CITY March 2023

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SWIMSUIT EDITION
SEE CITY VISITS ON PAGE 48 NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | MARCH 2023 | FREE | SINCE 1971
Ken Steinmetz in Elevator Repairman Chic at the Rochester Polar Plunge.

SHOES BY SOLOMON

(Tech Amphib 4 Water Shoe, $109.95)

SOCKS BY DICKIES

(Dri-Tech Moisture Control Crew Socks, $2.17)

SHORTS BY THE NORTH FACE (Class V Belted Shorts, $36.97)

SUSPENDERS BY CLC CUSTOM LEATHERCRAFT

(110USA Heavy Duty Elastic Work Suspenders, USA Flag Print, $15.84)

GAITER BY TOUGH HEADBAND (Neck Gaiter Face Mask w/ Dust Protection, $5.95)

SUNGLASSES BY PIT VIPER (Monster Bull Polarized 2000S, $119.69)

BEARD BY KEVIN STEINMETZ (Inspired by Jeremiah Johnson)

HARD HAT BY OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY (Comes with job)

PUBLIC LIVES

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‘AQUEDUCT REIMAGINED, OR JUST A FANTASY?

Turning the aqueduct into a focal point of downtown remains elusive, despite efforts and a lot of talk.

8

CHILD CARE CRUNCH

Monroe County has $90 million to spend on helping working parents with day care. But providers are hard to find.

CHARACTER SKETCH CLIPPERS CONFIDENTIAL

For 35 years, South Wedge

hair stylist Jennifer Belardino has been a friend, confidante, and sometimes therapist to her clients.

16

ART UNDERFOOT

Art form meets function in the “Arts Interpreted” rug series.

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THE VSW SALON IS BACK Visual Studies Workshop’s spring edition of its salon series is underway, with film screenings, photos exhibits, and artist talks.

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THESE STRINGS SING How a string quartet with local ties mimicked voices for a historic recording.

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KAREN ST. AUBIN: SNOW BOSS

Rochester has a winter storm playbook. She’s the person who holds it.

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WHAT ALES ME

IRISH GOODBYE

Thought to be Rochester’s longest family-run Irish pub, McGinnity’s looks for a buyer.

46

DINING

MEXICAN THAT’S WORTH THE WAIT

Authentic Mexican fare comes to North Winton. Just don’t go hangry.

MORE NEWS, ARTS, AND LIFE INSIDE IN THIS ISSUE CITY 3 roccitynews.com NEWS LIFE
ARTS
SWIMSUIT EDITION Elevator Repairman Chic at the Rochester Polar Plunge. SEE CITY VISITS ON PAGE 48 NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. MARCH 2023 FREE SINCE 1971
ON THE COVER
Day care provider Richard Morris plays with 6-month-old Noemi Andrews. Monroe County is in a child care crunch, as providers like Morris are hard to come by. See page 8. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

‘Aqueduct Reimagined,’ or just a fantasy?

Turning the aqueduct into a focal point of downtown remains elusive, despite efforts and a lot of talk.

It’s a crisp morning and sunlight bursts through the distinctive stone arches of the Broad Street aqueduct, illuminating decades’ worth of graffiti art upon its walls.

The Genesee River roars beneath this cavernous structure in downtown Rochester, which sits unused save for the street artists who paint in the

tunnel and the people who use it for shelter.

But a city plan nearly 15 years in the making aspires to turn the aqueduct into a focal point downtown.

That plan, dubbed “Aqueduct Reimagined,” calls for removing Broad Street from atop the aqueduct and converting what’s left of the structure

into a public space.

What it will look like is anyone’s guess. Schematics have been drawn, but what transpires — if anything — is likely to be a hybrid of those designs.

Also anyone’s guess is where the money for the project is going to come from. City officials have estimated that tearing

and building something in its place will cost anywhere from $85 million to $110 million.

The state has promised the city $9.5 million in funding and the city earmarked $2 million in federal pandemic relief funds for the project.

In January, the City Council approved borrowing $500,000 to pay for street

4 CITY MARCH 2023
Work continues on the historic Aqueduct Building along the Genesee River and Broad Street bridge in downtown Rochester for the new Constellation Brands headquarters. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
NEWS DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

improvements around the future home of Constellation Brands, a centerpiece of the reimagined aqueduct.

That leaves tens of millions of dollars unaccounted for.

“The purpose of the Aqueduct Reimagined project itself is to transform this historic, underutilized piece of transportation infrastructure into this dynamic public space that is unique, and uniquely celebrates Rochester’s history and culture,” said Kamal Crues, ROC the Riverway program manager for the City of Rochester.

THE AQUEDUCT’S TALE

The Broad Street aqueduct was completed in 1842 as a way for the Erie Canal to flow over and across the Genesee River. It served that purpose until the early 1900s, when the canal was diverted further south.

The aqueduct took on a second life as a tunnel for the Rochester subway, which used it from 1927 to 1956. After the commuter train shut down, the railway was still occasionally used for freight deliveries before falling dormant by the end of the 1990s.

“There’s a rich layer of history at this site,” Crues said. “If you take a cross-section of this site, you’re taking a cross-section of Rochester’s history.”

City officials floated an early plan for reusing the aqueduct in 2009. At the time, the idea was to pop the top off the Broad Street bridge and fill the remaining channel with water, creating an anchor feature for a so-called “canal district.” That plan never moved forward.

Then, in 2018, former Gov.

Andrew Cuomo announced ROC the Riverway, a series of some twodozen riverfront projects carrying an estimated cost of $500 million, with the state offering $50 million towards the initiative.

The proposal to repurpose the aqueduct became a centerpiece of that initiative, though little progress was made to get it moving in the years following.

But aspects of the aqueduct project took on new urgency in 2021 when Constellation Brands, the multi-billion dollar beverage conglomerate based in Victor, announced plans to relocate to the Aqueduct Building on Broad Street. The company anticipated bringing with it about 340 jobs and creating about 80 new ones.

Constellation plans to put $50 million into the complex, while the developers who own it plan to invest $30 million.

Meanwhile, the city and state set out to “expedite” Aqueduct Reimagined. Hochul announced that the state would provide the city with a $5 million grant to help cover the cost of relocating utilities infrastructure so that Constellation’s operations wouldn’t be interrupted by future aqueduct construction.

WHEN AND WHY?

In April 2022, Mayor Malik Evans announced a series of public input sessions on Aqueduct Reimagined, officially “launching it,” then released five preliminary mock-ups for what it could look like.

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March 2023

Vol 51 No 7

On the cover: Photograph by Lauren Petracca

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CITY 5 roccitynews.com
NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. @ROCCITYNEWS
The Erie Canal Aqueduct, looking west, circa 1897. The Aqueduct Building is on the right in the middle. Old City Hall is in the distance to the right. ROCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY DIVISION

But the city has not selected a concept to advance and observers have said the most likely scenario is that what transpires will be a combination of designs in the mock-ups based on public feedback.

Residents surveyed on the designs preferred those that did two things: Preserved as much of the Broad Street roadway and as much historic architecture as possible.

“Basically what I’m hearing is all the layers of history are important, and worth celebrating,” Crues said.

Initial construction on the aqueduct itself isn’t scheduled to start until late 2024. But there’s no set timeline for completion.

City Council Vice President Mary Lupien sees the project as an irresponsible undertaking that will likely provide little benefit to the average Rochester resident.

“To me, this is the biggest example

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The Aqueduct Reimagined project is estimated to cost up to $110 million. But what it’s going to look like and how it’s going to be funded remain unclear. RENDERINGS PROVIDED The Broad Street bridge roadway was built in 1927 to carry motor vehicles over the former aqueduct bed, which became a subway passage the same year. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

of a corporate giveaway I’ve ever seen,” Lupien said in an interview, referring to using federal pandemic relief to complement investments by Constellation. “To spend that amount of money, especially money meant to help our community recover from COVID, on a project like this, when we don’t know if, or when, we will ever get the money to finish the project.”

The ROC the Riverway projects are meant to seamlessly connect the Genesee Riverway to downtown Rochester. Projects like the Brewery Line Trail, renovations at the Riverside Convention Center, and the Roc City Skatepark are elements of ROC the Riverway.

The aqueduct project can “reclaim” a piece of Rochester, said James Dietz, advocacy and outreach manager for Reconnect Rochester, an advocacy group that champions public transit, cycling, and walking.

“For me, it’s scaling things down away from cars and focusing on people, where people exist, where people aren’t just passing through,” Dietz said.

“They’re stopping, they’re enjoying, they’re making memories.”

Mary Staropoli, interim executive director at Reconnect, sees the project as a step toward creating a better environment in downtown Rochester.

“I think this project is all about the pedestrian experience, and creating downtown street life,” Staropoli said. “Filling that in with entertainment, food options, outdoor seating areas, and pedestrian-focused areas, and that’s what this project is.”

Lupien agrees that Rochester is in need of better spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, but she said she is not convinced that repurposing the aqueduct is the best way to do that.

“We need to show data that this works,” Lupien said. “Where is the data that this project will enhance the lives of people in the neighborhood? How will this increase our finances? How will those finances be used?”

There are many hurdles to clear before Aqueduct Reimagined can become a reality. Among them are securing the

funding, complying with the State Historic Preservation Office guidelines, and simply finding a final design.

authorities tend to look the other way.

“We were some of the first ones to start actually doing what we call ‘productions,’ like a whole mural with a background and everything,” Zarate said.

In announcing the launch of the project last year, the mayor said preserving the graffiti was a priority, deferring to local artist Shawn Dunwoody.

At the time, Dunwoody said he and the city planned to reach out to local graffiti artists for input on the project’s design, such as what pieces in the former subway tunnel could be preserved.

KEEPERS OF THE SUBWAY

Dressed in a maroon puffer jacket and beige Timberland boots, Victor “Range” Zarate sweeps his spray cans across the walls of the subway tunnel, emblazoning the stone with a purpleand-black tag of his moniker.

Zarate has been painting in the subways for 30 years alongside his fellow artists in FUA Krew. Getting caught used to be a real risk. Today,

Zarate called the gesture bittersweet, and said he hopes to have a voice in the project if it moves forward.

“The whole art in question, combining the arts into this project, is solely based on the fact that me and my crew made this, gave it artistic appeal from the beginning,” Zarate said. “The only reason we can put art in there is because of what we did before.”

CITY 7 roccitynews.com
Victor “Range” Zarate has been painting the walls of the aqueduct with his graffiti partners, FUA Krew, for more than 30 years. He believes their work made the aqueduct culturally relevant and hopes to see the art preserved. PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI

Child care crunch

Monroe County has $90M to help families

with

child care. But providers are hard to find.

Jenn Beideman should have no problem finding full-time day care for her toddler daughter, Quinn. As director of whole child health for Common Ground Health and president of the board of the Child Care Council, a child care referral agency, Beideman is intimately familiar with the local systems set up to support the county’s youngest residents and their families. Yet Beideman and her husband,

Craig, have been trying to find full-time care for Quinn, who is now 13 months old, since Beideman was 20 weeks pregnant with her.

They eventually had to settle on a part-time spot that they heard about through a tip from a friend. Quinn now spends two days a week at day care and two days a week being cared for by family and friends. On Fridays, Beideman works from home to be with her.

“The Child Care Council did a great job,” Beideman said. “They referred me to all of these different providers and home-based and centers, and just none of them had space.”

Their story is an all too common one. Even before the pandemic hit, parents across Monroe County struggled to find daycare spots for their children,

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Edmond Andrews, 3, plays with Play-Doh at Morris Munchkins Playhouse in Chili. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
NEWS NURSERY SCHOOLED
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
FILE PHOTO
Jenn Beideman.

particularly infants and toddlers. But the situation only worsened between 2020 and 2022, when the county  lost 1,700 slots — roughly 6 percent of its child care capacity —  according to a report for the Children’s Agenda, a child advocacy group.

Of those lost slots, nearly 700 were spread among 58 home-based daycares, which tend to be heavily used by lowincome families and parents who need care for their children outside of the standard 9-to-5 workday.

The shortage is of the utmost relevance right now, as the county has tens of millions of dollars in funding to help families and, in many cases, a dearth of places to spend it.

Monroe County has roughly $90 million in child day care assistance funding on hand and officials have taken steps to make those funds more accessible to the families that could benefit from them. It has lowered the fee parents have to pay, hired Baden Street Settlement to provide navigators who can help parents find child care, and increased the number of days where it’ll pay for children receiving subsidies when they are absent from day care.

The county also raised the eligibility threshold for funding to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which is roughly $80,000 for a family of four.

But all of it is for naught if parents who qualify for help can’t find child care openings.

“We probably have more child care funding in our budget than we’ve historically seen in years,” said Thalia Wright, Monroe County’s human services commissioner. “So now the pivot is to work with providers to get providers back online, to help support providers.”

PROVIDERS NOT PAID ENOUGH

Safe and supportive child day care is a vital resource for working parents and their children, whose brains are developing at a rapid clip and need nurturing to flourish.

“Us as the provider, we give these parents peace of mind so they can continue to work without any worries,” said Richard Morris of Morris Munchkins Playhouse, a home-based daycare in Chili.

The child care crunch starts with staffing. Providers have trouble attracting workers because of what they

10 CITY MARCH 2023
Richard Morris cares for 6-month-old Noemi Andrews at Morris Munchkins Playhouse in Chili, the day care he runs out of his home with his wife, India Morris. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

can pay, which in turn suppresses the number of children they can care for at any given time.

The jobs often require bachelor’s degrees or professional credentialing, training in CPR and first aid, and experience working in child care. But the pay frequently starts below $20 an hour. In 2021, the average yearly wages for a child care worker in Monroe County were $27,467, according to state Department of Labor data.

