is ready to change, but can the state follow in the

footsteps of its more trailblazing siblings?

At Mad Hatter’s Hideaway, a smoke shop on Culver Road in Rochester, the back room is filled with glass pipes of all shapes, sizes and colors; everything is protected inside a case like artwork in a museum. Rochester artist @REK.glass calls it “a free stoner museum of glass.” There are hand pipes and scientific water pipes (commonly called bongs). Some functional art glass pipes resemble insects, graffiti, underwater sea creatures, and characters from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” in honor of the store’s owner. There is even a case with priceless Bob Snodgrass originals—a shrine to the OG himself.

“The Rochester scene is still breathing and starting to thrive once again, even if some local artists live sale to sale or resort to part-time jobs for steady income,” said REK.

These are exciting times for New York, and artists have a reason to stay, hone their craft and build their businesses here. It’s no surprise that the wider contemporary art world is taking notice, too.

That’s the real heart of this new Glass Age—a close-knit community of artists who have persevered through stigma and prosecution. REK is confident they’ll continue to find ways to collaborate, inspire and push their art to the next level.

“We’ll always find a way to keep the torch on and the glass flowing.”

CITY 17 roccitymag.com
Rochester glass artist REK, shows off some pipe accessories and decorative marbles. PHOTO BY LOUIS RESSELL
These small cannabis farmers say New York’s
legal weed rollout is ruining their lives.

Up in smoke

On a warm mid-March morning, cannabis farmer Justin Merkel stands on a muddy edge overlooking the two-acre patch of grassland. This plot makes up the farmland of his company, Lit 420.

In the summer months, about 1,800 cannabis plants dot the grassy landscape, each one carefully pruned, watered, and tended by hand. A new season is around the bend as the spring and summer months creep in, and Merkel and his cohort of friends, family, and co-workers will once again dig their hands into the soil.

But how long he can keep the farm afloat is an ever-present question in Merkel’s mind. A combination of the state’s snailpaced roll-out of legal cannabis dispensaries, the high level of taxation on crops, costly cannabis testing and the entrance of multimillion-dollar corporations into the cannabis space has left the small farmer in crisis.

Merkel sunk about $400,000 into his cannabis operation and — two years since receiving his license to legally grow cannabis — has yet to turn a profit. Like dozens of other cannabis farmers in New York, he sees little means for survival beyond a state bailout.

“At this point it’s an uphill battle,” Merkel said. “Now, the advantage we had as the first movers is taken away from us. All we really have left is potentially this relief. If this

18 CITY APRIL 2024
Justin Merkel smokes a pre-rolled joint from his inventory while sitting on one of the two vintage tractors he purchased last year to plant his cannabis farm in Livingston County. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

farmer’s relief doesn’t go through, most of us will be out of the business, unfortunately.”

The relief referenced is a state aid package currently included in both the state Senate and Assembly’s budget proposals, which could give small cannabis farmers a fighting chance in New York’s legal market.


Merkel began growing cannabis well before legalization. As a teenager, he was a practitioner of “guerilla farming,” a tactic of finding pockets of untrodden public land and cultivating cannabis plants.

Cannabis was always part of his life, and when the opportunity to start planting legally popped up in 2019, he jumped on it. At that time, plants could only be grown for hemp and CBD, but Merkel saw adult-use legalization on the horizon and jumped at the chance to get a cultivation license.

In 2022, the year after the state legalized recreational cannabis, Merkel was awarded his Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license by the state. That license allowed him to grow cannabis outdoors and provide it to dispensaries, of which the state predicted it would have a healthy network by the time the 2022 grow season ended. But a problem arose.

No dispensaries were open by the time the flowers were harvested and cured. Lawsuit after lawsuit over New York’s racial and social equity-driven Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license program had put legal bud on ice.

That left farmers sitting on thousands of pounds of cannabis that could not be legally sold — due to the federal illegality of recreational cannabis, New York farmers can only sell and distribute in New York.

As farmers began to feel

the squeeze, Merkel and Tess Interlicchia of Grateful Valley Farm in Corning cofounded the Cannabis Farmers Alliance (CFA) to advocate for the needs of New York’s weed farmers.

“The state assured us, saying, ‘Create, grow as much as you can, and the stores will be there,’” Interlicchia said. “They said they’d have 50 stores by the end of 2022 for us to sell to. They opened the first one close to midnight on New Year’s Eve 2022. It’s been a disaster, to say the least.”

Today, New York has 80 dispensaries statewide. Shelfspace is limited, and Merkel has received no reorders from any dispensary that initially carried his bud.

Meanwhile, the burden of cost falls largely on the farmer in the forms of costly quality testing and a state potency tax.

CITY 19 roccitymag.com
Justin Merkel's cannabis crop. PHOTO PROVIDED

The latter costs half-a-cent for every milligram of THC in flower. In practice, a high-strength bud from Merkel’s farm at 31% THC was potency taxed at $10 per quarter ounce, or $640 per pound.

Meanwhile, estimates from the CFA state that for every $100 worth of cannabis concentrate sold at market, $37 goes to the dispensary, $21 to state taxes, and to the processor and distributor each get $19. The remaining $4 is the farmer’s share.

For an eighth ounce of cannabis flower, which typically retails in the $40-$50 range at a dispensary, Interlicchia estimates she profits about $2.

And if a farmer fails a quality test, the flower can no longer be sold as smokeable, leaving concentrates as the only path forward. This was the case with

20 CITY APRIL 2024
Tess Interlicchia, proprietor of Corning's Grateful Valley Farm, seen here tending to her cannabis crop. PHOTO BY KAYLA BARTKOWSKI Justin Merkel holds a pre-roll from his inventory that has yet to be distributed to licensed dispensaries. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Interlicchia’s first crop, which did not make it through a pass-fail test for the common fungus Aspergillus.

While a necessary step to ensure safety and purity of the product, cannabis testing is a costly endeavor borne entirely by the farmer.

There are 17 laboratories authorized to test cannabis products across New York; one is in Rochester. The labs perform highly specialized testing of cannabis products, with an exhaustive checklist that includes everything from THC content to the presence of multiple forms of bacteria, mold, and chemical pesticides.

“We spent about $20,000 in testing and still failed everything,” Interlicchia said.

All said and done, Interlicchia’s crop for the entire 2022 grow season — which yielded about 80 pounds of flower — was sold for $400 per

pound to a processor. If that amount were sold an eighth of an ounce at a time, assuming a $50 per eighth retail price, it would generate $6,400 per pound, 16 times the value of the sale price to a processor.

Of the 200 or so farmers in the Cannabis Farmers Alliance network, 97% have yet to see a profit, Merkel and Interlicchia said.


New York’s cannabis legalization law, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act, envisioned a cannabis future led by small entrepreneurs and the people once harmed by criminalization.

But from the beginning, farmers like Interlicchia and Merkel foresaw the arrival of big business into the cannabis world.

That became a reality in December, when the Cannabis

Control Board approved six medical cannabis “registered operators” to enter the recreational market. Among them are PharmaCann, RISE, CuraLeaf, and ColumbiaCare.

Registered operators have two distinct advantages over conditional cultivators: they are high-dollar operations already well-established in the cannabis space, able to charge lower wholesale prices. And, perhaps more importantly, they are allowed by law to grow indoors.

Indoor-grown cannabis has a general reputation of being of a higher quality than outdoor or greenhousegrown cannabis. While that is a subject of debate in the cannabis farmers’ world, they acknowledge that the average consumer sees cannabis from those suppliers as higher quality for less cost.


CITY 21 roccitymag.com
Justin Merkel stands next to the well he dug to irrigate crops this growing season on his cannabis farm in Livingston County. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE PHOTO PROVIDED

“They’re selling $100 ounces of indoor weed,” Merkel said. “Their marketing is insane. They buy display cases and everything for dispensaries. You go in there and their names are on the floormats and all over the walls. There’s no way we can even compete with it.”

For the small farmers, the arrival of registered operators into the market before they had a chance to get on their feet only compounded a harsh entrepreneurial environment.


Cannabis farmers saw a glimmer of hope last year in the form of so-called Cannabis Growers Showcases. That program allowed cannabis farmers to skirt court injunctions preventing the opening of dispensaries and sell directly to the public.

The program concluded at the end of 2023. But, for the first time, it allowed small farmers to get some return on their investment.

“It was a struggle up until the showcases,” said Mike Dulen,

owner of Geneva’s A Walk in the Pines. “That really just helped us burn through all of the product we had from 2022 in 30 days.”

With the showcases now over, cannabis farmers are seeking different means to survive.

Two programs are pointed to as potential boons for small farmers: the cannabis microbusiness program, which allows farmers to sell direct to consumers. Merkel is on the list of farmers up to participate in that program and described its provisions as potentially lifesaving for his farm.

The second hope is a farmer relief fund.

The relief fund was included in budget proposals from the state Assembly and Senate. Included in the Senate proposal is $60 million for loans to cannabis farmers, $40 million for grants, $28 million in tax credits, and a repeal and replacement of the potency tax.

State Senator Jeremy Cooney, D-Rochester, heads up the Senate’s Cannabis subcommittee.

“Everyone was told that hemp was the way of the future, and to start growing hemp, but that didn’t happen,” Cooney said. “So, we gave those farmers the first bite of the apple. They did everything right, and it fell flat. Now, we need to repair the harm that’s been done.”

Both Interlicchia and Merkel work day jobs to keep their heads above water. Interlicchia is a nurse practitioner, while Merkel is in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Merkel has sunk every penny he had into his farm’s survival and nearly lost his house to foreclosure. Interlicchia had to sell her farm’s tractor just to keep the farm running, an irony that isn’t lost on her.

“When a farmer has to sell their tractor in order to survive, you’re at the end of your rope,” she said.

In their time in the CFA, they’ve seen farmers’ families crumble, investments evaporate, and some growers driven to the brink of suicide.

If relief doesn’t come soon, Merkel is unsure how long he, or

22 CITY APRIL 2024

any small farmer, can stick it out.

But for him, and farmers like him across the state, the passion towards cannabis drives them forward, in the hope that a brighter day will come.

Sitting atop a vintage Ford tractor, Merkel exhales a plume of smoke that drifts over his field. A dank, herbal scent fills the air.

“You know,” he said, “I don’t think there’s any industry I’d rather be in.”

CITY 23 roccitymag.com
Mike Dulen, Pines co-founder and CEO, with Brian Lane, Compliance Officer at NOWAVE, outside the pop-up cannabis showcase on East Avenue. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

todo DAILY

Full calendar of events online at roccitymag.com



“Visualizing Camelot”

University of Rochester, rochester.edu With a thorough showcase of more than 350 items, the exhibition “Visualizing Camelot” demonstrates the resonance that the story of King Arthur and related legends continue to have. These pieces from the collection of Arthurian scholars Alan Lupack and Barbara Tepa Lupack range from paintings and illustrated books to toys, comic books and dishware. The free exhibition continues during regular hours of operation for the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester through December 2.


