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NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | SEPTEMBER 2021 | FREE | SINCE 1971 ON STAGE

CHOW DOWN

PUBLIC LIVES

THE BEST SHOWS THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK

WHAT’S NEW ON THE FOOD SCENE THIS FALL

A DRAG QUEEN HOLDS COURT FOR KIDS

SEASON PREVIEW

THE KEYBANK ROCHESTER FRINGE FESTIVAL SWINGS INTO FALL SEPT. 14


WELCOME

Fall is a fresh start

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NEWS. ARTS. LIFE.

Everyone talks about the spring being a time of renewal. But I’ve always found the fall to be the season of new beginnings. There is the new school year, with its promise of a fresh start for students, teachers, and parents. Performance stages come to life with music, dance, and plays. Football kicks off, hockey hits the ice, baseball enters its playoff push. Our parks and trees are teeming with color in the fall. Yeah, the leaves are dying, but their brilliant pastels are as glorious and inspiring as any garden in full bloom. Couple those colors with a nip in the air and the smell of a wood-burning fireplace and a hankering for exploring a new world in the pages of a good book is irresistible. This month’s CITY unveils all the new the coming months have to offer in our Fall Preview. Our writers and critics have their boots on the ground and point you to can’t miss musical acts of the season, the theatrical performances they’re excited to see, the new books they’re reading, the restaurants worth a visit, and more. But the new beginnings don’t end there. Our Life pages offer a literal behind-the-scenes peek at the filming of a new children’s show at Blackfriars Theatre that its star, the Rochester drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis, describes as a cross between “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” In the Arts section, we follow Rochester musicians who are pinning fresh hopes on the livestreaming platform Twitch to connect with audiences and monetize their work, and explore the awakening of the multi-talented Justin Rielly, who embraces the artistry of autism through his one-man theater company Aspie Works. On the News side, we dissect the newfound influence of the Working Families Party in rattling the foundations of the local political establishment through its willingness to step out of the shadow of the Democratic Party and stand by progressive candidates. We also enter the final round of voting for CITY’s “Best of Rochester” readers’ poll. There's no better time than now to cast your ballot for everything that makes Rochester a great place to live, work, and play. Link to the survey from the QR code on page 11 or find the poll at roccitynews.com. Speaking of new beginnings, it’s worth mentioning that it was a year ago this month that CITY launched is monthly magazine format after the pandemic sidelined the weekly newspaper. The response to our new look and the quality of our content has been overwhelmingly positive. We could not have done it without the support and patience of our readers and advertisers. We at CITY thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

David Andreatta, Editor

Thoughts about CITY? Tell us at feedback@rochester-citynews.com      

SEPTEMBER, 2021 Vol 50 No 1 On the cover: Photograph by John Schlia 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: Rachel Crawford, Joe Massaro, J. Nevadomski, Jeff Spevak, Emmarae Stein, Katherine Varga 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 585-258-0150.

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SEPTEMBER 2021


IN THIS ISSUE OPENING SHOT

Matthew Singleton, owner of Skate Luvers Roller Palace in Rochester shows off his skills. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

NEWS

4

PROGRESSIVES PUNCH BACK

LIFE

18

34

The Working Families Party of Rochester is backing primary challengers to machine Dems — and winning. BY JEREMY MOULE

12

ARTS

BAD MEDICINE

24

The best of everything fall, from food and music to theater and books. BY STAFF

50

ART SHOWS YOU SHOULDN'T MISS

Get these exhibits in your calendar, get gussied, and get off the couch.

MRS. KASHA DAVIS IS FOR THE KIDS

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

THE STORYTELLER

Justin Rielly embraces the artistry of autism on stage and in life with his one-man theater company Aspie Works.

PUBLIC LIVES

One of Rochester’s most prominent drag queens is filming pilots for a children’s TV show.

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WORLDLY PANTRIES

Global grocery stores offer tastes of all kinds for adventurous palates. BY J. NEVADOMSKI

BY JEFF SPEVAK

BY GINO FANELLI

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When the pandemic kept local bedroom pop artists from playing out, they took to Twitch. BY JOE MASSARO

Two transgender men say they were traumatized by their treatment at Highland Hospital. ON THE COVER FALL PREVIEW

BEDROOM POP

56

BREATHE THE FALL AIR

Hike, paddle, and picnic your way through autumn. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

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NEWS

PROGRESSIVES PUNCH BACK

Face it, the Working Families Party has become a force in local elections

City Council candidate Kim Smith, Working Families Party of Rochester Chairperson Stevie Vargas, her son Payton Vargas, and volunteer Matthew Witten hit the streets of downtown Rochester to spread the word about a free Labor Day weekend cookout the party is helping to host. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

WHAT BEGAN AS A PARTY TO UP THE MINIMUM WAGE IS TURNING DEMOCRATIC RACES UPSIDE DOWN. BY JEREMY MOULE

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@JFMOULE

arah Clark knew her Democratic primary race for the state Assembly last year would be tough. Despite cultivating powerful allies in Democratic politics as an aide to Sens. Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand for nearly 20 years, Clark had lost the backing of the Monroe County Democratic 4 CITY

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JMOULE@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

Party for her bid for the 136th Assembly District seat to one of her opponents, Justin Wilcox, a county legislator whose political star appeared to be rising. So Clark leaned into values and positions she already embraced, such as healthcare for all, building more affordable housing, and paying workers living wages, and

sought the endorsement of another party that shared those values: the Working Families Party. She got it, and with it, a bundle of resources. The progressivebacked party isn’t particularly well funded, but it has boots on the ground that excel at campaign logistics. Party volunteers helped Clark with phone banks, social

media, and digital operations that were crucial to reaching voters when the pandemic sidelined traditional door-to-door canvassing and glad-handing at public events. Clark won the primary and, later, the general election. She is currently serving her first term. “I knew that if I got their designation, it would show to


Working Families Party of Rochester Chairperson Stevie Vargas speaks with canvassers. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Democratic voters that those were my priorities as well, and that those would be the things I’d be fighting for,” Clark said in a recent interview. For years, the Working Families Party in New York clung to its standing as a distant third party by glomming onto candidates backed by one of the two major parties. While the party mostly favored Democrats, it was known for endorsing Republicans on occasion, too. But Clark’s victory, and others like hers, reflect a turning point for the Working Families Party, particularly in the Rochester region. No longer content to leech off of establishment candidates, Working Families has made a concerted effort over the last two elections to support candidates its members think can oust Republicans and Democrats they consider not

progressive enough. The effort has paid off, and nowhere were the fruits of the party’s labor more evident than in this year’s June Democratic primaries. Three Working Families-backed candidates effectively dismantled the Monroe County Legislature’s four-member Black and Asian Democratic Caucus when they defeated two caucus members and a key ally, each of whom had the backing of the county Democratic Party. Those three candidates are now all but certain to win the general election in the fall. The party also endorsed and provided substantial support to the successful primary campaigns of Free the People Roc co-founder Stanley Martin and VOCAL-NY organizer Kim Smith. The party also backed Malik

Evans, who beat the embattled and Democratic-party endorsed mayor, Lovely Warren, in the Democratic primary. The same scenario unfolded in Buffalo, where nurse and activist India Walton, who is a democratic socialist, toppled four-term incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in that city’s Democratic primary with the aid of Working Families operatives. Stevie Vargas, the chairperson of the Working Families Party of Rochester, reflected on her party’s string of victories recently over coffee at New City Cafe & Roastery on Parsells Avenue, where she made her office for the morning. “Our winning track record shows that our candidates resonate with the people regardless of if they were an incumbent, regardless if they got the Democratic nomination,” Vargas said.

‘FROM THE STREETS TO THE SEATS’ Vargas, 29, is the upstate campaign coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education. As an organizer used to leading rallies, she has a strong voice that really carries when she uses a bullhorn. But her tone was welcoming and friendly as she explained that the Working Families Party wants to back fighters. Specifically, she said, the party wants to support candidates who will push the city to redirect funding for police to community programs, services, and institutions “actually bring about true public safety.” Candidates who stand with working families and the LGBTQ community, push for more school CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

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funding, and have been supportive of cannabis legalization and moratoriums on pandemic-related eviction evictions are also priorities. Many of those issues reflect the calls of activists who galvanized thousands of people to march through Rochester’s streets in 2020. “Our mantra is from the streets to the seats and we actually mean that,” Vargas said. The Working Families Party was founded in New York in 1998 by a coalition of labor unions, progressive organizations, and advocacy groups to push for a higher minimum wage. But over time, as the party grew, so too did its tactics and priorities. These days, the party fashions itself as a champion of progressive causes and the needs of everyday New Yorkers — working class people, marginalized groups, single parents, communities of color, and the poor — and now has chapters in 11 states. In New York, the state party functions as sort of a central hub for party leaders in counties and smaller communities. Those leaders and their members make the calls on which candidates to back, and they have become increasingly bold in their choices, unafraid to move from out of the shadow of the Democratic Party and stand alone. The party has been active in Rochester and Monroe County for a long time, but there was no official chapter until the chaotic year of 2020, when COVID-19 put a spotlight on longstanding health and social inequities and demonstrators packed streets to protest those disparities as well as the death of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester police. Not long before, the state party saw a shakeup at its highest levels. Sochie Nnaemeka became its director in 2019, and she has said that she wants the WFP to be a home for the political left. Rynn Reed, elections manager for the state Working Families Party, said party organizers saw promise in Rochester because of its successful push to establish a Police Accountability Board and the momentum of groups such as Free the People Roc, which organized the Prude protests and Black Lives 6 CITY

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Canvassers reconvene after hitting Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Midtown Manor apartment building. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Matter rallies, and the Rochester City-Wide Tenants Union, a housing activism group. “There’s this kind of hum that we picked up on and I think we were right and have had a lot of progressive energy and movement,” Reed said. “WFP can’t take credit for all of that but I do think we were able to realize that activist power.” Working Families Party leaders embrace the notion of their party as small-but-mighty. Its wins are outsized, given its finances and that the number of voters on its rolls are dwarfed by those of the major parties. In Monroe County, for instance, the number of registered voters enrolled in the Working Families Party has hovered around 1,500. In

the last year, however, the rolls have swelled to about 1,700 — a roughly 13-percent increase. By way of comparison, roughly 206,000 registered voters in the county are enrolled Democrats, and another 128,000 are Republicans. Statewide, 44,358 registered voters are Working Families Party members. They are notoriously loyal to their cause and selective of their candidates. Before state Sen. Samra Brouk, a Democrat, won her seat in the 55th District last year, she sought the endorsement of the Working Families Party. To get it, she recalled, she filled out an extensive questionnaire and sat before members for a thorough grilling. The goal, she said, was to see if her values aligned with the party’s. Brouk knew what the Working Families Party was about and had been voting on its line for several years, she said. The party’s focus on building a government and society where everyone has access to quality education and equal opportunity struck a chord with her. “They have a different, more inclusive, more prosperous vision of our world and I want to build that

with them,” Brouk said during a recent phone conversation. Once it was settled that she and the party shared the same values, the WFP mobilized volunteers for Brouk’s campaign. She had a lot of ground to cover. The seat stretches from Irondequoit to Naples in Ontario, and had been a Republican stronghold. Winning it would be expensive. Its incumbent, Republican Rich Funke, had decided not to run for re-election, and Brouk, a first-time candidate, found herself against another political newcomer in Republican Chris Missick. She beat him handily, garnering 90,410 votes to Missick’s 67,083. Nearly 6,900 of her votes came on the Working Families line. Her victory, along with that of Democrat Jeremy Cooney, another Working Families Party-endorsed candidate who flipped a previously Republican seat, subsequently paved the way for several progressive policy victories in the Legislature, with the legalization of recreational cannabis being the most visible. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8


Working Families Party of Rochester Chairperson Stevie Vargas talks with Kim Smith, a City Council candidate the party endorsed. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

WITH ATTENTION COMES OPPOSITION The Working Families Party owes its outsized influence to New York’s peculiar fusion voting system, which allows candidates to run and collect votes on multiple party lines, sometimes representing divergent political philosophies. Most states do not allow such crossover, but supporters of fusion voting argue it allows for more political ideas to percolate and more voices to be heard with each major-party candidate who seeks the support of small parties, like Working Families. Zach King, the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, whose candidates often seek the endorsement of the Working Families Party, said they do so to show they have appeal beyond a mainline Democratic base. “I think it adds a little bit more dimension to candidates,” King said. The relationship was reciprocal, especially when it came to the race for governor. 8 CITY

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For decades, state regulations guaranteed any party that could garner 50,000 votes on its line in an election for governor a ballot line in elections for the next four years. Any party that couldn’t make the cut was banished, killing its influence and, in some cases, the entire party itself. It was for that reason that the Working Families Party has historically piggybacked on Democratic-endorsed candidates, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and not run its own candidates. But the regulations changed last year when New York imposed a new threshold for third-party ballot access — a standard backed, and some say orchestrated, by Cuomo — that required small parties to garner 130,000 votes in a presidential election, or 2 percent of the total vote, whichever was greater, to retain its automatic ballot line. Cuomo and the Working Families Party had sparred in recent years, after the party endorsed the governor’s opponent, Cynthia


Nixon, in the Democratic primary in 2018. (In an example of fusion voting, the party gave Cuomo its line in the general election, where he got more than 100,000 votes and the party retained its ballot access.) In any case, the Working Families Party went on to overcome the new barriers backed by Cuomo when more than 283,000 New Yorkers voted for President Joe Biden on its line. A candidate winning a seat — any seat — solely on the Working Families line remains a longshot. But Working Families has begun to insert itself into Democratic primaries by backing candidates shunned by the Democratic Party. The effect in Monroe County and elsewhere around the state has rocked the Democratic establishment. King, the Democratic Party chair in Monroe, acknowledged that the Working Families party is exceptionally good at helping candidates organize their ground games. He added that many of the WFP-backed candidates who won their races enjoyed strong support

from organized labor. That’s no accident. Statewide, unions are among the Working Families Party’s biggest funders, and labor representatives play a key role in endorsement decisions. But as the WFP has gained clout, locally and statewide, so too has it gained enemies. In the spring, Republican leaders in 14 counties across the state, including Monroe, sued to kick the Working Families line off the ballot. They argued that the party failed to properly file paperwork. A state judge dismissed the cases. At the same time, many Republicans, whose values do not align with those of the Working Families Party, have sought the party’s line. In Pittsford, Republican Town Justice John Bernacki ran a primary against Scott Green on the Working Families line. Despite Green having the endorsement of the party, Bernacki easily won the primary by a vote count of 23 to 6, after an inordinate number of Republicans in the town switched their enrollments to the Working Families Party. Green, who has the Democratic nod, will run against Bernacki in the November election. In Irondequoit, County Legislature President Joe Carbone, a Republican, ran a write-in campaign in an unsuccessful attempt to wrest the Working Families line away from West Irondequoit school board President Dave Long, the Democrat trying to unseat him. Long prevailed in that primary. The trials the Working Families Party has endured, its leaders said, have galvanized the party. They said they expect their sphere of influence to grow in the absence of Cuomo, who resigned from office last month after the Attorney General’s Office substantiated sexual harassment claims against him made by 11 women. “WFP has been waiting for a post-Cuomo world for 10 years,” Vargas said. “He definitely put us through the wringer with those guidelines for us maintaining the line. It backfired in a big way. It only strengthened us.”

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LEARNING GAP

Cori Smith, 30, is one of two transgender men who say they felt degraded by staff at Highland Hospital . PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI

Transgender men tell of discrimination at Highland HOSPITALS NATIONWIDE HAVE A STEEP LEARNING CURVE WHEN IT COMES TO CARE FOR TRANSGENDER PATIENTS. BY GINO FANELLI

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@GINOFANELLI

rey Lowery had already undergone all the blood tests and pre-operation screenings he needed when he was admitted to Highland Hospital in July for his scheduled bariatric surgery. But as he prepared to go under the knife, he said, a nurse notified him that one more test was needed. He recalled her handing him a plastic cup for a urine sample — to check if he was pregnant. 12 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

GFANELLI@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

“I was like, ‘Woah, woah, woah, why do you have to do a pregnancy test if I’m a male?’” Lowery said. Lowery, 33, is a transgender man who began his transition four years ago. His driver’s license and his birth certificate list him as male. His medical records at Highland, which Lowery provided, listed him as a transgender man. Yet throughout his stay, Lowery and his family members said, hospital staff repeatedly referred to him as “her.”

“They took my pride away,” Lowery said. “I felt like I didn’t want to be here anymore, I wanted to kill myself, because I worked so hard to be here like this, and I’m not getting appreciated for who I am.” His experience at Highland, whose specifics were confirmed by his wife and mother and, in part, by the hospital, illustrates how hospitals across the country struggle to provide care to transgender and gender nonconforming patients

with sensitivity, despite efforts at improving. In a prepared statement, Highland defended the care Lowery received as “medically appropriate and compassionate,” but acknowledged that there was room for reflection. An estimated 1.4 million people living in the United States identify as transgender. Yet a comprehensive survey of medical schools in the United


States and Canada conducted a decade ago, a time when many of today’s emergency’s physicians would have been in training, revealed that less than five hours were devoted to LGBTQ health. Some medical schools reported offering zero hours of training. The Association of American Medical Colleges only released its first medical education guidelines for LGBT health seven years ago. Experts on care for transgender and gender nonconforming patients said new legal protections and a heightened awareness of transgender issues have resulted in better and more compassionate care, but anecdotes about missteps and mistreatment by hospital staff abound. A Twitter hashtag #transhealthfail started trending in 2015, when an outpouring of transgender patients shared stories about their negative experiences with the health care system. The hashtag is still in use today. Patrick Pitoni, who leads Trillium Health’s Transgender Center of Excellence, which provides care tailored to transgender patients and guidance to health care providers based on World Professional Association for Transgender Health protocols, said complaints are many.  “We mainly hear about people being misgendered or the wrong pronouns used,” Pitoni said. “Not at Trillium, but it happens a lot everywhere around the country.” HISTORY REPEATING Lowery’s complaints about Highland in many ways mirrored those made seven years earlier by another transgender man, who eventually sued the hospital and filed a police report against the emergency room physician who treated him, accusing him of sexual assault and a hate crime. Cori Smith, 30, was admitted to Highland in November 2014 for treatment of what was determined to be twisted ovaries. Four days earlier, he had undergone an egg retrieval procedure, and went to the hospital in extreme pain. He recalled the staff giving him a medical wristband identifying him as a woman.  “I was like, ‘You’re not giving me a female wristband,’” Smith said.

