CITY May 2023

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Welcometo PUBLIC

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The outgoing editor reflects on his time at CITY and the future of the magazine. (Spoiler Alert: It’s bright!)


The party is jumpin’ aboard the fast-growing fleet of Great Lakes cruise ships. But Rochester is missing the boat.


How public seed-sharing programs became part of the fabric of Monroe County libraries.



Queer singer-songwriter Seán Barna lives in Philadelphia, but makes magic in Macedon.



New music from Dessoff Choirs, Dysplacer, Free Casino, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.



Payton Violins has opened in CITY’s old newsroom in the Neighborhood of the Arts BY


Keep the fun season straight with CITY’s guide to all the upcoming festivals.




Our quiz pairs you with the perfect place to pitch a tent — or roll up in your RV — within a short drive.




Mark Quinn is the master gardener who makes Highland Park pop with color.

Andrew Khederian, assistant luthier at Payton Violins, repairs a cello deck. The business recently moved into a new location in the old CITY Newspaper offices in the Neighborhood of the Arts. See page 18.

Fulfilling the promise of CITY

ver since CITY reported that Leah Stacy would succeed me as editor, I’ve been inundated with letters from readers offering their condolences on my demotion.

They went something like this:

“I’m sorry to see you go. I hope it’s what you wanted.”

“That’s too bad about your job. What are you doing next?”

“Do your bosses know what they’re doing? Where are you going?”

These sympathies, while sincerely appreciated, reinforced for me the inconvenient truth that few people read beyond the headline.   For crying out loud, the second sentence in the article announcing Stacy’s hiring read, “Stacy succeeds David Andreatta, who will become the investigations editor at WXXI News, a new position in the newsroom.”

So, to answer your questions, readers of headlines only, yes, this is what I wanted, and as my new title suggests, I’m going to oversee investigative reporting for WXXI, and I’m going nowhere.

I’m not even changing seats in the WXXI newsroom that overlooks the third floor of the High Falls Garage with its outdated signage advertising attractions that no longer exist, like “Frontier Field” (Innovative Field), “PAETEC Park” (That was five naming rights agreements ago), and “Lodging” (Um, where?).

As for whether my bosses know what they’re doing, I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of journalism at WXXI and, by extension, CITY. The commitment to investing in journalism here is real.

While newsrooms around the country are shrinking, ours is growing. In case you missed it, my

position of investigations editor is brand-new.

I started my new job in earnest in late April, after overseeing much of the editing for the May edition of CITY to help Stacy ease into her new role and plan for the June edition. This will be the last issue of the magazine with my fingerprints on it.

Next month, the fingerprints will belong to Stacy, a friend and journalist whose aptitude for forging her own path in this fickle industry I have long admired. I

believe she is the right person to lead the magazine, at the right time.

When WXXI acquired CITY in 2019, it said the point of the merger was to not only preserve and expand the quality and depth of WXXI’s local reporting, but also to prioritize coverage of the arts, culture, and life in the Rochester region.

CITY has been evolving to be all about the latter. It has endured a bit of an identity crisis along the way, to be sure, thanks in no small

part to a pandemic that upended its business model as a weekly newspaper.

But the identity crisis has ended. CITY is poised to fulfill its promise as WXXI’s source for arts, culture, and life news, and Stacy, who has a background in arts journalism and coordinating media for the local food and drink scene, will get it there.

She will get it there with the help of talented and committed journalists and designers and support and sales staff, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. They have been at various times over these last four years my confidantes, my inspiration, and my saviors in equal measure.


Editing CITY has been a tremendous honor, but not without its challenges. When the painful decision was made to cease publishing CITY as a weekly newspaper, my heart sank.

I had been in the job for six months, and we were humming. I came to CITY looking to make it more relevant to more people by doing a few things differently.

First, we started aggressively pursuing “scoops,” the industry term for exclusive stories that can’t be found anywhere else. The best scoops break new ground and are of such import that they are shared by readers and followed by other media outlets.

Secondly, we began publishing our stories online immediately, instead of waiting to publish them in the weekly newspaper.

Lastly, and this dovetails with the second point, we sought to meet our readers where they increasingly were, which was on social media on their phones.

The impact of implementing

4 CITY MAY 2023
David Andreatta was the editor of CITY from September 2019 until April 2023. FILE PHOTO

those changes was immediate.

In those six months before the pandemic, CITY had broken stories that were picked up by local and national news outlets, from the Democrat and Chronicle to The New York Times . Our internal metrics showed year-over-year increases in visitors to CITY’s website of 60 percent and 40-percent growth in page views.

More people were reading CITY than ever before, at least online. There was a buzz about CITY.

But that success was hobbled in a single week in March 2020, when the pandemic forced the closure of the businesses and cultural institutions that had historically hosted CITY newsstands. The closures proved a double whammy for CITY, because those places were also the newspaper’s most loyal advertisers.

In the blink of an eye, those operations no longer had the disposable income to spend on advertising, which was and remains CITY’s primary source of revenue.

To those readers who asked whether my bosses know what they are doing, I would also say this: There would be no CITY today but for the legal and financial gymnastics that WXXI pulled off to keep CITY afloat.

The endeavor kept CITY staffers employed and searching for opportunities to return to newsstands and fulfill its promise. Reinventing CITY as a monthly magazine was that opportunity.

When the rebranded CITY Magazine launched in September 2020, it picked up where its weekly predecessor left off — holding a mirror to greater Rochester for an enlightening, entertaining, and honest reflection of life in our community.

Each issue sought to blend an array of news and commentary with street-level coverage of the arts, music, food and drink, and culture, to galvanize people around shared interests and ignite important conversations.

We did some excellent and impactful work.

After our investigative report on the relative scarcity of public funding for the arts, Monroe County raised its annual allocation for small arts organizations to $1 million from $45,000, and the city revived its long-dormant “percent for art” program.

Our deep dive into Rochester police overtime, which found that some officers were regularly logging upward of 90 hours a week, prompted the incoming police chief to cap the number of consecutive hours an officer could work.

The city rethought its policies on permits for community gardens and testing potential employees for marijuana after we shined a light on the matters.

The WXXI newsroom will continue to produce that kind of work. My new job is to see that it does.


Norm Silverstein, the president of WXXI, said of the merger with CITY four years ago, “This helps WXXI to better serve our community through enhanced coverage of arts and culture, education, neighborhoods, and events. It’s an example of what a modern media organization should be.”

Modern media organizations use multiple mediums to reach their audience. They are not just a radio or television station, or a newspaper or a magazine, or an online publication. The best of them are all of the above.

WXXI has all of those tools and uses them in ways that best meet the needs of its audience.

The merger between WXXI and CITY was always meant to be a marriage, a collaboration, and in every marriage, there is compromise and a natural division of labor.

Those types of impactful stories that I mentioned earlier can run over the radio airwaves, on television, online, and in the pages of CITY. Where they run will be determined by the people who manage those mediums.

One thing is for sure: They are not going away. Not on my watch.

Thank you for your support.

May 2023

Vol 51 No 9

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


Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman


Bill and Mary Anna Towler


Editor: Leah Stacy

Outgoing editor: David Andreatta

Deputy editor: Jeremy Moule

Senior arts writer: Jeff Spevak

Arts writers: Daniel J. Kushner, Rebecca Rafferty

Contributors: Gino Fanelli, Patrick Hosken, Steve Orr, Lauren Petracca, David Raymond, Max Schulte, Mona Seghatolaslami, Raquel Stephen


Director, Strategy: Ryan Williamson

Art director: Jacob Walsh


Sales manager: Alison Zero Jones

Advertising consultant/

Project manager: David White


Operations manager: Ryan Williamson

Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis

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

CITY (ISSN 1551-3262) is published monthly 12 times per year by Rochester Area Media Partners, a subsidiary of WXXI Public Broadcasting. Periodical postage paid at Rochester, NY (USPS 022-138). Address changes: CITY, 280 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the New York Press Association. Copyright by Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, 2021 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner.

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



Anchors Away

Rochester is missing the boat on the fast-growing Great Lakes cruise lines.

The party’s jumpin’ aboard the Great Lakes’ fast-growing fleet of cruise ships — but Rochester hasn’t been asked to dance.

The Great Lakes are a hot destination for cruise-lovers the world over. Growth began before the pandemic and resumed afterward. Passenger numbers rose 25 percent last year and are estimated to grow another 15 percent this season, according to Cruise the Great Lakes, a government-sponsored promotional consortium.

