CITY December 2021

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NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | DECEMBER 2021 | FREE | SINCE 1971 PUBLIC LIVES

HOUSING

DRINKS

RORY FITZPATRICK: I-TOWN IS HIS TOWN

BLACK REALTORS AS AGENTS FOR CHANGE

CITY’S ADVENT BEER CALENDAR IS BACK

a b u T A s a m t s i r Ch y r o t S


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DECEMBER 2021


IN THIS ISSUE OPENING SHOT

Borinquen Dance Theatre has upheld culture and community for 40 years. See page 16. PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT

NEWS

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EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK

30 MINUTES WITH 30-DAY MAYOR JAMES SMITH

James Smith’s unlikely path to becoming the accidental mayor of Rochester. BY DAVID ANDREATTA

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ARTS

LIFE

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An obscure tax exemption for developers has advocates for Rochester’s poor crying foul.

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AGENTS FOR CHANGE

For 40 years, Borinquen Dance Theatre has upheld culture and community. ARTS GET THEIR DUE

After years of shortchanging small arts groups, Monroe County budgets for a huge increase. But is it enough?

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& REBECCA RAFFERTY

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How Black real estate professionals are aiming to raise Black homeownership in Rochester. BY JEREMY MOULE

Flipping through the U of R's massive collection of HIV/AIDS awareness posters. BY JEFF SPEVAK

STARTING THE HOLIDAY SEASON ON A LOW NOTE

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

BY DAVID ANDREATTA

HAUNTING HISTORY

ON THE COVER

Exploring the oomphatically off-beat yuletide tradition of Tuba Christmas.

BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

TAX BREAK FOR THE RICH?

BY GINO FANELLI

DANCE DYNASTY

CROCK-POT CUISINE

Hearty slow-cooked dishes to stave off the winter blues. BY J. NEVADOMSKI

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24 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL

CITY’s highly-anticipated Advent beer calendar is back with new brews to liven up the season. BY GINO FANELLI

MORE NEWS, ARTS, AND LIFE INSIDE roccitynews.com

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WELCOME

This CITY runs around-the-clock There has been no shortage of news since the November edition of CITY magazine hit newsstands. Consider only the political whirlwind of the last month for a moment. Rochester has seen one mayor resign, another mayor sworn in to hold down the fort, and a third mayor elected. In the meantime, Monroe County government has shifted Democratic for the first time in 30 years. While all that was going on in the halls of power, the escalating violence on the streets reached a dubious milestone when Rochester topped its all-time annual homicide count. A police captain called the city “worse than a war zone” and outgoing Mayor Lovely Warren declared a state of emergency. Then, there is the spiking coronavirus infection rate in our community. These storylines are important and you’ll find references to all of them in the pages of CITY this month. Indeed, the magazine aims to expound on topics like these with robust reporting that cuts beyond the surface, and to offer a mix of journalism that enlightens and entertains. Where else but CITY are you going to find a Q-and-A interview with Rochester’s mayorof-the-moment, James Smith; an Advent calendar of local beers; and a feature story on the oomphatically offbeat yuletide tradition of Tuba Christmas rolled into a single publication? Not to mention that this month’s edition comes with “Toast,” our 40-page holiday guide loaded with fun things to do, see, and buy this season. But CITY is more than a magazine. We are an around-the-clock digital news operation. If you’re looking to catch important stories as they unfold, consider making roccitynews.com part of your daily media diet and following our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our team of writers, along with our colleagues at WXXI News, are hustling every day to break news and write stories that get people talking. You won’t find them all in the magazine. There are lots of stories that never see a printing press. Check us out at roccitynews.com. We think you’ll be glad you did. Thank you for reading and for your support.

David Andreatta, Editor

CORRECTING OURSELVES An article in the November issue of CITY on the 50th anniversary of CITY misstated the name of the newspaper the founding editor, Mary Anna Towler, worked for prior to launching CITY. It was the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The article also mistakenly stated that CITY’s offices were previously located on University Avenue and in Village Gate Square, and that Mary Anna and Bill Towler now live in an apartment on South Clinton Avenue. The offices were never on University Avenue but were at one time situated near Village Gate Square. The Towlers currently live on South Avenue. A profile on Mayor-elect Malik Evans in November issue of CITY misstated where he met his wife. They met at Aenon Baptist Church. A story in the November issue of CITY about recording studios in Rochester erroneously reported that a Rhodes electric piano at the Studios at Water Street was purchased from the band Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The instrument once belonged to the band but was acquired by the studio from another party. CITY welcomes complaints about errors that warrant correction and strives to update online versions of its print stories that contain inaccuracies as quickly as possible. axomhome.com 661 south ave 4 CITY

DECEMBER 2021

SOMETHING TO SAY? HIT OUR INBOX. FEEDBACK@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. DECEMBER, 2021 Vol 50 No 4 On the cover: Photograph by Aaron Winters 280 State Street Rochester, New York 14614 feedback@rochester-citynews.com phone (585) 244-3329 roccitynews.org PUBLISHER Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman FOUNDERS Bill and Mary Anna Towler EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT themail@rochester-citynews.com Editor: David Andreatta News editor: Jeremy Moule Staff writer: Gino Fanelli Arts editor: Daniel J. Kushner Life editor: Rebecca Rafferty Calendar editor: Katherine Stathis Contributing writers: Roman Divezur, Patrick Hosken, Ron Netsky, J. Nevadomski, Jeff Spevak, Emmarae Stein CREATIVE DEPARTMENT artdept@rochester-citynews.com Creative director: Ryan Williamson Designer/Photographer: Jacob Walsh ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT ads@rochester-citynews.com Sales manager: Alison Zero Jones Advertising consultant/ Project manager: David White OPERATIONS/CIRCULATION Operations manager: Ryan Williamson Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis kstathis@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, 2021 - 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 CITY including monthly TV listings by calling 585-258-0200.

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NEWS

RELUCTANT MAYOR

When Mayor Lovely Warren resigned this month, the duty of filling out her term fell to her deputy mayor, James Smith. Asked if he wanted to be mayor, Smith replied, “You know, I don’t.” PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

30 Minutes with 30-Day Accidental Mayor James Smith BY DAVID ANDREATTA

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@DAVID_ANDREATTA

ochester has a new mayor. No, not the guy who won the November election. Mayor-elect Malik Evans won’t take office until Jan. 1. The other guy. James Smith, the former deputy mayor under Mayor Lovely Warren, was sworn in early Dec. 2, minutes after Warren resigned as part of a plea deal to resolve felony campaign finance and other criminal charges against her. The city charter requires that a vacancy in the Office of the Mayor be filled by the deputy mayor. Smith will serve out Warren’s term, which lasts until the end of

DANDREATTA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

the year, or 30 days. On a brisk morning a few weeks before he took the oath, Smith sat down with CITY at Café Sasso on Park Avenue, his neighborhood coffeehouse, to talk shop. He said he walked there from his home in the ABC Streets hoping to work out a kink in his back. It was a national holiday and a day off for Smith, 52, but he was dressed the part of a deputy mayor in a blue suit and pink tie. He had already gotten a haircut and met with the mayor and the police chief regarding escalating violence and what he called a “significant code enforcement

problem” that had ballooned into a “major neighborhood nuisance issue.” Overnight, a pair of slayings in an apartment on Chestnut Street pushed the city past its annual homicide count record. That afternoon, another person would be beaten and shot to death in broad daylight outside of the downtown Transit Center. The next day, Warren declared a state of emergency that would last 30 days and extend beyond her departure. Renewing the declaration, if necessary, will fall to Smith, who is arguably better prepared than anyone to keep the city humming in the short term. He has spent

nearly his entire adult life working in various levels of government and politics. A longtime Republican operative who enrolled as a Democrat to join Warren as her chief spokesperson in 2015, Smith was elevated to deputy mayor in 2019. He authored the Warren administration’s internal report on the arrest of Daniel Prude that became the foundation for the mayor firing La’Ron Singletary as chief of police.

Prior to joining the Warren CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

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administration, he had been the manager of Seneca County, head of the Monroe County Water Authority, an aide to Republicans in the Monroe County Legislature, and a constituent manager for Rep. Tom Reed. A native of Greece, he also served eight years on the town board there. Smith spent four years as deputy Monroe County executive under Maggie Brooks, but stepped down amid an investigation into allegations that countycontracted trades workers did jobs for politically-connected people on the county’s dime. Smith was charged with misdemeanor crimes and was eventually acquitted of all of them. But he has not been a mayor, elected or otherwise, until now. Below are excerpts of our interview, which have been edited for brevity and clarity. DO YOU WANT TO BE MAYOR? You know, I don’t. I never wanted to. When I signed up to be the deputy mayor, I knew what the city charter said, I knew there was a possibility that I could be the mayor. But it wasn’t like an ambition or anything. I was very content to be the person working kind of as the chief operating officer behind the scenes. So no, the answer’s no. But luckily, I think I’ve been pretty well prepared to do it given all the things in my journey that have brought me to this point so far. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS YOUR FUNCTION? I have sort of two main tasks here. I don’t believe I need to develop a sweeping social or economic agenda for our city that somehow will get passed in 30 days. That’s not going to happen. What is going to happen is, first off, there’s a transition to a new mayor. So I need to work really hard with that new mayor, and with the entire team at City Hall, right down from our frontline employees to department heads, to make sure that transition is seamless, as seamless as one can be. Because it’s important for our city, it’s important for our residents. There needs to be continuity there. We need Councilman/Mayor-elect Malik Evans to be a very successful Mayor Malik Evans, because that’s what’s going to lift our city forward My second task is a little more 6 CITY

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straightforward, which is, I’ve got to make sure that when people call 911, somebody answers the phone, right? That the garbage gets picked up. That if and when the snow comes during my tenure that the plows are rolling, and the fire trucks and the Fire Department and the firefighters have everything they need to do their job. Same with our Police Department. I have to make sure that we keep operating city government and citizens can rely on the services that they rely on every day. DO YOU THINK YOU’LL HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE CITY? Well, you know, I think if I don’t step up and do my job, there could be a very negative impact on the city. My mission here is to make sure that at the end of 30 days, everyone says, “Well, you know, nothing really happened or went wrong,” right? I don’t believe that I have the ability in 30 days, as I said, to do any sweeping change or reform. Clearly that’s not in the cards. But I also believe I’ve got a duty to keep on, to finish off for the last month of this mayor’s term. YOU WILL BE THE FIRST OPENLY GAY MAYOR. WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT, IF ANY? So, in this city, I think not a lot of people batted an eye when they had a gay deputy mayor. Maybe not a lot of people are going to bat an eye when they have a gay mayor. But people are going to notice, and the people who are going to notice are the ones that it really matters to. I think having a gay mayor, whether one that’s elected or not, is important, and it’s an event in a community like Rochester that maybe doesn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. But that in and of itself is somewhat of a victory for the LGBTQ+ community. There are folks who will say, “Wow, you know, my city gets me a little bit more than I realize. The mayor is gay, I’m gay or I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community.” So, I mean, I think that is significant. HOW DO YOU LOOK BACK ON YOUR TIME AT CITY HALL? I left a sort of very pastoral, serene kind of existence as the county manager in Seneca County. It was certainly an easier slog than some of what we’re dealing with here in the city and that was part of why I wanted to come and do this because I

PHOTO BY DAVID ANDREATTA

thought, you know, I think I can do more, I have more bandwidth to do more, and I’m up for the challenge. I don’t regret that. Some days maybe I do, like anything and all of us do. But really, truly, I don’t regret it. Lovely Warren had a very progressive agenda for our city, and in nearly eight years of being mayor, the city has changed dramatically, more than it did in 40 years before. Look at the investment. A lot of folks point at downtown, but drive up North Clinton Avenue and take a look right or left and look at the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being invested now in northeast Rochester. That hasn’t happened in 50 or 60 years. I feel like we’ve moved the needle in so many ways.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE WARREN ADMINISTRATION BEING PROGRESSIVE. ARE YOU MORE AT HOME HERE THAN IN THE REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS IN WHICH YOU’VE WORKED? I think we all change and we all grow, right? You know, I took a job out of college (in politics), and I was enrolled Republican and I was largely because that’s what my dad was, you know? I remember in high school, they gave us voter registration forms and I brought it home and I go, “What do I do with this?” And my dad goes, “Let me see that. Oh yeah, mark ‘Republican.’” That’s what I did. I felt I contributed greatly working in those administrations in government, but I identify more with what is happening in Democratic politics. I think we all change, you know, I’m not alone. For the better part of a decade I’ve been


enrolled Democrat, I’ve been working on Democrat campaigns and all of that. You know, Hillary Clinton used to be a Republican. Elizabeth Warren used to be a Republican. It’s not like it’s that crazy. And we all change, right? We all change over time. And I’m glad I’ve had the ability to grow and to change and to see things differently. HAS THE MAYOR GIVEN YOU ANY ADVICE? Not specifically, no. I mean, I think she and I have worked together long enough, I think she has a pretty good understanding and we talked a little bit about just what I said my thing is, you know, to put my head down, my shoulder to the wheel and help with the transition and make sure everything operates as it needs to. It’s not a small task. WILL WARREN PLAY ANY ROLE IN YOUR ADMINISTRATION? EVEN IF JUST BEHIND THE SCENES? I ASSUME YOU’RE FRIENDLY. We’re very, very much friends. Listen, I feel Lovely Warren is an absolutely wonderful person who committed so much of her life to the city and to making it better. I consider her family. I really do. And she and I will be family forever. But no, Mayor Warren is leaving. I asked Mayor Warren on her way out if she would hold a Bible while I put my hand on it, and she agreed to do that. I think it’s important that we show there’s continuity, just like I will be there when Mayor Evans is sworn in. I think that’s important. That’s a very American thing. That’s what we do, we have a transfer of power and authority in this country, you know, and that, to me, means something. Once that happens, though, no. I mean, I’m going to be running city government and working with the incoming Mayor Evans. I hope if she sees something horrible happening, she gives me a call and says something. But, no, she’s going to go on and do what she needs to do for herself. And I’m going to be the mayor for 30 days. YOU’LL HAVE TO APPOINT A DEPUTY MAYOR. Yeah.

DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT’LL BE? I’m working on that. I think whoever that’ll be, it needs to be someone important to the transition. Because we really need to put resources into making sure that we get that done. I’m comfortable with my past experience dealing with the operational side but I think we need to make sure we’ve got resources for that month. DO YOU ENVISION IT BEING A PERSON WHO’S ALREADY IN THE ADMINISTRATION? Very likely, yeah. And no, it won’t be Lovely Warren. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MALIK EVANS? I think our biggest and our most daunting challenge is to really understand how we go forward with policing. And that’s not just a local issue, right? That’s very much a national issue as well. But, you know, we’ve got to fix it here. Figuring out what we do with police is going to be the biggest issue. And that’s a two-edged sword, right? We have a system in place right now that we have to make sure continues to function. You call a police officer, you need one, and by God, we need to make sure you get one. That system needs to be in place because it’s a critical service, but it needs to be in place so we are afforded the luxury to be able to figure out how we reinvent that. I don’t envy what Malik Evans has to deal with as it relates to those issues. Because I think they’re very difficult. And we’ve seen around the country, no one has really hit that ball out of the park. WHAT ABOUT ON A PRACTICAL LEVEL? NYC MAYOR BLOOMBERG SAID THE BEST ADVICE HIS PREDECESSOR, GIULIANI, GAVE HIM WAS IF YOU SEE A BATHROOM, DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO GO. I don’t know if I’ve gotten exactly that kind of practical advice yet. But I agree, don’t pass it up. I think one of the things you need to do, and it’s very hard to do, you’ve got to be very careful not to build walls and to insulate yourself. That’s really important, you know, to be accessible

PHOTO BYJACOB WALSH

to the people you serve. And it’s easy to kind of get insulated and, as a result of being insulated, isolated from our residents, who are ultimately the ones that know best. You’re trying to figure out how to best serve our residents? My thing is, ask them. You know, I mean, it sounds crazy and simple. But ask them. And I think that gets lost. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the running of the bureaucracy and the mayoralty, the machine, kind of this organization that is the city of Rochester, and you’ve got no time to say, “Hey, you know, man, what’s going on? What’s happening?” And I think it’s too easy to become kind of insulated from that. And it’s tough. It’s tough to do. There’s so much work to be done. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AFTER JAN. 1? TBD. Trying to figure that out, really. You know, I do love public service, and I would very much like to continue that. But I’m really trying to figure that out. And I’ll figure it out. . . Unfortunately for me, you know, trying to do some job hunting and stuff, I just have a lot of responsibility on my plate right now. It’s awful hard to look for a job when you got to be the mayor for a month. I did have someone approach me a few weeks back, and they were like, “We really need someone to start before

January.” And I’m like, “You know, I really kind of have an obligation here.” WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO? What I would like to do is buy a little beach bar in the Virgin Islands somewhere and, you know, grill shrimp and sell margaritas and rent out snorkel equipment and jet skis. That’s what I would really like to do. But I have greatly enjoyed public service and what I’ve enjoyed most about it is there’s an ability to actually help somebody. I find some of the national politics daunting. It leaves me very cold. There are issues that have been on the public policy agenda for 30 years, and they’ve never moved the needle once. But I love public service in the sense that if your grandmother on Argyle Street calls me and says that the storm sewer is backing up and she’s getting water in her basement, we can get that handled for her in about an hour. When you figure that stuff out, it has an amazing direct impact and it’s very rewarding.

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NEWS

BUILDING BLOCKS

Critics pan City Council tax break for developers

The Residential-Commercial Urban Exemption program, an incentive meant to encourage developers to revamp dormant office buildings, has taken $51.2 million of property off the tax rolls. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Developers say the controversial exemption makes investment possible. BY GINO FANELLI

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bscure pieces of tax law rarely rile up the masses. But dozens of residents attended a November meeting of the Rochester City Council to speak against a measure that would renew a tax break for developers who convert vacant office space into housing — mostly luxury apartments. They argued that the break, known as the Residential-Commercial Urban Exemption (CUE), has padded the pocketbooks of wealthy developers and been balanced on the backs of lowincome people who cannot afford the dwellings they build. “This will only drive gentrification forward and put a strain on Rochesterians, who, I’ll add, are already 8 CITY

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GFANELLI@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

suffering and struggling due to the pandemic we’re living through,” Al Martinez, a homeowner in the city, told the Council. “It’s adding oil to an already expansive fire in this city.” By the time the meeting ended, City Council had voted 8 to 1 to pass a revised version of the tax break, one that requires developers getting the exemption to set aside 20 percent of the units they build for tenants with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income. That’s $33,720 for a single person in Rochester and $45,850 for a family of four, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. State legislators created CUE in 2003 as an incentive for developers in most cities across New York to convert old

office space — particularly in buildings with high vacancy rates — into a mix of new uses, including apartments. It was intended to help offset developers’ investments by exempting them from paying property taxes on any increase in the assessed value of the properties tied to the improvements. Cities could opt in to the legislation, and many did. “The issue for the community back then, and for City Council, was how important is it to turn these dead buildings into better property tax-paying properties, and to breathe new life into the center of a city that’s a ghost town,” said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation.

By way of the exemption, roughly $51.2 million worth of real estate in Rochester is not being taxed. Considering that 516 apartments were built using the incentives, the exemptions work out to roughly $100,000 per unit. The break saves developers about $2.5 million a year in total, according to a CITY analysis of current exemptions. Proponents of the exemption, which was established as section 485-a of state Real Property Law, say it has enticed developers to revamp dormant or neglected spaces in prime real estate downtown in cities across New York. Buildings that have benefited from the break in Rochester include The Metropolitan building on South Clinton Avenue and The Linc, formerly the


Alliance Building, on East Main Street. But housing activists disagree. They say the exemption, even with an affordable housing provision, does not fit the needs of Rochester residents. According to a 2020 report from the Rochester-Monroe AntiPoverty Initiative, 31.3 percent of Rochester residents live in poverty, making it the third poorest of the nation’s top 75 metropolitan areas. “I think we can just look at what’s happening in Rochester, poverty levels have stayed the same, we’re still seeing an enormous housing crisis,” said Ritti Singh, communications coordinator with Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union. “We’ve had a lot of time to test this out,” she said, “and it’s not working for the people that really live in our city.”

President of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation Heidi Zimmer-Meyer sees the exemptions as necessary to rebuild Rochester. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Andy Gallina of Gallina Development has led a $11.7 million redevelopment of The Metropolitan building on South Clinton Avenue, raising the property value over $17 million. The value of the improvements are exempt from property tax for 12 years. FILE PHOTO

DEAD BUILDINGS AND TAXES When the tax break was created, downtown Rochester had been in decline for years. Kodak was downsizing and other businesses were leaving the city, resulting in a surplus of outdated or unwanted office space. At the time, vacancy rate in downtown office buildings was 26.1 percent, a figure that translated to more than 2 million square feet of unused space. City officials saw CUE as a tool that could help fill downtown buildings again. Developers were to be able to secure the 12 years of tax breaks if they converted at least a quarter of the buildings into residential units and they had to put at least $250,000 into each project. “The intent of the program is to facilitate the conversion of underutilized office, retail, manufacturing and warehouse buildings in order to promote residential uses in the downtown areas of upstate cities,” read the legislation to create the exemption locally that was submitted to City Council that year by Mayor William Johnson. The program had an immediate impact. The abandoned Artcraft Optical Building on Allen Street was converted to a 36unit apartment complex, now known as Buckingham Commons. On Alexander Street, the Medical Arts Building, a highrise building that formerly housed doctor and dental offices, was converted to a 40-unit apartment complex. But the amount of unused office space has actually grown over the years. A Rochester Downtown Development Corporation study of downtown office CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

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spaces downtown in 2019 found that 2.2 million square feet of office space downtown was vacant. Researchers attributed the growth to Xerox abandoning its headquarters on South Clinton, leaving the 520,000 square foot building mostly vacant. The tower is currently being redeveloped into student housing and will be known as Innovation Square. Andy Gallina, the developer behind The Metropolitan, the former Chase Bank tower, is adamant that he wouldn’t have been able to repurpose the skyscraper without the tax incentive. “It’s not as marketable,” Gallina said. “And then you have a big piece of property that’s not funded, not occupied, a failed project. If we don’t incentivize people to make investments, they won’t make the investment.” The Metropolitan has received four rounds of CUE incentives since 2018, according to city documents. When Gallina started overhauling the building, it was assessed at $5 million. Because of the exemptions, the building is still taxed based on that value, though its full assessed value is now $22.3 million. That means $17 million of the building’s value is untaxed. This year, The Metropolitan’s property tax bill was $216,000, according to city records. Without the incentive, the bill would have likely exceeded $1 million. Meanwhile, Gallina has invested $11.7 million into The Metropolitan, where he built 88 apartments and the corporate headquarters for billion-dollar cybersecurity firm Datto. “If you’ve got a better way to rebuild a city, you tell me,” Gallina said. “Because I don’t know how to do it, because I’m investing all of my resources, and if people aren’t willing to do that, we’re going to fail. Our city is doomed.” IS THIS FAIR? Like Gallina, proponents of CUEincentivized developments often take the position that high-dollar residential conversion projects would be unlikely to get off the ground without some sort of break that makes them more financially feasible. “When you get back to this program and why it matters, it has allowed developers to take buildings that, quite frankly, you couldn’t make the numbers work on,” Zimmer-Meyer said. “This is a gap-filling situation.” 10 CITY DECEMBER 2021

Ritti Singh (left) and Liz McGriff of the Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union see the exemption as nothing more than a tax break for luxury apartment developers, which they say burdens regular Rochesterians. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

But opponents are just as quick to question whether the projects benefit the average Rochester resident. Rent for The Metropolitan’s apartments are listed as beginning at $1,400 for a onebedroom, and climbing to more than $3,600 for a two-bedroom. “I don’t think we know what it looks like when Rochester sets up its own community to thrive,” Singh said. “We don’t know what it looks like when Rochester provides sustainable, affordable, and safe housing.” In 2019, the Buffalo-based nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative published a report that characterized CUE as often abused by developers who receive tax breaks by just barely qualifying for the program. “In practice — due to the law’s vague wording, a lack of oversight, and political deference to the real estate industry — 485-a has been twisted and misused to apply to developments well outside the law’s original intent, and often outside even its technical requirements,” the report read. The report pointed to a building on Ellicott Street in Buffalo, which was awarded a CUE tax break. The project was made up mostly of restaurants

and high-tech business offices, but the developer qualified for the break by adding one apartment. In Rochester, there are also several cases of CUE recipients qualifying by adding a single apartment. Those projects have generally been smaller in scale. For example, one recipient on Smith Street had $80,000 in assessed value exempted from taxes after adding a single apartment. The building is also home to a music studio. In 2020, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law to more strictly regulate the ResidentialCommercial Urban Exemption. That statute, championed by Syracuse Assemblymember William Magnarelli, required developers to retain 75 percent of the original structure throughout the renovation. The intent was to prevent the temptation to bulldoze a building and rebuild from scratch. The statute also required annual checkups on buildings through the 12year life span of the incentives to make sure they are up to snuff. “Across upstate New York, both the letter and the spirit of the law have been circumvented by unqualified applicants receiving this benefit —

at great cost to localities who forgo significant tax revenues,” the bill justification read. “The statute must be amended in order to ensure that the original intent and scope of the program are heeded.” Critics such as the tenant union organizers characterize the exemption as an offshoot of trickle down economics, in which gains by the wealthy ostensibly filter down to people in lower economic classes. They’d like to see a different approach that puts lower-income residents top of mind. “We need to build a Rochester for all,” Singh said. Gallina balks at criticisms of the program. If Rochester is going to rebuild to its former glory, someone needs to pony up the cash to get it moving. The hard reality, Gallina said, is that if “dummies like him” are not given any incentive to build, and are almost guaranteed to operate at a loss, no one would invest. “I’ve got people criticizing me for tax abatement programs? It’s not based in reality,” Gallina said. “You want something to happen, it doesn’t happen organically, it happens intentionally.”


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NEWS

SHARED EXPERIENCE

Agents for change

Tysharda Thomas of New 2 U Homes is a co-leader of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors’ Black Caucus. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Black real estate professionals in Rochester are working to increase Black home ownership. BY JEREMY MOULE

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@JFMOULE

ysharda Thomas jokes that she got into real estate because of her husband. Brandon Thomas had bought and flipped a few houses over the years, but in some of the properties he encountered electrical 12 CITY DECEMBER 2021

JMOULE@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

problems, plumbing issues, and other complications. That would change over time as he learned from experience. In those cases, however, someone likely knew about the problems but didn’t explain them to her husband.

“There was no one looking out for him,” Thomas said. Thomas, a real estate agent since 2008, is now looking out for homebuyers. She and her husband own New 2 U Homes and one of Thomas’s passions is helping first-

time homebuyers navigate the process. But the full-service brokerage, which primarily represents buyers, fills another niche. The Thomases are Black, as are roughly 90 percent of their customers, Thomas said.


“People are comfortable with people who have been through some the experiences that they’ve been in, people who look like them,” Thomas says of her clientele. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

“People are comfortable with people who have been through some the experiences that they’ve been in, people who look like them,” Thomas said. Thomas is co-leader of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors’ new Black Caucus, a title she shares with Robin Wilt, a fellow Realtor and member of the Brighton Town Board. The caucus formed to provide Black real estate agents at all stages of their careers with support and guidance, but also to boost Black and Latino homeownership, which lags behind that of white and Asian people. Last month, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, which refers to itself as the oldest minority real estate trade association

in the United States, issued a report on the state of housing in Black America. The report noted that the Black homeownership rate is higher than it was a century ago, when redlining and racial covenants in deeds barred Black people from living in certain communities. But it also stated that nationwide, fewer than 45 percent of Black households own their home, compared with 75 percent of white households. “Blacks have made little, if any, strides at closing the disparate homeownership gap between those of our white counterparts,” Lydia Pope, the association’s president, wrote in the report. “Systemic discriminatory regulations and policies continue to thwart any meaningful effort at closing the

homeownership gap.” In 2020, roughly 35 percent of Black loan applicants were turned down by lenders compared to 23 percent of white applicants, according to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. Of the almost 450,000 applications submitted by would-be Black borrowers in 2020, just under 300,000 were approved. The report also pointed to problems such as flawed credit score models and higher mortgage pricing “that penalize Blacks for the forced economic deprivation they’ve experienced.” The nine-county Rochester region almost mirrors the national picture. Of white households, 75 percent

own their homes, a figure that falls to 55 percent among Asians, 35 percent among Latinos, and 32 percent among Blacks, according to data compiled by ACT Rochester, a Rochester Area Community Foundation initiative. “Since the Fair Housing Act of 1968, we have not come that far,” Thomas said. “When you look at the numbers in Rochester, we do not own a lot, we rent, and we want to change that.” SHARED EXPERIENCE It wasn’t the basketball court or the in-ground pool that led Tyrees Cray, 38, to buy her gray, two-story, CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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four-bedroom house in a Gates culde-sac this past February. It was the practical stuff: the two-car garage, the first-floor laundry room, the fireplace, and the clear line of sight from the kitchen to the television — the configuration is great for entertaining, noted Cray. She was also swayed by the space between bedrooms. At her previous apartment, her youngest son’s room was right next to hers and loud sounds, such as the ruckus of video games, bled through the walls. In her new home, her son’s bedroom is down the hall. “It’s just really a great home for a first-time person with the things that I was looking for,” Cray said. “The pool and the basketball court were pluses and my son was excited, but they weren’t on my list. It’s just a really great home in a great neighborhood.” Cray is Black, and when she began the homebuying process she sought out an experienced Black agent. She said she wanted someone seasoned because it was her first time buying a house and she had a lot of questions. She wanted a Black agent because of shared experience and knew of New 2 U Homes from a friend who bought a home through the agency. Before Cray started looking for houses last year, she had talked to her grandparents and her father about the decision and they had warned her that it might be hard for her to buy. She had a blemish on her credit score that she said arose from helping out a friend in the past. A Black agent, she reasoned, would likely have a much better grasp on potential obstacles and ideas on how to overcome them. Thomas walked her through the process, from fixing her credit to what to look for as she viewed houses. When they visited the house Cray bought, both knew it was the one. “She was there all along the way,” Cray said of Thomas.