“They literally rolled their eyes, laughed it off, and said, ‘We’re not doing that.’” An ultrasound showed that Smith’s ovaries had swelled to the size of grapefruit and were covered in cysts, according to his lawsuit. Smith requested they be removed, something that had already been planned as part of his transition and complications from endometriosis, according to his lawsuit. The doctor treating him refused, according to his lawsuit, a move that Smith contended was fueled by the doctor’s “outwardly transphobic” demeanor and unwillingness to aid in his transition. Later, according to the lawsuit, the doctor ordered an unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound that he performed in front of a group of medical students. “There was no medical reason for them to do it because I had already received an ultrasound downstairs,” Smith said. “I was kicking and screaming.” The charges Smith would later level against the doctor were serious enough for the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office to empanel a grand jury to examine. But the grand jury never handed up an indictment. Smith filed suit against Highland in federal court three years after his experience, claiming discrimination and seeking $750,000 in damages. The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired and that the allegations did not meet the threshold for discrimination. Smith has since filed two appeals. Both were dismissed. Attorneys for Highland had argued that transgender people were not a protected class during, according to the hospital’s response and the judge’s dismissal. The New York State Division of Human Rights officially recognized transgender people as a protected class in January 2016. In May, the administration of President Joe Biden announced that health care providers cannot discriminate against transgender people, a move that reversed a Health and Human Services Department policy under President Donald Trump that said antiCONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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Trey Lowery, 33, said he was constantly misgendered during a stay at Highland Hospital in July. PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI

discrimination regulations under the Affordable Care Act did not apply to transgender people. Biden administration officials said the new policy was required by a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ workers were protected from employment discrimination. The doctor who treated Smith at Highland, whose name CITY is withholding because he was never formally charged or found to have acted inappropriately by a court of law, now practices in Ohio. A message left for him was not returned. “They just didn’t treat me right,” Smith said. Nearly four years after his stay at Highland, in August 2018, officials overseeing quality control and patient experience for the University of Rochester Medical Center, which runs Highland, publicly apologized to Smith and 14 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

vowed to do better for transgender patients. The apology, from URMC’s Associate Chief Quality Officer Michael Leonard and Chief Patient Experience Officer Jackie Beckerman, was published in the LBGTQ advocacy group Out Alliance’s monthly magazine, Empty Closet, in response to an earlier cover story about Smith’s treatment at Highland. “Mr. Smith taught us so much,” the letter read in part. “In doing so, he has been a catalyst for UR Medicine, helping to accelerate and expand the work underway to improve healthcare delivery for our transgender community.” The letter touted strides the hospital system had made to improve, including doing away with gender identifiers on patient wristbands and a willingness to change a person’s name and

gender in its records to reflect a person’s legal status, as well as list preferred names, gender identity, and pronouns prominently in the medical charts of people who are in the process of transitioning. It also cited a gender health services clinic at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Highland, though, doesn’t acknowledge that its medical care for Smith was anything other than appropriate. “UR Medicine believes that Mr. Smith received appropriate medical treatment at Highland Hospital in response to his need for emergency care in November 2014,” read a statement from the hospital to CITY. “This is based on a thorough review of the medical record by clinical professionals on Highland’s patient safety team, a review which included interviews with Mr. Smith’s attending physicians and other caregivers.”

A ‘DEGRADING’ EXPERIENCE Despite the changes that URMC officials insisted were implemented in response to Smith’s experience, Lowery claims to have received similar treatment. He recalled feeling “degraded” during his time in the hospital’s general surgery inpatient unit on the sixth floor. “When I go to my primary doctor they don’t even give me a pregnancy test, so why would you degrade me and do that and feel like it’s okay?” Lowery said. “And then I get upstairs and it’s constantly ‘she, she, she, she’ throughout the whole stay of me being there.” Lowery’s wife, Quenisha Lowery, and his mother, Cheryln Smith, echoed his complaints. Quenisha said nurses continued to refer to her husband as a woman even after being corrected. CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


“They never once referred to him as a male, never, not once,” Quenisha Lowery said. “Even when I corrected them, they still referred to him as the same thing.” Cheryln Smith recalled that when she heard nurses refer to her son as a woman, she started reliving the trauma she had endured years earlier in coming to grips with Lowery’s transition. “When I went up on the floor, they said, ‘Her room is right there,’” Smith said. “I said, ‘Excuse me, ‘He. His room is right there.’ She was like, ‘I’m sorry ma’am, his room is right there.’ They apologized, but they kept doing it.” Lowery, who said he plans to file a lawsuit, said he told staff clearly he was male and asked to be addressed as such, but that his requests went unmet. He recalled receiving a call on July 20, a day after he was released from the hospital, from Highland’s chief executive officer, Dr. Steven Goldstein, in which Lowery said Goldstein apologized for Lowery’s experience and offered him a job as a “spokesperson” for transgender people at Highland. Lowery’s wife and mother vouched for the call, and Lowery said he declined the offer. In its statement defending its care of Lowery, however, the hospital denied that such a phone call occurred. “We take patient concerns very seriously and when issues are brought to our attention, we conduct a thorough review to determine whether staff members took all appropriate steps to care for the patient,” the statement read. “Upon completion of our review of this patient’s case, we believe that his care was medically appropriate and compassionate. However, we will continue to reflect on this individual’s experience to see if there is anything we can do better.” As for the pregnancy test, the hospital said patients give blanket consent for necessary medical tests, and that a pregnancy test would be recommended for any person with ovaries, regardless of gender identity, if they were undergoing anesthesia. “Patients provide overall consent for treatment and care via signature 16 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

when they arrive at the hospital,” the statement read. “As a standard safety procedure, any individual scheduled for surgery at Highland undergoes numerous tests as part of preanesthesia evaluation to reduce risk. Clinical staff do not necessarily seek permission for each individual test that is run.” HOSPITALS ADAPTING Pitoni, of the Transgender Center of Excellence at Trillium, said he believed the vast majority of local health care systems were striving to better serve transgender patients, adding that many transgender people from outside the area come to Rochester for care because of the high standards for service. He pointed to Strong Memorial Hospital, which like Highland is under the URMC umbrella, in particular as a hospital providing good care for transgender patients. “I hear from a lot of patients that, at Strong, the doctor might say, ‘Oh, you’re transgender?’ and they say, ‘Okay,’ and went on with the rest of the questions,” Pitoni said. “There are facilities around that are really, really up to speed. As much as I think we can all be there, we’re not.” The World Professional Association for Transgender Health keeps a list of medical professionals whom the association has certified as being trained in transgender care. The list includes 11 medical practitioners in Rochester. Several of them are with URMC, but none are at Highland, according to the roster. A Highland spokesperson said the hospital has some staff in training to receive WPATH certification. Both Lowery and Smith believe their stories could have been avoided had doctors and nurses heard their voices. “They were wrong,” Lowery said. “Dead wrong.”


ARTS

IN MY ROOM

Rochester artist Sabrina Nichols, aka Shep Treasure, performs for fans on the livestreaming platform Twitch . PHOTO PROVIDED

BEDROOM COMMUNITY The popular gaming platform Twitch is attracting Rochester musicians looking to expand their reach with fans. BY JOE MASSARO

S

abrina Nichols sat before a camera and a computer with headphones on and an acoustic guitar in hand in the corner of a dimly-lit bedroom in her Brooklyn apartment. Behind her, plants rested on a shelf and a curious cutout of a Boxer dog face clung to the wall. “Can anyone hear me?” she asked. “Is anyone up? Is anyone listening?” Nichols, a Rochester native musician who goes by Shep Treasure, waited for a response that came in a stream of text written by fans that scrolled across the screen a moment later: “Yes.” “Yep. “We hear ya.” “All right, let’s do it,” Nichols replied and began strumming a pleasant midtempo song and singing softly. Her fans responded with approval: “Woooo.” “So good.” “Hell yeah.” 18 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

“Bedroom rock.” This was a Shep Treasure performance livestreamed on the video platform Twitch on a late night in July. It was raw, intimate, and what musicians and their fans have come to expect from the medium. If you follow music, chances are you’ve stumbled on a Twitch stream. While the platform has its roots in gaming, musicians are gravitating to it as a way to showcase their talents, bolster their visibility, monetize their music, and interact with their fans. Viewers are thrown into a streamer’s chat room where they can send Twitch emotes (small emoji-like icons) expressing their approval or displeasure, bark out song requests, and receive realtime answers to comments. Sometimes the Twitch channel’s host posts a link

to where the audience can buy the artist’s music. “Live streams are cool because you can put on a show for somebody who’s watching that comes from an area where hardly any bands visit,”

Nichols says. “It’s a more intimate environment, too, because you can read in the chat what your audience is saying and you can reply to them instantly. I think it’s also just a way for anybody to explore possibilities.” Nichols is among a new generation of lo-fi “bedroom pop” or “DIY pop” musicians who are embracing Twitch and its limitations that they and their audiences say are part of its charm. It is not unusual, for instance, for musicians to experience technical difficulties or for their video and audio to lag. At the same time, those drawbacks lend an air of authenticity to the performers and their acts. Rochester artist James Keegan, who goes by Kitchen and whose latest album, “Halloween in August,” was name-dropped in Rolling Stone last


year, frequently plays on Twitch. While he says he enjoys the experience, he says his performances are in some ways more intimidating and overwhelming than playing live on stage because the anonymity of the chat room forum lends itself to audiences shedding inhibitions. “Half the time when I’m playing a set and looking at the chat, I try not to laugh when people are messing and joking around,” Keegan says. “Obviously if you were performing at a venue, you wouldn’t hear a lot of the stuff that’s typed in the chat.” Nichols, who first played in the local indie rock trio Slumbers and works as a visual artist for the indie record label Beggars Group, agreed that the medium could be distracting. “It’s like if somebody was talking or yelling over your set at a venue,” she says, “but in a nicer and funnier way, so then you want to interact.” The interaction is worth it from both public relations and financial standpoints. Fans can interact directly with musicians on Twitch by subscribing to their channels and making monetary donations known as “bits” — the digital equivalent of tossing money into a busker’s guitar case. This kind of direct patronage can pay off for artists, but it can be labor intensive for the artist and requires a horde of fans to dig into their pockets. A typical Twitch streamer makes 15 cents per hour per fan, according to the report “Twitch’s Rockonomics,” an independent analysis of the platform by the former chief economist of Spotify. Artists with Twitch channels with an established following can earn more than 25 cents per hour per fan. If those numbers sound miserly, consider that the analysis found artists stand to earn an average of one-third of a cent per fan per hour on other streaming platforms. ‘OBSCURE ART FORM’ DIY archivist and videographer Steven Coleman, aka ModernRingtones, began documenting Rochester lo-fi and bedroom pop after heading down the rabbit hole of its lively underground scene with artists such as Kitchen and the band Attic Abasement. In particular, Coleman was drawn to Kitchen’s simple yet catchy guitar chords and the warmth

James Keegan of Kitchen and Sabrina Nichols of Shep Treasure. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH

Dustin Watson, of Boston-based Disposable America, hosts shows on Twitch on a near weekly basis. PHOTO PROVIDED

of a Casio PT-30 keyboard, as well as the nostalgic, lo-fi hiss of the recordings themselves. “Bedroom pop is an obscure art form, so most bedroom pop artists don’t go on tours and it’s more like a hobby for a lot of people,” he says. Prior to the pandemic, Coleman hosted a series of shows called “Casiodome” in his apartment, before shifting the concerts to Twitch. He says the switch helped artists gain exposure, while enabling them to exchange ideas with other musicians and fans through chat rooms.

“With a platform like Twitch, artists are shown this welcoming internet community where audiences are really supportive and always want to hear more and especially during the pandemic, which was a breath of fresh air,” Coleman says. Some independent record labels have caught on to bedroom pop artists shifting to Twitch and begun showcasing them there. One label driving that scene is Bostonbased Disposable America, which started streaming small shows at the beginning of the pandemic.

Now the label puts on shows on a nearly weekly basis. Indeed, it hosted Shep Treasure’s performance in July as part of its series “Tuesday Night Live.” Dustin Watson, Disposable America’s founder, says he believes it’s important to create online music communities by digitally connecting artists from around the world. With the long pause on live music, Watson’s digitally streamed concerts became an ideal substitute, especially for bedroom pop artists. “Other online platforms can be super-limited, while a platform like Twitch has the best of all worlds,” Watson says. Watson adds that he believes Twitch is how small artists are going to gain recognition, and sees its livestreams as an invitation into the artist’s world. “You’ll hear these artists’ perfectly produced records then watch them fumble with their pedals in their living room, which can be a bit stressful, but at the same time beautiful,” he says. “You get this totally different and raw experience, and it’s sorta like a portrait of how the songs they’re performing came to life.” roccitynews.com CITY 19


NEW MUSIC REVIEWS

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“UNDERNEATH” BY CALICOCO Long Island-based multiinstrumentalist Giana Caliolo makes bracing, stream-of-consciousness art rock on “Underneath,” the second full-length album from their recording project Calicoco. Following 2018’s “Float Caliolo,” “Underneath” amps up Calicoco’s angst-ridden lyrics and non-formulaic song structures. This is Caliolo — who’s played in the Rochester bands Secret Pizza and Pony Hand — at their most honest and uncompromising. Recorded in Rochester with Stephen Roessner and Phil Shaw, and released on Sept. 3 via Dadstache Records,“Underneath” shows Caliolo confronting an internal conflict sparked from an intense breakup, which led to a period of pain and guilt. “I really had a hard time living with myself,” they say. “I definitely had moments of not wanting to be here.” That feeling comes across immediately in the fiery opener “I Hate Living With Me,” a track that constantly builds from its marching beat and shattering guitar run, introducing the album’s consistent shadowy tone. “Strangers” spirals into a hazy wall of sound that’s just as claustrophobic as it is exhilarating, while the haunting title track is raw and direct. The striking, anthemic “Heal Me” is a full, three-minute exorcism that’s Caliolo’s most personal statement across the nine-track album: ”Kill me / Sue me / Hear me / Feel Me / Feed me / Breed / Cure me / Learn me,” they sing, before quickly escalating to the urgent words, “Just give me a goddamn lobotomy.” The swooning “Melancholy” is fueled by its earworm mix of sharpened post-punk and warped desert rock. The slow-burning closer “I Was the Devil” is a reworked version of the original track that appeared on 2019’s EP “Remnant.” The reimagined track swaps out the stripped-down acoustics in favor of shimmering synths that build to a rousing, heartwrenching finish. There’s really nothing comfortable about listening to “Underneath.” The album is an intense, technicolored explosion, a chaotic trip down the rabbit hole with Caliolo’s thoughts — clashing in the beginning, but finally calming in the end. — BY JOE MASSARO

“OPEN ROAD” BY THE FOREST DWELLERS It’s hard to imagine a name more fitting for a stripped-down, acoustic band than The Forest Dwellers — a Rochester-based folk-reggae quintet whose tracks sound like they were plucked from the earth itself. The group’s first full-length album, “Open Road,” takes listeners on a journey of romance and heartbreak accompanied by skillful guitar solos and impressive lead vocals from singer Joe Kaplan. On the first track, “For You,” listeners are greeted with a solitary muffled bass line, thumping in and out like a heartbeat. An acoustic guitar chimes in and quickly shifts into a shoulder-swaying, reggae-style beat. As captivating harmonies spin into the mix, Kaplan sings, “I hope you know / That all I do is for you / Your beauty is unnatural / You’re generous, too.” The song is topped-off by an awe-inspiring acoustic guitar solo that seems almost classical in nature, evoking the image of someone sitting alongside the shoreline of the Mediterranean coast. The album’s self-titled track comes next with a raw, folk-inspired guitar part reminiscent of singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov’s music. As the song starts to build, varying acoustic guitar lines start to intertwine with one another, creating welcome musical conversations. On “Driftwood,” Kaplan articulates an existential crisis: “Should I run away to a desolate place? Or should I get over imperfection? Should I quit today or change my pace? Just dying to know my direction.” Doo-wop-style background vocals unexpectedly enter the mix, recalling the sound of 1960s folk-rock band The Byrds. While The Forest Dwellers market themselves as a reggae band, Kaplan’s voice often conveys a harder edge than you’d expect from the genre. On songs such as “Just One Thing,” his voice adopts the groove of ’90s indie rock bands such as The Kooks. But it’s songs like “Love and Loyalty” that remind listeners of The Forest Dwellers’ dedication to the reggae-rock sound. As a subdued keyboard plays airy tones in the background, Kaplan sings, “Woah, stormy clouds, they come on some days / Woah, you brighten my world, when I see your face / And I know, yes, I know it’s this gift you bring.” The song exudes the kind of serenity you might feel as you row your boat down


a slow, clear river with no obstructions in sight. After settling into the reggae-rock groove, The Forest Dwellers quickly jump back outside the genre with their next track, “Not That Kind of Guy.” Kaplan melts into an unequivocally ’90s rap-rock rhythm, taking on a vocal quality similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis, in that band’s heyday. While the lyrics throughout “Open Road” pay homage to romantic relationships, there are also several nods to the importance of platonic friendship. On “Those Loyal Few,” Kaplan drops down to a lower register. “Where will you go when the lights go out, when your heart is in your hand?” he sings. The technical abilities of the group shine brightest on “Forgotten.” The song begins with a classical guitar solo that sounds almost medieval. Strangely, the band finds a way to meld this obscure melody seamlessly into a reggae beat. The song appears to comment on the transformational experience of exiting a failing relationship, as Kaplan sings, “I took my heart away from the undeserving / That’s when I found the reason that I was hurting / But it’s over now, new situation.” The album comes to a close with “I Want More,” undoubtedly a song of reconciliation and renewal. After several contemplative songs that give space for wistful daydreaming and quiet meditation, the final track jolts the listener’s senses with a sparse but bright piano part that accompanies a dance-worthy acoustic guitar riff. The Forest Dwellers’ “Open Road,” released on Aug. 28, is filled with danceable, technically mature tunes that are certain to keep listeners on their toes. — BY EMMARAE STEIN

“LONG HARD YEAR” BY MAX FLANSBURG

guitarist capable of navigating dizzying bluegrass licks, it’s the strength of Flansburg’s singing voice that steals the show on the eight tracks recorded at Aaron Lipp’s Temple Cabin Studios in Naples. Flansburg sings in a welcoming, easy-going country drawl, and the certainty with which he sings about uncertainty is a strange comfort. On “Rainforest Song,” he recalls a fast-moving romance in a deep and honeyed baritone voice that possesses the burnished wisdom of a songwriter twice his age. On the superb country shuffle “St. Anne Marie,” a song about nostalgia and lost love, the sounds of a dobro and lap steel lend a lonesome, bluesy feel, as Flansburg sings, “Left her waiting at the station by the hourglass of sand, everything looks blurry when you’re heartsick with a suitcase in your hand.” “Long Hard Year” succeeds as a collection of first-rate original country songs, but Flansburg also shines when interpreting the musical work of others. His inclusion of the Grateful Dead song “Liberty” on the record is inspired, especially because the lyric “If I was a bottle, I’d spill for love” is the most country-sounding thing I’ve ever heard. “Warm Beer & Cold Red Wine” — written by Jon Itkin of the Rochester band The Crooked North — sounds like a classic country tune in the making, featuring Lipp’s onpoint fiddle-playing and Flansburg’s skill on the pedal steel. The song also prescribes a healthy dose of wry, cynical humor. “If I was ever less than decent, if I ever was untrue, that was the Bible talkin’, baby — now you know what it makes me do,” Flansburg sings. “Give me something sweet and strong, give me back what’s mine — not warm beer and cold red wine.” Although the title song is introduced on the opening track, with a full-band aesthetic that recalls the rock and soul of the ’60s, it sounds like an anomaly compared to the album’s other tracks. The reprise of “Long Hard Year” as an acoustic bluegrass song better fits the stylistic milieu of the record as a whole. Lipp recorded, produced, and mixed the record, and it shows in the crisp, high definition sound. The instruments and voices sound clean and close by, as if the listener is hearing the various timbres unfiltered by technological tampering. Although the album is available only on CD and digitally, the production — with its use of Schoeps condenser mics — makes me want to hear it with the warm, subtle crackle of vinyl. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

Multi-instrumentalist Max Flansburg has become a fixture of the Finger Lakes’ vibrant Americana scene in recent years, most notably as the frontman of the Canandaigua bluegrass band Dirty Blanket. On his debut solo album, “Long Hard Year,” self-released on Aug. 27, Flansburg puts his singersongwriter chops front-and-center. And although he’s a skilled roccitynews.com CITY 21


MUSIC CALENDAR ACOUSTIC/FOLK

50th Annual Turtle Hill Folk Festival.