Eight cruise companies, half based in Europe, now serve the Great Lakes and the connected upper St. Lawrence River. They’ve brought in a new generation of vessels, some of them with accommodations for 400 people and

luxury from bow to stern.

Think sprawling staterooms, gourmet dining, onboard minisubmarines and underwater lounges — all for anywhere between $1,500 and $15,000 per person, depending on the particulars of the cruise.

“Cruising certainly has exploded. It’s becoming stronger by the day and by the year,” said Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruise Association, which has spent two decades helping grow the industry.

Before the region’s cruising season ends in October, some 170,000 people will have taken one of the 125 cruises scheduled this year on the five lakes and the river.

They’ll stop at more than 40 ports

— huge metropolises like Toronto and Chicago; medium-sized cities, like Duluth, Minnesota, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and quaint waterfront villages and historical and natural landmarks, like Mackinac Island, Michigan.

But none of those passengers will disembark in Rochester. Our city used to be an occasional port for cruisers, but the most recent scheduled visit, in the summer of 2020, was canceled when the operator went out of business during the pandemic.

Local tourism officials can’t explain why passenger vessels no longer stop here but they want them back.

“I think that Rochester should be a stop for some of these ships. There’s so much to offer,” said Rachel Laber, vice

president of communications for Visit Rochester, the region’s official tourism bureau.

She noted the area’s many museums, parks, the public market, breweries and walkable neighborhoods, such as Park Avenue.

“We would love to make the case to the cruise operators,” Laber said.

Laber acknowledged, however, that Visit Rochester has taken no steps to lure cruise companies here since before the pandemic, and executives of the trade groups representing Great Lakes cruise lines said they haven’t heard from anyone in Rochester.

But it may not be too late for Rochester to raise its hand.

6 CITY MAY 2023
A Pearl Seas Cruises ship docks in Clayton, Jefferson County. The port is the only one in New York where the fleet stops. PHOTO PROVIDED

“The cruise lines are always looking for new places, new ports of call, that will work with them,” said David Lorenz, a Michigan tourism official who chairs Cruise the Great Lakes.

CITY asked six cruise companies in Germany, France, Switzerland and the United States what factors kept Rochester from being a port of call but received no substantive responses.

Great Lakes cruises, which attract an affluent crowd, can provide at least a modest economic boost to port operators. Passengers who disembark and tour local attractions can collectively drop tens of thousands of dollars.

There also is a community pride factor in having a gleaming vessel in port.

“When cruise ships come to a city, it’s like a mark certifying it as a place of worth,” Lorenz said. “It gets you to think differently about that city.”

Like Rochester, Buffalo has not hosted cruise ships for years. But unlike Rochester, Buffalo is actively working to change that.

Credit for the effort may be due to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who last summer declared that her hometown deserved to be a port of call. “What a radical idea,” she told reporters. “We’re gonna get it done.”

A state waterfront development agency followed up on the governor’s directive by hiring a consultant in midMarch to determine which of two sites on the Lake Erie shore was best for a Buffalo terminal.

When asked if Hochul or other state officials plan actions to make Rochester, Oswego or other Lake Ontario ports more attractive to cruise ships, a spokesperson for the governor, Matthew Janiszewski, said the Buffalo study “may help us inform future investments in other parts of the state.”

Rochester City Councilman Mitch Gruber said he felt the Hocul administration’s focus was misplaced.

“I’d like to see the state, rather than spending money to build new (port) infrastructure in Buffalo, help us maximize the infrastructure we have,” he said.

Visit Buffalo Niagara tourism officials have had numerous conversations with cruise-ship operators and president Patrick Kaler said he is “absolutely” confident the vessels will come once a terminal is ready in 2026 or so.

Asked why Rochester is not part of the surging cruise business, he said, “I have no idea why they’re left out of it at this point.”

Rochester, of course, already has a terminal, built in the early 2000s at a cost of $19 million to host the ill-fated fast ferry to Toronto.

It has also hosted cruise ships. In 2015, the administration of then-mayor Lovely Warren commissioned a study to learn what would be needed to lure more cruisers here.

The study, done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, concluded the port would remain a viable stop for cruise ships. It said passengers had been bused to the George Eastman House, and ticked off other attractions that cruisers might visit  —High Falls, the Strong National Museum of Play, and the National Susan B. Anthony House & Museum.

The study recommended five basic improvements at the city-owned terminal to help attract more business, including dredging near the terminal dock,  and the creation of a list of suppliers, contractors, and others who could work with cruise ships when they call, and more promotion of the port to cruise companies.

Laber, the Visit Rochester official, said her agency has promoted the city to cruise operators in the past and does create lists of vendors and contractors. But it does not appear that the city has arranged dredging along the river wall by the terminal.

The Corps of Engineers gets congressional funding to dredge the shipping channel in the middle of the

river but does not deepen other areas near the river mouth.

“Periodic deeper dredging outside the navigation channel and along the terminal dock wall at the Port of Rochester would be needed to accommodate large cruise ships — and those costs would need to be covered by someone other than the Corps,” said Mark Gregor, who managed port redevelopment for the city until 2017.

Gregor, who no longer works in city government, recalls one occasion when silt deposits along the terminal river forced a cruise ship captain to anchor off shore and ferry passengers to the port by small boat.

The only funding in the city budget for dredging is less than $10,000 a year for work near the entrance to the smallboat marina. Gregor said dredging to accommodate large cruise ships would cost considerably more.

City officials did not respond when asked about dredging or other changes recommended in the Corps of Engineers study, and provided no comment regarding cruise lines docking in Rochester.

Some cruise ships now plying the Great Lakes are bigger than those in service before the pandemic, and the Corps study did not examine whether such large vessels could fit lengthwise at the terminal dock.

Whether the distance of local attractions to the port is a hindrance is another question.

Unlike many port cities, in which development began on the shore and then spread inward, Rochester developed inland, specifically in and around High Falls and the juncture of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal.  There are only a few amusements within walking distance of the terminal.

Cruise advocates said any shortcomings in Rochester can be overcome.

“Cruise operators have told me they do want a beautiful port of call,” Lorenz said. “But they’ll come if the facility works in other ways and if it’s easy to get their people to a downtown core and other attractions.”

“As new ships come into play — and they will — they will be looking for new ports of call and new excursions,” he added.

After talking to CITY, Lorenz said his organization would reach out to Rochester to offer advice about becoming a cruise-ship port.

Burnett, whose Kingston, Ontariobased cruising association once counted Rochester as a member, said the port remains a suitable stop for all but the largest of the current passenger vessels. He said there are plenty of attractions within a short bus ride; even the Finger Lakes, farther afield, might be a good destination for cruise-passenger visits.

“Rochester has the chops, both within the city and the surrounding area,” he said. “But it has to decide if it wants to get in the game.”

8 CITY MAY 2023
Great Lakes cruises stop in cities big and small - but not Rochester. MAP PROVIDED CHICAGO


At the Irondequoit library, patrons can check out books, audio recording equipment, sewing machines, and now, seeds for their gardens.

The library has become the latest in Monroe County to offer a free, public seed sharing program.

“The idea is people take a small number of seeds home, they plant them in their community garden or their garden in their backyard,” said Greg Benoit, director of Irondequoit Public Library. “And then at the end of the planting season, we’re encouraging people to return some of the seeds from their harvest to be used by people in subsequent years.”

Irondequoit’s seed library is currently stocked with staple vegetables such as buttercrunch lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cosmic purple carrots, and spinach, as well as ornamental plants including varieties of zinnia, lavender, and giant sunflower. Some of the seeds are hybrids while others are heirlooms, varieties that have desirable characteristics that remain stable from generation to generation. The now extinct but still famed Irondequoit melon was developed locally as an heirloom fruit at a time before hybrid crosses were common.

The library is asking people who “borrow” the heirlooms to save some seeds from what they grow and return them to the library so people can grow them next year. Benoit said staff hope to eventually stock the seed library with donated seeds.

While most people are perhaps more likely to think of a garden store than a library when looking for seeds, Benoit said the horticultural repository fits in well with the library’s communitybuilding and lending models. He added that it complements the institution’s educational programs and its lab where people can use equipment to make, produce, or mend things, which the seed library stands next to.

Libraries across the country have launched seed sharing programs in recent years, a trend large enough that last April, published an article titled “How Public Libraries Are

Seeding America’s Gardens.” The seed programs give the libraries new ways to serve their communities while helping to address rising grocery prices and food insecurity, the article said.

