CITY December 2022

Page 1



Penfield’s Mike Ihrig is 473 years old, give or take 400 years, and has been the Big Guy for five decades.



Santa Claus has a list of Rochester’s naughty and nice. We’ve checked it twice.


From classical to early rock and jazz, these local live shows brighten the Christmas season.


Our guide to local gifts for everyone in your life. And we mean everyone.


Does hitting the mall make you break into a cold sweat? Think smaller. These markets, fairs, and shops help you beat the holiday rush.

THE RIGHT STUFF  These Rochester-themed artworks, treats, and memberships make for simple stocking stuffers.


From buttery shortbreads to gingerbreads with heat, these only-in-Rochester cookies make great holiday gifts.



We went in search of your best New Year’s Eve hangover cure.


These 10 restaurants offer memorable New Year’s Eve meals without the pomp and circumstance.

21 32
52 60
76 74
Rochester City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” plays through Dec. 11.
out our Daily-To-Do starting on page 33. PHOTO BY THOMAS RODRIGUEZ


December 2022 Vol 51 No 4

On the cover: Illustration by Ryan Williamson

280 State Street Rochester, New York 14614 phone (585) 244-3329


Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman

FOUNDERS Bill and Mary Anna Towler

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Editor: David Andreatta

Deputy editor: Jeremy Moule Staff writer: Gino Fanelli

Arts editor: Daniel J. Kushner

Life editor: Rebecca Rafferty

Contributors: Amy Button, Terry Chaka, Patrick Hosken, Lisa Johnson, Dario Joseph, Kathy Laluk, Mike Martinez, J. Nevadomski, Brian Sharp, Mona Seghatoleslami, Leah Stacy, Lisa Stein Fybush, Katherine Varga

CREATIVE DEPARTMENT Director, Strategy: Ryan Williamson Art director: Jacob Walsh


Sales manager: Alison Zero Jones Advertising consultant/ Project manager: David White


Operations manager: Ryan Williamson

Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis

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

CITY (ISSN 1551-3262) is published monthly 12 times per year by Rochester Area Media Partners, a subsidiary of WXXI Public Broadcasting. Periodical postage paid at Rochester, NY (USPS 022-138). Address changes: CITY, 280 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the New York Press Association.

Copyright by Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, 2021 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner.

WXXI Members may inquire about free home delivery of CITY including monthly TV listings by calling 585-258-0200.


Building up Beechwood

Scattered vacancies tear at the fabric of the otherwise tightly packed Beechwood neighborhood east of downtown Rochester.

Tree-lined streets and stately century-old houses bely the need that exists here.

Well over half the children live in poverty — a rate higher than all of Rochester, which has one of the highest concentrations of child poverty in the nation. And the area has been so starved for investment that a road project where curb bump-outs were installed along Parsells Avenue to

calm unruly traffic was cause for a neighborhood celebration.

Times are changing.

Construction has begun on what is an ambitious, multi-year effort to build up Beechwood and the adjacent EMMA neighborhood. Developers have joined with neighborhood leaders on a plan to construct or rehabilitate nearly 300 single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments in an area spread across both neighborhoods, encompassing less than one square mile.

“We can’t keep up right now, honestly, with all of the interest for

developments in the neighborhood. We’re doing the best we can,” said Kyle Crandall, president of the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition.

Beechwood and EMMA extend along either side of East Main Street, bounded by North Goodman Street to the west and Culver Road to the east. Beechwood is by far the larger of the two neighborhoods. Its northern border is Bay Street. EMMA extends south to Atlantic Avenue and the railroad tracks.

So why does Beechwood matter?

The neighborhood sits in something of a pocket between the

stability of Neighborhood of the Arts, North Winton Village, Browncroft, and Homestead Heights, and the impoverished neighborhoods in the 14605 ZIP code a part of the city

Meikota Rigge helps lift drywall at a Habitat for Humanity house on Parsells Ave. in Rochester. Rigge is an AmeriCorps Volunteer working with Habitat. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
Three hundred houses are planned for the neighborhood.

that Mayor Malik Evans says is in crisis. Gun violence in those neighborhoods served as the impetus for his declaring a state of emergency this past summer.

“Investment in Beechwood is really important, because you don’t want to lose Beechwood, right?” Crandall said, relaying what he has repeatedly told City Hall.

Crandall has watched investment slowly increase. Most notable, he said, was the city dollars spent along Webster Avenue, anchored by a redone School No. 33, attached to a rebuilt rec center and branch library.

The development that is yet to come could bring true transformation, but it has not been without controversy. And there is concern that rents already are rising and could increase more as construction gets rolling.

“We’re trying to figure out,” Crandall said, “how do we develop our neighborhood and make it better and stronger without displacing those in our neighborhood that want to remain?”


If you think you’ve heard this before, you have.

A similar rebuilding effort has been unfolding for more than a decade in a neighborhood called JOSANA, which is located adjacent to the city of Rochester-owned soccer stadium west of downtown.

JOSANA is smaller and was far more distressed than Beechwood and EMMA. All three neighborhoods are majority rental.

“We trail our peer cities across the country, in terms of the percentage of owner-occupied properties,” said Erik Frisch, the city’s deputy commissioner for neighborhood and business development. “So where we can make investments to change that paradigm, we should be doing that.”

Dozens of houses got built in JOSANA, both owner-occupied and rental.

Bordered by West Broad and Child streets, Lyell Avenue, and Interstate 490, JOSANA was a hollowed-out swath of the city when the stadium, which sits at Smith and Oak streets, opened in 2006.

Roughly one-quarter of the neighborhood sat vacant. So extensive was the blight that planners measured it not by counting boarded-up structures or weed-filled lots, but by the acre which equaled 33 football fields spread across 30 city blocks.

Flower City Habitat for Humanity led off construction in JOSANA, building 60 houses in the neighborhood, more than 100 in the immediate area. Rochester’s Cornerstone Group added another 91 single-family rentals.

“When you think about the influx of people (in JOSANA), in stable housing, it’s just a dramatic turnaround … both visually and the number of people living and being there,” said Scott Benjamin, president of Charles Settlement House which helped convene neighbors and coordinate the revitalization.

No two structures on the same street look alike, in color or detail. Residents wanted the new to blend with the old.

And while there has been a modest rise in property values, officials say few if any people have been displaced. The population of JOSANA has risen by more than 1,500 people to about

5,000, drawing working families, refugees and other new Americans.


Habitat has committed to building three dozen houses in Beechwood.

Home Leasing, Rochester Housing Authority, the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership, and

City Roots Community Land


“I’m lifted up by the amount of partners,” said Habitat President and CEO Matthew Flanigan. “Yeah, it could be too many chefs in the kitchen. But it’s a big kitchen. There’s plenty of room.”

The JOSANA initiative marked the first time the nonprofit so intensely focused its housing construction on such a compact area. That brought business efficiencies. It also sowed a sense of community. Habitat homebuyers help in building the houses they buy, and several forged relationships while helping build one another’s houses.

The initiative also showed the value of resident participation and buy-in, and the need for leadership with a strong neighborhood association.

But Flanigan is quick to add: “It’s never just about housing.”

“There’s also work going on for workforce development, which we lean into, health, education, food – so it’s not a food desert,” he said. “All of those things are important because ... I could build you a wonderful house, but

Trust will tackle the Zach Merica climbs a ladder to install soffits on a Habitat for Humanity home on Presells Ave. in Rochester.
PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE The JOSANA neighborhood was dotted with vacant lots before its turnaround. FILE PHOTO


• More than 8,600 people live in the Beechwood and EMMA neighborhoods. Beechwood is by far the largest of the two.

• The area was mostly developed by 1900. R.T. French Co., maker of Frech’s mustard, once was headquartered here - at One Mustard Street.

• Today, median household incomes hover around $28,000. Forty-two percent of residents here live in poverty, including 57 percent of children.

if you don’t want to live in it because where it’s at, have I done anything?”

The JOSANA effort also highlighted the importance of neighborhood schools.

There, it’s Enrico Fermi School No. 17. In Beechwood and EMMA, it’s East High which sits at the edge of the two neighborhoods but is attended by barely a third of the neighborhoods’ kids. Even that is up significantly in recent years, thanks in part to the push to improve the neighborhood.

A similar push is being made to correct similarly dismal neighborhood representation at School No. 33.

The goal is to build connection, between the two schools and to the two neighborhoods, said Lashunda Leslie-Smith, executive director of the nonprofit Connected Communities.

Neighborhood leaders, the University of Rochester, Farash Foundation, and developer Home Leasing partnered to create Connected Communities in 2016 to coordinate efforts to revitalize Beechwood and EMMA. This integrated approach, referred to as the Purpose Built Community model, is intended to be resident driven.

Home Leasing brought this concept to the city. But the company admittedly struggled early on in Beechwood and EMMA with a project converting an East Main Street building into apartments.

“We didn’t do the outreach we should have done, in the way we should have done it,” said Home Leasing CEO Bret Garwood. “And so

that did kind of propel somewhat of a different approach.”

This time, Home Leasing and Connected Communities got everyone at the table from the start.

Yet Home Leasing is again facing pushback. The developer’s plans include some six- and eight-unit rentals, each with its own front door in two- and three-story townhouse-style buildings.

Though consistent with the city’s desire for greater density, that is more than what Crandall and other Beechwood neighbors envisioned. The city’s Zoning Board recently denied approval for three of those larger buildings, causing Home Leasing to pause and reassess its role in Beechwood going forward.

The Purpose Built Cities approach has been replicated in communities across the country with mixed results.

In the best cases, investments beget more investments. That’s what happened in the flagship PurposeBuilt Community, a section of Atlanta called East Lake. But that neighborhood also drew so much developer interest that planners couldn’t keep up, the area gentrified, and the locals got pushed out.

In Beechwood and EMMA, leaders and developers are focused on building as much affordable housing as possible, providing a continuum of options, and hopefully ensuring balance.

“And so we’re trying to learn not just from their successes,” Leslie-Smith said. “But also their mistakes.”

Jim Bradley moves moulding into a Habitat for Humanity house on Melville Street in Rochester. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE Construction notes mark the studs of a Habitat for Humanity house on Parsells Avenue in Rochester. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE


he Local Sound Collaborative planted its flag in the Rochester music scene in April with the goal of bolstering musicians with tangible support to help sustain careers and keep the community vibrant.

Director and founder Ray Mahar — also the frontman for the Americana band A Girl Named Genny — teamed up with fellow musicians, venue owners, and other local music professionals to come up with a plan.

Now, the initial wave of support has arrived.

In November, the organization named the five recipients of its inaugural Artist Grants Program. Each musician is set to receive a $200 monthly stipend for 12

months, beginning in December. There are no stipulations regarding how the funds are to be used.

The organization raised $12,000 from individual contributions as part of a grassroots fundraising campaign.

“It wasn’t funded from one large grant,” Mahar said. “It was funded by people, for people. I’m really proud of that.”

So who are the five musicians receiving these grants?

We chatted with Josh Cirilo, Hakeem Dodley, Briana Horton, James Kegler, and Marissa Williams to learn more about what makes them tick and how they might use the money to realize their goals.


Josh Cirilo works for a data security company by day, and is the rapper and producer Terruhwrist by night. He latched onto the conspicuous moniker as a nod to his skills as a writer wielding a pen — a “terror with the wrist.”

The 31-year-old hip-hop artist makes socially conscious raps backed by catchy yet ominous beats, addressing issues of injustice headon. His 2022 album releases “Animal Farm II” and “MidSommar” are no exceptions.

Cirilo said the grant program will help him make more music videos, buy performance equipment, and perform at pay-to-play shows, which is par for the course at local rap gigs.

Musicians Briana Horton, Josh Cirilo, Hakeem Dodley, Marissa Williams, and James Kegler (not pictured) are the first participants in The Local Sound Collaborative’s Artist Grants Program.
Meet the five artists awarded $12,000 through the new Local Sound Collaborative.


Guitarist Hakeem Dodley has worked as a live sound engineer in Rochester and throughout the Finger Lakes region for several years. Currently the head of production at Lincoln Hill Farms for live concerts, he recently ran the board for Danielle Ponder’s sold-out show at Water Street Music Hall, and is a member of the band Fakaui.

While Dodley works full-time as an audio engineer and producer, it’s not always enough to pay the bills. But he says The Local Sound Collective is an empathetic partner.

“A lot of my faith in the program, it’s just seeing who Ray has been all these years,” Dodley said of Mahar. “I’ve worked with his band, and he’s just really been someone who takes the time to listen and understand the hardships of doing these things as a business, because it’s not always fair. A lot of us don’t have health insurance, and you know, just a steady gig.”

For Dodley, a father of two, the monthly grant will go toward groceries in anticipation of fewer gigs in the winter. He says the program provides a safety net that allows musicians more time to focus on the creative process and lessens the time

spent stressing about bills.

“Because everyone seems to want entertainment as a way to boost business, or just distract themselves, but no one thinks of the time and sacrifice it takes to actually pursue this business,” Dodley said.


Singer-guitarist Briana Horton moved to Rochester in early February from her hometown of Geneva, looking to extend her musical reach. The smooth vocalist is a polished cover performer, with the ideal tone for pop hits and the technical chops needed for busy rock and soul tunes.

Horton, 23, says she has been singing since she was a toddler.

“Music has been the one constant, the one thing that’s kept me grounded,” she said.

Horton plans to earn a degree in music therapy while still performing. Recently, vocal nodules have prevented her singing frequently. The $200 from The Local Sound Collaborative can cover the expense of losing one gig per month, she said.

“It’s really not a sustainable career path for a lot of reasons, but it’s one that people rely on so heavily for their mental health and their enjoyment, and their connection with other people,” Horton said.


James Kegler is better known to the local indie hip-hop scene as the rapper MF SKUM — an acronym for “motherfuckin’ sacred knowledge uniting the masses.” For the 26-yearold Kegler, making music is like being a philosopher.

“What I look to do when I make music is express experiences, thoughts, and sensations that aren’t normally expressed,” Kegler said, adding that he wants to grapple with spiritual death, accountability, and reflection in his songs.

Kegler works full-time as a program coordinator for the Center for Teen Empowerment, and says the grant money will go toward constructing music equipment, scheduling studio time, and paying bills in advance.


A versatile artist, 19-year-old Marissa Williams is a songwriter, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist who performs as Rissa, and is as likely to write poetry as she is to sing. Thematically, her lyrics draw from Black history and comment on Black life in America. But she doesn’t always fall back on her own experiences, instead choosing to voice someone else’s perspective.

Williams, who works full-time at Burger King, is no stranger to the studio, where she said she is often recording new music. But releasing new music depends on having consistent resources, she said.

“Some people don’t know how difficult it is for independent artists like myself to be able to take care of our studio time,” Williams said. “If we need cover art, we need visuals, we need to buy beats.”

She said the grant program will help to subsidize those creative needs, which had taken a backseat to other bills.



In reality, it’s just one idea with several variations, seemingly distinctive elements that suggest we’re heading in a different direction this time. But it’s nothing new, and the destination is the same as ever. And now I’m not just talking about the music.

If “RED” is the sampler to Animal Sounds’ next main course, I can’t wait to dig in. —


I wasn’t prepared for Animal Sounds’ latest single, “RED.” The Rochester indie rock band had solidified its mercurial sound — groove-fueled 2000s rock à la Incubus with splashes of classic ’70s rock and even emo — on the 2018 full-length album “Ennui” and the “Layers” EP in 2020.

And while those elements are still there, “RED” dials down the laid-back, blissful vibes in the music, particularly in Erik Gordon’s smooth tenor vocals, and instead turns up the tension in unexpected and delightful ways.

“RED” was released on Oct. 28, just before Halloween, as the first single from Animal Sounds’ forthcoming album “Labyrinth.” Fittingly, it’s a song about the inevitable reality of death — without mentioning it by name — and the sinking feeling that accompanies it:

Realization starts sinking in/ Not a matter of a crown or sin/ But a curse that you’ve been written in/ From the moment you began.

The band cleverly leads with an anthemic refrain, which benefits from a grimy, Jack White-inspired guitar hook, and expressive, high-range vocals over a straightforward pop groove that recall posthiatus Fall Out Boy. As bonus ear candy, the outro features harmonizing guitars with a glam rock-metal sound worthy of Queen’s Brian May.

But perhaps what’s most clever about “RED” is its compositional sleight-of-hand, the way in which the band makes the conventional pop music structure of versechorus, verse-chorus-bridge disappear.

Shawn Brogan and Alex Brophy’s riffhappy electric guitars are ever-present fixtures, but there’s a sinister element to the chord progression. This series of chords continues throughout the song, although varied guitar timbres and alternating instrumental melodies that outline those chords give the illusion that the band is constantly shifting into fundamentally different musical ideas.


When you’re broke and living in a dying town that your friends are fleeing, heaven might look like moving into a two-bedroom apartment. This is the state that Rochester singer-songwriter Ryan Sutherland sings about on his new album, “Sutherland II,” a collection of fuzzy rock and burly but sparse folk songs that often feel at war with each other.

Conflict has long powered Sutherland’s career. The leader of the local band The Revelators, he dedicated his 2020 solo album, “Loner’s Paradise,” to “all of the working-class people out there struggling every day to get by.” He’s sung about his granddad pouring drinks and how “lonely shadows swallow your soul.” But Sutherland’s latest batch of tunes turns up the volume to span some of the most beloved rock and roll styles of the past 50 years.

“Keep Breaking Down,” a reworked track from an earlier EP, prominently features an electric guitar that howls like it’s borrowed from Jack White’s personal collection. Meanwhile, the psychedelic “Incendiary” sounds ripped from a long-forgotten proto-punk LP out of 1970s Detroit.

These full-band touches, recorded at Ben Morey’s Submarine Sound Studio, bring Sutherland’s songwriting to blazing life, especially with Alex Coté backing him up on drums. The shuffling beat that powers Sutherland’s rockabilly highlight “All Those Tears” ought to make it a radio hit.

A natural wine shop specializing in low-intervention, biodynamic, and organic wines & ciders Open 7 days a week @ 289 Gregory Street. @aldaskellerwineco | weekly wine tastings!

But when he’s alone strumming his acoustic guitar — bemoaning Catholic traditions on “Midnight Mass” and giving bathroom-mirror meditations on mental health on “Breathe” — the drama tends to dissipate. Sutherland regains it, though, with a fitting folk narrative that tackles the death of manufacturing in our region and the subsequent exodus of residents to the sunny southern states and West Coast.

“Everybody wants to leave upstate New York,” he sings. “Everybody wants to be somewhere nice and warm.”

That minor-key ballad, “Everybody’s

Leaving,” follows a hard-luck narrator working a dead-end factory job and wondering, “Who the hell wants to rebuild?” As such, it becomes a fatalistic Rust Belt counterpoint to the 19th-century songs that celebrated the Erie Canal and the boomtowns it helped build, like Rochester.

Through all the grime, Sutherland’s heart stays here. His song’s narrator might make a plan to flee, but he’s not going anywhere. He’s got roots here. Plus, a bigger apartment is only a new lease away.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS PUZZLE ON PAGE 78. NO PEEKING! S 1 V 2 E 3 N 4 M 5 I 6 C 7 A 8 T 9 O 10 O 11 L 12 S 13 E 14 G 15 A 16 D 17 S 18 T 19 O T O C 20 O O S A 21 N N O Y M 22 O V I E U 23 N C L E 24 B U C K H 25 O P I S B 26 L A N D A 27 M E O 28 M N 29 I A 30 S T A 31 R N 32 E U T 33 O 34 W 35 N C A R 36 E 37 A T I 38 T E 39 L A S 40 T I C E 41 R E E 42 L I A 43 M 44 I C R O 45 M A C H I N E L 46 E T B 47 E A 48 M I 49 E O 50 O H S 51 E E L 52 O B E M 53 A N N U 54 N L O C 55 K A 56 J 57 A 58 M 59 A 60 E R 61 O E 62 V A 63 N S L 64 A T 65 R O B E D 66 E 67 N N I S S 68 E R B L 69 O 70 U A 71 S H O T E 72 T D C 73 H R 74 I S C O L 75 U M B U 76 S N 77 R A S 78 H I V 79 A O 80 A T L 81 I M E B 82 E T 83 H E L D 84 A T I N G 85 S S 86 T E E L E 87 S A U E 88 N S E R 89 A T 90 I 91 O S N 92 E B 93 R P 94 G A 95 S 96 I 97 D 98 E E 99 M S E 100 S T A L 101 A H T I H 102 A 103 R 104 R Y A N 105 D M A R 106 V S 107 U M 108 O E 109 M T A 110 S S A N T E A 111 D E E R 112 M 113 A T I 114 S S E G 115 S T A 116 S I A 117 N A 118 L E S 119 D 120 S S G 121 U L P 122 S G 123 R E E 124 D H 125 O M 126 E A L O 127 N 128 E 129 I 130 M N O T H 131 I N D U A 132 L O U A 133 R I D S 134 E E D Y S 135 A T U P B 136 O O P M 137 O P S 850 St. Paul Street • M-F 10-6, Sat. 10-3 • • 50% OFF SALE! GREENOVATION THRIFT STORE THE LARGEST THRIFT STORE IN THE ROCHESTER AREA WE HAVE TOYS, XMAS DECOR, CLOTHES, FURNITURE, HARDWARE, AND MORE! PLUS... PROFITS GO TO LOCAL CHARITIES.


hakespeare’s play “Richard II” is known for its 14th-century political intrigue, with the titular king and Henry Bolingbroke vying for the throne. The drama is not known, however, as a rivalry between former lovers with punkinspired fashion sense.