Rotary Sunshine Camp, 809 Five Pts Rd. Rush. goldenlink.org. Sat., Sep. 11, 12-10 p.m. Advance tickets only; through Sep 8. $35/$40. Adrianna Noone. Iron Smoke Distillery, 111 Parce Ave Suite 5b. Fairport. 388-7584. Wed., Sep. 22, 6:30 p.m. $5. Grace Conheady. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Sat., Sep. 18, 6:30 p.m. David Bromberg Quintet. JCC Hart Theatre, 1200 Edgewood Ave. 461-2000. Thu., Sep. 30, 7:30 p.m. $45/$70. JAVA. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Thu., Sep. 9, 6:30 p.m. The Spring Chickens. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave.thelittle.org. Sat., Sep. 25, 6:30 p.m.

AMERICANA

Banjer Dan. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Fri., Sep. 10, 6:30 p.m. Big Blue House. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Thu., Sep. 23, 6:30 p.m. Driftwood. Hollerhorn Distilling, 8443 Spirit Run. Naples. 531-2448. Sat., Sep. 18, 7:30 p.m. $25/$30. PV Nunes Band. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Wed., Sep. 22, 6:30 p.m. Watkins & the Rapiers. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org. Fri., Sep. 24, 6:30 p.m.

BLUES

Cinnamon Jones, Pete Griffith. Lincoln Hill Farms, 3792 Rte 247. Canandaigua. Fri., Sep. 10, 6 p.m. $15/$25. Dave Keller Band. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Thu., Sep. 30, 7 p.m. $15/$20. Debbie Kendrick Project. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Sat., Sep. 11, 6:30 p.m. Gabe Stillman Band, Phil Berkowitz & The Lucky Losers. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St.

Lima. fanaticspub.com. Sat., Sep. 18, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Keeshea Pratt Band. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Tue., Sep. 7, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Kim Wilson’s All-Star Blues Revue. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Thu., Sep. 9, 7 p.m. $50/$60. Michael Charles. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Sat., Sep. 11, 7 p.m. $15/$20. Sean Chambers Band. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Mon., Sep. 20, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Tony Holiday. Fanatics, 7281 W Main St. Lima. fanaticspub.com. Mon., Sep. 13, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Western New York Blues Society Festival. Hemlock Fairgrounds, 1 Fair Street. Hemlock. Sat., Sep. 25, 1 p.m. $39.

CLASSICAL

Eastman Philharmonia. Kodak Hall, 60

Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Mon., Sep. 20, 7:30 p.m. Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. Kodak Hall, 60 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Wed., Sep. 22, 7:30 p.m. Eastman Wind Orchestra. Kodak Hall, 60 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Wed., Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. 22 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

RPO: Andreas Conducts Brahms I. Kodak Hall, 60 Gibbs St. Thu., Sep. 23, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Sep. 25, 8 p.m. $30 & up. RPO: Baroque & Beyond. Nazareth College Glazer Music Performance Center, 4245 East Ave. rpo.org. Sun., Sep. 12, 2 p.m. $40. Triumph Now with Joy & Mirth. Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh St. pegasusearlymusic.org. Sun., Sep. 19, 4 p.m. In-person & virtual concert. $15/ $25.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL

Composers’ Concert. Hatch Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Tue., Sep. 21, 12:30 p.m. Eastman Audio Research Studies (EARS). Hatch Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Tue., Sep. 28, 7:30 p.m. Musica Nova. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Thu., Sep. 23, 7:30 p.m. OSSIA. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm. rochester.edu. Mon., Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.

COUNTRY

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters. Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way. 232-3230. Thu., Sep. 2, 7 p.m. $20/$25. Ward Hayden & The Outliers. Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way. 232-3230. Fri., Sep. 10, 8 p.m. $10/$15 Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way. 232-3230. Fri., Sep. 10, 8 p.m. $10/$15. Zac Brown Band. Darien Lake PAC, 9993 Allegheny Rd. Darien. darienlake.com/ events. Sat., Sep. 4, 7 p.m. $40 & up.

JAZZ

Annie Wells Band. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Fri., Sep. 17, 6:30 p.m. Bending And Breaking (10 Year Reunion Show). Bop Shop Records, 1460 Monroe

Ave. bopshop.com. Fri., Sep. 3, 8 p.m. $15.

Bob Sneider Trio. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Sat., Sep. 4, 6:30 p.m.

Cabo Frio & Friends. Rochester Museum &

Science Center, 657 East Ave. (rmsc.org). cabofriotripletribute.eventbrite.com. Sat., Sep. 25, 7 p.m. $30/$40. Einstein’s Dreams. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Wed., Sep. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media Showcase. Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm. rochester.edu. Tue., Sep. 21, 7:30 p.m.

John Palocy Trio. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Thu., Sep. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Jordan Lerner. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave.

thelittle.org.. Sun., Sep. 12, 6:30 p.m. Laura Dubin & Antonio Guerrero. Ongoing, 8:30 p.m. FB Live. Margaret Explosion. Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Wed., Sep. 15, 6:30 p.m. and Wed., Sep. 29, 6:30 p.m. Webster Jazz Festival. Main St.,websterbid. com/events/jazz-festival. Fri., Sep. 17, 6-11 p.m. & Sat., Sep. 18, 4-11 p.m. The White Hots. Bop Shop Records, 1460 Monroe Ave. bopshop.com. Thu., Sep. 9, 8 p.m. $10.

JAM BAND

Mochester. Three Heads Brewing, 186 Atlantic Ave. 244-1224. Fri., Sep. 3, 8 p.m. $5.


With evolving vaccine and mask guidelines for live music, it’s wise to check with individual venues to confirm performances and protocols.

HIP-HOP/RAP

38 Spesh, Benny the Butcher. Main Street

Armory, 900 E. Main St. 232-3221. Fri., Sep. 24, 10 p.m. $60. ROC Jam Live. Parcel 5, 275 E Main St. rocjamlive.com. Sun., Sep. 5, 2-8 p.m. Subsoil Resurrection Show. Photo City Music Hall, 543 Atlantic Ave. 451-0047. Sat., Sep. 11, 9 p.m. $10.

METAL

Aphasia, Dreamwake, S’efforcer, Soma Slumber, Diluted. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave.

bugjar.com. Sat., Sep. 11, 8 p.m. $10/$15.

Combichrist, King 810, Heartsick, Reign of Z, Less Than Hate, An Easy Death. Montage

Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sun., Sep. 19, 6 p.m. $17/$20. Fall Fest 2021. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Fri., Oct. 1, 7 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 2, 4:30 p.m. $10/$13.

ReapR, Vulcan, Protean Fire, Pirate Plague, Shallow Teeth. Montage Music Hall, 50

Nerds in Denial, Secret Organ, Ivy’s Panic Room, Jimso Slim. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe

Ave. bugjar.com. Sat., Sep. 25, 9 p.m. $10.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Astoria State, Amor Alive, Tokyo Monsters, Shane Archer Reed & The Harbringers. Montage Music

Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sun., Oct. 3, 5:30 p.m. $18/$21.

The Richard Lloyd Group, The Waves, Pain Fear & Belligerence. Montage Music Hall,

50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Fri., Sep. 24, 7 p.m. Richard Lloyd (Television), Kevin Tooley (Paul Young, Katrina & The Waves), Tom Currier (Dave Davies, The Kinks), & David Leonard (Rick Derringer). $12. Sevendust, Tremonti. Anthology, 336 East Ave. 484-1964. Wed., Sep. 8, 7 p.m. $27.50.

The Undercover Project: Allman Bros Tribute, Jerry Falzone & Liar’s Moon. Fort

Hill Performing Arts Center, 20 Fort Hill Ave. Canandaigua. fhpac.org. Wed., Sep. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Weedeater, The Atomic Bitchwax, Joe Buck Yourself, Rebelmatic. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe

Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sat., Sep. 4, 6:30 p.m. $10/$12. Sodoff, Rotten, Necrostalker, Deathwish. Photo City Music Hall, 543 Atlantic Ave. 4510047. Tue., Sep. 7, 8 p.m. $20.

Ave. bugjar.com. Wed., Sep. 15, 8 p.m. $30. Wild Pink, Kitchen, Charit Way. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Sat., Sep. 18, 9 p.m. $12.

Unleash The Archers, Aether Realm, Seven Kingdoms. Montage Music Hall, 50

Yheti, Abelation, Honeybee, Support: Basha, LitaLotus. Photo City Music Hall,

POP/ROCK

POPS/STANDARDS

Music Hall, 543 Atlantic Ave. 451-0047. Thu., Sep. 30, 7:30 p.m. $10. Carbon Leaf. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Tue., Sep. 14, 7 p.m. $20/$23. Christopher Cross. Anthology, 336 East Ave. 484-1964. Thu., Sep. 23, 8 p.m. $45 & up. Flogging Molly, Violent Femmes. Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. 232-3221. Sat., Sep. 18, 6 p.m. $48 & up. Ghostfeeder. The Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. thelittle.org.. Sun., Sep. 19, 6:30 p.m. Grounded Sounds: Local Spotlight Festival. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 2321520. Sun., Sep. 26, 5 p.m. $10/$12. The Isotopes, Checks & Exes, Die Kitty Die. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Fri., Sep. 17, 9 p.m. $10. Jackie Greene. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Mon., Oct. 4, 7 p.m. $22/$25.

Hall, 60 Gibbs St. rpo.org. Sep. 17-18, 8 p.m. RPO. $30 & up.

Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sun., Sep. 5, 7 p.m. $18/$22.

Bad Bloom, Chores, Sympathy. Photo City

KindofKind, False Pockets , Free Casino, MakeItStop. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave.

bugjar.com. Fri., Sep. 24, 9 p.m. $10. Levitation Room, Evolfo, Drippers. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Tue., Sep. 14, 9 p.m. $13/$16. Liily, Caroline Kingsbury. Montage Music Hall, 50 Chestnut St. 232-1520. Sat., Sep. 18, 8 p.m. $12.

The Living Room, Anamon, Bellwether Breaks. Photo City Music Hall, 543 Atlantic

Ave. 451-0047. Sat., Sep. 25, 9 p.m. $10. The Lobby Art & Music Showcase. Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. bugjar.com. Fri., Sep. 3, 8 p.m. Fox 45, Fuzzrod, Periodic Table of Elephants. The Mersey Beatles. Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, 20 Fort Hill Ave. Canandaigua. fhpac.org. Fri., Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.

543 Atlantic Ave. 451-0047. Fri., Sep. 10, 8 p.m. $23.

Legends: The Paul Simon Songbook. Kodak

R&B/ SOUL

Danielle Ponder. Hollerhorn Distilling, 8443 Spirit Run. Naples. 531-2448. Sat., Sep. 25, 7 p.m. $25/$30.

REGGAE

Mosaic Foundation. Hollerhorn Distilling,

8443 Spirit Run. Naples. 531-2448. Sat., Sep. 11, 7 p.m. $15/$20. Noble Vibes. Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point Dr. lovincup.com. Fri., Sep. 17, 8 p.m. $5. The Majestics. Three Heads Brewing, 186 Atlantic Ave. 244-1224. Sat., Sep. 4, 8 p.m. $10.

VOCALS

Eastman Chorale. Kodak Hall, 60 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Sun., Oct. 3, 3 p.m.

Gen Ferrari. JCC Hart Theatre, 1200

Edgewood Ave. 461-2000. Sat., Sep. 11, 7:30 p.m. $25/$28. Morning Chamber Music. Hatch Hall, 26 Gibbs St. esm.rochester.edu. Sat., Oct. 2, 11 a.m.

WORLD

Womba Africa. The Little Cafe, 240 East

Ave. thelittle.org.. Wed., Sep. 29, 6:30 p.m.

ZYDECO

Rose & The Bros. Hollerhorn Distilling, 8443 Spirit Run. Naples. 531-2448. Fri., Sep. 24, 7:30 p.m. $15/$20.

roccitynews.com CITY 23


ARTS

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Justin Rielly rehearses “Ghost Story” for the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

EMBRACING THE ARTISTRY OF AUTISM ON STAGE AND IN LIFE Justin Rielly’s one-man theater company Aspie Works is as prolific as it is positive. BY JEFF SPEVAK

@JEFFSPEVAK1

I

"

n February of 1983, I met this incredible British documentary filmmaker…” These are the opening words of “Swimming to Cambodia,” the bestknown work of actor and writer Spalding Gray, who took his life when he jumped into New York Harbor on a frigid night in January 2004. But there he was in spirit, in Rochester, on an evening in July at the Multi-use Community Cultural 24 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

JSPEVAK@WXXI.ORG

Center on Atlantic Avenue, where Justin Rielly was breathing life into Gray and his work. It was not the first time, and it likely won’t be the last. There is a kinship between Rielly and Gray, who never met in life, but have a bond through Gray’s widow and what she describes as their shared struggle to find their place in the world. Rielly, a 37-year-old actor, writer, director, and producer,

creates theater through his one-man company he calls Aspie Works. In August, he was in rehearsals for “Ghost Story,” a play by British playwright Mark Ravenhill that Rielly is directing for performances at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival in September. Aspie Works is a reference to Asperger’s Syndrome. Rielly was diagnosed with it when he was about 23 years old, although the medical

profession has since reclassified Asperger’s from a separate condition to part of a broad category of autism spectrum disorders. “It’s one of these things I discovered later in life,” he says. “But I’m glad I discovered it because, when I was a little kid, I was constantly getting bullied because I felt different from all the other kids, and I could never figure out why.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 26


He was indeed different from other kids. “I remember, in one instance, I could name probably all the Best Picture Academy Award winners from 1927 to a certain period in time,” he says. “I mean, that’s something that normally people wouldn’t think about.” There are clues to his diagnosis in his behavior. Rielly admits he has to work at making eye contact with people. He’s an intense conversationalist, carefully drawing out his thoughts from deep within. But that night at MuCCC performing “Swimming to Cambodia,” Rielly was channeling Gray and his relentless stream-ofconsciousness retelling of the small acting role Gray had in the 1984 film “The Killing Fields.” The film’s setting is genocide in Cambodia, but Gray worked his role into a monologue about filmmaking and some of the edgier aspects of Cambodian culture, namely drugs. A couple of years later, Jonathan Demme turned Gray’s monologue into a film. Throughout his performance of the sometimes powerful, sometimes nuanced, sometimes manic one-man show, Rielly rarely glanced at the script. He had memorized Gray’s entire 75-minute monologue.   “This is just a random jumble of thoughts,” Rielly says of the show. “But yet somehow when the piece is over, the connections are there. You may not necessarily see them. But eventually, you get to the point where the connections are there.” Rielly knows about jumbled thoughts and finding the connections to make a point. Of his diagnosis, he says, “Some of the wires may have ended up in the wrong place, in the wrong sockets. But yet they go in and they work. So I live.”  By day, Rielly works at a software company that helps businesses with their online catering menus. Nothing to see here. It is theater that is the wild card, with “so many different, jumbled elements,” he says, “that I literally have to put together in my head.” There are limits to what he can do with Aspie Works. There is no budget for musicals or large casts. Rielly specializes in small-scale productions with minimalist sets that focus on storytelling and characters.  But the storytelling itself does not have to be minimal. “Swimming to Cambodia” opens a doorway to the history of Cambodia through the rise 26 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

The cast of “Ghost Story” includes Andrea Daszkiewicz, Jane Farrell, and Chanelle Davis. The play is stage-managed by Kesha Sharee. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

of the Khmer Rouge and the Cold War and expounds on themes of destroying cultural traditions to build a new society from scratch. The script describes members of the Khmer Rouge in vivid fashion: This weird bunch of rednecks . . . who had been educated in Paris in the strict Maoist doctrine, except someone threw a perverse little bit of Rousseau into the soup. This made for a strange bunch of bandits, hanging out in the jungle living on bark, bugs, leaves, and lizards, being trained by the Vietcong. They had a back-to-the land, racist consciousness beyond anything Hitler had ever dreamed of. But they had no scapegoat other than the city-dwellers of Phnom Penh. They were like a hundred thousand rednecks rallying in New Paltz, New York, 90 miles above the city, about to march in. “It’s all in the delivery,” Rielly says of the script. “It’s all in making the audience be a part of the journey with you.” Sometimes, someone has to help open that door. In the case of Rielly, it was the late John Borek, the former arts director at MuCCC.

Reilly recalls Borek seeing one of Rielly’s earlier pieces and telling him, “Your work really reminded me of Spalding Gray.” That comment prodded Rielly to contact Gray’s widow, Kathleen Russo, through the director of the old Pyramid Arts Center in the Anderson Arts Building on Goodman Street, where Russo had worked while she was a student at Rochester Institute of Technology. She granted Rielly permission to perform “Swimming to Cambodia.” “It changed my life,” Rielly says of that correspondence. “Spalding’s work kind of gave me a new opportunity to look at really great storytelling. It was a game-changer for me.” By the time Gray met Russo, whom he married in 1994, he had long moved on to later works. So when Russo granted Rielly permission to perform “Swimming to Cambodia,” she had never seen her husband’s breakthrough autobiographical monologue performed in its entirety — and wouldn’t until she came to Rochester to see Rielly bring it to life in 2015. That night, Rielly walked onstage, stood in front of a music stand, opened the script, and waited for the right moment to begin speaking. “And all I had to do is just look right at Kathy,” Rielly says. “Her facial expression was almost saying: ‘You have this.’ And, and I just went from there, and I don’t really remember looking at that script at all. I’m sure I did, but I don’t recall looking at it for long, because I was so committed to doing a good job for Kathy. And it clearly moved her.”

So moved was Russo by Rielly’s performance, that she later granted him permission to perform Gray’s “Interviewing the Audience” and “Monster in a Box.” “I thought he did a marvelous job, really, really great,” Russo says, speaking by phone from her home in Sag Harbor, Long Island. “He’s a true scholar of Spalding Gray. He knows Spalding inside-out, yet does it his own way, his own version of it. I just appreciate the friendship that we started from six years ago, when he started to do, publicly, Spalding’s work.” “Swimming to Cambodia” was a breakthrough for Gray and Rielly in another way, though one not evident to their audiences.  “Spalding was dyslexic,” Russo says. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that primarily affects reading skills and areas of the brain that process language.  “Not the same thing (as autism spectrum disorder), obviously, but a slow learner, and school was hard for him,” Russo says. “I’m sure Justin had his obstacles, too, so I think he relates to the struggle that Spalding had to fit into society as a slow learner.” Rielly has performed Gray’s other works, but he keeps coming back to “Swimming to Cambodia.”  His latest performance in July was a tribute to the return of live theater after its pandemic-induced shutdown, and he opened the show with a statement of his own: “I don’t know about you, but I’ve missed this.” The show, he said, “is dedicated to the magic of live theater. It is dedicated to moments where actors and audience can come together for a brief period of time and just have a wonderful time telling great stories, giving great performances — and making people laugh and cry — that they can just enjoy. Hopefully that magic can be right here and we get to share this together.” With that came something else missing in the absence of theater — the first of the show’s shared curiosities, a quilt of characters, with Rielly’s delivery of Gray’s opening line: “In February of 1983, I met this incredible British documentary filmmaker, named Roland Joffe. He was a very intense man. He was a combination of Zorro, Jesus, and Rasputin.”


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

TUNE IN TO WXXI-TV SEPT. 19 @ 8PM Muhammad Ali Airs Sunday, September 19 – Wednesday, September 22 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV This new four-part documentary, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century. The three-time heavyweight boxing champion captivated millions of fans throughout the world with his mesmerizing combination of speed, grace, and power in the ring, and charm and playful boasting outside of it. At the height of his fame, Muhammad Ali challenged Americans’ racial prejudices, religious biases, and notions about what roles celebrities and athletes play in our society, and inspired people all over the world with his message of pride and self-affirmation.

Conversations on Muhammad Ali Thursday, September 9 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, September 14 at 7 p.m. Join these virtual discussions with Ken Burns and special guests, featuring clips from Muhammad Ali via Zoom. The September 9th event will discuss Ali, Race and Religion, while the September 14th discussion looks at Ali, Activism & The Modern Athlete. Visit WXXI.org/events to learn more and register.