The Irondequoit seed library is one of four in Monroe County libraries. The Webster Public Library’s, which started in spring 2015, is said to be the oldest. The city’s Monroe Branch Library and Scottsville Free Library also have seed sharing programs.

“I’m hoping it gives that feeling of community where you can start with

something and bring it back to share with other people,” said Doreen Dailey, assistant director and adult services librarian at the Webster Public Library.

The Webster library accepts seed donations from its patrons, but largely gets its stock from distributors. Its seed library is a card catalog loaded with a wide array of packets containing fruits or vegetables ranging from corn to radicchio to several types of leafy greens. There’s also squash, pumpkins, melons, and herbs, as well as ornamental flowers.

The Scottsville Free Library began its seed program in 2018. Each year it makes available organic, non-GMO flower, vegetable, herb, and fruit seeds, some of which are heirloom varieties.

The seed library has been very popular and each year a few gardeners return seeds for people to take, said Elizabeth Andreae, director of the Scottsville library. The flowers and herbs tend to be most popular.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks to try something new,” Andreae said.

10 CITY MAY 2023
Irondequoit’s seed library is stocked with staple vegetables and varieties of flowers. PHOTO COURTESY IRONDEQUOIT PUBLIC LIBRARY



Seán Barna lives in Philadelphia, but Rochester has become a second home for the singer-songwriter, who specializes in music that speaks to the queer experience.

Many of his most fruitful creative ideas have flourished here, including the music on his new rock-pop album “An Evening at Macri Park,” which prominent indie label Kill Rock Stars is set to release on May 12.

He recorded the album in Rochester’s rural suburb of Macedon

at 1809 Studios with a voice that carried the wide vibrato of an earnest ’70s folk singer and the expressive cadence of David Bowie.

“Whatever the song is, pain or sadness or nostalgia or hope or whatever is happening, I let that really kind of overtake me,” Barna said.

“As an artist,” he went on, “your only responsibility is to yourself and trying to get your point of view as honest and open as possible. And in those moments, I’m able to do that.”

Barna, 37, is able to do that with the help of his close friend, the

bassist and producer Dave Drago, who owns 1809 Studios. Drago said their work together moves swiftly because of the trust they have in each other.

“We provide a safe space for each other and just chase magic around, and (don’t) judge each other,” Drago said.

Ironically, it was their judgment of another artist that brought them together. They met several years ago at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan during the Underwater Sunshine Festival.

“The real story is we locked eyes in the back of a bar, talking shit about a band,” Drago said.

“Everybody in the room was being like a sycophant for this artist that he and I could just see right through, like, ‘No authenticity here. What is this?’ And he and I were the only two people in the back of the room with clearly a look on our faces.”

The friends spoke to CITY together in a video conference — with Barna in Philadelphia and Drago in Macedon.

“As an artist, your only responsibility is to yourself and trying to get your point of view as honest and open as possible,” says Seán Barna. PHOTOS BY KEVIN CONDON
12 CITY MAY 2023
queer singer-songwriter from Philadelphia chases magic at Macedon’s 1809 Studios.

Barna wore a black baseball cap emblazoned with “cissy,” the name of a previous EP he recorded with Drago at 1809 Studios, and sipped coffee from a mug that read, “I’m your Huckleberry.” When asked what it meant to identify as a queer artist, Barna picked up a second mug with an image of a sloth lounging under a rainbow and the words “gay and tired.”

“I am the very, very least vulnerable version of a queer person on the planet,” Barna said. “I’m a white cis male that can pass as straight easily. I’m not threatened ever. . . . As the least vulnerable type of queer person, I’m willing to put myself out there as much as I can, and challenge people as much as I can.”

Drago said that it’s rare and refreshing to come across a singer who lays themselves bare emotionally and gives it all away in the performance.

“So much modern music is apathetic and guarded,” he said. “And Seán — to his quality and to his detriment — can be nothing like that.”

Barna said he sees too many artists impersonating singer-songwriters they admire. They wear the right styles, craft the right lyrics, but lack authenticity, he said.

“There’s something missing, I think maybe it’s called heart or something,” he said. “That’s

probably why I’m not more popular, but it always bothered me. And so what I’m doing is the only thing that I can do, which is be annoyingly myself. And I see people kind of be fake onstage and it just makes me feel like I’m wasting my time. So anything I write isn’t going to be like that.”

Barna kicks off his tour of “An Evening at Macri Park” with a full-band show at Radio Social on May 11. The free show starts at 8 p.m. with special guests Pluck and Cece Vile.

Barna records most of his music at 1809 Studios in Macedon, owned by Dave Drago, top. PHOTO BY KEVIN CONDON PHOTO BY EHUD LAZIN


With its debut “Temple Heights,” released on April 20, the band Dyspläcer gives listeners a mashup they didn’t know they needed: kung fu heavy metal.

After a cinematic intro ushers us into the world of this bizarre concept album, “Lightning Fury Fist” pulls no punches with Dyspläcer’s throwback sound. We’ve been whisked away to the late ’70s in a whirlwind of harmonizing electric guitars, pummeling double bass drums, and the kind of melodic power vocals that would make Bruce Dickinson proud.

The album’s first single, “Black Widow,” immediately follows, but lacks the frenetic energy and explosive tempo that made “Lightning Fury Fist” such a retro revelation. In sharp contrast, the second single, “Kuma Kaiju,” features brilliant guitarwork, spot-on vocals, and just enough thrash metal to give the song an edge.

The title track is loaded with all of the heavy metal pyrotechnics possible in eight minutes. Dyspläcer is dripping with so much sonic excess, it draws comparisons it may not have anticipated and probably doesn’t want. But I can’t listen to the vocals on “Bloodsport” without hearing a bit of Steve Perry wailing away on Journey’s “Wheel in the Sky.”

That said, the influence of iconic British metal band Iron Maiden is front-andcenter, and couldn’t possibly be overstated. Dyspläcer’s members might have instantly relegated themselves to self-parody, but they wisely chose to take the music seriously, and not themselves.

The music is a delightful throwback, barreling its way to our eardrums from out of nowhere. Everything about “Temple Heights” is over-the-top and indulgent, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Beginning your debut album with an instrumental is a flex. For the three math-rock virtuosos in Free Casino, “Queen Anne’s Revenge” goes so hard it doesn’t need lyrics — but a well-timed scream at its climax speaks volumes.

With frantic, interlocking fretwork from guitarists Sean Saville and Jake Denning and grounded basslines from Marc Gabriel (who’s been a contributing writer to CITY), the song sets the pace for what follows on “Beggar’s Pitch.” It’s the band’s first full-length album following two exploratory EPs in 2020 and 2021. The eight-song collection was released April 14 on New York label Sad Cactus Records.

The downstate creep of Free Casino lives in the album’s DNA. Four years after forming the band in Rochester, Gabriel and Saville now reside in Brooklyn, while vocalist Denning remains here. Free Casino recorded all but one track in Ridgewood, Queens, a stone’s throw from Brooklyn’s thriving music scene in the Bushwick neighborhood.

A bobbing song called “Jester’s Privilege” nods to this, as Denning presents an annoyed yet whimsical view of big-city life: “My praise to the concrete and rain / It’s making my head hurt / It’s taking my brain.” These lines lead into a squelching guitar solo approximating the delirium of walking around an urban hub.

Yet the music itself is placeless, as the Free Casino members blend Midwestern emo’s dazzling finger styles with alternative rock’s foundational quiet-loud dynamics and rushing post-punk. One song might as well live online; the frenzied spirit and quick chaotic barbs of “Source (I Made It Up)” essentially make it “Twitter: The Song.”

Though it enters roaring, “Beggar’s Pitch” quietly finds a back door to slip out. Free Casino captured the album’s ruminative closer, “Irish Goodbye,” at Rochester’s Mirror Records in August 2021. The performance is stunning, with layers of bright guitar glowing like a sunset.

While you sort out their musical acrobatics, the trio plays itself off. And you hope they’ll return.



At this point in its trajectory, the group Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad doesn’t need to prove anything.

Giant Panda has produced danceinducing reggae with heart consistently since 2001, and with repeated success on the Billboard charts, has already done enough for induction into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame when the time is right.