“We just can’t get anyone at the low, low wages,” said Assemblymember Sarah Clark, a Democrat from Rochester who is deeply involved in child care issues. “It’s a high-responsibility job and it pays less than McDonald’s or Walmart.”

Providers can’t just raise rates to pay their people more. They not only have to cover overheard like insurance, utilities, food, and employee wages, but also consider  what parents can afford. In the case of parents receiving child care assistance, providers can only count on getting the state-set market rate.

The current market rate for daycare in Monroe County can exceed $300 a week for children under 2, and creep

close to $300 for children older than that, according to state data.

“Does it average out? Usually it doesn’t,” said Armett Barnes, owner of Armett’s Care and Share Family Daycare, a home-based provider in Irondequoit. Her license allows her to care for 16 children at a time, and she has a waitlist.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?

Monroe County officials said they are working with advocates and lawmakers to shore up the local child day care system using some of the child care assistance funding it has.

For example, Wright, the human services commissioner, said the county plans to use some of that money to help providers offer transportation for children. That would help parents who don’t have automobiles and it could help bring some day care providers back online, she added.

The county also wants to use some of the funding to incentivize more providers to offer care during nontraditional hours, another area where there’s a need. Wright said the county is  working to get permission from the state to increase the rates it pays for evening, overnight, and weekend care.

Clark has sponsored legislation that would increase the payment day cares receive when they provide care for children during non-traditional hours. The bill has support from other area Democrats.

She has also introduced legislation that would direct the state to study what it actually costs to provide child care and to use that data to set subsidy payment rates instead of using the market rates. While Clark wants the state to move to some form of a universal child care system, she said she believes that, in the meantime, the state needs to boost what providers are paid.

“If they actually were able to do a study on what their true cost was, you’d actually be able to look at wages and put in wages that are much more acceptable for the expertise and responsibility of our child care workers, and we haven’t done it,” Clark said. “I think we’re afraid to do it because we know it will cost a lot of money.

“But now that money is not an issue I think we really need to start looking at what we’re doing to raise wages in the child care workforce.”

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LIFE
Jennifer Belardino, owner of the South Wedge Barber Shop, with her dog Angel.
12 CITY MARCH 2023
PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

CHARACTER SKETCH

CLIPPERS CONFIDENTIAL

To residents of the South Wedge, Jennifer Belardino is a neighborhood icon.

The eccentric hair stylist, who owns and operates South Wedge Barber Shop, has been cutting hair there for 35 years — and the reciprocal loyalty between her and her customer base runs deep.

Theirs is a bond forged over decades of Belardino serving her clients not only with scissors and clippers, but as a friend, a confidante, and sometimes a therapist. She has had a front-row seat to hundreds of marriages and divorces, births and deaths, tragedies and miracles, and gossip — a whole lot of gossip, about which Belardino is tightlipped. What happens in the South Wedge Barber Shop stays in the South Wedge Barber Shop.

“It’s the second job I’ve had in my life,” said Belardino, 52, whose first job was as a school nurse’s aide. “I don’t think I’m going anywhere.”

She spoke from behind a chair in her shop, a quirky wonderland of bright colors, 1930s-era antique furniture, and an array of tchotchkes and wall hangings, each holding their own stories and sweet memories.

There’s a framed Rolling Stones ticket — the first time her late mom, Gina, saw them in concert back in 1981. Nearby, there’s a frame with dried flowers from the funeral of one of her beloved customers. There are the mustaches — bushy ones, pencil-thin ones, curlicued ones — plastered and placed around the room, a not-so-subtle nod to customers who have asked her to trim theirs.

“There are palm trees. There are stars,” she said, scanning the room. “There’s a lot of animal stuff. Gotta have your mermaids. You’ve got your drag queens up behind me.”

She laughs. She knows she’s an odd bird.

Then there are the shop’s permanent residents: a 20-year-old tortoise named Norm, who can usually be found minding his own business in an enormous tank

in the corner of the room, and Angel, a dirty-blonde mixed-breed pup whom Belardino calls “the empress, because she’s way beyond a queen.”

“She was a rescue from Lollypop,” said Belardino, who encourages her customers to bring their own dogs, as long as they know who’s boss. “And she is spoiled rotten. She suckers customers into getting her treats.”

Originally two doors down from where it sits at the corner of South

Avenue and Burkhard Place, the shop quickly developed a small fan base when Gina opened it in 1986. Belardino recalled watching her mom in awe and, as a teenager, deciding to go to cosmetology school to follow in her footsteps. She started cutting hair at the salon when she was 17.

Webster resident Steve Fornof is one of the shop’s loyal customers. Originally a client of Gina’s, he started getting his hair cut by Belardino back when he was

sporting a classic ’80s mullet and she was a brand-new stylist.

“It’s not just a barbershop,” he said, explaining why he’s a customer for life. “It’s family to me.”

In 1991, when the Belardinos moved to their current location at 720 South Ave., Fornof helped them renovate.

Belardino remembers the space being in desperate need of TLC.

“It had dropped ceilings and paneling — you know, the really cheap, cheesy brown paneling,” she said. “It had carpeting. It was ugly. It was bad.”

With only 30 days to move, Belardino, her mom, and Fornof worked around the clock to transform the dull space into what it is today.

Thirty-one years later, the heart and soul of the salon remain intact — even if the nostalgia is bittersweet; Gina died in 2019.

The sole owner, Belardino said she takes a cue from Norm in the tank and very much stays in her shell.

The Irondequoit native now lives in the apartment above the shop. Her animals are her family, and as a selfdescribed introvert, she enjoys laying low and hanging out with them when she’s not working. It’s her way to refuel.

“If I was a smart businesswoman, I’d be renting out all this space,” she said, gesturing toward the chair where her mother used to cut hair, which now stands empty in memoriam. “But I don’t have the patience or the drama to have anybody else here.”

Her love of her work and customers made the early days of the pandemic especially hard. These days, she only allows a few people in the shop at a time, while yearning for the bustle and camaraderie of the pre-COVID world.

“The only thing I miss is having more people in here at one time so customers can socialize, but it is what it is,” she said, placing a leopard-print cape on her next customer and grabbing her clippers. “I’d rather just be cutting hair than not. I’ll do whatever I can to cut hair.”

CITY 13 roccitynews.com
For 35 years, South Wedge hair stylist Jennifer Belardino has been a friend, a confidante, and sometimes therapist to her clients.
Jennifer Belardino, owner of the South Wedge Barber Shop, cuts Jeanette Fulton’s hair. Fulton who lives in Greece has been going to Belardino for more than 25 years. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

ART UNDERFOOT

Art form meets function in the ‘Art Interpreted’ rug series.

By design, rugs are meant to be functional, the answer to a cold floor or a place to rest shoes.

But as functionality and art merge, rugs can be as much of an artist’s canvas as padding underfoot.

The concept is playing out at Oriental Rug Mart in Eastview Mall, where owner Reza Nejad Sattari has launched a rug series that blends contemporary art with ancient tradition.

“Art Interpreted” works with

artists — including Rochester’s Albert Paley and Charles Brian Orner — to translate specific art works into fine rugs through a design collaboration with Sattari’s team and Looksee Rugs, a workshop of Tibetan refugee artisan weavers based in Nepal.

Sattari got the spark for the project while perusing a catalog of the colorful abstract and richly patterned paintings of the late French artist Paul Reynard.

“I thought, ‘These are meant to be rugs,’” he said.

After connecting with Reynard’s widow and navigating French copyright law, Sattari gained exclusive rights to make rugs from 73 of Reynard’s paintings.

Sattari began the project in 2016, and has exclusive rights to reproduce some artworks by four artists. Each of the rugs are made to order and take three to four months to weave. But before that can begin, the design process can take up to two years, Sattari said.

When an artwork is chosen

to be translated into rug form — whether it’s a painting, one of Paley’s monoprints, or a sculpture — the work is photographed in high resolution and the image is divided into a grid, with each square corresponding to square inches of the final rug. Then the original artist will consult backand-forth with the weavers in Nepal to choose colors from a set of fabric dyes.

“They are artists and experts at weaving, and they can tell when something is not going to work for a rug,” Sattari said.

ARTS FLOORED
Oriental Rug Mart owner Reza Nejad Sattari compares a photograph by Charles Brian Orner and the art rug made from that work. Sattari works with artists and a team of master weavers in Nepal to
16 CITY MARCH 2023

The wool or silk yarns that will be used in the rug are dyed, sent to Rochester for approval, and a series of ocean-crossing tweaks goes on for a while before weaving can begin.

The art that Sattari chooses to make into rugs tends toward abstract designs and bright colors, but also has a spiritual tone in both appearance and title.

“Genesis of a Soul,” for example, is one of the art rugs patterned after a photograph by Orner. The image is a digitally manipulated macro photo of a detail on a stone that resembles a galaxy. The designs of each rug are scalable, and a rug at 6 feet by 10 feet retails for $7,295.

Rugs after Reynard’s paintings range from abstracted forms of temples and Mount Ararat to geometric patterns. Paley’s monoprints are 2D works made from layered shapes that closely resemble his steel sculptures. One, “The Poignant Ambience of Memory’s Lattice,” is listed as retailing for $34,560 for a 12-by-16 rug.

The price tags for the rugs in the “Art Interpreted” series aside,

Oriental Rug Mart carries rugs for many budgets. In addition to handknotted rugs that tend to fetch a higher price, there are machine-made rugs that retail for $200.

The shop has long aimed to be

an authority on area rugs, offering the full spectrum of services, from sales to cleaning and repairs and maintenance.

Sattari got his start in the rug business on East Avenue, where he

connection to Rochester began back in his native Iran, where he worked as a distributor for Kodak. When he and his family moved to the U.S. in the late ’80s, he intended to work in photo finishing, but said it was tough to compete for work in Rochester.

He and his wife of 50 years, Jila Kalantari, opened Oriental Rug Mart, which moved to Eastview Mall in 2019.

The “Art Interpreted” rugs incorporate artist signatures into the knotted designs. Each individual rug is numbered according to its place in a limited run, with the number in the set determined by the artists.

Oriental Rug Mart has sold more than 35 rugs from the series. Sattari said that most buyers are fans of the artists, as he hasn’t advertised the series yet.

The rugs are so beautiful that one may be tempted to step around their perimeter instead of walking over them. But Hadi Sattari, who is Reza Nejad Sattari’s son and co-worker at the shop, said that they are hardy and meant to be used as rugs.

“The only thing that will hurt the rugs,” he said, “is not using them.”

Learn more about the series at artinterpreted.com.

CITY 17 roccitynews.org roccitynews.com
Three area rugs created from monoprints by Albert Paley displayed in the showroom at Oriental Rug Mart in Eastview Mall. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH Reza Nejad Sattari’s son and business partner, Hadi Sattari, says of the art-inspired rugs, “The only thing that will hurt the rugs is not using them.” PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

VSW spotlights Joshua Rashaad McFadden

and his images have appeared in The New York Times.

VSW Assistant Curator Hernease Davis will moderate a discussion with McFadden and other artists, and the chapbooks will be distributed for free at the event.

Other upcoming VSW Salon events include a March 9 spotlight on Ukrainian-born filmmaker Anna Kipervaser, whose experimental work is far-ranging in both theme (human and animal bodies, ethnicity, religion, colonialism, and the environment) and medium (16mm, digital video, CT scans, archival images, and optical printing).

There is also the April 13 event titled “Queer Games Bundle,” which VSW Salon Curator Tara Merenda Nelson said is equal parts pop-up arcade, poetry reading, and performance art.

Visual Studies Workshop’s spring edition of its VSW Salon series is underway, having kicked off in January and continuing through May. Several events remain in the bi-monthly series, which includes film screenings, photo presentations, and artist talks.

Notably, this season includes a Mar. 16 appearance by awardwinning photographer and RIT professor Joshua Rashaad McFadden, whose work explores Black identity, masculinity, the history of race, and the everyday dangers faced by Black people in America, particularly in dealings with law enforcement.

The event is a book launch and community discussion surrounding the release of the third and fourth chapbooks in the current edition of “In This Moment: Revolution Reckoning Reparation,” a project curated by artist Amanda Chestnut and produced by VSW Press.

McFadden is the subject of the third

book, with photos by Arturo Hoyte and an essay by Francesca Padilla.

“It’s a distillation of research and conversations with him into a profile that will show readers how he got to where he is today,” Padilla said.

The chapbook touches on

McFadden’s family’s work at Kodak, his early interest in cameras, his entrance into social justice movements as an organizer, and how they coalesced into his portfolio.

Now in its second season, “In This Moment” is a project that pairs 10 teams of Black writers and photographers to spotlight 10 Black leaders in various fields working in Rochester. The first season was printed in 2020 and 2021, and featured musician and public defender Danielle Ponder, state Sen. Samra Brouk, and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra trumpeter Herbert Smith, among others.

McFadden returns to VSW after the workshop launched his solo, multimedia show, “Evidence,” in 2020. In the interim, George Eastman Museum presented “Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On,” a retrospective on his work. McFadden has covered unrest in the streets as well as the memorials of those slain by police,

“It’s a group of video game artists who make work as a collective around these queer standards of kind of inclusivity and in reaction against the traditions of violencebased video games,” Nelson said.

The “Queer Games Bundle” is released every June during Pride month and has raised a total of more than $360,000 in the past two years for local and global queer game developers, zine makers, and other media artists.

Nelson said the salon event will be dynamic and interactive, featuring video installations, VR, and video games and serve as a preview of what will be released this summer.

VSW Salon events take place at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays in the VSW Microcinema. Some events are preceded by an open studio with the current VSW residents beginning at 6 p.m.

While each event has a suggested donation of $10, the series is offered on a sliding scale price structure — attendees can choose the price they’re able to pay when they reserve tickets. VSW Members get in free. Visit vsw.org for more information.