But that’s exactly what The Company Theatre gave its audience

in October during its rendition of “Richard II,” the opening production of its inaugural season. The actors wore combat boots and dark eyeliner while reciting iambic pentameter on the concrete floors of the Temple Theatre Loft.

While The Company Theatre thrives on taking plays most likely to be found in high school

English classes and turning them into memorable experiences for unsuspecting audiences, its members don’t want to limit themselves to just Shakespeare. Its official debut as a company was at this year’s Rochester Fringe Festival with “Cell Outs,” a new comedy about two prisoners trapped in a medieval dungeon written by Rich Steele,

who also starred as the king in “Richard II.”

“We want to be the ‘does everything’ place,” says Carl Del Buono, one of The Company Theatre’s four co-founders. “It’s not just for adults, not just for kids, not just Shakespeare or oratorio or opera or musicals.” Nothing’s off the table for them.

Matt Ames, Ariana Kizu Rivera, and Erin Kate Howard perform in The Company Theatre’s production of “Richard II.” PHOTO PROVIDED
The newly formed theater troupe takes an inclusive, modern-day approach to Shakespeare, obscure classics, and more.

The Company Theatre’s big dreams are starting to pay off. The organization has a board with 10 members, a Kickstarter campaign that surpassed its goal of $2,500 before the end of the run of their opening show, and an ambitious first season of rich, challenging plays.

In addition to Shakespeare, their first season includes well-known plays like the iconic “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov, the 1939 Kaufman & Hart farce “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” and the Tony-award winning 2006 musical “Spring Awakening.” The most obscure piece is “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr, which was the basis for the Bette Davis movie “All About Eve.”

Del Buono and co-founder Kate Duprey first met in 2015, while working on an anachronistic version of the 1613 play “The Duchess of Malfi,” staged by the WallByrd Theatre Company. Del Buono acted in it, and Duprey was a production manager, and they bonded over their love for making old plays fresh and relevant to contemporary American audiences.

WallByrd’s founding director Virginia Monte has left Rochester, but The Company Theatre seeks to pick up where Monte left off in producing centuries-old British plays, especially Shakespeare, in quirky and contemporary ways.

Duprey’s passion for the Bard is clear: “Because of the language, people get scared away from it,” she says. “They don’t understand that a lot of it is really funny, a lot of it makes perfect sense. I want people to see that.”

Both Duprey and Del Buono have been active in the Rochester theater scene for several years. Del Buono’s local acting and directing credits over the last decade include productions with the JCC’s CenterStage Theatre, Blackfriars Theatre, and Rochester Shakespeare Players, among others. Duprey wears several hats, working as a stage manager, scenic artist, and lighting designer. People ask her why she doesn’t move to a city with a larger theater industry. Her response?

“I’d much rather build something to be proud of in Rochester,” she says.

The four founders — who also include Duprey’s fiancé, technical

director Erik Wheater, and Duprey’s fellow collaborator, director Sean Britton-Milligan — are dedicated to building a theater company that will invite artists who are new to theater, or who have been unable to perform for the past few years due to the pandemic.

Del Buono fears many actors think theater opportunities in Rochester are limited, and develop a

“Geva or bust” mentality as a result. “No,” he says. “There are other small regional theaters, there’s other community theaters, there’s church groups.”

The Company Theatre has already succeeded in bringing in at least one member who never considered himself a Shakespearean actor. Christopher Conway, a Texas transplant who moved to Rochester

in 2018, has quickly involved himself in the theater scene with productions by the JCC, Blackfriars, and Out of Pocket, Inc..

After acting in “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Del Buono for Rochester Shakespeare Players, Conway’s a convert.

“I relish the opportunity to play with that language,” he says.

When The Company Theatre was first announced at a “Much Ado” cast party, Conway was eager to get on board — literally. Not only was he in “Richard II,” he’s also a member of The Company Theatre board.

Future plans include finding a permanent home. Duprey says finding venues has been the most challenging part of starting this company. The company also hopes to soon offer educational workshops that would touch on every part of theater, including preparing for auditions.

“A lot of places ask for five years professional experience when you’re right outside college,” Duprey says.

“You don’t need that with us. Come learn, keep learning.”

(Left to right) Kate Duprey, Carl Del Buono, Erik Wheater, and Sean Britton-Milligan founded The Company Theatre to be accessible to new audiences and new performers alike. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH Rich Steele as a glam-punk King Richard in “Richard II.” PHOTO PROVIDED

Rochester’s Black artists call 9th Floor home

scheduled for the beginning of 2023.

“We’d like to uplift some of these younger Black artists and inspire some of the older Black artists to get back into the world of creativity, to get involved with the creative economy that’s happening here in Rochester right now, and also just to fall in love with our cultural presentation,” Shabazz said. “And when we fall in love with it, it’s much easier for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.”

Parker said he believes that without 9th Floor, opportunities for Black artists to be represented would be limited.

When artists Ya’qub Shabazz, Rashaad Parker, and Najay Quick first laid eyes on the ninth floor of the Wilder Building on East Main Street that they had dreams of making into a space for artists of color, the place was in rough shape.

Leaves were strewn about the floor. Heavy file cabinets cluttered the rooms. The white walls had yellowed.

“It was trashed in here,” said Shabazz, speaking from his busy studio space, now bursting with original art.

After many 12-hour days of what Shabazz calls “sweat equity,” the trio opened the 9th Floor Artists Collective early this year, and in the ensuing months expanded it from a studio space for themselves to a sprawling, multi-purpose hub hosting exhibitions, art classes,

and meetings, such as “Art and Mindfulness for Black Men.” The collective also opens to visitors for gallery shows on Last Fridays.

At its core, the 9th Floor Artists Collective is a space managed by Black artists for artists of color to hone their crafts and find inspiration and empowerment in other artists in the community.

“What we’re doing here is breaking down some barriers

in regards to how Black art is presented,” Shabazz said.

Throughout December, 9th Floor is scheduled to showcase the works of Nigerian-born, local portrait artist Princewill Robinson. Early in the month, on Dec. 9, the collective is scheduled to host a workshop for artists working in a variety of mediums, including paints, watercolors, and pastels.

Additional exhibitions are

“When you have teachers that look like you, then there is representation there and there is identity, kind of reflected in the people that you’re learning from,” Parker said.

The collective’s studio and gallery spaces not only serve as places where Black artists can feel comfortable, but where they feel welcome to create and display their art.

Shabazz recalled his time as a student, cutting classes at Chicago Vocational High School to head over to the Art Institute of Chicago. He remembered having the realization that the museum’s space wasn’t for him. It wasn’t a place where the work of Black artists, particularly those from cities and underprivileged areas, was shown.

“So what we do is we provide an opportunity to that child in me, who would walk into a space and say, ‘I’ve never been able to do that,’” Shabazz said. “But I can come in here and say, ‘Wow, there’s people just like me doing this.’”

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER @DANIELJKUSHNER DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM Najay Quick, Rashaad Parker, and Ya’qub Shabazz founded the 9th Floor Artists Collective in February 2022. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH


Joyce Jones is perhaps best known around Rochester as soul singer Cinnamon Jones. Now, add film producer and director to her resume.

Her new musical documentary “Generation Z” takes an unwavering look at the major cultural, political, and existential crises of 2020 — the pandemic, the deaths of George Floyd and Daniel Prude at the hands of police and the subsequent #BlackLivesMatter protests, as well as polarizing politics and climate change — from the perspectives of young students mostly born after 2000.

“I said to myself, ‘As an adult I’m feeling kind of crazy right now and unsure with all the chaos. I really would like to know how the kids are feeling. What is their mindset like at this time?’” Jones said.

The film, a collaboration with co-director, cinematographer, and editor Tyler Winegarner, acknowledges the confusion, anxiety, and depression the students experienced. But “Generation Z” also illustrates the creative outlets they use to process their feelings. Poignant interviews are punctuated with music videos featuring spoken word, songs,

and dance performed by the students.

During the simple yet infectious pop song “Zoomed Out,” for example, Dahlia Myles sings over a smooth reggae beat about the fatigue and isolation she felt during periods of quarantine, and the reliance on technology to connect with people remotely.

One of the most affecting scenes is a reflection on toxic politics in the form of a monologue by 19-year-old Ryan Northington, a pre-law student at Canisius College. “The election, no matter what year, is a way to divide people,” Northington begins.

Echoing President George Washington’s warning against political parties, Northington speaks against divisive political rhetoric and its destructive tendencies.

“You don’t build a country by spitting on the other person every four years, and then acting like everything is regular for the next three,” Northington says. “That’s not a way to build a country, that’s only a way to break it down.”

The segment reprises something Jones sings at

the beginning of the film: “Let’s drop the weight off of our shoulders. It’s time, y’all, to come together.”

For more information about “Generation Z” and how to see it, go to


For many people, especially those who celebrate Christmas, December is a month for getting up close and personal with trees. Some families visit expansive tree farms to choose one with the perfect height, fullness, texture, and durability to bring home for the holiday.

But even then, do they really stop to admire the natural qualities of trees or ask what they tell us about nature and ourselves?

That’s exactly what the new Memorial Art Gallery exhibition, “In Praise of Trees: Woodcuts by Naoko Matsubara” — on view from Dec. 9 through May 21 — urges visitors to ponder.

Japanese-Canadian artist Naoko Matsubara’s printmaking with woodcuts, in which blocks of wood are carved into intricate images, is both entirely appropriate and savagely ironic.

The paradoxical link between death and creation, and between strength and fragility, is also present in the MAG exhibition’s 34 woodcuts, which curator Nancy Norwood selected from the artist’s 1985 portfolio “In Praise of Trees.” The portfolio was gifted to the MAG in 2018 by Annabelle Martin. “She’s seeing the spiritual as well as the physical qualities of wood,” Norwood said of Matsubara.

The artist’s attention to detail, particularly in the abstract and almost unnatural shapes of small branches and foliage — made by the negative white space in the woodcut — creates the illusion of trees rustling. Matsubara’s use of printmaking to articulate the wide variety of textures that trees possess is a testament to her skill as a woodcut artist.

In “Plum Blossom” and “Cherry,” Matsubara’s monochromatic depictions are made all the more brilliant by the contrast between the trees’ dark trunks and their lighter flowers. Three color woodcuts on Japanese mulberry paper — the ethereal “Mountain Trees” in particular — provide a wonderful change of pace.

But Matsubara’s images of trees are not always serene. In “Winter Forest,” contorted, shrunken limbs convey sorrow. The shapes suggest that the trees, despite their muscular root systems, are susceptible to the unseen power of the wind.

Elsewhere, it’s Matsubara’s choice of perspective that helps communicate the strength of her silent subjects.The from-the-ground-up vantage points of “Redwood” and “Pine” make the prints powerful testaments to the longevity and resilience of trees, and the frailty of humanity in comparison. For more information, go to

“In Praise
Trees” story: Naoko Matsubara’s woodcuts “Cedar Hill” (left) and “Pine.”
The cast of “Generation Z.” PHOTO PROVIDED


Rochester’s soul queen, a fun-loving jazz trio, and a blistering death metal band all make the list.


“Some of Us are Brave” caught Rochester’s reigning queen of soul at her breakthrough moment, as she catapulted into the national eye with a series of high-profile media appearances and big-time gigs. If any single local musician won 2022, it was unquestionably Ponder. Any one of her eight songs blending soul, hip-hop, and pop are radio-worthy, but “Someone Like You” is starmaking stuff. — DANIEL J.


It’s been years since I first heard Charles Emanuel busking outside Bernunzio’s on East Avenue downtown. His music struck me then, and it has only become more refined. The hooks and graceful singing on “Freedom” immediately had me smiling. This seven-song collection could also be your feel-good album of the year. Emanuel has since left Rochester for Los Angeles, but I hope we hear more from him soon. — MONA


“Habits of the Average Degenerate” was the fourth-wave ska worshippers’ debut release, and presented a polished, tight iteration of the Catch 22-era sound. The title track hit listeners with crisp horns, pumping out catchy melodies as a backdrop to vocalist Katie Mangiamele’s somewhat punky, somewhat crooning delivery. Her vocals were refreshingly distinctive, in a genre rife with indiscernible pattersong vocals. But the standout to me was “Spaghetti Feet,” a groovy-as-allhell instrumental track that added a tinge of psychedelia to a well-worn genre. — GINO


The retro-rock quintet Bellwether Breaks hit its stride with the three-song EP “Headed Home.” Led by the easy confidence of singer Elyse Gayann and keyboardist Chris Coon’s ’60s Mellotron vibes, the band’s blues-laden approach to classic rock felt utterly familiar yet delightfully fresh. The title track nailed the style notefor-note. — DK



Two of the things I loved most about this album from Cammy Enaharo were the warmth of her voice and the way her baritone ukulele mixed with the other instruments on every song. Enaharo’s lyrics celebrate the beauty in awkward and difficult times, while also offering a way forward. — MS


The band name is wonderfully silly, and the album title knowingly stereotypical, but if you stopped right there without listening, it was your loss. The Pickle Mafia is one of the most exciting jazz groups in Rochester, and arguably the best at blending playfulness with musical wit. Led by pianist Charlie Lindner, the trio especially cooks with the dizzying progjazz of “Flying Pineapple.” — DK


On “Friend of a Friend,” Katie Morey’s thoughtful and metaphorical songwriting was complemented perfectly by her many collaborators. The songs catch the ear with wry, lyrical and harmonic twists that tend toward the bittersweet. — MS



Since creating American Wild Ensemble with performances in national parks in 2016, flutist Emlyn Johnson and cellist Dan Ketter have continued to find meaningful ways to make music inspired by the natural world with such collaborators as composer and fellow Eastman alum David “Clay” Mettens. The album’s music for flute, cello, and clarinet varied in mood, from the startling, even threatening “Fear, Hiding, Play” by Margaret Brouwer to composer Aaron Travers’s serene evocation of birds flying over a midwestern marsh. — MS



Undeath’s 2022 album “It’s Time…to Rise From the Grave” created a truly grotesque patchwork of tales about chandeliers made from human corpses, bioengineering cadavers into undead warriors, and the varying ways to splatter a human head. Underlying the sheer carnage were surprisingly catchy songwriting and meticulous instrumentals that led to a headbanging groove. — GF


R.E.M.’s hit single “Man on the Moon” from 1992 was transformed here by DM Stith into a 13-minute layered soundscape of voices and dreamy synthesizers. At first, I was struck by a sense of peacefulness in the ethereal wash of sound; then slowly and subtly, elements of distortion crept into the mix. This music invited careful relistening and a pair of good headphones. — MS

Mike Ihrig, of Penfield, has been “morphing” seasonally into Santa Claus since the 1980s. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE


Yes, Rochester, there is a Santa Claus.

He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and when he’s not overseeing things at the North Pole, he resides in a modest yellow house on Penfield Road and drives a black subcompact SUV with the license plate “BLITZEN.”

He goes by Mike Ihrig when he’s there and claims to be 473 years old, give or take 400 years. But when he greeted visitors at his door recently in his Saint Nick suit, there was little doubt he was who he said he was.

His eyes twinkled. He had a beard as white as snow. He jingled when he walked.

“There are way better looking Santa Clauses, I’m not going to lie,” Ihrig said. “I went to my first Santa convention last year and I see some of these guys and it’s like, ‘Boy, they look great.’ But I will say this, when I morph into Santa, I’m Santa.”

Ihrig first “morphed” in 1971 for his niece and nephew in a Santa Claus suit made by Mrs. Claus, who goes by Karen and had married her Kris Kringle a few weeks earlier.

But he has been morphing seasonally in earnest ever since a man walked into his former Rochester shop, Mike’s Magic and Merriment on Dewey Avenue, in 1987 calling himself “a magic Santa.” The notion struck Ihrig that he could be that too.

He went to Orleans County to see Elizabeth Babcock, who made Santa suits for the famous Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School that was founded in Albion.

“I said, ‘If I’m going to be Santa, I want the best suit you have,’” Ihrig said. He left with a top-of-the-line, custommade suit with trim of white rabbit fur that set him back $400, and a new purpose to “try to bring joy and happiness to the world.”

Since then, Ihrig has done the mall circuit and private and public parties, and, for a time, was the resident Big

Guy at Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, N.Y., in the Adirondacks.

These days, though, he mostly meets children from around the world in virtual visits arranged through an online service called Santa’s Club and through his own website,

He said he has 360 visits and counting on the books this season, with each lasting five to 10 minutes. That day, he was preparing to meet a little girl named Brooklyn from Benton, Texas.

Ihrig greets them from his basement, where he sits against a merry backdrop of toys, books, snow globes, and animatronic figures that he has amassed over the years.

The appeal to parents and children alike, he said, is not having to stand in line and getting quality time with Santa Claus.

“Go to (one of the malls) and watch the Santa,” he said. “If he’s got a line, he’s got about a minute to talk to those children at most. And here, they get five full minutes. That’s a long time. Now,

with the ones who get 10 minutes? Whoa.”

Santa gave CITY an hour, so we put him on the spot by asking him everything you’d ever want to know about him.

The following interview was edited for brevity and clarity. Santa can be quite loquacious. He is a jolly old elf, after all.


Rochester. My birthday is Sept. 2. I’m 473 years old.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? Recreation leader at Barnard Park playground in Greece. My first summer out of Marshall High School. I think I got $1.18 an hour.


I love bowling. I bowl two leagues a week. I build Legos. I used to color a lot, but I don’t color as much as I used to. I

watch wrestling. I know a lot of people don’t think it’s real, but you fall on the floor. I’ve fallen on the floor. It’s real.


A set of magic books. An oven to make cookies. Mrs. Claus. But I don’t know that she would want to come.


The White House. I try to stay out of that stuff.


“Peter and the Starcatchers.” I also read a lot of comic books.


(Singing) You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid…


Blitzen. Blitzen is the fastest. And Blitzen is a female.


I don’t think I have one. That’s why, for my size, my blood pressure is like 128 over 70-something. But you know, when you go to the doctor’s office it flies off the hook. I went to the VA and they told me I have “white coat syndrome.”


I was in the Coast Guard. . . . I spent two tours in Alaska. I was on board a buoy tender, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Balsam, in Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. I was out in Dutch Harbor. All those places you see in “Deadliest Catch,” I was there, man.

Mike Ihrig entertains children with virtual visits from his “workshop” in the basement of his Penfield home. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
Mike Ihrig is 473 years old, give or take 400 years, and has been the Big Guy for five decades.


I never knew I was going to become what I am today, but I knew in my mind that I was going to end up being something. . . You know, everything just progresses in a natural way.


We lived on Maplewood Drive. I had a brother and a sister and I was the oldest. It was Christmas Eve and me and my brother tippy-toed down the stairs and my father was trying to build a dollhouse and it was metal and I hear him, “Oh son of a . . . !” We ran right back upstairs. Ho-ho-ho! Then, I remember I was a Boy Scout. Everyone went through that phase. One year I was going on a camp out for the weekend and I needed a sleeping bag. So, we went over to my grandpa’s house, and my aunt gave me an official Boy Scout sleeping bag for Christmas. . . . Well, that was the worst sleeping bag I ever slept in. I froze my jingle bells off. There was no insulation in that thing at all.


I was at Marketplace Mall. I had a couple come up. The girl sat on one knee. The guy sat on the other. She says, “I want a ring, Santa, and he won’t give me the ring.”  I said, “Lookit, there’s a jewelry store right there. There’s a jewelry story over there. And there’s one behind me.” Sometimes you get children who want ponies. I say, “You really want a pony?” Then I find out their parents own a ranch.


No. A bubble pipe.


I never have. Why should the blame be put on me whether a child is naughty or nice? I don’t believe in that. I think, a lot of times, I’m the fall guy. All Santas are. Parents are like, “Tell Johnny that he’d better do better in school.” I even had one dad who’s son wasn’t good enough at soccer for him. It’s like, come on, that’s not nice. I don’t like being the fall guy so I try to work around that. Here’s the deal: I expect you to be as nice and good as you can, but if you’re not, you’ll know that that person who gave you those underpants or that toothbrush that you didn’t want, then you know that something was up and old Santa Claus caught me.


Last year I got Lego sets.


I’d like world peace. Everybody would. It would be nice for people to just relax a little bit.


When I was at the North Pole (N.Y.), I had a mother come up and she goes, “My little boy has stopped sucking his thumb and using his binky.” She gave me a candy bar, which I put up my sleeve. When he came and showed me the binky, I produced the candy bar and said, “You give me that and I’ll give you this.” And he did. The woman was all happy. I still have it.


My wife and my children and my grandkids. But I have to tell you that I tell all the little children they’re Santa’s angels and I love them. Very seldom do I not tell a little child that I love them. Because they gotta have that.


Peppermint. Red Bird mints. Made in the United States. But sometimes root beer.


No. Coca-Cola Classic.

WHAT IS YOUR PET PEEVE? Why do people have to put pictures of the food they eat on that Facebook thing?


What’s social media? I got to tell you, I don’t have a Twitter thingy. I’m not even really good at texting.


I guess the way I am right now.


Every year on Dec. 26, I trim my beard. . . . I have to be able to kiss Mrs. Claus. There are rules, you know.