BIGGER THAN BOXING. LARGER THAN LIFE.


FIVE S Y A W

s id k s lp e h n o ti a c u d E I X X W ! re lo p ex d n a rn a le s ie il m fa and

PBS Kids Programming on WXXI-TV & WXXI-Kids 24/7

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WXXI-TV provides safe, non-commercial children’s programming weekdays from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., while WXXI-Kids 24/7 streaming service provides anywhere, anytime access to quality researched-based children’s programming across mobile devices.

I Can Be What?!

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Arthur’s First Day SPECIAL

This engaging YouTube series, produced by WXXI, gives elementary-aged students a sneak peek into the world of STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) careers. Hosted by science communicator and electrical engineer Jennifer Indovina, each episode explores a unique job, highlighting what makes it fun, as well as the responsibilities, skills, and education needed to get into the related career field. Watch them all at ICanBeWhat.org.

9/6 at 4pm + 9/10 at 3pm on WXXI-TV It’s finally the first day of fourth grade and Arthur couldn’t be more excited – until he learns Buster is in another class! Meanwhile, D.W. is nervous about her first day of kindergarten. Will Arthur and D. W. be able to make new friends?

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Bright by Text WXXI offers this free parent texting service that puts expert tips, games, and child development information directly into the hands of parents and caregivers. You’ll receive two to four text messages per week, and each message includes a link to a landing page with more detail, short videos, and related resources. To sign up, text the word PBSKIDS to 274448.

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PBS Kids para padres en español!

PBS Kids para padres es un sitio web que proporciona información y recursos valiosos para ayudar a criar niños felices, saludables, inteligentes y amables. En un esfuerzo por ofrecer un contenido inclusivo, relevante y valioso para las familias de todos los orígenes, PBS Kids ha lanzado recientemente una versión en español del sitio web. Compruébelo en PBS.org/es/parents.

PBS Kids for Parents in Spanish! PBS Kids for Parents is a web site that provides valuable information and resources to help raise happy, healthy, smart, and kind kids. In an effort to provide inclusive, relatable, and valuable content to families of all backgrounds, PBS Kids recently launched a Spanish version of the site. Check it out at PBS.org/es/parents.

Sign up for our Parent eNewsletter and follow WXXI Kids on social. Subscribe to WXXI Kids’ eNewsletter at WXXI.org/enews and you’ll receive fun learning ideas, special event details, program information, and parenting resources every month. You can also stay connected with WXXI Kids on Facebook and Instagram.

SEPTEMBER 2021


WXXI-TV • THIS MONTH Sandra Day O’Connor: The First, an American Experience Presentation

Future of Work Wednesdays, September 1-15 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV This three-part series explores monumental changes in the workplace and the long-term impact on workers, employers, educators, and communities. Employment is part of the American Dream. Will the future provide opportunities for jobs that sustain families and the nation? This series is part of WXXI’s American Graduate: Getting to Work initiative, where WXXI partners with schools and businesses to help prepare students with the skill sets and training needed to be part of the new workforce, especially for high-demand fields.

Monday, September 13 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV Discover the story of the Supreme Court’s first female justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. A pioneer who both reflected and shaped an era, she was the deciding vote in cases on some of the 20th century’s most controversial issues—including race, gender, and reproductive rights. Credit: Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Photo: Working robot Credit: Courtesy of Pond5

Citizen Hearst: An American Experience Special Monday, September 27 and Tuesday, September 28 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV Explore the life of William Randolph Hearst, the pioneering media mogul and inspiration for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Wielding unprecedented power, Hearst transformed the media’s role in American life and politics. Photo: William Randolph Hearst with Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. Credit: Courtesy of Marc Wanamaker/Bison Archives

Cuban Method Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV Given ballet’s French roots, it comes as no surprise that many great ballet dancers come from Europe. However, few would suspect that just as many come from Havana. How does Cuba, in spite of its limited resources, produce so many ballet superstars? In 2016, three American dancers went to Havana to train under ballet royalty and learn what makes Cuba so special. Pictured: Rochester native Youri Spindler Credit: Mikey Jarrell and Demian Spindler roccitynews.com CITY 29


TURN TO WXXI CLASSICAL FOR MUSIC PERFECTLY TUNED TO YOUR DAY

Live from Temple B’rith Kodesh: A Rosh Hashanah Service & A Yom Kippur Service

Live Remote Broadcast from the Clothesline Arts Festival

Monday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. on WXXI Classical WXXI Classical presents its annual, live broadcasts from Temple B’rith Kodesh in celebration of Rosh Hashanah on September 6 and Yom Kippur on September 15. Senior Rabbi Peter Stein, Assistant Rabbi Rochelle Tulik, and Cantor Keri Berger lead both services. These broadcasts are made possible with support from the Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation.

Saturday, September 11 from 1 – 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical WXXI Classical’s Marianne Carberry and Julia Figueras (pictured) co-host this live event from the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Arts Festival after a year on hiatus. Julia and Marianne will be interviewing some of the artists and guests at the festival, and play some beautiful classical music. Enjoy all the live music from the comfort of your own home!

Los Angeles Philharmonic Tuesdays at 8 p.m. beginning September 7 on WXXI Classical The Los Angeles Philharmonic broadcast series features audio recordings from both seasons of Sound/Stage – the LA Phil’s online collection of concerts and conversations – as well as hand-picked selections of previously broadcast performances. The orchestra is paired with an impressive roster of guest artists and conductors, showcasing an eclectic repertoire that includes world premieres from composers John Adams, Thomas Adès, Esteban Benzecry, Andrew Norman, Steve Reich, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Unsuk Chin. Photo: Gustavo Dudamel, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Credit: WFMT

Your support can have a big impact when you join the WXXI Leadership Circle! To find out how you can become a part of the WXXI Leadership Circle, visit wxxi.org/leadership or call 585-258-0200.

WXXI Leadership Circle Members provide vital funding for WXXI’s high-quality, public media programming and outreach to the community! By making a contribution of $1,200 or more annually, you will join the WXXI Leadership Circle and dozens of other community leaders who are committed to providing a reliable, strong and steady source of income for WXXI’s essential programs and services. Leadership Circle Members also get access to exceptional benefits and opportunities including: • Invitations to special in-person and virtual events and experiences, including Annual Donor Recognition events • Station tours and behind-the-scenes access to select WXXI productions • Periodic emails with exclusive insider content • Personalized, direct-line communication with WXXI leadership and senior staff, and more!

Past donor events have included (L to R): Italian Chef Lidia Bastianich, NPR’s Robert Siegel, WXXI leadership circle members at a recent event, and Sesame Street’s Carol Spinney.

SEPTEMBER 2021


AM 1370, YOUR NPR NEWS STATION + WRUR-FM 88.5, DIFFERENT RADIO

The Uncertain Hour: Congratulations! You’re an Entrepreneur Now Sunday, September 5 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 Jerry Vazquez always dreamed of owning his own business. But becoming a franchisee of a janitorial services company left him in debt and earning less than minimum wage.

Fading Beacon: Why America Is Losing International Students Sunday, September 12 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 APM Reports explores a sea change in the number of foreign students attending U.S. colleges, which have typically attracted more than a million international students a year.

Under Pressure: Colleges Confront a Mental Health Crisis Who Wants to be a Teacher? Sunday, September 19 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 Schools around the country are struggling to find enough teachers. Many quit after a short time on the job, creating a constant struggle to replace them. Each year, there are close to 300,000 first-year teachers in the nation’s classrooms. At the same time, enrollment in teacher training programs at colleges and universities is plummeting, and schools are looking to other sources to fill teaching positions. APM Reports looks at the implications of these changes, both for the children and for the teaching force.

Sunday, September 26 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 Even before the pandemic, campus counseling services were reporting a marked uptick in the number of students with anxiety, clinical depression, and other serious psychiatric problems. APM Reports, in collaboration with the Call to Mind project, asks: What is a college’s responsibility for helping students navigate mental health challenges, and how well are colleges rising to the task?

Sound Opinions Mondays at 6 p.m. on WRUR-FM 88.5 Whether you’re an expert or just a casual fan, Sound Opinions is your source for smart and engaging music criticism and conversation. Each week on the show, nationally respected rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis interview artists, talk about pop culture and music industry news, review new record releases and give trends a historical context. And, because on Sound Opinions, everyone’s a critic, listeners are invited to join in the debate.

roccitynews.com CITY 31


thelittle . org

Pizza Popcorn?

An amalgamation of the most awesome things – movies, pizza, popcorn, and a dash of nostalgia – The Pizza Popcorn Club has arrived at The Little (240 East Ave.).

Oh yes! It’s a free bag of Little Popcorn of any size, with the special ingredient – pizza seasoning. This magical concession snack combines the deliciousness of a personal pan pizza, with the reliable greatness of Little Popcorn. Naturally, The Little is launching this initiative with the finest cinematic pizza...”Mystic Pizza” screening Sept. 1 and “Slice” screening Oct. 6.

Sounds cool! What is it? The short description: BOOK IT!, but with movies. It launched September 1.

Full details at thelittle.org.

Very neat. Tell me even more. BOOK IT! Is a program that rewards reading with personal pan pizzas. We’re taking that formula, and putting a Little twist on it. Guests can pick up a Pizza Popcorn Club punch card at the box office, and after they buy tickets to six movies, they’re rewarded with a free bag (any size) of pizza popcorn.

Lily Topples The World

MLK/FBI Sep. 24 & 30

7 p.m. • Thursday, Sept. 9 3 p.m. • Saturday, Sept. 11

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!

LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD follows 20-year-old Lily Hevesh — the world’s greatest domino toppler & the only woman in her field — in a coming-of-age story of artistry, passion & triumph. Tickets available at thelittle.org, as well as the box office.

n u F r e p Su ! b u l C Movie ership) b m e M e l t it (a.k.a L SEPTEMBER 2021

Want to further support your friendly neighborhood Little, along with the movies, special events, music, and art we share with the community? Consider becoming a member at The Little. Details at thelittle.org/membership.

Based on newly declassified files, Sam Pollard’s resonant film explores the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.


VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS [ Opening ]

INeRT PReSS, 1115 East Main St.

Paris (Sep 3-29) | Narrative Threads (Sep 3-25) | Htet San: Metamorphosis & Cocoa Rae David: Nu Growth (Sep 10-25). Sep. 3-29. flowercityarts.org.

Main Street Arts, 20 W Main St. Clifton Springs. Love Songs |

Geisel Gallery, 2nd Floor Rotunda, Legacy Tower, One Bausch & Lomb Place. Bruce Zaretsky: Beautiful

Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. 276-8900. Rochester-Finger

Flower City Arts Center, 713 Monroe Ave. Après Atget: New Kallitypes of Old

Extinction, Stolen Lands. Sep. 6-Oct. 30. Sep 16, 5-7pm: Opening reception. thegeiselgallery.com.

Image City Photography Gallery, 722 University Ave. Sheridan Vincent: Rochester Enlightened. 271-2540.

INeRT PReSS, 1115 East Main St. Whittier’s Poems. Oct. 1-Dec. 31. inertpress.com.

International Art Acquisitions, 3300 Monroe Ave. Paul Bennett: Song of Songs. Sep. 1-30. 264-1440.

Main Street Arts, 20 W Main St. Clifton Springs. Joy Adams: A Long

Day’s Journey. Sep. 25-Oct. 29. mainstreetartscs.org.

Nu Movement, 716 University Ave.

Kurt Ketchum: Don’t Know. Sep. 3-30. Sep 3, 6-9pm: Reception. 704-2889.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave. Arena Art Group 70 |

Stewart Davis: A Memorial Exhibition. Sep. 3-19. rochestercontemporary.org. Studio 402, 250 N Goodman St. Jim & Gail Thomas: Side by Side. Sep. 3-29. Sep 3, 6-9pm: Reception. The Little Cafe, 240 East Ave. Nina Gaby/Sari Gaby: Mixed States. Sep. 2-29. Sep 26, 2-4pm: Reception & artist talk. thelittle.org..

The Village Gallery, 3119 Main St. Caledonia. American Icons: The

Godey’s Lady’s Book (online) | Max Beerbohm: Observations (in person). Through Sep. 30. inertpress.com. Eternal Ephemera. Through Sep. 17. mainstreetartscs.org. Lakes (to Oct 17) | “To Help People See”: The Art of G Peter Jemison (to Nov 14) | A Sense of Place: Prints from the Collection of David Z Friedberg (to Dec 5) | Tony Cokes: Market of the Senses (to Jan 9) | Young Salut (to Aug 2022 Ongoing.

Pittsford Fine Art, 4 N Main St. Pittsford. Julia Maddalina: Portraits of the Frontline (to Sep 10) | September Featured Artist: Nancy Lane. Through Sep. 28. pittsfordfineart.com.

RIT City Art Space, 280 East Main St. Proclamations in Black, White, &

Red (to Aug 29) | Sarah Kinard, Joshua Enck (to Sep 26). Thursdays-Sundays. cityartspace.rit.edu.

Rochester Folk Art Guild, 1445 Upper Hill Rd. From Apprentice to Mentor: A Study of Influences, Traditions, & Expressions. Weekends. rfag.org.

UUU Art Collective, 153 State St.

Dante Cannatella. Through Sep. 8. 434-2223.

Film

Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave. 2021

Rochester Labor Film Series. Sep. 3-Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. eastman.org/ labor-film-series-0.

Little Theatre, 240 East Ave.

Automobile. Sep. 3-25. 294-3009. Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley St. Brockport. Department of Art Alumni Exhibition. Sep. 7-Oct. 10. 395-2805.

Screening & Panel: “Summertime” (2021). Fri., Sep. 10, 7:30 p.m. $5$11. thelittle.org.; The Lost Year: The Movies We Missed in 2020. Fri., Sep. 24, 7:30 p.m. and Thu., Sep. 30, 7:30 p.m. “Palm Springs.”. thelittle.org.

[ Continuing ] Art Exhibits

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. vsw.org. The VSW Salon Series.

Anthony Mascioli Gallery, Central Library, 115 South Ave. Art of the Book & Paper. Through Dec. 1. roccitylibrary.org/artofthebook.

Arts Council for Wyoming County, 31 S. Main St. Rebecca Drobis: Our

Farmers, Our Water, Our Future. Through Sep. 24. artswyco.org.

ArtSpace36, 36 Main St. Canandaigua. Kurt Brownell &

Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer: On the Horizon. Through Oct. 1. flcc.edu/ artspace36.

Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center, 11095 Bethany Center Rd. The All-Weather Gang Paints the Park. Through Oct. 27. facebook.com/TheAllWeatherGang.

George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave. eastman.org. Global Groove

(Sep 7-Nov 7) | Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory (to Oct 10) | To Survive on This Shore: Photographs & Interviews with Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Older Adults (to Jan 2) | One Hundred Years Ago: George Eastman in 1921 (to Jan 2). Ongoing. June 30-Sep 5: Joan Crawford Home Movies. $7-$18.

Thu., Sep. 9, 7 p.m. and Thu., Sep. 23, 7 p.m. Sep 9: Open Archive/Attica Uprising 50 year anniversary; Sept 23: Community Curator: Free the People ROC. $10.

Readings & Spoken Word

New Ground Poetry Night. First Tuesday, 7 p.m. Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. equalgrounds.com. Visiting Authors Series. 7:30 p.m. Virtual Writers & Books. Sep 2: Piper Sledge; Sep 9: Omar El Akkad; Sep 18: Lucy Antek Johnson; Sep 22: Said Shaiye; Sep 28: Idra Novey wab.org.

Handcrafted Hungerford. Second

Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Hungerford, 1115 E Main St. hungerfordevents.com. Hang Around Victor Day. Sat., Sep. 18, 1-7 p.m. Mead Square Park, 39 W Main St . Victor victorcdo.org.

Jim Mott: 20 Years of SociallyEngaged Art. Fri., Sep. 17, 6 p.m.

Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. 276-8900 $5. Keuka Arts Festival. Sep. 18-19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Penn Yan Boat Launch Park, 240 Water St . Penn Yan keukaartsfestival.com. The Purple Painted Lady Art Festival. Sat., Sep. 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 845 Yellow Mills Rd . Palmyra $5. thepurplepaintedladyfestival.com.

Comedy

Disco Date with the Calamari Sisters.

Sat., Sep. 18, 2 & 6:30 p.m. JCC Hart Theatre, 1200 Edgewood Ave. $55/$65. 461-2000. Jimmy Shubert. Thu., Sep. 16, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sep. 17, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sat., Sep. 18, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $12-$20. 426-6339. Louis CK. Sun., Sep. 19, 7 p.m. Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Rd. $30-$75. kodakcenter.com/events.

Marianne Sierk & Todd Youngman.

Sep. 10-11, 8 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $15/$20. 4266339. Nuts & Bolts Improv. Fri., Sep. 24, 8 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $10. 426-6339. Orlando Jones. Thu., Sep. 23, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sep. 24, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sat., Sep. 25, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $15-$20. 426-6339. The Uncle Louie Variety Show. Thu., Sep. 9, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sep. 10, 7 p.m. & Sat., Sep. 11, 7 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $25. 426-6339. Vic Di Bitetto. Thu., Sep. 30, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 1, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 2, 7 & 9 p.m. Comedy @ the Carlson, 50 Carlson Rd $30. 4266339.

p.m. Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St. artistrowrochester.com. Clothesline Festival. Sep. 11-12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. Timed tickets. $3-$7. clothesline.rochester.edu. Finger Lakes Fiber Festival. Fri., Sep. 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat., Sep. 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hemlock Fairgrounds, 1 Fair Street . Hemlock $7. gvhg.org/ fiber-fest.

Carnaval Show. Sat., Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m. Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Rd. Grupo Cultural Latinos En Rochester $15. gcler.org. Collaborative Anniversary Celebration: Eastman School of Music 100th & Garth Fagan Dance 50th.

Fri., Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. Kodak Hall, 60 Gibbs St . American Jukebox Concert. Fri., Sep. 17, 8 p.m. OFC Creations Theater Center, 3450 Winton Pl ​​. $25 & up. ofccreations.com. BARE: A Pop Opera. Fri., Sep. 24, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Sep. 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 26, 2 p.m. OFC Creations Theater Center, 3450 Winton Pl For ages 13 & up $18 & up. ofccreations. com. Brynn Tyszka: Singing Streisand. Fri., Sep. 10, 7:30 a.m., Sat., Sep. 11, 3 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 12, 3 p.m. OFC Creations Theater Center, 3450 Winton Pl ​​. $25 & up. ofccreations. com. Cats. Sep. 21-23, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Sep. 24, 8 p.m., Sat., Sep. 25, 2 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 26, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Auditorium Theatre, 885 E. Main St. $38 & up. rbtl.org. Neat. Wed., Sep. 1, 8 p.m., Thu., Sep. 2, 2 p.m. and Fri., Sep. 3, 8 p.m. Bristol Valley Theater, 151 South Main St $15-$36. bvtnaples.org.

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Tuesdays-Sundays Geva Theatre,

75 Woodbury Blvd Through Sep 12 $25 & up gevatheatre.org. ‘S Wonderful: An Evening with George Gershwin. Wed., Sep. 1, 2 p.m., Thu., Sep. 2, 8 p.m. and Fri., Sep. 3, 2 p.m. Bristol Valley Theater, 151 South Main St bvtnaples.org.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller. Thu., Sep. 9, 7 p.m., Fri., Sep. 10, 7 p.m., Sat., Sep. 11, 2 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 12, 2 p.m. JCC Canalside Stage, 1200 Edgewood Ave. $25/$35. blackfriars.org. Vietgone. Tuesdays-Sundays Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd Wilson stage. through Oct 24 $25-$64. gevatheatre.org.