Yet, I still couldn’t help but want to hear something different from “Love in Time,” Giant Panda’s seventh studio album, released on April 7. Was the band still connected to the sociopolitical “power of the people” that gave the spark to roots reggae in ’60s Jamaica? Or had the upstate New York Squad become only superficially connected to the sound of revolution in a way that pandered to the hippie party music crowd?

The answer to both questions is “Yes,” depending on the song.

Any concern about Giant Panda’s roots reggae authenticity can be quashed with the single “Chants,” powered by cameo vocals from Clinton Fearon of the iconic Jamaican band The Gladiators. Over a mid-tempo, summertime groove, Fearon sings, ”Yes, I believe there will be a better tomorrow / But we have to work for it, so we all can do the freedom dance.”

Elsewhere, “Revolution” finds Panda collaborating with Philly reggae band The Movement to create what is arguably the album’s strongest track, both musically and lyrically: “Only pollution from institutions, solutions are born in the revolution.”

But as a collection, “Love in Time” feels inconsistent. The title track, as well as other songs like “Champion” and “For You,” feel unmoored from reggae’s historical legacy. These songs are pleasant, but they appropriate reggae’s style without delivering on its substance.

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad excels at making earnest, feel-good reggae. A few unmemorable tracks aside, “Love in Time” builds on the band’s proven formula.


There is something singularly uplifting about choral music. It has something to do with the power of voices coming together for a common purpose.

A new album of large-scale choral compositions by 20th-century Black composer Margaret Bonds achieves that inspiration alongside harrowing sorrow, all of which reflects the Black experience in America.

Released in February, “Margaret Bonds: Credo; Simon Bore the Cross” features the New York City-based Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra conducted by Music Director Malcolm J. Merriweather, an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music.

Some of Bonds’s original works had remained unpublished and obscure until recently.

One such composition, “Credo” — set to a poem written by W.E.B. Du Bois — is not liturgical, but it does speak to a personal set of beliefs clearly outlined in such individual movements as “Especially Do I Believe in the Negro Race,” “I Believe in the Devil,” and “I Believe in Liberty.”

As performed by Merriweather and company, this deeply spiritual work is defiant in its strength and hope, even as it acknowledges the evil of racism. Merriweather’s conducting is decisive and impassioned above all else. Contributions from soloists Janinah Burnett and Dashon Burton punctuate the poignant performances of the chorus.

The two soloists also lend their powerful vocal deliveries to “Simon Bore the Cross,” a kind of oratorio, with text by Bonds’s close friend and frequent collaborator Langston Hughes. Merriweather leads the choirs and orchestra with immediacy as they make the case for this little-known choral masterpiece.

Bonds may not yet be a household name among important American composers, but she should be. Hopefully, this album will be an epiphany for musicians, listeners, and classical music institutions alike to champion Bonds as an ever-relevant, brilliant compositional voice.

Presented by Love for Words | CaTyra Polland KRISTEN WALKER FEATURING GUEST SPEAKERS MAY 4 125 State Street 5:30-7:30pm For More Details or 585-210-8192

Ganondagan welcomes home a wampum exhibit

Acollection of belts, beaded items, and artifacts original to the Indigenous people of this region are back in traditional Haudenosaunee territory for the first time since being given to Europeans nearly 300 years ago — and they are on display at Ganondagan’s Seneca Art & Culture Center.

The pieces belong to the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris but are on display at Ganondagan now and through the summer. The exhibit, “WAMPUM/ OTGOÄ,” runs until Sept. 16, before traveling to the McCord Stewart Museum in Montreal, and then home to Paris.

Michael Galban, Ganondagan’s manager and curator for the exhibit, said representatives of the Parisian museum contacted him in 2020 wanting advice on mounting an exhibition of the items as they related to French diplomacy.

“And that I was happy to do, but I really encouraged them to think more broadly about the exhibition,” Galban said. “I wanted them to include a diversity of Haudenosaunee voices so that they could gain a better understanding of what they’re actually holding and what they’re actually exhibiting, because the objects they have don’t have much cultural interpretation associated with them.”

The French curators took his advice and agreed to the project also being shown at Ganondagan. They helped Galban secure grants to develop an exhibition that was first launched in Paris last year before opening at the SACC in late March.

A lesson in this display that Galban wants to emphasize is that these objects were not only given to Europeans as gifts to foster diplomacy, but that they were made during a time of relative parity between Indigenous tribes and settlers from France, England, and the Dutch Republic.

“All of this territory was Haudenosaunee, and there was an




May 15, 6 to 10 p.m. / Blackfriars Theatre / Blackfriars Theatre Summer Intensive/JCC Summer Stage / Initial auditions at the JCC will begin with a dance call at 6 p.m. Prepare two 32-bar cuts in the style of the show (comedic contemporary musical theater). Bring a headshot, your resume, and your calendar.

Performances: July 28 through Aug. 6. /



Deadline: May 10 / Vayo Collage Gallery / 4th international exhibition of collage art to take place in Rochester from June 3 to 24 at Vayo Collage Gallery. /


Deadline: June 7 / Corn Hill Arts Festival / All emerging artists are encouraged to apply. The festival takes place July 8-9, and draws thousands of visitors. /


Deadline: June 10 / Main Street Arts Gallery, Clifton Springs / Artists ages 18+ who live in New York State can submit their work for consideration for an upcoming nature-focused exhibition. Artists may submit up to 10 pieces and are encouraged to submit that many, as selected artists will be invited to show multiple works. /



interest in expanding the European colonies and the Haudenosaunee people were in the middle of this grand negotiation over time, and the wars that took place,” Galban said. “These objects were made at a time when one nation was not over another, and there was an equity to the alliances that were being formed.”

A handful of works by contemporary Indigenous artists are displayed alongside the historic wampum objects. One of the contributors is Skawennati, a Mohawk artist based in Montreal who works in Haudenosaunee futurism.

“We have an historic past here at Ganondagan, and we also talk about contemporary Haudenosaunee life,” Galban said. “But what she’s interested in is, what will the future look like and how does wampum fit into that future? Her pieces are actually belts that imagine a future where relationships with extra-extraterrestrials would fit into that sort of diplomatic process.”

Associated programming throughout the run of the exhibition includes presentations by artists on a monthly basis. For details, visit

Deadline: May 18 / NYSCA/ Genesee Valley Council on the Arts / Individual Artists Grants are for $2,500. Submit up to three applications in any combination of categories (Community Arts, Artists in Education, and Individual Artist) totaling no more than $5,000. / gvartscouncil. org/individual-arts


Deadline: June 3 / The Local Sound Collaborative / This program will provide regular monthly payments of $200/month for 12 months

beginning December 1. Six Rochester-based music artists ages 18+ will be selected with three spots reserved for artists of color. /


16 CITY MAY 2023


When Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Andreas Delfs recently discussed composer Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” which the RPO will present in concert on May 18 and 20, he was clear about one thing in particular.

“It is easy to under-appreciate Verdi,” Delfs said.

The RPO’s annual tradition of presenting a popular opera in concert was established before Delfs took the helm. But as the former director of the Bern Opera, he fell easily into the rhythm. Delfs led his first, “Hansel and Gretel,” in 2021, and is following it up with “Rigoletto,” a staple of the operatic repertoire since 1851.

Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso once described Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” as requiring “simply the four greatest voices in the world” — and “Rigoletto” is equally demanding for its leading roles.

The title character is one of the great powerhouse roles for a dramatic baritone: a deformed, embittered jester in a morally corrupt court whose desire for revenge unknowingly leads to his daughter’s death.

Baritone Lester Lynch, who makes his RPO debut as Rigoletto, was drawn to this character while still a voice student. “Long before I was able to sing it,” he said. Since then, he has sung the role frequently and still loves it. (His email address is “Rigolettoman.”)

“How often does the baritone get to be the title character?” Lynch asked. “‘Rigoletto’ is dramatically fascinating. So many stories wrapped into a single, gutwrenching story with the moral, ‘power corrupts.’”

The score contains some of opera’s greatest hits, including “La donna é mobile,” “Caro nome,” and a dramatic quartet. For Delfs, “Rigoletto” is not just a collection of great tunes; it’s an almost Shakespearian drama.

“Verdi is not only one of the greatest composers, but also one of the greatest psychologists of opera,” Delfs said. “He turns the incredibly torn, agonized character of Rigoletto into a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood man.”

The concert performance will employ a bit of staging, but the focus will be on Verdi’s vocal and instrumental subtleties — and there are many.

“Verdi really needs to be performed in a certain style, with a sound unique to him,” Delfs explained. “He was very particular about what he wanted, even in what seemed to be plain accompaniment patterns. Everything in the music constantly supports the drama.”