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DEVELOPING REAL ESTATE AGENTS Historically, the real estate industry played a major role in segregating communities across the United States. New Deal-era home lending programs and the federally-sanctioned redlining that followed provided the means. In the 1950’s, as a wave of Black migrants moved to Rochester from the south, the industry and banks steered them into two of the city’s old wards, areas we now know as Corn Hill and the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood. The late Black journalist Howard Coles, who published the Frederick Douglass Voice newspaper for 60 years, dedicated many pages to calls for better housing conditions in the city and an end to homebuyer discrimination. He also worked as a real estate agent for a time, and in 1960 resigned from the Rochester Housing Commission in protest of the protocols Black real estate agents had to follow when showing houses — like limiting showings to nights and evenings. The Black Caucus aims to build on that legacy in part by teaching real estate professionals about the current and historic barriers to home ownership for Black people. On Nov. 9, co-leader Wilt served on a panel convened by PathStone, a nonprofit community development organization, that discussed the devaluation of Black homes. Thomas figures she talks with four or five people a month who are interested in entering the real estate profession and says she acts as sort of a mentor to them. She’ll walk them through the process of getting their real estate licenses and discuss the importance of cultivating relationships with banks and other businesses. The caucus, she hopes, will provide Black real estate professionals with the means to overcome or cope with some of the difficulties they’ll encounter, which could include seller discrimination or persistent, harmful stereotypes about the work ethic of Black people. “It’s still one of those things where we always have to do better,” Thomas said. “Even if we’re doing the exact same job, we still have to prove ourselves.”

Tysharda Thomas shows a house for sale in Greece. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH


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ARTS

ON THEIR TOES

Borinquen Dance Theatre was founded in 1981 as a resource for at-risk students and a mode of educating the community about Puerto Rican culture. PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT

PRIDE AND PURPOSE Marking 40 years, Borinquen Dance Theatre upholds culture and community. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

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earing a modern take on traditional garments, Neyda Colón Di Maria took the stage at Harro East Ballroom recently to kick off Borinquen Dance Theatre’s 40th anniversary celebration and fundraiser. She stomped and writhed to drumbeats as a prayer song told the Taino-Arawak story of the civilization and colonization of Boricua, which is now called Puerto Rico. Groups of dancers presented AfroCaribbean styles set to pulsing music that got some audience members on their feet. 16 CITY DECEMBER 2021

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Later, MaKayla Santiago presented a Flamenco number, clomping and clapping in time with a Spanish guitar, and dramatically waving her hands, dazzling sequined skirt, and tasseledged shawl to complement the rise and fall of impassioned vocals. This dance, and all of the others presented that night, together form a picture of Puerto Rican culture, which combines elements of Indigenous, African, and Spanish cultures. That same evening Santiago was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from

Borinquen alum Dr. Mirna Lis Martinez, to help pay for her studies at Rochester Institute of Technology that begin in January. Nydia Padilla-Rodriquez, the founder of Borinquen Dance, says it is common for people who have been part of the company to help young dancers. The organization, she says, has fostered a community in Rochester that is like a family. “They always come back in a way where it’s just amazing, because they still want to be part of what we’re

doing,” she says. “And they really believe that we’re like an extended family.”

FROM EXERCISE TO OUTREACH Borinquen Dance Theatre was founded in 1981 shortly after Garth Fagan told a crowd at Rochester Puerto Rican Festival that Padilla-Rodriquez (then just Padilla), the youngest member of Garth Fagan Dance, would begin teaching Puerto Rican style dancing. She recalls it as a somewhat of a


Neyda Colón Di Maria opened Borinquen’s 40th anniversary celebration at the Hochstein School. PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT

surprise announcement — even to her. But that push led to creating a tightknit, diverse community of adults and youth who aimed to stay active while learning about Puerto Rican culture. That quickly evolved into a successful outreach program for at-risk children and young adults that instilled cultural pride, a strong sense of self and capability, and discipline, leadership and teamwork skills applicable to other areas of their lives. Borinquen alum Ingrid González, 40, was involved with the company from age 16 to 21, and again from age 27 to 30. She says she joined because she had stopped participating in color guard, but wanted to stay active. A cousin was a dancer with Borinquen, so she tried it out. It quickly became more than exercise, she says. “The impact that Borinquen gave me was discipline,” González says. “Things were, you know, very strict. Of course, we had fun. But we had a set schedule, a routine: attire, hair, makeup. The discipline part was great at a young age.” She also took on leadership roles, she says, helping teach the younger girls’ classes and assisting PadillaRodriguez in other ways that taught her teamwork skills. Padilla-Rodriguez also learned leadership and teamwork at an early age. She was just 16 when she became the youngest original company member of what would become Garth

Fagan Dance, back when it was called Bottom of the Bucket, But…. When she later founded Borinquen, she was still in college, studying dance and earning her teaching certification at The College at Brockport. In its early years, Borinquen became Padilla-Rodriguez’s way to counter excessive high school dropout rates of Latinx students. “We just kind of lose the kids that may come from a family of poverty, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have the desire or the interest to be successful,” she says. And the company’s educational target soon expanded beyond its students. “Borinquen is one way to educate the community about who we are as a people, and not feel threatened or intimidated by it, but embrace the diversity that truly makes America rich,” she says.

SUPPORTING THE SUPPORTERS Thousands of people have been part of Borinquen Dance Theatre over the years. Padilla-Rodriguez estimates that the company works with 75 to 100 students each year, operating from its home at the Hochstein School. When transportation becomes an obstacle for some students, Borinquen has been known to set up programs in some of their schools. Padilla-Rodriguez works to educate her students about Puerto Rican culture’s rich complexity of Taino, African, and Spanish ancestry, and how that heritage is embedded in the dances and the music they are learning. They understand that the costumes, music, and movements are ripe in symbolism. She expects her students to show up and challenge themselves. Utterances of “I can’t” are met with a dismissal from the room until the attitude changes to “I’ll get this.” Students who shine get to choreograph dances and assist in teaching. Classes may transition into employment opportunities. Borinquen performances are an integral part of National Hispanic Heritage Month each October, when cultural organizations in Rochester explore and present various Hispanic and Latinx experiences. But the organization’s reach in the Latinx community goes far beyond the events

Afro-Caribbean style dances are just one part of Borinquen’s presentations, which include Puerto Rican culture’s trinity of influences from Indigenous Boricua, Africa, and Spain. PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT

of that month. Borinquen dancers participate in showcases all over Rochester and western New York. All that effort takes resources, and with a relatively small operational budget of $100,000, Padilla-Rodriguez says Borinquen relies on volunteers, grants, and fundraisers, like the anniversary celebration. At the event, guests bid on dozens of silent auction items and packages donated by local arts and cultural organizations and small businesses. Items ranged from a $40 scarf and mask set to a gold and diamond ring valued at $3,150. The auction raised $5,501 for Borinquen. Toward the end of the evening, when the emcee Marisol RamosLópez honored Borinquen founder Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, it was also announced that Padilla-Rodriguez’s mentor Garth Fagan, who was in attendance, would donate $10,000 to Borinquen to help ensure its future. After the event, Padilla-Rodriguez said that she felt heartened about the organization’s ability to keep doing its work. But the company wasn’t always so financially secure. “I will admit that in 40 years, we’ve had our challenges, we’ve had our ups and downs,” Padilla-Rodriguez says. “But overall, we’ve always had the ability to overcome these challenges and to continue building BDT in a way where it’s really an asset to the community not only in Rochester but

outside of Rochester.” She recalls an instance when, about a decade into the company’s founding, it was financially struggling. She says she was filled with despair and resolved to call it quits. “When I made that announcement, the next day a student came to class and she gave me a letter,” PadillaRodriguez says. “She wrote the letter in Spanish and in English because she wanted to make sure I understood, telling me, ‘You can’t do this to us. People have failed us for such a long time. We’re dealing with violence. We’re dealing with drug issues, we’re dealing with so much, and this has been a safe haven for me.’ I mean, the way she wrote that letter, it put me to tears. And that’s when I said, ‘I can’t give up.’”

PHOTO BY MATT BURKHARTT

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ARTS

REVEL IN THE DETAILS

IMAGE PROVIDED BY TED KINSMAN

Known and loved for his expert blend of abstract and representational paintings, Rochester artist Brian O’Neill was recently honored by the International Guild of Realism for his work, “Awakening” (above left). O’Neill’s “Beyond The Break,” above right. PHOTOS PROVIDED

PASSING THE PAINTBRUSH Award-winning painter Brian O’Neill is a master of both photo-real and abstract styles, and teaches his skillset to studio students. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

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rtist and teacher Brian O’Neill has created scores of paintings in his lifetime, but just two adorn the walls of his studio in the Hungerford Building. One is an abstract in which a kinetic wave of warm and cool colors speckled with gold and silver leaf clash like the dust of a nebula. Next to it is a hyper-realistic portrait of a woman in a red robe gazing out softly onto a lit field, her chestnut 18 CITY DECEMBER 2021

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hair piled atop her head. She appears both graceful and alert, as if ready to spring into action at any moment. Combining these two styles — abstract and realism — onto one canvas earned O’Neill second place recently in the International Guild of Realism Fall Salon Exhibition. His award-winning work, “Awakening,” depicts a woman rising from slumber, midstretch under a cascade of blonde

tresses and peacock feather-printed bed clothes. She looks away into a dark room, and her image is framed with bits of silver leaf that glitter on the edges of the scene in a way that suggests reality is slipping away. O’Neill says it took him a long time to understand that the two styles, which he says he loves equally, come from the same place in his soul. “It’s just this duality that I believe

is part of my nature,” he says. “I like to be able to vacillate between both worlds. Because I just get bored easily. I start to feel confined. And I don’t like feeling confined.” Nearly all of O’Neill’s work finds its way into private collections in Rochester and around the country. One of his paintings, a 12 feetby-8 feet work titled “Highland Park in Bloom,” graces the walls of Highland Hospital’s lobby.


And he is frequently commissioned to create some combination of portrait, landscape, and abstract work for patrons who saw his work exhibited over the years at the gallery space at the now-defunct Arts & Cultural Council, and at Rochester Picture Framing. That was the case for Maggie Symington, who with her husband Charlie has commissioned O’Neill to make both representational and abstract paintings as well as combinations of both. Three years ago, they commissioned him to create an overcast winter scene of a stream and bare trees, all subdued blues, grays, and browns, brightened up with silver leaf. “One of the things we love about his work is the way he incorporates the silver and gold leaf, and not just texture-wise but as composition in the painting,” Symington says. “And just the feeling of movement that he’s able to achieve even in his abstract pieces.” Other paintings fill O’Neill’s studio space — smaller works-in-progress on easels that stand in two lines. They are stunningly life-like depictions of the natural world: white roses, a small songbird, a cluster of ripe vegetables. These are the works of his students, who meet with him on Tuesdays and Fridays for a highly intensive, methodical approach to painting, no matter what their skill level when they started. He’s careful to make sure prospective students understand this isn’t a weekend workshop, but a longer commitment. “Workshops are great,” O’Neill says, adding that he’s no stranger to them, and takes advantage of the workshops taught by master artists brought to town a few times a year by The Rochester Art Club, which is just upstairs from his studio. “Those are wonderful. That’s immersion into something,” he says. “But this is a long-term process in a very specific technique that is meant to dismantle everything that you think you thought you knew about representational work, and you start to rewire the nervous system in your body to be hypersensitive to pressure control.” Students begin working with charcoal or black and white pastel, learning the fundamentals of light and form. They gradually move on to color pastel, then to oil paint. The progress can take months of incremental steps forward. “I let people know in the beginning, you need patience for this, you really do,” he says. He admits that the work can seem tedious at times, but his students — some of whom are still studying with him after several years — say it works. “I think the main thing is Brian taught me how to see,” says retired attorney Andrea Nadel, who has been a student of O’Neill’s for three and a half years. “I know that may sound funny, but it’s easy when you are looking at something and you’re just starting out, to feel overwhelmed.