21st Annual Riedman Foundation Trout Derby

Powder Mills Park, fishpowdermill.org/ derby-info

Win prizes and help support the fish hatchery at Powder Mills Park during the 2024 Riedman Foundation Trout Derby from 7 a.m. to noon. Must preregister to participate. Those 9 and older pay a $5 registration fee. Participants 16 and older must have a valid fishing permit. BRIAN SHARP


SPORTS Opening Day

Innovative Field, milb.com/rochester The Red Wings open the 2024 season taking on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Game time: 4:05 p.m. BS



“The Price Is Right”


West Herr Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org

Do you like game shows? Come on down! While a live version of the classic TV competition doesn’t make for conventional entertainment, there’s something irresistible about watching others play for cash and prizes — let alone the chance that your name could be called. 7:30 p.m. Available tickets start at $49. DK



“Dialogues des Carmélites”

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, esm. rochester.edu/theatre

Composer Francis Poulenc’s alwayspoignant, 20th-century masterpiece “Dialogues des Carmélites” is among the most-performed works in Eastman Opera Theatre’s repertoire. The reason has something to do with the opera’s abundance of female roles and its ability to accommodate student demographics. But ultimately, it’s the timeless story of a timid person finding inner strength in a time of fear and violence. Based on the true story of the Martyrs of Compiègne during the French Revolution, “Dialogues” is $20. Evening performances from April 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. start at 7:30 p.m. The April 7 matinee begins at 3 p.m. DK



Rochester Independent Comics Expo

Sibley Square, wnycomicarts.com

The annual exposition celebrating comics artists is back, with more than 50 artists expected to showcase their work over the course of two days. Notable events include a comics slideshow on Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Visual Studies Workshop and a comics workshop for children with Buffalo native and graphic novelist Falynn Koch at Sibley Square from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 (registration is required). All events are free, with the expo itself running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. DK


Coral Moons and Ben Morey & The Eyes

Bug Jar, bugjar.com

This Friday night lineup is loaded with talented local indie rockers. Ben Morey & The Eyes return to visibility after a lengthy hiatus, and the Canandaigua-Boston quartet Coral Moons headlines. Led by its dynamic singer-guitarist Carly Kraft, Coral Moons plays catchy pop-rock with anthemic upside. Fresh off the release of the single “Shrooms,” the band has plenty of new music on the horizon. Doors at 8 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. 18-and-over show. $14-$17. DK



Dyngus Day Party

Polska Chata, facebook.com/ polskachata

Even though Dyngus Day — the popular Polish celebration held annually the day after Easter — is technically on April 1 this year, you can extend the merriment at the local Polish restaurant Polska Chata until the following weekend. The festivities will include plenty of food and beer (plus a pierogi, kielbasa, and paczkieating contest for the competitive consumers among you). And of course, it wouldn’t be a Dyngus Day party without some first-rate polka music. The party begins at 11 a.m. DK


Good Luck Improv Presents “A Total Eclipse of the Art”

Focus Theater, focus.theater

If you enjoy “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” this dark comedy showcase (get the pun?) will keep you entertained. Local performers and comedy teams bring you improvisation, stand-up, storytelling, and more. 5 p.m. $10. MEGAN MACK

THEATER “Sisters in Law”

JCC Hart Theater, jccrochester.org

“Sisters in Law” is a new play based on the award-winning 2015 book about the friendship of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor — the first two women on the U.S. Supreme Court who differed in countless ways but came together on women’s equality. The production opens today at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 21. $20-$35. BS




“RPO Eclipse Spectacular: A Symphonic Celebration”

Blue Cross Arena, rpo.org

In an unprecedented event, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs at Blue Cross Arena for the first time. The RPO is calling in reinforcements from multiple performing arts groups in the 585, including the visceral storytellers in PUSH Physical Theatre, the elegant Rochester City Ballet, and the choral mainstays in Madrigalia. The theatrical circus company Troupe Vertigo returns for another orchestral collaboration as well. It’s all part of the RPO’s celebration of the total solar eclipse. Expect a program full of celestial and symphonic wonder. Available tickets start at $36. 7 p.m. DK

MUSIC Irish Music Returns to Hochstein

The Hochstein School, hochstein.org For twenty years, Sampler Records staged sold-out shows featuring some of the finest Irish music and dance Rochester has ever seen. This year, Hochstein’s Irish Music program and the Joe Dady Memorial Scholarship present a tribute to those concerts and the legends who graced that magnificent auditorium. Local dance schools will join Rochester Music HOFer John Dady, program director John Ryan, and members of the region’s thriving traditional music community for a lively afternoon of song and dance. Free show, but tickets must be reserved. LEAH STACY



3HB’s Solar Eclipse Party

Three Heads Brewing, threeheadsbrewing.com

Three Heads Brewing never passes up the opportunity for a party, and the occasion of a rare astronomical event is no exception. The brewery’s eclipse party features performances from venue favorites Eli Flynn & The Everymen from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., and A Girl Named Genny from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fear not, Three Heads maestro Geoff Dale has left a break in between sets for enjoying the totality in the skies. Attendees will receive a commemorative pint glass and viewing glasses, plus plenty of parking. If you’re feeling famished, Freddie’s Wood Fired Pizza and Swan Market will be onsite. Ages 21+ only. $25. DK ECLIPSE

“Total Eclipse of the Library”

Rochester Public Library Central Branch, libraryweb.org

If you want to teach your kids about the eclipse before the main event, the Rochester Public Library can help. The Central Library’s Children’s Center will have activity stations where kids of all ages can learn about the sun and the moon. A sensory calming area is available. Eclipse glasses will be provided to families who complete the program, while supplies last. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

26 CITY APRIL 2024


“Jesus Christ Superstar”

West Herr Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org

One of beloved Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber most consequential musicals, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is still a dramatic powerhouse more than 50 years after its initial release. It’s arguably the quintessential rock opera, with frenetic, guitar-driven music and a fraught storyline following Judas’s increasingly troubled relationship with the Messiah. A limited run of performances begins at 7:30 p.m. nightly from April 8 - 10. Available tickets start at $46. DK



CITY’s April Social

Ziggy’s, ziggysroc.com

Our monthly gathering to celebrate the newest magazine! Chat with the CITY team, grab a copy of our April issue, pitch a story idea, sip a cocktail, and grab munchies from Ziggy’s. Free to attend, all are welcome. More details at roccitymag.com LS



Old House Hacks: Curb Appeal

Warner Castle, rochesterbrainery.com

If you’re lucky enough to own a home in 2024, this class will help you spruce it up for spring. Co-hosted by Young Urban Preservationists, simply bring a few photos of your house and they’ll help you identify its architectural style and give you tips to up its curb appeal. The class starts at 6 p.m. $22.



Playing With Words: The Pleasure of Poem-making

Rochester Public Library Winton Branch, libraryweb.org

Time to finish that book of poems you’ve been talking about since college. In honor of National Poetry Month, join Kathleen Wakefield — author of “Notations on the Visible World” and recipient of the University

of Rochester Lillian Fairchild Award — for this workshop that uses playful exercises to get those creative juices flowing. All abilities welcome. Register in advance. Workshop runs 2-3:30 p.m. VV



“She Has Risen: The Golden Girls Musical”

The OFC Creations Theatre Center, ofccreations.com

The girls are back to reunite a divided country. Rose launches a campaign for president and the foursome must debate a topic they have avoided: politics. “She has Risen” starts today at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 28. $34-$47. BS




Punchbowl: Comedy on the ROCs

Blackfriars Theatre, blackfriars.org

Local comedy in all its side-splitting forms gets the spotlight tonight. Stand-up Alex Mallory, the improv groups Ants to Gods, Unleashed! and Bushwhacked, as well the sketch troupe Thank You Kiss will all take the stage. The two-hour show (with intermission) is $20 and starts at 7 p.m. with a pre-gaming party — featuring Stephanie’s Empanadas and alcoholic beverages — in the Blackfriars parking lot at 5:45 p.m. DK

CITY 27 roccitymag.com

If you missed these influential hardcore legends when they played the Bug Jar in late 2022, here’s another chance to see them. Cro-Mags helped usher in a subgenre known as crossover, which melds the raw fury of hardcore punk with the heavy rhythms of thrash metal. Vocalist Harley Flanagan is the only founding member that remains in the band, but his snarling, nasal growl remains the most distinct aspect of the CroMags sound. Necrostalker and Deep Disdain round out the bill. The doors open at 8 p.m. and the music starts at 9 p.m. The show is 18-plus and tickets are $25 for those under 21, but for those who are drinking age tickets are

Starting Workshop;

Genesee Country Village & Museum,

Separate late-morning workshops will help you shake off the last of winter. A three-hour workshop starting at 11 a.m. will help you jumpstart your

garden ($70 for members and $80 for non-members). Or you can learn the fundamentals of making your own hard cheese from 10 a.m.-4p.m. $85 for members and $100 for nonmembers. Space is limited. BS


Rising Stars Dance and Drum Classes

Baden Street Settlement, josephavearts.org

Teachers from The Hochstein School will be on hand every Saturday from now through May 18 to provide free classes on African drumming at 11 a.m. and on West African dancing at noon. In conjunction with Hochstein and the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance, these events are a great way to encourage children to express themselves. To RSVP, contact Ms. Pamela D. Quick via email at pquick@badenstreet.org. DK



Joe Satriani and Steve Vai

Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com

Two of rock music’s most popular shredders, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, team up for this amped-up show at Kodak Center. Both American guitarists are prolific soloists who create soaring, searing instrumental compositions that showcase their instrument’s expressive capabilities. Fans of metal and hard rock at their most decadent and virtuosic won’t want to miss this concert, which starts at 7 p.m. Available tickets start at $113. For $35, separate lounge passes are available for a pre-concert Q&A that takes place at $5:30. DK

CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 Monroe County’s Oldest Nursery WITH OVER 3 ACRES OF FRESH, HARDY, NURSERY STOCK from the common to the hard to find! Annuals PERENNIALS FERTILIZER Seed Bulk Mulch BAGGED MULCH STONE Large selection of fine pottery 485 LANDING ROAD NORTH Located near Ellison Park CLOVERNURSERY.COM Open 7 days a week BULK DELIVERY AVAILABLE! mulch, topsoil, compost, stone N URSERY & G ARDEN C ENTER (585) 482-5372 • doug@clovernursey.com


— CITY Magazine





Carol D. Simmons Storytime Club: “Showers and Flowers”

Strong Museum of Play, museumofplay.org

Take a break from visiting Sesame Street, buying groceries at the kidsized Wegmans or flying the nearby spaceship to take part in storytime. This time around the reading will revel in the coming of spring. Free with museum admission. Storytime Club continues on April 22 and 29. Sessions are at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., at the Strong Museum’s Storybook Theater. DK




Geva Theatre Center, gevatheatre.org

As the title of the play suggests, “Newtown” is a serious look at the before and after of the infamous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, more than 10 years ago. Why is gun violence an epidemic in America? Dan O’Brien’s play addresses the question while leaving room for optimism. Geva’s Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson helms this world premiere production. Recommended for theatergoers 18 years and older; the opening night performance starts at 7:30 p.m. The production runs through May 12. $30-$62. DK

MUSIC Movements, Tigers Jaw, and more

Water Street Music Hall, waterstreetmusichall.live

Do you like the thick, driving guitars of proper post-hardcore? How about the jangly guitars made popular by mid-90’s indie and post-punk bands?