The orchestra tells the tragic story as much as the voices do — the RPO will have the chance to let loose in the evocation of a violent storm, which precedes the climax of the drama.

“In a few minutes, Verdi creates the dramatic atmosphere, the darkness, the lightning and thunder,” Delfs said. “It’s a symphonic drama worthy of Beethoven.”

Petro Pryymak in “Rigoletto.” PHOTO PROVIDED

The world on a string

Payton Violins makes a home in an old newsroom in NOTA.

Anyone who entered the double doors of the Anderson Arts Building on North Goodman Street a few years ago would have been greeted by the sounds of fingers clacking on keyboards, phones ringing, and a gravelly voiced receptionist answering them with, “CITY Newspaper. How can I help ya?”

Today, what for decades was CITY’s newsroom in the Neighborhood of the Arts is filled with music as the

headquarters of Payton Violins, sellers and restorers of fine violins, violas, and cellos. Elegant string instruments, many worth thousands of dollars, now adorn walls painstakingly rehabbed from their days lined with filing cabinets and stacks of old newspapers.

Professional musicians from near and far turn to the shop at 250 N. Goodman St. to have their instruments repaired by co-owner Samuel Payton, who wields his tools with the finesse of a surgeon.

“Sam is the only one I trust with my instrument, I won’t let anyone else touch it,” said Petula Perdinkis, who lives outside Philadelphia and plays the viola in symphony orchestras in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Delaware.

“I call him ‘the instrument whisperer,’ because he’s pretty much a magician when it comes to getting instruments to sound better,” Perdinkis said. “He has now basically gotten my viola back to the way that it was when I

first bought it in the ’ 90s.”

A longtime violin player, Payton, 43, grew up in Brockport, but spent much of his adult life in Philadelphia, where he honed his craft as an apprentice to Chris Germaine, a renowned master violinmaker in that city.

He said the instruments he makes today are faithful copies of those he has worked with in the past. Payton has repaired and sold highly coveted antique instruments, including a violin thought

Sam Payton and Danielle Payton with daughter Olympia, are owners of Payton Violins. The couple moved their business to a new location in the old CITY Newspaper officesin the Neighborhood of the Arts. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

to have been made around 1700 by Carlo Rugeri, of luthier royalty.

“Great instruments are anything but symmetrical,” Payton said. “There’s always a little bit of a cant to one of the ribs, or a little bit of twist to the body. It might be half a degree, might be a millimeter-and-a-half off center. But all these very small differences contribute a lot to the character of the instrument.”

Payton opened Payton Violins on Scio Street in 2020 with his wife and business partner, Danielle Payton, 35. Last year, they acquired the assets of Pittsford’s now-closed Sullivan Violins and recently moved the shop to what had been CITY’s newsroom, production studios, and offices, where they employ a sales manager and two luthiers.

The Paytons fell in love with the space, which by chance had elements ideal for a music shop, such as highdensity paper pulp ceiling tiles that improve the acoustics. There was also the abundance of natural light courtesy of large windows that CITY’s ink-stained reporters used to keep shuttered to tamp down the glare on their computer screens.

“Even on a gray, rainy, foggy day, there’s still so much natural light,” Payton said.

For anyone familiar with the space, the renovations to the bare-bones office are subtle but mighty.

Carpets were ripped out to reveal beautiful wood floors. Who knew? A wall that previously separated the front door from the front desk came down. Wainscoting panels were repurposed into a counter. Pine support beams were salvaged for instrument repairs. Pieces of one were recently used in a

In addition to selling, repairing, and renting string instruments in their shop, the Paytons host occasional private and public gatherings of musicians.

Danielle Payton, who plays viola, piano, and upright acoustic bass, said her favorite part of the business is working with children and outfitting them with their instruments as they grow. Some, she said, come to the shop as young as 3 years old.

“They have their little, tiny instruments, and they grow year-byyear with their instruments sizing up,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing, to be able to work with kids and see them growing.”

Sam Payton learned his craft as an apprentice to Chris Germaine, a master violinmaker. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
MAY 12-21, 2023 85+ BANDS 10 DAYS OF FREE MUSIC GET IN TUNE FULL LINEUP AT LILACFESTIVAL.COM vip tickets Front Stage Access Lounge Area Premium Ready-To-Drink Cocktails Air-Conditioned Restrooms $5 Food Voucher VIP Lanyard THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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Full calendar of events online at



Eastman School Symphony Orchestra

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre,

Rochester is a paradise for classical music fans, or for those who just like to catch the occasional concert. And it’s normally pretty easy on the budget too, with so many free and low- cost concerts throughout the year. The Eastman School Symphony Orchestra is wrapping up this year in style with William Grant Still’s Wood Notes, a four-part pastoral impressionist suite inspired by nature. That music pairs well with “The Moldau” - a journey along the Czech river imbued with composer Bedrich Smetana’s love of his homeland. Neal Varon also leads the orchestra in Leonard Bernstein’s dynamic “Candide Overture” and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music for “Romeo and Juliet.” Free and open to the public at 7:30 p.m.



Trivia Night with Game Night Rochester


Round up a few brainy friends and make your way to Lucky’s in the Winton neighborhood for weekly Tuesday trivia hosted and created by Game Night Rochester, a local startup helmed by 20-something Jake Cornfield. Arrive a bit early to grab a pub burger (with lucky sauce) and settle into a booth with your team for rotating-themed trivia at 8:30 p.m. Winning teams get Lucky’s gift cards (and bragging rights, of course).


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

by reading works by Black authors, sharing information and quotes on social media, or donating a book by a Black author. MS

chill party vibes. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $37.



Bug Jar,

Too bad April 20 was a couple of weeks ago, Bongzilla would have been the perfect soundtrack for a hazy celebration of weed’s high holiday. The band plays a kind of sludgy, plodding, early Black Sabbath-inspired stoner metal that pairs well with a few lungbusters. If this sounds like your bag, the doors open at 8 p.m. and admissions starts at $18 day of (buying your ticket ahead of time will save you a few bucks). Wizard Rifle and Haishen open.



National Black Authors Day

Expand your reading list and meet Black authors including storyteller

Almeta Whitis and Rochester’s Gluten-free Chef Calvin Eaton, who has a new cookbook called “Just Desserts” at a free event at 125 State St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This new national celebration was brought together by Rochester writer and editor CaTyra Polland, CEO and founder of “Love for Words,” as a way to celebrate the work of Black writers and authors in all genres. Whether or not you can make it out in person, she encourages people to celebrate


El Cuatro de Mayo: a Tequila y Mezcal Pairing Dinner

Radio Social,

Kick off Cinco de Mayo a day early with a guided tequila and mezcal pairing dinner celebrating the spirit of agave at Radio Social. Chef Josh Prahler and crew will create a fivecourse menu of cuisine inspired by agave culture paired with cocktails and copitas alike (vegetarian option available upon request). After dinner, stay to bowl a few frames or play a quick game of Ping Pong at this dining and entertainment destination. LS



The Frank White Experience: 90s Celebration

Water Street Music Hall,

The Frank White Experience knows how to kick it old-school. As a band dedicated to the musical legacy of Christopher Wallace — best known as the Notorious B.I.G. — the Rochester outfit delivers Biggie’s signature blend of swagger and smoothness. The legendary rapper was killed at only 24 years old, but not before leaving a profound, indelible influence on hiphop that’s still felt today, with hits like “Big Poppa,” “Hypnotize,” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Led by rapper Skribe Da God, The Frank White Experience is a tight tribute band with


“Building Color”

Frank’s Chop Shop, anoxxix

Argentinian-born local artist and skateboarder Emiliano Diaz (who goes by the tag name ANO) will showcase a brand new, seven-painting series and prints produced by Tiny Fish Printing at Frank’s Chop Shop. Ano’s acrylic paintings combine linework, color and graffiti inspiration; he was previously featured in RoCo’s State of the City 2022 exhibit. The show opens on First Friday with a reception 6-9 p.m., where ANO will be discussing other new work, and runs through the month. Free and open to the public during Frank’s Chop Shop operating hours. LS


“Almost, Maine” Penfield Community Center,

This earnest rom-com was a Broadway bust when it opened in 2006, but it has since been played around the world and become a darling of regional theaters. Its success lies in its shrewd writing and relatable nine interlocking love stories that unfold on a single moonless night in northern Maine. The storylines of the vignettes are varied and so sickeningly sweet that it’s hard not to let the cheese slide and fall in love with this delightful play. Broadway be damned. This production by Penfield Players plays through May 13 at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance and $17 at the door.