“It’s just this duality that I believe is part of my nature,” painter Brian O’Neill says of his realism and abstract styles. Clockwise from top left: “Transcendence,” “Blue Wind,” “Copper Canyon,” and “Radiant.” PROVIDED PHOTOS

“But the way Brian teaches is he breaks it down for you. So all you’re seeing are the elements, the light, the dark, and the shape,” she went on. “That takes away the feeling of being overwhelmed by the entire piece, and you feel you can handle it.” The approach is how O’Neill refined his own work. After showing a natural aptitude in rendering skills as a young boy on his native Long Island, he compulsively created art throughout his childhood. He was accepted into art schools, but was too anxious to attend. He worked as a dog groomer in New York City while taking commissions doing decorative art paintings on walls inside patron’s homes. After years of hustling as an artist, he relocated to Rochester in the early 2000s with his now husband, Jim Hansen, and built a relationship with the former Nan Miller Gallery. But he believed he could take his art further. A serendipitous Google search for “representational painting” about a dozen

years ago led him to master painter Anthony Waichulis, whose studio was based in Northeastern Pennsylvania. O’Neill travelled there routinely for four years, spending days at a time to work as an apprentice to Waichulis. Seven years ago, he began teaching at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Creative Workshop before setting up his own teaching practice in The Hungerford. Now, at 52, O’Neill has a thriving studio practice in which he paints what he wants to paint, is represented by galleries across the country, accepts commissions, and teaches other students the skills of seeing deeply and replicating what they see. But he is quick to acknowledge that for every award, for every success, there are plenty of losses and failures. “That doesn’t mean that your work doesn’t have value,” he says. “It just means that you go back into the studio, and you make honest work.” roccitynews.com CITY 19


NEW MUSIC REVIEWS

“A NIGHT TO REMEMBER” BY THE PICKLE MAFIA Pickles may not be an aphrodisiac, but they’re an integral part of pianist Charlie Lindner’s latest romantic release with his Rochester jazz trio, The Pickle Mafia. What makes a successful date night? For this crew, rounded out by drummer Marco Cirigliano and bassist Ben Chilbert, the answer lies in piano explorations, relentless grooves, and flexible kit work, all in service of one unforgettable musical evening. The trio divides its latest EP, “a night to remember,” into four distinct vignettes that paint an impressionistic portrait of, well, a memorable night. The mildly funky collection splits the difference between melodic progressions and lo-fi beats to cozy up to with a bottle of cabernet — or a homemade jar of garlic dill. Lindner began selling pickles to help fund his music career, which spans two trios, a contemplative solo-piano album, and an electronic venture. In 2019, he recruited Cirigliano and Chilbert to launch The Pickle Mafia. His website boasts a novel motto: “Let the pickles sell the music.” On “a night to remember,” the music sells itself. Opener “omw” begins with peppy rhythmic anticipation, guided by Lindner’s bold chords. Midway through, he pivots to a colorful lead synth line that recalls the late, great Chick Corea’s experimental play of the 1970s. The song’s lowercase text-message title (short for “on my way”) belies the sheer elation of Cirigliano’s effervescent drumming. “Netflix and chill,” meanwhile, implies that dessert will be served in the bedroom. Such a suggestive interlude could easily dip into pastiche, but The Pickle Mafia focuses on rhythm and atmosphere over improvisation, dipping into the “quiet storm” style with serene R&B. Logic dictates that after a memorable night must come “the morning after,” and The Pickle Mafia ends things on a note of graceful uncertainty. Lindner ramps up the tension on the keys to remind the listener that the future, just like the status of a second date, remains unknown. — BY PATRICK HOSKEN

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“NUMBER 44” BY JB & JOYOUS NOISE

“TWO TAKES, VOL. 1 AND 2” BY JARED SCHONIG

Joe Brucato hangs with a celebrated crowd. The singer-songwriter’s father, Chuck Brucato, is a member of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. Joe frequently works with industry heavyweights such as Tony Levin, Steve Gadd, Will Lee, and Jamie Lawrence. Brucato’s high school friend Dennis Casey is Flogging Molly’s guitarist. While Brucato has been fortunate to collaborate with these musicians, such performers also keep coming back for more. On Brucato’s new album, “Number 44,” he christens his band JB & Joyous Noise. Released on Nov. 19 as digital files on a USB flash drive, the album features his dedicated group consisting of drummer Levi Bennett, Mark Terranova on bass, and guitarist Kire Najdovski, along with guest appearances by Gadd on drums and Levin on bass. This album could be considered Brucato’s best work to date. Brucato’s 1999 debut album had earned him a Los Angeles Music Award for male singer-songwriter of the year, setting off a chain reaction that placed his music on TV shows such as “Party of Five” and “The Young and the Restless.” “Number 44” does one better in terms of the quality of the material, and puts him back on the radar again. The music is certainly cohesive, with a connection to classic rock at times. Brucato’s sense of melody and rhythm, along with timely lyrics, demonstrate his skill as a songwriter. The songs are genuine and simple, containing a subtle amount of space and sophistication that allows the musicians to flesh out the tunes. Joyous Noise provides tight and energetic support behind Brucato, who is one of the finest vocalists to emerge locally. His powerful voice blends in perfectly on such songs as “Love You All Over” and “Pick Up My Guitar and Play.” There are also sublime instrumental moments, such as Levin’s counter-melody at the beginning of “Will This World Ever Know Peace,” and Kire Najdovski’s elevating guitar solo, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, on “Scary Times.” The opening riff on “Finger to the Blue Sky” channels a psychedelic desert. On an album with several standouts, “You Make Me Smile” is among the best. “Number 44” is available on a USB drive only and can be purchased by contacting Joe Brucato at brucatosongs@gmail.com. — BY ROMAN DIVEZUR

At its core, jazz is about reimagining music. Standards are constantly reinterpreted, and every improvised solo is a new flight over the chords of a song. Some of the greatest reimagined music lies in big band arrangements that can lift tunes to orchestral heights. It’s that spirit of reinvention that animates “Two Takes,” the superb debut project by drummer Jared Schonig, an Eastman School of Music graduate. The first disc features eight originals played by Schonig’s first-rate quintet, which includes Marquis Hill on trumpet, Louis Perdomo on keyboards, saxophonist Godwin Louis, and bassist Matt Clohesy. With every player contributing wonderful solos to Schonig’s challenging compositions, “Volume 1” would constitute an excellent album on its own. But “Volume 2” takes it a giant step farther, with eight top arrangers reimagining the same tunes for big band. “Two Takes” is an unusually ambitious undertaking, beautifully realized. If it were released by a well-known jazz luminary, it would be a prime candidate for album of the year. On “Two Takes,” Schonig unintentionally highlights the strength of Eastman’s jazz program over the decades; seven of the project’s 30 musicians graduated from ESM. While the two discs showcase Schonig’s prowess as a composer, the intro to the first track, “White Out,” reminds us of his excellence on the drums. On this intro, three interludes, and solos on the quintet’s “Nuts” and the big band’s “Sabotage,” he subtly explores the rich vocabulary of his instrument, rather than show off with pyrotechnics. “Gibbs St.,” Schonig’s homage to ESM, is nicely evocative of downtown Rochester’s cultural hub. Brian Krock’s arrangement fleshes out the aural images with help from imaginative solos by saxophonist Donny McCaslin and bassist Ike Sturm. “Sabotage,” arranged by Alan Ferber, is the closest the album gets to pure funk. “Sound Evidence” is built on a deceptively simple three-note phrase. Arranger Miho Hazama takes advantage of this almost model compositional structure, and so do the soloists — trombonist Marshall Gilkes, trumpeter Jonathan Powell, and guitarist Nir Felder, who is off the charts in his rock fusion flight. — BY RON NETSKY

“ELECTRIC CAMPFIRE” BY TWO TRUTHS Two Truths isn’t afraid of making a grand entrance. In September, the Rochesterborn electro-folk outfit released a powerful music video for its single “Brushstrokes,” which has accumulated nearly 18,000 hits on YouTube. The band’s debut EP “Electric Campfire” continues to build on that momentum, infusing unexpected musical influences with anthemic structures. The four-piece group is the creation of musicians Garrett Mader and Jonathan Blake (also known as Blake Pattengale and Redbeard Samurai), who became roommates during the winter of 2020. After the dog days of quarantine began to ease, the group brought in keyboardist Max Greenberg and the eclectic drummer Byron Cage to round out the band’s sound. “Brushstrokes” kicks off the EP, telling the story of an older artist who wistfully remembers his former lover through his paintings. The arrangement of the song is clever and unanticipated, combining artful plucking on the mandolin with brisk electronic drum beats. The EP’s second song, “Chasing,” starts off with vocal tone and lyrical phrasing similar to that of ’70s folk groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and America, but the harmonies are more toned-down, favoring minimalism over grandiosity. On “Telling Myself,” the band noticeably shifts to a brighter sound, incorporating lap steel guitar and creative, almost fluttering drum parts. The album’s final track, “Let It Show,” brings listeners back to the EP’s original contemplative state. The fuzzed-out vocals and sparse, heady keyboard parts are immediately reminiscent of Radiohead’s “OK Computer.” Two Truths have a knack for chiming in with the unexpected. As “Let It Show” progresses, a harmonized acoustic guitar part builds a sound akin to Nick Drake’s seminal album, “Five Leaves Left.” On “Electric Campfire,” Two Truths successfully walks a fine tightrope between the musical past and present. — BY EMMARAE STEIN


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

ACOUSTIC/FOLK The Archive Ravens. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Sun., Dec. 19, 6:30 p.m. Chris Trapper. Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwood St. 244-1210. Sat., Dec. 11, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Einstein’s Dream. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Wed., Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. Maria Gillard Trio. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Thu., Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m. Spring Chickens. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Wed., Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m.

AMERICANA Folkfaces Holiday Hootenanny. Flour City Station, 170 East Ave. 413-5745. Fri., Dec. 17, 8 p.m. Tom Waits Tribute. Iron Smoke Distillery, 111 Parce Ave Suite 5b. Fairport. 3887584. Tue., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.

BLUES The Circuit Breakers. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Sat., Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. Joe Beard & Hanna PK. Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way. 232-3230. Thu., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. $10. Son House Night. Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwood St. 244-1210. Last Thursday of every month, 6-8 p.m. With Genesee Johnny. Tommy Brunett Band. Iron Smoke Distillery, 111 Parce Ave Suite 5b. Fairport. 388-7584. Sat., Dec. 11, 8:30 p.m. Yemen Blues Duo. JCC Hart Theatre, 1200 Edgewood Ave. 461-2000. Mon., Dec. 20, 7 p.m. $20/$25.

CLASSICAL Conservatory Series. George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave. eastman.org. Sundays, 3 p.m. and Ongoing, 3 p.m. Dec 5: Joe Blackburn, Aeolian pipe organ; Dec 12: Janus Guitar Duo; Dec 19: Margaret-Mary Owens, Aeolian pipe organ. Eastman @ Washington Square. First Universalist Church of Rochester, 150 Clinton Ave S. Thursdays, 12:15 p.m. Through Dec 16.

Eastman Opera Theatre: Postcard from Morocco. Eastman School of Music, esm. rochester.edu/live. Dec. 15-Jan. 14. Eastman Philharmonia. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. 274-3000. Mon., Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Eastman Wind Orchestra. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. 274-3000. Wed., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

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ECMS: Winterfest. Eastman Community Music School, 10 Gibbs St. 274-1400. Dec. 18-19. Kilbourn & Hatch Halls. Faculty Artist Series. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. 274-3000. Dec 4: Marina Lomazov, piano; Dec 8: Collegium Musicum. $10. Going for Baroque. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. 276-8900. Sundays, 1:30 & 3 p.m. W/ museum admission: $6-$15. Hopeman Carillon Concerts. UR Eastman Quadrangle, 500 Wilson Blvd. Sundays, 5 p.m. Through Dec 19. Jazz Ensemble, Lab Band. Nazareth College Glazer Music Performance Center, 4245 East Ave. 389-2700. Thu., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. Levi Gangi. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Wed., Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. RPO: Bach, Martin, & Mozart. Nazareth College Glazer Music Performance Center, 4245 East Ave. rpo.org. Sun., Dec. 12, 2 p.m. $40. Third Thursdays with Eastman’s Italian Baroque Organ. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. 276-8900. w/museum admission: $6-$15. Tuesday Pipes. Christ Church, 141 East Ave. 454-3878. Tuesdays, 12:10-12:50 p.m. Eastman School organists.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL OSSIA. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. 2743000. Tue., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.

COUNTRY Smith & Myers. Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. 232-3221. Sat., Dec. 11, 8 p.m. $35/$55.

JAZZ Bob Sneider Trio. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Fri., Dec. 31, 6:30 p.m. Craig Snyder & Collective Force. Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, 20 Fort Hill Ave. Canandaigua. fhpac.org. Last Sunday of every month, 1-4 p.m. $10. Eastman Jazz Lab Band. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. 274-3000. Mon., Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Laura Dubin & Antonio Guerrero. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Sat., Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m. Margaret Explosion. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Wed., Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m. Monday Night Jazz. UUU Art Collective, 153 State St. 434-2223. 8pm; Late-night sessions: 10:30pm. $5. PAKT. Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point Dr. lovincup.com. Mon., Dec. 13, 7 p.m. $25/$30. Rich Thompson Trio. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Thu., Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m. Trio East. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Fri., Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.

JAM BAND Donna the Buffalo. Anthology, 336 East Ave. 484-1964. Sat., Dec. 18, 8:30 p.m. $25. Holiday Dead: Delilah Jones, Ragechill Kroft. Flour City Station, 170 East Ave. 413-5745. Sat., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Mihali. The Club at Water Street, 204 N. Water St. waterstreet2020.com. Fri., Dec. 10, 8 p.m. $20.

METAL The Funeral Portrait, Perspectives, Junexa, Inertia, Amor Alive, Diluted. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sat., Dec. 11, 6 p.m. $15/18. Judas Priestess. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Fri., Dec. 17, 7 p.m. $17/$20. Polybius, Alien Autopsy, Eternal Crypt. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Fri., Dec. 17, 9 p.m. $10.

Unleash The Archers, Seven Kingdoms, The Last Reign. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Wed., Dec. 15, 6 p.m. $20/$23.

Winter Crypt Fest: Anthropic, Shallow Teeth, Protean Fire, Cactus Cathedral. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Sat., Dec. 18, 9 p.m. $10/$12.

POP/ROCK Andy Frasco & The UN. Anthology, 336 East Ave. 484-1964. Sat., Dec. 11, 9 p.m. $18.

Lou Gramm, Gary Lewis & The Playboys. Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. 2323221. Fri., Dec. 10, 7 p.m. $39.50. Siena, with special guest Jordan Rabinowitz. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Sun., Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m.

POPS/STANDARDS Something Magical: Disney in Concert. JCC Hart Theatre, 1200 Edgewood Ave. 461-2000. Thu., Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 11, 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 12, 2 p.m., Thu., Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m. $20+.

PUNK/HARDCORE Sore Ear Collective: Destroy Rochester III. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com.

The Christmas Céilidh Band. Rochester Christian Reformed Church, 2750 Atlantic Ave. Penfield. goldenlink.org. Sat., Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. $15/$20. Christmas Gala. Hale Auditorium, Roberts Wesleyan College, 2301 Westside Dr. Sat., Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 12, 3 p.m. $20. Finger Lakes Chorale. FLCC Auditorium, 3325 Marvin Sands Dr. Canandaigua. Dec. 11-12, 3 p.m. Greece Concert Band. Greece Baptist Church, 1230 Long Pond Rd. jazz901. org/events. Sun., Dec. 12, 7 p.m. Madrigalia: A Cup of Good Cheer. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N Plymouth Ave. 454-4596. Wed., Dec. 8, 12:10-12:50 p.m. Live from Hochstein. Mannheim Steamroller. Auditorium Theatre, 885 E. Main St. rbtl.org. Thu., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. $40.50+.