Mike Ihrig’s wardrobe of Santa Claus suits in his basement. The Big Guy has to change clothes every once in a while, you know. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

Church of the Ascension (Episcopal)

Rochester-Brighton 2000 Highland Avenue (corner of Winton Road) Join us for Christmas at St. Thomas’ Christmas Eve 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm Christmas Day 10:00 am All are welcome! ADVERTISING PROOF: PLEASE REVIEW IMMEDIATELY! DON'T DELAY! If there are any necessary corrections, please call at once. EXCLUSIVE USE NOTICE: This ad is designed for EXCLUSIVE USE in the City Newspaper. Any illustrations, Advertiser: Ad size: Salem United 2x4 Won’t you join us? Christmas Eve Candlelight Service December 24th 11:00pm What better way to connect with the real meaning of Christmas than to start Christmas Day at church? Plenty of room for social distancing No reservations required, all are welcome. We'll save you a seat... Salem United Church of Christ 60 Bittner Street 14604 Sunday Worship at 11AM 121 N. Fitzhugh St. | (585) 325-4000 Join usforthis sacred season... Dec. 4 Advent Festival Dec. 11 Special Music featuring Vivaldi’s Magnificat Dec. 24 Christmas Eve, 7PM Dec. 18 Christmas Pageant Sunday
1360 Lake Ave. at Riverside St., Rochester (585) 458-5423 The Rev. Abi John, Rector Christmas Season services Festival of Lessons & Carols, Dec. 11, 10:15AM Christmas Eve Pageant, 4PM Christmas Eve, Holy Communion, 7PM Christmas Day, Holy Communion, 10:15AM
8AM and 10:15AM Neighborhood mission and outreach programs, plus adult and youth choirs & change ringing bells
you and your family ROCHESTER WORSHIPS
Regular Sunday worship

Rochester’s Naughtiest and Nicest of 2022

Santa Claus came to town and made a list of who’s been naughty and nice. We’ve checked it twice.

’Twas a year in Flower City, and Santa kept stock of the good, the bad, and the ugly in the ROC. He left us a list of the naughty and nice, and just for good measure, we checked it twice.

Enjoy this rare glimpse into St. Nick’s roll to see who gets sugarplums or lumps of coal.



Middle-aged muckety-muck Mary Znidarsic-Nicosia became a household name over the summer after a city firefighter accused her of hosting a racist “Juneteenth parody” party at her East Avenue mansion. To clear her name, the socialite staged a rollingDumpster-fire-of-a-press conference in a Pittsford hotel, where she cried about “cancel culture” and claimed she couldn’t be racist because she grew up in a “very diverse community,” before admitting that she was behind a toxic and bigoted Twitter account that went by the handle @HoHoHomeboyROC and the name “Smilin’ Sam From Alabam’.” Her party, though? She said that wasn’t racist. Nope. No way. No how. As her dentist husband explained, it was just a small gathering of what he called his wife’s “idiot friends.” Look for Santa to clog their home’s six fireplaces with coal.



They don’t come much sweeter than this guy. Bill Whitney, a septuagenarian landscape architect from Rochester, earned his “Daffodil Man” moniker last spring after overseeing the planting of some 15,000 daffodils in a circular recessed area of Mount Hope Cemetery known as “The Kettle,” where he plans to be buried with his husband. His passion project has cultivated an Instagrammable halo of gold that lasts for a few precious weeks in the late spring, and inspired others to plant their own daffodil gardens in other sections of the historic cemetery. “I want this to become a little fantasy,” Whitney said of the cemetery.




Holy helping hand, Rochester! Like the caped crusader of comic books, this real-life do-gooder refuses to reveal his true identity. All we know of him is that he studies industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has a chiseled jaw line and a soft heart, and dons a Batman costume to take to the streets and help homeless people. Batman began his crusade in his native San Jose as a teenager and swung into action here last winter. “I decided to do this because, long story short, I realized how invisible people were, how people will step over or step around or even step on people to avoid acknowledging the fact that we need to help people,” he told WXXI’s “Connections.” “I figured a large cape, pointy ears, that’s pretty distracting. I can use that to divert the attention of the community and people to acknowledge the fact that maybe we should do something.”



St. Nick knows as much as anyone about it taking a village to raise a child. So does Nyeshia Gibson, the founder of Saving AJ Crisis Nursery on Chestnut Street in downtown Rochester. The nursery is a no-questions-asked child-drop off center for mothers who need a break from child care for self-care. What mother doesn’t know that feeling? Child care slots run three hours, and every child receives a meal. The nursery also has clothes and diapers on hand, and offers moms vouchers for little luxuries like manicures and haircuts. “It’s as simple as bring your baby to the door and your child will be cared for and you go do what you need to do for those three hours,” Gibson told WXXI’s “Connections.” “It takes a village to raise a child. No one should have to do it alone.” Sugarplums all around.




“The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” is a book about ne’er-do-well mobsters who can’t do anything right, but what better label applies to the Rochester Police Accountability Board of the last year? The comedy of errors the agency has made of getting itself up and running would be a knee-slapper if it weren’t tragically costing city taxpayers $5 million a year to watch. The joke is on Rochester voters who gave the board a mandate in the earnest hope of improving police-community relations. Lumps of coal for all concerned in this bizarre misadventure.




Few Catholic institutions had a worse year on the public relations front than Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, except, of course, for the Roman Catholic Church itself, which is a Santa’s naughty list perennial for its culture of covering for sexual abusers. The OLM public relations team took a page from the Vatican’s playbook when it went “sotto voce” around two controversies. The first involved the recanting of a college recommendation letter for a star student by an apparently thin-skinned English teacher. The second involved the school’s athletic director removing the only Black credentialed sports media personality from the sidelines of a soccer game for no apparent reason. There might be more to those stories, but few people will ever know. Two lumps of coal and three Hail Marys for circling the cherubs and chariots.




This couple from Webster has attained unlikely celebrity among teenage athletes and sports fans in Monroe County as the face of PrimeTime585, the nonprofit enterprise that Karen and Gerard Iglesia founded together. The organization operates at the intersection of school sports, social issues, and social media in the 585 area code by encouraging athletes to give back to their communities by tackling weighty matters like racism, poverty, and mental health. But the love they get from young people mostly stems from their relentless and gushing coverage of high school sports. “Raw,” “genuine,” “authentic,” and “huge” are words that students across the region use to describe PrimeTime585, whose social media video snippets in 2022 became “Must See TV” for a new generation.


Former Executive Director Conor Dwyer Reynolds and former Board Chair Shani Wilson. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH


In the frantic days of remote learning in 2020, when students around the country were “attending school” from their kitchen tables or wherever they could find a nook in the house, a lightbulb went off in the mind of Steve “Mac” MacIntyre: “Imagine if we could give schoolchildren a desk that becomes their own special place to learn and grow?” Inspired by a community desk project he had heard about in New Mexico, the 68-year-old Brighton resident channeled his idea into Desks4Success, a nonprofit that coordinates the construction of maple or birch wood desks for young students. Two years later, the operation shows no signs of slowing down. These days, members of the Rochester Woodworkers Society mentor high school students from St. Michael’s Woodshop ministry to make the desks, and together they have completed and delivered 150 desks to students in the Rochester area at no charge. Recently, the organization delivered 25 desks to Roberto Clemente School No. 8. Who says Santa’s elves only work their magic in a workshop at the North Pole?



Her legal name is Shannon Bones, but she is the host of the conservative talk radio program “The Shannon Joy Show” on WHAM 1180. There, she and other dog-whistling commentators dish conspiracy theories, disinformation, and fringe ideas under the guise of speaking truth to power for sheeple grazing on the far right of the political spectrum. Because Santa knows all, he knows that Joy knows exactly what she’s doing with her selfproclaimed “fearless radio commentary.” This year, she shilled for fellow naughty-lister Mary Znidarsic-Nicosia, and drained Fairport Central School District tax dollars by suing the district for kicking her out of a school board meeting in 2021 for her refusal to adhere to face-mask protocols at the time. Leave a nut bar in this fearmonger’s stocking.




The antics of this misguided auto mechanic from Erie County over the summer made visiting Rochester City Hall harder for all of us and earned him a finger wag from the jolly old elf himself. Daniel Warmus was behind a wacky operation he called “First Amendment Auditing,” which involved him showing up to public places with a video camera, harassing staff until being ejected by security, and then posting a recording of the incident with commentary that America is no longer free for freedom-loving patriots like him. City Hall subsequently implemented a host of security measures to ward off the Warmuses of the world, at the expense of the rest of us. Is it any wonder that this guy was one of the first rioters to reach the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021? In September, a federal judge sentenced Warmus to 45 days in prison and two years of probation. Stick a brick of coal in his mouth.




Full calendar of events online at


sized ones. It’s a glorious event that brings thousands of people down to the Brew House just off St. Paul Street. The celebration runs from 5 to 9 p.m., but the beer flows before and after. Don’t worry, the folks at Genesee aren’t tapping the tree to fill your glass. JM


“Stepping Out”

Multi-use Community Cultural Center,

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



Sacred and Secular Music of Price, Bonds, and the African Diaspora r

Two Saints Church,



Seasonal Celebrations r

ROC Holiday Village,


Trans-Siberian Orchestra r

Blue Cross Arena,

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a gift to anyone who enjoys wailing guitars and Christmas music. It’s high-energy take on standards such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” along with its original music, combines symphony, hard rock, prog rock, and novelty. The approach has earned the band legions of fans. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is calling this winter tour “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve: The Best of TSO and More,” which sounds like a crowd pleaser. The performance begins at 7 p.m. and ticket prices vary by seat. Snow is not guaranteed.



What happens when working-class participants in a weekly adult dance class attempt to overcome their inhibitions, spice up their humdrum lives, and lose their two left feet? The aging klutzes are reborn. You may be, too, if you step out of your comfort zone and catch this production by the ambitious Out of Pocket theater company. “Stepping Out” had healthy runs on Broadway and the West End in London, where it earned “Comedy of the Year” honors. The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Dec. 10. Tickets are $15 to $25.


Alternate Paths

Nu Movement,

“The three wise men who followed the star / One was a brown man from afar.” So Langston Hughes wrote in his text contribution to “The Ballad of the Brown King,” a collaboration with composer Margaret Bonds. The cantata is a musical reflection on the story of Balthazar, one of the three kings who came to pay tribute to the baby Jesus. The Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus will perform “The Ballad of the Brown King” alongside music by Bonds’ friend and teacher Florence Price at 2 p.m. in the historical Two Saints Church on South Fitzhugh Street. The concert repeats at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 at St. John of Rochester, 8 Wickford Way, Fairport. MS

Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, but you can start early with live music and storytelling from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the ROC Holiday Village. The Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition hosts the event. Celebrations around other holidays are scheduled for the next few weekends. The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester will host a Hannukkah event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11; the Puerto Rican Festival will lead a Three Kings Day event from 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 17; and a Christmas event, including carol singing, will be led by First Bible Baptist Church from 12:30 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 18. MS

MUSIC An English Afternoon

Pegasus Early Music,

Genesee Keg Tree Lighting r

Genesee Brew House,

New York City has the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, but Rochester has the Genesee Brewery’s Keg Tree. We get the better holiday icon. Genny first erected the Keg Tree in 2013 and each year since — except for the past two years — it has held a lighting ceremony for the nearly three-story tower made up of 532 kegs. Not quarter-kegs or half-kegs, but full-

In the darkroom, photographers practice strange forms of alchemy to create their printed artworks, each with its own special effect. Photogravure, lith printing, cyanotype, kallitype, lumen printing, Van Dyke brown, and mordançage are processes that use different types of light, chemicals, and other variables to highlight, obscure, and alter details of the final printed image. You can see and learn more about these different photographic printing processes in a show featuring works by Pat Bacon, Bill Bates, Jonathan Merritt, Jen Perena, Marianne Pojman, and Linda VanArtsdalen this month at Nu Movement, 716 University Ave. There’s a First Friday reception from 6 to 9 p.m. today.


Holiday Soul Jam r

Auditorium Theatre,

Make your spirit light this holiday season with Soul Jam, a minifestival of sorts headlined by the English R&B group Loose Ends. The performance features original lead singer Jane Eugene, as the band revisists its dance-inducing hits from the ’80s, such as “Hanging on a String (Contemplating),” “Slow Down,” and “Watching You.” Hosted by Chubb Rock, the show’s lineup also includes Klymaxx featuring Joyce “Fenderella” Irby, Lakeside, and Cherelle. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $89.50.

The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and Pegasus Early Music is turning to English music of centuries ago to provide some cozy comfort for the season. While I’m not sure that the rich, warm sound of the viola da gamba can provide against the cold, a few of them sounding together in consort could certainly distract from the concerns of the season, especially when paired with singing by Laura Heimes and lute playing from Deborah Fox. The performance will feature music by early English composers including William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, and John Dowland. The concert starts at 4 p.m. at Downtown United Presbyterian Church on North Fitzhugh Street. Tickets are $25, or $10 for students and low-income individuals. MS



One of the only good things about it getting dark before dinner is holiday lights getting to shine earlier and brighter. Few sights jumpstart feelings of holiday cheer like a twinkling spectacle celebrating the season. Whether you’re in the mood for a fun date or a family outing, checking out these lavish light displays around the Rochester area — from the residential to the retail and the municipal — can brighten those blustery winter nights.



RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium

Lights and lasers? Where do we sign up? This annual holiday show isn’t your typical light display, but reclining under the dome of the planetarium for this immersive demonstration of celestial awe and colorful lasers has become a tradition for families, friends, and out-of-towners. Laser lights choreographed to dance under the stars to 50 minutes of favorite holiday songs, from Mariah Carey to Mannheim Steamroller, will be all you’ll want for Christmas. Tickets are $21 for adults and $10 for children.


Endicar Drive

Folks on Endicar Drive don’t fool around when it comes to holiday cheer. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think residents were trying to outdo each other with their merry and bright lights. But they’re in it together. They have to be. As many as 200 cars a night reportedly turn onto their tiny cul de sac off Titus Avenue to take in the luminosity lunacy. Fair warning to all the Scrooges out there: A trip down this street with “Christmas Canon” on the radio may turn you into a believer.



1450 Brace Road, Victor

This show featuring 20 light display installations along a winding mile-and-a-half path through the rolling hills of the golf course is fast becoming a local holiday staple. Journey among dinosaurs, figure skaters, the elves of Santa’s workshop, and through Candy Cane Lane in the comfort of your own car. Tickets are $32 per vehicle and trips are scheduled in 15-minute slots. Part of the proceeds benefit the C.U.R.E. Childhood Cancer Association.



16 Beauclaire Lane

It takes a crew about three weeks to set up this display at the residence of Wanda Polisseni, the widow of the late Paychex Vice President Gene Polisseni. If you make the trip, you’ll know why. The illuminated Ferris wheel, fire engines, horses, and helicopter keeping Santa and his sleigh company on the front lawn are a spectacle to behold. The street is a cul de sac that can get congested with traffic at the height of the season. On the bright side, you get to take in this breathtaking exhibit twice if you drive in and out.



Liberty Pole Way and East Main Street

The one-day only pomp and circumstance surrounding the lighting of the Liberty Pole is a tradition not to be missed by any self-respecting resident of Rochester. Santa Claus and his elves make an appearance accompanied by the showmanship and sizzling brass sounds of Prime Time Bass, Rochester’s powerhouse brass band. This year’s festivities unfold at 5 p.m. Dec. 3. There is nothing quite like watching the brilliance of 4,100 lights strung along the 92 cables encircling the pole illuminate downtown. Follow the party to Roc Holiday Village at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.



34 Havenshire Road

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-lights! This animated residential light show features more than 10,000 bulbs twinkling in sync with favorite traditional and modern holiday music played over an FM radio transmitter. Once in the vicinity, tune your radio dial to 107.9 FM for the full effect. The display, now in its eighth year, gets bigger and better every season, from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve.


Colony Lane

When a holiday light display has a webpage and a Facebook fan page, you know it’s a big deal. The drive-through display is impressive enough to catch the attention of Santa and some of his jolly friends, who show up every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. When the warm, festive glow starts to appear on the horizon, tune in to 91.9 FM for the display’s musical component. The organizers also hold a food

drive for RHAFT, better known as the Henrietta Food Cupboard, so show some holiday generosity and bring canned or boxed food items to drop in the collection box.


Rahway Road

Variety is the name of the game here. In Gates’s Rahway Road neighborhood, residents make a show of decorating their homes, but each household takes a different tack. Some opt for tasteful minimalism by adorning trees with strings of white lights, others have immense, colorful displays, some of which incorporate projections. As a bonus, there’s a hot cocoa and popcorn stand on nearby Winter Hazel Court. Clark Griswold would be proud of the holiday spirit blazing from this neighborhood.


127 Quesada Drive

This shimmering feast for the eyes grabs the attention of many drivers, who are known to pull right to the side of the road and take in the spectacle. The display, which includes music, isn’t so much hard to miss as it is can’t miss. Just follow the pulsing glow as if it were the Star of Bethlehem. Or look for the line of cars in front of the house, that also works.




From classical to early rock and jazz, here are six local shows that brighten the holidays.

Sure, you could listen to Christmas carols and modern holiday hits at home or in your car, but there’s nothing quite like hearing seasonal music live to get you in the mood for end-of-year festivities.

Saturday, Dec. 3

THE Pickle Mafia: Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Bristol Valley Theater,

No American jazz album is more synonymous with the holidays than pianist Vince Guaraldi’s iconic soundtrack to the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” There’s something about the wire brushes against the snare drum, the effortless piano chords, and the upright bass’s sleepy charm that conjure up the image of a snowy Christmas night and the Peanuts gang rallying around a sorry-looking Christmas tree.

Performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio and originally released in 1965, the album “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has gone multi-platinum several times over, selling 5 million copies and maintaining a consistent end-of-year presence on Billboard charts.

This season, however, Rochester-area audiences can do one better than listening to the recording at home or on the radio. Local jazz trio The Pickle Mafia, led by pianist Charlie Lindner, performs Guaraldi’s timeless Christmas classics, along with other holiday favorites, at Bristol Valley Theater in Naples. Pigpen starts kicking up the dust at 7 p.m.  Tickets $10 to $20.

Monday, Dec. 5  Bill Kirchen’s HonkyTonk Holiday Show

Lovin’ Cup,

Every December before the pandemic, you could count on guitarist Bill Kirchen and his band The Silent Knights to ride into town and slay with “Bill Kirchen’s Honky-Tonk Holiday Show.” The annual tradition returns to Rochester today with a show at Lovin’ Cup. Kirchen’s band gives Christmastime the western swing treatment with the jingle-jangle of his Telecaster guitar, along with shuffling, syncopated drums, twangy pedal steel, and the persistent “thwoom” of the bass. If you prefer holiday music as a consummate blend of country, rock ‘n’ roll, and swing, Kirchen’s brand of honky-tonk is your ticket to

Christmas cheer. With songs such as “Santa Looks a Lot Like Daddy,” “Truckin’ Trees for Christmas,” and “Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas,” you’re sure to get in the spirit. Doors open at 6 p.m., music starts at 7. Tickets $30 to $35

Friday, Dec. 9

RPO: Handel’s Messiah”

Eastman Theatre,

Georg Frideric Handel’s 1741 oratorio “Messiah” has become a ubiquitous Christmas tradition. And its triumphant “Hallelujah Chorus,” immediately identifiable to even the most casual music fan, is downright chill-inducing — and not because of the winter cold.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochester Oratorio Society will be joined by beloved RPO Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman in the performance of Handel’s classic celebration of Christ’s birth. The composer’s brilliant vocal writing and attention to dynamics add nuance to the already festive atmosphere of the music. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets $28 to $115.

Thursday, Dec. 15

Jim Brickman: “A Very Merry Christmas”

Auditorium Theatre,

When it comes to easy-listening solo piano music, one artist reigns supreme: Jim Brickman. Twentytwo of his albums have gone No. 1 on Billboard, and more than 8 million album copies have been sold — proof that the popular pianist and songwriter has a way with sentimental ballads that play on your heartstrings. Brickman brings his signature crossover style to Rochester this season in support of his new album “A Very Merry Christmas.” The collection of holiday tunes, which includes original songs and classic carols such as “O Christmas Tree” and “Away in a Manger,” overflow with charming phrases and attention to detail. The 7:30 p.m. show also features Mat and Savanna Shaw. Tickets $48 to $78.

Friday, Dec. 16 to Dec. 18

RPO: “Gala Holiday

Pops” Eastman Theatre,

If a classical Christmas isn’t your thing, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra still has you covered with its annual Gala Holiday Pops concert. Powerhouse vocalist Shayna Steele returns to the Kodak Hall stage to ring in the holiday spirit with the RPO and its Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, as well as the Festival High School Chorale comprising local students. Fans of Tyzik’s orchestral arrangements and original compositions have every reason to be jolly about this program. With four performances spanning three days, there are plenty of opportunities to be merry with the RPO. Tickets $18 to $95.

Saturday, Dec. 17

“Rockabilly Christmas Bash” with Bobbie Henrie & The Goners  Abilene Bar & Lounge,

Singer-guitarist Bobbie Henrie, upright bassist Brian Williams, and drummer James Symonds have been swingin’ as Bobby Henrie & The Goners for more than 35 years. The Finger Lakes rockabilly trio plays straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll with old-school inflections of country, swing, and the blues you just don’t hear very often these days. Add some Christmas flair, as the band will do at the local honky-tonk haven Abilene, and you’ve got the recipe for a serious party. Doors open at 7 p.m., music begins at 8. Tickets $10.



Bill Kirchen’s Honky Tonk Holiday Show r

Lovin’ Cup,

Certain guitarists have become synonymous with their preferred axe. Slash is a devoted disciple of the Les Paul, Kurt Cobain brought esteem to the now hipster-holy-grail Jazzmaster, and Jimi Hendrix made the Stratocaster a psychedelic icon. Guitar Player has dubbed Bill Kirchen the “Titan of the Telecaster” because he favors the distinctive bright twang of Fender’s venerated single-cutaway six-stringer. Kirchen’s command of the Tele has been on display throughout his decades-long career in outlaw country and honky-tonk. He’ll wield his Telecaster tonight for a set of rockabilly Christmas tunes at Lovin’ Cup. Doors at 7 p.m. and tickets are $30.