If you answered “Yes” to both, this is the bill for you. Movements leans to the post-hardcore side of things, but the band’s super-melodic songs have a bit of shimmer to them. My references may be a little dated, but Tigers Jaw remind me more of The Jealous Sound and The Promise Ring. Also on the bill are Webbed Wing and Paerish. Tickets are $30 and the show is 18 and up, or 16 and up with a parent or guardian. Doors open at 6 p.m. JM



Daniel Sloss

Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com

Scottish stand-up Daniel Sloss is a seasoned comedian, but he’s only in his early 30s, having started working professionally as a teenager. Sloss has a polished cadence and an affable demeanor, but they’re tempered by a blunt delivery and a propensity for salty language. He can alternate his tone effortlessly between whimsical and cynical. His Rochester appearance is part of his tour “Can’t,” which he began in 2022. The 16+ show starts at 8 p.m. with opener Kai Humphries. Available tickets start at $36. DK



Storytellers Project

30 CITY APRIL 2024
Comedy at the Carlson, storytellersproject.enmotive.com Throughout Rochester’s history, unique foods and dishes have helped define life; each generation of
“These guys can tear it up with the best of them.”

newcomers historically brought new flavors to local meals. This evening of storytelling — part of a national USA Today project — will feature short food and beverage-centric tales told live by locals like Paul Guglielmo, Chris Lindstrom, and CITY’s Leah Stacy. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Admission is $12. LS



Shannon Heaton

The Well, irishrochester.weebly.com

Boston musician Shannon Heaton specializes in Irish music as both a flutist and singer, and is equally adept at teaching other musicians. The Rochester Irish Musicians’ Association hosts Heaton for a joint concert and guided session. Whether you play Irish traditional music yourself, or you just love to listen, this event is for you. 7 p.m. $15 for association members and $20 for the general public. DK


Elevate Women’s Business Summit

Arbor Midtown, elevatewomenssummit.com

Inspired by a similar conference in San Diego, Elevate is an event where visionaries, investors, entrepreneurs, and dreamers unite to shape the future of women-led businesses in the Rochester area. The day of inspiration, connection, and growth will take place at Arbor Midtown, an elegant new venue in center city. Tickets for this full day event of keynote and breakout sessions are $120 plus fees; with limited scholarships available. LS



Deaf Creators Play Festival

RIT’s Panara Theater, rit.edu/events/ deaf-creators-play-festival

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT is presenting this three-day theatrical event. The Deaf Creators Play Festival will feature one-act plays from diverse Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing playwrights. Admission is $5 for students; $10 for faculty, staff, and alumni; and $12 for everyone else. The plays will all be performed in RIT’s Panara Theater in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall. The theater was designed to allow productions to be accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences. JM



Record Store Day

Record Archive, recordarchive.com

It seems synergistic that Record Store Day falls on 420 this year. Needless to say, there are plenty of reasons to let the good times roll. And not only does Record Store Day provide a great opportunity to pick up music released exclusively for the occasion, it also enables you to show love to your local brick-and-mortar record store. Like Christmas for vinyl heads. Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. DK


Prime Time Funk

Theater at Innovation Square, theaterais.com

Prime Time Funk is the house band for the Rochester Music Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony, which tells you all you need to know about its level of musicianship. The 10-piece band powers through funk, jazz and R&B with aplomb. Complete with a full horn section, the group’s sound is infectious, accentuated by the vocals of Shawn Powell. 7:30 p.m. $29-$39. DK

CITY 31 roccitymag.com
CONTINUED ON PAGE 32 Use Code: COMPOST24 • Top Soil • Compost • Natural Premium Mulch • Color Enhanced Mulch • Construction Grade Stone • Decorative Stone Call today! (585) 254-0522 adirondackcompany.com

VOLUNTEERING Earth Day Community Cleanup

Durand Eastman Beach, senecaparkzoo.org/event/earth-daycleanup24

The cleanup runs from 9 a.m.-noon. Tools, bags and gloves are provided, but dress appropriately and bring water to hydrate. BS


FAMILY BrickUniverse Lego Fan Expo

Dome Arena, brickuniverseusa.com

I loved playing with Legos as a kid, and they are still fun to mess around with. But all of my designs were rather rudimentary — guess I wasn’t destined to design cars, houses, aircraft ... you get the point. But I’m constantly in awe of the things other people do with Legos. This touring expo, which is in its third year, showcases the possibilities that the little plastic blocks hold. There are a lot of lookbut-don’t-touch elements to the expo, but there are also Building Zones, which provide hands-on opportunities to create some stuff. The expo starts Saturday, April 20, but continues today. Advance tickets are around $18 for general admission and $33 for VIP; children under 4 are admitted for free. The organizers caution that only Eventbrite tickets will be honored. JM



“The Dark Crystal”

The Little Theatre, thelittle.org Jim Henson gave us so many wonderful movies and television shows, from the Muppets to “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.” But one of his most adventurous productions was 1982’s “The Dark Crystal.” It’s a dark fantasy set on another planet in the distant past. A creature called a Gelfling sets out to find a missing piece of a magical crystal that would restore order to his world, according to the synopsis. But he has to get to it before the Skeksis find it, because they will use it for their own nefarious purposes. This screening is part of The Little’s staff picks series. General admission is $8; members, seniors, and members of the military pay $7. The film starts at 7:30 p.m. JM



Dinosaur World Live

Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com

Immerse yourself in a prehistoric world for this interactive show that uses puppetry to bring dinosaurs to life. The event includes appearances from the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, plus other scientifically accurate dinosaurs you’ve never heard of like the Giraffatitan and Microraptor.$29-$45. The show starts at 6:00 p.m. VV



Food Truck Rodeo

Rochester Public Market, cityofrochester.gov/foodtruckrodeo

The ever-popular food truck rodeos return for the season at the Rochester Public Market. Choose from more than a dozen mobile vendors, bring a chair or blanket to picnic on, and enjoy local music in the first of six scheduled rodeos for 2024. The event repeats on the last Wednesday of each month through September. Free; all are welcome (but leave the furry friends at home for this one). LS

32 CITY APRIL 2024



“Let You Be Mine”

MuCCC, muccc.org

The MuCCC is a great venue to catch local theater companies and writers presenting new work, and Samantha Merchant’s play “Let You Be Mine” is a prime example. This hour-long drama set in early 20th-century Canada starts out as a simple house tour but becomes much more. The production runs through May 4. $10$30. DK


“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

Dryden Theatre, eastman.org

As part of its “Arthurian Films” series, the Dryden Theatre presents one of the most beloved comedy films by arguably the most influential comedy troupe of all time. Nearly 50 years after its release, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a cult movie that has become a veritable classic. Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin and the rest of Monty Python have given humanity a highly quotable, absurdist satire that pokes fun at both medieval mythmaking and contemporary society. 7:30 p.m. $5-$12. DK


Tough Old Bird

Abilene Bar and Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com

The Buffalo-based folk duo Tough Old Bird has consistently and quietly gone about the business of making albums since 2016. Brothers Matthew and Nathan Corrigan are poised to release their fifth collection, “Garden Dreams” on April 26. But the day before that, you can catch these earnest songwriters play an effecting, intimate set at Abilene. The doors open at 4 p.m., and the music begins at 8 p.m. The cover charge is $8. DK


Literary Conference: “From the Margins to the Center”

Writers and Books, wab.org

This virtual conference hosted by local literary center Writers and Books features keynote speaker Nathalie Handal, who focuses on how literature can spark empathy and increase our connection with one another. Handal speaks on Saturday, April 27, but the three-day conference includes numerous readings, lectures, discussions and workshops. Individual sessions range from free of charge to $20. Attendees can also register for single days, between $70 and $110, or for the whole conference for $205$240. Scholarships are also available. DK COMEDY

J.B. Smoove

Comedy @ the Carlson, carlsoncomedy.com

Comedian, actor and writer Jerry Angelo Brooks, AKA J.B. Smoove, is best known these days for his role as Leon Black in Larry David’s hit comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” But his career started long before that, including stints as a performer and writer on “Def Comedy Jam” and “Saturday Night Live.” As a stand-up, Smoove excels at boisterous, physical comedy. He’ll be at the Carlson both today and tomorrow, but the 7 p.m. shows are already sold out. Tickets for the two 9:30 p.m. performances are $30. DK



“Made From Clay” Reception

Main Street Arts, mainstreetartscs.org

This invitational exhibition, which opens April 20, showcases functional and sculptural ceramic works by 13 artists from across upstate New York. According to the gallery, the pieces on display comprise a range of materials, styles, and subject matter. The reception begins at 3 p.m. The exhibition will be up through May 29. JM

CITY 33 roccitymag.com


Aaron DeRuyter & The Confluence

Album Release

Radio Social, aaronderuyter.com

Rochester-based Americana musician Aaron DeRuyter will release his senior full-length solo LP, “Stream Phase,” while simultaneously in his first year of recovery from a brain tumor. The album was recorded at Submarine Sound Studio in early winter with a handful of guest musicians, AKA ‘The Confluence’ — including CITY’s own Ryan Williamson — who will join him for the release show at Radio Social. 21+ after 9 p.m., no cover. LS

BENEFIT Brinner Festival

Essex, essexroc.com

The inaugural Brinner Festival brings together a unique lineup of vendors and artists under a central, much-debated theme: breakfast. More than 15 restaurants and bars will serve specialty breakfast items while Helium Bubble, The Crooked North, and CPDP Ensemble perform for a one-of-a-kind event. (Think breakfast sliders, mimosas, a judged competition, and more.) All ticket sales go toward The Local Sound Collaborative, a music nonprofit that works with kids and artists in the Rochester community. VIP tickets $35; general admission $15. LS


Shawn Colvin and KT Tunstall

Theater at Innovation Square, theaterais.com

Innovation Square hosts an evening of two of the most talented singersongwriters of the last 30 years. Multiple Grammy-winning folk artist Shawn Colvin gained fame and notoriety in 1997 for the hit single “Sunny Came Home,” while pop-rock musician KT Tunstall took the music charts by storm with her 2004 song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” Not only are Colvin and Tunstall touring together, they’re performing alongside one another. Doors are at 6:30 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. $49-$69. DK

Family Trek in the Twilight

Seneca Park Zoo, senecaparkzoo.org/ event/family-trek

A family-oriented, after-hours affair provides a guided tour of the Seneca Park Zoo, plus games and a pizza dinner. 5:45-9:30 p.m.Tickets required. $65 for adult-child pair; $30 per additional guest. Participants must be at least 5 years old to enter. And those little humans need to bring a grown-up. BS



Flower City Challenge

Parcel 5, flowercitychallenge.com

Take in some of the city’s historic sites as part of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Half Marathon or Wegmans Family 5K, now starting and ending at Parcel 5. Kids are invited to participate in a half mile. This event is certified by U.S. Track and Field. Registration costs vary. The half marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. VV

36 CITY APRIL 2024
PUZZLE ON PAGE 66. NO PEEKING! A 1 M 2 M 3 O 4 A 5 S 6 H 7 E 8 S 9 S 10 C 11 R 12 A 13 P 14 L 15 I 16 S 17 T 18 S 19 P A T F 20 L O R A A 21 H E R O O 22 P I E H 23 A S H B 24 R O W N S G 25 R A S S R 26 O O T S E 27 A S E S L 28 E S S 29 S O T 30 O S S E S R 31 A M 32 S 33 S 34 I E N 35 A 36 T 37 A L E S 38 A 39 P 40 S A 41 U S 42 T E N I 43 N A L L W 44 E 45 T 46 P 47 R O A 48 C R E R 49 O M 50 C O M I 51 K 52 E A S L 53 E T I 54 T G 55 E D 56 R 57 A I D G 58 E N E V A A 59 T B A T E 60 M O A 61 R L E N 62 E E 63 D E R T 64 H E M E S 65 T 66 O N 67 S I L R 68 E N 69 E W S 70 A L S 71 T R 72 O B E S 73 N E 74 A K Y H 75 A 76 R 77 L 78 A 79 T I N I 80 S R 81 A E L S 82 L O 83 A N E T 84 T 85 Y L L 86 A T 87 E T O S 88 M U 89 O 90 R C A S H 91 I P P I 92 E A 93 B E L S 94 I P N 95 I K K I U 96 N I O N G 97 I R D L E 98 R 99 E P 100 S E 101 I N D 102 O G C 103 H 104 I N O I 105 N S 106 A N E U 107 R N S L 108 A B A T T N 109 I P D 110 A M 111 N E 112 L 113 P 114 A S O H 115 A 116 G G L E 117 O 118 C E 119 A 120 N 121 R 122 O A C H M O 123 T 124 E L M 125 A R Y 126 J 127 B L I G E I 128 D L E B 129 L A R E A 130 S N E R E 131 R R S N 132 E E D S 133 E U S S S 134 H O T S S 135 E A S

It’s finally here… the month when Rochester sits in the path of totality of the solar eclipse! We know that everyone is doing something around this special moment and WXXI is no exception. Here’s what we have to offer leading up to and on April 8.


Solar Eclipse Resources

To support safe eclipse viewing practices and a valuable learning experience for young people and their grown-ups, WXXI’s Education team has curated a digital toolkit of resources: printable activities and crafts, digital games, video explainers, extension activities, etc. The team curated existing PBS KIDS resources and developed other materials including solar eclipse journals and parent/caregiver tip sheets.


Solar Eclipse Resources: bit.ly/WXXIEclipseKitPBSKIDS

Solar Eclipse Playlists


Great American Eclipse

Airing Wednesday, April 3 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Explore the spectacular cosmic phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. In April 2024, the Moon’s shadow is sweeping from Texas to Maine, as the U.S. witnesses its last total solar eclipse until 2044. Learn how to watch an eclipse safely and follow scientists as they work to unlock secrets of our Sun – from why its atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its surface, to what causes solar storms and how we might one day predict them.