Marie Osmond’s Magical Symphonic Christmas. Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Rd. kodakcenter.com/events. Tue., Dec. 14, 8 p.m. With David Osmond & Daniel Emmet. $36+. Prism. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N Plymouth Ave. Fri., Dec. 10, 7 p.m. ROC City Ringers. Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Rd. 340-8720. Mon., Dec. 13, 7 p.m. Rochester Oratorio Society: Resonanz. Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St. Pittsford. 248-6275. Tue., Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. RPO: Holiday Pops. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. rpo.org. Fri., Dec. 17, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m. $30+. Ryan Chan: A Christmas Meditation. Greece Baptist Church, 1230 Long Pond Rd. 225-6160. Fri., Dec. 17, 7 p.m. Tuba Christmas. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. Sun., Dec. 12, 3 p.m. Young Voices. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N Plymouth Ave. Sat., Dec. 11, 3 p.m.

TRADITIONAL Irish Night. Barry’s Old School Irish, 2 W. Main St. Webster. 545-4258. Fridays, 7 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 31, 8 p.m. $15/$17.

VARIOUS

SEASONAL

Live Happy Hour. Wednesdays, 6 p.m. Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwood St. Dec 1: The Lonely Ones; Dec 8: Soul Passenger; Dec 15: Significant Other; Dec 22: Moose-mas Carols; Dec 29: Sirsy 244-1210.

Almost Queen: Almost Christmas with Philadelphia Freedom. Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Rd. kodakcenter.com/ events. Sat., Dec. 18, 8 p.m. $29+. Ann Mitchell Jazz. Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St. Pittsford. 248-6275. Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m. Brass Choir. St. Mark’s & St. John’s Church, 1245 Culver Rd. 509-2596. Wed., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.


INSIDE WXXI PUBLIC MEDIA | WXXI-TV PBS AM 1370/FM 107.5 NPR l WXXI CLASSICAL WRUR-FM 88.5 l THE LITTLE THEATRE

This year marks WXXI President Norm Silverstein’s 25th anniversary. Under his leadership, WXXI has grown its services, acquired The Little Theatre, formed the Rochester Area Media Partners and the purchase of CITY, plus has assembled the most robust news team in the region. We sat down with Norm to ask about his work experiences over the last two and half decades.

WXXI

What do you see as the biggest changes in WXXI since you began in 1996? During the last 25 years, we have been part of the “digital revolution.” Going digital has allowed us to expand from one public television station and two radio stations to four digital television channels and six public radio stations. We continue to embrace the ever-changing landscape so that people can access our services where they want and when they want. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have changed what we do and how we do it, and the next change is likely around the corner. Stay tuned!

What accomplishments at WXXI are you most proud of and why? WXXI Public Media is a trusted source in the Greater Rochester area and our acquisition of the Little Theatre and CITY Newspaper has only strengthened that reputation. The way we served our community during the pandemic is something we’re all very proud of. Our national health series, Second Opinion with Joan Lunden, in partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center, has made a difference in so many lives – and our Move to Include initiative, with the Golisano Foundation, has expanded to a national pilot, as we promote inclusion for people with disabilities.

How has the state of journalism changed since you were a reporter -- or has it? The proliferation of 24-hour cable news channels and opinion masquerading as news has changed journalism, and not for the better. “Balanced reporting” used to be the goal, no matter what you personally thought. Reporters should be watchdogs, and there are plenty of examples of corruption and questionable behavior in communities that have lost local papers.

What do you think separates WXXI News & CITY from other news outlets? WXXI News and CITY are dedicated to giving people the facts about what’s going on, not just opinions. We don’t live or die by the latest breaking news story. Our goal is to be the place to turn to for local journalism that you can trust. Our long-form reporting and daily talk show Connections with Evan Dawson are examples that give voice and understanding of the issues important to our community.

What do you hope to accomplish with the WXXI Local Journalism Initiative? This initiative is designed to strengthen our local news coverage because local journalism is critical to the health of our community. Of course, we still need to be able to pay for reporters, commentators, equipment, etc., and our audiences have been very supportive. WXXI News and CITY News are sharing more stories and exchanging exciting ideas, and that helps keep our costs down. This initiative will ensure that quality, local journalism from our news team is sustainable for years to come. roccitynews.com CITY 23


FOR THE KIDDOS:

WXXI HAS SOMETHING

for everyone

Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas 12/7 at 7:30 a.m. on WXXI-TV A Charlie Brown Christmas 12/19 at 7:30pm on WXXI-TV Nature Cat: A Nature Carol 12/24 at 4 p.m. on WXXI-TV

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

FOR MUSIC FANS:

FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART:

A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella 12/3 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical

Santa School 12/12 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Watkins and the Rapiers Holiday Concert 12/15 at 7:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre

The Nutcracker & the Mouse King 12/14 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas with Vanessa Williams 12/25 at 4 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Clown by Quentin Blake 12/19 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV

FOR HISTORY BUFFS:

FOR BAKERS: The Great British Baking Show “Christmas Masterclass” 12/18 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Ken Burns: Hemingway 12/7 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Create Showcase: Magical Christmas 12/18 12-5pm on WXXI-CREATE

The Black Church: The is Our Story, This is Our Song 12/9 + 12/16 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

A Chef’s Life Holiday Special 12/24 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV

FOR NATURE LOVERS: Masterpiece: All Creatures Great and Small, Season 1 12/5 & 12 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV My Garden of a Thousand Bees 12/8 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV Nature: Santa’s Wild Home 12/15 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV 24 CITY DECEMBER 2021

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa 12/26 - 1/1/2022, daily between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on WXXI Classical

FOR THE TRAVELER: Create Showcase: Curious Traveler 12/10 at 9pm on WXXI-CREATE Rick Steves European Christmas 12/25 at 3 p.m. on WXXI-TV European Christmas Markets 12/26 at 6:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV


WXXI TV • THIS MONTH POV: Unapologetic

Celebrating PBS NewsHour! Friday, December 3 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-WORLD Explore how the award-winning newscast has set the standard for broadcast journalism. Go behind-the-scenes and meet the reporters, editors, producers, and on-air team and discover how it all comes together for broadcast. Photo: PBS anchors + correspondents, Credit: Courtesy of Mike Morgan

Monday, December 27 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV Meet Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionists whose upbringing and experiences shape their activism and views on Black liberation. Told through their lens, this film offers an inside look into the movement and ongoing work that transformed Chicago, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Photo: Janaé, Courtesy of TIFF

In Their Own Words: Angela Merkel Tuesday, December 28 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV One of the most enigmatic and inscrutable world leaders of our time, Angela Merkel’s life story reveals the woman behind the veil. Explore how experiences that began in her childhood shaped her politics and ultimately, the face of modern Europe. Photo: Angela Merkel, Courtesy of PBS

United in Song: Celebrating the American Dream

Monday, December 13 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV Climb into Elvis’ 1963 Rolls-Royce for a musical road trip that traces the rise and fall of Elvis as a metaphor for the country he left behind. Featuring Alec Baldwin, Rosanne Cash, Ethan Hawke, Chuck D, and many more.

Friday, December 31 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV Ring in the New Year with an all-star concert hosted by Chita Rivera and performed at Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall. Artists include David Archuleta, Paulo Szot, Midori, Judy Collins, Cassadee Pope, the American Pops Orchestra, and The Washington Ballet.

Photo: Mike Coykendall and M. Ward, Credit: Courtesy of David Kuhn

Photo: Chita Rivera, Courtesy of PBS

Independent Lens: The King

roccitynews.com CITY 25


TURN TO WXXI CLASSICAL FOR MUSIC PERFECTLY TUNED TO YOUR DAY A Rochester Festival of Lessons and Carols 2021

Live from Hochstein: A Cup of Good Cheer Wednesday, December 8 at 12:10 p.m. on WXXI Classical Rochester chamber choir Madrigalia presents its annual celebration of seasonal songs, under the direction of Cary Ratcliff.

Friday, December 24 at 11 p.m. on WXXI Classical Listen to musical selections by Carson Cooman, Harold Darke, Herbert Howells, Herbert Murrill, Dan Locklair and more. Third Presbyterian’s Chancel Choir under organist/ choirmaster Peter DuBois perform. Photo: Peter DuBois Credit: Richard Ashwoth

An Afro Blue Christmas

The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice 2021 Tuesday, December 21 at 2 p.m. on WXXI Classical Enjoy this musical celebration of the winter holidays, including Christmas, Chanukah, the Solstice, Jonkonnu, New Year’s and Twelfth Night, in a musical stage production that features anthems, wassails, hymns, folk dance-tunes and more. Photo: Lobero Theatre

Fiesta: Latin American Christmas Carols Thursday, December 23 at 10 p.m. on WXXI Classical Hear a beautiful selection of villancicos or Christmas carols from Spain and Latin America that spans several centuries and a great diversity of influences and traditions. 26 CITY DECEMBER 2021

Wednesday, December 29 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical Howard University’s premier vocal ensemble Afro Blue and guest pianist Cyrus Chestnut present holiday songs including AfricanAmerican spirituals, jazz and pop tunes, and classical selections for the season. Michele Norris hosts.

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


AM 1370, YOUR NPR NEWS STATION + WRUR-FM 88.5, DIFFERENT RADIO Selected Shorts: Holiday Hurdles with David Sedaris

BBC Witness History: World War Two in the Pacific Sunday, December 5 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 To mark the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Witness History brings you an hour of personal stories from the time. We meet a survivor of Pearl Harbor, speak to actor George Takei about his time in a U.S. internment camp, and speak to the son of a Japanese soldier who spent 28 years in the jungle – among other first-hand accounts of the major battles and the aftermath of the war in the Pacific.

Intelligence Squared U.S.: Agree to Disagree: Cyber War Sunday, December 12 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 With cyber threats and ransomware on the rise globally, the Biden administration has enlisted America’s tech titans to help blunt their effects. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are all in discussions with Washington over how to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure defenses against a growing array of both private and state-sponsored attacks. Skeptics question just how much can be achieved, given how connected U.S. society has become. Panelists include David Sanger, Michael Daniel and Jen Ellis in conversation with host John Donvan.

Sunday, December 19 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 Selected Shorts’ late host and founder Isaiah Sheffer is featured as the reader of Tobias Wolff’s “Powder,” in which a snowstorm provides an adventure for a father and son. In Allegra Goodman’s gentle borrowing from an O’Henry classic, a long-established couple discover they can surprise one another; Dana Ivey and Michael Cerveris read her “Gifts of the Jewish Magi. And David Sedaris (pictured) says English writer Jeanette Winterson captures the city to a T in “Christmas in New York,” a modern fairy tale with just a hint of magic, performed by Richard Masur.

Christmas on Henry Street Friday, December 24 at 12 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/ FM 107.5 Lillian Wald (pictured) grew up in Rochester, New York and graduated from the nursing program at New York Hospital Training School in 1891. She coined the term “public health nurse,” and helped to bring health care to the residents of New York’s Lower East Side when she founded the Henry Street Settlement. In 1902, Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah both fell on December 24. Christmas on Henry Street recounts how Lillian Wald planned a Christmas Eve party at the settlement, but Jacob Schiff forbid a tree to be on display at the House. However, housekeeper Aileen McRae refused to stand by and let Christmas be ruined for the Henry Street residents. roccitynews.com CITY 27


H

y s a w d i l i o

th

Indie gems, much-anticipated Oscar contenders, and more, arrive in December! Here’s a look at movies coming to the Little Theatre District this holiday season (this is not the complete December film list, and dates listed below are subject to change).

Licorice Pizza (Dec. TBD) The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, and Bradley Cooper.

Saturday Night Rewind is a throwback genre film series presented by Fright-Rags and The Little. Tickets available at thelittle.org.

Benedetta (Dec. 3) A 17th-century nun becomes entangled in a forbidden lesbian affair, but it’s her shocking religious visions that threaten to shake the church to its very core. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Red Rocket (Dec. 10) A washed-up porn star clashes with his estranged wife after returning to his hometown in Texas. Written and directed by Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine).

Dec. 4 (8 p.m.): Gremlins

Dec. 11 (8 p.m.): Die Hard

Dec. 18 (8 p.m.): National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The Lost Year Film Series: Saint Frances West Side Story (Dec. 10) Steven Spielberg directs this updated version of the hit musical.

Nightmare Alley (Dec. 17) A corrupt conman teams up with a psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money. Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Based on the 1946 novel of the same name. Filmed in Buffalo.

The Matrix Resurrections (Dec. 22) Back down the rabbit hole, and plugged back into the Matrix. Keanu Reeves and Carrie AnneMoss return to the franchise that began with the iconic 1999 original. Written and directed by Lana Wachowski.

Cyrano (Dec. 31) Cyrano de Bergerac dazzles everyone with his ferocious wordplay and brilliant swordplay. However, he’s convinced his appearance renders him unworthy of the affections of the luminous Roxanne, a devoted friend who’s in love with someone else. Peter Dinklage stars. Fun fact: The first ever movie to screen at The Little was “Cyrano de Bergerac” on October 17, 1929!

28 CITY DECEMBER 2021

Friday, December 10 • 7:30pm Thursday, December 16 • 7:30pm Tickets available at thelittle.org The Little’s “The Lost Year: The Movies We Missed in 2020” series showcases the hits, hidden gems, and award winners of 2020 in the way they were meant to be watched — in a movie theater! Thirty-four-year-old aimless server Bridget hasn’t yet achieved her goal of becoming a respected writer. When casual relations with a younger ‘nice guy’ leads to an unexpected confrontation with potential motherhood, she manifests a job nannying a pint-sized spirit guide disguised as an obstinate six-year-old. Bonus: Saint Frances was one of the most popular selections in The Virtual Little in 2020 while the theatre was temporarily closed.

thelittle . org


Irondequoit United Church of Christ Worship with us LIVE Sundays at 10:03 a.m.