MUSIC “Live from Hochstein — Madrigalia: A Cup of Good Cheer” r

Hochstein Performance Hall,

Of all the festive traditions, there’s something about a cappella voices singing classic carols of peace and goodwill that takes the holiday fruitcake. And who better than the Rochester vocal ensemble Madrigalia, led by Artistic Director Cary Ratcliffe, to bring some midday tidings. Hosted by WXXI Classical’s Mona Seghatoleslami, this free concert, which starts at 12:10 p.m., is a perfect lunchtime reprieve from the hectic holiday season. DK


Chris Duarte Group

Abilene Bar and Lounge,

Simply labeling Chris Duarte as a “blues artist” is like calling Leonard Da Vinci a “painter.” In his own words, Duarte refers to himself as a “rockin’ blues” or “punk blues” specialist, but “ferocious blues” also fits the bill. He plays so hard that his fingers have been known to bleed during sets. The Texas-born Duarte is a master at channeling the spirits and sounds of great musicians, while remaining true to himself. He once finished fourth in a Guitar Player magazine poll in the “Best Blues Guitarist” behind Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and B.B. King. He’s that good. One show only. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. DA


Indigo Girls

State Theatre of Ithaca No duo had a bigger impact on folk rock in the ’80s and ’90s than Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls. With a career that was propelled by its platinum-selling self-titled album, most notably its lead single “Closer to Fine,” Indigo Girls is still going strong 13 albums later. On the 2020 record “Look Long,” the vocal harmonies are as in-sync as ever and the acoustic folk vibes are ever-present. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the tunes begin at 8. Tickets are $37 to $69. DK

CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 BRIGHTON COMMONS NEAR PANACHE CONSIGNMENT 585-473-4416 | panacheconsignboutique@gmail

MUSIC A Day to Remember

Kodak Center,

In the early 2000s, bands like Thrice and From Autumn to Ashes became popular for their hybrid of pummeling metalcore and melodic pop-punk. A Day to Remember, which formed in 2003 as those bands peaked, picked up where its forebears left off. The Florida-based band is going acoustic for this tour, which will give fans a different way to experience some of their favorite songs. Wage War, which also hails from Florida, will open. Tickets start at $42 and the show is at 8 p.m.




The Temptations and The Four Tops

Kodak Center,

The nostalgia train rolls into Rochester with The Temptations and The Four Tops. These two powerhouse vocal

groups helped to define the Motown sound for generations of music listeners, and their impact on pop and R&B still ripples across the landscape. The long list of Temptations hits includes “My Girl,” “Ain’t too Proud to Beg,” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).” And if Four Tops classics like “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” don’t make you want to belt it out in a group singalong, I don’t know what will. And these aren’t just tribute acts. The Temptations are led by Otis Williams, the band’s founder and last remaining member of the original lineup, while The Four Tops is guided by its own founding member Abdul “Duke” Fakir. The music kicks off at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $59 to $99. DK



The Able Bodies’

Tribute to Hall & Oates

Three Heads Brewing, I can’t think of a better fit between a Rochester band and the pop stars they’re covering than Eli Flynn and John Viviani of the fun-loving dance pop band The Able Bodies and ’80s juggernauts Hall & Oates. The latter are undeniable hit-making machines whose prowess as songwriters is often overshadowed by the cheesy excesses of the decade that produced them. But that won’t stop you from enjoying vintage bangers such as “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams,” and “Maneater.” You can get into Three Heads for the show at 8 p.m., but the magic won’t start until around 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. DK


“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” r

Blackfriars Theatre, Cozy up with the Darcy family for Christmas at their grand estate of Pemberley in this sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The play picks up the story two years after the novel ends, and features nerdy middle-sister Mary as the unlikely heroine when an unexpected guest arrives and stokes her hope for independence, an intellectual match, and even — gasp! — love. Told with modern wit, this effervescent romantic holiday comedy enchants Austen fans and newcomers alike. The curtain rises on this opening night at 8 p.m. Tickets are $33 to $40. Through Dec. 31. DA


“Let’s Play: A Winter Celebration with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra” r

Strong Museum of Play,

The RPO takes over the Strong with live performances and activities scheduled throughout the day. In between spaceship journeys, a visit to the kid-size Wegmans, and the upstairs arcade, you can checkout music by RPO members and students from ROC Music, School of the Arts, and Strings for Success, as well as musical story time, an instrument petting zoo, and music-related crafts. Let the music play! The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Museum members and children under 2 are free; admission is $19. DK


“Blood on the Snow: Vampire/ Krampus Ball 2022” r

Photo City Music Hall,


“The Nutcracker” r

Rochester City Ballet,

If you missed RCB’s annual run of “The Nutcracker” when it played in November at Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre, this is your last chance in 2022 to catch this treasured holiday tradition. This delightful classic set in a sweet-filled magical wonderland where flowers waltz and enchanted toys twirl, closes with four performances at Fort Hill Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua starting today at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $45. Through Dec. 11. DA

December is typically reserved for holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, but for the goth set every day is still Halloween. That includes tonight. The Vampire Queen MzMedusa is putting on this ball, which embraces two distinct creatures of the night. We all know vampires, but for the unfamiliar, Krampus is the half-goat, half-demon companion of St. Nicholas who torments naughty children at Christmastime. The DJs will be spinning goth, industrial, and EDM, and the dress code is “formal, goth, fetish, all black, or costumes.”

Doors for this 21-and-up event open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. JM




This time of year, the days are short, the nights are long. Fortunately, there is a literal “Festival Of Lights” to alleviate the seasonal dreariness — the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah always begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but because the Jewish calendar is lunar, the holiday moves around. This year it begins on the night of Dec. 18 and continues for eight nights, through Dec.  25.

In and around Rochester, there are scores of events celebrating the holiday, but not all of them are open to the public. We’ve compiled a list of the biggest ones open to all. Everyone is welcome, even if you’re not Jewish.

Happy Hanukkah!


139 South Winton Road, Rochester  585-473-1770 |

Temple Beth El has eight nights of festivities. Sarah Lloyd, Beth El’s marketing and development director, says “everyone is invited for every night.” Each night includes the lighting of the giant menorah with different temple groups leading the ceremony.

Dec. 18: The congregation kicks off the holiday at 6:15 p.m. with “Taste Of Hanukkah.” If the weather is good, the menorah lighting will be outdoors, followed by heaping platters of latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). They are, as Lloyd says, the “typical fried foods everyone is waiting all year for.” The temple will also give out Hanukkah candles.

Dec. 19: The “20s/30s Low-Key Latkes” celebration focused on young people and families begins at 6:15 p.m. The event includes a latke bar with different-flavored latkes and toppings. As delicious as potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream are, the bar has been known to offer sweet potato or beet latkes with various cheese toppings — yum!

Dec. 20: You’re never too old to celebrate! “Life, Legacy & Latkes” caters to older people (40s and up), and highlights members who have left legacy gifts to Beth El. The festivities start at 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 21: Channel your inner Mary J. Blige, Alanis Morissette, and Eddie Vedder at the temple’s biggest party of the year. The annual Hanukkah celebration starts at 5:30 p.m. and the theme is “Party Like It’s 1999.” People are encouraged to wear ’90s clothes, and there will be retro decorations and a DJ playing ’90s music — as C+C Music Factory sang, “Everybody dance now!”  The event also includes kids’ crafts and activities, a photo booth, a full bar and a sit-down dinner. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Registration is required.

Dec. 22: Camp may be over for the season, but scouting isn’t. “Scouts & Tots Hanukkah” starts at 6:15 p.m. and includes a presentation by Gareth Evans, the district executive of the Boy Scouts Of America Seneca Waterways Council.

Dec. 23: At 4 p.m. the temple will usher in the “Spirit of Hanukkah” with, what else, an alcohol bar. And it’s not a proper Jewish celebration without food, so of course there will be nosh.

Dec. 24: Get cozy at 5:30 p.m. with “Havdallah & Hanukkah.” Havdallah is a low-key ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat. After that, the temple will serve hot chocolate and cookies.

Dec. 25: Because today is also Christmas, the temple has the traditional Jewish celebration of  “Chinese Food & A Movie” from noon to 3 p.m. The cost is $18 for adults and $10 for children. Registration is required.

A lot of Beth El staff and members have dogs, and “Dogs ‘N Donuts” returns this year at 6:15 p.m. Family dogs are invited to come celebrate and will receive treats. Their humans can enjoy sufganiyot.

Every program takes place at Temple Beth El and offers latkes and/or sufganiyot. Apart from the events that require registration, admission is free.



2131 Elmwood Ave., Brighton 585-244-7060 |

Temple B’rith Kodesh welcomes Hanukkah with a first-night party and a few other events over the eight days of the holiday.

Dec. 18: The festivities begin at 4 p.m. After the menorah lighting, there will be games – maybe you’ll win big (chocolate) at the traditional spinning-top game of dreidel. And there will be group singing — there are way more songs than “The Dreidel Song.” Of course, there will be food, including latkes. No registration is required.

Dec. 20: Starting at 5:30 p.m. there will be a community interfaith reception at the temple, welcoming members of different churches and honoring first responders.

B’rith Kodesh Senior Rabbi Peter Stein says this event is a good way to learn about the holiday. “It’s really a chance for people to come in and see Hanukkah for themselves,” he says.

In addition to the menorah lighting, there will be refreshments, as well as dreidels set out for people to play in their own groups. What better way to practice your spin?

Dec. 21: The temple hosts a menorah lighting at Schoen Place in Pittsford at 5:30 p.m. Say the blessing, sing the traditional “Maoz Tzur (Rock Of Ages),” then shop or eat.

Dec. 23: Beginning at 5:30 p.m., there will be an outdoor menorah lighting featuring the large menorah that hangs on the building, followed by a Shabbat service with Hanukkah songs and an oneg (post-service reception) with refreshments, obviously including latkes.

All events are free.


363 Penfield Road, Brighton 585-381-6890 |

Temple Sinai will hold its “Artful Hanukkah Happening” from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 11. This is a great opportunity for holiday shopping. People can purchase creations from artists, authors and craftspeople. There will also be basket raffles, refreshments, and on Dec. 10, a klezmer band.

Dec. 18: The temple celebrates with a first-night dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring their own menorahs for a group lighting. The dinner is $18 for adults and $12 for children over 4 (under 4 are free). Registration is required.

The temple is also hosting nightly menorah lightings on Zoom.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park Manhattan Square, Rochester 585-340-7170,

Celebrate the lights by lacing up a pair of skates and hitting the ice. ROC Holiday Village at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Rochester has a “Hanukkah Celebration Day” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11. In addition to free ice skating, there will be Hanukkahthemed crafts, music, stories and refreshments.


The Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester hold a “Light, Peace & Latkes” celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at the JCC, featuring dinner, crafts, games, and lots of music. Mike Miller and Leah Sherman will lead people in singing  and a DJ will spin dance tunes. Registration is required and costs $5 per person. For more information, visit

p.m. Dec. 23.  and

1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton 585-461-2000 |
CONGREGATION ETZ CHAIM 2 Mountain Rise | Fairport 585-223-5344
1037 South Winton Road, Brighton 585-271-0330,
This small congregation in Fairport hosts a menorah lighting and potluck dinner at 6
they want a good turnout. For more information, give the congregation a call. CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF ROCHESTER
Chabad Lubavitch of Rochester holds menorah lightings around Monroe County throughout the holidays. For a complete schedule of events, visit


Sea Breeze Christmas Parade and Fireworks r

The Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Association puts on this annual parade beginning at 5:30 p.m. The procession follows Culver Road from Durand Boulevard to the Sea Breeze firehouse. Fireworks will follow the parade, which organizers say lasts roughly 45 minutes. JM


the “Messiah” or “The Nutcracker,” but it is a sight to behold, and after 38 straight years has earned the right to be labeled a seasonal tradition. The concert is so popular that it regularly “sells out,” so get your tickets now and prepare to be blown away. Literally. The brass starts booming at 3 p.m. DA




at the Market r

Public Market, holidaysatmarket

It is convenient and tempting to use Amazon for all your holiday shopping needs, but doesn’t that take some of the joy and magic out of giftgiving? Holiday markets, which bring together vendors and craftspeople to show and sell unique items, are great places to find gifts that have a personal touch. Personally, I have a lot more fun shopping these vendors than wandering the characterless aisles of ye olde big box store. This is the secondto-last Holidays at the Market this year, and it runs from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. The final event happens from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 15. JM


“Rochester Tuba Christmas” r

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre,

This oomphatic free holiday show featuring 100 tuba and euphonium players belting out beloved Christmas carols with an enthusiastic audience sing-along may not be in the class of


Speed Dating

BTB Wood-fired Pizza Bar & Grill,

We’re all born alone on this marvelous blue rock, hurtling aimlessly through a cold, indifferent cosmos. But we don’t have to remain alone. The human condition compels so many of us to roam, often fruitlessly, in pursuit of deeper meaning, purpose, and comfort. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.” I can’t think of a better mix of fruitless roaming for deeper meaning and farting around than speed dating. Event starts at 7:30, tickets are $36. GF

CONTINUED ON PAGE 45 CLOVER NURSERY & GARDEN CENTER LOCATED NEAR ELLISON PARK • OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 485 LANDING ROAD NORTH • 482-5372 • Christmas Trees • Wreaths • Amaryllis • Centerpieces • Poinsettias • Paperwhites • Greens/Pine Rope • And more! FREE DELIVERY FOR CHRISTMAS TREES WITHIN 5 MILES* *installation not included GrownLocally
INSIDE WXXI PUBLIC MEDIA | WXXI-TV PBS WXXI NEWS/NPR WXXI CLASSICAL | WRUR-FM 88.5 | THE LITTLE THEATRE 1 3 5 7 9 2 4 6 8 10 See A Christmas Carol December 2 & 3 at 1
& 7:30
Fort Hill Performing Arts
Canandaigua Check out It’s a Wonderful Life in the South Wedge December 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. South Avenue area Come out
Holidays at the Market Sundays
Rochester Public Market
times vary. Blackfriars Theatre
Seward House Museum Candlelight Tour December
times vary. 33 South
Auburn Journey through Rick Steves European Christmas December 1 at 3 p.m. on WXXI-TV Attend Confronting Hate with Christian Picciolini December 5 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. MCC Downtown Campus & Brighton Campus 10 things to do this holiday season! For complete details, visit
through December 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Enjoy Madrigalia: A Cup of Good Cheer, Live from Hochstein December 7 at 12:10 p.m. The Hochstein School & WXXI Classical Listen to Hanukah Lights 2022 December 22 at 12 p.m. on WXXI Classical Visit Mary Berry’s Country House at Christmastime December 24 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV See Miss Bennett:
December 9 – December 31,
Take the
December 23,


Cultural Expressions: Kwanzaa

Sunday, December 18 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Honoring the heritage, unity, culture, and rich contributions of African Americans, Kwanzaa is more than just a celebration; it’s a way of life.

Cultural Expressions: Kwanzaa, produced by WXXI, explores the seven principles that are the foundation of Kwanzaa by sharing seven real-life stories of impact. These stories reveal how each principle plays a role in the Black community, illustrated through cultural elements of dance, storytelling, music, and spoken word.

Repeats 12/20 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Tuesday, December 15 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Did you know that some of the most famous Christmas songs were actually written by Jewish composers? “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer,” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” are just a few. Learn more about these unlikely Jewish immigrants who wrote some of the most popular songs in America: Christmas music.

Cultural Expressions: Kwanzaa features interviews with Dr. David A. Anderson/Sankofa, Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition; Ms. Melba Ayco, Artistic Director and Owner, Northwest Tap Connection; Delores Jackson Radney, Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition (pictured); Melanie Funchess, Principal & CEO, Ubuntu Village Works LLC; Reenah Golden, Founder and Artistic Director, Avenue Blackbox Theatre; Anthony and Zakiya King, Owners of Cerebral Kingdom Bookstore; Dr. Shaun Nelms, EPO Superintendent, East High School; Shawn Dunwoody, Digital Designer Dunwoodē Designs; Terrie Ajile Axam, Founder Artistic Director, Total Dance/Dancical Productions Inc., and Terry Chaka, Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition.



American Masters: The Adventures of Saul Bellow

Monday, December 12 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV


Explore Nobel Prize-winner Saul Bellow’s impact on American literature and how he navigated through issues of his time, including race, gender, and the Jewish immigrant experience.

Credit: Courtesy of Jill Krementz

Santa School

Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Enjoy this heartwarming film that follows six would-be Santa Clauses as they take an intensive workshop to learn to dress, walk, and talk like Santa. But who are they and what inspires them to take this path?

Anthony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker

Tuesday, December 20 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV

A celebration of multicultural communities, this dance company puts a modern spin on the 19th-century fairy tale and transports you to an enchanted world, not unlike their own. Drawing upon classical ballet, urban tap, hip-hop, swing, flamenco, step and jazz, the performance uniquely retells a Christmas classic.


In a Different Key

Tuesday, December 13 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

A mother tracks down the first person ever diagnosed with autism to learn if his life story holds promise for her autistic son. Presented as part of Move to Include, a partnership between WXXI and The Golisano Foundation. (Visit

Earthshot Prize 2022

Wednesday, December 14 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Enjoy a front-row seat at the award ceremony for the 2022 The Earthshot Prize, a global environmental prize founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2020.

Credit: Courtesy of Earth Shot Prize

American Masters: Lennon NYC

Friday, December 30 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

American Masters takes an intimate look at the time Lennon, Yoko Ono and their son, Sean, spent living in New York City during the 1970s.

Credit: Ben Ross


The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Airing daily, December 26 through January 1 on WXXI Classical Kwanzaa incorporates music as an essential element of its celebration. Each 2½ minute segment focuses on the specific principle of that day/date and sheds a bit of light on either the principle itself or some element of the celebration.

A Mexican Christmas with Newberry Consort & EnsAmble Ad-Hoc

Monday, December 12 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical Featuring selections from A Mexican Christmas, this music evokes the solemnity and fanfare heard in Mexico City’s convents and plazas, with jubilant vocals and lively strings, guitars, and percussion.

Candles Burning Brightly

Tuesday, December 20 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical

A delightful hour for everyone to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights! Lots of music from Jewish communities around the world, plus a hilarious lesson on how to prepare a classic Chanukah dish, and a timeless and touching holiday story that brings light into every home.

RPO Holiday Pops 2021

Wednesday, December 14 at 2 p.m. on WXXI Classical

The concert features members of the RPO family, along with featured soloist, Rochester soprano Kearstin Piper Brown. Jeff Tyzik conducts this holiday tradition that includes his arrangement of Nutcracker Mini Jazz Suite, Chanukah Suite, and The 12 Gifts of Christmas. Julia Figueras hosts.


HolidayFavoritesConfection Our Classical weekday hosts, WXXI News staffers, and WRUR staffers share their favorite holiday cookies. Visit for the recipes!
SEGHATOLESLAMI WXXI Classical Music Director and Midday host WXXI Classical Afternoon Host and Producer Amaretti Cookies Ranger Cookies

The One Recipe Holiday Special

Sunday, December 4 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Join host Jesse Sparks (pictured) for a holiday edition of The Splendid Table’s newest podcast

The One Recipe Jesse talks to culinary superstars about their “One,” the recipe that signals the holiday has begun! They’ll get into traditions and food with influences from all over the world and leave you with recipes that could jumpstart your own festivities!

Hanukkah Lights 2022

Sunday, December 18 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz (pictured), this NPR favorite returns with the best of the best Hanukkah Lights stories from the last 30 years.

Repeats Monday, December 19 at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR and Thursday, December 22 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical.

Selected Shorts: Holidays with Mom

Sunday, December 11 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Guest host Meg Wolitzer presents our holiday show — two stories about being home for the holidays and how you can count on your Mom to be there for you—and possibly to complicate things. First, memoirist Augusten Burroughs recalls a disastrous—and hilarious—childhood cooking project. Reader Michael Cerveris relishes every bite. And in “Live Wires” by Thomas Beller, a young man invites his girlfriend to his mother’s annual Hanukkah party. The reader is Jane Curtin.

World Café

Weekdays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on WRUR-FM 88.5

World Cafe host Raina Douris and contributing host Kallao present a carefully curated music mix along with the central element of each daily show: an intimate conversation with an artist focusing on their craft, songwriting, and inspirations, combined with an exclusive musical performance.

TREMBLAY ADAMS RICH YOUNG WXXI Classical Morning Host and Producer Reporter, Producer and Local host of Morning Edition Host of WRUR’s Road to Joy Executive Editor, WXXI News Mrs. Heatherly’s Polish Cookies Irene’s Cookies Mexican Wedding Cookies Giuggiulena Cookies

Shop The Little this holiday season!

Gift memberships, Little gift certificates, dinner + movie passes, and more merch are available at

7:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12

Orphaned and alone except for an uncle, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. Hugo’s job is to oil and maintain the station’s clocks, but to him, his more important task is to protect a broken automaton and notebook left to him by his late father (Jude Law). Accompanied by the goddaughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) of an embittered toy merchant (Ben Kingsley), Hugo embarks on a quest to solve the mystery of the automaton and find a place he can call home. Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Picked by: Julee, Reception and Business Office

For fans of: Whimsy, Scorsese, The Golden Compass, The Secret Garden

Behind Steven SpielBerg’S

A love letter to cinema screening in December, including a special Q&A with actress Chloe East on Friday, Dec. 9.

Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

Other SpielBerg-related Screening in decemBer:


The Little’s throwback genre film series with Fright-Rags returns for the holiday season with two 1980s Christmas hits.