FAMILY Spring Into Nature

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge,

I grew up across the road from the Iroquois refuge, really. The only thing separating it and my parents’ house was a cornfield. When I was a kid, my folks would take my brother and me to various open houses and field days held by the refuge staff, which left a lot of fond memories burned into my mind. Spring Into Nature promises nature-related activities, guided walks, and food for purchase. The refuge itself is rich with migratory fowl and songbirds, raptors including nesting bald eagles and osprey, and plenty of other wildlife. It’s a regional treasure and this event is a perfect opportunity to explore it and learn about it. Spring Into Nature starts at 10 a.m., lasts until 3 p.m., and is free. JM

COMEDY Heather Shaw

Comedy @ the Carlson,

Gates-Chili native Heather Shaw became a viral comic sensation after pretending to be Jim Carrey’s longlost daughter on TikTok, garnering more than two million followers for her uncanny resemblance to the “Ace Ventura” star. Her up-and-coming comedy career has been featured on Tamron Hall Show, The Today Show (Australia), and in the New York Post and The Mirror (UK), and she’s collaborated with Eric Andre, Fortune Feimster, and Mark Normand. The 35-year-old will perform two shows at Comedy @ the Carlson, at 7:30 p.m. (sold out) and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. LS


Photo City Music Hall,

Alternative pop band KOPPS does irony and tongue-and-cheek selfawareness better than any other music act around, rivaled only by its long-time friends and frequent collaborators in Joywave. KOPPS frontwoman Patricia Patrón embodies the performative tropes of pop music while simultaneously providing cutting satire of the genre on songs like “Popular,” “Dumb,” and “There’s No Such Thing as Love.” KOPPS make electro-pop with bite, and the synchronized polish of its stage show — which I found off-putting at first — gets under your skin in a good way. The band headlines tonight alongside Ishmael, Jacob Asher, and DJ Chreath. Doors open at 8 p.m. for this 16-and-over show (under 18 admitted with a guardian). Tickets are $15 in advance. DK


Three Heads Brewing,

The name of this local quartet is unassuming, but make no mistake, the young up-and-comers in Judah are loaded with talent. Inspired by classic rock, Judah’s songs, including those on the 2022 EP “On the Incline,” are crammed with guitar riffs and bluesy vibes. You never know exactly what you’re going to hear. Snippets of Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz, and even early Pearl Jam are all in the mix, but Judah always sounds like a band earnestly discovering its own voice. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. DK

24 CITY MAY 2023


MUSIC Rochester Record Fair — Spring 2023 Edition

Radio Social,

Audiophiles can count on Rochester’s seasonal Record Fair events to help satisfy their vinyl fix, and they have event organizer and Needle Drop Records owner Russ Torregiano to thank for it. This edition of the fair is at a new location, Radio Social on Carlson Road, but the hunt for sonic gold is very much the same. In addition to vinyl records, CDs and cassettes are also for sale. Regular entry is free and begins at 11 a.m. Early bird entry begins at 10 a.m. with a $10 cover charge. The fair ends at 4 p.m. DK


The Lucky Flea

320 N. Goodman Street (near Village Gate), Rochester’s largest open-air flea market returns to its seasonal outdoor location - in a parking lot adjacent to Village Gate in the Neighborhood of the Arts - beginning in May. Browse secondhand treasures from more than 100 creatives, collectors and vintage curators and grab a snack from a local food truck or stand. Free entry, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. LS



Kite Flight 2023

Ontario Beach Park,

Kite Flight has become an annual event that takes place at Ontario Beach Park each year. True to its name, it’ll feature expert kite flyers who will pilot their unique, colorful kites with great skill. But the event isn’t just a demonstration, it is a chance for people of all ages to try their hand at kite flying. City recreation staff will provide free kitebuilding workshops for children under 12 as well. The event will also feature strolling jugglers and other entertainment, and the Charlotte Community Association will be selling refreshments as a fundraiser. Kite Flight goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. JM


Chuck Ragan

Montage Music Hall,

Chuck Ragan has an unmistakable set of pipes, as anyone who’s listened to his material with post-hardcore legends Hot Water Music can attest. It’s gravelly in the best of ways. Ragan has been making music of his own for 20 years now, and while he’s embraced folk music instead of blazing punk, his rough tenor voice is still there in all of its glory. And it’s just as powerfully suited to the style as it was Hot Water Music’s. Pedal steel player Todd Beene and Rochester’s Kaiser Solzie round out the bill. Tickets are $20 and doors open at 7 p.m. JM



MUSIC The HIRS Collective Bug


The HIRS Collective is no mere hardcore punk band. The Philadelphia-based group is a true revolving-door collective of queer and trans punks that operates as a highlycollaborative ensemble. The result is a raging brand of anti-authoritarian DIY hardcore that’s often mislabeled as grindcore. Each of the collective’s albums have featured high-profile guests and its latest, 2022’s “We’re Still Here,” is no exception. Collaborators include Shirley Manson from Garbage; Dan Yemin of Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and Paint it Black; and members of Converge, Touche Amore, The Body, Soul Glo, My Chemical Romance, Full of Hell, and more. The guests aren’t touring with the collective but the music is just as excellent without them. Doors open at 8 p.m. for this 18-plus show. Admission is $18. JM


Roc Meat Hot Fest

Rochester Public Market,

Much like the paintings of Édouard Manet or the novels of Thomas Pynchon, Rochester-style meat hot is fine art that is open to interpretation. At its most basic, this pinnacle garbage plate accoutrement is a somewhat salty, somewhat spicy blend of ground beef in a hearty backdrop of grease. But recipes vary wildly. Some very good people experiment with warm spices like clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Other more sinister forces add ketchup and mustard. Taste them all at this celebration of Rochester’s most iconic meat-based condiment. The event starts at 5 p.m., tickets are $25, and include a garbage plate, a drink ticket, and tastings of all sauces.


THEATER Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”

Geva Theatre Center,

This is not your grandmother’s “Cinderella.” This work, which started out as a made-for-television musical in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, has been made over more times than Madonna. Forty years later, it starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. The keynote songs have been retained, but a lot has been added and deleted to tailor the show to modern audiences. The adaptation by Douglas Carte Beane, who wrote the book for this show, invites audiences to build a better, kinder world together. Any way you slice this beloved classic, though, the shoe, er, glass slipper fits. The show opens on May 9 and turns into a pumpkin on June 4. The curtain rises today at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $28 to $72. DA


THEATER “The Nerd”

Multi-use Community Cultural Center,

If you’ve ever had a houseguest who overstays, and overstays, and overstays his welcome, you’ll relate to this sidesplitting comedy by Out of Pocket theater company. We tend to think of nerds nowadays as offbeat but loveable enthusiasts of a specific niche. But the definition has changed since Larry Shue penned this play, which is set at a dinner party in 1979 hosted by Willum Cubbert, a young architect who years earlier was unconscious on the battlefield in Vietnam when a fellow soldier, Rick Steadman, saved his life. The two have corresponded for years, but never met until Rick shows up for dinner and reveals himself to be a classic nerd of his day — loathsome and socially inept. From the moment he arrives, the play is about how Willum and his other guests conspire to shoo this moron extraordinaire out the door. The production opens May 5 and runs through May 13. Tickets range from $15 to $25. DA

26 CITY MAY 2023

Now Playing: “What’s Your Pleasure?”