Or worship virtually at irondequoitucc.org Friday December 24th, 7PM Join us for in person hybrid Intergenerational lessons & carols, candlelight service with organ, band, hand bells, and trombones

644 Titus Ave 544-3020 irondequoitucc.org

Wonn’t you join us? Wo

Winter Solstice

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service December 24th 11:00pm

Sunday, Dec. 19 • 10:30am - 11:30am

Christmas Eve Service Friday, Dec. 24 • 7pm - 8pm

What better way to connect with the real meaning of Christmas than to start Christmas Day at church? Plenty of room for social distancing. No reservations required, all are welcome. We’ll save you a seat... Salem United Church of Christ 60 Bittner Street 14604 www.christinthecity.com

Rochester Worships

roccitynews.com CITY 29


ARTS

CULTURAL CAPITAL

COUNTY POISED TO PONY UP PUBLIC ARTS FUNDING Shortchanged for years, small arts groups could be in line for a big hike. BY DAVID ANDREATTA AND REBECCA RAFFERTY

A

fter decades of shortchanging small arts and cultural organizations in public funding, the Monroe County Legislature this month is debating a county budget that would provide a significant financial boost to those groups. County Executive Adam Bello has proposed a spending plan that allots $500,000 for the organizations next fiscal year, which begins in January. If approved by legislators, the increase in funding to small arts and cultural groups would be the largest in at least 30 years. The proposal is a sharp turnaround from that of previous administrations that, year after year, set aside $45,000 for small organizations. “The truth is that the county didn’t do enough to support these vital organizations before the pandemic struck,” Bello said in unveiling his budget. Monroe County has been under scrutiny for both how much it allocates to arts and cultural organizations annually — about $1.4 million — and how that money is distributed. The lion’s share has historically gone to nine legacy institutions, including the Rochester Museum

30 CITY DECEMBER 2021

NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | JANUARY 2021 | FREE | SINCE 1971 DINING

WINTRY MIX

PUBLIC LIVES

SOUL-WARMING SOUPS OF ROCHESTER

OUR VANISHING BACKYARD RINKS

MICHAEL MENDOZA, M.D. (THE M.D. IS FOR ‘MY DADDY’)

If Rochester is a “City of the Arts,” why don’t we invest in the arts? roccitynews.org

CITY 1

CITY laid bare the inequities in public funding for the arts in an investigative report in January.

and Science Center, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and WXXI Public Media, the parent of CITY. Meanwhile, $45,000 has been reserved for what the county defines as “mid-sized” organizations, meaning those with annual budgets of between $100,000 and $1.5 million. In most years, that meant grants of less than $5,000 being awarded to about a dozen groups. Bello’s budget holds to that “midsized” definition, and maintains the funding streams for the nine stalwart institutions. What has changed is that

the share for those “mid-sized” groups has been greatly expanded. It is unclear how many more arts and cultural organizations could be eligible for those “mid-sized” grants. But county spokesperson Gary Walker said the intent of the boost was to fund more organizations than in the past. Bleu Cease, the executive director of the Rochester Contemporary Art Center and a vocal critic of the county’s arts funding process, applauded the proposed increase. “This is big news,” Cease said. “It will have a significant impact and may put us in line with our peer and benchmark communities.” That Monroe County lags behind peer counties in New York when it comes to funding arts and cultural institutions was the subject of a CITY investigative report in January that laid bare the contrasts. For instance, Erie and Onondaga counties, which encompass the cities of Buffalo and Syracuse, invest far more broadly in the arts. Erie last year budgeted $6.6 million for 88 arts and cultural organizations. Onondaga set aside $1.3 million for 46 groups, including 32 that received grants of $10,000 or less. What has evolved in Monroe County, leaders of small arts groups

say, is a two-tiered system of haves and have-nots that pits august institutions with well-heeled patrons against lessglamorous groups that serve more racially and economically diverse audiences. Following media scrutiny of the county’s funding practices for small arts and cultural groups, officials took some corrective action. The Monroe County Legislature earlier this year awarded grants of between $2,500 and $20,000 to small arts groups that were financed by a controversial rainy-day fund tucked into the county budget. Bello later created a $2 million grant program for small groups using federal pandemic relief funding. Some 65 grants were awarded, according to the county. Reenah Golden, founder and artistic director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, said her group, which has traditionally been unable to access funding, received grants from both initiatives. “In terms of process and whatnot and knowing now that many of the Black- and brown-led organizations that were left out in past budgets are now in the system and on the radar of the county and the county executive, that’s promising,” Golden said.


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

[ Continuing ] Art Exhibits

1570 Gallery at Valley Manor, 1570

East Ave. Tina & Peter Blackwood: A Family Affair. Through Dec. 12. 5468400. Bertha VB Lederer Online Gallery, SUNY Geneseo. Olivia Kim: Salt of the Earth. Through Dec. 13. Flower City Arts Center, 713 Monroe Ave. Bubu’s Journey: A Family Trip Becomes a Survival Story. Through Dec. 18. flowercityarts.org. Frontispace @ Art & Music Library, 755 Library Rd. Stefan Zoller: Monokrom. Through Dec. 15. 2732267. Geisel Gallery, Legacy Tower 2nd Floor Rotunda, One Bausch & Lomb Place. Arena Art Group: Moving Forward. Through Dec 31. thegeiselgallery.com. George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave. eastman.org. To Survive on This Shore: Photographs & Interviews with Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Older Adults; One Hundred Years Ago: George Eastman in 1921; Hair Love (to Jan 2); Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On (to Jun 19). Ongoing. $7-$18. Hart Gallery 27, 27 Market St. Brockport. The Art of the Found Object: Three Artists Assemble. Through Dec. 31. hartgallery27.com. INeRT PReSS, 1115 East Main St. Whittier’s Poems. Through Dec. 31. inertpress.com. International Art Acquisitions, 3300 Monroe Ave. John Baughman: Holiday in the Abstract. Through Dec. 31. 2641440. Main Street Arts, 20 W Main St. Clifton Springs. Small Works 2021. Through Dec. 23. mainstreetartscs.org. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. 276-8900. Renaissance Impressions: 16th-Century Master Prints from the Kirk Edward Long Collection (to Feb 6) | Tony Cokes: Market of the Senses (to Jan 9) | SALUT (to Aug) | Kota Ezawa: National Anthem (to Aug). $6-$15.

My Sister’s Gallery at the Episcopal Church Home, 505 Mt Hope Ave.

Hiroko Jusko: All Seasons. Through Dec. 12. 546-8400. Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery, 71 S Main St. Canandaigua. Small Works: Holidays at the Gallery. Through Dec. 31. prrgallery.com. Pittsford Fine Art, 4 N Main St. Pittsford. Small Works | Suzi Zefting-Kuhn. Through Dec. 31. pittsfordfineart.com. RIT City Art Space, 280 East Main St. Luvon Sheppard. Through Dec. 19. cityartspace.rit.edu. Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave. 31st Annual Members Exhibition. Through Jan. 15, 2022. $2. 461-2222. Rundel Memorial Building, 2nd Floor, Central Library, 115 South Ave. Open Wounds: The 50-Year Legacy of the Attica Prison Uprising. Through Jan. 28, 2022. 428-8370.

The Village Gallery, 3119 Main St.

Caledonia. 5th Annual Community Art Exhibit. Through Dec. 11. 294-3009. Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley St. Brockport. BFA Thesis Exhibition (Fall). Through Dec. 12. 395-2805. Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. vsw.org. Project Space Artist Residency. Dec 16: Emily Vey Duke, Cooper Battersby, Keliy AndersonStaley. Wood Library, 134 North Main St. Canandaigua. Finger Lakes Photography Guild: Perspective. Through Jan. 7, 2022. 394-1381.

Film

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60

Gibbs St. RPO: The Muppet Christmas Carol. Sat., Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. $30+. rpo.org. Little Theatre, 240 East Ave. The Lost Year: The Movies We Missed in 2020. Nov 20 & 21, 7:30pm: “Saint Frances”. thelittle.org. Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St. Geneva. The Polar Express. Sat., Dec. 11, 2 p.m. $5/$10. thesmith.org. Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. vsw.org. The VSW Salon Series. Dec 9: swampbabes: queer art/games community; Dec 16: The Spirit of the Library: 16mm films from the RPL collection. $5-$10 suggested.

Dance Events

Jerry’s Girls. Fri., Dec. 17, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 2 & 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 26, 2 p.m., Thu., Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 31, 7 p.m., Sat., Jan. 1, 8 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 2, 2 p.m. Blackfriars Theatre, 795 E. Main St $20+. 454-1260. Our Country’s Good. Through Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley St Brockport $9/$17. 395-2787. Pretty Woman: The Musical. Dec. 7-9, 7:30-10 p.m., Fri., Dec. 10, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 11, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 12, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Auditorium Theatre, 885 E. Main St. $38-$88. rbtl. org. Sinatra’s Christmas In Vegas. Sat., Dec. 18, 7 p.m. OFC Creations Theater Center, 3450 Winton Pl $27-$35. ofccreations.com. Stupid Fucking Bird. Wed., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Thu., Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Fri., Dec. 10, 7 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 11, 7 p.m. Todd Theatre, UR, River Campus $8$15. 275-4959. The Three Musketeers. Dec. 9-11, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 12, 2 p.m. MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave Open Road Theatre $17. muccc.org.

NYS Ballet: The Nutcracker. Fri.,

Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 2 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m. Hale Auditorium, Roberts Wesleyan College, 2301 Westside Dr $15-$65. (855) 222-2849.

Theater

2021 Rochester Midwinter Renaissance Faire. Dec. 20-23,

7 p.m. MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company of Greater Rochester $15. muccc.org. Broadway Bent. Fri., Dec. 31, 7 & 10:15 p.m. MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave $65. muccc.org. A Christmas Carol. Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd Nov 24-Dec 24 $18+. gevatheatre.org. A Golden Girls Christmas Carol. Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 12, 2 p.m., Fri., Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 19, 2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m. and Thu., Dec. 30, 9 p.m. OFC Creations Theater Center, 3450 Winton Pl $34+. ofccreations.com.

Readings & Spoken Word

New Ground Poetry Night. First Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m. Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. equalgrounds.com. Pure Kona. Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. equalgrounds.com.

Comedy

Big Laughs at The Little. Thu., Dec.

30, 6:30 p.m. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Brian Regan. Sun., Dec. 12, 7 p.m. Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Rd. $34+. kodakcenter.com/events. John DiCrosta. Fri., Dec. 31, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $20. 426-6339. Michael Rapaport. Thu., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 10, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 11, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $25. 4266339. Rich Vos. Thu., Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 17, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 18, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $10-$17. 4266339. Rob Campbell’s Comedy Vibes. Sun., Dec. 19, 7 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $20. 4266339. Stocking Stuffers Drag Show. Thu., Dec. 23, 8 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $20. 4266339.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS PUZZLE ON PAGE 50. NO PEEKING! 1

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roccitynews.com CITY 31


ARTS

UP AGAINST THE WALL

“The Death of David Kirby,” an ad based on the photo “Final Moments” by Theresa Frare is one of some 8,000 marketing images in the collection at the University of Rochester. PHOTO PROVIDED

THE ART OF THE AIDS ERA What may be the largest collection of HIV/AIDS posters resides in Rochester. BY JEFF SPEVAK

T

@JEFFSPEVAK1

he image is so stunning it takes your breath away. A frail young man, an almost Christ-like figure, lies on a hospice bed as his caregiver leans over him to give him a hug, one hand wrapped around the man’s head, the other hand holding onto his arm. Also at the bedside, the man’s mother and a young girl, embracing each other as they accept the inevitable: David Kirby would soon be dead of complications from AIDS. 32 CITY DECEMBER 2021

JSPEVAK@WXXI.ORG

The photo, titled “Final Moments,” was taken in 1990 by a young photography student named Theresa Frare. It took a curious journey. From the pages of “Life” magazine to, of all things, a clothing advertisement for the Italian fashion brand, United Colors of Benetton. The world, and the fashion industry, was being hit hard then by the scourge of HIV and AIDS. There was no need for Benetton to add to “Final Moments” any text

beyond the corporation’s name. The drama and the pain expressed in those four faces, reminiscent of a 17th-century Baroque painting, said enough. “There’s a very Renaissanceesque, a very, like, Passion of the Christ-esque element to it,” says Jessica Lacher-Feldman. “And that is very intentional.” In her role as exhibitions and special projects manager, Lacher-Feldman sits in the midst of the University of Rochester’s

collection of more than 8,000 HIV/AIDS posters. The collection, housed in the university’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, is believed to be one of the largest of such material in the world. “Final Moments” is just one of the startling images from “Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster.” Published this summer by Rochester Institute CONTINUED ON PAGE 35


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BEYOND THE FOLD JOURNALISM ON SCREEN

+ TALKBACKS WITH CITY EDITOR DAVID ANDREATTA AND GUESTS

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presenting sponsor 34 CITY DECEMBER 2021

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All the posters in “Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster” were compiled by the late Dr. Edward Atwater, who worked at Strong Memorial Hospital. PHOTO PROVIDED

of Technology’s RIT Press, the book presents nearly 200 posters culled from the UR collection. The book is also the gateway to a series of area HIV/AIDS awareness events in the coming months. Dec. 1 is World AIDS Awareness Day. • Thomas Warfield, senior lecturer at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf ’s Department for Performing Arts at RIT, and a community activist, assembled a World AIDS Day concert at the Memorial Art Gallery on Dec. 1. The museum’s Pavilion room will be stocked with community tables, arts and crafts, and an AIDS poster display. • Alongside the book, the corresponding exhibit “Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster” opens March 6 at the MAG. • Also at the MAG is the 5th Annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues on March 19. The event will explore Rochester’s response to

the AIDS crisis from 1981 to the present. • A series of films and documentaries focusing on the HIV/ AIDS epidemic opens April 8 at the MAG, followed the next three weeks with showings at The Little Theatre, and a panel discussion following the final film on April 28. Perhaps the most-astonishing aspect of “Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster,” is that it was assembled by one man. Dr. Edward Atwater was a member of the Department of Medicine at the UR, and was on the staff at Strong Memorial Hospital. “He was wired as a collector,” Lacher-Feldman says of Atwater. It goes back to when he was a kid, and we’re not talking baseball cards. The young Atwater collected pieces of pipe organs. But the UR’s Edward G. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 35