Dec. 10: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Dec. 17: Scrooged

WedneSday, decemBer 14 “the greateSt ShOW On earth” (1952) WedneSday, decemBer 21 “catch me if yOu can” (2002), pluS a pOSt-Screening diScuSSiOn TICKETS AT THELITTLE.ORG

240 East Ave


iRUNdequoit “Christmas Light Run” r

I-Square, IRUNdequoit

Don’t let the “run” in the event name deter you from this free community event meant to showcase holiday light displays in Irondequoit. Organizers clearly state that people are welcome to walk the route or ride their bike along it. The event begins at 6 p.m., with participants departing from I-Square. The route leads to Endicar Drive off Titus Avenue, which organizers call “the best decorated street in the Rochester area.” Some other streets in Monroe County might see those as fighting words, but that is to be settled another time. The run/walk ends where it started, and participants get $1 off beer or wine upon their return. JM




Disney On Ice

Blue Cross Arena,

Disney On Ice has been an institution in family entertainment for more than four decades. Beloved characters take to their skates, gliding and jumping through tales of adventure. For example, during this year’s “Find Your Hero” iteration, Moana partners with the demigod Maui and they journey to return the goddess Te Fiti’s lost heart. Tonight is the opening, but performances run through Dec. 18. Ticket prices vary by seat and start times change by the day. JM


The Majestics

Record Archive,

No matter how many garbage plates you’ve eaten or Red Wings foul balls you’ve caught, if you’ve lived in Rochester for more than a few years and haven’t seen The Majestics then do not dare call yourself a Rochesterian. Tonight, the band brings its chill, organ-heavy island vibes to Record Archive, which also hosted the band’s first show back in 1981. Here’s a chance to relive a quintessential Flower City moment. Doors open 6 p.m. No cover. GF


“A Midsummer Night’s


Multi-use Community Cultural Center,

When you have a chance to be transported to midsummer in the middle of winter, you take it. Okay, technically, it’s not winter yet. But you catch my snow drift. In Rochester at this time of year, it’s cold. The Open Road Theatre company presents this version of one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays. The company migrated to Rochester from Boston in 2015 and specializes in theater featuring children and young people. This production might not be as polished as that of a professional theater company but seeing tomorrow’s future on stage can warm your heart, and the setting will warm your fingertips and toes. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17. Through Dec. 18. DA


“Habari Gani?”

That’s the term in Kiswahili for “What’s the news?” and is the standard greeting during the seven days of Kwanzaa, when each day represents one of the seven principles of the holiday. The answer is the principle of the day.

Tens of millions of people around the world celebrate Kwanzaa from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, when the holiday concludes with a community feast, or Karamu.

Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 amid the Black Freedom Movement and its search for justice in the face of systemic discrimination. A young scholar and activist in southern California, Karenga sought to celebrate “the good in communities of people of African descent” and connect those communities to their roots.

Kwanzaa is a secular holiday modeled after the African “first fruits” festivities. It recognizes a cultural and political struggle, and encourages celebrants to remember their history and embrace their identity and culture.

In many ways, the holiday is the continuing legacy of the likes of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and others.


Know about the seven principles of Kwanzaa and how to celebrate.


The seven principles of Kwanzaa are a “value system” that urge celebrants to think about the state of the world and their collective responsibilities to make it better for all.

Every day a candle is lit on a kinara, or candleholder, to celebrate one of the seven principles, the Nguzo Saba. In order, and in their original wording, the principles are:

Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia (SelfDetermination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity): To always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


Five elements must be present on each of the seven days of the holiday. They are:

In-gathering of the people: Fellowship that includes traditional African drumming, which calls the people together, libation ceremonies, and other activities.

Reverence for the Creator and creation: An expression of African spirituality that gives appreciation for the highest ideals and values of humankind.

Commemoration of the Past: Honoring ancestors and heritage.

Recommitment to cultural ideals: The highest and most fundamental values in practice and thought.

Celebration of the good: Renewing old acquaintances, sharing stories, poetry, music, and feasting



There are seven symbols of the holiday. They are:

Mkeka (Woven Mat): Represents the foundation.

Kinara (Candleholder): Symbolizes our ancestors as a collective whole.

Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles): Represent the seven principles: one black in the center represents the people; three red are left facing and represent struggle; three green are right facing and represent the future.

Kikombe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup): Used to pour libation for the ancestors and to drink from to reinforce unity in the family and community.

Muhindi (Corn): Represents children and all the hopes and challenges attached to them.

Mazao (Crops): The rewards of the accomplishments of the year.

Zawadi (Gifts): Represents the achievement of children throughout the year.


The holiday came to Rochester in earnest in 1982, when Gerald Chaka, a founding member of Karenga’s organization, visited Rochester with his family and demonstrated a Kwanzaa celebration.

He coordinated an event hosted by actor and activist David Shakes in his theater in Village Gate. David Anderson was chosen to be the elder to perform the official ceremony. For the next several years, celebrations included families in the Rochester community, and traditional drumming was provided by Clyde Morgan & Company.

In 1988, the Rochester Kwanzaa Coalition was formed and included Anderson, Delores Jackson Radney, and several others.

Celebrations extended to such locations as The Memorial Art Gallery, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and community recreational centers. Currently, Radney and Terry Chaka serve as elder consultants to the next generation of Kwanzaa coordinators and participants.

This year’s theme is “Love: Bringing Good into the World.”



Each day of Kwanzaa includes beginning and ending Kwanzaa ceremonies, storytelling, drumming with Paul Adell Jr. and community drummers, arts activities, and community conversations.

But first, a pre-Kwanzaa celebration is scheduled for Dec. 4 at Roc Holiday Village from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes African drumming, a Kwanzaa celebration, children’s activities, and more.

Dec. 26: Umoja at Black House, 215 Tremont St., Door 3, Suite 300 (6-8 p.m.)

DJ Mix Mingle mixes Kwanzaa music to get feet moving. Art activity includes making a shekere. Community conversation: “What’s good?” and, oh yeah, line dancing with Frances Hare.

Dec. 27: Kugichagulia at Phillis Wheatley Library, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way (4-7 p.m.)

Who inspires you? Stories of inspiration are shared today. We will recognize local youth and their achievements in school and in the community. Poetry, storytelling, and art activities finish off the evening.

Dec. 28: Ujima at Black House, 215 Tremont St., Door 3, Suite 300 (5-8 p.m.)

Play Black History “Jeopardy” and travel with us across the globe to discover and uncover some truths about African Americans and their journey from Africa to the Americas. If you have traditional African clothing, join us in a community fashion extravaganza. Show up and show out!

Dec. 29: Ujamaa at The Legacy Drama House, 112 Webster Ave. (5-8 p.m.)

Community drummers and dancers open this special day, which includes a game of “Jeopardy” Ujamaa-style, and vendors showcasing their wares at the marketplace. Bring cash if you come. A discussion with local entrepreneurs aims to inspire you.

Dec. 30: Nia at Frederick Douglass Family Initiative, 140 E. Main St. (5-8p.m.)

The anticipation leading up to this day keeps celebrants on the edge of their seats. Stories of motivation in the spirit of activism of Frederick Douglass are intended to motivate people to be positive and do good. We will also highlight Rochester’s trailblazers.

Dec. 31: Kuumba at Montgomery Center, 30 Cady St. (6-9 p.m.)

This is the highlight of the community celebrations in which participants are urged to share their talents. Bring your voice, your instruments, and other creative talents to join the community jam session. You don’t have to be a star to be in the mix. Music, line dancing, re-enactments will follow. Bring your appetite for the Karamu (community feast).

Jan. 1: Imani at wherever you call “home.”

This is a day of reflection celebrated at home with family.


MUSIC Buffalo Brass Machine

Abilene Bar & Lounge,

If you love that signature brass band sound, but you can’t make it down to New Orleans anytime soon, the music of Buffalo Brass Machine might be the next best thing. And if you’ve never seen this band pack itself, sousaphone and all, onto Abilene’s cozy stage and ignite the party, you can right

that wrong. The Machine sets it in motion at 9:30 p.m., but you can get in the door as early as 4 p.m., in time for happy hour and Good Trip Band at 5:30 p.m. The cover charge is 10 bones, well worth it. DK


“Yuletide in the Country” Tours r

Genesee Country Village and Museum,

America is a melting pot, so even when people celebrate a common holiday like Christmas, they do it in many ways. That’s what Genesee Country Village and Museum’s annual “Yuletide in the Country” tours are all about. The museum promises a wintry village bedecked in holiday splendor for guests to explore, paired with a series of theatrical performances representing the history and traditions that newcomers to the area brought with them. The vignettes will touch on the Italian-American tradition of Festi dei Setti Pesci, a Hanukkah celebration, and “moments of fika and hygge with Swedish settlers.”

David Shakes and the North Star Players will present a look at the festivities of Watch Night, a tradition that began on Dec. 31, 1862, as enslaved and freed Blacks waited for the Emancipation Proclamation to be issued. The event runs through December, but tonight kicks off the final week of performances. The tours run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. today and from 2 to 7 p.m. tomorrow, the final day. St. Nick may also make an appearance. Tickets are $26 for members, $30 for everyone else. JM


and nu metal blend of Kissing Candice. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15. Break out your worst outfit for what is sure to be a loud but festive show. JM



Hard 2:

Die Harder”

Dryden Theatre,

Nobody asked, but I’m of the belief that the “Die Hard” films, just like their contemporaries the “Lethal Weapon” flicks, are most definitely holiday movies. It’s difficult to make a blockbuster action movie about peace, goodwill, love, and giving, so we get blood and explosions along with the office parties, the decked halls, the decorated evergreens, and the underdog protagonists fighting against bands of well-armed baddies to protect or save their families, friends, and cities from catastrophe and death. See Bruce Willis festively perform superhuman feats of heroism at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 and $11. JM

MUSIC Cro-Mags

Bug Jar, So often, if I’m having a rough day, I put on Cro-Mag’s track “Hard Times,” and while the tough and gruff song doesn’t solve anything, it provides catharsis. That’s the beauty of heavy music the artist and the audience often connect on deep emotional or personal levels. CroMags are New York hardcore legends who helped usher in the combination of punk and thrash metal that became known as crossover. When the members take the stage at the Bug Jar, you’ll get to hear founder and vocalist Harley Flanagan in his snarling, nasally glory. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $22.85. JM


Holiday Havok Ugly Sweater

Party r

Montage Music Hall,

Ugly sweater parties are a blast. You get to rock some patterned or sequined abomination, hang out with friends or family, and get a little silly. This ugly sweater party happens at a bar and features several popular local bands, including the grungeinfluenced metal of Ovtlier, the poppunk of Amor Alive, the industrial


MUSIC Undeath

Photo City Music Hall,

Rochester’s death metal darlings Undeath are finishing up their nationwide tour with a set at Photo City. It’s been a big year for Undeath — the band’s sophomore release, “It’s Rise from the Grave,” received widespread critical acclaim and ended up on countless “best new music” lists. The band even made the November cover of Decibel Magazine, which called the group “The new faces of death.” Prepare for a wild night of beer chugging and perilous moshing, with support from 200 Stab Wounds. Tickets are $18. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. GF


Reindeer Visit r

Roc Holiday Village, Though Roc Holiday Village runs until Dec. 23, the reindeer make their appearance for one day only, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Organizers say the free event will provide an opportunity to learn about reindeer as well as pet them, feed them, and take photos with them. Reindeer have a reputation


for being friendly but also for being curious, totally unlike the meanies who mercilessly teased Rudolph until he saved their antlers (and Christmas).

“Holiday Cocktails Chemistry” r

New York Kitchen,

Learn to make a trio of holiday cocktails that will impress and the science behind the sights and smells of the season. New York Kitchen

Beverage University instructor Heather McKechney leads the program and explores it all, from why Christmas trees smell the way they do to whether turkey really makes you sleepy, Zzzzzz. Tickets are $55. Program starts at 12 p.m. DA FILM


Expressions: Kwanzaa” r


This hour-long documentary explores the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and how they are lived out in the daily lives of African Americans. The film was produced by WXXI Public Media and premieres tonight on WXXI-TV at 7 p.m. DA


World Cup final

Roc Cinema,

By the time you read this, the biggest single sporting event in the world will have begun — the men’s World Cup. Roc Cinema will be showing the entirety of the global tournament on its big screen, but today’s match will be extra special, since it determines the champs. The U.S. men’s team didn’t even make the cut in 2018,

but in 2022 it is back with a newer, younger crew that is fostering optimism among American soccer fans. Here’s hoping the squad makes it to the final match and wins, but I would have a sunnier outlook if the stellar U.S. women’s team were taking the field. The Cup final is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., and Roc Cinema will start selling tickets at 12:01 a.m. the same day. JM



Themata Holiday Market r

Culver Road Armory,

Like shopping local for the holidays, but also like doing it at the last minute? Themata, aka The Market at the Armory, has you covered with its last holiday market of the season, which is set to feature small businesses, artists, and independent designers. You can also get some tasty treats as a gift or as a reward for yourself for finally getting some local, unique, and thoughtful gifts for friends and family. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the indoor event space located next to Fleet Feet.



THEATER “A Christmas Carol” r

Geva Theatre Center,

What is Christmas in Rochester without Geva’s annual production of this Charles Dickens’ classic? The sparkling standard returns loaded with its spectacular stage magic, heartwarming music, and holiday charm. You know the drill: Scrooge


is visited by a series of ghosts who remind him of who he once was and what he might yet become. He learns the true meaning of the season and that it’s never too late to make a fresh start. If you’ve “bah-humbugged” this show, now is your chance to make a fresh start. One of the delights of the production is the plethora of local talent it employs in the form of young, up-and-coming actors. As Dickens wrote, “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas.” The curtain rises tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $44 to $82. The show runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 30. DA

together bring us

MUSIC “Watkins

& The Rapiers:

The Big Little Christmas Show” r

The Little Theatre, As best the members of this sevenman band can determine — and we’re not in the mood to dispute them — they possess the largest portfolio of original Christmas songs ever written, with about 100 in their repertoire. No wonder they have become a fixture on Rochester’s live holiday music circuit. Sardonic titles like “Santa’s Got A Gun,” “Arise Ye North Pole Workers,” “Open Enrollment Period Waltz,” and the touchingly sentimental “Do Something Kinda Vaguely Good for Christmas,” get toes a-tappin’ and hands a-clappin’. They take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. DA


“Winter Solstice Walk at Wild Hill Farm”

Genesee Land Trust, Today is the shortest day of the year, so rise early to make most of the daylight. Get up early enough and you’ll be able to make it to the Winter Solstice Walk at Wind Hill Farm in Bloomfield, which starts at 7 a.m. The Land Trust says Erin Bullock, a Wild Hill farmer, will join the walk and share stories of the land. You’re marking the winter solstice so dress warmly. Register at the Land Trust’s website. JM


Celtic Woman: A Christmas Symphony r

Del Lago Resort & Casino,

Celtic Woman is no mere performer or a band, it is a recording ensemble and performance collective, or so says its bio. Whatever you want to call it, Celtic Woman is steeped in all things Ireland, which is where it was formed in 2005. It celebrates Irish history and culture while featuring Irish singers and musicians. This Christmasthemed performance, which starts at 8 p.m., features a full symphony. Tickets start at $39 and vary depending on seating. Nollaig shona daoibh. JM

CONTINUED ON PAGE 56 (585) 319-4314



The hard-to-buy-for someone:

The hard-to-buy-for someone:

What to buy: “A Seat at the Table” Rochester cookbook.

Where to buy it: Treetown Cafe or online

Let your favorite foodie replicate their favorite Rochester-centric dishes by working through a local cookbook. “A Seat at the Table,” of which there are two volumes, features popular recipes from Nosh, Simply Crepes, Melo Coffeeshop, and Caramel Bakery and Bar.

Pair it with: Amazing Grains “Salty Bread” from R’s Market and Olive Oil from F. Olivers.

Cookbook: $25

F. Olivers Olive Oil: $18

Salty Bread: $6

What to buy: Vintage glassware, a cocktail shaker, and cocktail cards.

Where to buy it: Adobe Rochester

Help him stock the mid-mod home bar cart of his dreams with a set of vintage glassware, a cocktail shaker, and a set of cocktail cards to spice up his next party. Buy a piece or two or the whole set if you want a splashier gift.

Pair it with: A bottle of Fee Brothers Bitters (locally made!).

Glassware: $25

Cocktail Shaker: $25

Cocktail Cards: $34

Bitters: $9

What to buy: “Coffee Cups of Rochester” print.

Where to buy it: Boomtown Creative (Etsy) or Little Button Craft (In-Store)

Java’s and Joe Bean are Rochester stalwarts, but the caffeine scene blew open in the 2010s and now local coffee thrives in neighborhoods around the city. Celebrate the best of the Flower City’s coffee culture with a “Coffee Cups of Rochester” print from Boomtown Creative. If you really want to get your hardto-buy-for someone hopped up, get both versions.

Pair it with: A bag of beans from New City Cafe on Parsells Avenue.

Coffee Cups Print: $18 or $32 for the set. New City Cafe Coffee: $10-12

Your foodie friend who tries a new restaurant each week
That guy at work who thinks he’s the next-gen Don Draper
someone: Your cousin who had a pourover coffee once five years ago and won’t stop talking about how IT changed her life

The hard-to-buy-for someone: The couple whose ideal vacation always involves the Adirondacks, a tent, and bonfires

What to buy: “Campfire” candle

Where to buy it: Scents by Design

“Campfire” by Scents by Design brings the outside in with the smoky, earthy scent of the woods and a crackling campfire. The bonus is your clothes won’t smell like smoke for a month after lighting it up. Keep it simple in a glass jar or choose one of the shop’s unique or handmade vessels.

Pair it with: Chocolate-covered marshmallows from Stever’s Candy for that Smores vibe.

Candle: $18 and up Marshmallows: $14

The hard-to-buy-for someone:

I know you think they’re cute and all, but your nanny wants 10 minutes of uninterrupted time not worrying about why the pet rat cage is empty or why the toddler is slathered in peanut butter. Give nannies the peace they deserve with a gift card to Driphouse, where they can spend an hour in a plush zero-gravity bed, bask in a gentle infrared heat, and meditate or listen to their favorite podcast.

Pair it with: A bottle of Living Roots Session Sparkling White for after their drip.

Driphouse Intro Session: $78

Session Sparkling White: $20

The hard-to-buy-for someone:

from Prismatic Gardens (because everyone who has a plant has to have a mister).

Monstera Plant: $15-$22 depending on size Mister: $31


What to buy: Driphouse session

Where to buy it: Driphouse Luxury Recovery Studio (Pittsford or Spencerport)

You know what nannies don’t want? Anything that reminds them of your children after they leave your house for the day.

What to buy: Monstera Deliciosa plant

Where to buy it: Stem Rare and Exotic Plants

If even a single glimpse of a Monstera leaf is enough to drive your IG-obsessed friend into a frenzy, stop by Stem and grab them a Deliciosa or Adansonii to make their living space look like an influencer’s dream.

Pair it with: A vintage-looking plant mister

The hard-to-buy-for someone:


What to buy:

Cozy Bills sweatshirt and Buffalo Zubaz joggers Where to buy it: Buffalo Bleached Boutique

If Saturdays are for the boys, Sundays are for the Mafia — the Bills Mafia. She can watch the game in comfort with loungewear she’ll obsess over even after the season ends. You know, with a Super Bowl title, of course. Buy one or both and be the coziest little couch potato this side of the Genesee.

Pair it with:

A bottle of “Bee Sting” wing sauce from Jeremiahs.

Sweatshirt: $40 Joggers: $40 Wing Sauce: $6 CONTINUED ON PAGE 54

Your nanny who deals with your kids for eight hours a
Your boujee friend who’s in debt up to their eyeballs to keep up their Instagrammable aesthetic
The girl who lives and dies for the Buffalo

What to buy:

Mayer Paint and Hardware gift card

Where to buy it: Mayer Paint and Hardware

From wingnuts to BBQ supplies, Mayer has it all. It even has a full Benjamin Moore paint store. Surely your dad can find something he likes there. Maybe a nice spring weed killer? Dads love a weed free lawn.

Pair it with: A “Lawn Enforcement” T-shirt from Crazy Dog Tshirts

Price based on denomination Lawn Enforcement Shirt: $15

Pair it with: A “Dog Mom” reusable Starbucks cup, also from Off The Leash Barkery.

Treats: $12

Reusable Cup: $20

The hard-to-buy-for someone:


What to buy: Homemade dog biscuits

Where to buy it: Off The Leash Barkery (Online) or Buffalo Bleached (In-Store)

Pets deserve some love during the holidays too! Pack up a few natural, locally-made dog treats for your neighborhood pups this year and you’ll have your four-legged friends eating out of the palm of your hand. Off the Leash Barkery has everything you need for dogs or dog lovers, and its Maple Apple Treats are a fan favorite!

What to buy: Astrology deck of cards

Where to buy it: Cleo + Kin

A positively luminous 70-card deck filled with all the info anyone needs to know about zodiac signs, planets, asteroids, eclipses, and more. Definitely a stylish companion for the spiritually-curious crystal lovers and tarot enthusiasts.

Pair it with: A sticker pack based on your bestie’s star sign from Rochester’s own HarshAstrology.

Astrology Deck: $19 Sticker Sets: $8

What to buy: Marvel Gingerbread Holiday Funko Pop Toys

Where to buy it: 13th Verse Comics

Holiday Funko Pops for Marvel superheroes are made of sugar, spice, and everything nice and are sure to sweeten your tween’s attitude this holiday season. Earth’s mightiest heroes are receiving the gingerbread treatment in 2022: Choose from Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, and Thor (including an all-over glitter version), and the menace Thanos. It’s hard to be scared of him when he looks so gosh darn delicious.