18 CITY MARCH 2023 ARTS SIGHTS & SOUNDS
Joshua Rashaad McFadden speaks at the opening of his photography retrospective. FILE PHOTO
A
monthly roundup of arts and music news. For more visit roccitynews.com.
VSW Salon chapbooks featuring Black leaders from various fields. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

THESE STRINGS SING: QUARTET MINES EMOTIONS, VOICES FOR HISTORIC RECORDING

It’s rare for a composer to advise the musicians playing his composition to play something other than the notes written on the page.

But that’s exactly what Steve Reich, considered one of America’s greatest living composers, suggested to members of the Mivos Quartet during the recording sessions for the landmark album “Steve Reich: The String Quartets,” released by Deutsche Grammophon on Feb. 3. The album is the first to include all three of the composer’s string quartets on one recording.

Two of these pieces — “Different Trains” and “WTC 9/11” — differ from typical compositions written for string quartet in that they incorporate spokenword samples.

“Different Trains,” which Reich wrote in 1988, juxtaposes the train journeys he made across the United States as a Jewish boy during World War II with the train rides of Jewish children in Europe to concentration camps during the war. The music is influenced by recordings of the voices of his governess and a train porter, and interviews with three Holocaust survivors.

“WTC 9/11” takes inspiration from the voices of air traffic controllers during the terrorist attacks that day, as well as the recollections of people who were near Ground Zero.

Reich encouraged the musicians to play the melody they heard in the voices.

“We really, really followed the voices’ inflection,” said Olivia De Prato, Mivos Quartet’s first violinist and an Eastman School of Music alumnus. “And sometimes that’s not exactly what’s notated. But we kind of wanted to really, really get tight with the voice. That took a lot of work, too.”

De Prato said Reich’s insight was invaluable when it came to interpreting other musical elements, such as when and when not to use vibrato, and creating the right separation between notes, which were not stipulated in the score.

De Prato, 39, said that this kind of close working relationship between performer and composer is what first attracted her to playing contemporary classical music while studying violin performance at Eastman.

“I had a great teacher and I loved it, but it was just sort of always like this older tradition,” De Prato recalled. “You listen to recordings, and you’re like, ‘Okay, which version of interpretation do I want to pursue?’ It’s very different than ‘This is a brand new piece, here’s the composer, he’s giving it to me, and we’re going to work on this together.’”

Mivos’s 33-year-old cellist T.J. Borden, a graduate of Brighton High School before attending Ithaca College, said the two rehearsal periods the quartet spent with Reich were productive.

“It was incredibly helpful, especially on figuring out how to best articulate the rhythms and the polyrhythms,” Borden said. “You know, what’s the best way? Especially, literally, the articulation of our bows. I remember we talked a lot about that, because the articulation of the bow on the string is really how you connect the patterns and the precise rhythmic element with the effective element, you know, what I mean? Is it a harder articulation, or is it a soft and smooth one?”

The articulation of the bows, combined with the hard-hitting historical realities behind the sampled voices, is what helps to make Reich’s music so moving.

“Because the emotional impact is so heavy, we discussed having to kind of put that out of our minds in the recording,” Borden said. “Because the sum total of the materials really kind of speaks for itself.”

SENECA ARTIST G. PETER JEMISON AWARDED ARTS FELLOWSHIP

G. Peter Jemison, the former manager of the Ganondagan State Historic Site and an Indigenous artist, has been awarded a $70,000 fellowship from the nonprofit Americans for the Arts.

Jemison said receiving the Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities, given annually to an artist who demonstrates a sustained commitment to civic participation and has inspired positive change through their work, comes at a time of transition and reflection for him.

“There was such a long period of time when my job really replaced my time with my art, and so I kind of flipped that around when I retired, and made art number one,” he said. “And with that comes a little bit of existential searching. Even with success, you still have to examine your own thoughts and desires for the work that you’re doing.”

Jemison, 78, retired last year after 36 years as site manager at Ganondagan, the hilltop location of a razed 17th century Seneca village. During his tenure he oversaw the construction of a scale replica of a Seneca bark longhouse and the Seneca Art & Culture Center, a performing arts hub and interpretive facility that presents Seneca and Haudenosaunee contributions to society.

His artwork incorporates themes of political and social commentary, cultural memory, and his relationship to the natural world, and is collected by global institutions. He curates art exhibitions that increase representation of Native American artists in the contemporary fine arts world.

The fellowship this year specifically aimed to recognize an artist working in rural towns, villages, and tribal communities, according to Americans for the Arts. Jemison was chosen by a panel from a pool of 12 national nominees.

“Peter’s visionary efforts over decades have helped lay the groundwork to bring Indigenous perspectives into curation and cultural equity concerns,” Americans for the Arts wrote in announcing the award.

The fellowship honors Jemison as an artist and for his leadership in reconnecting communities to cultural traditions. He facilitates the Iroquois White Corn Project, which brings Indigenous and regional communities together for husking and other work to process the heirloom plant into products that are sold commercially.

Since retirement, Jemison has continued his work on the Iroquois White Corn Project but has dedicated the lion’s share of his time to making fresh work.

“This is my focus now: What am I trying to say?” he said.

An exhibit of Jemison’s new work will be launched by the Seneca-owned K Art Gallery in Buffalo on March 2. He will present his art and cultural projects later this year at the Americans for the Arts headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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PHOTO PROVIDED PHOTO BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

“MARCH OF THE MOLLUSK” BY BENNY BLEU

As both a geologist and an accomplished folk musician, Ben Haravitch has long melded his love for the natural world and music by distilling insightful observations about the living things around us — animal and otherwise — through charming, acoustic-based songs. Under the moniker Benny Bleu, Haravitch’s solo albums “Warm Prickly” from 2019 and “Swatting the Flies” from 2021 featured a mix of traditional folk, country, and Cajun standards and original tunes — all with the musician’s pleasant, everyman voice.

But on the newest Benny Bleu collection out Feb. 24, playfully titled “March of the Mollusk,” Haravitch scaled back, eschewing folk instruments he’s used in the past and choosing instead to highlight the banjo — his primary instrument — and eliminate vocals altogether.

The net effect of these musical choices is both calming and uplifting; a combination of solitude and joy permeates each track. Haravitch is a proponent of the “old time” style of banjo playing, also known as clawhammer banjo, in which the thumb claws at the drone string on the offbeat.

This clawhammer technique enables Haravitch to create a gentle but insistent chugging rhythm that provides a perpetual sense of forward momentum, but with a relaxed or midtempo feel. It’s the inherent paradox: the “March of the Mollusk.” In this case, slow and steady wins enlightenment.

“In reverence of snails and other gastropods, and the pace at which they savor this world, I humbly offer this collection of tunes played at rather gentle tempos and with as little friction as possible,” Haravitch writes in the liner notes.

There isn’t a dud in the bunch, which is best heard in one, continuous zen session. That said, the single “Lost Goose” and “Jordan Am a Hard Road/Folding Down the Sheets” feature beautiful circular melodies and rhythms reminiscent of Celtic reels, and “Edward Chops a Tree Down” is straight-up hypnotic. The songs may sound simple and effortless, but Haravitch’s technical proficiency is undeniable.

“EN MOTION” BY NABATÉ ISLES

Eastman School of Music alumnus and trumpeter Nabaté Isles has worked with a variety of artists, from Ravi Coltrane and Joey DeFrancesco in the jazz realm to Philip Bailey and Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) in the pop and rap worlds. Isles has also played on several Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band albums.

So, it’s not surprising that Isles’s second album, “En Motion,” released in late January, is an eclectic, genre-defying affair. His superb main unit — Sam Barsh and Rachel Eckroth on keyboards, drummer Eric Harland, bassist Kaveh Rastegar, and David Gilmore on guitar — is augmented by guests from across the musical spectrum.

Isles is in command on trumpet throughout the disc, ranging from a minimal sound that recalls late-career Miles Davis to a fiery intensity reminiscent of Freddie Hubbard.

On one of the album’s finest tracks, Isles reinvents “La Fiesta” by Chick Corea, a founding father of jazz-rock fusion. Isles’s brand of fusion goes further, adding hiphop and rap to the mix. On “Bate’s Letter from MistaChuck,” Public Enemy’s Chuck D delivers a sadly relevant rap about being a target.

Other crossover tracks include “The Jump-Off,” showcasing Ben Wendel on tenor saxophone, as well as a string quartet. “Black Girl Magic” features Badia Farha and Mumu Fresh delivering a spirited rap about beauty, dignity, and pride.

One of the album’s charms is its use of unusual instruments: Victor Provost’s steelpan adds a Caribbean feel, DJ Raydar Ellis presides over the turntables, and Suphala contributes tabla.

The song selections are similarly quirky. Covers include “The Smoke,” a hypnotic composition by The Smile (a project of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke) and a re-harmonized “Cristo Redentor,” a spiritual ballad by Duke Pearson.

20 CITY MARCH 2023 NEW MUSIC REVIEWS

“THE PLAY ALBUM” BY FIVEBYFIVE

With the debut album “Of and Between” in 2021, the chamber music quintet fivebyfive established itself as Rochester’s preeminent interpreters of works by living composers. It would have been easy enough for the ensemble to get complacent on its sophomore release and settle into chamber music repertoire that was either conventional or unchallenging.

Instead, fivebyfive continues to seek out compelling young composers with whom to collaborate, and in the process redefine what contemporary classical music can be. And the group keeps looking outside the world of music for inspiration. With “The Play Album,” out Feb. 19, fivebyfive was inspired to commission new works based on toys at the National Toy Fall of Fame, housed at The Strong Museum of Play.

Throughout most of this briskly paced collection, flutist Laura Lentz, clarinetist Marcy Bacon, pianist Haeyeun Jeun, electric guitarist Ken Luk, and bassist Eric J. Polenik push the tempo with indefatigable energy, lending an uncommon, raw quality to the music.

The five-song EP begins with “Flytrap,” a Nick Revel composition that features progpop vibes and the additional contributions of Joëlla Becker on cello and Marc Webster playing the drum machine and cymbals. Haeyeun Jeun’s frantic piano lines lend a sense of urgency and the drum machine creates a fun, disco beat until the flute and clarinet emerge, awash in reverb, to slow down the melody for a brief meditative moment. Then the original frenetic tempo gradually returns and and an unexpected jam session seems to break out.

Compared to fivebyfive’s first album, “The Play Album” seems to actively avoid contemporary classical music’s tendency toward pretension and academic ideas in favor of popular colloquial styles and accessible sounds that can be taken at face value. No prior classical listening experience required. All are welcome.

“MAKRAM” BY JOE LOCKE

On dozens of albums and countless performances over the decades, Rochesterraised Joe Locke has established himself as one of the world’s greatest vibraphonists. Released on Feb. 17, Locke’s new album, “Makram” — with pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Lorin Cohen, and drummer Samvel Sarkisyan — reinforces Locke’s stellar reputation from start to finish.

Locke has developed a style perfectly suited to the ringing bars of the vibraphone. With great sensitivity he creates hauntingly beautiful voicings with chords and arpeggios. His original tunes have a unique sound and his takes on standards are anything but standard. Locke’s arrangements are simply gorgeous.

Five of the nine tracks on “Makram” are tributes or elegies. “Raise Heaven,” Locke’s homage to the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove, boasts a beautiful brass arrangement by the album’s co-producer and trombonist Doug Beavers.

Other tributes include “Tushkin,” Sarkisyan’s salute to his grandfather (featuring outstanding playing by Tim Garland on soprano sax, bass clarinet, and flute); “Song for Vic Juris,” Ridl’s homage to the late guitarist, and Locke’s “Elegy for Us All,” a meditation on our country, which Locke sees slipping away from hard-earned progress and democracy itself.

The Middle Eastern-tinged title track, “Makram,” is named for Lebanese bassist Makram Aboul Hosn, Locke’s friend and sometime-collaborator. Sarkisyan holds down the 5/4 time signature, while Ridl and Locke unleash beautiful solos. The quartet is augmented on this tune by Samir Nasr Eddine on oud and Bahaa Daou on riq (a Moroccan tambourine).

The album’s seven original tunes are bookended by two standards. Opening with a vibrant group rendition of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” Locke closes with a compelling solo interpretation of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” An appropriate quote from Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” is just one of the ways Locke evokes the song’s sad story with no need for words. — BY RON

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todo DAILY

Full calendar of events online at roccitynews.com

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1

THEATER

“Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy”

Geva Theatre Center, gevatheatre.org

Punch in. Undermine democracy. Punch out. Sowing discord and doubt among Americans on social media leading up to the 2016 presidential election is all in a day’s work for the five “trolls” at the Russian Internet Research Agency in this biting political satire by Sarah Gancher. Besides that, the agency is like any other office: Steve likes Masha; Masha likes Nikolai; and Egor likes to troll Black Twitter. This play earned a “Best Theatre of 2020” nod from The New York Times when Geva’s new artistic director, Elizabeth Williamson, codirected its production in Hartford. The curtain rises on the fictional people behind the curtain at 7:30 p.m. The show runs through March 26. DAVID ANDREATTA

THURSDAY, MARCH 2

START YOUR ENGINES  Rochester

Auto Show

Rochester Riverside Convention Center, therochesterautoshow.com

Some auto shows are for gearheads and feature vintage autos, exotic sports

cars, and monster trucks. Others are more for everyday consumers, showcasing what can be had at dealerships. The Rochester Auto Show is the latter. It’s sponsored by the Rochester Auto Dealers Association and will include a long list of makes and models, from tiny and sleek Alfa Romeos to RAM pickup trucks. If you are in the market for a new ride, or just want to lust after the Porsches that are out of reach, this is your show. The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. today and continues through March 5. Tickets are $11 for adults, $8 for people over 65 and military members, and $5 for children ages 5-12.