Volunteers needed: E-cigarette users

Art Events

Artist Row. Sun., Sep. 19, 10 a.m.-4

Dance Events

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! roccitynews.com CITY 33


LIFE

34 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021


PUBLIC LIVES BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

Mrs. Kasha Davis channels Mr. Rogers in ‘Imagination Station’

E

d Popil sashayed onto the stage at Blackfriars Theatre in a blue floral print dress and a jet black wig styled in a flamboyant bouffant. The streaks of red blush across his cheekbones and the yellow pumps on his feet further accented his garish getup. Then he took his seat on a giant purple throne flanked by books and dolls and toys looking every bit the part of a queen holding court — a drag queen, that is. “It’s Christmas,” Popil said. “It feels like everything we’ve been dreaming up as a team has come to life. It’s like a holiday.” The dream Popil was living was the filming of four pilot episodes for a forthcoming children’s TV show called “Imagination Station with Mrs. Kasha Davis” whose backers are looking to shop around at major streaming services such as HBO, Netflix, and Amazon. The endeavor is a serious one. The creative team behind the project has raised $40,000 to date, money which has been used to pay for technicians, costumes, props, and builders who turned the Blackfriars stage into three set pieces for the filming in August. Aside from the purple throne, there was the porch of a red-brick house with a white swing, and a 1960s-style kitchen, complete with blue trim to match Mrs. Kasha Davis’s blue dress. Popil’s pitch for the show is straightforward: “Take ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse,’ and Mr. Rogers, and you’ve got ‘Imagination Station.’” The show is the latest career move for Popil, 50, and his alter ego, Mrs. Kasha Davis, one of Rochester’s most prominent drag queens, whose appearance as a contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in 2015 propelled the character to international fame. Since the show, Mrs. Kasha Davis has traveled the world, released musical singles, and regularly performed in theaters and clubs and on television and in films.

Mrs. Kasha Davis and her husband Mr. Davis (Steve Levins) share a moment on the porch swing of their “Imagination Station” house at Blackfriars Theatre. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

One of her projects was “Children’s Storytime With Mrs. Kasha Davis,” a performance Popil developed for the 2017 Rochester Fringe Festival that was hosted by the Rochester Central Public Library. The show earned rave reviews, but also generated controversy for daring to have a drag queen read children’s stories to children. But that was then. The performance in part led to the development of “Drag Story Hour,” a live series of shows that ran at Blackfriars over the next few years to capacity crowds, mostly of parents and young children. Blackfriars’ Development Manager Mary Tiballi Hoffman said the theater and Popil had long talked about turning “Drag Story Hour” into a TV show, but the logistics — specifically budget and timing — were always unclear. Then the pandemic hit, and suddenly the Blackfriars stage was empty and available. Popil got to work with the creative team at Blackfriars, which includes Hoffman, the theater’s artistic director, Danny Hoskins, and videographer Ben Gonyo of Fish & Crown Creative. “It’s fun and colorful and the kind

of program I’d like to sit down and watch with my kids,” Hoffman said of “Imagination Station,” which she characterized as “all about spreading a message of kindness and empathy and inclusion and love.” Popil credits the work of Fred Rogers, the thoughtful television neighbor whose songs and heartfelt stories and advice taught generations of children how to get along in the world, as having an outsized influence on his show. “Imagination Station,” he said, draws heavily from Mr. Rogers’ concern for the emotional well-being of children, particularly when it comes to accepting differences in others. Though the TV show asserts themes of love and acceptance broadly, Popil says these messages are important specifically for LGBTQ children and their parents to hear. “It still is tough for a kid to come out to their parents and to express themselves,” he said. “Some families, though, it gets talked about early. And our hope is that a show like ‘Imagination Station’ will be a part of the children’s television programming, where here’s another example of a way

to live and to treat others who are different with kindness, you know? That’s the goal.” Popil’s own experience growing up as a gay kid in a small town outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was challenging. His dad was a U.S. marshal. His mother sold cosmetics and was, in Popil’s words, “an Italian diva.” He recalled his father reinforcing gender stereotypes and he and the other men in the family discouraging physical affection as a means of urging Popil to behave more “manly.” There was no hugging or kissing, he said, only shaking hands. Popil took it as a sign that he wasn’t loved. “I gravitated more towards mom and my grandmother,” Popil said. “These Italian flamboyant ladies with lots of makeup.” Popil married a woman, but when they divorced after 10 years, and Popil came out to his parents, he was effectively disowned, he said. It wasn’t until much later, after his mother’s death, that his father accepted him and his career as a drag queen. “I think inherently, parents want to keep their children safe,” Popil said. “And for whatever reasons, speaking from my personal experience, my parents thought that if, in fact, I acted and or came across feminine, I would not be safe. What does that mean? I would get teased, I might get beat up. In the ’80s, I would die. It was the AIDS epidemic, right? And so they were doing what they thought — now I know this — what they thought was safe.” Popil said Mrs. Kasha Davis is a way for him to connect with his mother and his family. Being Mrs. Kasha Davis, he said, is telling his family, “I love and appreciate you, and I want you to be a part of who I am.” Popil was inspired to do drag after seeing a performance by Miss CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

Ed Popil, in drag as Mrs. Kasha Davis, on the set of her children’s TV show “Imagination Station” at Blackfriars theatre. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

roccitynews.com CITY 35


Richfield 1981. The show had a distinct message and narrative approach that was different from other drag shows, and Popil had a revelation. “I have to be like mom and grandma,” he recalled thinking. “I have to have dark hair and have to be over-the-top — like that drunk aunt who kisses you on the cheek and hurts your ear. And, you know, you love her because she gives you candy, but she smells like powder.” “And I was like, how do I continue to pay homage to mom and grandma and home?” he said. “And I thought, first pet, first street, and that’s how I named myself. Kasha is an angry white poodle. And Davis was the street I grew up on.” Each of the four initial episodes of “Imagination Station” run about a half hour. Mrs. Kasha Davis spends time reading a book aloud, “out and about” in the community at various locales such as Get Caked Bakery, Powers Farm Market, a gym, or a firehouse, and at home with her husband, Mr. Davis — played by Popil’s husband, Steve Levins. “It was so important to have a television show that shows a happy, healthy drag queen, who’s married,” Popil said. “You know, we’re married 18 years, and we’re welcoming you into our home. “And yes, it’s a drag television show for kids, but we don’t explain to you how to be a drag queen,” Popil went on. “Mrs. Kasha Davis just is a drag queen. There’s no lessons on how to put on makeup. There’s no lessons on how to be fabulous. It’s just Mrs. Kasha Davis being Mrs. Kasha Davis.” Levins said the show “normalizes the gay relationship.” Popil is a stepfather to Levins’ two children. “Who are the husbands?” he asked. “There are a lot of us behind the scenes doing stuff for our queens.” Hoffman said that Popil’s honest and nurturing personality endears him to children. That much was evident at a “Drag Story Hour” event, where Mrs. Kasha Davis read a book called “A Peacock Among Pigeons” with her signature blend of flair and kindness. “This book is dedicated to all the peacocks who can’t fit in,” he said. “Be proud! Stand out.” Hoffman called interactions like that “magical.” “He’s a playful person, and it comes from this very warm, very kind place,” she said. “I think as a performer, he’s uniquely positioned to be a drag personality that can handle a kid’s show. Not all drag queens can do this. But this is where his heart is.”

36 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

Above, Popil fixes his wig before heading onto the set of “Imagination Station’; Right, Mrs. Kasha Davis performing at “Drag Story Hour” at Blackfriars Theatre; Below, Popil and Levins rehearse for “Imagination Station.” PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE


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roccitynews.com CITY 37


LIFE

TASTE BUDDIES

Vincenzo Giordano at the cheese counter of VM Giordano Imports Inc., which he opened in the Rochester Public Market nearly 30 years ago. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

GLOBAL GROCERIES Foreign food markets in Rochester diversify our pantries with special, hard-to-find items. BY J. NEVADOMSKI

W

hen a person or a family comes from afar to settle in a new place, they crave the familiarity of the food back home. Fortunately for the diverse and growing immigrant communities in our community — and adventurous food lovers around town — Rochester is home to a variety of ethnic grocery stores that offer ingredients from around the world that are otherwise hard, or impossible, to find locally. Take Korea Food Market in Henrietta, for instance. There, you’ll find frozen silkworms and grasshoppers that can be taken home and fried. That’s just one example. There are many more. 38 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

Here are three of my favorites and easy-to-prepare recipes based on ingredients you’ll find in their stores. Check them out and try something new.

VM GIORDANO IMPORTS INC. — EUROPEAN CHEESE SHOP, 6 PUBLIC MARKET; 489-0371; GIORDANOIMPORTS.COM Giordano Imports Inc. — European Cheese Shop is a cornerstone of the Rochester Public Market that has offered a global variety of specialty cheeses, cured meats, and pantry items for nearly 30 years. Its owner, Vincenzo Giordano, traces his origins to the tiny village of

Rionero in the mountainous Basilicata province in the foot of Italy’s boot. He immigrated by boat with his parents in 1970, settling first in New York City, before finding the slower, agrarian pace of upstate that reminded them of home. His parents worked as tailors at the Hickey Freeman company and Bond Clothing, and Giordano studied at Jefferson High School and Monroe Community College and earned a degree in architecture from The University of Buffalo. He spent his youth traveling to Italy to help his father with yearly olive harvesting, becoming familiar with the common European pantry staples that

couldn’t be found in the United States. This love of foods, especially cheese, eventually led him to start selling the Italian goods for which he


is known at the Public Market, at first as a weekend hobby. He opened his business as a single stand in the Public Market’s deli building offering Basilicata mineral water and extra virgin olive oil from his family’s olive orchards. But his knowledge of European food culture resonated with customers, and Giordano branched out to import foods from around the world and offer homecooked meals. “It’s a gastronomy where you know where the product came from, you know what you put in, what you did with it, and it is good for the health,” Giordano says. “You’re eating quality food.” Giordano Imports’s staggering variety of high-quality products from around the world — from seafood salads to cured meats — make it a foodie haven and a must-stop shop for this recipe:   

THREE CHEESE PASTA WITH OLIVES Serves 4-6 A simple good thing. This pasta recipe is quick and easy and can be made from a variety of different cheese and olives from Giordano Imports. My favorite is a combination of triple cream ricotta, Gorgonzola and burrata (which is technically two cheeses, but who’s counting) with the house-mixed Giordano pitted black olives with hot pepper and garlic. But, it’s also fun to ask the team at Giordano’s what cheese and olive combination they think is best. Their expertise will guide you to something special. YOU WILL NEED:

1 lb. dry durum semolina pasta (ideally gemelli or casarecce), boiled until al dente in salted water, drained, and lightly tossed in olive oil 4-6 balls of burrata (room temperature) 1/2 lb. triple cream ricotta 1/2 lb. Gorgonzola 1/2 lb. Giordano pitted black olives with hot pepper and garlic 2 cloves fresh garlic (roughly chopped) 1/4 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped) 1/4 cup half and half 1/4 cup pasta water 2 tablespoons of Giordano olive oil (more for garnish) Salt and pepper (to taste) In a large pan on a medium heat, add the olive oil and fresh garlic and gently

cook until the garlic begins to soften and color (3 minutes). Add in the Gorgonzola and gently break apart the cheese as it heats up. Then add the half and half, black olives, and ricotta, and gently stir until heated through. Blend in the cooked pasta, pasta water, and the majority of fresh basil (reserving some for garnish), mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a simmer, remove from heat and cover. Let stand for five minutes. Plate each portion of pasta and top with a ball of burrata and garnish with fresh basil, fresh ground black pepper, and a drizzle of Giordano olive oil. Serve immediately.

DYBOWSKI AUTHENTIC POLISH MARKET, 1325 HUDSON AVE.; 287-6107; FACEBOOK.COM/DYBOWSKIMARKET Specializing in Polish foods and ingredients — from a large variety of smoked sausages, fresh sausage, and cured meats to dry goods, cheeses, dairy products, and beverages — Dybowski’s is smack in the historically Polish immigrant neighborhood surrounding Hudson Avenue south of Route 104. “You cannot find these types of products in Rochester,” says its owner, Henry Dybowski. A long and winding road led owner Dybowski to open his market. He left his hometown near Kielce in southern Poland at age 15 to attend school. Seven years later, with mechanic and crane-operating licenses, he moved to West Germany to work in construction for a decade. In 1989, he joined family in Rochester and worked several jobs before becoming a grocer. He was a crane operator in Florida for a while, and owned rental property and a car dealership in Rochester. It was not until December 2012 that Dybowski opened his namesake grocery store. Dybowski’s Authentic Polish Market found a niche catering mostly to Polish, Ukrainian, and Cuban immigrants, but drew customers from as far as Buffalo and Utica with its assortment of products, which includes more than 30 hand-selected kinds of kielbasa alone. His place offers ample creative options for anyone looking to explore Eastern European cuisine and try recipes like this:

Assorted sweet breads at Dybowski Authentic Polish Market on Hudson Ave. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

CLASSIC HALUSKI Serves 4-6 Haluski is an Eastern European classic. Some versions of this fried cabbage dish center on dumplings, while others favor a bed of egg noodles. I’m partial to this version, which features Polish kielbasa and fresh green cabbage over a bed of egg noodles. The variety of kielbasa at Dybowski’s provides a wealth of flavorful options for this dish, and the market’s staff can describe the nuances of each, helping you select the right one for your palate.   YOU WILL NEED:

2-3 lbs. Dybowski smoked kielbasa (cut into half-inch slices) 3/4 to 1 head of green cabbage (core removed, cut into thin strips) 1 large yellow onion (julienned) 2-3 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped) 12-oz. bag of egg noodles (boiled until cooked, drained and lightly tossed in olive oil) 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter Dash of smoked paprika Olive oil  Salt and pepper (to taste) 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped for garnish) Sour cream (optional garnish) Heat a large sauté pan on a mediumhigh heat and melt the butter with a splash of olive oil, then lightly cook the onion, garlic, and sausage until they start to color (about 10 minutes). Mix in the cabbage and stir frequently, cooking until it starts to wilt but still retains some of its bright green

color and crunch (about 15 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste and add more olive oil as needed. Plate the cooked and drained egg noodles and top with the cooked cabbage-sausage mixture from the pan (including any butter and oil), and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley and a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.

NAMASTE CASH & CARRY, 3675 W. HENRIETTA ROAD; 4242980; NAMASTEGROCERY.COM Namaste Cash & Carry and the attached restaurant Namaste Grill are hidden gems in the hustle and bustle of Henrietta’s commercial strip. The family-run business, led by owner Harwinder Singh, opened on West Henrietta Road in July 2020. The grocery store is by far the most comprehensive Indian and South Asian market in the area, offering a dizzying array of exotic vegetables, rice, lentils, dry goods, frozen foods, prepared foods, and — perhaps most impressively — spices and cookware. The attached eat-in or take-out Namaste Grill also boasts a wonderful selection of Indian street food staples as well as a remarkable variety of classics made fresh to order, such as samosas and chaat. “We wanted to try something different,” Singh says. “We want to serve things that other people don’t have.”  Singh’s family farmed rice, wheat, and vegetables in the Punjab region of India before settling in Rochester in the mid-1990s. They worked for years in CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

roccitynews.com CITY 39


A massive variety of rice is among the dry goods available at Namaste Cash & Carry. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

local restaurants until jumping at the chance to buy Namaste Indian Grocery and Video at a different location in 2005. The family’s business ventures grew in time, and the Singhs spent two years renovating and preparing their new location, which opened in July 2020 amid pandemic shutdowns. Their shop is more visible and attracts walk-in customers from many cultural backgrounds, but primarily sells goods popular in India, Pakistan, Bengal, Nepal, the Middle East, and North Africa. If Namaste doesn’t have what you’re looking for, the Singhs will special order it. “When a customer requests a product, if it is available anywhere in America, we try to bring it in,” Singh says.  But you should have no trouble finding what you need for this dish:  

SAVORY CHICKEN WITH PANEER Serves 4-6 Indian food is a vast, nuanced, and exciting cuisine with spicy, earthy, vibrant, and aromatic qualities. This recipe is a simple, fun starting point that can be made at home with no special equipment or techniques. The chicken can be substituted for cauliflower as a vegetarian preparation option. I recommend exploring Namaste’s selection of fresh exotic hot chili peppers if you like a little heat. The staff at Namaste might even have some insightful vegetable or spice suggestions to modify this dish. Tell them CITY sent you.

YOU WILL NEED: 40 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

4-6 bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed) 10 oz. paneer cheese (cut into large cubes) 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 5 tablespoons of Indian yogurt 2 fresh green chili peppers (chopped, remove seeds for less spiciness) 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro (roughly chopped) ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen) 2 cloves of fresh garlic (roughly chopped) 1 tablespoon of garam masala 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder 1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar 1 cinnamon stick 3 tablespoons of cooking oil 1 cup water Salt and pepper (to taste) Mix the tomato paste, yogurt, garlic, garam masala, ginger, fenugreek, red chili powder, turmeric, and sugar together in a bowl. On a medium-high heat in a heavy pan or Dutch oven, heat the cooking oil and add in the tomato-yogurt mixture along with the cinnamon stick. Lower the heat and cook gently (3 to 5 minutes). Add in the water, mix well, and bring to a low boil. Add in the chicken and evenly coat each piece with the tomato-yogurt mixture, cover, and let simmer (10 to 15 minutes). Turn each piece of the chicken over and add in the green chilies, peas, paneer, and half of the cilantro. Mix well, cover and cook. Let it simmer (5 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked through). Plate and garnish with the remaining cilantro. Best served with simple steamed white basmati rice.


ABOUT TOWN

CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS PUZZLE ON PAGE 58. NO PEEKING!

Festivals

Literary Events & Discussions

a.m.-4 p.m. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, 151 Charlotte St . Canandaigua Antique Car Show & Bluegrass Festival $20/$25. bumpersandbanjos.com. Hop Harvest Festival. Mon., Sep. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd Mumford $17-$23. gcv.org. Macedon Lumberjack Festival. Sep. 11-12, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Macedon Fire Hall, 2481 Canandaigua Rd macedoncenterfire.org. Naples Grape Festival. Sep. 25-26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Naples, Main St Naples naplesgrapefest.org. New York State Festival of Balloons. Sep. 3-5. Dansville Municipal Airport, 176 Franklin St. nysfob.com.

12:12-12:52 p.m Central Library, Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Ave. Sep 21: Clint Smith’s “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America”; Sep 28: Louise Erdrich’s “The Night Watchman”; Oct 5: Patrick Radden Keefe’s “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” ffrpl.libraryweb.org.

Bumpers & Banjos. Sun., Sep. 19, 11

North Winton Village Festival of the Arts. Sat., Sep. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Linear

Garden, 2315 E Main St. northwinton.org. Rochester Black Pride. Sep. 17-19. Various, Rochester rocblackpride.com. Rochester Fringe Festival. Sep. 14-25. Various, Rochester rochesterfringe.com.

Lectures

Amy Walter: Dissecting the Body Politic. Sun., Sep. 19, 4 p.m. Fort Hill

Performing Arts Center, 20 Fort Hill Ave . Canandaigua $10/$25. fhpac.org.

Deanne Quinn Miller: From the Ashes of Attica. Sun., Oct. 3, 4 p.m. Fort Hill

Performing Arts Center, 20 Fort Hill Ave . Canandaigua With Gary Craig; moderated by Evan Dawson $10/$25. fhpac.org.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Poet, Activist, Reformer. Mon., Sep. 6, 2

p.m. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, 151 Charlotte St . Canandaigua farmingtonmeetinghouse.org. Geology of Mount Hope Cemetery. Sat., Sep. 25, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Mount Hope Cemetery, 791 Mt Hope Ave. $12. fomh.org.