Pair it with: “Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide, New Edition” book from Hipocampo Children’s Books.

Funko Pops: $13 ea Marvel Character Guide: $17

The hard-to-buy-for someone: The dad who says the only gift he wants is for you to visit him
The hard-to-buy-for someone: All your neighborhood dog friends
Your star signobsessed bestie who makes life choices based on her astrological vibe
someone: The tween who likes everything and nothing at the same time

The hard-to-buy-for someone:

What to buy: Rochester cutting board

Where to buy it: Red Bridge Gifts (order online, local pickup)

Make entertaining easy and represent your love for Rochester with a beautiful cheese board featuring a Flower City engraved design from Red Bridge Gifts. The board can work as a standard cutting board or as the base for a quick and easy charcuterie arrangement. The bonus is it acts as a fun display piece when it’s not in use.

Pair it with: A gift card for a charcuterie setup from Cheese & Charcuterie next to Rubino’s.

Cheese Board: $30

Charcuterie Gift Card: Discretionary

What to buy: ROC-stamped pillow cover

Where to buy it: Peppermint Boutique

Easy to ship, this cute homage to home quickly becomes a favorite for anyone with hometown pride. Soft white pillow with the Rochester city seal handstamped by Rochester native Kelsey Schmid.

Pair it with: A Dellarious “Rochester Love” 11-by-14-inch print.

Pillow Cover: $32 ROC Print: $12

The hard-to-buy-for someone: The Rochester newbie

What to buy:

Taste of Rochester Gift Box

Where to buy it: Schutt’s Apple Mill

Know someone new to Rochester? Welcome them with a Taste of Rochester Gift Box that showcases some of the best local fare. The box includes 9 apples

(your choice of variety), Joy’s Apple Crisp Mix, New York state Cheddar Cheese, Schutt’s Homemade Fudge, Guglielmo’s Pasta Sauce, and Arbor Hill Wine Jelly.

Pair it with: A pack of Zweigle’s hots and a bottle of Meat Hot Sauce so they can make their own Garbage Plates.

Gift Box: $70 Hots and Sauce: $8 and $9 at Wegmans

The hard-to-buy-for someone:

What to buy: Lodge Logic 5-quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven Where to buy it: Cooks’ World

Gifts for the kitchen are always popular for new homeowners because cookware is a pain to pack and easier to toss before moving and replace with something new. A cast iron Dutch Oven will be used season after season for everything from soups to breads and Lodge makes some of the best you can buy.

Pair it with: A recipe for your favorite soup or Dutch Oven meal and a variety pack of Stuart’s Spices, a Rochester mainstay.

Dutch Oven: $79 Stuarts Spices: $30

The friend who happily hosts every gettogether
The hard-to-buy-for someone: The friend who moved away but keeps his hometown close to his heart
The new homeowner who hasn’t invited you over for dinner yet so you want to give a subtle hint

“Rochester Midwinter

Renaissance Faire”

Multi-use Community Cultural Center,

Shake off the midwinter doldrums by taking Atlantic Avenue to a 16th-century hamlet of escapism. Presented by ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company of Greater Rochester, this variety show offers an evening of Renaissance Fair-inspired comedy, music, and, very likely, stunt actors dressed in hot and heavy costumes for unprincely pay clanging swords, trading barbs in British accents, and thirsting for mead, all for your entertainment. Tickets are $10. There are two showings — tonight at 7:30 p.m. and at the same time on Dec. 23. DA



Farewell Santa Parade r

Roc Holiday Village,

Regardless of where he’s hanging out, Santa is omnipresent. He’s just been kicking around the Roc Holiday Village a lot. Alas, tonight he has to say his goodbyes, after all tomorrow is the busiest and most important night of his year. Around 8 p.m., the jolly old elf, accompanied by Prime Time Brass Band, will parade through the village to bid adieu until next year. The send-off is free so come down and wish St. Nick safe travels. JM



Wagon rides at the Winter Festival of Lights r

Log Cabin Restaurant, Sure, you could drive all over the area hunting for the most impressive holiday light displays, and you’d probably have a blast doing it. But if you’d rather a more centralized lightgazing experience, there’s the Winter Festival of Lights at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Macedon. Show up between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. tonight and you can ride a wagon pulled by a tractor through the large lighted displays or horse-drawn wagons through the smaller displays. Prices vary. If you don’t want to wait until Christmas Eve to experience a little magic, the festival and the rides happen all month. JM


TRADITION Chinese Food and a Movie r

Temple Beth-El,

In his book “A Kosher Christmas: ‘Tis the Season to be Jewish,” Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut traces the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food and a movie on Christmas back over a century, to New York City’s Lower East Side. The proximity of the many Jewish and Chinese immigrants led to adoption of the culinary tradition, and the the nickelodeon early movie theaters provided accessible entertainment.

If you’re looking to join in the celebration as part of a community, you can head to Temple Beth El (139 Winton Road) for a family-friendly movie and Chinese take-out for $18, starting at noon. MS




“The Uncle Louie Variety Holiday Show” r

Comedy @ The Carson,

This show promises to be exactly what it sounds like: A couple of ItalianAmerican comedians, Carlo Russo and Lou Greco, perform two hours of sketch comedy about growing up Italian in the characters of Uncle Louie and Pasqualino. Although their material is based on comedic family experiences, this isn’t exactly a “family show.” This is adult comedy. Wassa matter, you? Tickets are $25-$30. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. DA


Brewcy Fruit. The ale is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s great. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. GF


SPORTS Rochester Americans vs. Utica Comets

Blue Cross Arena,


MUSIC Brody Schenk

Abilene Bar & Lounge,


Johnny Bauer

BrindleHaus Brewing Company,

Johnny Bauer cites Chet Atkins and Dokken as his top musical influences, and it is readily apparent in his song writing. Bauer’s acoustic tracks have a distinctive country core but they’re also clearly influenced by ’80s power ballads. Bauer will play an acoustic set at Spencerport’s Brindle Haus, a mustvist yet easily-missed brewery. Try its

The Amerks are hosting the Utica Comets tonight in what amounts to an American Hockey League upstate New York showdown. In the early season, the Americans having been performing near the top of the team’s division. Utica’s standings, on the other hand, have so far made the team cellar dwellers. If you’re into watching Amerks catching comets, now might be the time. Tickets from $15. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. GF

A local and precocious troubadour, this 17-year-old solo artist released his debut album earlier this year and is making the rounds, but chances are good he won’t be around Rochester long. His songs are imbued with wisdom, vulnerability, and soul well beyond his years. There’s no band here, just Schenk on his acoustic guitar. This is an intimate listening experience and a chance to see a young man laying it all on the line. Tickets are $7. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. DA



They’re Rochester’s elves: Creative local makers who work year-round for the holiday rush.

It’s the 12th month, and the 11th hour for holiday shopping. If the idea of hitting the big commercial strips makes you break into a cold sweat, think smaller.

While you may not be able to avoid the big box stores altogether, local makers markets (and the year-round shops that carry locally handmade items) are great for finding unique gifts and jolting jollity into the stressful shopping season. These markets, fairs, and shops are here for you in the final weeks.


HOLIDAYS AT THE MARKET Dec. 4 and 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dec. 15, 6 to 9 p.m. Rochester Public Market holidaysatmarket

For more than 25 years, the Rochester Public Market has offered a festive spin on its food and non-food fare. Holiday-focused vendors will pack the market, offering decorations, wreaths, hand-crafted art, and knickknacks, as well as seasonal treats and specialty foods. Who doesn’t love something edible as a gift?

HOLIDAY BAZAAR | Dec. 10-11 and 17-18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | The Yards, 50-52 Public Market Way |

The Yards artist collective hosts two full weekends for local vendors to sell their handmade goods, which include jewelry and other adornments, home goods, all manner of artwork, consumables, and more. No two days will feature the same vendors, so repeat visits are basically mandatory.


SALE | Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Hinterland Studios, 60 Browns Race | handmade_rochester

What kinds of potential presents can you peruse at a “very queer” handmade market? Pretty much the same sorts of goods you’ll find at any other handmade craft fair. And shopping there comes with the bonus of supporting LGBTQ+ artists. Okay, there might also

be more rainbow-colored goods than at other markets. But who doesn’t like rainbows? Hosted at a tattoo shop, this pop-up market features knit goods, pottery, jewelry, art, and more.

ROC HOLIDAY VILLAGE MINI MAKERS MARKET | Dec. 14, 4 to 9 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park |

The Roc Holiday Village returns to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park again this year, and features a one-nightonly shopping event packed with goodies from local artisans. Browse custom art and home décor from Blake Ryan, alcohol ink paintings of flowers, sunbursts and the abstract by JCD FluidartWorks, hand-crafted, Rochester-centric wooden ornaments, earrings and keychains by May + Birch and even sensory busy boxes for kids by Mom Needs a Minute.

THEMATA (THE MARKET AT THE ARMORY) | Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | 155 Culver Road |

This “Last Minute Monday Market” is perfect for the holiday shopping procrastinator. Located conveniently inside the Culver Road Armory — which offers plenty of parking — the market features handmade art objects, clothing, accessories, gifts for pets, and more, as well as beer, wine, and the proximity of the shops at

The Armory. This pop-up marks the last of the many markets held here, for 2022 anyway. Get a sense of what to expect by visiting the THEMATA’S Instagram account @themata145, where organizers post teasers of vendors’ goods leading up to each market pop-up.



658 South Ave. |

This little gem of a shop in the South Wedge showcases crafts and artwork — anything made by hand — exclusively made by local artists. Everything from photographs and paintings, to knitting and woodwork and much more. The goal is to showcase the breadth of talent in the Flower City and offer affordable artwork from unique makers.


785 University Ave. |

Nestled in the Neighborhood of the Arts, this shop offers a variety of unique jewelry, gifts, and decorative accessories made both in the United States and Canada. Handmade earrings, paperweights, stoneware and plates, lamps, and more adorn the shelves.


215 Park Ave. |

A go-to for Rochester holiday shoppers for years, Parkleigh is known for its ornate and sometimes quirky and humorous gifts. In addition to traditional items like MacKenzie-Childs ornaments and home décor, and Michael Aram menorahs, there are also silly socks and gag gifts that are perfect stocking stuffers. Turn to its selection of Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters specialty blends for a Christmas morning pick-me-up.

THE CREATOR’S HANDS | 1311 Mt. Hope Ave. |

This shop boasts galleries full of art, jewelry, decor for inside the home as well as the garden, edible treats, spiritual items, and Rochester-themed goods, including the Rochester Ornaments series. The ornaments depict familiar sights that include High Falls, the Kodak Tower with Frontier Field, Eastman Theatre, and the Rochester skyline along the Genesee River.



Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Water Street Music Hall,

Giant Panda’s neo-reggae fuses easygoing stoner sentimentalities with psychedelia and rock influences into a sound that countless local jam bands have tried to emulate over the years. On New Year’s Eve eve, Giant Panda returns for a hometown set and holiday bash. Expect plenty of good vibes, dread locks, and an irrepressible yet easily recognized smoky, skunky scent. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26. GF


O’Callaghan’s New Year’s Eve Bash

O’Callaghan’s Pub,

You’ve got to love a good Irish pub that knows the score. O’Callaghan’s sports bar has been hosting a ticketed party on the last day of the year for some time now, and it’s always fun, friendly, and anything but stuffy. Case in point: Organizers this year are advertising “More food and desserts than you can stuff in your face.” The party runs from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and promises an open bar, “heavy hors d’oeuvres,” a balloon drop, and lots of noisemakers. Bottles of Moet and Veuve Clicquot will be raffled off to four patrons. Tickets are $75 cash or $85 credit and they go quickly. Get your game on if you want to go. DA



Jewish Community Center, Get your drag on! This high-energy, Las Vegas-style variety show stars Mrs. Kasha Davis of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame and local legend Aggy Dune delivering the best material of legendary divas — from Cher to Tina Turner, Madonna to Joan Rivers, and Dolly Parton to Bette Midler and more. These two outrageous talents have been bringing their dead-on impressions to sold-out crowds all over the country, and tonight they ring in the new year with a hometown crowd. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are between $20 and $35. DA

“Rochester NYE Bar


Downtown Bars,

Live music, DJs, karaoke, complimentary appetizers, food and drink specials, a champagne toast at midnight — this event has everything for the New Year’s Eve reveler. The party starts at 6 p.m. at Bar 90 and wends its way through One Nightclub, Filgers East End, Hattie’s Rooftop Cocktails at the Strathallan Hotel, and other destinations until 2 a.m. Wristbands that tell everyone you’re in for the night are $33.50. Limo and shuttle service available for large groups. For details and additional information, email DA



If you’re in need of a not-too-pricey stocking stuffer for that special someone with hometown pride, Rochester-themed goods from local artists and small businesses can hit just the right note.

From Flower City-logo jewelry to Finger Lakes flavors, these items can be slipped into a stocking in a pinch. Memberships to local museums, galleries, theaters, and other cultural institutions also make for gifts that keep on giving.


$2-$17 |

Colorful pop art-style screen-printed posters, stickers, T-shirts, and more by Mike Dellaria, AKA Dellarious, have stayed affordable through his rise in popularity. Anyone from Rochester knows his iconic work.


$10-29 |

Cat Clay has ceramic mugs, ornaments, magnets, and jewelry touting hometown pride and a variety of subjects — from reproductive rights to Black heroes, and cheeky lyrics. Strictly Rochester themes include David Bowie’s 1976 mugshot on a mug and the Rochester subway token on an ornament.


$10 |

Farmington-based maker Samantha Anne, who goes by May and Birch, offers laser-cut wood and acrylic adornments and ornaments celebrating region. The simple Flower City logo stud earrings would fit anyone’s style, but you may opt for a city of Rochester map ornament, or a wall piece of one of the Finger Lakes.


$4-$30 |

Frequently recognized as Rochester’s favorite artist in CITY’s annual “Best of Rochester” readers’ poll, Shawn Dunwoody’s mark is all over the city. You can get many of his murals and messages in the form of stickers ($4-$5), T-shirts and hoodies (from $29), coloring books, posters, and enamel pins. Don’t miss the Legion of Legends posters and T-shirts that reimagine Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and other Rochester notables as comic book superheroes.


At the onset of the dark, cold months, why not give the gift of bottled springtime? A great bet for cocktailloving friends and anyone with adventurous palates, this potent potable (at 84 proof) is an homage to one of the Flower City’s most fragrant parks, with lilac, lavender, rose, and hibiscus notes. Black Button Distillery only rolls this specialty out around May, you can order a bottle from Marketview Liquor’s stock.



$14 |

Rochester designer Becky Drexler’s poster of a deconstructed garbage plate shows the real way to make a plate (with the right ingredients: mac salad and potatoes, fight me) with each component illustrated and labeled. The poster comes in white, black, or deep blue, and is elegant enough to hang in a grown-up’s kitchen.

$32 per 750ml |
Stuffers These Rochester-themed artworks, treats, and memberships are perfect in a pinch.

Cory O’Rourke’s handforged steel sculptures and home goods reflect an appreciation of nature and the human form. But his single wedge trivet of the Flower City logo — a steel petal, if you will — is an instantly recognizable abstract industrial form. No cook on your gift list? The trivet doubles as a wall ornament.

When you give the gift of membership to one of our region’s many museums, art houses, and theaters, you give year-round access to culture — and future excuses to get out of the house.
Brick Lab
discounts for
City ArtS Center $50-$80 |  Ganondagan/Seneca Art and Culture Center $20-$60 |  Genesee Country Village & Museum $75-$200 |   George Eastman Museum $25-$95 |  Lamberton Conservatory and Botanical Gardens $10-$50 |  The Little Theatre $40-$85 |  Memorial Art Gallery $75-$200 |  Rochester Contemporary Art Center $25-$70 |  Rochester Museum & Science Center $85-$145 |  Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra $75-$199 |  Seneca Park Zoo $57-$310 |  The Strong Museum of Play $154-$249 |   Visual Studies Workshop $40-$80 | Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur Fur You can afford to wear one! afford wear one! You can to wear one! You can afford You can afford one! You can afford to afford to wear one! wear one! You can to wear can afford You to wear one! to You can afford You can afford afford wear one! to wear one! You can • Mink • Raccoon • Fox • Beaver • Coyote • Persian Lamb Plus designer purses by: • Michael Kors • Coach • Longchamp • Brahmin • Dooney & Burke • Patricia Nash Anything Goes Consignment Shop 136 Village Landing in Fairport | | (585) 223-3737 Tue Fri 11 5 | Sat 10 4 A G Since 1988
Note: Different theaters’ season packages go on sale at different times. For details, reach out to Geva, Blackfriars, The Avenue, JCC CenterStage, The MuCCC. The
From $96 for a single child,
each additional kid | Flower


From buttery shortbreads to gingerbreads with heat, these local cookies make the perfect holiday gift.

Glad tidings of the holidays bring certain promise of pastryladen tables at every gathering. But baking is a timeconsuming project left to those who truly love it. So if you want to present to your host cookies like grandma used to make but don’t have the bandwidth, we rounded up five local bakeries that can help. From buttery shortbreads to gingerbreads with heat, cookies make a perfect gift. (As always, be sure to check those holiday ordering deadlines).


Women-owned and operated Scratch Bakeshop has become a go-to for special occasions, with Instagrammable cakes and cookies made to order from their bright storefront location in the Neighborhood of the Arts. Among those are two holiday favorites – Decorated Shortbread (from $48/dozen, vegan and GF options available), and French Macarons, which are naturally gluten-free and made with almond flour (from $36/dozen).

41 Russell St. |


These delectable delights are buttery, crisp on the edges, and soft in the middle. Shapes and designs change with the seasons.


This airy-sweet cookie is a popular seller and is available in six flavors that alternate weekly.


It can be difficult to find a gluten-free baked good that’s truly concocted without any gluten contact, but Donna Marie’s operates within a gluten-free, peanut-free facility to ensure that any allergens are avoided. Try the Butter Cookies, seasonal Gingerbread, and Raspberry Linzers (from $1.25/each, cookie platters vary).

900 Jefferson Road, Bldg. 9, Suite 5 + 1694 Penfield Road


The drizzle atop these decadent, flaky cookies make their flavors sing. Get yours in rich almond, tangy lemon, or creamy vanilla.


Two cookie halves sandwiching jammy raspberry filling and dusted with confectioners’ sugar — a classic treat to enjoy with a hot beverage.


This sweet holiday treat is packed with spice, molasses, and a hint of gingery heat.



A Rochester fixture since 1929, Savoia is noted for its elaborate wedding cakes, but its cookies run a close second. Try the frosting-rich Half Moons (from $4.50/each), moist, tri-color Neapolitan Cookies (from $13.95/lb.), or the elegant, assorted Tea Cookies (from $13.95/lb., or in cookie ‘cakes’ serving up to 250 for $455/platter).

2267 Clifford Ave. |


A quintessential upstate New York treat that is soft and fluffy, and iced with vanilla and chocolate frosting. The combination will put Santa Claus over the moon.




With a storefront on Winton Road and a stall at the Public Market, this Black-owned bakery has been booming the past few years. All baked goods are plant-based, gluten-free and soy-free (with vegan options available as well; not all options are veganfriendly). Try the hearty Chocolate Mocha Chip, Pecan Chip, and Snickerdoodle (from $10.35/half dozen). If you visit the storefront on North Winton, be sure to scoop some takeout as well – rotating daily specials include Mediterranean and North African cuisine like red lentil soup and sautéed eggplant tomato. 696 North Winton Road + Rochester Public Market (Building B, #44), 280 N. Union St.


Not a dessert person? Kettle corn about as sugary as you like things? These sweet ‘n’ salty options might be just the ticket. In the style of New York City’s trendy MilkBar, Dope Munchie Crew takes surprising flavor combos and turns them into craveable cookies. There’s just one catch: this local, family owned business doesn’t have a storefront yet. But you can find these cookies at multiple retailers around town, or order online for pickup at Swiftwater Brewing. Original hits include White Chocolate and Sesame, with rotating seasonal flavors like Sweet Potato Pudding and Goat Cheese and Cranberry (from $18/half dozen). Various locations or order online for pick up at Swiftwater Brewing, 378 Mt. Hope Ave.



Half cookie, half cake with seasonal red, yellow, and green stripes. Red: Stop and admire the beauty. Yellow: Consider your approach. Is it one bite or two? Green: Dig in.


Pillowy, chewy chocolate cookies infused with mocha and studded with chocolate chunks.


Baked to a thin crisp with buttery edges and soft centers, then given a generous dusting of cinnamon.


An assortment of frosted, sprinkled, jellied, and chocolate dipped cookies will have you hemming and hawing — then oohing and ahhing.

Crunchy nuts and melty chocolate chips work together in blissful harmony, just like the elves up north.


This OG sweet ‘n’ salty cookie swirls chocolate, marshmallow, and sea salt with a sprinkling of sesame seeds for a satisfying crunch.


Pumpkin spice who? This autumnal flavor is sweet potato base peppered with marshmallows and pecans for a chewy, gooey dessert. Technically a serving of veggies, right?


Forget the cheeseboard. Rich goat cheese and creamy white chocolate meets tangy cranberry and lemon zest in this moist cookie.



ust in time for the holidays, CITY presents its third annual Rochester Beer Advent Calendar.

In the spirit of giving, we took on the arduous task of sampling dozens of local beers to bring you the 24 that best complement the season. Think of it as our gift to you. We get nothing out of it — hiccup — other than — hiccup — bringing you joy.

This list is a jolly collection of the best of the best in local ale, from mild fruited sours to high-octane barrel-aged monstrosities. We love all of them, and think you will too. Cheers!