Photo City Music Hall,

Now Playing is a sister entity to Juice Box, Rochester’s inclusive, queer dance party that pops up with different themes at various venues around town. “Now Playing” focuses on spotlighting one specific album start to finish, without any skips or shuffling. May’s Now Playing wiIl be a disco night featuring “What’s Your Pleasure,” Jessie Ware’s 2020 album, and DJ Small Mouth will spin a live set after the album to keep the dance party going all night long. Doors at 9 p.m., music at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 (21+) and $7 (ages 18-20). LS

Sunday May 14 2:00pm First Church


THEATER “Cry it Out” Blackfriars Theatre,

This dramedy is a joyful ode to motherhood and sisterhood — ideal for a Mother’s Day weekend. Written by the versatile Molly Smith Metzler, whose credits include “Orange is the New Black” and “MAID,” the play centers on new mom Jessie, who bonds with her new-mom neighbor Lina over the absurdities of being home with a baby. Director Alexa Scott-Flaherty promises from experience — both as a mom and a director — to bring this already deft script about the mind-numbing agonies new mothers face come to life. The production premieres today at 8 p.m. and runs through May 28. Tickets range from $34 to $40, but students can get in for $20. DA

MUSIC Anthony Hamilton with J. Howell

Rochester Auditorium Theatre,

Sing your heart out on Mother’s Day weekend at a soulful R&B concert guaranteed to attract all generations of music lovers. Headlining the show is Grammy Award-winning soul singer-songwriter Anthony Hamilton, whose 2005 hit single “Charlene” was nominated for a NAACP award. Touring alongside is Rochester favorite J. Howell, one of the newer independent artists known for his classic R&B vocals. The Tennessee native recently toured the U.S. with R&B songstress K. Michelle and

performed for Tyler Perry. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $72 to $203. RAQUEL STEPHEN




Little Shop of Hoarders, facebook. com/littleshopofhoardersRochester

If your taste in music is anything like mine, you’re always in the mood for lush acoustic music with heart-tugging vocal harmonies. And Archimedes has it in abundance. Soft, insistent, and layered, the band’s songs — many of which show up on the 2018 album “Harmonium” — sound like the soundtrack to a dream. Frontman Tony Gill’s impressionistic songwriting and Rebecca Schneider’s understated background vocals will whisk you away, if only for a moment. The Little Shop of Hoarders will be open for shopping at 7 p.m., and the music begins at 9 p.m. $7 suggested donation. DK CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

of Christ, Scientist

MUSIC Some Ska Band

Three Heads Brewing,

It’s time to don your best checkered socks, wide-leg slacks, and wallet chain, and break out those skankin’ shoes. Rochester’s Some Ska Band specializes in the kind of dance-happy, third wave tunes that’ll put a smile on your face and keep it there. But the band is no stranger to the original ’60s ska from Jamaica or the punk-tinged two-tone either. Expect a fresh mix of covers and originals when Some Ska Band takes the stage close to 8 p.m. tonight. Doors open at 7 p.m. $10. DK

begins at 10 a.m. and the film at 11:30 a.m. Tickets for both are $60 per person and you’ll want to register ASAP, since the deadline to do so is May 8. Tickets for the film only are available for the regular cost of admission. JM


Magic Beans

Flour City Station,

The Colorado band Magic Beans offers the kind of sonic smorgasbord that live music fans love. Funk, rock, R&B, and soul are all thrown into the pot to cook, along with a sprinkle of jam-band vibes. The quartet’s latest album, 2022’s “Unzipped,” is an instrumental collection with serious ’90s vibes and major groovability. The doors open at 9 p.m., and the Buffalo band Grub starts things off at 10 p.m. The 21-and-over show is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. DK



Mother’s Day

Brunch & Film: “Little Women”

Dryden Theatre,

Mother’s Day and brunch are a classic pairing, but this event ends with a twist. After the mimosas and coffee are drained, brunchers will be treated to a showing of the classic 1949 movie “Little Women” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Lawford. Brunch


Kevin Hart: Reality Check

Turning Stone Resort and Casino,

Emmy and Grammy-nominated actor and comedian Kevin Hart brings his Reality Check Tour to nearby Turning Stone in Verona - a perfect Mother’s Day gift for the special mom in your life who appreciates a good laugh. Show starts at 6 p.m., and it’s a device-free experience. Tickets start at from $100. RS


Flower City Days

Rochester Public Market,

Up until the pandemic I had what you might call a black thumb. But after days and days inside my apartment I decided it needed a little more life than just me and my dog, so I picked up a nerve plant and proceeded to learn how not to kill it. Now my track record is pretty good and like other aspiring green thumbs I’m always looking for a new interesting plant to join the rest of my haphazard collection. Flower City Days at the Public Market are great for that. During the wildly popular event, which happens from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays throughout May and June, plant lovers can saunter through display after display of foliage in hopes of finding something that catches their eyes, is compatible with their horticultural skill levels, or just looks cool. Since today is Mother’s Day, how about skipping brunch to go smell the flowers instead? JM

28 CITY MAY 2023


Mikaela Davis

Lilac Festival,

Rochester-native Mikaela Davis is a one-of-a-kind singer-songwriter. A classically trained harpist, Davis’s music infuses notes of psychedelia, American folk traditions, and bluegrass into an instrument often relegated to chamber music and 19thcentury symphonic traditions. Davis will take center stage at the Lilac Festival at 7 p.m., preceded by Big Blue House at 4 and Public Water Supply at 5:30. The event is free and open to the public. GF



Make Your Own Kombucha


Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that continues its rapid rise in popularity. And while there are several places around Rochester that make, serve, or sell kombucha, it’s also something you can make at home. That’s what this class is all about. Katboocha owner Kat Schwarz will lead participants in making their own booch out of tea, sugar, and a culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. The hunk of microorganisms is what ferments the tea drink and gives it the kick its devotees crave. For your $35 ticket you’ll get all the stuff you need to make kombucha, including the precious SCOBY. JM




of Lake Ontario: A Journey of Discovery”

Rochester Museum & Science Center,

The Great Lakes are commonly seen as ecological and economic treasures, but they also hold a lot of history. Jim Kennard has spent nearly 50 years exploring shipwrecks in Lake Ontario with finds including the British warship HMS Ontario, which sank during a storm in 1780, and the sloop Washinton, which sank in 1803. The finds garnered international media coverage. Kennard has written a book, “Lake Ontario Shipwrecks: A Journey of Discovery,” about his experiences and discoveries, which is what he’ll discuss during tonight’s talk. The event is included with admission to RMSC: $18 for adults, $13 for members and students. JM


MULTIDISCIPLINARY Stories from the Living Tree

Memorial Art Gallery,

This immersive performance invites you into a space where different cultures, languages, and forms of art are woven together as roots of a figurative tree, where stories can be shared and exchanged, growing into something new. Annika Bentley is leading this collaboration that includes singing from Mount Hope World Singers, music by pianist and percussionist Greg Woodsbie, performances from BIODANCE led by Missy Pfohl Smith, and animation by Christine A. Banna. Experience it all at the Memorial Art Gallery at 7 p.m. with a second performance Sunday at 2 p.m. Performances will also be streamed live online. MS

MAY 15


DRINK “Agave Through the Ages: Class and Tasting”

Salena’s, Tequila has quite the reputation among drinkers, mainly that it fuels good times and bad choices, often in succession. But like other spirits, it’s the product of craftsmanship and age. Unlike the shots of Cuervo or Sauza we’ve all slammed at the bar, there is a growing market of agave spirits that are meant to be sipped and enjoyed slowly, just as if it was scotch, bourbon, or cognac. This class will focus on the gamut of spirits made from blue agave, which is a cactus. There’s tequila, but there are also its close cousins raicilla and mezcal. You’ll get to taste the spirits, but you’ll also learn about the different styles. The class runs from 6-8 p.m. and costs $30. Reservations can be made online. JM


FILM “A Knight’s Tale”

The Little Theatre, Rotten Tomatoes calls this movie “Rocky on horseback” and it’s not wrong, but that description does it a great injustice. “A Knight’s Tale,” which stars the late Heath Ledger as the titular knight, is great fun. Too often, movie sites will poo-poo flicks if they’re deemed too pedestrian — a fate that befalls a lot of comedies and horror movies. But “A Knight’s Tale” is what you want from a night in front of the big screen. It’s a great story about how a peasant squire aspires to improve his lot in life through much hard work, and his friends stand behind him along the way as they navigate all sorts of peril, adversity, and ultimately, glory. This film is showing at 7:30

p.m. as part of the “So Fetch!” series, which is a celebration of turn-of-themillennium movies. Admission is the Little’s usual: $11 general, $7 for members, students, and people in the military. JM


DRINK Celebration of Cream Ales 2023

Roc Brewing Co.,

If there’s one style of beer that screams “Rochester!” it’s the cream ale. But Genny isn’t alone when it comes to making the smooth, easydrinking libation. Roc Brewing Co. hosts its annual Celebration of Cream Ales, a 12-hour marathon featuring more than 35 breweries from Rochester and throughout upstate New York. Genesee will be there, rest assured, but make room for offerings from such breweries as Resurgence, Eli Fish, Prison City, Other Half, and Rohrbach as well. DK