Hester Jeffrey: Temperance; Suffrage; Political Action. Sat., Sep. 11, 2

p.m. Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum, 295 North Main St. farmingtonmeetinghouse.org. The Ice Cream Tour. Sat., Oct. 2, 11 a.m. Mount Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mt Hope Ave. Advance tickets required. South Entrance $12. fomh.org. Kodakids. Mon., Sep. 20, 7 p.m. Gates Town Hall Annex, 1605 Buffalo Rd . Gates Mary Jo Lanphear, Town of Brighton Historian gateshistory.org.

Milton Mills, MD: Plant-Based Diet & the Microbiome. Sun., Sep. 26, 5:30 p.m.

Brighton Town Park Lodge, 777 Westfall Rd Presented by the Rochester Area Vegan Society and Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute. Vegan potluck precedes lecture. Details here $3 suggested. Mischief, Murder & Mayhem. Sat., Oct. 2, 11 a.m. Mount Hope Cemetery, 791 Mt Hope Ave. $12. fomh.org. Roads Less Traveled By. Sat., Sep. 18, 11 a.m. Mount Hope Cemetery, 791 Mt Hope Ave. $12. fomh.org. Sunday Tour. Sundays, 2 p.m Mount Hope Cemetery, 791 Mt Hope Ave. North Gatehouse $12/$15. fomh.org. Twilight Tour. Thursdays, 7 p.m Mount Hope Cemetery, 791 Mt Hope Ave. North Gatehouse $12?$15. fomh.org.

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Mud Pie Bakery. Sun., Sep. 5, 12:30-

3:30 p.m. and Sun., Sep. 19, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Rd. $15. rmsc.org. Nature Sunday Experiences. Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m Genesee Country Nature Center, 1410 Flint Hill Rd Mumford $5 suggested gcv.org. Puppy Play. Sep. 11-12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq. (museumofplay.org) w/ museum admission: $18/$23.

Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit Opening.

Sep. 18-19. Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq. (museumofplay. org) with museum admission: $18/$23.

Recreation

Trolley Rides. Sun., Sep. 12, 11:30

a.m., 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m. NY Museum of Transportation, 6393 E. River Rd $6-$10. nymtmuseum.org. Yoga on the Bricks. Thursdays, 9:3010:30 a.m Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St.

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Special Events

Community Garage Sales. Sun., Sep. 12, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., Sun., Sep. 26, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and Sundays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St. Select Sundays through Oct 17. Eco-Fair. Sun., Sep. 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Brighton High School, 1150 Winton Rd S 242-5046. colorbrightongreen.org. Food Truck Rodeo. Last Wednesday of every month, 5-9 p.m Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St. Through Sep 29. National Hispanic Heritage Month. Sep. 16-Oct. 15. Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq. (museumofplay. org) with museum admission: $18/$23. Nitro Circus. Fri., Sep. 10, 6 p.m. Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way FMX, BMX, skateboard, & scooter daredevils $33 & up indigoroadentertainment.com/ nitro-circus. Oktoberfest Rails & Ales. Sat., Sep. 25, 12-4 p.m. Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, 282 RushScottville Rd. $20 & up. 533-1431. rochestertrainrides.com. Outdoor Market. Sat., Sep. 11 and Sat., Sep. 18. The Op Shop, 89 Charlotte St. 730-1157. facebook.com/theopshoproc. Roc City Tattoo Expo. Sep. 24-26. Holiday Inn Downtown, 70 State St. #roccitytattooexpo. Taste of Soul Sunday. Sun., Sep. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Legacy Drama House, 112 Webster Ave 471-5335. ZooBrew. Fri., Sep. 10, 5:30-9 p.m. Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul St $8/10. 336-7200. roccitynews.com CITY 41


FALL

PREVIEW

IN YOUR FACE Seven new-ish restaurants to check out this fall. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

@RSRAFFERTY

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

Y

ou could be forgiven for missing some of the changes to Rochester’s food scene over the last year. But if that’s the case, you’ve got some catching up to do this fall. There are new spots, familiar places that got a facelift, and others that emerged from their pandemic-induced shutdowns reimagined. Check back with CITY through the fall for full reviews of some of them. In the meantime, here’s a taste.   

Open Face also sells some of its mashes by the pint and quart with 24-hours’ notice and its rotation of soups, like the creamy, nacho cheese-based chicken enchilada, will be comforting when the weather turns.

THE MERCANTILE ON MAIN (240 E. MAIN ST., @MERCONMAIN)

MISFIT TREATS AND EATS (133 GREGORY ST., 271-1233, MISFITDOUGHNUTS.COM) Last year was tough for everyone in the restaurant business, but it was a kick in the teeth for Jenny Johnson and her vegan treats shop Misfit Doughnuts. The shop had barely moved into its new location on Gregory Street, after a fire had forced it out of its old spot on Monroe Avenue, when it had to shut down.       But closing gave Johnson time to think and innovate. She renamed the place Misfit Treats and Eats and expanded the menu to offer new savory items like the McLovin breakfast sandwich, the Nashville Hot “Chicken” sandwich, and weekly specials based on meatless bases from local vegan “butcher” Grass Fed and national makers of processed meat substitutes. The Dilly Burger — a Beyond Burger patty with Chao vegan cheese, white dill sauce, dill pickles, and fried cucumbers — is delicious and satisfying without leaving you with that heavy feeling you can get from meat. Wash it down with a peach lemonade made with homemade peach syrup and you’ll be smiling.  There’s always something new on the weekly specials, and Johnson says this fall she’s serving a Misfit Maven Plate — a vegan version of Rochester’s infamous cuisine — and a vegan Cubano sandwich. And, yeah, you can still get doughnuts, pies, and other sweets. 42 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

The Dilly Burger at Misfit Treats and Eats is made with a Beyond Burger patty, and part of Misfit's expanded savory menu. PHOTO PROVIDED

OPEN FACE @ EASTMAN

(900 EAST AVE, 327-4940, GEM-CAFE. SQUARE.SITE) Long before fancy variations of avocado toast became a thing with millennials, Open Face was serving up all manners of vegetable and fruit smashes on toasted bread from its digs in the South Wedge.        When that location closed in 2017, Rochester lost a great lunch spot. But Open Face has since resurfaced in the renovated George Eastman Museum — and it’s still a great lunch spot. You don’t have to be a museum patron to drop in for a bite. The menu is familiar. True to its name, Open Face specializes in openfaced sandwiches, with toppings that range from the glazed Corn Mash and

Open Face's Mashed Pea sandwich is served hot and open with melted Gorgonzola, balsamic glaze, and crumbly bacon. PHOTO PROVIDED

the Toasted Brie with apricot preserves, tart cherry butter, and poppy seeds to a Maple Turkey Open Melt topped with Havarti and French fried onions. Ginger carrots and pickled beets are among the favorite sides.

You can choose and booze your own adventure at the food court-like Mercantile on Main, which opened in the Sibley Building earlier this year, and houses five different kitchens, a café, and a bar. Open and airy, the Merc’s bright environment makes it a cheerful spot for a solo bite, a work lunch, or happy hour.        There is something for everyone, whatever your mood. Palermo’s Market (yep, a downtown location of the Henrietta mainstay) offers deli sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, as well as breakfast sandwiches and French toast. Nani’s Kitchen (one of Rochester’s only unionized restaurants) presents unique twists on savory Desi cuisine, such as vindaloo chicken wings or Indian tacos with tandoori chicken on grilled roti or fried bhatura.  Flour Kitchen offers an array of Italian pasta dishes, including rigatoni bolognese or sausage and rapini orecchiette, as well as meatball subs and salads. Cut follows the fast-casual model in which you build your own bowl of starches, veggies, and your choice of protein (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, trout, or falafel), and has a fish fry. Broth has a build-your-own pho menu, with protein that ranges from vegan to surf or turf, a variety of fresh spring rolls, and tasty lemongrass chicken skewers. Each eatery has standard or specialty sodas, juices, and teas, but if you’re looking for something stronger, the Merc’s center island houses the coffeeshop Rococo (drip, espresso, and sweet treats) and the Rufus Cocktail


The lemongrass chicken skewers at Broth, one of the restaurants at the Mercantile at Main. PHOTO BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

Lounge (from the same folks behind The Cub Room). Protips: The Merc is cash-free, but you can buy gift cards at a little console on site to use at any of the businesses. Want to order ahead and pick up? Download the Toast app, which is updated daily with the eateries’ specials.

MASTER FALAFEL (519 MONROE AVE., 471-8386, MASTERFALAFEL.COM) Monroe Avenue has a new open-late snack stop in the fast-casual form of Mediterranean staples, namely falafel. The traditional puck-shaped patties of fried ground-chickpea-and-spice come in four variations — classic, spicy with onion and sumac relish, sesameencrusted, or stuffed with mozzarella cheese. It’s made-to-order here and an order includes five pieces. But if you can’t choose one style, the sampler includes four pieces of each. Master Falafel is owned by Khaled Alkaissi, 24, a refugee from Syria, who has a decade of experience working in restaurants in Jordan and the United States. He runs the shop with his brother Yamen, sister Rama, and brother-in-law Hiwa Shareef. Also on the menu are pitas and plates — choose from rice and salad or vegetable-based, topped with your choice of falafel, chicken, or gyro meat. One plate has a base of uniquelyaccented Mediterranean sides including baba ghanouj with pomegranate molasses, tabbouleh, hummus, and

stuffed grape leaves. Another, the Rochester Plate, comes with Syrianspiced fries, cabbage, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeños, and your choice of protein and sauce (garlic, tahini, or tzatziki). For dessert, there’s baklava or rice pudding with coconut.  

VELVET BELLY (3 ROCHESTER PUBLIC MARKET, 413-0825, VELVETBELLY.COM) Velvet Belly, the newest addition to the Rochester Public Market’s everexpanding fare, opened in June and has some of the most decadent food in town. It’s co-owned by Josh Miles (The Revelry), Chelsea Felton (The Revelry, Branca Midtown, Bitter Honey, Nocino), and head chef and partner Jeremy Nucelli, and specializes in seafood, craft cocktails, and impressing your date. Velvet Belly offers a wide variety of fish dishes (crustacean, shellfish, mollusks, and the finned kind). But if you’re more in the mood for a steak, burger, or a strictly-vegetable dish, they’ve got you covered there, too. You can’t go wrong with the housemade ricotta with roasted cherry tomatoes and marinated anchovies to spread over crostini. The tender and silken wagyu beef carpaccio topped with stracciatella, smoked soy-cured egg yolk bottarga, parmesan and crisped artichoke bracts was also a treat. Roasted monkfish medallions — a flaky, meaty fish all buttery and citrus-tart with its wild chanterelles and lemoncaper-parsley salad — and the smoked

Velvet Belly’s house-made ricotta, which is served with roasted cherry tomato ‘pappa al pomodoro,’ marinated Spanish anchovies, and crostini. PHOTO BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

gouda and cauliflower gratin, a to-diefor, creamy comfort dish with a crust of crunchy breadcrumbs, were fantastic. Velvet Belly is currently open for dinner and drinks, with a lunch menu coming soon.

LE PETIT POUTINE’S “FAST-CLASSY” JOINT (44 ELTON STREET, LEPETITPOUTINE. COM) Le Petit Poutine, one of Rochester’s best food trucks, announced in June that it would be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the fall. The owners tell us they don’t have a name for their place yet, but we think they’d be foolish to stray too far from the name that made them Rochester famous. The launch date for the restaurant is up in the air, too, but the address is fixed — a space on Elton Street in the Neighborhood of the Arts that was previously occupied by Glen Edith Coffee Roasters. “We don’t want it to be a completely fast-casual experience,” co-owner Ronnie McClive says. “We’re calling it ‘fastclassy.’ Poutine on the truck is poutine on the go; here we want people to take it slow. It won’t be upscale exactly, but would make a good date night.” The menu hasn’t dropped yet, but judging by Le Petit Poutine’s inventiveness from its kitchen on four wheels, we’re expecting good things. In the meantime, the food truck is still on the road and the owners say it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

BRICK & IVY (819 S. CLINTON

AVE, BRICKANDIVYROC.COM)

Viticulture Wine Bar owner Courtney Benson opened Brick & Ivy in the South Wedge in July. A casual-fine dining spot and craft cocktail bar that boasts a menu of delicious-looking items inspired by global cuisine, Brick & Ivy is a must-stop on the fall restaurant circuit. Take the Halibut Veracruz, the recent jerk scallops special, the Bayou Alfredo with Cajun chicken, and the Poulette Bur Blanc (confit chicken thighs, beurre blanc sauce, and grilled asparagus). You can also order more downto-earth, familiar dishes, with a twist: blackened tuna nachos with refreshing dill raita; steamed mussels with juniper berries, herbed butter, and Black Button gin broth; or the rack lamb ribs served not with mint jelly but chimichurri marinade, spicy mustard glaze, grilled asparagus, and crispy potato bites. Sweets include a churro tower stacked like Jenga tiles, glistening in sugar, and drizzled with chocolate. The bar’s temptations include the Gold Rush (vodka, gold kiwi, prosecco), the Lady in Pearls (Cognac, Strawberry Demerara, lemon, strawberry pearls — think bubble tea), the Razzle Bazzle (gin, basil, raspberries, lemon), a small selection of beers and ciders, and a variety of French, Italian, and Spanish wines. Do you have a food and dining tip? Email me: becca@rochester-citynews.com.

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FALL

PREVIEW

THE MOST ANTICIPATED THEATER OF THE SEASON The list of shows we’re excited about includes timely revivals, intriguing new works, and a mix of Mormons and McCarthyists, just to keep things interesting. BY KATHERINE VARGA

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he rise of the delta variant of the coronavirus makes all plans for in-person gatherings feel precarious, so looking ahead to local theater productions we’re excited about this fall is a bit of a leap of faith. But the intoxicating return of live performances this summer, largely at outdoor venues, has theater lovers banking on getting indoors when the weather turns, and a handful of companies are setting the stage for audiences. The list of shows we think will be great includes timely revivals, intriguing new works, holdovers from the theater season that never was, and a mix of angels and ghosts and Mormons and McCarthyists, just to keep things interesting. These upcoming shows, like everything in life nowadays, are tentative. Be sure to check theaters’ websites for updates and safety protocols.

SEPTEMBER “STEPPIN’ INTO MY SHOES” (CIVIC ENSEMBLE’S RE-ENTRY THEATRE PROGRAM; SEPT. 11-25) If the delta variant does end up ruining fall plans, or if you feel ill, here’s an opportunity for new theater that can be experienced remotely: The Ithaca-based Civic Ensemble and the College Initiative Upstate are collaborating to present a new play for the radio, developed from oral histories conducted in fall 2020 with people who have spent time behind bars. The piece centers the voices of those most affected by mass incarceration — a population that has been particularly 44 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

Rochester native Bruce Sabath, shown here on Broadway in "Fiddler on the Roof, in Yiddish," stars in “Searching for Tevye” at JCC CenterStage in October. PHOTO PROVIDED

vulnerable to COVID-19 — and aims to disrupt harmful stereotypes. The radio play will air Sept. 11, 18, and 25 at 3 p.m. on WRFI 88.1 FM Ithaca and 91.9 FM Watkins Glen, and is also available via podcast at wrfi.org.

“VIETGONE” (GEVA THEATRE CENTER; SEPT. 28-OCT. 24) Geva moves from its summer outdoor space to its first show on the Wilson Stage in 18 months with “Vietgone.” The play, by Qui Nguyen, was originally planned to be performed in May 2020, but . . . well, you know. Known for his eclectic style, Nguyen co-founded a self-declared

“geek theatre” company called Vampire Cowboys that draws inspiration from comic books and adventure stories. “Vietgone” is among his most critically-acclaimed shows and tells the true story of his parents’ journey in the United States after leaving Vietnam in 1975. The romantic comedy includes rapping, direct addresses to the audiences, and a perhaps soon-to-

be-rare opportunity to see local work directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, who is leaving her position at Geva to become the producing artistic director of the Fine Arts Center Theatre in Denver. Performances run Sept. 28 through Oct. 24 on the Wilson Stage at Geva Theatre Center, 75 Woodbury Boulevard. $25-$59.Tickets are available at gevatheatre.org/vietgone or by calling 232-4382.


OCTOBER “SEARCHING FOR TEVYE” (JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER’S CENTERSTAGE; OCT. 7-OCT. 10) As part of the JCC’s season theme “Homecoming,” Brighton native Bruce Sabath has created an evening of showtunes, Yiddish music, and storytelling around his journey from a corporate strategy consultant to spending several decades as a theater actor with Broadway and off-Broadway credits. Prior to the pandemic, he played Lazar Wolf and understudied for Tevye in an 18-month run of “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.” The show is directed by Tanya Moberly. Performances of “Searching for Tevye” run Oct. 7 through 10 at the JCC Hart Theater, 1200 Edgewood Avenue). Tickets are available at jccrochester.org/arts-culture/centerstage or by calling 585-461-2000.

“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING” (ROCHESTER COMMUNITY PLAYERS; OCT. 8-OCT. 16) Director Carl Del Buono’s production of the beloved Shakespearean farce featuring the bickering Beatrice and Benedick is reset in 1913, when a group of British soldiers comes to California to marry wealthy American heiresses. The show involves some gender-swapped casting, with the villain Don Juan played by a woman and presented as Dame Jane. “Much Ado About Nothing” is being staged at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), which requires proof of vaccination for visitors 12 and older, and strongly encourages patrons to wear masks. Performances run Oct. 8 through 16, with shows on Thursday through Sunday at MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave. $20 general, $15 seniors. muccc.org.

“RENT” (OFC CREATIONS THEATRE CENTER; OCT. 8-OCT. 17) Despite the overuse of the phrase “unprecedented times” in 2020, COVID-19 is not the first time Americans have endured an epidemic that was widely mischaracterized and mishandled. The Centers for Disease Control

have marked June 2021 as the 40-year marker of the first official reporting of the disease that would be known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is now HIV Stage III. Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prizewinning rock musical, directed by Judith Ranaletta, depicts a group of bohemian friends struggling to make art, keep love alive, and, of course, pay the rent, during the AIDS crisis. Performances run Oct. 8 through 17, with shows on Friday through Sunday at the OFC Creations Theatre Center’s Main Stage, 3450 Winton Place. $35 general, $50 VIP. ofccreations.com/tickets.

“TAKING SHAKESPEARE” (HUMMINGBIRD THEATRE COMPANY; OCT. 28-31) The Hummingbird Theatre Company specializes in lesser-known and lesser-produced plays, such as this 2012 two-hander by Canadian playwright John Murrell. Directed by the company’s founder Donald Bartalo, the play follows an aging professor and her academically failing student as they unexpectedly bond through reading and analyzing Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Performances run Oct. 28 through 31 at the MuCCC, 142 Atlantic Ave. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. muccc.org.

“THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE” (PENFIELD PLAYERS; OCT. 29-NOV. 13) Horror writer Shirley Jackson has had a presence in pop culture lately. “Shirley,” a bio-drama film about her starring Elizabeth Moss, was released last year, and her novel “The Haunting of Hill House” was adapted for Netflix in 2018. Director Jerry Argetsinger and the Penfield Players present a stage version of the novel, adapted by F. Andrew Leslie. The gothic tale follows

a group of potentially psychic people who have been invited to an old house to be researched. Performances run Oct. 29 through Nov. 13 at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road, Penfield. $14 advance, $17 door. penfieldplayers.org/ tickets.