FRIDAY, MARCH 3  THEATER

“Hits! The Musical”

Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com

You’ve gotta love a production with a title that tells you just what it is. With “Hits! The Musical,” audiences get, well, just the hits. There won’t be much in the way of acting or plot in this show, just a cast of 22 young, up-and-coming performers in dazzling costumes whisking the audience through decades of pop, country, rock, and Broadway hits, sometimes in the form of fast-paced medleys. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $29 to $99. JM

ART

“As I Recall Her: Artists Expand the Legacy of the Douglass Women”

Contemporary Art Center, rochestercontemporary.org

It’s said that behind every great man stands a great woman. But those women don’t often share the man’s legacy. Turning the spotlight on them is the idea behind this juried group show that focuses on the legacies of Frederick Douglass’s wife of 44 years, Anna Murray Douglass, and his daughters, Rosetta Douglass Sprague and Annie Douglass, who died at age 11. Anna Murray Douglass was a free woman and entrepreneur who helped Douglass escape slavery. She supported his work, sometimes driving it forward while he traveled on speaking tours. The exhibit at RoCo features work by 20 artists and builds on several local projects dedicated to Douglass and the Douglass women, including murals, essays, and exhibitions. The reception will be held 6-9 p.m. and the show continues through May 6. REBECCA RAFFERTY

SATURDAY, MARCH 4

out driving, melodic, catchy songs that can also give a gut punch to the listener. It is the kind of music you blast on the car stereo to help you power through that summer road trip, windows down of course. Real Friends, which like Knuckle Puck hail from the suburbs of Chicago, will share the bill. Admission is $25 and doors open at 6:30 p.m. JM

COMEDY

“Headliners: The Reunion Show”

Hochstein School of Music, joeljamescomedy.com

Rochester comedy audiences get plenty of opportunities to see topflight talent from out-of-town, but it’s rare that a comedy show highlights dynamic homegrown stand-ups. “Headliners” is one such show, featuring Rochester’s own Joel James and Yolanda Smilez. Zack Johnson, who appeared alongside James in the Comedy Central show “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City,” as well as Just Nesh and G Funk, fill out the rest of the loaded lineup. If you like your comedy irreverent, unapologetic, and fast-paced, this is the show for you. The performance begins at 7 p.m. General admission is $20 and VIP tickets are $40.

SUNDAY, MARCH 5  MUSIC

“Cross the Pond: Appalachia Meets Ireland”

75 Stutson Street, 75stutsonstreet.com

MUSIC Knuckle Puck

Montage Music Hall, rocentevents.com  Knuckle Puck is easy to dismiss as just another melodic power pop band with nasally vocals. But their new material is worth a listen. The latest singles remind me of the work of Jimmy Eat World, Braid, Knapsack, and other bands who pioneered the post-hardcore / pop punk / power pop blend that eventually usurped the emo genre label. The band cranks

An intimate evening of folk music awaits listeners when two separate, but complementary music traditions share the stage at 75 Stutson Street. Guitarist John Dady and accordion player John Michael Ryan deliver traditional Irish folk songs with equal parts charm and warmth. The Americana trio known as The Brothers Blue bring old-time Appalachian folk vibes to their tight arrangements. Two-thirds of the trio’s The Brothers also play in the Buffalo-born Irish quartet Crikwater, which is also on the bill. Doors are at 3 p.m. $20. DK

22 CITY MARCH 2023 31 MUSIC, ARTS AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH
For up-to-date information on protocols, vaccination and mask requirements, and performance cancellations, consult the websites of individual venues.

THEATER

“The Crucible”

The Little Theatre, thelittle.org

On the surface, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is a cautionary tale about the dangers of gossip, finger pointing, and wishing ill on your neighbors. But his play about the Salem Witch Trials was a thinly veiled critique of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee’s communist witch hunts of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The play is a classic that combines a compelling story and characters with sharp social commentary, which has given it an enduring place in America’s literary and theatrical cannon. While there is a blockbuster movie adaptation of “The Crucible,” tonight’s screening is a live performance of the play by the National Theatre. The show starts at 11:30 a.m., and it repeats at 3 p.m. March 12. General admission is $24. JM

MONDAY, MARCH 6

MUSIC Chubby Checker

Falls View Casino and Resort, fallsviewcasinoresort.com

Twist again like you did last summer. And the summer before that. And the summers before that, all the way back to the 1960s. If you want to hear some classic hits from a musician who has been causing a whole lot of shaking since the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, sneak out early this week to catch Chubby Checker at Falls View Casino, where he’ll perform at 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Tickets are $45 and up.

TUESDAY, MARCH 7

COCKTAILS  “Cocktail Master Class”

Daily Refresher, rochesterbrainery.com

This popular East End cocktail bar turns 9 years old and the drinksmiths there want to teach you how to make celebratory cocktails for any party. The two-hour class includes a brief history session on cocktails, a brushup on the proper use of bar tools, and lessons on how to make a pair of drinks you choose from a menu of four. The teachers are Daily Refresher co-founder Cameron M. Phelps and Adrean L. Hayward, who has been training bartenders in the craft of cocktail making for five years. Tickets are $57. Class begins at 6 p.m. DA

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8

MUSIC Chest Fever

Photo City Music Hall, photocitymusichall.com

For lovers of late-’60s classic rock, few bands bask in the cozy haze of adoration and mythos quite like The Band. The multi-talented quintet was named in part for its role as Bob Dylan’s backing band, which began with the notorious “Dylan goes electric” tour in 1966 and flourished during the legendary recording sessions that birthed “The Basement Tapes.” And although annual tribute concerts commemorating The Band’s original-lineup show are commonplace, Chest Fever commits to the music of Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson yearround. Blessed by Robertson himself, the San Diego tribute band returns to Photo City Music Hall with the musicianship, energy — and most importantly, the timeless songs — necessary to do The Band justice. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. DK

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THURSDAY, MARCH 9

MUSIC

Public Water Supply

Abilene Bar & Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com

This crew began as a cover band dedicated to performing songs by the likes of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and other artists who bucked conformist country music. These days, Public Water Supply is playing its own tune — a blend of psychedelic music, up-tempo rock, and classic country twang — and is fresh off the release of a feisty 12-song album. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the music starts at 8. Tickets are $10. DA

FRIDAY, MARCH 10

MUSIC

Sisters of Murphy

Pre-Parade Party

Three Heads Brewing, threeheadsbrewing.com  Nothing quite captures the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Rochester like a rousing set from the Irish rock band Sisters of Murphy. The septet’s annual eve-of-parade show celebrating Celtic music and good times has become a local tradition. With an even balance of original songs and covers of Irish folk tunes, Sisters of Murphy may just inspire you to spill a little on your shoes as you raise your pint to their merry mix of distorted guitars, fiddle reels, and back beats. Expect a sing-along or two when the party doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. DK

MUSIC Ichi-bons

Lux Lounge, facebook.com/ luxlounge666

Plenty of bands put out full-length albums on 12-inch vinyl these days, but it takes a group with deep admiration for ’50s rock ‘n’ roll to release their singles on honest-to-

goodness seven-inch records. That’s exactly what the Toronto-based rockabilly trio Ichi-bons did in 2022 with “Show Me the Ropes” and “Dust of Life,” complete with their grade-A b-sides, “Blue Eyes & Black Hair” and “Can’t Stop Moanin’,” respectively. None of the band’s songs last more than three minutes, but that hasn’t stopped its roadhouse blend of rock, boogie woogie, surf music, and a touch of New Wave from catching people’s attention. The band opened for Jack White last fall, and released its debut EP (as a 45, of course) in February.  The evocations of Chuck Berry and Elvis are impossible to ignore, but Ichi-bons’ energy is fresh. Slick back your pompadours and strap on your dancing shoes when the group rolls into Rochester. The local boys from Televisionaries open the show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5. DK

SATURDAY, MARCH 11

CHILDREN’S THEATER  “Bluey’s Big Play”

Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org

If you’ve got kids under the age of 6, you  know “Bluey,” the animated TV show phenomenon out of Australia. Bluey — a Blue Heeler puppy — along with her dad Bandit, mum Chilli, and little sister Bingo have won over parents and children alike since the show was introduced to American audiences in 2019. The endearing dog family’s use of imagination to play, bond with one another, and learn life’s little coping mechanisms helped to make “Bluey” a smash hit and a winner of an International Emmy Kids award. This stage show with a new storyline makes its way to Auditorium Theatre — complete with full-sized puppets — on March 10 and 11. Saturday showtimes are 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $59. VIP packages are $75. DK

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31 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH 24 CITY MARCH 2023

In the spirit of March Madness, WXXI has created its own bracket for PBS shows. We’re pitting the boys from This Old House against Rick Steves, while Lidia Bastianich goes head-tohead with the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen, NOVA takes on Nature, and so many more.

Join in the fun by voting for your favorite PBS shows with daily match ups March 23 through March 26 on WXXI’s Facebook page. When you participate, you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to win a Google Chromecast. We’ll announce the PBS winner of the bracket and the winner of the drawing on our Facebook page March 27.

INSIDE WXXI PUBLIC MEDIA | WXXI-TV PBS | WXXI NEWS/NPR WXXI CLASSICAL | WRUR-FM 88.5 | THE LITTLE THEATRE
VS. VS. VS. VS. VS. VS. VS. VS.

STAFF PICKS STAFF PICKS

We asked a few staffers what their must-see programs were for March. Here’s what they chose.

My pick is the Elvis Presley: ‘68

Comeback Special on Saturday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m. I love me some Elvis!

Great Performances at the Met: The Hours on Friday, March 17 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

It stars our own Renée Fleming and just finished its run at the Met!

Ireland’s Wild Coast on Saturday March 4 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV. We’re taking a family trip to Ireland this summer to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday, and this documentary will be a great preview of the gorgeous landscapes and wildlife we hope to see.

Fink, TV Programmer Sarah Wolcheski, Digital and On-Air Fundraising Manager Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Kevin Indovino, Producer/Director/Editor Courtesy PBS Courtesy APT

...and more! . ...and more!

Les Misérables: The Staged Concert

Friday, March 3 at 8:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Join the stellar cast for a staged concert of the beloved musical that became a worldwide phenomenon seen by over 120 million people. Featuring an all-star cast including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas and John Owen Jones.

Call the Midwife, Season 12

Sunday, March 19 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

The new season opens in 1968, and the nuns and nurses from Nonnatus House return for more midwifery and family life. The midwives welcome a new nun, Sister Veronica, and tension in Poplar arises following the effects of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech.

Joe Bonamassa: Tales of the Time

Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Enjoy a front row seat to see internationally renowned guitar superstar Joe Bonamassa perform songs from his studio album, “Time Clocks,” filmed at Red Rocks. During the broadcast, you’ll have a chance to register to win an acoustic guitar autographed by Joe.

Joe Bonamassa, Editorial credit: Jason Benz Bennee/Shutterstock.com

Ida B. Wells: American Stories

Monday, March 20 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

There are few historical figures whose life and work speak to the current moment more than Ida B. Wells, the 19th-century crusading investigative journalist, civil rights leader, and passionate suffragist. In the wake of her recent posthumous Pulitzer Prize citation, Chicago street naming, and the release of a revealing new biography by her great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, this hour-long documentary tells her story as never before.

Photo: Les Misérables The Staged Concert Company, Credit: Courtesy of Matt Murphy Photo: Photo: Iconic, Helen George as Nurse Trixie Franklin, Linda Bassett as Nurse, Phyllis Crane, Megan Cusack as Nurse Nancy, Credit: Courtesy of BBC / Neal Street Productions / Ray Burmiston
Visit wxxi.org/tv for the full schedule
Photo: Ida B. Wells, 1893, Provided by APT

Witness: Women’s History Month

Sunday, March 12 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Enjoy remarkable stories of women’s history, told by the women who were there. You’ll hear women organizing and demanding their rights around the world. In Italy, learn about the Wages for Housework campaign. Hear from the French sex workers who went on strike for fairer policing. In Saudi Arabia, meet the women behind the campaign to win the right of women to drive cars. And remember a walk-out staged by geisha in Japan.

Becoming Muslim

Sunday, March 19 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Join Hana Baba (pictured) for personal stories of Americans who chose Islam. Baba also discusses the history of Islam in America with Dr. Edward E. Curtis IV. Uncover a religious history rarely taught and the people who make up the diverse Muslim community in the United States.

Irish Music and the Piano: From Shebeen to Stage

Friday, March 17 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical

Host Andrea Blain takes listeners through the history of the piano in Irish music, featuring recordings by Barry Douglas, John O’Connor, Michael McHale and Ruth McGinley; plus we’ll hear the artists sharing why Irish music is important to them and to classical music in the broader context.

Live from Hochstein

Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., beginning March 22 on WXXI Classical

Live from Hochstein returns for nine weeks of live performances beginning with a celebration of the Nazareth College’s 2nd Women in Music Festival, which highlights the artistry of women composers.

WXXI NEWS/NPR • WRUR-FM 88.5 • WXXI CLASSICAL
Photo: Andrea Blain, Credit: MPR photo/Nate Ryan Credit: Aaron Winters

Q&A

with WXXI’s Rhonda Austin

GOT A BIG DREAM OF PLAYING THE TINY DESK?

Send NPR Music a video of you playing one song behind a desk of your choosing. If you win, you’ll get to play your very own Tiny Desk concert and go on tour with NPR Music.

For complete details, visit tinydeskcontest.npr.org

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

• Create a new video that shows you playing one song you’ve written.

• Do it the way you’d perform a Tiny Desk concert: at a desk. (Any desk!)

• Upload your video to YouTube.

• Fill out our entry form after it opens at 10 a.m. ET on Feb. 7 and before 11:59 p.m. ET on March 13, 2023.