WXXI at RMSC’s Solar Eclipse Festival

Sunday, April 7

WXXI is proud to be participating in the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s Solar Eclipse Festival. While the 3-day festival runs Saturday, April 6 through Monday, April 8, WXXI will be there Sunday only. If you go, be sure to stop by our table for some fun. To learn more visit RMSC.org.

Airing Monday, April 8 at 2 p.m. on THE ROUTE and WXXI Classical

THE ROUTE and WXXI Classical have both curated Solar Eclipse playlists for April 8th. THE ROUTE’s hosts and University of Rochester student DJs have selected a stellar list to listen to as the day turns to night and back to day again. You’ll hear Barenaked Ladies, The Beatles, Bob Seger, David Bowie, John Denver, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Beach House, The Meters, Fleet Foxes, Japanese Breakfast, Howlin’ Wolf, Bruce Springsteen, Etta James and more! WXXI Classical has also joined in the festivities, broadcasting a two-and-a-half-hour block of music to accompany the eclipse. You’ll hear music selected and curated by WXXI Classical hosts that depict or are inspired by the sun, moon, planets, clouds, and space.

Connections with Evan Dawson

Monday, April 8

at 3 p.m. on WXXI News

Connections with Evan Dawson brings you eclipse coverage from the roof of the WXXI studios on State Street in downtown Rochester! During this special broadcast from 3-4 p.m., Evan will be joined by members of the WXXI News team and eclipse viewers from around the region to celebrate this remarkable celestial event.

| THE ROUTE 88.5

Jasmin Singer hosts Environmental Connections, a new radio and TV series on WXXI

With the threat of increased rain, and smoke from nearby wildfires affecting our area, anxieties about climate change are rising for many people. Enter Environmental Connections, WXXI’s new series exploring all things climate, from electrification to food choices and everything in between. Hosted by WXXI News’ Weekend Edition host Jasmin Singer, the two-hour monthly talk show has already launched on radio and is set to launch on television this month. We sat down with Jasmin to talk about how her own climate journey led her to WXXI, and her hopes for how Environmental Connections can further the dialogue about a very hot topic.

QHow did the idea for Environmental Connections come about and what inspired you to create it?

AMy wife and I moved to Rochester in 2021, primarily because of the relatively positive long-term climate projections in the area. We also had a checklist of things we wanted in a city — including plenty of vegan food, good walkability, and a welcoming LGBTQ presence. We had been living in Los Angeles, and prior to that, I lived in lower Manhattan. We fell in love with Rochester for many reasons, not the least of which was the work being done to create a climate refuge here. WXXI wound up doing a story on us, and I was incredibly excited because I am an NPR nerd and listen to WXXI basically all the time. The photojournalist on that story was Max Schulte, and he put the bug in my ear about maybe one day joining the team. So by the time I got the job of Weekend Edition host and reporter, it was no secret that my interest in the environment had been my foot in the door. WXXI was already doing an amazing job of covering the environment — journalists Jeremy Moule and Veronica Volk are just two people of many who have been reporting on climate-related issues for a long time. I started filling in as host for the other shows at WXXI, one being Connections, and I kept gravitating toward environmental topics. And then the VP of TV, Todd McCammon, caught wind of my interest in doing a Connections spin-off show focused on climate, and was like, “Let’s make this for TV, too.”

QThis month you’re unveiling a weekly half-hour television version of the radio show. How will that change the dynamic of the show?

AAudio storytelling and visual storytelling are inherently very different, and it’s been exciting (and sometimes nerve-wracking) to explore how to go live on the radio while simultaneously shooting for TV, then take the TV footage and add in visual elements — such as

breakaway packages and relevant B-roll — to bring the stories to life in a way that will speak to our viewership. I think the TV audience will have a literal front-row seat to what will feel quite intimate, as any talk show should, and they will also be privy to those exclusive packages we will feature along with the panel discussion. So, in a way, it’s a more well-rounded and curated experience — not quite as raw and organic as the radio show. And neither approach is better than the other; they are just different. We are also learning as we go since there are some inherent challenges to doing it this way, but my TV coproducers Jason Milton and Katie Epner are extraordinarily talented and I’m lucky to be working with them through this process.

QHow do you incorporate diverse perspectives and voices into your show’s discussions?

AExecutive Editor Denise Young and News Director Randy Gorbman have expertly honed my journalism skills, and even though I clearly have a strong point of view (most people do), I know that this is not an activist show, and my job is not to put forth my own perspective as the Holy Grail. I’m in this industry because I’m fascinated by a wide array of perspectives and experiences, and just like many of my listeners and viewers, there’s a lot I still don’t know — so I try to approach every interview and conversation with curiosity and humility. That’s where the experts come in, and I get to represent your run-of-the-mill person who cares deeply about the planet and wants to do my best to help however I can but isn’t necessarily sure what all the issues entail or how (or when) to pivot my own behavior. When curating the expert panel, I pay attention to age, gender, and race because I do not want anything I create to be a monolith. I want to have a dialogue with a group of people with different lived experiences, lines of work, and points of view. I’m lucky because Connections producer Megan Mack knows just about everyone, so I am constantly

Host Jasmin Singer is diving deep into climate-related topics impacting Rochesterians. Photo by Max Schulte

knocking on her door as well as researching the many, many players working to create climate solutions here in Rochester.

QWhat are some of the upcoming topics you’ll be discussing in future episodes?

AAirplane travel, electric vehicles, the re-use movement, eco-anxiety, environmental justice, and — one that I’m very excited about — eating in the best way for the planet. That said, I am already receiving pitches from the public every single day, so my list is ever-growing, pointing to the public’s enthusiasm about highlighting these issues.

QIn what ways will your show highlight solutions and positive actions to address environmental challenges?

AEnvironmental Connections is absolutely not all doom and gloom; that’s just not how I roll, nor does that make for a compelling show. There are so many reasons to be depressed when you look at the climate stats because what we are dealing with is absolutely dire. But I personally like to choose hope and think in a solution-oriented way. Yes, we’ll have experts on who will lay it out in no uncertain terms, but each of my shows will have an additional layer of “what can be done about this? What can your average citizen do?”

QHow do you personally hope your show will contribute to the broader conversation and actions surrounding environmental sustainability and climate resilience?

AIn a world where we seemingly have very little control over the news headlines, and at a time when so many people feel helpless regarding all the atrocities that are currently coming out in full force, my hope is that Environmental Connections creates a space where people can learn about the issues, join us in dialogue, and leave feeling emboldened. We are all in this together, and I’m truly inspired by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ take on “collective care,” which

is basically when communities support each other emotionally and practically during a crisis. In that spirit, Environmental Connections aims to not only inform but to galvanize community action and resilience. The ethos of neighbors helping neighbors is a cornerstone of how we can collectively address environmental challenges, and that’s the vibe I’m going for. And though these are heavy topics, my listeners will know that I am known to throw in a “dad joke” here or there, so I do my best to add levity whenever appropriate. That’s certainly not to undermine any of the issues; it’s just who I am. In the midst of this climate catastrophe, I genuinely need to keep my sense of humor intact. Sure, sometimes it’s out of desperation, but humor is also a powerful tool for resilience and connection.

QName three things a person can do right now to live more eco-friendly.

AThe first thing is to eliminate or reduce your consumption of animal products, as they wreak havoc on the planet. My biggest piece of advice here is to not let perfect be the enemy of the good; really, truly do what you can, given your unique set of circumstances. The second is to move toward electrifying your home as much as possible, removing our dependence on fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes. And the third is to no longer use single-use plastics; there’s a whole world of alternatives available to you. Everything I just listed is easier to do than it might sound, even if you start small. The point is to start.

Environmental Connections

On the radio: Friday, April 26 from noon to 2 p.m. on WXXI News

On TV: Friday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV (Repeats Sunday, April 28 at 11 a.m.)

To read the unabridged interview with Jasmin, go to WXXI.org.


Elton John & Bernie Taupin: The Library of Congress

Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Monday, April 8 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Elton John and Bernie Taupin, one of the great songwriting duos of all time, will be the 2024 recipients of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. A once-in-a-lifetime meeting between John, a young piano player, and lyricist Taupin together in 1967, they have forged a songwriting partnership that continues after more than 50 years.

The Dream Whisperer

Monday, April 15 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

In the midst of segregation, the all-Black Tennessee A&I Tigers were the first collegiate basketball team to win three consecutive national championships. Yet they were never duly recognized for this singular achievement. The team captain, legendary Knicks player Dick Barnett, began a nine-year quest to ensure his historic team’s immortality. His tenacity, dedication, and struggle finally paid off in 2019 when the team was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Art Happens Here with John Lithgow

Friday, April 26 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Actor John Lithgow goes back to school to demonstrate the transformative power of arts education. He immerses himself with teachers and students to explore four arts disciplines: dance, ceramics, silk-screen printing, and vocal jazz ensemble. The program celebrates how arts education nurtures and inspires the hearts and minds of students of all ages.

Inside our Autistic Minds

Monday, April 29 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, WXXI and The Golisano Foundation present this two-part series as part of the Move to Include™ initiative, which uses the power of public media to promote inclusion. In this series, naturalist and presenter Chris Packham helps autistic people illustrate how their minds work, helping them connect with their friends and family in a new, more authentic way.


WXXI Classical Embarks on a CD Digitizing Project to Preserve the Classics for Future Generations


...that’s how many CDs

WXXI Classical has in its collection – a collection that has been made possible over 50 years by listeners and supporters. These CDs are played on CD players that are much fancier than the ones you may have at home. They are used more than 40 hours a week, and while WXXI’s engineers have been creative in keeping them operational, they won’t last forever. These professional model CD players are no longer being manufactured because new music is available digitally.

WXXI Classical has seen the deterioration of their collection as the silver backings of many of the CDs have tarnished, making them unplayable. So, to protect and preserve this collection, the station must look at digitizing it.

“These CDs offer an amazing wealth of knowledge,” explains WXXI Classical music director Mona Seghatoleslami. “I would hate for the change in technology to change our programming. Listeners should have the full, rich experience of the diversity of the music, of historical, of famous, of new, of old, of different performances, performances by Rochester artists – all of that.”

Digitizing the library means generations of listeners will be able to enjoy the rich history of this expansive collection for years to come. That’s where Sarah Chasey comes in. With the generous support of longtime member and supporter Laura Humphrey, the station was able to hire Sarah on contract for a few hundred

hours to move along a project that will take many years to complete.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Nazareth College, Sarah attended the Manhattan School of Music for grad school, where she studied vocal performance. She started working part-time at the Peter Jay Sharp Library at the Manhattan School of Music in various library departments and eventually landed a job in interlibrary loan cataloging and technical services, which dealt with lots of vocal scores and orchestral scores. She worked at the library for 15 years before moving back home to Rochester with her husband and their threeyear-old son. After seeing a recent advertisement that WXXI Classical was looking for someone to coordinate the music library’s digitizing project, Sarah jumped at the opportunity.

Sarah’s extensive knowledge of music and her library technical background made her a perfect fit for the project. “This project involves a lot of technical knowledge, but there’s also the artistic side,” explains Mona.

To digitize the CDs, Sarah uses a computer connected to a robotic machine called a rip station, which she and the WXXI Classical team have affectionately named “Jack the Ripper.” While it takes just a little over one minute to digitize a CD, it’s the logging of data that takes time and expertise. “I go in and log all the different timings and make sure the digital file matches the physical CD,” explains Sarah. “It’s a lot of just knowing music, looking at

Sarah Chasey working on “Jack the Ripper,” the rip station. Photo by Kevin Indovino Mona Seghatoleslami & Sarah Chasey in WXXI Classical music library. Photo by Kevin Indovino.

the CD covers and at the timings, and familiarizing myself with the content on each of the CDs.”