NOVEMBER “ANGELS IN AMERICA” (RIT/NTID; NOV. 19-21) If showtunes aren’t your thing, but you’re still open to high-concept fantastical theater, there’s another

groundbreaking play about AIDS being staged this fall. Rochester Institute of Technology and National Technical Institute for the Deaf present Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play, directed by Andy Head, as its first in-person production since the pandemic began. Subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” the play features angels and ghosts while telling the stories of a closeted Mormon lawyer’s relationship to his wife and his colleague Roy Cohn, and a gay couple living in 1980s Manhattan. The performance is in both ASL and English, performed by deaf and hearing students, and will also be captioned. Performances run Nov. 19 through 21 at the Robert F. Panara Theatre, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive. Tickets are $12 general public, $10 RIT faculty/ staff/alumni, $5 students. rit.edu/ performingarts/angels-america. Editor’s Note: CITY theater writer Katherine Varga works full-time as a real time captionist at Rochester Institute of Technology.

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FALL

PREVIEW

A B-boy performs as other dancers look on at Fringe Street beat as part of the 2018 Rochester Fringe Festival. PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS

A FRINGE BINGE (ON THE CHEAP) Rochester Fringe Festival’s 10th anniversary features 425 in-person and virtual shows. Here are 11 essential and free events for you to enjoy. BY KATHERINE VARGA

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hile many cities have Fringe festivals, none are quite like the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival — the largest multidisciplinary performing arts festival in New York — which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.     Rochester Fringe performers vary from traveling groups like Cirque du Fringe, which features an international cast of circus performers, acrobats, and jugglers, to Rochester community 46 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

ensembles, student groups, and local treasures such as Garth Fagan Dance. In 2019, Rochester Fringe organizers announced the festival had broken previous attendance records, with more than 100,000 visitors catching some of the 650 events. Last year, the festival went completely virtual with over 170 online productions.   The 2021 festival is prioritizing safety and health by requiring

all participants, staff, volunteers, and audience members to be fully vaccinated to attend indoor performances. Audience members 12 and over should be prepared to arrive 30 minutes early for a vaccination check before entry.    Not all Fringe events are indoors. Many are outside at locations such as One Fringe Place, on the corner of Gibbs and East Main streets, where a giant Italian circus tent with a bar and

seats for roughly 320 people will be up.   With 425 in-person and online shows, the festival truly has something for everyone. Since it’s still a pandemic, why not treat yourself to something entertaining, completely weird, or maybe even magical? Here are a few of the over 120 free events to get you started.    Gospel Sunday, a staple of Rochester Fringe, is back and moving outdoors at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19,


Joywave will close out the 2021 Rochester Fringe Festival on Sept. 25 with its mini-music festival Smokestacks. PHOTO PROVIDED

at One Fringe Place. The Rev. Rickey Harvey of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church leads local gospel artists, including the Zion Hill Mass Choir, Truly Committed, and his own choir from Mt. Olivet. This concert has been known to raise the roof but since it’s playing outdoors, does that mean it will raise the sky? Worth checking out. General admission seating is available first-come, first-served, but this popular event has always reached standingroom capacity. Have you ever thought you might actually be living in a cliche, so-badit’s-good dance movie? Here’s that huge make-or-break event you’ve been working toward! The dance-battle competition for the title of Fringe Street Beat champs returns Saturday, Sept. 18, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park (rain location: One Fringe Place). The afternoon will be filled with epic dance-offs, starting with preliminary rounds at 1 p.m. and leading up to the finals at 4 p.m. Competing teams (a max of 3 members per crew) may

register for $5 on the Fringe site or in person at 12 p.m. The cash prize is $1,200, but we all know the true happy ending is the chance to get down on the streets. While many of Fringe events are family-friendly, Disco Kids is specifically designed with the little ones in mind. As opposed to the festival’s popular Silent Disco, in which participants use headphones, the disco for kids plays the music aloud so they can collectively rock out to — well, whatever the kids are rocking out to these days (I lost track after Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” became passé). After months of remote learning, kids can finally break out of their Zoom squares and have a dance party in person at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at One Fringe Place.  One of the venues new to Fringe this year is also fairly new to Rochester. The International Plaza, which opened in fall 2020, is a Latin-themed space CONTINUED ON PAGE 48

roccitynews.com CITY 47


Singers perform at Gospel Sunday during the 2019 Rochester Fringe Festival. PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING

and cultural marketplace at 828 North Clinton Ave. If you’ve been meaning to check it out for the past, uh (quickly checks calendar) several months, now’s your perfect excuse! The Plaza opens Hispanic Heritage Month at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, with Fiesta en la Plaza! featuring regional Latin jazz favorites Mambo Kings. Since it’s also Market Day, visitors can explore the marketplace’s food and vendors against a backdrop of live music. The festive atmosphere at The International Plaza will continue at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, when Womba Africa Drumming and Dance and the Borinquen Dance Academy perform. The only thing better than seeing a good movie is seeing one with friends — meaning, an assortment 48 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

of fireflies and the night sky. Almost every evening, the Fringe features a first-come, first-served outdoor movie at One Fringe Place. As part of the Pedestrian Drive-in series, these screenings range from older classics — 1969’s “The Italian Job,” 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19 — to recently-released hits such as “In the Heights,” 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, and the 2020 Oscar-winning “Parasite,” 7:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. If you missed “Drunk Bus” — the heartfelt 2020 comedy filmed in Rochester — when it played at The Little Theatre, you can catch it at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14. Participants will be given individual headsets (with a deposit of a license or ID, returned


upon exit). Concessions are available at food trucks and the Theatre Bar. This year’s Rochester Fringe ends with some festival Inception: Smokestacks 2021, a festival within the festival. Joywave, indie rock’s hometown heroes, headline a Saturday evening mini-music fest beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 that includes national acts — Los Angeles indie pop band Cannons and 4AD R&B-hip-hop artist Spencer. — alongside beloved Rochester artists KOPPS, Mikaela Davis, and Cammy Enaharo. The concert will be outdoors at Parcel Five, recently dubbed The Five, 285 East Main St. near the corner of East Avenue. Rochester Fringe will also showcase a wide variety of free online

performances, including many ondemand productions, which can be viewed any time during the festival.     On-demand performances to check out include: “Being B.A.D.,” a solo piece about taking back power after years of domestic abuse; “Capsule,” a dance-and-movement piece created during the spread of COVID-19 to the U.S. in March 2020; “La Nela De Socrates,” a musical tragedy adaptation of the 1878 Spanish novel “Marianela;” “Spooky Stories in the (virtual) Stacks,” true ghost stories told from the Central Library of Rochester; and “Feather Moves,” an interactive movement class from PUSH Physical Theatre.

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FALL

PREVIEW

BEST IN SHOWS BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

@RSRAFFERTY

Six art shows you shouldn't miss this fall.

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

T

his is a fingers-crossed fall arts preview. No one can predict the future with the delta variant surging. But, for the time being, area arts venues are pushing forward with best-laid plans for fall exhibitions — and if you go, you’ll be glad you did. Many installations reflect artistic responses to the ongoing pandemic and social justice reckonings. As long as there’s work to do, artists will keep it in the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean their work is a drag. Big art houses and small ones alike are presenting these problems in engaging ways, and complementing them with exhibits that radiate talent. A warning: some venues won’t take walk-ins and require advance tickets, and regulations may change in the coming months. “We’re very hopeful and optimistic that we can continue with our work, with the caveat that all will be masked,” Memorial Art Gallery Director Jonathan Binstock said. “We’re not going to take any risks.” So keep your mask handy and call ahead before you visit to check out these not-to-be-missed shows. And check out CITY’s events calendar in print and online for more upcoming exhibitions.

“NASCENT DIGITALISM” BY DANTE CANNATELLA (UUU ART COLLECTIVE, THROUGH SEPT. 15) New Orleans-born, Brooklyn-based painter Dante Cannatella last showed his work with UUU Art Collective as part of “Discipline,” the 2019 NYC pop-up spotlight on emerging talent. Since then, he’s been working on his MFA at Hunter College, and had his first solo exhibition, “Heat,” last fall at Shoot The Lobster gallery in New York City. “Nascent Digitalism” at UUU is another solo show and runs through mid-September. Cannatella’s large canvases are moody-hued, and depict distorted, 50 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

A still from “Evil: Carlin/Owners,” by video artist Tony Cokes. PROVIDED

Brooklyn-based painter Dante Cannatella's solo show, “Nascent Digitalism,” is on view at UUU Art Collective through Sept. 15. PHOTO PROVIDED

exaggerated figures seemingly caught in deep reverie, resting, or moving through indefinite environments. His artist statement suggests the landscapes that provide the backdrop to his imagery of workers, cyclists, cohorts, and bodies were inspired by his native south Louisiana. Whatever his muse, Cannatella’s handle on the tactile nature of his chosen materials — thick applications of oil paints and oil pastels — provides plenty of texture for the eye to take in. He’s truly a natural with the balance of rich color, form, and pattern, and really, his works are just a treat to behold. UUU Art Collective, 153 State St.; 5563600, uuuartcollective.com.

“TONY COKES: MARKET OF THE SENSES” (MEMORIAL ART GALLERY, SEPT. 1, 2021 TO JAN. 9, 2022)   The fall season is going to be a loud one at the Memorial Art Gallery, beginning with an installation of music and text-based videos by multimedia artist and Brown University professor Tony Cokes. Two of Cokes’s works — “Evil: Carlin/Owners” and “The Queen is Dead...Fragment 2” — will be presented in the MAG’s Media Arts Watch Gallery. The former combines read-along text from the sage ramblings of legendary malcontent comic George Carlin with the public

service announcement (with guitars!) music of post-punk band Gang of Four. At face value, it’s pretty bleak, but the tunes are peppy! Binstock says the exhibit can be heard as far away as the big Docent Gallery, where visitors can view the fine work of Dürer and his contemporaries in “Renaissance Impressions: 16thCentury Master Prints from the Kirk Edward Long Collection (opening Nov. 14). I love a good culture clash. Cokes makes art that’s concerned with issues of race, class, gender, and power. The work also tackles the tension between reality and how things are communicated to the public through the channels of media and entertainment culture. “It’s provocative in all the best ways,” Binstock says. “It’s not just about prompting people to think about how popular culture and politics are almost always in bed with one another, but also about how we think about language and visual aesthetics.” Visitors are invited to vote on which of the two of Cokes’ works the MAG should acquire at the end of the exhibition’s run. Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave.; 276-8900; mag.rochester.edu.

“FEELS: A GLOBAL EMOTIONS VISUALIZER” (RIT CITY ART SPACE, SEPT. 3-25)  “With so much bad and strange news across social media, how is there so much joy?” That’s the question posed in the


“FEELS: A Global Emotions Visualizer.”. PHOTO PROVIDED

exhibition blurb about “FEELS: A Global Emotions Visualizer,” an interactive digital-sculptural installation on view at RIT City Arts Space in September. Part of the 2021 Rochester Fringe Festival, the work gathers and visualizes emotional data drawn from a Twitter application programming interface (API). If that all sounds pretty technical, it is. But it’s simple to interact with — each kind of emotion manifests as a holographic humanoid or non-human avatar drawn from global symbolism. It’s like taking the temperature of the global temperament. My question is: Will the machine get the interpretations right? FEELS was developed by Rochester-based painter-turnedholographic comics and games developer Jake Adams, an adjunct professor at the School of Film and Animation at RIT. RIT City Art Space, 280 East Main St., 475-4977, rit.edu/cityartspace.

“JOY ADAMS: A LONG DAY’S JOURNEY” (MAIN STREET ARTS, SEPT. 25 THROUGH OCT. 29) The first time I saw a painting by Joy Adams I fell in love with her. It was at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Biennial exhibition in 2004. There was this massive canvas presented as a rural landscape under a stormy sky, and front and center was Adams’s “Mad Sally” character: saggy and lumpy with age, idiosyncratically barefoot and wearing a winter cap, a Hitchcock-esque swarm of birds wheeling around her head and alighting on her outstretched arms.

This quirky character reminded me of the “feed the birds” lady in “Mary Poppins.” I instantly fell in love with her, too. In her youth, the British-born Adams had a musical career performing with her brother and recorded with Decca and Parlaphone at Abbey Road Studios with the great George Martin before immigrating to the United States as the wife of a military serviceman. She took up painting in her 30s, studied at SUNY Brockport, taught at Ithaca College, and is now retired, living and working in a renovated barn in Trumansburg in Tompkins County. Every so often I catch a showing of her work in Rochester and the surrounding region, and my delight bubbles up anew. This fall, her paintings and drawings will be presented in a solo exhibition at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs. Mad Sally will be there, along with sketches of wild country rambles and deep, dark looks into life at the bottom of the garden. Main Street Arts, 20 West Main St., Clifton Springs; 462-0210, mainstreetartscs.com.

“MESSAGES & MEDIUMS” (ROCHESTER CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER, OCT. 1 THROUGH NOV. 13) Get into the spooky spirit with Rochester Contemporary’s “Messages & Mediums,” an exploration of the intersection of Spiritualism and technology in the artwork of Shannon Taggart and Matthew Ostrowski. While Rochester sorts out its future, its past continues to inspire artists near and far. The show marks the first in what will be an occasional series at RoCo on religion, faith, and art, and is a unique take on the region’s rich history of religious subcultures, progressive social movements, and technological innovation. Taggart is a St. Paul, Minnesotabased artist who has spent the past 20 years getting to know and photographing Spiritualist mediums. Her newest set of images were made during the pandemic, over the virtual platforms we’ve come to know so well — Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime — using the screen and camera to create and record digital séances. New York City native Ostrowski’s “Summerland” installation blends the technology of communication from

two eras — the 19th-century hardware of the telegraph and 21st-century software — and imagines a tip-tapping conversation between the medium Kate Fox, youngest of the notorious Fox Sisters, and Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of Morse Code. Honestly, I chuckled just envisioning this clever ghost-in-themachine gimmick. The exhibition is accompanied by a new text by Rochester-based historian, photographer, and librarian Gerry Szymanski. A virtual artist talk will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Ave.; 461-2222, rochestercontemporary.org.

“JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN: I BELIEVE I’LL RUN ON” (GEORGE EASTMAN MUSEUM, NOV. 5, 2021 THROUGH JUNE 19, 2022) Rochster-based artist Joshua Rashaad McFadden combines his photojournalist skills with big ideas. His early 2020 exhibit, “Evidence,” hosted by Visual Studies Workshop, presented portraits of Black men with their handwritten stories and reflections on themes of identity, race, masculinity, and sexuality and the destructive impacts the constructs can have on Black Americans. The exhibition was accompanied by a newspaper

in the vein of Frederick Douglass’s publication, The North Star, which McFadden produced and distributed around town. Throughout the tumultuous remainder of 2020 and well into 2021, McFadden traveled to areas of extreme social unrest — documenting the funerals of Black men slain by police, family responses to the tragedies, marches and uprisings, and responses to the indictments of killer police. His work appeared in The New York Times and other publications. In November, George Eastman Museum launches an early-career survey of his work. In his early 30s, McFadden is already a renowned photographer, published author, and professor at RIT. “Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On” (titled after Wilson Pickett’s gospel jam, which is in McFadden’s accompanying playlist) includes work from several of the artist’s series, including “Selfhood,” “Come to Selfhood,” “A Lynching’s Long Shadow,” “After Selma,” “Evidence,” “Unrest in America,” and another autobiographical series that is to premiere at Eastman called “Love Without Justice.”   George Eastman Museum, 900 East Ave.; 327-4800, eastman.org

“Black Power (Washington, D.C.), 2020,”. PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN

roccitynews.com CITY 51


FALL

PREVIEW

(HEAD)BANG FOR YOUR BUCK The best live music this fall that won't cost you a fortune. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

R

ochester has long been a stop for national headliners and remains fertile ground for producing local gems. After an autumn without live music, we’re heading into a concert season with lots of in-person shows. But these six stand out for their top-quality talent and reasonable ticket prices. From local musicians poised to make it big, to prominent indie and hip-hop artists, these concerts are the best guilt-free options for music lovers on a budget. When it comes to value, these show tickets virtually pay for themselves. Be sure to check out CITY’s events calendar, both in print and online, for the latest listings. And don’t forget to visit venue websites for the latest COVID guidelines.

SEPT. 5 AARON LIPP PLAYING SUNDAY FUN DAY AT LINCOLN HILL FARMS, 3792 NY-247, CANANDAIGUA. FREE; LINCOLNHILLFARMS.COM Naples multi-instrumentalist Aaron Lipp isn’t a household name . . . yet. But he’s one of the best musicians in the Finger Lakes. A prolific country-bluegrass artist, he plays frequently with singer-songwriter Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, and was a touring member of Robert Randolph & The Family Band. Lipp’s technical chops and musical expressivity are undeniable, whether he’s performing with one of his several bands — such as The Slacktones or Temple Cabin Bluegrass Band — playing a rollicking set with upright bassist Brian Williams, or going solo, like he will at this free afternoon show at Canandaigua’s bucolic Lincoln Hill Farms. 52 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

Aaron Lipp. PHOTO BY AUTUMN LAYNE

He’ll also play the album release show for his forthcoming record “Nothing to Lose” on September 25 at Steuben Brewing Company in Hammondsport, so it’s a fine time to catch him. If you have a chance to hear Lipp play live, drop what you’re doing and make it happen.

SEPT. 24 AMIGO THE DEVIL AT PHOTO CITY MUSIC HALL, 543 ATLANTIC AVE. #2. 18 AND OVER, $20; PHOTOCITYMUSICHALL.COM Danny Kiranos — aka Amigo the Devil — and his goth-Americana murder ballads are well known to Rochester audiences, but it’s always

Amigo the Devil. PHOTO BY PAMELA PONDEROSA


a delight when the macabre singersongwritercomes to town. His sound is like acoustic music for metalheads. Kiranos is a masterful storyteller whose skills shine through in his creepy love songs shadowed by death and the ominous possibility that tragedy could strike at any moment. Amigo the Devil’s latest album, “Born Against,” finds the artist adding more instrumental color to his sonic palette for a fuller, more epic production. But the delightfully dark songs remain. If you prefer your folk music full of seedy characters and horror-laden stories, look no further than Amigo the Devil.

SEPT. 25 DANIELLE PONDER AT HOLLERHORN DISTILLING, 8443 SPIRIT RUN, NAPLES. 21 AND OVER, $25 ADVANCE, $30 DOOR; HOLLERHORN.COM Rochester’s soul-singing wonder Danielle Ponder has had a hell of a run the last couple years. After more than a decade of wowing local audiences, Ponder broke onto the national scene in a big way when she caught NPR’s attention as a standout in its 2020 Tiny Desk Contest. Plenty of press coverage and a spot on the Newport Jazz Festival’s 2021 lineup followed. While basking in the muchdeserved spotlight, the dynamic, powerhouse vocalist remains rooted in the local music scene, and has played shows throughout the region since the quarantine lifted. Now is a great time to catch Ponder perform, before her rising star makes her Rochesterarea shows much more rare. And the highly regarded Hollerhorn Distilling in Naples is a great environment to see a top-flight concert.

OCT. 30 AQUEOUS AT ANTHOLOGY, 336 EAST AVE. 21 AND OVER, $22; ANTHOLOGYLIVE.COM Jam band fans, rejoice! On the eve of Halloween, Aqueous — the popular indie rock band with improvisational tendencies — plays not one, not two, but three sets at Anthology. This band knows how to groove, and can shift effortlessly through ’60s psych rock, funk, reggae,

Of Montreal. PHOTO BY CHRISTINA SCHEIDER

Aqueous. PHOTO PROVIDED

alternative, and prog rock. The quartet’s catchy, hook-laden songs are the perfect soundtrack to a blissed-out sound experience. With more than three hours of music all but a certainty, to say you’ll get plenty of musical bang for your buck is an understatement.