ENTRIES ACCEPTED THRU MARCH 13

Rhonda’s title is Radio Operations Manager, but she says that title is better translated to Traffic Manager. She and her staff work to ensure that the station’s broadcasts run smoothly and that administrative tasks are completed properly and on time.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part is having control of the overall sound of the stations. We control the local breaks with either a program promo, underwriting spot, station promo, or jingle. It takes time each day to move around all the puzzle pieces to make everything sound smooth.

As one of the producers of “Cultural Expressions: Kwanzaa,” which aired on WXXI-TV in December, what was your role?

As Associate Producer, I worked on research and compiling questions for the seven Kwanzaa principles featured with the interviewees, plus handling all administrative tasks, and help designing the sets with props, etc.

Who is one person who inspires you and why?

My mother. She was a woman who always gave to others. She was a foster parent to over 20 children and adopted seven. She worked a full-time job while having the support of my dad and siblings. We had hard rules that have carried us into adulthood that I have instilled in my daughter. She was a battered women’s counselor and stood up for women when no one else would. I’d like to think that I have all her qualities that have made me who I am today – a strong independent, caring and giving person that has empathy and compassion for others.

What are three things you can’t live without?

God, family/friends, and peace of mind. Having a great work-life balance is important to me and that’s where peace of mind comes in.

Monday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. Free screening at The Little

Sunday, March 12 • Tickets at thelittle.org

Join The Little’s staff for a night of celebrating movies and the Oscars, in all their glory! Oscar movie trivia, plenty of prizes, themed snacks, and a hefty dose of (the best kind of) nonsense!

Play pub-style trivia against teams of 1-4 people, competing to win all manner of prizes, including free movie tickets, popcorn, and a PRIVATE SCREENING for you and your friends at The Little!

Munch on all manner of items for sale: Best-Picture-themed snacks; popcorn, candy, and concessions; plus beer and wine!

Stay to watch the Oscar ceremony (free!) and play Oscar bingo to win! Spin the prize wheel during commercial breaks to win posters, merch, and cool movie swag items the studios sent us for this very event!

The number one movie on the 2022 Sight and Sound “Greatest Films of All Time” list, Jeanne Dielman is a singular blend of feminism, modernism, and the avant-garde whose hypnotic rhythms and rigorous attention to detail make for a riveting, unforgettable experience.

“A feminist masterwork of minimalist constraint; a cinematic powerhouse of narrative innuendo: (director) Chantal Akerman’s pièce de résistance. – Todd Haynes

Join WXXI for this Indie Lens Pop-Up presentation of Free Soo Lee, which looks at the rollercoaster life story of Chol Soo Lee, a Korean immigrant wrongfully convicted of murder. It will be followed by a panel discussion.

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations.

240 East Ave thelittle.org Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Oscar Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Trivia Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party! Party!
Party! Party! Party! Party!
Party!
Party!

PARADE

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

East End / Downtown, rochesterparade.com

Rochester’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an homage to all things Irish and green. The wildly popular event, which draws thousands of people downtown each year, really needs no introduction. The spectators come for the pipe and drum bands and the Irish Dancers, but also to cheer on the many groups that march in the procession. And, oh yeah, to drink. For many, the parade is followed by an informal procession to their bars of choice. For them, the Irish have a blessing: “When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven.” The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. this year, but arrive much earlier to get a good spot. JM

SUNDAY, MARCH 12

MUSIC “If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song”

JCC CenterStage, jccrochester.org/arts-culture

After a COVID hiatus, the annual “If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song” challenge returns for a 4 p.m. Sunday show at the JCC CenterStage, 1200 Edgewood Ave. Rochester-area musicians were first asked in 2015 to write a song based on the same title. This year’s title is “What Did I Miss?” More than 80 songs were submitted, a mere 17 made the cut. And most of the musicians this time around are making their first appearance at the event. Tickets are $25 for JCC members, $28 for non-members.

MONDAY, MARCH 13

WINTER RELIEF

Make Your Own Herbal Salve

Rochester Brainery, rochesterbrainery.com

FILM

“Heathers”

The Little Theatre, thelittle.org

There’s a scene in “Heathers” where anti-hero Veronica, played by Winona Ryder, is writing in her journal: “Dear diary: My teen angst bullshit now has a body count.” That’s a pretty good summary of this darkly hilarious 1988 cult classic. Veronica infiltrates a group of popular girls, all named Heather and referred to as “the Heathers,” and decimates it with the aid of J.D., played by teen heartthrob of the era, Christian Slater. They also take out a few of the jocks who orbit the Heathers. The screening, which starts at 8 p.m., is part of the “Saturday Night Rewind” series at The Little. Admission is the standard $11 for nonmembers, $7 for members, seniors, and students. JM

Winter is brutal on the skin. My own hands are a testament to that, wavering between slightly chalky and painfully cracked, depending on recent conditions. But herbal salves can provide relief for sandpaper skin along with other forms of irritations, abrasions, and so on. Samantha Lynn of Wholistic Herbals leads this class, where participants learn how to harvest, dry, and prepare herbs then infuse them into oils. They’ll also get to try their hands at making infusions. The class starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $39. Advanced registration is required. JM

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TUESDAY, MARCH 14

MUSIC Morehouse College Glee Club

Asbury Methodist Church, asburyfirst.org

In its century-plus history, the Morehouse College Glee Club has sung at the Olympics, the Super Bowl, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral, in the soundtrack of Spike Lee movies, and in concerts around the world. This men’s choir from one of the oldest historically Black colleges is bringing a program of heartfelt and inspiring songs to Rochester to benefit Morehouse College’s music programs and scholarships for Rochester-area students. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25. MS

FILM

“The Hateful Eight”

THURSDAY, MARCH 16

SATURDAY, MARCH 18

MUSIC Keller Williams

Water Street Music Hall, waterstreetmusichall.live

THEATER

“Hadestown”

Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org  Long before “Hadestown” became an eight-time Tony Award-winning musical in 2019, singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s rootsy retelling of the Orpheus and Euridice myth had a comparatively humble premiere in 2006 and subsequent New England tour the following year. In 2010, “Hadestown” was committed to record as an epic concept album featuring a murderers’ row of powerhouse indie folk musicians, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Ani DiFranco, Ben Knox Miller of The Low Anthem, and Petra Haden. Two years later, Mitchell met director Rachel Chavkin, and the musical Hadestown was well on its way to successful runs in New York and London. A touring company brings the Broadway hit — complete with Mitchell’s brilliant blend of Americana song traditions — to Rochester Broadway Theatre League, March 14 through 19. Tickets start at $46. DK

The Little Theatre, thelittle.org  At this point in the year, you can’t be blamed for being a bit tired of winter landscapes: but they are made beautiful again in the stunning cinematography of Quentin Tarantino’s contribution to the subgenre of the “snow western.” Even as Tarantino pays homage to the traditions of frontier western films, including a score by the great Ennio Morricone, this movie is also a classic whodunnit mystery (albeit more viscerally violent than “Clue” or the more recent “Knives Out” films) with an excellent ensemble cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, and the delightfully weird Walton Goggins. The movie starts at 7 p.m. and runs just shy of three hours.

MS

THEATER

“I’m Not A Comedian … I’m Lenny Bruce”

JCC CenterStage, jccrochester.org

Ronnie Marmo wrote and stars in this bioplay that retraces the life and death of the legendary and provocative shock humorist Lenny Bruce, who pushed the boundaries of free fucking speech all the way to the Supreme Fucking Court. Marmo brings his creation to Rochester following acclaimed runs in Chicago and Los Angeles. Directed by the award-winning actor and director Joe Mantegna, this show is a limited run of five performances here through March 19. The curtain rises tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $20 for students, $35 for JCC members, and $40 for non-members. DA

MUSIC Journey: Freedom Tour 2023

KeyBank Center, Buffalo; journeymusic.com

Journey has been one of popular music’s most polarizing bands for five decades. The mere mention of the group’s name sparks the strongest of opinions on either side. Whether you find Journey’s anthemic, heart-on-the-sleeve brand of soft rock excessive or evergreen, there’s no denying its staying power. Iconic vocalist Steve Perry never returned to the group after his departure in 1987, but current lead singer Arnel Pineda has been picking up the slack since the band discovered him on YouTube in 2007. The band maintains its authenticity with the leadership of founding member and lead guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain — who joined the band just prior to its early’80s pinnacle with the now-ubiquitous hits “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Open Arms.” Fans who shuffle off to Buffalo for the band’s 50th anniversary tour with supporting act Toto will hear a mix of classics and songs from Journey’s 16th studio album, “Freedom.”  Tickets start at $62. DK

FRIDAY, MARCH 17

MUSIC Red Devil Ryders

Lux Lounge, lux666.com

On a holiday often reserved for imbibing, it is perhaps fitting that these rockers from Cleveland are playing a set from their latest album called “Pour Me Another.” Much of the music on the album was inspired by what they heard on the road while touring — power pop, classic country, hard rock, and folk favorites. Music starts at 10 p.m. Cover is $5. DA

Not to be confused with the realty company of the same name, the singer-songwriter and musical chameleon Keller Williams has been delighting live audiences — particularly the cannabis-loving variety — for more than 20 years. Filled to the brim with fun-loving tunes such as “Freeker by the Speaker” and “Doobie in My Pocket,” Williams is a multiinstrumentalist with serious chops and an effortless ability to navigate rock, jam music, folk, bluegrass, reggae, and more. This show is fixin’ to be an instant classic. Concertgoers under 16 are permitted with a parent or legal guardian. Tickets are $37. DK

SUGAR RUSH

Maple Sugar Festival

Genesee Country Village & Museum, gcv.org

As winter releases its frigid grip on the sap stored in maple trees, Genesee Country Village & Museum celebrates its annual Maple Sugar Festival. Visitors start at the museum’s Sugarhouse then pass through a 19th century “sugar camp” to see all of the tools and techniques early settlers used to harvest the raw sap and convert it to maple sugar. Spoiler alert: making maple sugar and syrup involves a lot of work for a relatively small output, but the end product is better than anything Mrs. Butterworth bottles. The festival starts today and continues on March 19, 25, and 26. Tickets are on sale ahead of the event. JM

31 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH 32 CITY MARCH 2023
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15

SUNDAY, MARCH 19

TUESDAY, MARCH 21

HOCKEY Rochester Americans vs. Syracuse Crunch

Blue Cross Arena, amerks.com

MUSIC, PHOTOGRAPHY

“Lead Me Home”

ArtisanWorks, fivebyfivemusic.com

What does Rochester mean to you?

Musical group fivebyfive is inviting reflections on this place we call home in the funky-casual setting of Artisan Works, with music by contemporary composers Sarah Kirkland Snider, Kari Telstad Sundet, Diego Garcia, Brittany Green, and Michael Gilbertson. The music will be paired with images of Rochester, including photographs by Richard Colón. Writer Maria Brandt leads the audience in a meditative exploration about experiences with Rochester. Tickets are $20, or $10 for students or those with low income. MS

MONDAY, MARCH 20

DO YOUR WORST

Bad Art Night

Greece Public Library, greecepubliclibrary.org

You don’t have to be good at making art to enjoy doing it. That’s what makes this event so great. It’s a chance for people to tap into the fun and cathartic pursuit of creating for the sake of it. The folks at the Greece Public Library invite anyone 13 or older to celebrate the “mediocre and terrible.” If you’re worried about whether you can cut it making bad art, the library staff encourages you to go for it. “No artistic talent? No problem!” they say. They also promise that the worst art will win a tacky prize. Bad Art Night starts at 6 p.m. and advanced registration is required. JM

It’s not just any old Tuesday game. It’s a Thruway throwdown. The Amerks are fighting for a playoff spot, and a dub means that much more when it’s against a regional rival. Check out future Buffalo Sabres in-themaking like Isak Rosen, Jiri Kulich, and Aleksandr Kisakov. There’s just something really satisfying about being able to say, “I saw him play when he was in Rochester.” The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Tickets start at $20. DK

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22

THEATER “We Are Continuous”

Geva Theatre Center, gevatheatre.org  Geva calls this one-act play about a teenage boy coming to terms with his homosexuality “a tender, heartbreaking, and hopeful story about how people change and how love evolves.” The show premiered last year at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts to solid reviews and was written by Geva’s Playwright-in-Residence Harrison David Rivers, who notes in the playbill that the work is autobiographical. “We Are Continuous” opens tonight at 7 p.m. on the Fielding Stage and plays through April 9. Tickets are $42. DA

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MUSIC Kosha Dillz

Abilene Bar & Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com

Abilene is not your typical hip-hop venue. Then again, New York City rapper Rami Even-Esh isn’t your typical hip-hop artist. Spittin’ bars under the moniker Kosha Dillz, he comes at you like he’s strait outta Crown Heights. Kosha Dillz literally wears his Judaism on his sleeve, as well as on his forehead — as evidenced by the tefillin (the small leather boxes containing Torah passages) he dons in the video for his Kanye West diss track “Death Con 3.” When he isn’t putting anti-Semites on blast, his rhymes alternate between calls for love and unity (“Rise Up”) and tongue-in-cheek gems like “Ten Bagel Commandments” and “Schmoozin’ (the 2021 Hannukah Song).” At first glance, Kosha Dillz may seem like gimmicky schtick, but the rapper’s flow is for real. Local support from rappers Benny Beyond and Brandon EvWhite means this lineup is stacked. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the fresh beats drop at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20$25. DK

THURSDAY, MARCH 23

CRAFTS

“Whiskey and Woodburning”

The Lake House on Canandaigua, lakehousecanandaigua.com  Wood plays a vital role in whiskeymaking. The length of time the distilled juice sits in a barrel determines its color, complexity, and basic flavor. So woodburning seems like an appropriate activity to pair with your pour. Every Thursday from 3-4:30 p.m., The Lake House on Canandaigua offers Whiskey and Woodburning, where for $65 you’ll get a flight of house-selected whiskeys along with the materials

and instruction you need to try your hand at woodburning. Advanced registration is required and can be done at eventbrite.com. JM

FRIDAY, MARCH 24  NIGHTLIFE

“Depeche Mode vs. New Order Dance Party”

Bug Jar, bugjar.com

First things first, you have not stepped into a time warp. But this 21-and-up event does bill itself as “all Depeche Mode and New Order all night.”