By digitizing the CD collection, WXXI Classical hosts are able to continue to program their shows with a diverse repertoire of music, both old and new. “As a WXXI Classical listener, I was always so inspired by the diversity of its programming and its ability to inspire all ages,” explains Sarah. “In fact, the other day my three-year-old son Remi kept asking over and over again for Mother Goose. My husband explained that the two of them were listening to WXXI Classical and host Steve Johnson had played the Mother Goose suite. Remi loves it now, and it has become part of our bedtime routine. I love that he is inspired by classical music – it is so multigenerational.”

Sarah prioritizes the CD she will digitize based on the programmatic themes of the month. For instance, in March during Women’s History Month, her focus was on works by female composers and conductors. “In terms of cataloging or getting things in, our priorities are diverse representation, exciting new recordings, and great classics that are newly recorded,” explains Mona.

What does Mona hope the long-term impact of digitizing the library will have on the station and its listeners? “It would be that three-yearold Remi will be able to hear his Mother Goose Suite no matter what happens with our machines, technical challenges, or any of that,” said Mona. “We want to keep doing what we do and grow what we do, because your experience as a listener, your embrace of the world, should not be limited by technical format changes or how they decide to release music.”


BBC Newshour

Weekdays at 9 a.m., starting April 1 on WXXI News

With the world’s unrelenting 24-hour news cycle, BBC Newshour cuts through the background noise and provides definitive, on-the-ground reporting and analysis of the biggest international stories of the day.

Carnegie Hall Live ’23-’24 Season

Tuesdays 8 to 10 p.m., beginning April 16 on WXXI Classical

From music we all know and love, to innovative new works and enlightening hidden gems, there’s a story in every note and a concert for every music lover. This 13-part series begins with The Chicago Symphony and soloist Leonidas Kavakos (violin) and continues with performances from some of the classical music world’s most esteemed artists, including the Gateways Chamber Players with guest narrator Phylicia Rashad on April 23rd.

Metropolitan Opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. on WXXI Classical

Grammy-winning jazz musician and composer Terence Blanchard’s adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s memoir tells the story of a young boy growing up in rural Louisiana. The passion of first love, the search for belonging, and the process of finding oneself are ideal fodder for opera’s heightened emotions. Rochester’s own Kearstin Piper Brown, an award-winning soprano, will make her first MET opera debut performance in this opera.

Out and About:

WXXI President Norm Silverstein attends public media summit

At the recent public media summit in Washington, the annual gathering of public broadcasting community leaders who come together to explore issues vital to the future and mission of public media, WXXI President Norm Silverstein met with Senator Chuck Schumer to talk about the importance of WXXI’s work in education and public safety.  Norm presented the Senator with a pair of WXXI socks to remind him how important federal funding is to the educational programs that make a difference in so many young lives.  Also attending the conference from Rochester were WXXI Board Chair David Tang and Board Member Stephen Sulkes, M.D.

Photo: Norm Silverstein and Senator Chuck Schumer



Celebrate the great celestial convergence with two themed — and all-time great — indie sci-fi films at The Little, the day before the 2024 total solar eclipse.




Astronaut Sam Bell’s (Sam Rockwell) three-year shift on the Moon is finally coming to an end. He’s looking forward to his reunion with his wife and young daughter, but suddenly Sam’s health takes a drastic turn for the worse, and he’s no longer able to distinguish between reality and quintessentially personal hallucinations. Working alongside his computer, GERTY, and with time running out, Sam must solve the mystery before the company crew arrives.




Sunshine re-teams director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) with writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Ex Machina) for a hypnotic, transportive science-fiction thriller, featuring award-winning Production Design, a fantastic score by John Murphy with electronic band Underworld (Breaking and Entering), and an impressive ensemble cast: Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Chris Evans (Captain America), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange), and more.

Saturday, April 20

Sunday, April 28

11:30am 11:30am

1964: Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new Broadway production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.

Written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and designed by Es Devlin (The Crucible), the Evening Standard award-winning best new play was filmed live during a soldout run at the National Theatre.

Oh hi, Mark!

Join The Little for a special evening with Mark himself, Greg Sestero, live and in-person – star of THE ROOM and the New York Times best-selling author of the Oscarnominated THE DISASTER ARTIST! The evening will include a special 20th-anniversary screening of THE ROOM plus a Q&A with Greg!

The Room has built a cult following playing midnight screenings across the country and solidified its place as an insanely unique cinematic phenomenon.

42 CITY APRIL 2024 240 East Ave thelittle.org
The Generic Males’ multiaward-winning Off-Broadway show returns! It’s fathers and sons, it’s war and death. It takes us into the beating heart of the failing patriarchy as it descends into acrobatic absurdity. Described by The Orlando Weekly as “Cirque du Soleil meets Samuel Beckett with a dash of Monty Python.” Sam Mendes (The Lehman Trilogy) directs Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton in this fierce and funny new play.


Eastman World Music Series: Gamelan

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, esm. rochester.edu

The Balinese gamelan is an ensemble featuring predominantly percussive instruments. Performers learn the music through its oral and aural

traditions, working closely together over long periods of time. This group includes Eastman students, faculty, staff, and local community members. Livestream also available. The concert is free and starts at 7:30 p.m. MM


“The Last Match: A Pro Wrestling Rock Experience”

The Temple Theater, thelastmatch.com “The Last Match” isn’t just another show; it’s a heartfelt homage to the art of professional wrestling. Crafted by devoted fans Jason Huza (writer/lyricist), Jeremiah James (director/lead producer/

co-book writer), and composers Sylvana Joyce and C. Robert Smith, it stands as a testament to the dedication, passion, and sheer spectacle that defines this beloved sport. Former WWE star Afa Jr. and former NXT superstar Bull James lend their expertise as choreographers, crafting electrifying sequences that pulse with the energy of the ring. In the world of “The Last Match,” the ring is a stage, and the stage is a battleground—a place where legends are born, and dreams are realized. Tickets $35 - $55; shows run through May 5. LS

CITY 43 roccitymag.com

Natural selection

FLWR CITY COLLECTIVE tends to cannabis genetics.

Zach Sarkis owns and operates FLWR CITY COLLECTIVE, a Finger Lakes-based cannabis brand, and selects genetics for FLWR CITY’s outdoor grown cannabis for resin production. However, there is more to Sarkis’s selection process than choosing for THC or CBD content. Sarkis chooses to work in partnership with a small local farm where the crop is grown as part of the farm’s rotating polyagricultural cycle, and starting the supply chain here is critical. “We grow in raised bed living soil, implementing no-till and low-till practices,” he said. “Fair trade supply chains start with the farm. We want to form the cooperative ecology of a healthy craft industry, so we’re making sure to lay the foundation from the very start by being a farmfacing business.”

Inside the cannabis seed are genetics that will determine what the plant will produce. Is it to be grown for its grain? Cannabis grain is a superfood. Or, will it be grown for fiber? Cannabis fiber is the strongest natural fiber on the planet. Is it to be grown for resin production? The plant’s resin glands contain a small pharmacy’s worth of chemical compounds. (Put simply: they get you high.) “This plant has so much to offer,” said Sarkis. “Resin is just the tip of the consumption iceberg.”

44 CITY APRIL 2024


Hang around in the cannabis industry long enough, and you’ll hear plenty of phrases like “purple cannabis bud.” The mix of culturally produced slang and genetics terms represents a young, competitive, and shifting industry — and every year, the market changes. “In production, we’re looking at things like disease resilience, plant architecture, and processing efficiency, (while) consumers are looking for attributes like smell, taste, the high, etc.,” said Sarkis. “We’re trying to find the overlap between production and consumer. It’s interesting with the plant’s purple expression, because I find there’s a correlation between purple color and disease resistance.”


These are the plant’s resin glands. This is what gets you ‘high.’ Inside each bulb is a small pharmacy’s worth of chemical compounds: phytocannabinoids that interface with our endocannabinoid system (which helps regulate energy balance, appetite stimulation, and blood pressure). “Different plants have different resin contents or qualities,” said Sarkis. “Each of these things have a downline effect. For example, smokeable flower and an extract each lend to a different resin yield.”


Close attention to the growing cycle is critical for FLWR CITY’s crop, as the resin glands that contain the phytocannabinoids mature at different times. As they age, they change from clear to cloudy to amber in color. FLWR CITY processes all cannabis by hand. Branches are first “bucked,” and the buds picked off the branches. They are then trimmed of extra leaf matter (non-resinous material), and the most visually appealing buds are selected for jarred sale. The rest are ground for sale as pre-rolled joints. FLRW CITY offers the “dogwalker” joint, a small, personal-sized smoke. All extra materials are composted and reintroduced to the agricultural cycle.


For Sarkis, fair trade is a pillar on which to build a healthy supply chain. “To be able to form a brand and processing hub for a fair trade ecosystem, that’s a win for me,” he said. “We want consumers to use their senses to experience this plant, while maintaining a healthy and robust supply chain. Could we be more efficient? Yes! But I want to pay my employees a living wage. I want to be efficient, but not at the expense of exploitation. Part of the culture is maintaining a hands-on approach from seed to sale. How we got here is equally important to the final product. It’s TLC over THC.” flwr.city

CITY 45 roccitymag.com


On March 4, singer-songwriter Sarah De Vallière released “The Healing,” a folky story-song with an unlikely visual source of inspiration. The single precedes a full-length concept album of the same name, due in June.

Lyrically, the song narrates the journey of a character in a physically remote place that happens to hit too close to home psychologically. The protagonist navigates what De Vallière describes in the song as “the space between hurting and healing,” but the stakes are not abstract or hypothetical.

The song’s hero is an existing character — Dr. Helen Sterling, the creation of graphic novelist and musician Dave Chisholm from his four-part sci-fi serial “Canopus.” The scientist crashlands on a planet more than 300 light years away from Earth, accompanied only by the robot-like Arther, who calls her “mom.”

“This was me trying to understand myself: How do I escape this cycle in my head of hanging onto this poison of resentment?” Chisholm said in an interview with CITY from 2020.

Lyrics from “The Healing” depict the struggle as something inescapable and inevitable: You cannot run from these memories, more than just a feeling. This emotional earnestness and instability are mirrored musically by harmonic ambiguity — enhanced by the use of the mixolydian mode — and a mid-tempo locomotion drawing from clave rhythms typically found in salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz. Meanwhile, sweeping strings provided by members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra imbue the music with a cinematic scope.

Sarah De Vallière and her band play an album preview show for “The Healing” at Lovin’ Cup on Saturday, April 27. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the music starts at 7 p.m. $10. lovingcup.com — DANIEL


Bad Bloom tightly trots along the hallowed path of shoegaze-y hard rock on their self-titled extended play, culminating in three singles on a shiny ruby cassette tape — a hooky, classic-horror musical dream sequence worth rewinding. Featured on the record is Travis Johansen (drums), Jay Trovato (guitar), Adam Vernick (guitar/ synth), and Kate Rogers (vocals/bass/ synth).

Brute force with some glitz, “Unpopular Opinions” immediately presents a unified musical front as guitars distort and synthesizers swirl around the rolling opening riff. The punchy, meaty grooves of the early Pretenders are in this same alternative ether, which does well to support the modern/lateral guitar work and make an elegant backdrop for any spacey electronics. Rogers’s measured vocal delivery is self-assured and aware, as she sings, We are coherent, but I’m leaving here before you…

Moodily dirging, “Francis the Vampire” is a dark thematic dance and confirms its namesake is no more forgiving than his Transylvanian cousin. Bad Bloom consistently champions itself, tactfully distinguishing multiple layers of goosebumping distortion, all while managing this steady rocker through a tasty breakdown.

Employing the most “classical” shoegaze elements, “Housekeeper” should be welcomed into the pioneer family tree forged by bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and Ride. Lyrically confessional, Rogers processes …I’m lost and over you… and sweeps …let me tell you a secret, it felt good when you were afraid… to a rainstorm of frozen honey. “Housekeeper” morphs to a sonic dust bunny, concluding in a raw, punctuating outro.