Miner Library reflects the interests of his later years: books, periodicals, and a vast pile of medical-related research, including on women who graduated from medical school in the United States prior to the Civil War. And where did the obsession with HIV/AIDS posters come from? A subway in Boston in 1990. A single, simple poster with a direct message: “Wear a condom.” “It was an epiphany for him,” Lacher-Feldman says. “He said, ‘This is a sea-change moment... This is social history. We are seeing something very different.’” “Even as a doctor,” she adds, “conversation on sexually transmitted diseases was limited.” Atwater called the Massachusetts board of health and asked for a copy of the poster. And an obsession was launched that would consume him until his death in 2019 at age 93. “I went and picked up posters at his house that he had gotten in New York maybe two and a half weeks before he passed away,” Lacher-Feldman says. Atwater developed a network of friends and family members who helped him amass the collection, now housed in the UR’s Rush Rhees Library. Along with the 8,000-plus posters, there are another 7,000 duplicates. Posters that offered a wide range of approaches as to how to deliver the message. Many were deadly serious, as with “Final Moments.” “It was a very big change in the way that in America, and in other parts of the world of course, that we talked about safe sex,” LacherFeldman says. And many of these posters were humorous; fruits and vegetables aren’t just for meal time. “He found those brilliant,” LacherFeldman says. “Not just that they were funny and tongue-in-cheek, but that they were effective. And I think that was part of the appeal in these posters. It’s by any means necessary. How do we get your attention, grab your attention, and say, ‘People are dying, you’d better do something, and you have to take personal responsibility?’” Personal responsibility, LacherFeldman says, is a message that resonates today. “There’s wide parallels with COVID and the AIDS crisis in that way,” she says. The posters also reflect geographic 36 CITY DECEMBER 2021


The AIDS posters featured in “Up Against the Wall” were intended to inform and help instill personal responsibility, particularly with regard to safer sex. PHOTO PROVIDED

differences in the messages conveyed. “In the United States,” LacherFeldman says, “it really became about gay male sex. And in other parts of the world, it’s just simply not the case. So that’s what’s so interesting to see, how the posters are reflected in places like Ghana, or South Africa, or Taiwan, or Hong Kong or the Philippines. How the approach, the audience, is very different, depending on where it’s from.” So the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts pirates a Norman Rockwell painting, and plays it for humor: An adult, with an open book on his lap, lectures a cowering boy: “Don’t forget the chapter on AIDS!” Yet death always lurks. Broadening the warning, Canada’s Ministry of

Health and Social Services issued a series of posters that included a sleeping heterosexual couple wrapped in silk sheets; they’re not lying on a bed, but in a coffin. Are these images exploitative of human tragedy? Exploitative of painful, private final moments? The family of David Kirby, the Christ-like figure of “Final Moments,” did not see it that way, Lacher-Feldman says. “The parents of this dying man said, ‘If this prevents one death, then good.’” Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor. He can be reached at jspevak@ wxxi.org.

roccitynews.com CITY 37


LIFE Rory Fitzpatrick won the Irondequoit supervisor's race as a political rookie up against a well-oiled machine. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

38 CITY DECEMBER 2021


PUBLIC LIVES BY DAVID ANDREATTA

@DAVID_ANDREATTA

DANDREATTA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

Rory Fitzpatrick: I-Town is his town

A

nyone who wants to know the real deal in Irondequoit could do worse than hanging around the Cooper Deli. For 70 years, the deli at the corner of Cooper Road and Titus Avenue has been a haunt for the town’s butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, everyday people who gather there over coffee, breakfast, and BLTs to spill the tea. On their menu: What they like about their town. What they hate about their town. What they want to change about their town. For the last 10 of those years, regulars have found a sympathetic ear in Rory Fitzpatrick, a former professional hockey player who owns the deli with his wife, Tracey, and last month shook the local political establishment when he upset Monroe County Legislator Joe Morelle Jr. in the race for town supervisor. “Just being here, we hear everything,” Fitzpatrick said. “You’ve got to filter through what’s real and what’s not, but we know everything, whether it’s true or not true. We know everything in town from school problems to town problems, to workers that come in to residents coming in and complaining about things.” The experience amounted to a decadelong listening tour for Fitzpatrick, a downhome political rookie who was considered a longshot when he announced his candidacy as a Republican against a well-oiled Democratic machine. Morelle Jr. was thought by many to be the heir apparent to the supervisor’s seat. His father, Joe Morelle Sr., represents most of Monroe County in Congress as a Democrat and is arguably the most influential political rainmaker in the region. Two of the elder Morelle’s protégés, David Seeley and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, have occupied the supervisor’s office for the last seven years. When Seeley revealed in January that he wouldn’t seek re-election this year, Morelle Jr. announced his candidacy the next day, leaving many with the impression that the whole thing had been contrived. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Eight years earlier, Morelle Sr., who then was a member of the state Assembly and the chair of the county Democratic Committee, recommended his son be appointed to fill a vacancy in the County Legislature. The arrangement sparked cries of nepotism. A

The Cooper Deli is a Fitzpatrick family affair. Daughter Hannah, left, works the counter with her mother Tracey. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Democrat and Chronicle columnist needled father and son as “Morelle Jong-il/Morelle Jong-un.” Morelle Jr. assumed the seat and later ran successfully in a special election as the incumbent. He went on to win reelection twice. Not that Fitzpatrick, 46, was a nobody. He had local-boy-makes-good name recognition from the 15 years he played pro hockey, including with six teams in the National Hockey League, before he returned home to Irondequoit with Tracey, his high school sweetheart, and their four children. Since retiring from the game in 2010, he has made a living through the deli and, for a time, as a part-owner of a handful of area ice rinks, where he did everything from teach skating lessons to coach teams and drive the Zamboni. More recently, he’s been managing The Athletic Campus, an indoor sports facility in Henrietta. Standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall with a husky frame, Fitzpatrick was an imposing defenseman in his day. But what he has in physical stature, he lacked in political power. The closest Fitzpatrick ever came to running in any election was as an unwitting candidate for an NHL AllStar nomination in 2006. That year, a new NHL rule allowing fans to vote as often as they liked online sparked a viral “Vote for Rory” movement that had fans stuffing the ballot box as a gag to get Fitzpatrick, a relatively unremarkable player, into the All-Star Game. Fitzpatrick, who was playing for the

Vancouver Canucks and had one point on the entire season to date, was ultimately edged out in the voting after the NHL was suspected of dumping Fitzpatrick ballots to save the integrity of the All-Star Game. He told reporters at the time that the episode was “kind of funny, actually.” But Fitzpatrick wasn’t smiling at the prospect of Morelle Jr. as supervisor. Neither were a lot of Irondequoit residents, it turned out. “We had Bello, Seeley, who are Morelle appointees, and it was either complain about it or actually try to make a change and do something about it or at least raise awareness,” Fitzpatrick said. “I call it subcontracting our leadership out.” He spoke from his favorite booth in the corner of the deli. Behind the counter his wife and their daughter, Hannah, fixed sandwiches for a line of customers. A few of them offered him their congratulations. Fitzpatrick recoils at being called “a politician,” and perhaps for good reason. County Board of Elections records suggest his voting record in recent years was hit-andmiss, and he only enrolled as a Republican a few weeks before he declared his candidacy. He said he believes in term limits. A supervisor term runs two years, and he said he hoped to serve two, maybe three if the people demanded he stick around. He added that he had no ambition to seek higher office. That day at the deli, he wore a longsleeve T-shirt imprinted with a logo that read: “My Town is I-Town.” “I’m not a suit-and-tie guy,” he

explained. “I’m just an Irondequoit resident at the end of the day.” Fitzpatrick grew up the middle of three boys in Irondequoit in the Summerville neighborhood and on Lakeshore Drive. His father managed meter readers for RG&E. His mother babysat children to help make ends meet. He left home at 17 for a nickel mining town 400 miles north to play hockey in an elite Canadian junior league known as a stepping stone to the NHL. A year later, he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the entry draft. Joe Robach, the former state Senator and now a spokesperson for the county Republican Party, said he believed Fitzpatrick’s everyman demeanor appealed to Irondequoit voters who grew weary of the political dynasty in their town. “I hate to be cliché, but Rory Fitzpatrick is an everyday person of the people rather than a machine-type politician,” said Robach, who hails from a political dynasty and knows a thing or two about machine politics. “I can assure you, he was not that,” Robach went on. “He decided to run himself and make that happen with the support of the party, not the other way around.” State campaign finance records show that Fitzpatrick had raised $30,000 for his campaign with less than two weeks to go before the election. The Irondequoit Republican Committee had kicked in $100. The rest came mostly from individual donors. By that point in the campaign, Morelle Jr. had amassed $54,000, with $1 in every $5 coming from a union or a political action committee, records show. Fitzpatrick managed his own campaign and social media accounts. He delivered signs to voters who requested them, and he kept the confidence of those whom he said were dyed-in-thewool Democrats who promised to vote for him if he wouldn’t tell anyone. “Whether that came from fear of the machine or them thinking, ‘I want you to win but I don’t think you can so I don’t want my name on it,’ I don’t know,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I think running my own campaign allowed me to be myself and I think that was refreshing for people.” roccitynews.com CITY 39


LIFE

HORNS APLENTY

Musicians who play in the annual Rochester Tuba Christmas concert range in age from 9 to 90. PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

AN OOMPHATIC SALUTE TO THE HOLIDAY How Rochester Tuba Christmas became a low-brass holiday highlight. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

T

here’s an old joke among tuba players that goes like this: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the tuba recital. That may be for chickens, but if history is any guide, a couple thousand people will flock to Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall on Dec. 12 for the jolly, tongue-in-cheek tradition of Rochester Tuba Christmas. The free annual concert is so popular 40 CITY DECEMBER 2021

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

that it regularly “sells out” of the available 2,365 tickets within a few hours. The appeal of the event, performers and regular concertgoers say, is in the combination of the spectacle and familiarity of scores of tuba and euphonium players crammed onto a single stage belting out more than 20 beloved Christmas carols. “I think that’s why it works, because these are tunes that people know,” says

the concert’s director Jeremy Stoner. “They’re hearing it in a new way, and they’re seeing something crazy in front of them, but they know the melody.” A brigade of low brass instruments, some of them wrapped in tinsel and lights, oom-pah-pah-ing their way through “Jingle Bells” is bizarrely soothing. Ploomp-ploom-ploomp. Ploomp-ploom-ploomp. Ploomp-ploompploom-ploomp-ploomp.

The first ploomp of Tuba Christmas reverberated in Rochester in 1982, but the origins of the event date to 1974, when celebrated tubist Harvey Phillips assembled 500 tuba players for a Christmas concert near the skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. “Primarily, I wanted to demonstrate to the general public that the tuba is a very noble instrument,” Phillips told The New York Times that year.


“You have to do something to get people’s attention.” When he died in 2010, The Times wrote of his legacy: “Most tuba players agree that if their unwieldly instrument has shed any of the bad associations that have clung to it — orchestral clown, herald of grim news, poorly respected back-bencher best when not noticed, good for little more than the ‘oom’ in the oom-pah-pah — it is largely thanks to Mr. Phillips. He waged a lifelong campaign to improve the tuba’s image.” Attention, Phillips got. Volunteers in 206 cities around the country today hold Tuba Christmas extravaganzas under the auspices of the Harvey Phillips Foundation. Notably, Alec Wilder, a Rochesterborn composer and Eastman School of Music professor, created the four-part musical arrangements for the carols at the inaugural concert in New York City that are still used today. For more than a decade, Rochester Tuba Christmas has been directed by Stoner, who played in his first Tuba Christmas when he was 9 years old. He had just started learning the tuba, but had a professional euphonium player in his stepfather Glenn K. Call (the long-time conductor of Rochester Tuba Christmas), and the concert then was organized by one of Call’s students, Joe Baker. By the time Stoner was lending his first oom-pahs to the yuletide event, it had become a staple of the Christmas experience at Midtown Plaza. Rochester families could ride the monorail, take the kids to see Santa Claus, and listen to Tuba Christmas as they shopped. “It’s just such a unique sight and a unique sound,” Stoner says. “Yeah, people would line the balconies around the plaza, the mall in there, and look down and it was just a thing.” Eve Elzenga, a former librarian and fashion writer who attended the very first Tuba Christmas and attends every year that she can snag tickets, remembers the crowds of people on the balconies and staircase of the plaza and “the big, bouncy acoustics” of the room reverberating with the joyful sounds of low brass. “It’s so big and bright and brassy,” Elzenga says. “It’s inspiring, you know? And it makes you feel like CONTINUED ON PAGE 42

Rochester Tuba Christmas’s organizer and conductor Jeremy Stoner, 45, has participated in the event since he was 9 years old. PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

Tuba Christmas musicians are encouraged to get decked out in their most festive attire. PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

roccitynews.com CITY 41


Though the annual Tuba Christmas at Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall is free, the concert regularly “sells out” the day tickets become available. PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

42 CITY DECEMBER 2021

you’re a kid again, that you’re at some very special gathering.” Enthusiasm for the oomphatic event is shared as much by the audience as its performers, which has for many years at various Tuba Christmas concerts around the country included euphonium and sousaphone players. Stoner recalls as many as 286 musicians participating in a single event at Eastman Theatre, some of them forced to perform their parts backstage. Since then, the number of performers has been capped at 200. This year, amid the pandemic which last year canceled the concert, is limited to 100 players. Tuba Christmas musicians get one hour to practice together before the roughly 45-minute concert. Stoner says that while he aims to get the most musicality out of his enormous ensemble, the dynamics observed during rehearsal usually fall by the wayside during the performance, due to the excitement of the players. The sheer loudness of the instruments often belies their pleasant sound. “It’s a low, beautiful, melodious,


sonorous instrument,” says Patty Welch, a tuba player and band director for West Irondequoit public schools. “And you would be surprised how gorgeous it can really sound.” Welch has participated in Rochester Tuba Christmas since 1985. The concert is a great way to strengthen the bond between teacher and student, she says. “I have a lot of clarinet and trumpet playing friends and colleagues that are band directors in the area,” Welch says. “But for that day, everybody is a tuba or euphonium player. And they come with their young kids and they make sure that they have a great time, and everybody plays Christmas carols together — and it really is just a wonderful tradition in Rochester.” Welch also pointed out that while the concert enables low-brass players of all skill levels to perform, it also provides young students the chance to continue to play a melody — an uncommon role for such instruments — at their schools and for their families. But aspiring kids aren’t the only ones getting in on the action. Rochester Tuba Christmas concerts include

players ranging in age from 9 to 90. The experience of hearing a more accomplished musician play can be an ear-opening experience for a child, Welch says. “That might be their first shot of really listening to somebody with really warm, wonderful tone quality, or technique or range,” she says. “And they’re suddenly like, ‘Ok, my world was only this big. But now it’s this big. And I understand there’s so much more possibility with what I could do when I play.’” And unlike most concerts in Kodak Hall, audience members are encouraged to sing along, which Welch says emphasizes the longstanding importance of the event in the community. “When you’re all in there together, singing Christmas carols at this wonderful time of year, and you’re seeing so many brightly colored, decorated instruments, and so many people having fun,” Welch says, “it’s just all feel-goods, like the whole time you’re in there.”

PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

roccitynews.com CITY 43


ARTS

ALL-DAY DINNER

Very little prep work is required for these filling and comforting meals. You can literally throw them together in a slow cooker, head out for the day, and come home to dinner ready to be devoured. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH

SLOW-COOKED FAST FOOD Leave these hearty winter meals in the slow cooker all day, and come home to dinner ready to eat. BY J. NEVADOMSKI

F

inding time to cook a hearty weeknight meal can be challenging, but even more so during the holiday season. With additional minutes of your morning spent cleaning the snow off your car and shoveling out your driveway just to get to work, only to come home late and exhausted from all those after-hour seasonal errands, dinner is usually a distant afterthought. This is where the trusty slow cooker saves the day. You can load it up with 44 CITY DECEMBER 2021

ingredients before you head out the door in the morning, and come home to a wonderfully filling, hot, homecooked meal that’s ready to serve with minimal effort. These three recipes are some of my seasonal favorites, and the leftovers can last for days. Try them out in an electric Crock-Pot while you are away all day. Or if you’re home on the weekend, you can cook them on the stovetop in a Dutch Oven as meal prep for the week.

HOPPIN’ JOHN SERVES 4 TO 6 A beloved staple of kitchens in the south, Hoppin’ John traces its origins to Senegalese culinary traditions and is sometimes referred to as Carolina rice and peas. As a weeknight meal it is particularly easy to make, endlessly flavorful, and filling. It will hold up for days in the fridge and can be made into a vegetarian option by omitting the pork.

You will need: 1 cup of dry black-eyed peas (soaked overnight and rinsed) 1 lb of smoked pork (a boneless jowl is best) 1 large sweet yellow onion (large dice) 2 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped) 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (more to taste) 1 tsp of smoked paprika 1 tbsp of sherry or cider vinegar 2 tbsp of brandy Water Salt and pepper (to taste)


The Hoppin’ John traces its origins to Senegalese culinary traditions.

Combine all of the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven. Add enough water to submerge the ingredients and cover. Cook on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Once the beans are tender, remove the pork, discard any bones, shred the meat evenly, and return it to the pot and mix well. Serve with steamed white rice.

CROCK-POT CACCIATORE SERVES 4 TO 6

This filling Italian dish has roots dating back to the Renaissance. A meal prepared alla cacciatore (or “hunterstyle”) is easily left to simmer for hours. The dish was traditionally prepared with rabbit, but chicken is most commonly used as the base protein in the United States and the dish is flexible enough to accommodate beef, pork, and lamb. For a slow cooker application, I find that a boneless beef chuck roast is best, but any nice cut of meat will do. For a vegetarian option you can replace the meat with portabella mushrooms.

You will need: 1 lb boneless beef chuck roast 1 28-oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (Cento San Marzano is best) 2 large red bell peppers (seeds removed, cut into thick julienne) 1 large yellow onion (large dice) 4 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped) 1 tbsp of fresh basil (roughly chopped) 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped) 2 tbsp of olive oil 1/4 cup of red wine 2 cups of water 1 tsp of Italian red pepper flakes (optional, more to taste) Salt and pepper (to taste) Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven and cook covered on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with steamed white rice or cooked pasta such as penne. CONTINUED ON PAGE 46

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WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI SERVES 4 TO 6

An atypical take on a fall-winter classic, white bean chicken chili is a nice change of pace from the more common red beans, beef, and tomato chili. My take veers toward Italian flavors with cannellini beans and Mediterranean greens, but other versions offer a California styling of the dish with the addition of avocado, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime juice. For a vegetarian option you can replace the meat with firm tofu or seitan. You will need: 1 cup of dry cannellini or great northern beans (soaked overnight and rinsed) 1 lb of boneless and skinless chicken thighs (cut into two-inch chunks) 1 head/bunch of escarole or broccoli rabe (cleaned, end stems removed, cut into two-inch chunks) 1 large sweet yellow onion (small dice) 1 green bell pepper (seeds removed, medium dice) 2 cloves of hard neck garlic (peeled and roughly chopped) 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (more to taste) 1 tbsp of cumin (more to taste) 2 tbsp of fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped) 2 tbsp of olive oil 3-5 cups of chicken stock (as needed) Salt and pepper (to taste)

Top: The Crock-Pot Cacciatore has its roots in the Renaissance.

Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, or Dutch Oven and cook covered on a very low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with thick crust fresh bread.

PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH

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Earn $100 by participating in our study!

Two visits ($50 per visit). The second visit will be 6 months after the first. There will be lung function test and blood draw (two tablespoons), saliva, breath condensate and urine collection at each visit.

Call our Research Coordinator at 585-224-6308 if you are interested or if you have questions. Thank you! 46 CITY DECEMBER 2021

Bottom: The White Bean Chicken Chili is an atypical take on a fall-winter classic.


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

Lectures

Bald Eagles: Back from the Brink. Thu., Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Online, Penfield Public Library. Registration required.

Holiday

Edgerton Model Train Club Holiday Open House. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m

Paul Bannick: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls. Thu., Dec. 9,

Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus St 428-6769. Holiday Bazaar. Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m The Yards, 50-52 Public Market theyardsrochester.com.

Literary Events & Discussions

Holiday Extravaganza Winter Festival & Concert. Dec. 17-18, 5-10 p.m.

7 p.m. Online, rochesterbirding.org.

Books Backstage. Tue., Dec. 7, 7 p.m.

Rochester Music Hall of Fame, 25 Gibbs St. “Hosea Plays On” with Kathleen B. Blasi $8. rochestermusic.org/events.

Kids Events

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.,

Sat., Dec. 11, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 12, 2 p.m. A Magical Journey Thru Stages, 875 E Main St $15. mjtstages. com. Disney on Ice. Thu., Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Fri., Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 11 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 19, 12 & 4 p.m. Blue Cross Arena, One War Memorial Sq $20. bluecrossarena.com. Family Fun Day: Stars with Santa. Sat., Dec. 11, 9, 9:40 & 10:15 a.m. and Sat., Dec. 18, 9, 9:40 & 10:15 a.m. Strasenburgh Planetarium, 657 East Ave $15. rmsc.org. Last-Minute Holiday Crafts. Thu., Dec. 23, 2-3 p.m. Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Rd. Registration required 340-8720.

New Year’s Eve Family Parties & Games.

Fri., Dec. 31. Various, Rochester Monroe Co. libraries libraryweb.org. Puppet Show: Kind Heart. Tue., Dec. 28, 2 p.m. Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Rd. Ages 3-10. Registration required 340-8720. Royal Holiday. Dec. 11-12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq. (museumofplay.org) with museum admission: $18/$23. Storytime Club. Mondays, 10:30 a.m Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq. (museumofplay.org) W/ museum admission: $18/$23. Trim a Tree for Wildlife. Wed., Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m. Helmer Nature Center, 154 Pinegrove Ave $5. 336-3035.

Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N Plymouth Ave. $25. 353-7292. Holiday Market. Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m Geneva History Museum, 543 S Main St . Geneva (315) 789-5151. Holiday Market at La Marketa. Thu., Dec. 9, 5:30-8 p.m. International Plaza, 828 N Clinton Ave . Holidays at the Market. Sundays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thu., Dec. 16, 6-9 p.m Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St. The Polar Express Train Ride. Saturdays, Sundays Medina Railroad Museum, 530 West Ave. Dec 4-19 $38/$54. 798-6106. RMSC After Dark: Yule Ball. Fri., Dec. 17, 7-11 p.m. Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Ave. (rmsc.org) $16-$25. ROC Holiday Village. WednesdaysSundays MLK Jr. Memorial Park, 1 Manhattan Sq. Wed-Fri, 4-10pm; Sat 11am-10pm: Sun 11am-6pm. Holiday Celebrations: Hanukkah, Dec 5; Kwanzaa, Dec 12; Three Kings, Dec 17; Christmas, Dec 19 rocholidayvillage.com.

Tabletop Tree Display (to Dec 19) | Sweet Creations (to Jan 2). Through

Jan. 2, 2022. George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave. eastman.org eastman.org/ holidays-museum. Themata Holiday Market. Mon., Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Culver Road Armory, 145 Culver Rd themata145.com. Wonderland Express Train Ride. Saturdays, Sundays, Fri., Dec. 10 and Fri., Dec. 17 Arcade & Attica Railroad, 278 Main St Arcade Nov 20-Dec 19 $32/$34. aarailroad.com.

Special Events

ROC City Cannabis Carnival. Sat., Dec. 18, 3 p.m. Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. 232-3221.

SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM For 50 years, CITY has kept the powers that be on their toes while highlighting the very best of art, music, and culture. Consider a donation for you or a loved one to help us keep local and independent journalism alive in Rochester.

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48 CITY DECEMBER 2021


roccitynews.com CITY 49


LIFE

ANATOMY OF A COMPOSITION

ACROSS

Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 41

PUZZLE BY S.J. AUSTIN & J. REYNOLDS

1. Without: Fr. 5. Sassy 10. Finger-pointer 15. Clue found when tracking an animal 19. Got _____ deal

1

2

3

22. Type of restaurant order 23. ** Funds for a kid who’s left “Home Alone”? 25. ** Funds for new clothes for an Arctic expedition? 27. Authority, casually 28. Suggestive hint 30. The average strawberry has 200

35. Gratis

6

23

9

10

28

38

39

48

32

41 50 56

35 43

51

52

63

53

46

47

77

78

123

124

71 76

82

83

88

92

45

66

75

87

91

18

54

70

74

86

90

44

65

81

85

17

59

64

69

73

16

36

58

68

80

15

26

42

62

67

79

14

30

57

61

72

13

22

34

49

60

12

29

33

40

55

11

25

24

31

84

8

21

27

37

7

20

31. Words spoken to a hitchhiker 34. Colonizers of every landmass on the planet

5

19

20. Start of a playground selection rhyme 21. Woods who voiced Cinderella

4

89

93

94

95

37. Nelson Mandela’s org. 40. Off, in a palindromic phrase

96

42. Metal used in making steel

102

97

98 104

103

44. Measurement of current

109

110

99

100

105 111

106 112

101

107

108

113

114

48. Thieves during a natural disaster 50. Word that sounds like two rhyming letters 52. Boo-boo 54. Member of the latchkey kid generation, familiarly 55. “_____ am America” (Langston Hughes)

115

116

117

118

119

120

121 128

122

125

126

127

129

130

131

132

133

134

135

136

137

56. Heavyweight champ with a face tattoo

Rockies?

97. Celestial ring

76. Farm collective, for short

98. Fancy dance

58. One serve point away from winning in tennis

79. 9-Down, e.g.

100. People who barely get by?

81. Charts again

102. Prepare leftovers

127. ** What a bully might steal… or a hint to the ends of the answers to each starred clue

82. Computer snags

104. Green sci.

130. Patron saint of Norway

60. Inventor Tesla

84. 1982 comedy featuring Dustin Hoffman in a sequin dress

106. _____ wand (one of the Deathly Hallows)

131. Clear a blackboard

62. Where “three men” are in a nursery song

87. Impervious (to)

108. Ultra wide shoe spec

133. Souvenir from a swordfight

89. Withdraw from a nation

109. Word before Cong or Minh

90. Tater

111. Spits bars

134. Surname (and weather event) in “The Wizard of Oz”

91. Huck Finn vessel

113. Slalom paths

135. Went steady

93. Assistants

115. Slashed conjunction

136. Eldest son of Don Corleone

95. Rely (on)

118. Reappearance above water, as for a submarine

137. Strong and healthy

59. Volcano that is a homophone of an insurance agency

65. Ushers 67. Postscript to a novel 69. Lamp residents 71. Gasteyer or de Armas 72. Opposite of NNW 73. ** Funds for a trip to a city in the 50 CITY DECEMBER 2021

96. Financial org. once deemed “too big to fail”

121. Still in it

125. ** Funds dispensed seven times a week?

132. Toxic gas with a pungent odor


DOWN

58. “…and carry _____ stick”

1. 5th Avenue retailer

59. Long, long, long time

2. Calculation in geometry or calculus

61. Miners’ finds

3. Cannellini alternative

63. Curfew, perhaps

4. Shot prediction in HORSE

64. Anomalous

5. Birth mo. for Michael Jordan and Ed Sheeran

66. Social stratum

6. Stephen of “The Crying Game” 7. Los Angeles neighborhood featured in a 1992 caveman flick 8. Priory of _____ (group in “The Da Vinci Code”) 9. Body art made from powdered leaves 10. “Close, but no cigar” 11. King in “The Tempest” 12. Blend 13. _____ an era 14. Emeritus: Abbr. 15. Actress who is one Oscar win shy of tying Hepburn for the most ever

68. Fantastical 70. Vandalized, as a house on Halloween 74. Send off 75. Groups of cells with a common structure 77. Subdue, medically 78. In _____ (so to speak) 80. Thus far, in a spreadsheet 83. 251, to Maximus 84. Imperial title derived from “caesar” 85. Early Ron Howard TV role 86. Furious 88. Longest river in the world

16. Blow

92. Enemy

17. Elderly

94. They justify the means

18. Rubik’s Cubes and Lego bricks, for two

97. Hirsute

24. Who can hear you scream in space 26. 1972 Bill Withers hit that is not an offer to help 29. Sports team’s wear, informally 32. The carrying of a boat between navigable waters 33. Adjective for a small spider 36. Comes down 37. Skirts shaped like a letter 38. Policy at an open bar, maybe

98. Kenneled 99. Swiss mountain range 101. Fantasize 103. Develop gradually 105. Line in origami 107. Musician who added “Ono” as a middle name in 1969 110. Earth, in sci-fi 112. Grain storage structures 114. Move with a splashing sound

39. ** Funds for a Girl Scout sale?

115. What you can be as sick as or work like

41. _____ Deion (former NFL nickname)

116. Leonine Disney queen

43. Nonverbal assent 45. ** Funds for an actor in the background of a movie scene? 46. Largest monthly expense in many personal budgets 47. Epochs 49. Saw, e.g. 51. “A famous German waltz god” for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 53. 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner

117. Irish Spring competitor 119. Flesh on a bone 120. Anise-flavored liqueur 122. Machu Picchu builder 123. _____ parm 124. Brontë heroine 126. The bottom of a sea or lake 128. Don Lemon’s network 129. Psst!

57. A terrible hockey goalie, metaphorically roccitynews.com CITY 51


52 CITY DECEMBER 2021


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