That’s a great pairing. Depeche Mode’s synthpop is dark and sullen (for a world-famous pop band anyway) but extremely catchy, while New Order’s danceable post-punk and melancholy lyrics are much more shimmery. This dance party is being put on by Transmission, which is also the title of a song by Joy Division, the band that morphed into New Order following frontman Ian Curtis’s death by suicide in 1980. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $5. JM

THEATER

“Once on this Island”

Blackfriars Theatre, blackfriars.org

Like all fables, this musical set in the French Antilles has a very simple outline: A peasant girl from one clan falls for a boy from another clan. But in this story, racism and class prejudice complicate matters for these two starcrossed lovers. The girl is “black as night” and the boy is of the “grand hommes,” with their “pale brown skin.” The musical is based on Rosa Guy’s novel “My Love, My Love,” and was first staged on Broadway in 1990, although it has enjoyed successful revivals. The New York Times called the Carribean-influenced score “relentlessly grabby and emotional.”

31 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH 34 CITY MARCH 2023

The show opens tonight at 8 p.m. and plays through April 8. Tickets range from $34 to $40. DA

MUSIC Mozart’s Requiem

Hochstein Performance Hall, rossings.org

In the wake of the pandemic, the idea of a large choral concert still seems like a dream. But the Rochester Oratorio Society, led by Artistic Director Eric Townell, makes the dream a reality with Mozart’s savagely beautiful Requiem. While the circumstances surrounding the composition of the Requiem were embellished in the film “Amadeus,” there’s no denying the enduring resonance of the piece, which alternates between the severe and the sublime. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Student and senior tickets are $15; regular admission is $25. DK

SATURDAY, MARCH 25

runner-up in the hugely popular vocal competition “American Idol,” but the country-pop artist’s talent is far from a flash in the pan. Over the course of four full-length albums, including last year’s “HitchHiker,” Bowersox has wowed listeners with her bittersweet tone, earnest delivery, and undeniable vocal strength. Bowersox is a singer comfortable navigating between folk, rock, soul, and country. And she couldn’t ask for a better supporting act than Rochester’s own Teagan Ward. The music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $23. DK

MUSIC Desmond Jones does Radiohead

Flour City Station, flourcitystation.com  Desmond Jones isn’t a person, but rather a group of five Michiganders specializing in the kind of groovebased rock and feel-good party music that’s impossible to resist. If that’s all there was to Desmond Jones, a jam-happy band adept at classic rock, funk, and math rock, that would be enough. But when the band rolls into town, it will be performing two sets — one devoted to originals and one committed exclusively to the music of Radiohead. Of all the acts to pay tribute to, Radiohead and all its heady art rock might be the most difficult. Doors for the 21-and-over show are at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. DK

MUSIC

“The Blues Is Alright Tour”

Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org

This annual tribute to the blues returns to Rochester with a phenomenal lineup that includes Calvin Richardson, King George, Pokey Bear, Nellie Tiger Travis, Lenny Williams, and Theodis Ealey. Calling this three-hour show a “blues” revue is a bit of misnomer. The concert is heavily infused with soul, gospel, and jazz, in addition to blues. Tickets range from $62 to $128. The music starts at 7 p.m. DA

MUSIC Crystal Bowersox

Smokin’ Hot Chicks BBQ, smokinhotchicksbbq.com

Nashville singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox may be best known as 2010

SUNDAY, MARCH 26  MUSIC Rochester Metal Night

Photo City Music Hall, photocitymusichall.com

Sundays are synonymous with reflection, quietude, and recharging. But the bands on this bill say day of rest be damned. Eternal Crypt’s epic black metal will ease your descent into the dark, In the Shadows of Giants will entrance you with its death metal and prog metal blend, Goron will bring down the full weight of its Sleep-tinged doom, and Shepherd of Rot will pulverize listeners with its riff-heavy deathcore. Doors are at 6 p.m. Admission is $11. JM

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MONDAY, MARCH 27

ROCK STARS

“The Rocks that Built Rochester”

CRISP Rochester, 819 S. Clinton Ave., rochesterbrainery.com

Rochester has some truly unique architecture, but cobblestone structures are one of the few styles the region gets to claim almost entirely for itself. According to the description for this event, 90 percent of the country’s cobblestone structures are located within 75 miles of Rochester. They were built with rounded stones deposited by glaciers in the sandy soils north of Ridge Road. The region has some other famous stones too, including the red Medina sandstone used in buildings as divergent as Christ Church on East Avenue and part of Buckingham Palace. For this class, Caitlin Mieves, Tyler Lucero, and Christopher Brant from the Young Urban Preservationists will discuss how the region’s natural history yielded the stone used to construct

some of our most treasured landmarks and how those materials influence present-day preservation. The class begins at 7 p.m. and costs $22. JM

TUESDAY, MARCH 28

MUSIC Christian McBride’s New Jawn

The Smith Opera House, thesmith.org  For those who can’t wait until June for the Rochester International Jazz Festival to arrive, nearby Geneva kicks off its own festivities beginning

on March 23 with the inaugural Scott LaFaro Geneva Jazz Festival. Named for the Geneva native and groundbreaking jazz bassist who worked with Stan Getz and Bill Evans, the festival concludes on March 28 with the Scott LaFaro Day Celebration concert at the Smith Opera House, featuring the singular jazz bassist Christian McBride and his project New Jawn. McBride puts his own spin on cool jazz, and Geneva plants its own jazz fest flag in the ground. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35$56. DK

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29

FILM

“A Wrinkle in Time”

Dryden Theatre, eastman.org

At its heart, “A Wrinkle in Time” is about a sister and brother who are trying to find their missing father, a physicist researching tesseracts. But they get some help from three supernatural beings, one played by Oprah and the others by Reese

Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling.

It’s a Disney fantasy so the kids get life lessons on all kinds of things, including loss. Critic Roger Ebert got it. “It’s a gentle fantasy,” he wrote, “seemingly pitched at younger children, that would rather take people by the hand than punch them on the shoulder, and that’s a good thing; in fact, it’s the wellspring of the movie’s best qualities.” You can catch those ‘best qualities’ on the big screen at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $11 for nonmembers, $7 for Eastman Museum members, and $5 for children. People with SNAP or EBT cards, along with their families, get in free. JM

THURSDAY, MARCH 30

MUSIC Son House

Blues Night

Record Archive, recordarchive.com

From the rocky bottom delta of the Genesee River, Genesee Johnny hosts this monthly two-hour tribute

36 CITY MARCH 2023
THANK YOU ROCHESTER! VOTED ‘BEST MECHANIC’ BEST OF ROCHESTER 31 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

to the legendary Delta Blues man Son House, who inspired the likes of Charlie Patton, Willie Brown, and Muddy Waters before he was discovered living in obscurity in Rochester and launched a second career as a touring artist. Beer, wine, pizza, and live music are nothing to cry the blues about. The night begins at 6 p.m. DA

FRIDAY,

MARCH 31

MUSIC

Womba Africa

Drumming & Dance

Lux Lounge, lux666.com

Originally from Ghana, the drum and dance ensemble Womba Africa was founded in 2016 by Fredrick Quaye Odai. And although the traditional group came to the United States in part to audition for the show “America’s Got Talent,” the members of the group have become an important part of the Rochester community. Womba brings its dynamic performance sensibility and irrepressible energy to an unlikely venue in Lux. I’m not sure exactly what happens when you put lively African drumming in a crowded, noisy dive bar on a Friday night, but it certainly won’t be boring. The performance starts at 10 p.m. and admission is $5. DK

FOOD

COMEDY

“Royal Comedy Tour 2023”

Auditorium Theatre, rbtl.org

This tour showcases decades of stand-up comedy bona fides with the likes of Sommore, Bruce Bruce, Lavell Crawford, and Special K. The performers are mainstays of television and film, regularly appearing on shows on BET, Comedy Central, and Showtime, and they’re in town for one night only. Tickets range from $62 to $128. The laughs start rolling at 8 p.m. DA

BASEBALL

Red Wings Home Opener

Innovative Field, milb.com/rochester

The Red Wings open their season at home much earlier than usual this year. But here’s the good news if you go: you’re likely to squeeze a free game out of the club on another day. General Manager Dan Mason typically “guarantees” a temperature of 50 degrees on Opening Day in exchange for a free ticket to a future game if he’s wrong. And he’s wrong a lot. The Red Wings take on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs at 4:05 p.m. DA

“The Secret Ingredient: A Benefit for The Commissary”

Sibley Square, rochestercommissary.org

Opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant is expensive and risky, so many small food businesses get their start in commissary kitchens, where they can cook and bake without the overhead of a restaurant and staff. The Commissary, a nonprofit food hub in the Mercantile on Main in Sibley Square, has been the incubator for several eateries that have graduated from this timeshare kitchen model to their own spot. You can get to know The Commissary and help the space raise funds for its operations tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. Attendees can tour the kitchen, meet the current member businesses, sample food and drink, witness live demos, and listen to DJ Sweetheart spin vinyl. Tickets start at $55. RR

CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS

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38 CITY MARCH 2023 LIFE
Bill Bellman, known as “Wildlife Bill,” is a certified wildlife rehabilitator who says he took in over 500 wild animals last year. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

RANDOM ROCHESTER

His Greece home is a hospital for opossums to porcupines. THEY CALL HIM ‘WILDLIFE BILL’

Perhaps the most striking thing about the outside of Bill Bellman’s home in Greece to anyone who knows what waits inside is the ordinariness of it.

The quaint, baby blue ranch he shares with his wife, Veronica, looks like a typical home in a typical American suburb. The garage is slightly cluttered, the way most are, with shovels, rakes, and tools hanging on the wall. Yet, in the air lingers a distinctive, seemingly out of place odor of musk, the kind one might expect walking through a zoo on a warm summer’s day.

The source of the odor lies behind a door at the rear of the garage that opens into a literal wild kingdom: about 300 square feet of space housing cages holding wild animals, each of them on the mend.

There are two screech owls, each blinded in one eye. There is a wounded pigeon. A pair of opossums infected with a species-specific disease recover nearby. There is a duck with seemingly nothing physically wrong with it, except that it refuses to fly.

“You can’t turn down something that’s hurt,” Bellman said. “It needs help, and none of these guys know they need help.”

For more than a decade, Bellman has been a state Department of Environmental Conservation-licensed wildlife rehabilitator whose dedication to the volunteer pursuit has earned him the nickname “Wildlife Bill” among people who have turned to him for help.

In the past year, Bellman said, he took in over 500 injured animals and was able to release about half of them back into the wild.

A SECOND CHANCE

Bellman, a Kodak retiree and grandfather, got his start working with animals as a volunteer with Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets (GRASP).

But it was a faceoff with his own mortality about 12 years ago that moved him to dedicate his life to animals.

Shortly after getting certified by the state, Bellman was diagnosed with a form of gastro-esophageal cancer. The outlook wasn’t good — he said his chances of surviving were about 30 percent at the time. His wildlife work was sidelined for about a year as he underwent treatment.

Bellman’s health eventually improved, though, and he attacked his wildlife work with a newfound devotion.

“I got a second chance at life, and I’m giving it to the animals,” Bellman said.

Bellman is a tall, slender man in his early 70s whose bright blue eyes light up when he talks about the animals he has tended to at his home.

He recalled his most unusual boarder as being a porcupine with an injured tail that he picked up near a Wegmans in Brockport after someone called him for help. Another unique guest was an injured bald eagle Bellman captured in Riga that gave him a shiner in the process.

“He tried to take off again, landed in a tree, and then landed in a bush, so I covered his head up with a net, because, you know, they can poke right into your skull and their talons are as big as your hand,” Bellman said. “And I reach for them, and he comes back with his left wing, and I got pictures of my black eye, just like a hammer, boom!”

Bellman’s backyard is fitted with a makeshift aviary for larger birds, as well as dozens of additional cages and traps. During its stay, the eagle received pro bono medical care at Churchville Animal Hospital and was eventually released into the wild.

Rick Parsons is the veterinarian who looked after the eagle. He described Bellman as a “fun, goofy guy” who is dedicated to the animals.

Laurie Case (left) has been Bellman’s assistant for three years. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH
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CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

“I look at it like, this is my profession, and even I don’t like to take calls when I’m off duty,” Parsons said. “These (rehabilitators) are always taking calls, they’re ready in the middle of the night to go pick up an animal.”

On every wall of Bellman’s workshop are photos of his favorite animals. There was the brain-damaged gray fox who made friends with a chicken, his natural prey. There was the oversized opossum Bellman tried in vain to walk using a harness.

Then there was “Princess,” a kindly female fox that Bellman had hoped would become a training animal.

Bellman does not typically name the animals that come to him, but Princess was a special creature. He keeps a photo on the wall of Princess taking a marshmallow out of his mouth.

“That’s how much I trusted her,” Bellman said.

His partner in animal care, Laurie Case, recalled how well behaved Princess was.

“She’d sit there and watch us clean and the door would be open,” Case said.

Princess became a beloved fixture around the workshop, and visitors from animal control would often bring her toys. One day, the story goes, Bellman found the toys strewn about the lawn. The next day, they were scattered even farther out.

It turned out that Princess had her eye on a male and she was working to lure him in. Eventually, the little vixen ran off with her tod.

“I mean, that’s good, she found a boyfriend, but you worry about how she’s going to be,” Bellman said, his voice cracking a bit. “But you can’t do that, it’s a wild animal.”