Intention and coherence prevail on Bad Bloom’s triple-threat tape release. Absent of virtuosic shouting matches or errant flourishes, the EP can be enjoyed digitally in addition to cassette or in concert. Bad Bloom’s spring tour includes Kava Bar in Ithaca on May 4 and The Bug Jar in Rochester on May 28.


Pop songs are more than guilty pleasures — the best of them can touch listeners in a way that instantly transports us to a different time and place in life. “Just Another Song,” the new album by CMD, might just take you away.

Pianist Casey L. Filiaci, a twotime Emmy nominee for “Best Sports Music,” composes for all manner of genres, from Disney to musical theater. Bassist Mark Terranova plays in a wide swath of settings, including metal, punk, country, jazz, and soul. Drummer David Cohen has been a stalwart on the Rochester scene for decades, cofounding rock group Backseat Sally in the 1980s and hornband Prime Time Funk in the 1990s.

Together, they are CMD (Casey/ Mark/Dave) and, more importantly: Common. Music. Different. Because all three are superb, seasoned musicians, there’s a palpable sense of “Let’s have some fun playing our favorite tunes” happening. But rather than offering faithful covers, CMD’s takes are more like un-covers, revealing the jazzoriented chord structures underlying many pop hits. And they can make you reconsider your taste.

To my ears, Sugarloaf’s “Green-Eyed Lady” was a bit of early-1970s pop fluff, but CMD transforms it into a wonderful variation on a blues form. Those blues roots emerge more prominently on “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors. Filiaci, who arranged these tunes, is an ornate keyboardist, enhancing tunes like “The Boys of Summer” by The Eagles with gorgeous filigree reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby. Similarly embellished are Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and Sting’s “Fragile.”

One of the album’s best tunes, just begging for improvisation, is Donovan’s enigmatic “There is a Mountain.” Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” features a jazz head worthy of Chick Corea. Listening to the album without looking at the titles, I heard a tune I didn’t recognize. It was “New World,” a Filiaci tune strong enough to blend in with the hits. — RON NETSKY


Rochester native and harp-toting singersongwriter Mikaela Davis has really found a niche for herself in the jam bandadjacent world of psychedelic folk-rock. Songs such as “Get Gone” and “Little Bird” from the Laurel Canyon nostalgia trip and 2018 full-length album “Delivery” hinted at the retro sound she would fully embrace on the collection “And Southern Star” last year.

On the April 5 EP “After Sunrise,” Davis continues her new partnership with the independent label Kill Rock Stars — as well as her collaboration with the trippy Los Angeles rock band Circles Around the Sun, which they began with the title track from the group’s 2023 album “Language.”

As the title suggests, “After Sunrise” is a warm-weather bliss-out session that encourages listeners to get lost in the music and transports them to an elysian state. Free from the distractions that lyrics sometimes pose, the music is entirely instrumental — save for Davis singing “la la la” on the title track, a faithful cover of the Sérgio Mendes tune from 1972.

From a timbre perspective, the plucked strings of Davis’s harp are so distinctive from the crunchiness of John Lee Shannon’s guitar and the haze coming off Adam MacDougall’s keyboards that they cut through the smoky texture with crystalline precision, particularly on the song “Moonbow.”

The four-song collection closes with a live version of “Language,” which sounds as if the indie pop band MGMT got lost in a disco fever dream. The synths are somehow both seductive and quirky, with Davis’s harp glissandi casting a spell over the proceedings.

“After Sunrise” — released digitally via Kill Rock Stars and on vinyl courtesy of Jealous Butcher Records — is a rejuvenating reminder of Davis’s captivating skills as an instrumentalist in addition to her ability as an effective singer-songwriter. Here’s hoping we hear more from her and Circles Around the Sun in the future.

46 CITY APRIL 2024

Breaking down Rochester’s (current) weed laws.

Know your rights

New York State may be in its third year of legal weed, but the Rochester region has only had access to local dispensaries for six months or so.

And now that the herb is readily available in stores for consumers aged 21 and over, there are some things to know — after all, with freedom (and rights) comes responsibility.

When the state legalized cannabis, it set all sorts of laws and regulations governing weed sales, possession limits, and even curbs where users can smoke or vape. Some people may love the smell of fresh bud, but not everyone does.

To help save the hassle of hunting for the legal dos and don’ts of weed in New York, CITY has compiled a rundown of some key cannabis laws and regulations.

But first, a disclaimer: New York’s cannabis landscape is changing rapidly, and this article does not constitute legal advice. Individuals are responsible for the consequences of their own actions.

48 CITY APRIL 2024

How much weed can I have?

In broad terms, a person is allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis flower and 24 grams of concentrates or edibles. If you get caught with amounts beyond that, you could face fines or jail time.

Likewise, that’s the limit on what shops can sell you in one visit.

Registered medical cannabis patients have more flexibility in this area — they can possess up to a 60-day supply of their medications.

Can I use weed on the job?

That depends on your workplace, but in most cases, probably not. Employers are allowed to ban the use and possession of cannabis in the workplace — and even if they don’t, state law allows for the termination of anyone who is impaired by marijuana.

Specifically, the laws state an employer can take “employment action” against one of its workers if they show “specific articulable symptoms of impairment” that interfere with their abilities to perform duties or tasks, or that present safety hazards.

Also, employers are allowed by state law to prohibit employees from possessing cannabis products in the workplace. Check your employee handbook to see if that’s the case, but if there is any doubt, maybe leave your weed, vapes or edibles at home.

Where can I smoke or vape?

Anywhere smoking and vaping is allowed, like public sidewalks, with some caveats. State law prohibits smoking and vaping cannabis in vehicles, and in places such as hookah and cigar bars, restaurants (including their patios), federal property, and state parks and beaches. It also prohibits smoking and vaping cannabis in businesses, a category that covers concert venues and bars, where smoking has been banned for over 20 years.

Renters, your landlord can prohibit you from smoking or vaping in their units. You can still possess marijuana products, and edibles are fair game. That is, unless you live in federally subsidized public housing — federal law says you can’t possess or use marijuana in any form and if you’re caught, you risk eviction.

Can I grow my own marijuana plants?

If you are a medical patient, you’re allowed to grow your own weed. However, to do it to the letter of the law, you’ll need to follow some stringent regulations from the state. You’ll want to read the regulations posted on the state Office of Cannabis Management’s website for the details.

For everyone else, you must wait a bit longer. The Office of Cannabis Management has released proposed home grow regulations which are currently up for public comment and could be in place later this year (emphasis on could, given the troubled rollout of legal cannabis in New York). For more info, visit cannabis.ny.gov.

Can I be fired for using weed in my free time?

No, state law does not allow employers to prohibit employees from using marijuana outside of the workplace. But there are some exceptions for employers who would be required to do so under federal law or who would lose federal contracts or funding. The devil’s lettuce may be legal in New York, but it’s still illegal under federal law.

CITY 49 roccitymag.com

Two childhood friends

take on cannabis at Gage Farms.


At the end of a gravel road — one that splits between two homes shared by longtime friends and childhood neighbors — is an acre of meticulously kept, pruned and black cloth-planted cannabis. Right now, at the start of the season, just the woody stalks stick up and kiss the air. A few steps to the left is a shed-turned-growing hut where cannabis plants big and small, young and old, are shifting in the breeze of plastic fans. It’s maybe not the kind of weed farm you’d expect. For starters, it’s owned by women.

Maggie Klehamer and Liz Gage are longtime friends who now work with their husbands, Matt and Jamie, respectively, and live walking distance from each other in Yates County. Though pot has been grown here for decades, it wasn’t until 2020 that the couples started to legally grow hemp, before transitioning to cannabis in 2022.

“Covid changed everybody’s life,” Gage said. “There’s a lot of value for a business and family at home, and if we could make that dream work, that’s what we were going to do. I told Maggie for only 2,000 dollars we could get a weed license. Why not?”

Now, Gage Farms is part of the State Office of Cannabis Management’s Social Economic Equity (SEE) program, and they collectively grow and harvest about an acre’s worth of cannabis plants, with 28 strains in total, six of which are sold.

50 CITY APRIL 2024
Maggie Klehamer and Liz Gage of Gage Farms. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH


Because of their legacy aspect — Matt’s father growing cannabis in the 60s, along with himself and Jamie doing their fair share in the 90s — Gage Farms carries older strains. Names like ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘Sour Diesel’ have been in rotation for decades.

“They carry a lot of things that people haven’t seen,” said Aaron VanCamp, owner of Buffalo dispensary DANK 716, which carries Gage Farms products.

“People were smoking these candy strains for a while but as of late, it’s gone back to more of the OGs and sours people have wanted. They’ve had those genetics that have held up for a long time and just rocked with what they knew.”

Right now, Gage Farms is one of the few legal cannabis growers in the Finger Lakes, which has a noticeable lack of dispensaries. As if that wasn’t enough to make them stand out — along with the community workforce and locally designed logo and branding — is Gage and Klehamer themselves.

“They’re really women-owned,” Van Camp said. “Liz is hands on and truly owns this business, and that’s what’s beautiful. We’re supporting something that’s real. Someone who has been about this. I think they’re going to be a New York State success story in this program.”

Gage and Klehamer are not only matriarchs of this business, but matriarchs of their families; mothers and wives who balance childcare in addition to being entrepreneurs.

52 CITY APRIL 2024

“We started going to functions and we are trying to represent ourselves as what we are — women-owned and family-grown,” Klehamer said. “I had a one-year-old at the time and if we’re doing an overnight, he’s coming with us. So I’m holding my one-year-old at a pot exhibit and you get weird looks. But this is what it is.”

They have their fair share of other stories, of course: dispensary owners who talk to Gage’s husband about distribution instead of her; or, when meeting new teachers at a school, going to the bank, finding

new mom friends, they disclose the nature of their work to mixed responses. Ultimately, what makes it all worth it is right here, in their shared backyard — the prank scares with a mannequin during harvest nights, growing vegetables for the crew all summer and watching their kids chase around the “guard” dogs.

“It’s just supporting the small farms and dispensaries,” Klehamer said. “Actually knowing where your product comes from.”

Back in the shed turned grow station are the “moms,” older plants that give their seeds for the next generation. Gage and Klehamer stand among their personal wilderness of cannabis plants wearing matching hoodies. At Gage Farms, everything can be summed up in this moment, in the importance of mothers — right down to the plants. gagefarmsny.com

LUNCH & DINNER THURSDAY-SATURDAY 11:30am-10:00pm SUNDAY & MONDAY 4:00pm-9:00pm SEASONALLY INSPIRED MODERN COMFORT FOOD C R I S P Rochester 819 S. Clinton Ave • 585-978-7237 • crisprochester.com Book your special gathering with us! EVENT SPACE AVAILABLE BRUNCH SUNDAY & MONDAY 11:00am-2:45pm

Ashley Martin infuses sweet treats to help others.

Not just desserts

Behind cannabis-infused vegan treat business

The Crooked Potter is Ashley Martin: mother of a teenager, wife, survivor of trauma and abuse, and a cannabis user and educator. Martin is also open about her disability, Anthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a rare condition that causes curved joints and stiffness. She started The Crooked Potter two years ago to create infused sweets as a mode of helping others — primarily women — on their cannabis journeys. Martin lives by the command to ‘Love thy neighbor.’

“What better way to love them than to bring them relief, a little nostalgia and have fun along the way?” she said.

Martin’s condition, along with a recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, left her seeking solace from the chronic, sometimes crippling pain. Early in life, doctors would prescribe painkillers, which did not help and left her unable to enjoy life.

“I would have to make a choice — do I want to be in pain today or go to my friend’s birthday?” she said.

It wasn’t until college Martin had her first experience with cannabis; a game changer.

54 CITY APRIL 2024

“My shoulders felt lighter, my anxiety melted away and I was still able to study for my test, which I aced,” she said. “To me, using cannabis provides freedom. It’s that simple. The pains of this world and how I’ve experienced it personally feels like heavy shackles and cannabis is the key that unlocks those.”

The Crooked Potter has a customer base of 87% women, which includes people from all walks of life — professionals, creatives and mothers come to Martin because her infused treats provide a safe, delicious experience they can’t find elsewhere.