NOV. 12 OF MONTREAL WITH LOCATE, AT WATER STREET MUSIC HALL, 204 N. WATER ST. $20; WATERSTREET2020.COM Of Montreal’s show at the newly reopened Water Street Music

Hall in November might qualify as the most pleasant surprise of the fall music lineup in Rochester. The indie pop cult darlings, led by avant-pop mastermind Kevin Barnes, emerged from its cocoon like a weird, psychedelic butterfly in the mid-2000s, winning the hearts and minds of fans and critics with the technicolored, synth-laden albums such as “Satanic Panic in the Attic,” “The Sunlandic Twins,” and “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” Despite multiple changes to its touring lineup over the years, the quirky surrealism and freaky fun for which Of Montreal is known are alive and well. Its new 20-track album, “I Feel Safe with You, Trash,” retains the band’s signature dizzying, kaleidoscopic soundscapes and idiosyncratic chord changes, but adds a direct, concise popsong sensibility to the madness. Music aside, Of Montreal is famous for its outlandish stage shows, which border on performance art spectacles. You’ll regret it if you miss this gig.

NOV. 19 RAEKWON, GHOSTFACE KILLAH, GZA AT MAIN STREET ARMORY. 900 E. MAIN ST. 18 AND OVER, $40 ADVANCE, $55 VIP; MAINSTREETARMORY.COM Arguably the hottest concert of the fall season, this triple bill of rap royalty at Main Street Armory is a must-see show. Superstar emcees Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and GZA — all original members of the legendary hip-hop crew WuTang Clan — share the bill, bringing indefatigable flow and poise to boom-bap beats that hit deep. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more important hip-hop group than Wu-Tang Clan, the influential Staten Island outfit that emerged in the early ‘90s. Since then, Wu-Tang hasn’t loosened its grip on rap, or pop culture as a whole for that matter. All three Wu-Tang rappers have recent releases whose complementary live performances were sidelined by the pandemic: the 2021 singles “Bring Dat Doe” and “Enemies” by Raekwon, the 2020 singles “The Mecca” and “Feds” by Ghostface Killah, and GZA’s 2020 EP “Halloween Assassin.” Even at $40 and $55 price points, it’s a bargain to see a trio of original Wu-Tang Clan members take the stage together. Don’t sleep on this show. roccitynews.com CITY 53


FALL

9

PREVIEW

NEW BOOKS WE’RE EXCITED TO READ THIS FALL

As we enter the curl-up-with-a-good-book months, these recommendations are ripe with intrigue, humor, and escape. BY RACHEL CRAWFORD

I

was working as a literary arts coordinator when the pandemic hit, and a huge part of the job was recommending books to customers and working with small press publishers to ensure their work wasn’t pushed to the margins.  Readers, even the most avid, suddenly had a shorter attention span for books. They wanted content that was light, hopeful, or educational. Stress and despair damn near anesthetized them to great literature.   On the marketing end of things, this meant pushing novellas to book clubs under labels like “Short Books for Short Attention Spans.” Sure, reading interests change by season. I mean, nobody brings Tolstoy to the beach! But this was something altogether different. And, if I’m being honest, I was plagued by stagnation as well. How do you get numbed minds, including your own, to open a book again?  My personal hacks for finding new, incredible works that inspire are these: pay attention to specific publishers, seek out the works that established authors you revere are talking about, and look for books by authors who will be visiting Rochester in the coming months.  Let’s hit it:

“GRIEVERS” BY ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN (SEPT. 7) The number of Rochester readers devouring the works of Adrienne Maree Brown is impressive — and I’m excited by the love publisher AK Press receives by default. Now, the author of “Pleasure Activism,” “Emergent Strategy,” and “We Will Not Cancel Us” has a 54 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

new book –– but this is going to be something different. “Grievers” is Brown’s debut novella and kicks off the press’s new speculative fiction series, “Black Dawn.” American Book Award winner Tananarive Due calls Brown “one of our most important voices in Afrofuturism and true-life worldbuilding and says of her latest work, “Grievers could not be more timely, tackling loss, plague, gentrification, memory and grief with a path toward hope in a future Detroit. Each paragraph is lovingly crafted, a story unto itself, blending into a tapestry no reader will soon forget.”

which in August published “The Luminous Novel” by Mario Levrero. It’s easy to see why the book won an English Pen Award. I found myself laughing aloud while reading it in public. The Uruguayan author masters hilarious and light absurdities, in particular the defeatist diary entries of a writer who attempts to finish a novel after receiving a Guggenheim grant. And Other Stories says: “Insomniacs, romantics and anyone who’s ever written (or failed to write) will fall in love with this compelling masterpiece told by a true original, with all his infuriating faults, charming wit and intriguing musings.”

“THE LUMINOUS NOVEL” BY MARIO LEVRERO

“HARLEM SHUFFLE” BY COLSON WHITEHEAD (SEPT. 14)

Just as film buffs trust production companies that consistently put out award-winning movies, some readers trust a small, niche publisher with a solid rep. I would definitely recommend getting a subscription to a small press like And Other Stories,

Likely to be the next bestselling novel this fall is Colson Whitehead’s “Harlem Shuffle,” the follow-up to his 2019 novel “The Nickel Boys,” which earned him his second Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Whitehead’s myriad achievements and awards make this such an easy and obvious recommendation. I’d suggest getting a book club going pre-pub date. The publisher writes: “Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.”

“TENDERNESS” BY DERRICK AUSTIN (SEPT. 21) I always keep an eye on BOA Editions, a Rochester-based small press that’s highly acclaimed, particularly when it comes to poetry. Derrick Austin’s previously published “Trouble the Water,” a collection of poems capturing the Black queer experience, won the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize. His new collection, “Tenderness,” won the 2021 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award.


press that won’t disappoint. “Foucault in Warsaw,” published in June, is an adventurous and philosophical nonfiction account of Michael Foucault’s time in Poland in the late 1950s, when he became involved in the gay community and was subsequently confronted by the secret police and forced to leave. As the first page reads, “The hero of this book is Michel Foucault. But not only him. Warsaw is, too.”

“THE INTERIM” BY WOLFGANG HILBIG (NOV. 2)

The publisher calls the new poems lush and meditative and says they “examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. “Even amidst sorrow and pain, ‘Tenderness’ uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.”

“CHASING HOMER” BY LÁSZLÓ KRASZNAHORKAI (NOV. 2)

“FOUCAULT IN WARSAW” BY REMIGIUSZ RYZINSKI Another Rochester small-press gem is Open Letter Books of the University of Rochester. Open Letter primarily publishes literature in translation and has brought countless foreign authors and poets to our city. They’re exactly what I’m talking about when I say you should get a subscription to a small

New Directions press is the chef ’s kiss of contemporary avant garde literature in translation, with gorgeous covers to boot. But the master of melancholy, Hungarian author László Kraznahorkai, is perhaps, arguably, one of the greatest literary giants of our time. He has a cult following –– a cult of which I’m a part –– that is ready to drink the punch. He’s perhaps best-known for his novel “Sátántangó”, which Hungarian director Béla Tarr adapted into a seven-and-a-half hour film. (Fun fact: The Dryden played the adaptation in its entirety in 2019, without an intermission, which almost never happens.)  “Chasing Homer” seems to have its own rhythm to it. The publisher describes it as “a classic escape nightmare . . . sped on not only by Krasznahorkai’s signature velocity, but also by a unique musical score and intense illustrations.” Buckle up. 

If we were looking for the broken, tormented writer of the 21st century, with all the vices of the trope to boot, Hilbig is it. Hilbig has five novels published by Two Lines and “The Interim,” which takes place in postwar Germany, is his supposed masterpiece. The novel follows C., an acclaimed East German writer who frequents bars and brothels and travels between two Germanys both literally and metaphorically with an expired visa. If you’re one of those aformentioned numb readers, C.’s frustrations with waning intellectual curiosity and dulled creativity will speak to you. 

“ALL THE NAMES GIVEN” BY RAYMOND ANTROBUS (NOV. 9) Did you know we’ve had a Tin House editor hanging out in Rochester for the past year? Elizabeth DeMeo, associate editor of the acclaimed publishing house, was the first person to

put Raymond Antrobus in my hands. I fell in love with his lyrical collection of poetry “Perseverance,” which won the Ted Hughes Award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for so many more. So I was thrilled to have gotten my hands on an advanced reader copy of “All the Names Given.” Antrobus takes us around the globe, from England, South Africa, Jamaica, and the American south, as he reckons with his own ancestry, conflicting racial and cultural identities, and chronicles the damages of colonialism.

“SECOND PLACE” BY RACHEL CUSK I fell in love with Rachel Cusk’s “Outline” trilogy last year, but recommending it gets complicated when people ask, “What’s it about?” That’s because it’s brilliantly plotless. “Second Place,” which came out in May but is perfect fall reading, isn’t exactly plotless. M is a young mother seeking freedom and autonomy –– like we do, sigh, –– who invites a famous artist to her guesthouse and comes to believe his vision might crack the mystery of her life. Cusk grabs you with her first line and doesn’t let go: “I once told you, Jeffers, about the time I met the devil on a train leaving Paris, and about how after that meeting the evil that usually lies undisturbed beneath the surface of things rose up and disgorged itself over every part of life.”

roccitynews.com CITY 55


FALL

PREVIEW

LET NATURE NURTURE YOU Hike, paddle, and picnic your way through fall with these regional events. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

I

can’t tell you how many times in the last year that friends of mine have reacted to the madness of the world by joking that they just want to walk into the woods and never come out. Well, why not? There’s something to that. Time spent among cathedrallike trees, alongside flowing water, or looking at the world from just-scaled peaks somehow presses the reset button in the brain’s stress center. There are myriad ways to explore the natural wonders of our region, whether alone or with a group. There’s something to do every day of fall, most of which is accessible to all ages and paces. Not to mention that there are many trails and land 56 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

@RSRAFFERTY

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

preserves you can explore on your own during open hours. Here are a handful of activities that stand out. For more info, visit the web links and check out our calendar at roccitynews.com. Of course, because all plans are up in the air these days, it’s best to call ahead to be sure the events are still on and to check with the host organizations for future activities into the fall. 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 2: ‘LUNCH NEAR WETLANDS AND WILDS’ They call Letchworth State Park the “Grand Canyon of the East.” While the gorge isn’t nearly as mind-

blowing as that western monument to time, it’s impressive in its own right.   Letchworth hosts hikes and other programs every day of the week, so it’s easy to find something to do on whatever day you’re free. You’ll come away from many of the guided hikes with some mental exercise as well, as they’re peppered with educational bits about geology, wildlife, the seasons, and more.  Pack a picnic and wear waterproof walking shoes for the “Lunch Near Wetlands & Wilds” hike at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 2. The one-mile trek takes about two to three hours. More info at parks.ny.gov/events or by calling 493-3682.

MONDAY, SEPT. 13: ‘PADDLE HEMLOCK AND PICNIC’ There’s nothing like a little exertion to work up an appetite, and then rewarding your efforts with some food al fresco. Even better if you can sneak away for a Monday morning excursion on beautiful Hemlock Lake. Among the full calendar of events planned and hosted by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club is the “Paddle Hemlock and Picnic” event on Monday, Sept. 13. The group meets at 10 a.m. at the boat launch at the north end of Hemlock Lake for a two-hour paddle, then


reconvenes at the park for a picnic meal together under the pavilion. The event is free to join, and registration is required. BYO water and a dish to pass. And yes, you need to bring your own paddle boat and gear (or befriend someone who has a boat) and wear a life preserver. More details at adk-gvc.org/calendar.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 18: HURLEY WOODS NATURALIST TOUR Can you identify our region’s trees just by looking at their foliage? How about the bark? Can you name five plants for pollinators? At 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, the owners of a special, 50acre parcel of land on Benson Road in Victor known as Hurley Woods will for the first time open it to members of Burroughs Audubon Nature Club and Canandaigua Botanical Society for a private tour. Since buying the land in 2009, Joe and Ginny Hurley have created a native tree arboretum and pollinator garden while managing invasive plant species.

SUNDAY, OCT. 10: ROCHESTER BIRDING FIELD TRIP AT HAMLIN BEACH STATE PARK

Waterproof boots are recommended for the free 90-minute tour, during which participants will hear from a Department of Environmental Conservation forestry consultant. The tour is limited to 30 people, and registration is required. Not a member of either organization? Head to bancny.org or canandaiguabotanicalsociety.blogspot. com to join.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 26: ‘FUNGI FEST’ An affiliate of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Cumming Nature Center in Naples annually hosts a range of programs that are as educational as they are outdoorsy. Upcoming events include “Heritage Maker Workshops,” “Archaeology Family Days” (help dig into the site of a 19th century homestead), a hiking and book club, the recurring “Wild Weekend Walks,” “Yoga in the Pines” sessions, and “Fungi Fest,” which is a hike that will change the way you see the world.

On Sept. 26, a mycology expert will lead two guided hikes, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., teaching participants where to look for mushrooms and how to identify different species by sight as well as by making spore prints. You’ll also have the chance to sample gourmet mushrooms and learn recipes for both fungi foods and mushroom dyes. Admission to the nature center is $3 per person or $10 per family, and free to RMSC and Pines Pass members. The guided hike costs an additional $4 per person. For more info, head to rmsc.org/cummingnature-center.

If you love the outdoors, but moving at a brisk pace isn’t your speed, Rochester Birding’s activities may be right for you. The organization hosts a handful of bird-watching gatherings every month. Different species are found in different locations, and you’ll get advice from the guide. The Oct. 10 meet up at Hamlin Beach predicts sightings of thrushes, sparrows, “and maybe a half-hardy warbler or two” in the wooded and brushy areas surrounding the park. Participants are to meet at 8 a.m. at Hamlin Beach State Park’s Parking Lot 1, and the gathering lasts until about noon. Bring spotting scopes if you have them, wear comfortable footwear, and dress in warm layers for the cooler weather along the lake. More field trips and registration details at rochesterbirding.org.

roccitynews.com CITY 57


LIFE

REFUSE RATIONS

ACROSS

Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 41

PUZZLE BY S.J. AUSTIN & J. REYNOLDS

1. Sat for a photo 6. Scrounges (up)

1

12. Old horses, slangily

19

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

20

13

14

15

16

21

17

18

52

53

85

86

118

119

22

16. Spot for an orchestra 19. “old woman who lived in ___” 20. Bluesman King 21. Potent prefix?

23

24

27

28

32

33

22. Enzyme suffix 23. **Idyllic entrée in a Jimmy Buffett hit

44

35 39

45

54

55

27. Kenan’s Nickelodeon co-star

60

61

65

66

29. Device whose screen has 3,499,200 pixels 31. Mousey, in a way

78

42 48

68 72 80

31

41

62

79

30 37

47

67

26

36

56

71 77

40

46

25. **Cookout side everyone claims to have the best recipe for

28. Lack of musical ability

29

34

38 43

25

49

50

57

58

63

51 59

64

69

70

73

74

81

82

75

76

83

84

32. Journey: Swahili 35. Did some custodial work 37. Baking soda paste for a bee sting, e.g. 38. Let go

87

88 94

93 99

105 111

112

95 101

100

41. “Push th’ Little Daisies” rockers 42. Like 24-karat gold

90

89

102

106

107

113

91

92

96

97

103

104

108

109

114

98

110

115

116

117

43. Lingering gaze 46. One of the Allman Brothers

121

120 127

122 128

123

129

124

125 130

48. Perceives

126

50. Noggin

132

133

134

135

136

137

138

139

131

54. **Sautéed potato dish 56. Soldier of the lowest rank 59. Identify, as in an Instagram post 60. Singer Grande, to fans 61. Web site? 63. **Concise (and gutsy!) way to order a 128-Across 65. Eminent conductor 68. Baby-faced 70. Fire engine supply 71. Lascivious looks 73. Father-daughter boxing family name 74. New York’s Memorial ___ Kettering Cancer Center 77. Basis of much insurance fraud 80. Followed like a detective 58 CITY SEPTEMBER 2021

83. Dory’s affliction in “Finding Nemo” 87. **Boston delicacy? 90. Alerts 92. Place to play the ponies, for short 93. Mother of 77-Down 94. Biased 96. **Inventor of 128-Across 99. Crude and offensive 101. Flight board figs.

107. Actress Skye

133. Beach tops

109. 1980s video game giant

134. Former San Francisco mayor Joseph

111. Sappy song, sometimes 114. Eliminate 116. Image on a denarius 120. Soothing succulents 121. Bone-dry 122. Like the staff at Santa’s Workshop

135. Tasty 136. Simpson judge comedically portrayed by Myers 137. Memo heading 138. Worried one 139. Church recesses

125. Miner’s goal 126. **Sriracha, for one

DOWN

104. Beside

128. Iconic Rochester dish indicated by the answers to the starred clues

1. Hikers’ burdens

105. Possesses

132. Prince Edward Island hrs.

102. Furious

2. ___ Jackson, a.k.a. Ice Cube 3. Easy DIY carpentry project


4. Fair-hiring inits.

75. Medical journal, or surgical tool

5. ___ Moines

76. Siberian city

6. One-time Cincinnati Reds star and LensCrafters pitchman

77. The brother in “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

7. What you’re reading right now

78. Five-stars on Yelp

8. First name in world religions?

79. Distort

9. Like some starfish arms and salamander tails

81. More nervous

10. Poetic preposition 11. One of a famous group of 13

84. Manhattan neighborhood next to TriBeCa

12. Wanderer

85. Words after pour or pass

13. Make _____ dash

86. As snug as ___ in a rug

14. Vitamin Shoppe competitor

88. “Will it ___?” (Viral marketing question)

15. Maggie, to Bart or Jake 16. ___ d’Or (Cannes award) 17. “To repeat…” 18. Stuffed bear named for a president 24. Oklahoma municipality, or its eponymous Tennyson character

82. Agent Scully on “The X-Files”

89. Consumes 91. “Lovely” meter maid 95. Flintstones pet 97. Figure skater Lipinski 98. “I cannot tell _____”

26. Pointed a bow

100. Hands (out)

30. Thoughtful

103. Debussy piece showcased in Westworld

33. Measurement for a farmer or real estate broker

106. Japanese horseradish

34. Snorkeling locale

108. Certain Swiss watches

36. Marshmallow treat

110. Stridex target

37. Out of practice

111. Belief system emphasizing the essential oneness of humankind

39. Newspaper V.I.P. 40. Number for two 42. Bosc or Anjou 43. Farce

112. “It’s ___ cause” 113. So-called “tax on the poor,” for short

44. When tripled, a war movie

114. Candymaker surname that conveniently rhymes with “piece”

45. Lady friend, in Lille

115. Common pasta shape

47. Yard sale disclaimer

117. “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” familiarly

49. Ties 51. Soul legend Redding 52. Lion’s pride? 53. Hen’s output 55. Uncommon 57. Critic’s task 58. ___ Allen 62. Two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage 64. Put an edge on 66. Blackthorn fruit 67. Sees (to) 69. Every bit

118. Clarinet whiz Shaw 119. Accessories for 118-Down 121. Mufasa’s bane 123. Destiny 124. Composer Stravinsky 127. Inspiration for a Keats poem 129. ___-country, genre for Uncle Tupelo and Lucinda Williams 130. Commercial paid for by the Ad Council, for short 131. You’ll want to be sitting down for this

72. Tolerate roccitynews.com CITY 59


SEPTEMBER 2021

Profile for Rochester CITY News. Arts. Life.

CITY September 2021  

CITY is Rochester's original monthly alternative news, arts, and life publication. Free since 1971.

CITY September 2021  

CITY is Rochester's original monthly alternative news, arts, and life publication. Free since 1971.

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