‘YOU CAN’T SAVE THEM ALL’

Inside the workshop, a gray screech owl swoops around, drifting silently from perch to perch as Bellman regales guests with stories of his animal adventures.

Though blind in its left eye, the owl was ready to make its way back into the wild, a moment Bellman cherished and counted as a job well done.

But not every case has a cheery outcome.

About half the animals Bellman takes in are too far gone to save. In those cases, he euthanizes them using carbon dioxide, a method considered one of the most humane ways to put down animals.

Their remains are either buried in his yard or discarded in the trash.

“They don’t come in on vacation, there’s always something wrong,” Bellman said. “I have to euthanize sometimes, it’s just something you need to do.”

Bellman is one of 14 certified wildlife rehabilitators in Monroe County, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. He is one of two whom the DEC lists as taking in birds.

Bellman has been able to split a lot of his duties with Case, whom he calls his “rehab wife.” He started working with Case three years ago, when she brought him an injured woodchuck.

“At this point, I know what he’s thinking before he even says it,” Case said.

Bellman said he’ll take in just about any animal, except for those known for being rabies vectors, such as raccoons, bats, and skunks.

Mike Wasilco, the DEC’s regional wildlife manager for the Finger Lakes, said rehabbers like Bellman play only a minor role in conservation efforts. Most of the animals they take in are common and nature would move on if they didn’t survive their illness or injury, Wasilco said.

But, he added, rehabbers reflect what he called the “human aspect” of wildlife work.

“It provides an outlet where when someone calls in that they found a baby rabbit, or their dog found a nest of baby rabbits, or the fawn that the doe is dead on the side of the road after it got hit by a car and the fawn’s standing over it,” Wasilco said. “Those baby animals would die if left in the wild, and the population wouldn’t be negatively impacted. But the humans that are involved that come across it, they feel a lot of compassion for these animals, and the rehabilitators take those animals in and see if anything can be done.”

Bellman has been bitten and scratched more times than he can count. He funds his work out of his own pocket, with some support from donors to his GoFundMe account.

Meanwhile, the pursuit eats up just about all of his free time. His morning routine with his animal wards takes about three hours.

When asked what it would take for him to retire from rehabilitating, Bellman smiled.

“My wife asks me all the time, ‘When are you going to stop doing it?’” Bellman said. “I tell her, ‘I’ll keep doing it until the day after I die.’”

40 CITY MARCH 2023
About half of the animals Bellman takes in are released back into the wild. This screech owl was blinded in one eye, and is working its way back to health. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH This duck has nothing physically wrong with it, but just refuses to fly. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
LIFE
Karen St. Aubin is the director of operations for the city’s Department of Environmental Services.
42 CITY MARCH 2023
PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON

THE BOSS OF SNOW AND SALT

Rochester has a winter storm playbook. Karen St. Aubin is the person who holds it.

If you live in Rochester year-round and you like to get around, thank Karen

She’s the Director of Operations for the City of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services, and for nearly a decade she’s been the woman calling the shots regarding snow removal and the salting of icy streets, as well as many other year-round responsibilities involved in maintaining the city’s roads and sidewalks.

Anyone whose line of work has them paying close attention to the capriciousness of the weather tends to speak about the forces of nature like a formidable foe. And on one particularly freezing January day, St. Aubin sounded like a general holed up in the Situation Room — which would be her office at the city’s Operation Center on Mt. Read Blvd.

“I have a playbook for everything,” she said. “We’re very methodical, we have a plan for every issue that occurs. You never want to let the storm get ahead of you.”

She releases the plow teams that remove snow from approximately 530 miles of roadway and 1,150 lane miles. She handles the city’s annual budget for salt, which can be as much as $1 million, depending on the severity of snow events. She makes the decisions about when to call in subcontractors to assist the city fleet, and when the collection of refuse and recycling needs to be delayed. That delay has happened just once this winter, due to unseasonably warm weather.

“Conditions change, and we just adapt,” St. Aubin said. “And we don’t go home. That’s what I tell everybody. We’re not going home.”

St. Aubin recalled once working out of her office for 28 hours straight while managing her team through a storm.

“We watch everything electronically so we know where there could be a challenge,” St. Aubin said. “We also work with 311 — if they’re getting particular calls in a certain

area, we respond to the problems.”

Rochesterians like to say there are two seasons: snow and construction. That means the DES director of ops wears more than one hat.

“I’m responsible for a group of about 250 people, closer to 300 in the summer,” St. Aubin said. “We take care of a lot of the city services. …Special Services takes care of all the set up and teardown of every festival, every party, every everything that goes on in the summertime. All the street sweeping that goes on.”

In addition to personnel, there are more than 150 pieces of equipment that St. Aubin oversees — equipment put into action when snow removal is required.

“When heavy snow falls, if you have a blade, it’s down,” she said.

But even during relatively temperate winter seasons like the current one, there’s a level of vigilance that needs to be in place. Our local lakes complicate already complicated weather patterns, and storm systems appear out of thin air. Today, the birds may be chirping cheerfully in the sun, but within a few days Rochester could

get a blizzard. So St. Aubin’s office is poised throughout the season.

“We’re the first responders for the first responders,” she said. “We have to keep everything clear so medical can get through, so that fire — any emergency — can get through the streets. And we take that very seriously.”

St. Aubin’s work in emergency response runs deep. She got her start in civil service in the late 1970s as an emergency telephone operator for the Rochester Police Department.

“You would take the call — and that’s what I did — and if it was an emergency it would be handwritten on one color card, and if it was a routine, it went on another,” she said. “And then it had a track that drove into the dispatch, they’d dispatch that out.”

She moved through a few other civil service posts before landing in the Water Bureau.

“And in 1988, they made me into management, which was unheard of back then,” she said. “There weren’t any females, let alone females in management.”

But St. Aubin describes her work

with an enthusiasm that suggests she has fun taking charge amidst chaos and proud of the people she oversees.

“Each team wants their route to be the best,” she said. “They take a lot of pride in what they do. They can really move a mountain.”

St. Aubin’s office also oversees the new collaboration between the city, Regional Transit Services, and Center for Employment Opportunities to make sure bus shelters are shoveled out and accessible.

There are, of course, ways that city residents can help during emergency situations.

“Rochester has a high percentage of streets with on-street parking,” St. Aubin said. “When heavy snow falls, give plows room on the roads, or stay in if you can while we deal with the mess.”

It also helps the plow teams if residents pay attention to where they’re parked.

“One car out of place can really mess up a block,” St. Aubin said.

PUBLIC LIVES
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Managing Rochester’s winter response is serious business. Karen St. Aubin leads a fleet of about 250 people and 150 pieces of equipment. The city’s annual budget for road salt can be as much as $1 million, depending on the severity of storms. PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON

IRISH GOODBYE

Thought to be Rochester’s longest family-run Irish pub, McGinnity’s looks for a buyer.

Nearly 50 years ago, James “Seamus” McGinnity set out to recreate a piece of his homeland on West Ridge Road.

Seamus, with his wife Bridget “Bridie” McGinnity, opened McGinnity’s Restaurant in 1975 in a former linoleum and tile shop, whose distinctive peaked roofing and white siding looked as if an Irish cottage were air-dropped from the Erin countryside onto Route 104.

But it became an honest-to-God Irish bar and a family affair. Their four children — Maggie, Jimmy, John, and Kevin — became built-in staff when they came of age. During the heyday of Kodak, the bar stools were routinely occupied by laborers unwinding with a post-work pint.

One of the stools was reserved for Seamus, who could often be found bellied up to his own bar after a day’s work. The wall beside it is plastered with a collage of union stickers, a testament to his 32-year career as a union electrician with IBEW Local 86. A portrait of Seamus hangs prominently in the center.

Seamus died in 2007 and left the bar to Bridie in his will, with the request that she keep it running.

She did. Until now.

Recently, Bridie put McGinnity’s up for sale at an asking price of $500,000, and now waits to close the book on what is believed to be the longest family-run Irish bar in Rochester.

“I’m going to be 85 next month, I’m too old for this business,” Bridie said,

sitting at a table inside the dimly-lit barroom. “I want out. My health is good, I want to be able to do other things.”

Selling the place was a decision she had been mulling over for months, she said. Then came the new year, and with that, the chance to turn over a new leaf and spend more time with her six great-grandchildren.

The industry is changing, and Bridie, who keeps all of the books for the bar, wants nothing to do with social media and all of the other modern technology necessary to run a bar nowadays.

“This technology, it’s way above me,” she said. “Every day it’s something new, and you gotta do it on that damn computer.”

Bridie’s daughter, Maggie McGinnity-

Fitzgibbon, grew up in the bar alongside her brothers. The idea was floated that she or her siblings could buy the place, but they, too, chose to let it go “Dad willed the business to mom, and we support her and do what she asked of us,” McGinnity-Fitzgibbon said.

“This is her ultimate decision and this is what she wanted to do, and we support her 100 percent.”

Save for a “Dragon’s Ascent” video arcade machine and some updates to the taplist, McGinnity’s is about the same as it was in the 1970s, if not a little worse for wear. The black leather bar stools are well-creased. Many of the tables wobble. The hardwood floor of the party room, a large addition built onto the back of the bar where McGinnity-Fitzgibbon had

44 CITY MARCH 2023 LIFE WHAT ALES ME
Bridie McGinnity and her daughter, Maggie McGinnity-Fitzgibbon. Bridie is looking to sell the namesake bar that the family has run since 1975. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

her wedding reception in 1986, still bears subtle burn marks from a 2005 fire.

It’s a place that’s been lived in, where debates were held, plans were hatched, friendships were born, fights ensued, and countless beers were guzzled over the years.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, the regular crowd trickled in. A cast of characters, almost all of whom seemed to be on a first-name basis.

Conversation undulated in an endless din between politics, sports, work, and family. Among the topics were the Washington Redskins changing their name to the Commanders and whether one regular would be more sympathetic to Donald Trump if he were a Bills fan.

For the long-timers, McGinnity’s is more than a bar. It’s a community hub, a family.

For Carrie Hayes, it’s home. Hayes, a preschool teacher by trade, began picking up shifts at McGinnity’s about five years ago. She said she was in the midst of some personal trauma, and the community at McGinnity’s, and particularly Bridie, made her feel whole.

“I just cherish her,” Hayes said. “She runs a tough ship, and she expects the best of you.”

Hayes said she’ll mourn the bar after it changes hands, but that she’s willing to let go if it’s what’s best for Bridie, a woman she describes as one of the hardest workers she’s ever met.

“I have to remember, this had to be the hardest decision of her life,” Hayes said.  “She deserves this time.”

Rich McMann feels the same. The McGinnitys have been a part of McMann’s life for 40 years, ever since  his father, Lee, opened a collision shop behind the bar. McMann was 10 then, and even now Bridie still calls him “Lee’s boy.”

“I remember when Seamus died, it was one of the few times my father called me out of the blue,” McMann said. “Seamus would give you the skin off his back if he could, and if you needed it. He was that kind of person.”

McMann no longer drinks, but still pulls up to McGinnity’s often.

“I still just enjoy coming here,” McMann said. “You meet all different people, I just met a guy from Michigan. And there’s also the age disparity. You get guys in their 30s, and the people in their 80s that have been coming since the beginning.”

The memories built over the years are tender to McGinnity-Fitzgibbon. When telling a story of the first St. Patrick’s Day her daughters worked the bar, she stopped abruptly, bursting into tears.

“They were beside themselves excited, and my dad took my oldest by the arm and walked her around saying, ‘This is my granddaughter,’” she said, wiping away tears. “It was just really special.”

On the bar top in front of Seamus’s bar stool is a metal placard honoring his memory.

With the bar up for sale comes everything in it, save for whatever trinkets and mementos the McGinnitys take with them. It’s a turnkey operation for

someone looking to open their own bar, but there’s no stipulation in the sale of it staying McGinnity’s Restaurant, or even a bar for that matter.

McGinnity-Fitzgibbon said she had a lot of ideas of what she hopes the bar will become under new ownership, and that some of the history of the bar could be kept alive.

But Bridie said she’s ready to fully let go, and when the time comes to hand over the deed, she  will deliver it with a simple salutation: “Good luck.”

“I don’t have thoughts, whoever buys it, I wish them luck, do whatever they want to do,” she said. “My feeling is like when you give somebody a gift, you don’t tell somebody what they have

to do with it. It’s the same when you’re selling something.”

For now, the McGinnitys are preparing for what could be the final St. Patrick’s Day at the bar. Until a sale goes through, it’s business as usual. Regulars still belly up to the bar, made from a repurposed piece of gymnasium flooring from the old Edison Tech High School. The party room is still booked several times a week.

Bridie, like she has for decades, will keep the operation moving until the last pint is poured.

“You know,” she said, “it’s like this: once you start doing it, it becomes your job, so you just do it.”

CITY 45 roccitynews.com
McGinnity’s distinctive exterior suggests an Irish cottage was air-dropped from the Erin countryside onto Route 104. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH The late Seamus McGinnity was a lifetime laborer with IBEW Local 86. His portrait is front and center in a collage of union stickers on a wall next to his favorite bar stool. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Jose Guevara, whose family has run several of the most popular Mexican restaurants in the region, just opened a new restaurant at 425 Merchants Road in the North Winton neighborhood. But the owner-chef wants you to know that service may take a while.

“Good food takes time,” Guevara said. “And good food is slow food. I’m not just opening up a bag, just nuking stuff. I feel like a lot of people undervalue what real Mexican food is.”

Tavo’s Antojitos y Tequila, named for

Guevara’s late father Gustavo Guevara, opened quietly on Feb. 1 in the space that Italian joint Lucca Kitchen & Cocktails left last summer. In its first few weeks, Tavo’s has had steady business, mostly from word-of-mouth,

which Guevara says is what the staff can currently handle.