“(She) transforms people’s lives because (she) actually cares about them and their experience,” said Krista Jenkins, a regular customer.

Martin, like many others, has had negative cannabis episodes in the past. Because of that, she takes the time to listen to her customers and their needs. Experience level is a starting point for many of these conversations.

“As with taking anything, doing it smart is the best route,” she said. “Most of the time, I cater to beginners and that is where my heart is.”

While Martin believes the best edibles also count as dessert, she has found that users can sometimes only eat the corner of a brownie without experiencing a bad trip.

“This is why the correct dosage is important,” she said. “With my treats, you’ll be able to enjoy it completely without the risk of ruining your evening.”

When The Crooked Potter launched in winter 2022, the first product was infused edible chocolate chip cookie dough. Martin wanted to evoke an indulgent, nostalgic memory of licking the spoon (and aims to do that with many of her treats). Seasonal offerings, such as the Shamrock Shake edible cookie dough made with fresh mint from

her herb garden, epitomize the experience she is curating.

“From start to finish, my infused treats should be enjoyable,” said Martin. “A wave of dopamine hits you when you look at them, then you taste them and then, the cannabis kicks in.”

Due to her disability, Martin’s hand mobility is limited, which has required being resourceful in the kitchen. The KitchenAid mixer, for instance, is her best friend.

“Every day is a journey of adaptation and innovation,” she said. “Technology is accessibility to me in the kitchen.”

As with many obstacles in her life, Martin has found a way to work through her disability and has created a successful business in the process. The Crooked Potter’s infused treats are available through her online bake shop or from select markets around the city, and Martin welcomes the chance to interact with her customers when she can.

“Everyone has a story and their story matters,” she said. “It’s important to take the time to get to know people and realize we’re all the same.”


CITY 55 roccitymag.com
Deep dish s'more chocolate chip cookie. PHOTO BY ABBY QUATRO

Rochester resident Bee Duangtavilay manifests a cannabis dispensary.

American Puffalo

For Bee Duangtavilay, opening cannabis dispensary Puffalo Dreams in Tonawanda, a suburb of Buffalo, was an opportunity to legitimize a business she was already familiar with.

Duangtavilay is a recreational user and spent time within the underground scene selling and distributing cannabis to maintain her livelihood.

“I knew cannabis was a way out of poverty for my family,” she said.

Duangtavilay was born in a refugee camp after her mom left Laos, and she and her siblings have been manifesting a better life ever since. With various businesses under her belt — including a clothing boutique and some real estate property — a dispensary was another way to sustain her family’s legacy.

“Being able to come to America and live this dream,” she said, “it’s like you were meant to be here.”

Opening Puffalo Dreams with co-owner Jamie Rivera, who is from Puerto Rico, was worth all the paperwork and anxiety that came with the process, including a fortuitous mistake along the way.

56 CITY APRIL 2024
A New York State Licensed Cannabis Dispensary, Puffalo Dreams, opened on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Buffalo in March. The license was granted to Bee Duangtavilay, a Rochester resident and business owner. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

While rushing to complete the dispensary application, Duangtavilay, a Rochester resident, mistakenly chose Western New York as her desired location, instead of the Finger Lakes. It’s a misstep that ultimately worked in her favor, as Puffalo Dreams was selected as one of four businesses approved to operate in the Western New York region. Duangtavilay and Rivera became the first minority women to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary.

“I did my research on Buffalo and it’s an amazing place,” she said, “The people are welcoming. I’m glad we’re here.”

The first Conditional AdultUse Retail Dispensary (CAURD) Licenses were passed out by the state in November 2022. However, due to a series of lawsuits over certain aspects of the license’s eligibility, applicants were stalled repeatedly, and those granted licenses had their ability

to open a shop hampered.

Buffalo’s first legal dispensary, DANK 716, opened in July 2023, more than two years after legalization. The city currently has five adult-use cannabis dispensaries in operation according to the state’s office of cannabis management.

Puffalo Dreams officially opened March 1 to a long line of supporters. Inside the 5,000-square-foot space on Niagara Falls Boulevard is a welcoming, comfortable layout.

Upon entering, after a thorough security check, customers are greeted by a staffer taking orders through a handheld device.

Each corner of the dispensary has its own “oohs and ahhs,” as Duangtavilay likes to refer to her showroom trinkets. The plants are acquired from various growers within the region, which Duangtavilay and her team test themselves.

The buds on the floor can be viewed through a sensory-pod cannabis container, which allows customers to smell a strain or examine it through the pod’s magnifying glass. The walls are adorned with cannabis-nodding posters and artwork, and the shelves are stacked with CBD and THC products.

“You can always tell when there’s a woman touch on a space,” said customer Gabby Mendez. “They always make their businesses or houses into homes.”

CITY 57 roccitymag.com
Queen Hammond checks out a customer at the New York State Licensed Cannabis Dispensary, Puffalo Dreams, which opened on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Buffalo.

Mendez is an avid cannabis consumer who uses the plant for pain management and anxiety. For her, dispensaries are allowing consumers to be more open about consumption.

“The conversations of cannabis have usually been happening in small intimate spaces,” Mendez said. “But now that we have product that is lab tested with high state regulations, it’s going to be really amazing for the movement forward for adult-use cannabis.”

The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act was passed in March 2021. Drafted by the Assembly Majority Leader Crystal PeoplesStokes, the act legalized adult-use cannabis, under the stipulations that half the individuals granted licensure be “equity applicants,”

and 40% of the profits be reinvested into “disenfranchised communities of color.”

Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo native, has been dubbed by some as the ‘godmother of cannabis.’

“This is an opportunity to use a natural plant, not only to the benefit of people’s health and their wellness, but to be able to create wealth,” she said, citing additional concern over individuals possibly consuming irresponsibly.

Duangtavilay is looking forward to giving back to the Buffalo community with her business.

“We have to embrace the power of the plant and allow people to come in and explore,” she said. puffalodreams.com

58 CITY APRIL 2024
Bee Duangtavilay gives a sample of New York State grown cannabis to Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes who helped pass legislation to legalize recreational use in the state. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE A closeup of bud for sale at Puffalo Dreams. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

A THC cocktail that evokes snack time.

Blazed in the bodega

This one goes out to all the kids who experienced school lunch envy — you know who you are. You look longingly to your left as Bethany pops a ham and cheese lunchable stacker into her mouth and washes it down with a Capri Sun. To your right, Taylor licks Cheeto dust off his fingers before he moves on to the next course: Gushers. Reluctantly, you unwrap your tuna sandwich and await the ridicule. (Side note — no shade to my mom. I can now say, armed with the confidence of an adult palate, that tuna sandwiches are delicious.)

Fast forward to present, and you’re a little stoned. The munchies have taken a foothold as you continue to ruminate on your 9-year-old cafeteria cravings. But, lucky you. You’re all grown up and control your own snack destiny. You begin to mentally walk the bodega aisles, preemptively making selections and weighing the sweet-to-salty ratio desired. Physically, you feel like your skin and the couch have fused together but … snacks. We can do hard things.

The munchie mission has one hell of a payoff. Carefully stepping through the bodega door, you’re greeted by the tinkly bell and blink up at the buzzy fluorescent lights. You are certain (and slightly paranoid) that everyone can tell you’re ripped. But as you drink in the sea of neon wrappers, you begin to feel empowered. This is an act of rebellion. You have cash in hand, and you’re ready to take back snack time.

This stoner sipper is a nostalgic liquid lunch; an elevated take on that 4 p.m. highand-hungry journey to the bodega for a Capri Sun and bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We also recommend having a snack on hand when you make one. You know, just to save yourself a trip.

60 CITY APRIL 2024


1.5 oz Nowadays THC drink

1.5 oz Capri-Sun Pacific Cooler

.5 oz Fuji apple juice (find this in the fresh juice section of your favorite grocery store or sub for Martinelli’s if you can’t find it)

.5 oz fresh pineapple juice (throw fresh pineapple in a blender and strain the puree for juice, it’s a game changer)

.5 oz fresh lime juice

Pinch of sea salt (don’t skip this!)


> Measure all ingredients and combine in a cocktail shaker or mason jar (that you have a lid for) > Add ice, seal, and shake like you mean it

> Garnish with a spicy Cheeto rim by dipping the glass into juice then rolling it in Cheeto dust (throw a handful into a food processor / smash some up in a baggie) or enjoy a few on the side if you’re

not in the mood to pulverize Cheetos

> Strain contents into your garnished glass over fresh ice

The Nowadays THC drink is available at One Stop Brew Shop (2512 Ridgeway Ave.) in bottles ranging in 2, 6, and 10mg doses per 1.5oz. of spirit (and even a cute little shooter size).

CITY 61 roccitymag.com

Seven shows for fans of music and marijuana.

Rolling stoned MUSIC

Even though weed is now legal in the state of New York, it’s still against the law to light up anywhere alcohol is served. This means venues need to rely on positive energy and stimulating sounds for concertgoers to soak up cannabis culture at shows.

Concert promoter Hannah Weidner of Mom’s Home Booking envisions a future in which venues follow an alternative model.

“I do think there is a big wave of people in their late-20s and early-30s who have quit drinking, and for a lot of them weed helps with that,” she said. “I’ve never heard of a ‘weed only’ venue, but that would actually be really cool.”

For Geoff Dale, the impresario at Three Heads Brewing, achieving a cannabis-friendly environment at shows comes down to the style of music and the audience.

“I’ve always enjoyed Americana, jam, reggae — if marijuana’s involved it just lends itself to an overall party and feel,” he said. “And secondly, it’s the kind of crowd you get. You wanna have a crowd that’s just sort of chill and having good vibes. If you don’t have that, it’s just not as much fun.”

In the meantime, there’s a handful of shows coming up this spring and summer that tap into those vibes, from outdoor extravaganzas to heady, intimate performances spanning dance music, Americana and psychedelic rock.

62 CITY APRIL 2024
Clockwise from top left; Goose, Willie Nelson, Rubblebucket, Mike Baggetta. PHOTOS PROVIDED



Photo City Music Hall has staked a reputation, in part, as a prime venue for EDM shows. With the appropriately titled show “Puff Puff Pass,” Photo City looks to inspire a similarly ecstatic dance party with help from live bands, including Rochester’s own musical mixologists of funk, rock, and hip-hop, RootsCollider. Doors for the 18+ show open at 8 p.m., with music at 8:30 p.m. $19-$25. photocitymusichall.com



Listening to the music of guitarist Mike Baggetta is a trip in itself: a cerebral combination of jazz, ambient music, the blues, and psychedelic Americana. Baggetta can be introspective and tuneful in one moment; and experimental and noisy in the next. And as arguably Rochester’s best listening room, Bop Shop Records is an ideal place to bliss out and disappear into the music. 8 p.m. $15. bopshop.com



Now in its fifth year, Rochester Winter Renaissance hosts celebrations that are part cosplay, part local vendors — and a whole lot of fun. Expect plenty of live music, a puppet show, fire dancers, blacksmithing, and a parade. Participants don’t have to be high to enjoy the festivities, but then again, it couldn’t hurt. Escape into a different world for the afternoon.