Coffee Milk Stout

You may be wondering why this New England staple stout made our calendar. This lovely diner black coffee-accented brew is made right here in the Flower City. (Non-disclosure agreements be damned!) Light drinking and blunt on the roast notes, this is a fitting alternative to your regular morning brew.

“Hopwork Orange”

Naked Dove

New England IPA

Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Who cares? You don’t have to quander moral imperatives while drinking this liberally-hopped Citra/Azacca brew laced with notes of sweet orange. It’s good, and no amount of the ol’ ultraviolence can change my mind.

Dec.5 Dec.6

“Hippy Holidays”

Three Heads

Hoppy Red Lager

The resounding sentiment at CITY was, “Wow, that’s a beautiful beer.” This mildly bittered red ale pours a transparent rusty amber and wears a frothy head reminiscent of Santa’s snow white locks. The beer is simple, brimming with pronounced toast and caramel malt notes juxtaposed with hoppy bitterness.


“Sea Dweller ‘Cthulhu’” Iron Tug

Imperial IPA

There’s nothing subtle about this offering. This 10.5-percent monstrosity barrages the palate with notes of melon, pine, and citrus zest. Deceptively smooth yet complex, this beer’s contradictions can easily lead a drinker to the mountains of madness.


“Turn and Burn”

War Horse

Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout

If you’ve ever run into that 6-foot-8-inch dude at the punk show who locks you in a big, sweaty hug 10 minutes after he threw you into a cinder block wall, you know what this beer is about. It’s an assault on the senses, exploding with notes of roast, bourbon, vanilla, white cake, and a well-placed burn. Subtlety is not the game here.


“Imperial Stout” Genesee

Imperial Stout

This beer is Genesee’s first so-called “Brewers’ Series” concoction. That means Genesee’s beer makers pumped out what is a traditionally small-batch “craft beer” from the brewery�s massive vessels. It’s a time-machine to 2012, when imperial stouts were not merely avenues for making brownie batter into drinkable liquid, but wildly-skilled beers laced with notes of dark chocolate, licorice, and coffee.

“Schwarzbier” - Abandon

Black Lager

A good Schwarzbier should shine when the leaves have fallen and the sky is gray. It just so happens that we sampled this beer on just such a day, and it lives up to the style’s archetype. It’s roasty, mild, easy-drinking, and clean while maintaining a robust base of blackened malt and bitter finishing hops.

“Happy Cowboy” Stoneyard

Fruited Sour Ale

This beer with an in-no-way-trademarkinfringing name is meant to emulate a Jolly Rancher — and it does so quite well. A subdued sweetness accentuates tart notes and artificial watermelon flavoring, making for a drinkable candy concoction.


“Pilsner” Young Lion Pilsner

They say brevity is the soul of wit. That goes for beer too. This is a pilsner made by Young Lion Brewing Company in Canandaigua, is called “Pilsner, and it is exactly what you’d expect: crisp, clean, and well-balanced with just the right amount of herbal hop bite.

“Bath Bomb” - Fifth Frame

Heavily Fruited Sour

This rotating mix of smoothie sour ales is an exercise in excess from the brewing provocateurs at Fifth Frame. This version bursts with tart notes of passionfruit, juxtaposed by sweet, nearly savory notes of coconut that linger on the palate. This series eschews restraint while managing surprisingly complementary and nuanced concoctions.


“Sticky Drips” Keuka Lake

Fruited Sour

The concept of grape pie is hyper-regional, largely confied to the Finger Lakes. Now we�ve got a beer based on grape pie? Somehow, it works. This beer ripples with sweet waves of fresh grape and lacings of cinnamon and spice, all on top of a pronounced, tart backdrop.


“Super Crisp AF”


DDH Double IPA

Aurora has made a name for itself by producing some of the most remarkably juicy IPAs in the Finger Lakes. But “Super Crisp AF,” as the name implies, is a departure. It is bitter, bursting with dry notes of tropical fruit and resinous pine, and finishing abrupt and clean. An east-west collision beer for this global generation.


“While You Were Sleeping”

Grow Hazy Pale Ale

This Geneva brewery makes beers to match its sharply illustrated and wildly inventive can designs. This simple pale ale is laced with subtle floral notes punctuated by a strong, pithy bitterness and a mild, sweet malt backbone. Pleasant, restrained, and brimming with character.


“Mass Riot” Prison City


Beer nerds know this beer needs no introduction. Prison City was on the vanguard of the New England IPA explosion, and “Mass Riot” is its opus. This liberally-hopped brew is riddled with piney, resinous notes that meld with sweet, juicy tones. Find hefty tones of grapefruit and lime zest amid the chaos.


“Midnight Priestess”

Strangebird Beer

Coffee Stout

A hearty dose of chicory complements the robust coffee heart and soul of this easydrinking stout. Not quite bone-dry, its mild sweetness perfectly juxtaposes the tones of roast and herbal hop bitterness. A simple adjunct stout that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“Fuggly Sweater”


Spiced Brown Ale

A culinary hill I’ll die on is that many traditional “dessert” spices, particularly cloves, are actually just underused in western savory dishes. The good people at Ithaca Brewing get me. This beer is dry and sessionable, with a modest brown ale composition serving as a venue for the humble clove.

“Kacey’s Christmas Ale” Rohrbach

Winter Ale

I’m generally not a fan of winter ales. It’s a confused beer, unsure whether it wants to take the dive into higher alcohol territory or hold fruitlessly onto a notion of being “sessionable.” What you usually end up with is a muddled, overly malty mess. What “Kacey’s Christmas Ale” does differently, is lean into its malty character by accenting with well-placed notes of spice and cherry.

“¡Viva Love!”



The hallmark of a good, traditional Hefeweizen is notes of banana and clove on the finish. This offering from Peacemaker is diligent in propping up that yeast character against a masterfully brewed wheat ale. It’s everything a good Hefeweizen should be: not too fussy, but brimming with flavor and nuance.


“Jalapeno Cream Ale”

K2 Cream Ale

This beer is a flagship for K2, and perhaps the most distinctive beer the brewery has ever put out. It’s not that it’s particularly weird — in the past, K2 has pumped out beers imbued with bacon, cakes, and every candy under the sun. But it is memorable. This is a classic, mildly sweet cream ale laced with vegetal tones of peppers and has a pleasantly warm finish.

“Sun, Moon, and Sours” Rising Storm

Fruited Berliner Weiss

This rotating sour series strives to pack plenty of punch into a small package. At a modest 4 percent, this simple sour base serves as a perfect palette for conveying straightforward fruit flavors. Notes of sweet cherry and Country Time lemonade emanate through this brew, ending smooth, clean, and fresh.


“Alpaca Kisses”


New England IPA

Despite what the name implies, I’ve never found this Swiftwater classic to be all that soft and fluffy. What I do see is a great IPA with a strong, pronounced bite, juxtaposed by gentle fruit notes.


“Tables on Tables” Other Half IPA

The Bills play the Dolphins on this day, and you know what that means: time to get absolutely blasted, yell about how much Florida sucks, and divebomb yourself through a folding table. This beer may be the fuel for the fire. A straightforward juicy IPA with just a touch of tropical goodness, and endless shotgunning potential.

“Mosaic Foundation” Noble Shepherd  Hazy IPA

The introduction of Mosaic Hops marked a sea change for beer when they first hit the scene back in 2012. Its distinctively tropical character became the must-have of every fledgling brewer in the market. And in turn, you got a lot of mediocre IPAs made by people who didn’t know how to use it to its full potential. The people at Noble Shepherd do, and they show us with this delightfully complex, challenging beer.


“Cream Ale”


Cream Ale

This is it. The classic. A Rochester original. A blessing and a blight all in one. It’s a slightly sweetened ale dosed with corn. It’s $6 per six-pack, drinks as smooth as anything out there, and makes being interrogated by your extended family why you haven’t gotten married yet just a bit easier. Merry Christmas!

CITY 65 Dec.11
Dec.19 Dec.22

Leaving Christmas dinner to the pros

These restaurants are open Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or both.

For some people, nothing slays the holiday spirit like slaving over a hot stove on Christmas. If that doesn’t kill their ho-ho mojo, doing the dishes does. If you count yourself among them, why not go out to eat? Leave the cooking to the professionals and start a new tradition.

These restaurants are open Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or both. Pick one or more and leave with a full stomach and enough energy to sing carols on the way home.

Amaya Indian ($$)

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-9 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day North and South Indian 1900 S. Clinton Ave. 585-241-3223

The menu at the family-owned Amaya is Indian comfort food at its best. Digging in to each dish is like being wrapped in a warm blanket of house-made spices and flavors that leave you satisfied but not full. Amaya has something for everyone with a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian entrées as well as plenty for meat-lovers, like the savory curry goat. It is recommended you bring a large hungry group and order the entire menu.

Black & Blue Steak and Crab


3-8 p.m.

Christmas Eve

Steakhouse & Seafood 3349 Monroe Ave. 585-421-8111 rochester

One visit to Black & Blue in the Pittsford Plaza will dispel any preconceived notions you may have about plaza restaurants. It is dining at its finest. The space? Elegant. The service?

Exceptional. And we haven’t even started on the food. Black & Blue has offered a selection of some of best seafood and steaks in the city since it opened in 2005. With a dedication to not over-season, the team at B&B allows their quality ingredients to speak for themselves.

Chen Garden ($)

12-9 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Chinese 1750 Monroe Ave #1843 585-241-3070

With its dim lighting and zodiac placemats, Chen Garden is a throwback to the Chinese dining experiences of the ’70s and ’80s in the best way possible and a Rochester favorite.

The menu offers all the well-known dishes, from Sesame Chicken to Peking Duck, each well executed and delicious. Chen Garden will be offering its special Lunar New Year menu with items signifying

good fortune in the new year, such as noodles for “longevity” and sweet rice balls for “family togetherness.”

Fox’s Deli ($)

8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christmas Eve

Kosher-Style New York Deli 3450 Winton Place 585-427-8200 |

Ownership changed in 2022 but much of the classic menu and ambiance has remained at Fox’s Deli. Open for breakfast and lunch and specializing in kosherstyle comfort food, you can start your day with items like latkes, or one of Brownstein’s bagels, arguably among the best in the city. For lunch, the go-to is The Reuben or one of the selections of soups, like matzo ball, to help keep you warm in the late December chill.

Han Noodle Bar ($-$$)

11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Chinese 687 Monroe Ave. 585-242-7333 |

A perennial CITY “Best of Rochester” winner for good reason, Han Noodle Bar offers authentic and delicious Chinese fare at an affordable price. Chef Tony Ko came to the States by way of Shanghai to study at RIT, but found that his passion to cook was too overwhelming to resist. His dedication to capturing the essence of Chinese cuisine


is present in every dish, which makes ordering easy. But it’s mandatory to start your meal with either the Pork Belly Buns or the Crab Rangoon. Hey, we don’t make the rules.

JoJo Bistro & Wine Bar

3-8 p.m.


Christmas Eve New American 60 N. Main St., Pittsford 585-385-3108

The warm and casual ambiance of JoJo Bistro & Wine Bar greets you the moment you walk in and holds you until you leave. Have a seat at the bar and choose one of the many wines that line the wall to pair with your dinner. Wood-fired pizzas are among the most popular options, but before you order, ask for the specials. Chef Joe promises some dishes you won’t want to miss.

Khong Thai ($$)

12-9 p.m.

Christmas Eve Thai 260 Winton Road North 585-434-2238 |

Khong Thai, a gem nestled in the North Winton Village neighborhood, offers an array of authentic Thai rice and noodle dishes in a cozy fastcasual environment.

Chef and Co-owner Sak Southi, who was born in Laos and immigrated to America in 1979, puts a modern twist on traditional South East Asian flavors. If you’re feeling adventurous, order your meal “5-Fist” hot and make it a Christmas Eve to remember. Ho-ho-hot!

Marshall Street Bar & Grill ($)

11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Christmas Eve Pub Food & Drinks 81 Marshall St. 585-325-2191

The quintessential neighborhood bar, Marshall Street is the friend you haven’t seen in years but still welcomes you with open arms. The space is ideal for any kind of gathering, large or small, with booths and tables that can be moved to suit your needs if you ask nicely. The menu is packed with traditional bar fare, but with the Marshall Street spin — like the PB&J on Texas Toast or their Rochester stapleinspired Volcano Plates served with jalepeño queso. You can have yourself an unorthodox but tasty and memorable Christmas Eve.

Plum Garden


12:30-9 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Japanese Cuisine & Sushi 3349 Monroe Ave. 585-381-8730 |

Celebrate the holiday with an authentic Japanese hibachi experience at Plum Garden. Perfect for large groups to gather around the grill and enjoy the chef entertaining you with (spoiler alert) onion volcanos and egg tricks while cooking your meal with precision. In addition to hibachi, Plum Garden offers a wide-ranging menu of sushi, all made to order, each as aesthetically beautiful as it is delicious.

Redd ($$$)

4-7:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve Upscale New American 24 Winthrop St. 585-483-7333 |

Opened by MichelinStarred Chef Richard Reddington in the summer of 2019, Redd offers a taste of the Napa Valley in both its cuisine and extensive wine list. Drawing inspiration from seasonal ingredients and flavors, specials offered will be a nod to “the classics and comfort food.” Reservations are highly recommended and so is arriving prepared for an excellent meal.

Szechuan Opera ($$)

11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Chinese-Szechuan 630 Park Ave. 585-340-6133 |

Szechuan Opera hides in an unassuming plaza with a 7-Eleven on Park Avenue, but don’t let the location fool you. This restaurant is anything but ordinary. Start with the decor, from the artwork to the furniture, all imported from China. With traditional Chinese dishes like lo mein, most of the menu is derived from Sichuan province, where the flavors are bold and the spice is elevated. You’ll be tempted to stand at the end of your meal and exclaim, “Bravo!”

With Ethiopian cuisine still relatively unfamiliar to most Americans, Zemeta provides a perfect entry point into its diverse world of flavors and textures. Eating with your hands here is encouraged, although it’s worth noting that most Ethiopians eat with only their right hands, using injera, a sourdough flatbread to pick up an array of stewed vegetables and meats. Because Zemeta is buffet-style, there’s no need to choose one dish, and trying everything is part of the fun.

Zemeta ($-$$) 12-9 p.m. | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Ethiopian 1015-1009 S. Clinton Ave. 585-244-3344

Champagne(ish) Tastes

Local mixologists spill the secrets to their favorite bubbly-based drinks to float you through the holidays.

Achampagne-making French Benedictine monk is rumored to have first compared sparkling wine to an ethereal experience.

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” said Dom Pérignon, who would later have a prestigious, pricey cuvée in the Moet & Chandon brand named for him.

There’s no denying that a glass of bubbly signifies a special occasion, from celebratory toasts to pre-dinner sips.

Dress up your traditional holiday gathering or New Year’s midnight with these champagne-based cocktail recipes from Rochester mixologists. Wanna test drive �em first? Good news: Each one is available by the glass at the spots below.

“Cub Room Poinsettia”

MIXOLOGIST Anthony RouhanA

The Cub Room | 739 S. Clinton Ave.

This is a creative riff on a Poinsettia (a cranberrychampagne cocktail). But Anthony Rouhana wanted to elevate the drink so it was more complex, like a French 75. “The dry gin pops the rosemary — it’s got a little something for everybody,” he says.

.75 oz. Lemon juice

.75 oz. Pomegranate Wine-Rosemary Syrup

1 oz. Gin (preferably London Dry)

Prosecco (or other dry sparkling)

Shake together and pour into a coupe or flute; top with prosecco. For a little extra flair, drop a cranberry and rosemary garnish inside each glass.

To make the syrup, use one part pomegranate juice to one part full-bodied red wine (merlot works well) and two parts white sugar. Combine the wine and pomegranate juice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, then add three sprigs of rosemary. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Chill before use.

Generally known for its agave-based drinks and Taco Tuesday fare, Bitter Honey is also a party bar, and bar manager Giovanni San Fillipo has concocted an agave-sparkling cocktail that he says is “what I’d want to be drinking going into the New Year.”

“Feelin’ Bubbly” MIXOLOGIST Giovanni San Fillipo Bitter Honey | 127 Railroad St.
1 oz. Tequila .5 oz. House-made ginger shrub .5 oz. House made tepache .5 oz. Lime .25 oz. Agave  2 Dashes saline
dry sparkling)
Prosecco (or other
Shake all ingredients, then add 2 oz. of Prosecco to the shaker and double strain into a coupe glass (salting the rim before filling the glass is optional), garnish with a lime medallion.

“Christmas In the Sand”

MIXOLOGIST Gabrielle Lewis Good Luck | 50 Anderson Ave.

For this spirit-forward sparkling cocktail, bartender Gabrielle “Gabbz” Lewis was inspired by the “Red Drink” punch popular with Caribbean cultures during the holiday season. It’s made with the Jamaican hibiscus (sorrel) since that’s when the flower blooms.

.75 oz. Demerara simple syrup

.5 oz. Lemon juice

.5 oz. Ten To One rum

1 oz. SorRel Liqueur

2 Dashes Fee Brothers cardamom bitters

Prosecco (or other dry wine)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake for about 10 seconds, then strain into champagne flute and top with prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist or fresh rosemary sprig. For a group: Batch ingredients in a punch bowl with ice and garnish with star anise, fresh rosemary and lemon medallions.

“The Lion’s Share”


Vern’s | 696 Park Ave.

When he’s creating holiday season flavors, Vern’s coowner Casey O’Mara says he thinks of “being a kid and sucking on ginger candies at my grandma’s.” For this drink, O’Mara riffed on a classic Lion’s Tail, with less bourbon and an addition of sparkling wine. Instead of simple syrup, the drink’s sweetness and holiday flavor comes from ginger syrup. In a way, you can drink your dessert. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Shake all ingredients together and serve in a chilled coupe. Top with prosecco, garnish with grated spice of choice, or none at all.

“Winter Sunshine”


Radio Social | 20 Carlson Road

Because citrus is at its juiciest and most vibrant in the winter, bartender Cat Archer knows this is the time to turn it into delicious cocktails. “The brightness of this drink breaks up the heavy flavors of most winter dishes and cocktails,” she says. Plus, it’s low ABV for easy sipping, and can easily be made into a mocktail (remove the tequila and prosecco; add soda water or zero-proof prosecco)

.75 oz. Citrus oleo-saccharum (recipe below)

1 oz. Silver tequila or other clear base spirit of choice .25 oz. Lemon juice (optional, based on taste)

Club soda Sparkling rosé

Mix all ingredients and shake well. Add a heavy splash of club soda and fill to top with sparkling rosé. Garnish with citrus peels.

For the citrus oleo-saccharum, you�ll need peels of 5 lemons, 2 oranges, 1 grapefruit, and sugar.

Peel citrus with a Y-shaped peeler and use sugar to cover peels. Use your hands to massage the sugar into the citrus peels. Let the mixture sit, covered, for at least three hours and up to one day. At that point, fine-strain the mixture to be used immediately, or add enough water to slightly thin out the oils and gently heat in a saucepan until the sugars have dissolved. The syrup will last for one week in the refrigerator.

1 oz. Bourbon .25 OZ. Fresh lime JUICE .25 OZ. Ginger syrup  1 Bar spoon of Allspice Dram 2 Dashes angostura bitters  Prosecco (or other dry sparkling wine)


Ring in the new year on a high note

Live music on New Year’s Eve to satisfy every kind of listener.

Welcoming a new year while watching a movie on the couch with a glass of bubbly is so 2020. This New Year’s Eve, Rochester boasts enough live music to satisfy every kind of listener. From string-pluckin’ bluegrass and sizzling country to far-out jam bands and even a soul-blues legend, the options for concerts this Dec. 31 are deep and diverse. Finding an outfit is easy. The hard part is choosing which show you want to be at when the clock strikes midnight. Here’s a roundup that might help you decide.

Flint Creek

Nashvilles | nashvillesny.coM


Aqueous and Friends

Water Street Music Hall $31 in advance

$43 day of show

Buffalo’s leading groove-rock crew has made a name for itself with unexpected genre-blending and long, improvisational sets in the tradition of its jamband forefathers, Phish. This year, Aqueous brings its ebullient New Year’s Eve show, a 716 staple, to Water Street, along with surprise guests on the bill for bonus vibes. The action kicks off at 7 p.m. and doesn’t quit until 1 a.m. Wear comfortable shoes.

Sexy Teenagers, Lucky33, Sodoff, and Early Retirement

Bug Jar |


Earplugs alert! Trade the champagne for a can of PBR with a quadruple shot of regional punk, including three homegrown bands. Self-described “party-punk”

quartet Sexy Teenagers recalls The Replacements’ early, ramshackle charm, while the newcomers in Sodoff are louder and faster, in the hardcore vein. Early Retirement brings sunny pop-punk. Meanwhile, Syracuse’s Lucky33 keeps SoCal skate punk alive. For this 21-and-over show, doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9.

Dirty Blanket

Three Heads Brewing

$20 in advance, $30

Flint Creek, which began in 2004 as a band heavily favoring so-called “country with a kick,” has grown into something of a local institution. The quintet can easily run through impressive and faithful takes on Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Kentucky Headhunters, and Old Crow Medicine Show, making their sets colorful and easy to dance to. Their four-part twangy harmonies are right at home at Henrietta country bar Nashville, beginning at 9 p.m. — snowy December night or not.

Johnny Rawls & The Love Machine

Quality Inn, Geneseo (presented by Fanatics Pub,


at the door

Canandaigua’s five-piece string band Dirty Blanket is set to ring in 2023 at Three Heads Brewing’s firstever New Year’s Eve celebration. Don’t let the lack of drums fool you. Two guitars, an upright bass, a mandolin, and a banjo provide plenty of bright, lively bluegrass to get your feet tappin’ and your hands clappin’. The music kicks off at 9 p.m.