There’s no website and barely a social media presence. There’s no sign on the door. Only a tell-tale sugar skull in a rainbow of neon lights can be seen in the front window.

Guevara is the sole chef on staff, though he gets some help cooking from his youngest brother, Miguel. Everything is made in-house from scratch, from the green mole to the blue corn tortillas and the pozole rojo, a warming, hearty guajillo chile broth

with pork, hominy maize, and a bright combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices ($15).

46 CITY MARCH 2023 LIFE EATS
THAT’S WORTH THE
MEXICAN
WAIT
Tavo’s brings authentic Mexican fare to North Winton. Just don’t come hangry.
Tavo’s Antojitos y Tequila features authentic Mexican food drawn from the menu of now-closed Sodus restaurant El Rincón Mexicano. PHOTOS BY JACOB WALSH
TAVO’S ANTOJITOS Y TEQUILA 425 MERCHANTS ROAD 585-312-6683 11 A.M. TO 10 P.M. WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY

The menu at Tavo’s has a variety of tacos, chalupas, enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas. But it also features items you’re not going to find at other Mexican restaurants in Rochester. In addition to the two kinds of pozole, there’s the huarache, an appetizer of grilled corn masa topped with refried pinto beans, a choice of meat (pollo, carnitas, or barbacoa), greens, salsa, crema, cotija cheese, and cilantro ($12).

There’s also a mini menu of mariscos, different preparations of shrimp sauteed with peppers, vegetables, herbs, and different flavor accents — tequila and citrus, garlic butter, spicy tomato broth — served over chili-lime white rice ($18-$25).

“Not a lot of people think about Mexican food and seafood, but we’re surrounded by two huge coasts,” Guevara said. “And especially in Puerto Vallarta, which is where my mom’s family is from.”

Guevara knows what he likes, and what he likes is his mother’s food. The menu at Tavo’s is nearly identical to the menu from his mom’s restaurant, El RincÓn Mexicano, which opened in Sodus in 1991 and became a cateringonly business in the fall of 2022.

The Guevara family’s origins as regional restaurant royalty is deeply entwined with the growth of Mexican culture and community in Sodus. Guevara spent some of his childhood years out west and in Mexico, but relocated to the Rochester region when his father’s electrical engineering job with Xerox brought the family here in the 1980s.

Lonely for other Mexicans, Guevara’s parents encountered a large migrant

chow ound

BITE-SIZED NEWS

A new breakfast and brunch joint, Amberly’s Eatery opened in the South Wedge in 2022 at 489 South Ave., a spot that formerly housed Bubby’s BBQ and John’s Tex Mex. It’s a small space, and the staff requests reservations for parties of five or more. The breakfast and brunch basics aren’t too flashy — coffee, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and a variety of eggs Benedict platters — but they’re beautifully done. If you like crispy hashbrowns, this is your spot. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday. amberlyseatery.com

Aş Evi Turkish Cuisine in February opened a new restaurant and bakery in Henrietta at 2973 W. Henrietta Road that offers breakfast items as well as Turkish cookies and cakes. Its menu is full of savory and tangy flavors and includes a variety of kebobs, pides (various meats, vegetables, and cheeses served hot on a crusty flatbread similar to a pita), entrees with lamb or goat, and manti, a Turkish dumpling stuffed with minced meat and garnished with garlic yogurt. Restaurant and bakery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. facebook.com/asevirochester.

EVENTS

On Friday, March 3, Peppa Pot Restaurant (522 E. Main St.) will host a cookbook release party and restaurant pop-up for “Flames with Joel James.” The event for the Rochester comedian takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. and features a full menu of food from the book. It’s free to attend, but tickets should be reserved at eventbrite.com.

worker population that didn’t have access to many products for Mexican cuisine, so the Guevara family began buying products in New Jersey and cooking food at home to bring into the camps.

Guevara’s mother, Maria Peña Rodriguez, originally opened El RincÓn Mexicano in the late ’80s as a store filled with imported food and goods that served migrant workers eager for a taste of home.

Guevara grew up working in El Rincon, and after stints studying biotech and pre-med, he graduated from New York City’s French Culinary Institute in 2000. Guevara opened his first restaurant, a second El RincÓn Mexicano, in 2003 in Canandaigua, which became Rio Tomatlán when his brother Rafael took it over in 2007. Rafael also owns Forona in Canandaigua.

At Tavo’s you can get flan, tres leches, and chocolate tres leches. There are Jarritos sodas, Mexican Coke, and Mexican beers, and Guevara said a broad range of tequilas are coming soon.

Tavo’s is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Follow @tavosroc on Instagram for news.

Rochester Museum & Science Center will host its annual Uncorked & On Tap event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. The tasting event and fundraiser spotlights dozens of local food, craft beer, wine, and spirit vendors. There will also be educational seminars, live science presentations, a performance by Cinnamon Jones, and products for purchase. Tickets are $75 or $65 for RMSC members. rmsc.org/events/uncorked-on-tap.

On Thursday, March 7, Sager Beer Works will host its quarterly Mug Club Social & Bottle Share event from 5 to 8 p.m. For the $50 lifetime membership fee, Mug Club members get complimentary snacks and samples of the newest Sager releases. For the bottle share portion of the event, attendees are encouraged to bring bottles from their beer collections to share with the group. The $12 entry fee includes a flight of pours from other breweries. facebook.com/sagerbeerworks.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, The Park Ave Pairing: Iron Tug Brewing and The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails takes place at Iron Tug at 263 Park Ave. The event features a four-course meal by The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails paired with Iron Tug Brewing beers, as well as information about each of the beers from ITB Head Brewer Zachary Allard. Tickets are $75+ tax (gratuity not included). Reserve a spot and learn more at irontugbrewing. com/parkave.

A Taste of Rioja Wine Pairing Dinner will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15 at The Lake House on Canandaigua (770 S. Main St., Canandaigua). Dinner will be served in the Rose Tavern, where diners will be taken on a culinary tour of the Rioja region of Spain. Tickets are $200 per person (includes tax and gratuity). Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

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Jose Guevara, owner chef at Tavo’s Antojitos y Tequila, is part of a family that runs several of the region’s Mexican restaurants. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

THE POLAR PLUNGE CITY VISITS...

DANIELLE KING (LEFT), 32, ROCHESTER, DIALYSIS NURSE AND OWNER OF SKIN THERAPY GOTTI PERRY (RIGHT), 41, ROCHESTER, OWNER OF TASTE OF THE BAHAMAS  King: “I was really nervous. But I just put on my carnival feathers and I just came out to enjoy the festivities.”

Perry: “My family does the Polar Plunge every year because we care about the Special Olympics. If you’re not going to uplift the community, what are you really doing?”

MELINDA PIZZO, 25  ROCHESTER, INSURANCE AGENT

“I’m not a fan of the cold. But it’s for a great cause.”

STEPHEN FISCHER, 52  ROCHESTER, 911 CALL CENTER WORKER

“I’m a big fan of the TV series ‘Firefly.’ My jersey has a patch on it that represents the Browncoats, the independents that fought a losing Civil War out in space.”

ERICA IRWIN, 35  GREECE, REGISTERED NURSE

“My best friend sent me a bodysuit thinking I would never, ever wear it. He’s a cop from Richmond, Virginia. And this is the second year I’ve worn him on my body.”

STEVE “SULLY” SULLIVAN, 62  GREECE, RETIRED

“I’m the asshole who started all of this. Me and my two friends started it 23 years ago. There were 60 of us the first time.”

48 CITY MARCH 2023 LIFE

The event raises money for the Special Olympics New York. We asked plungers their reason for freezin’.

BRITTANY SMYTHE, 39  BUFFALO, MEDICAL SUPPORT ASSISTANT

“I’m glad I had experience this time. It’s a beautiful day. Very nice with the sun.”

JADEN DIPAOLA, 16  GREECE, STUDENT

“It’s the best. Instead of playing Fortnite in my basement, I’m here on this beautiful day with everyone, celebrating and charity-ing it up for this great, great event for the Special Olympics.”

KEN STEINMETZ, 39  ROCHESTER, ELEVATOR CONSTRUCTOR

“Our union wanted to donate to the Special Olympics. It’s a great cause. We’re all happy to be out here.”

PADDINGTON KRUEGER, 21  ROCHESTER, R.I.T. STUDENT

“I came last year, but I came late, so I had to do it after. But I’m from Vermont, so I do cold plunges, lake plunges all the time, every year.”

SPENCER DIVER, 41  GURNEE, ILLINOIS, SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR

“I flew out to visit my friend and do the Polar Plunge. I did it last year, too. So it’s become like a yearly visit thing.”

BEN HALL, 39  ROCHESTER, MONROE COUNTY GROUNDS EQUIPMENT OPERATOR

“Sorry, I gotta go, my boss is calling me.”

CITY 49 roccitynews.com

LIFE SENTIMENTAL VALUE

ACROSS

1. Mine: Fr.

5. Golf ball support

8. U.S. state that is partially inside the Arctic Circle

14. Carne _____

19. Pearlman and Burgundy

20. Gerund ending

21. Take a chance

22. Attribute blame to

23. Equipment collection on a tour bus?

25. “Try again!” —The IRS

26. Silk alternative

27. Provide with a quality

28. Private jet manufacturer

30. Reassuring words on an airport information screen

32. Foreigner—like, very foreign

33. Inspection org. at JFK

34. Sound for a snake or radiator

36. Anna Karenina’s lover

39. Salted part of a margarita glass

40. Paper in a gift bag

43. Cup-shaped perennial

46. Sound of resignation

47. Sneaks (away)

49. Relative of an ostrich

51. Group of humpbacks

52. “Ready, _____!”

53. “The red-suited cards that belong to me do, in fact, have a place to live.”

58. Egyptian viper

59. Radiohead’s 2000 noise rock album

62. Wagering parlor chain, for short

63. Trades jabs

64. Rock musical loosely based on La Bohème

66. Not out of the running

67. “My Country, ’Tis of _____”

69. Rhyming syllable in a film genre

70. Medically calm

73. Sequoias, e.g.

75. Related to the ear, medically

77. Laker great posthumously voted

into the basketball hall of fame in 2020, to fans

79. Like a tire in a trunk

80. Lures alluringly

82. Ma’s ma

84. Bangs on a door or window

86. Garbage barge

87. Freudian development stage

88. Desirable character strength

90. Narrow inlet

91. Some boxing results, for short

92. What you might say before “gee”

94. “Gnarly stovetop, bro!”

98. 9-Downs, e.g.

100. Part of a giggle

101. League for 77-Across

102. The younger of tennis’s Williams sisters

106. Increased

107. Meek

109. Biblical mountain

112. Finish off an i

113. Win over

115. SMB game console

117. Day-_____ (like 83-Down)

118. Body part that precedes “band”

120. Do some driveway maintenance

123. Snack morsel that may be “Flamin’ Hot”

125. Cosmetics giant Lauder

126. Digital music players with a socalled “halo effect”

128. Holy (as in “Holy cow, what is going on with this puzzle?”)

130. Mixed _____ (a clue to the circled squares in this puzzle)

132. Clerical vestment worn over the shoulders

133. Wanting

134. MLB stat

135. Makeup of a bunny under a kid’s bed?

136. Gets under control

137. A-/B+ numerical grade

138. “Blueberries for _____” (1949

37
Answers to this puzzle can be found on page
PUZZLE BY 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 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 50 CITY MARCH 2023

Caldecott winner)

139. Je suis, vous _____

DOWN

1. Behind in payments, with “in”

2. Like a romantic nighttime walk

3. Quick way to stop or turn

4. Set to arrive

5. Fasten, as a shoelace

6. Puts new legislation on the books

7. Way out

8. What a pirate might roll in Spanish class?

9. Banks’ claims

10. Equally rapid

11. Traverse a black diamond, say

12. Wholesale cocaine sales measurement

13. “She’s _____, but she doesn’t solve the crossword”

14. Arab American Heritage Month

15. Cat breed in “Lady and the Tramp”

16. “Go get’em, boys, and go out through whichever door you like!”

17. _____-wop

18. Syndicated advice columnist Landers

24. With tenderness

29. Lead-in to kraut or braten

31. Keg attachment

35. The “S” of HOMES

37. Newly expensive grocery staples

38. Restaurant chain that Jim Gaffigan joked should be renamed “I barely move”

41. Needs a cold shower, maybe

42. CPR experts

44. Opposite of profit

45. Dictator Amin 48. Unprofessional?

50. Org. that handles mail-in ballots

52. Spittable watermelon parts

54. Community values

55. Assist in crime

56. Storage for spices

57. Unforgettable rapper?

59. Hobbyist purchases

60. Memo heading

61. Lost one’s life from too much time in the master suite?

65. Early 2000s mp3-sharing site

68. E = mc2 physicist

70. Old-timely photographic hue

71. Suffix with dunk- or switch-

72. Certain soft drinks, informally

74. Wounds for life

76. Bit of detective work

78. Trump’s attorney General/toadie

81. QB Manning

83. Gas in a diner sign

85. Eldest Stark sister in “Game of Thrones”

88. Throat-clearing sound

89. Valved low brass instrument

92. Apt rhyme for ledge

93. Plant with fronds

95. 4 letters on an old telephone

96. Drill conductor, informally

97. What you’ll do if you go out in the rain with no umbrella

99. First name with Dee and Dum 103. Remove during revision 104. What gibberish makes 105. Swears

107. Number after due 108. Edict 110. Tailors

111. Robot vacuum brand

114. Determine the value of

116. Large shallow pan

119. Theatrical line that often breaks the fourth wall

121. “D _____ David”

122. Legal scholar Guinier

124. Little whirlpool

126. Finisher for human or natural

127. School support org.

129. MSNBC competitor

131. Sauté necessity

CITY 51 roccitynews.com
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