12-5 p.m.; $10 cover (kids get in for free). The money raised goes to Mended Little Hearts of Greater Rochester. rocwinwren.wixsite. com/2024



It would be inexcusable to not include a jam band here, and Goose — the self-identified “indie-groove” outfit from Connecticut — fits the bill. But while such music can feel chaotic at times, the smooth sounds of Goose are more likely to have a calming effect. Throw in the fact that this is a summer show at CMAC, and you’ve got a recipe for crispiness. 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $40. cmacevents.com





Apart from the likes of Grateful Dead and Snoop Dogg, no musician is more synonymous with cannabis than country legend Willie Nelson. The man who declared “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” continues to tour at the age of 90, and with an impressive lineup of famous friends. Icon Bob Dylan — whose “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” has been an anthem for stoners for more than half a century — shares the stage with Nelson as does the formidable duo of Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $68. blackbirdpresents.com



Indie pop band Rubblebucket is no stranger to upstate New York, having brought its irrepressible brand of dance music to Rochester and nearby locales on numerous occasions. Rubblebucket is sure to inspire you to live life loud — perhaps as you burn one down. Weekend passes available for $49 for ages 12-17,and $156 and $182 for adults. Free entry children under 12. Camping passes are available for purchase separately. greatblueheron.com




An outdoor concert featuring psych-rock heroes The Flaming Lips, performing their biggest album in its entirety? That seems like a soundtrack to sparking up and drifting away. Wayne Coyne and company have long been lovable weirdos of the indie rock set, with their music and overall aesthetic lending itself to experimentation of many kinds. 7 p.m. $60. beakandskiff.com

CITY 63 roccitymag.com

The Dish


Black Button Distilling is now offering food onsite to pair with their craft spirits at 1344 University Ave. The menu features flatbreads, hummus plates, and Sunday brunch (try the breakfast grazing board, which has mini Dutch pancakes and cinnamon swirl bites). There’s also a dessert pairing flight — four cakes with complementary BB spirits. blackbuttondistilling.com

Ardor Park Pizza on Park Ave is the newest local spot serving up wood fired pizzas. Headed up by chef Kody Derhak, the menu features signature pies, small plates, and desserts — most with wood-fired elements. Prior to Ardor, Derhak worked his way up in the kitchen at Oak Hill Country Club, starting first as a culinary intern and eventually holding the role of executive sous chef. Located between Pourin’ Joy and Dead Red Pecker, Ardor is currently open seven days a week. ardorpizza.com

Will Crescent Beach ever rise again?

Five Star Bank has filed a civil lawsuit against Greece native Katherine Mott-Formicola, who purchased the waterfront fine dining mainstay in December 2023 and also owns Monroe’s Restaurant in Pittsford and The Wintergarden in Rochester. Mott-Formicola and Robert Harris are being accused of opening multiple bank accounts in an $18.9 million check-kiting scheme.


Word on the street is that Zimmerman’s Hots in the Public Market has been purchased by Shawn Timmerman, who currently operates Henry’s Deli and The Happy Pickle in Shed B at the Market. Timmerman is only the third owner of the hots spot in more than 70 years. (But will he change that ‘Z’ to a ‘T’? We’ll wait to find out.)

Pintxo (that’s pronounced ‘peen-cho’), a Northern Spain-inspired snack and wine bar, will open soon in downtown Canandaigua with an all-star staff lineup, pulling front and back of house from Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard & Winery and Spotted Duck, respectively. The bar has hosted successful pop-ups at NY Kitchen for a few months, and Manhattan chef Julian Plyter is reportedly planning six-course pintxo options, each paired with a glass of Spanish wine.

A few suburban staples will have new owners soon: the multipurpose

Market at I-Square in Irondequoit has been purchased by Aaron and Kelly Metras, owners of Salena’s Mexican in Village Gate; and beloved Barry’s Irish in Webster will be a second location for Seabreeze-adjacent Irish bar Shamrock Jack’s. We’ll drink to that.


Dark Sky Gin, Black Button Distilling’s ode to the eclipse, will be available at the tasting room at 1344 University Ave. during and following their celebration on April 8. The spirit is distilled with juniper and angelica root and includes lemon balm, sunchoke, and butterfly pea flower, giving it a deep purple color. Coriander and earthy flavors pair with notes of juniper and green tea on the nose. The 94 proof gin is $40. blackbuttondistilling.com


On Thursday, April 25, Radio Social is hosting Buffalo-based brewing company Big Ditch for a beer pairing dinner. Chef Josh Prahler and crew will create a five-course menu to pair with brews from Big Ditch. The event begins at 6 p.m. with tickets priced at $95 (tax and gratuity included). radio-social.com

The inaugural Brinner Festival on April 27 brings together a unique lineup of vendors and artists under a central, much-debated theme: breakfast. More than 15 restaurants and bars will serve specialty breakfast items while Helium Bubble, Crooked North, and CPDP Ensemble perform for a one-of-a-kind event. (Think breakfast sliders, mimosas, a judged

competition, and more.) All ticket sales go toward the Local Sound Collaborative, a music nonprofit that works with kids and artists in the Rochester community. VIP tickets $35; general admission $15. essexroc. com

The ever-popular Food Truck Rodeo returns on April 24 for the season at the Rochester Public Market. The event features more than a dozen mobile vendors as well as local beer from Rohrbach Brewing Co., wine, and cider options. Bring a chair or blanket to picnic on, and enjoy local music in the first of six scheduled rodeos for 2024. The event repeats on the last Wednesday of each month through September. Free; all are welcome (but leave the furry friends at home for this one).


The March issue of CITY incorrectly cited that South Wedge institution Pat’s Coffee Mug, 627 S. Clinton Ave., had closed and Seasonal Pantry, a new ‘supper club’ concept, would take over the space. While Pat’s was closed for remodeling, it reopened in mid-March and Seasonal Pantry will open in an adjacent building.

64 CITY APRIL 2024 /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Get Highdrated

Move over, craft beer — a new wave of adult beverages is taking over shelves and refrigerators around the city. Weed waters are on the rise, and their reach extends much further than dispensary walls. From THC-infused seltzers and RTD canna-cocktails to tinctures and spirits, these drinkables are beginning to permeate the food and beverage scene.

With the legalization of retail hemp products for recreational use in New York State in 2021, options increased for THC seltzers at beer shops and corner stores. Fifthgeneration apple orchard Beak and Skiff in Lafayette became one of the first hemp processing facilities in the state and created a custom cannabis line, Ayrloom, which offers edibles, vapes, beverages, balms and tinctures. Monroe County processing facilities Cirona Labs and NOWAVE design and manufacture water-soluble ingredients for cannabinoid-infused drinkables and THC distillates, respectively.

As stoners and green goblins explore other forms of cannabis consumption, the options for infused beverages will soon be endless. We rounded up a map of local spots currently carrying THC-infused beverages so you can explore a new world of high-dration.

One Stop Brew Shop


2512 Ridgeway Ave.

Seltzers: North Canna Co, Cycling Frog, Squared, Rebel Rabbit, Blitzed Beverages, 3CHI, Better Than Booze, CanTrip, Cann Hi Boy, Cann Social Tonics, Untitled Art: Green Canvas

THC-infused spirits: Nowadays

Where to find THC-infused seltzers, mixers, and syrups to go.

MJ Dispensary


900 Jefferson Rd., Suite 902

Seltzers: Ayrloom, TUNE, Weed Water

AJ’s Beer Warehouse


175 Clay Rd.

Seltzers: North Canna Co., Cycling Frog, Squared, 3CHI, Pace, Aryloom, Tune Up, Crescent 9, Trail Magic

THC-infused spirits: Nowadays

Lori’s Natural Food Center


900 Jefferson Rd., Building 1 Ste #105

Seltzers: Ayrloom, Cycling Frog Rise


556 Jefferson Rd.

Syrups: Off Hours

Seltzers: WYNK

Canna-cocktails: Harney Brothers Cannabis (Maple Coffee Nitro)

Steamers Marathon


640 Pittsford Victor Rd.

Seltzers: North Canna Co. Trail Magic, Rebel Rabbit, Cycling Frog, 3CHI, Delta Light, Better Than Booze, Squared, Tune Up, Cantrip, Pace

*Note: inventory may vary; check with each retailer to confirm.

CITY 65 roccitymag.com 1 2 3 4 5
2 3 4 5 6

Green Day

1. Nerf darts or water balloons, e.g.

5. Morbid word in a nursery rhyme

10. Metal collected and sold for recycling

15. Tilt

19. Silly quarrel

20. Roman goddess of flowering plants

21. “Don’t be

22. TV character credited to Ronnie Howard

23. Diner side

25. “Ground up” political movement

27. Facilitates

28. Not so much as

30. Discards casually

31. Ewes’ mates

34. German “you”

35. Christmas in Florence

38. Drains

41. Author whose 19th century books inspired many 20th and 21st century film adaptations

43. Counting everything

44. Dampen

47. Expert

48. Measurement for a farmer or a realtor

49. “Love Actually” or “What Men Want”, e.g.

51. Places to buy ready-to-assemble furniture

53. Words sung before “be” or “go”

55. HS diploma alternative

57. Surprise action by a group of criminals, or police

58. Convention center?

59. Statistic used to calculate batting average

60. Moody rock genre

61. Garfield’s romantic interest

63. River of Hesse

64. Motifs

66. Body part often confused with the uvula

68. Extend, as a subscription or vows

70. Pizzeria owner in “Do the Right


71. Light at a rave, maybe

73. Surreptitious

75. Laugh syllable

78. Like samba, rumba, and mambo

80. New moniker given to Jacob in Genesis

82. Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend

84. Breezy sign-off online

86. Missing, as at the start of a party

88. Dallas sch.

90. Penguins’ predators

91. Deadhead, stereotypically

93. _____ Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd

94. Imbibe gradually

95. Former U.N. Ambassador Haley

96. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, e.g.

97. Elasticized corset

99. Parts of a set

101. One in Berlin

102. Word before and after eat

103. Material for uniforms

105. The I of ICP

107. Containers for 5-Across

108. Anheuser-Busch subsidiary

109. Puppy’s bite

110. Condemn

112. Westernmost county of Texas

115. What you might try to do when

buying a car

118. Clooney role

122. Trademarked pest control device

125. R&B star with 80 million album sales

128. Like an engine when waiting at an intersection

129. Make a harsh noise

130. Voice of Fredricksen in “Up”

131. Writes in a wrong crossword answer, say

132. Require

133. “Hop on Pop” writer

134. “_____ in arms” (oft-repeated phrase of 2021)

135. Arabian and Mediterranean, e.g.

Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 36 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
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// PUZZLE
66 CITY APRIL 2024


1. The only Black man to win singles titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open

2. Movie rating grp.

3. Physics measure often confused with weight

4. The “al” of “et al”

5. Continent for DRC

6. _____ Mo

7. Moan like a dog

8. Given name of “Mr. Cub”

9. More prone to backtalk

10. Droops

11. Arthritis or asthma

12. Stephen of “Interview with the Vampire”

13. “_____ gratia artis”, MGM motto

14. Part of USPS

15. Like lips that sink ships, idiomatically

16. Big moments for the NYSE

17. Place for a monument

18. Thomas Hardy heroine

24. Org. that began welcoming girls in 2019

26. Fingers with a mustache?

29. Mujeres con esposos

32. Bub

33. Jolt of power

36. Positive battery terminal

37. Hat for a Scot

38. Sounds from a food fight

39. Queen of Soul, familiarly

40. Portly swine sometimes raised as a pet

42. Appear that way

44. Tool known as a whipper snipper in Australia

45. Roof overhang

46. Russian emperor

48. Declare

50. Oscar winner Tomei

52. One of six for a bee?

54. Cartesian conclusion

56. California band joined by Michael McDonald in 1977

58. Computer enthusiasts

62. Grp. that filed for bankruptcy after being charged with fraud in January

65. Subway entrance

67. Prepared to lay

69. Hose

72. Molecular “messenger” in several COVID vaccines

74. Twain’s burial town

76. Skywalker who turned to the dark side

77. Pine secretions

79. T-Bonz brand

81. Laughing (in the aisles)

83. Brother of Dori and Nori in “The Hobbit”

84. Underwhelming sound

85. One-time Yankee Martinez

87. Pollute

89. Turn on its head

92. Common way to be paid for a Craigslist deal

97. Supermodel played by Angelina

98. Conundrums

100. Mattress irritant?

104. Thermonuclear weapons, for short

106. Play in a puddle

107. Sam, Tom, and Ben

108. Spiked

111. Gang with pitchforks, maybe

112. Environmental activist Brockovich

113. Prospector’s strike

114. “_____ Tourist” (Jim Gaffigan special)

116. Sierra Nevada products

117. Cube creator Rubik

119. Yeats’s land

120. Taj Mahal city

121. Leader of The Untouchables

123. Cry at a futbol match

124. Letter following sigma

126. And still

127. Some SAT takers

CITY 67 roccitymag.com
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.