Nightfall After Dark

Russell Station Bar & Grill,


Billing itself as “an eclectic musical journey” of pop and rock spanning the 1960s to the ’80s, Nightfall After Dark stuns with witchy, spirited covers of Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, The Pretenders, and more. Singer Lisa Commentucci Lowden channels Stevie Nicks in a black shawl, but she’s a dazzling performer in her own right. The tunes begin at 9 p.m. and are scheduled for three hours.

The rootsy Lima hotspot Fanatics Pub presents soul bluesman Johnny Rawls and his trusty Stratocaster onstage at the Quality Inn in Geneseo to close out 2022. Hailing from Mississippi, birthplace of the blues, Rawls has led a storied career as a traveling musician singing about red Cadillacs, being a country boy, and disappearing on that midnight train. He’s backed by the muscle of the musicians in The Love Machine. Doors open at 6 p.m. Expect the music at 7.


The Vine at Del Lago Resort & Casino | | $25-$40

Waterloo’s premier entertainment center hosts a tribute show to the hard rock of decades past. Fans of Kiss, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Van Halen, and other arena-rock staples won’t be able to resist Minnesota’s Hairball, more of a theatrical experience than a traditional rock concert that’s been churning for nearly a quarter-century. Say hello to the future by getting lost in the high decibels of the past. This 21-and-over show starts at 8 p.m.


“Venetian Masquerade Ball”

Avon Inn,

Probably the priciest New Year’s Eve event in the area, and possibly the most mysterious and sexy. Billed as “the grandest New Year’s Eve party in Rochester,” this ball at the historic and elegant Avon Inn in Avon is one of the few — if not the only — black-tie events open to anyone who wants to open their wallet. Guests are invited to wear a Venetian mask, like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie, but masks are not required. The ticket price of $188 includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert, and an open bar. Live music by The Swooners. The ball begins at 7 p.m. and doesn’t stop until the ball drops at midnight. Email for tickets and information about seating arrangements. DA

LAUGHS The Comedy of John DiCrosta

Comedy @ The Carlson, End the year in stitches. John DiCrosta is one of the most popular “audience warm-up” comics in Hollywood and has been called one of the funniest “audio-visual” comedians working today. Off-beat impressions, sight gags, some props, and sometimes even ventriloquism are among the tricks he has up his sleeve. He won’t be here all week, and don’t forget to tip your waitress. Bah-dum-dum! DiCrosta performs twice tonight, at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. DA


“A Gatsby NYE”

“SkyBall NYE at Compagne Trattoria”

Compagne Trattoria,

For the first time, the party professionals at SkyBall NYE take their act to this upscale Italian restaurant and bar in Fairport’s historic Cannery District. Tickets are $144 and cover an open cocktail and wine bar, champagne toast, a DJ, and no shortage of food. The food here is excellent and stations include artisanal wood-fired pizzas, meatball sliders marinated in “Grandma’s Sunday Sauce,” mushrooms stuffed with spinach and artichoke, fried ravioli, hummus and pita, and more. If guests aren’t careful, they’ll roll into the new year. But then, maybe that’s the point. DA

The Cub Room, You don’t need to be in West Egg to soak up the scale and glamor of a Jay Gatsby bash, old sport. This tasteful South Wedge eatery specializing in fresh, seasonal American fare has been hosting New Year’s Eve parties in the style of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s nouveau riche tragic hero for years. Don some feathers, practice your Charleston, grab a French 75, and be prepared to party like it’s 1923. But gentlemen, if you go solo, be prepared to leave alone. Haven’t you heard? Rich girls don’t marry poor boys. DA



“Annual Freezeroo” Road Race

Mendon Ponds Park,


If your New Year’s resolution is to run more, then this is a great event to start your year — if you can hack the 7.5mile course. The Greater Rochester Track Club-organized event starts at a merciful 10 a.m., which provides

at least a little bit of time to recover from any New Year’s Eve reveling. Or at least enough time to hydrate a little. The race, which is part of GRTC’s annual winter Freezeroo series, starts at Mendon Ponds Park’s Stewart Lodge. Registration costs $25 this year, or $35 if you wait until the first day of 2023 to register. JM


“New Year’s Day Radical


ABC Gates Bowl,

Put it all on the line without letting your toe cross the line at this eliminator-style tournament with a $1,500 first-place purse at one of the largest independently-owned and pristine bowling alleys in the region. A $45 entry fee gets you rubbing elbows with 96 bowlers across 48 lanes. Anyone can join, but this event is likely to attract some serious bowlers who, as Professional Bowlers Association commentators like to say, have skills that are “nastier than a vulture’s breath.” Squad times are staggered at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. DA


2023 First Day Hike

Genesee County Park & Forest, Need a little fresh air after a hectic 2022? Get your year off on the right foot with this community hike in East Bethany, whether a leisurely 1.5mile jaunt is your pleasure or you’re leaning toward a three-mile trek. This free event starts at 1 p.m. and is open to families, but leave your strollers at home. Dogs on leash are welcome. Participants must pre-register with a Facebook message to @GeneseeCountyACORNS or via email at DK


Sweet Creations


George Eastman Museum,

Sides Now: The Music of Joni



Jewish Community Center,

There are few better ways to reflect on the year that was and the year to come than taking in the soulful and introspective music of the inimitable Joni Mitchell, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of her generation. Local musicians Kelly Shapiro, Mike Shapiro, and Siena Facciolo take a deep dive into the songbook of this legendary performer. The program includes video footage of Mitchell’s return to the Newport Folk Festival in 2022, which was heralded as the music story of the year. The show starts at 2 p.m. and tickets range from $20 for students to $35 for nonJCC members. There is also a New Year’s Eve performance at 6 p.m. DA

Today is the last day you can catch the Eastman Museum’s annual architectural exhibit showcasing tiny houses made of starchy frames held together with sugar and adorned with confections. You might call them gingerbread houses, but that idea is about as antiquated as the log cabin. The people behind these assemblages are skilled and creative, creating sweet treats for the eyes. There’s no real need to wait for the final day, though.

Sweet Creations is on display for the entire month of December. Museum admission is $20 for adults, $7 for students and children and free for veterans and SNAP recipients. JM



Warm up with these comforting seasonal drinks.

The weather outside is frightful, but we rounded up nine local spots where you can grab warming — due to either the booze or the temperature of the drink — and holiday-inspired cocktails.

“Alpine Divide”

Roux, 688 Park Ave. | $12

Bar manager Louis Ressel says the Alpine Divide tastes like “the icicles outside your window on Christmas morning” — flavors of orange, anise, cinnamon, and clove blend in this crystal-clear cocktail that contains both a fruited brandy and an herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic. The concoction was inspired by a white Negroni (a base spirit with something herbaceous), while the name comes from the central range of mountains in the Alps.

“NY’s Hottest Club” Bar Bantam

1 South Clinton Ave. | $12

This Bar Bantam menu fixture courtesy of Grace Thomas is an ode to “Saturday Night Live” character Stefon Meyers (created by Bill Hader and former SNL writer John Mulaney, and played by Hader). And what better way to ring in the New Year than by enjoying NY’s Hottest Club? Order this pink drink and admire the swirling edible glitter as you sip into 2023.

“Duck Fat-Washed Old Fashioned”

Grace and Disgrace

17 Richmond St. | $20

“It’s basically a whole Christmas dinner in a glass,” says Grace and Disgrace co-owner

Megan Goodney. She takes Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Bourbon — noting its peppery spice and rich fruits are a perfect fit — and infuses it with melted duck fat overnight, chilling and then skimming off the fat to leave a silky textured bourbon with a faint savory flavor. Goodney then builds a classic Old Fashioned, finishing it off with orange oil, in a smoking chamber with cherrywood (a nice complement to the duck).


“Sicilian Orangette”

Branca Midtown, 280 E. Broad St. | $13

This drink is an ode to both Branca’s Italian heritage and the Sicilian Orangette dessert (candied orange peel dipped in melted chocolate) that’s popular around the holidays. Bar manager Brittany Wood combines gin, sweet vermouth, Averna (a Sicilian amaro), orange and chocolate bitters, and a bar spoon of crème de cacao. “It’s more of an after-dinner drink, that amaro-digestif sipper with dessert or after your meal on its own,” says Wood.

“The Tod Farkus”

Redd, 24 Winthrop St. | $13

A housemade Moroccan Mint tea syrup is added to Monkey Shoulder scotch, then heated with Jasmine Tea and a splash of local apple cider. The result is – as bar manager Kevin Wade says — “Steamy.” He calls it The Tod Farkus, after his good friend who lives in Syracuse (no relation to the fictional neighborhood bully Scott Farkus in the classic holiday film “A Christmas Story”). “It’ll warm your belly and soul,” says Wade, “and maybe get you a little tipsy.”

“Tom & Jerry” Cure, 50 Rochester Public Market | $12

As a native Buffalonian, beverage director Donny Clutterbuck started serving Tom & Jerrys during holiday time at Cure a few years ago — and then guests kept requesting them. The Christmas-y cocktail is a variation on eggnog, sometimes attributed to British writer and professional boxing journalist Pierce Egan in the early 19th century. Cure’s version is dairy-free, with almond milk, coconut milk, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, and many rums.


Ox & Stone 282 Alexander St. | $13

A riff on a Pisco Sour, this drink incorporates the sweetness of picarónes, a Peruvian dessert similar to a doughnut but made with sweet potato. Bar manager Emily Penrose uses a syrup inspired by chancaca (a sweet sauce made from raw sugarcane, often flavored with orange peel and cinnamon), roasted sweet potato, and orange zest to evoke the comforting flavors associated with the holidays

“Mistletoe Sangria”

La Bola, 240 E. Main St. | $13

For this drink, bartender Ryan Ilgi started with an aesthetic he wanted and worked within the SpanishMediterranean inspiration of La Bola (a new bar owned by the same crew as Avvino, located in the Mercantile on Main food hall downtown) to create a cocktail that combined art with taste. “It’s a sangria, and has coconut milk like many of the Spanish holiday drinks you’ll find,” says Ilgi. “You get a hint of Christmas, but it’s unexpected.” And yes — if you hold it over someone’s head, it works like a regular mistletoe.






“Water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate always. For food — pineapple. It works.”



“A good breakfast and coffee. Lots of eggs in that breakfast. And water!”



“Pedialyte and hair of the dog. Mimosa or tequila soda is my ‘hair of the dog’ of choice.”




“Mimosa or tequila mimosa. For food, whatev er I can get my hands on — it could be a bag of Doritos.”



“Drink a whole 8-ounce glass of water and take an Advil before you go to bed. If you have a Liquid I.V., throw that in the water. Then make sure you wake up and chug a Pedialyte.”



“The Good Patch makes these rescue patches that you can stick on your wrist, and they truly help you bounce back like no one’s business. You can get them at Parkleigh!”





“I’ll usually wake up, look at my phone, and make myself sleep another hour or two. Then it’s coffee and an Excedrin.”







“Three Advil, a scoop or two of peanut butter, and a little bit of cucumber water. You gotta do ’em in increments — and peanut butter before everything else. But if you fail at that, do ’em all together.”



“Wake up and keep drinking. Preferably gin.”



“Nice cold glass of Pedialyte. Straight. Flavor doesn’t matter. Only those electrolytes matter.”

We wanted your best New Year’s Eve hangover cures. Hey, no one ever accused us of being unprepared for the biggest party of the year. By the way, how did no one say, “Garbage Plate”?
“My hangover cure is brunch, because it feeds the soul and the body.”
“Do a shot of whatever hurt you the most the night before, and then drink a glass of water and take a nap. When you wake up, you’ll feel better.”


Restaurants for a New Year�s Eve dinner without the party - on any budget.

Unrealistic New Year’s Eve bash expectations can unnecessarily ratchet up the stress. Where to go? What to do? Is it cool to want to just sit down to a pressure-free meal and forget the party?

Yes, it’s cool.

Here are 10 restaurants offering memorable last meals without the pomp and circumstance. You can even be in bed before midnight if you want. Holiday hours of operation may vary and reservations may be required.

Sodam ($$)

11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Korean 900 Jefferson Road Bldg. 1 585-475-9810

Sodam offers a large variety of traditional Korean comfort food and regional favorites from its Henrietta location in the Genesee Valley Regional Market. From spicy Korean-BBQ to healthy vegetarian options and communal plates, Sodam has something for every palate at a modest price point and is a great option for sharing your last meal of 2022 with a group of friends and family.

from the Campania region of Italy. On New Year’s Eve, Fiamma Centro also presents diners with a wide variety of traditional holiday seafood specials with wine pairing options prepared in its signature authentic style.

S.E.A. ($)

11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

South East Asian 741 Monroe Ave. & 1675 Mt Hope Ave. | 585-473-8031 searestaurantrochester.

The menu at S.E.A. is like an old friend: warm, comforting, and reliable. Featuring a variety of Pho and other South East Asian standards full of rich, sophisticated flavors that are simultaneously familiar and deeply mysterious, S.E.A. is a beacon of hope in a world of uncertainty and our number one choice for the place to find your last meal of 2022.

Fiamma Centro ($$)

5:00-10:00 p.m. Italian 4 Elton St. | 585-471-8917

Fiamma Centro has a menu that largely revolves around its traditional Neapolitan wood-burning pizza oven, offering a large selection of specialties

Lento ($$$)

5:00-8:30 p.m. American (Farm to Table) 274 N. Goodman St. (Village Gate) 585-271-3470 |

Lento in Village Gate Square is a farm-to-table institution with a regularly evolving seasonal menu of contemporary American dining options. With a focus on French & Italian styled dishes made with fresh ingredients that are locally and regionally sourced, Lento is a sophisticated and forward-thinking restaurant that offers diners a thoughtfully prepared menu with sustainably minded holiday specials.


Rocco ($$)

5:30-11:00 p.m.

Italian (Osteria)

165 Monroe Ave. | 585-454-3510

Since 2008, Osteria Rocco has been offering our community a well prepared, balanced, and often playful variety of casual Italian standards. Paring down its menu options to the absolute essentials, Rocco is everything you want an informal Italian dining experience to be: hearty and lovinglyprepared food served in a comfortable welcoming atmosphere. It is just the place to while away the final hours of 2022.

Shiki ($$)

5:00-9:00 p.m.

Japanese (Sushi & Ramen) 1054 S. Clinton Ave. | 585-435-4710

Shiki has been serving fresh authentic Japanese favorites from its South Clinton location since 2004. Chef-Owner Tanaka hails from Hokkaido in Northern Japan and specializes in traditional sushi, sashimi, ramen, and a variety of noodle dishes. With a unique atmosphere that resembles Tokyo office tower dining, Shiki places a specific emphasis on freshness, quality, and presentation.



Avenue Pub

4:30-7:30 p.m.

American | 650 Park Ave. 585-461-4140 |

For people looking for something more traditional and familiar this New Year’s Eve, The Park Avenue Pub is the place to go. Offering a menu of modern steak, seafood, and pasta classics with matching wine selection, The Park Avenue Pub provides diners with a casual upscale dining experience in a cozy neighborhood setting. For New Year’s Eve, it offers classic and stylish surf and turf specials.

Roux ($$)

11:30 a.m.-midnight

French (Casual) 688 Park Ave. 585-461-2960 |

Casual French dining and a hip Old World vibe define the experience at Roux on Park Avenue. Featuring a menu of brasserie-inspired dishes and drink selections, Roux has a progressive focus offering a large selection of natural wines to pair with classic French comfort foods like Steak au Poivre and Moules Marinières (Sailor-Style Mussels).

Velvet Belly ($$$)

5:00-10:00 p.m.


3 Rochester Public Market 585-413-0825 |

Specializing in seafood and small plates, the menu at Velvet Belly in the Rochester Public Market is fresh, on-trend, and vibrant. With a well-crafted blend of traditional coastal seafood selections and cross-cultural fusion flavors, Velvet Belly is a lively up-and-coming spot to close out the year and will be offering unique holiday specials and cocktails this New Year’s Eve.


4:00-10:00 p.m. British Pub 277 Alexander St. | 585-232-2626

Rochester’s answer to the traditional British pub, The Old Toad embodies the enduring spirit of the United Kingdom. Featuring proud, authentic, and hearty foods such as fish & chips, Scotch eggs, and shepherd’s pie, the menu and accompanying selection of beers, ales, and ciders are steadfast in their adherence to the traditional pub aesthetic. This year, The Old Toad also offers a New Year’s Eve menu and drink specials. Expect the same dedication to tradition for which the pub is known.

Old Toad ($$)
Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 13 PUZZLE
S.J. AUSTIN & J. REYNOLDS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 78 CITY DECEMBER 2022 ACROSS 1. “Frozen” character who says “You feel what you feel, and those feelings are real” in a dream 5. Flaky silicate found in many rocks 9. Hammer and tongs, e.g. 14. “Zoiks!” 19. Dorothy’s dog 20. Fawns at a baby, say 21. Pester 22. AMC offering 23. Candy movie that inspired 125-across 25. Southwestern Pueblo tribe members 26. Lacking seasoning 27. African American church inits. 28. All: prefix 30. “When you wish upon _____” 32. Modern: Ger. 33. Luxury sedan model until 2011 37. Weird Al’s first Top 40 hit (and first Grammy winning song) 39. Waistband material 41. Poetic “before” 42. Oscar winner Kazan 44. Toy that 102-across slip on in 125-across 46. Didn’t disturb 48. French girlfriend 50. “_____ la la!” 51. Glimpse 52. Where an earring might dangle from 53. “Death in Venice” author Thomas 54. Open with a key 56. Stuck, after “in” 60. Prefix for dynamic or plane 62. Rochester mayor Malik 64. Town name on a Rolling Rock beer bottle 66. 5-time NBA champion Rodman 68. Belgrade native 69. Gehrig or Gramm 71. Give _____ in the arm 72. Info on a train ticket, for short 73. Director of 125-across 77. Gun grp. 78. Jewish mourning period 80. Cereal bit 81. Ingredient in a Gimlet 82. Ancient Israelite town whose name means “house of God” 84. Estimates of fossil ages 86. 59-Down associated with Superman 87. Biblical twin of Jacob 88. Start of Massachusetts’ state motto 89. Math figures, e.g. pi 92. Wyo. neighbor 94. Certain golf majors (Tiger Woods won four) 97. Suffix with carb- or cyan99. Ambulance letters 100. This: Sp. 101. Christine of “The Blacklist” 102. Villains in 125-across 107. Japanese national sport 109. First responder who may administer CPR 110. Armand of “Private Benjamin” 111. “Doe, _____…” 113. “La Danse” painter 115. Prime meridian std. 116. Like more than half of the earth’s population 118. Brewpub offerings 120. Agcy. that may provide rent assistance 121. Chugs 123. Avarice, more familiarly 125. Iconic 1990 holiday movie starring Macaulay Culkin 130. “_____ a doctor, but…” 131. Gandhi, for one 132. Baseball family name 133. Desert-like 134. Like a dirty bar or motel HOLIDAYS KEEP THE CHANGE, You FILTHY ANIMAL
CITY 79 135. Took notice 136. What you might want to do to a doggo’s nose 137. Cleans up a spill DOWN 1. Man’s nickname found in the word posture 2. _____ Trapp family of “The Sound of Music” 3. List-ending abbreviation 4. Pitcher Ryan who holds MLB records for strikeouts and no-hitters 5. TV lawyer played by Flockhart 6. Debtor’s letters 7. 2017 Pixar film with an all-Latino principal cast 8. Words on a help desk sign 9. Large island in French Polynesia 10. Lennon’s lover 11. Policing an area 12. Clark’s crush at the Daily Planet 13. Organized framework 14. Hug closely 15. Fútbol cry that may be extended by an excited announcer 16. “Onward” in Italian 17. Have supper at home 18. Entice 24. Deejay’s counterpart in hip-hop 29. Christen 31. State that is 2.5x larger than the next-largest state 33. Tattle 34. Inspiration for Trader Joe’s JoeJoe’s 35. Nickname for 102-across 36. Grp. that certifies gold records 38. Venerated artworks 40. Kitchen scissors 43. Memory loss 45. “Well, well, well!” 47. Has-_____ 49. Buy in 53. “Dance” performed in a pit 54. Opens, as a barn door 55. Black suit 57. ** 58. “Oof, this class is such _____!” 59. “Heavy” rock genre 61. Puerto _____ 63. Circle segment 65. Subdues with a shock 66. Since: Sp. 67. Hawke of “Reality Bites” 69. Brightness measurement units 70. Diner breakfast entrees 74. Parks of civil rights fame 75. Fib 76. Lyft competitor 79. Meredith of daytime TV 83. Spanish appetizer 85. All-timers 86. “Too bad, _____.” 90. Talks on YouTube? 91. Due any moment 93. 19-Across creator 95. Gas station conveniences that take PINs 96. Location of significance 98. Line of national rulers—or sports championships 100. Stunt performer Knievel 101. Tons of (luck) 102. Scottish dish made from sheep organs 103. Suppose without proof 104. “Wheel of Fortune” freebies 105. Makes like a horse 106. Do research (on) 108. Reconciled 112. Where one might go through detox 114. Religion symbolized by a moon and star 117. Operatic highlight 119. Red party cup maker 122. Detachable unit on a spacecraft 124. Campus email ender 126. Make like a cow 127. Guadalajara gold 128. Bite at, like a puppy 129. Hosp. urgent care areas Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Rochester now offering whole flower NEW PATIENT SPECIAL: Receive 20% off your first purchase Home Delivery Available Find us New York Medical Marijuana ID required to make a Medical Marijuana purchase. Columbi a Care