MUSIC Off With Their Heads

Bug Jar,

It’s been 10 years since the modernday standard bearers of Minnesota punk put out “Home,” a high-energy record full of loud guitars and introspective lyrics that doesn’t have a bad song on it. Now, the band is out on the road touring in celebration of that release, even though it has put out several other albums after that. But tonight Off With Their Heads will play “Home” in its entirety, from its explosive start to its blistering finish. Carpool and Broadsword open. The show is 18-and-up and tickets are around $18-$20, depending on whether the purchaser is over 21. JM

30 CITY MAY 2023

“History and Mystery: The Folklore and Legends of the Bristol Hills”

Bristol Volunteer Fire Department,

Instead of the grainy black-and-white photos you might expect to find in a historical recounting, The Bristol Hills Historical Society commissioned local illustrator Anna Overmoyer to create 30 whimsical watercolor paintings to accompany the stories in “History and Mystery: The Folklore and Legends of the Bristol Hills.” The book is a mix of historical fact and folklore, telling the area’s history from ancient Native American times and post-Revolutionary War settlement to contemporary times. A free public reception begins at 1 p.m. and will feature a display of original art from the book and a presentation by Haudenosaunee storyteller Perry Ground. Copies of the book can be reserved for $37 at bristolhillshistory. org. LS


PGA Championship

Oak Hill Country Club,

Oak Hill Country Club has been hosting Professional Golf Association events for nearly 70 years — and is home to the 105th PGA Championship from May 15 through May 21. You can walk the grounds of the club’s storied East Course alongside the world’s best players, sip lemonade or something stronger, and rub elbows with Smugtown socialites, because you know they’ll be there. But it’ll cost you. There are different tiers of tickets, starting with those between $55 and $65 that are for viewing the practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday. From there, the tickets escalate rapidly, to $266 for Sunday’s championship round. If you enjoy great golf, or just want to experience a world-class event in your own backyard, and have the bank for a ticket — go. You won’t regret it. DA


“Ragtime: The Musical”

JCC CenterStage,

This musical, adapted from E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel of the same name, follows three families in pursuit of the American Dream in the early 20th century. At the core of the musical is a cast of characters confronting wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, and hopes and despair against a backdrop of the promise for a brighter future. The show opens on May 6 and closes today with a 2 p.m. performance. Tickets are $35 for JCC members and $40 for non-members. Students can see it for $20. DA

MUSIC Rebecca Clarke Recital

George Eastman Museum,

Here’s a bit of Rochester trivia: George Eastman and Joseph Thatcher Clarke had a friendship based on biking and a shared love of music - Clarke helped manage Eastman’s European business and sent him recommendations for his new music library in Rochester. Eastman employed Clarke’s sons: Eric as manager of Eastman Theatre and Hans as Kodak’s first chemical engineer. The real star of the family turned out to be Joseph Thatcher Clarke’s daughter - noted composer and violist Rebecca Clarke. She stopped by Rochester in 1923, and played her viola sonata for family friend George Eastman in his living room. Fast forward a century, and violist Ryan Hardcastle, pianist Brock Tjosvold, and mezzo-soprano Krysten Chambers-Jones will bring her music back to that same room this afternoon at 3 p.m. MS


Family friendly event to learn more about services of BVA and other public safety and community partners such as Brighton Police, Monroe Co. Sherriff’s mounted patrol, Monroe Co. 911, and NY State Police

Activities include ambulance tours, equipment demonstrations, face painting, bounce house, and more!

HOUSE May 21, 1 to 4 p.m.
at Brighton High School with shuttle service to • (585) 319-4314 • 274 N. Goodman Street LEMON RASPBERRY CUPCAKES (THAT’S THE WHOLE AD)



24 Supper Club


Led by REDD’s Chef de Cuisine

Brad Pareira, the monthly 24 Supper Club presents a multi-course, prix fixe menu at the bar with an optional beverage pairing and rotating theme. This intimate, social dining experience has several seatings available each time; reservations can be made by calling 585-483-7333. LS


The Kodak Concert Band

Greece Baptist Church,

2023 marks the second season of collaboration between Jazz 90.1 and Greece Baptist Church, working together to present free jazz and big band concerts to the Rochester community. The Kodak Concert Band – comprised of current and retired Kodak employees and their family and friends – plays at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. LS



Boz Scaggs

Kodak Center,

Guitarist Boz Scaggs is one of those sneakily important artists who might not necessarily be on your shortlist of favorite singer-songwriters, but a quick rundown of hits such as “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle,” “JoJo” and “Miss Sun” may make you reconsider. If you find Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” schtick insufferable, and the suprisingly enduring catalog of Hall & Oates isn’t big enough, the Scaggs songbook is the perfect supply of smooth and catchy pop songs with ’70s disco and ’80s soul overtones. And at 78, Scaggs’s still got it. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run from $45.50 to $85.50, plus fees. DK



Bridge City Sinners

Photo City Music Hall,



Salsa Night w/ DJ Pabony

Lovin Cup,

Not actually knowing how to dance has never stopped me before, but over the years, my husband has argued that dance lessons would make him more likely to actually give it a try. Whether you fall on either side of that argument, this is a good chance to get a little bit of instruction before being let loose on the dance floor. There is a short dance lesson at 8 p.m. when the doors open, followed by an evening of salsa music from DJ Pabony, with a $10 cover. MS

MUSIC Cheap Trick

Del Lago Casino & Resort,

The dream police are living in the heads of the folks at Del Lago, who are bringing power pop legends and classic rock radio staples Cheap Trick to the casino’s stage, weird guitars and all. Shine up your old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt, and then surrender to the wall of guitars, but don’t give yourself away. Tickets start at $30 but they go as high as $225 for a front row VIP package. The show starts at 8 p.m. JM



2023 Sterling Stage Folkfest

Sterling Stage Kampitheater,

MUSIC Jimmie Highsmith Jr. Plays Al Jarreau


Book Buddies

Lollypop Farm,

The Book Buddies Program gives kids the chance to read their favorite stories while cozying up to cuddly cats and other small animals who are waiting for new homes. Lollypop Farm invites kids (and their adults) to the main Fairport campus to practice their reading skills while they make a new furry friend. $5 registration fee for the first child; $3 for an additional sibling or friend (space is limited). All ages welcome, adult supervision is required. Book Buddies takes place every Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and Thursday at 5 p.m. LS

Bridge City Sinners bills itself as a “y’allternative band,” which is probably the most apt descriptor for a bizarre mash-up of folk, punk, cabaret, and 1920’s jazz influences. A full olde tyme folk ensemble led by vocalist/banjolele player Libby Lux, the Sinners revel in macabre imagery set atop foot-stomping string band tones. Take a listen to “Kreacher,” a strangely upbeat tune about a flesheating monster commandeering an army of rats, and you’ll get a good idea of what the band is all about. Bridge City Sinners will play with local third-wave ska devotees Turkey Blaster Omega. Doors at 7, tickets are $18. GF

It’s never too early to get a jump on music festival season as the weather gets warmer. Consider the Sterling Stage Folkfest as a warmup to sonic celebrations to come this summer. The four-day fest includes two sets apiece from the nightly headliners, which include the beloved upstate Americana band Driftwood and the charismatic folk-rock-soul dynamo Hayley Jane. Buffalo roots band Folkfaces and folkreggae outfit The Forest Dwellers are also on the bill. Overnight camping is included with all tickets. Day passes are $65, four-day festival passes are $85 (plus fees). Separate passes for dogs and vehicles are also available. DK

The Theater at Innovation Square,

Saxophonist and flutist Jimmie Highsmith Jr. is a Rochester treasure whose penchant for melody and versatility finds him equally at home with sultry smooth jazz and in-yourface fusion. Tonight, Highsmith Jr. will interpret the music of the late pop-R&B singer Al Jarreau to raise money for The Hosea Taylor Jr. Community Concert Band. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $25. DK

32 CITY MAY 2023
MAY 26

Anthony Horowitz: Magpie Murders

Author Anthony Horowitz has brought us some of the finest murder mysteries including Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders, and Sherlock Holmes – all of which he first wrote as novels and then adapted for the screen. In 2016 he published the novel Magpie Murders, which he adapted for TV in 2022 with Lesley Manville in the lead role.

“I love the whole art of creating a murder mystery. I love laying the foundations, the clues, the red herrings, the suspects, the twists, the turns, the surprises at the end,” says Horowitz in a PBS “Writing Magpie Murders” clip. “It’s my favorite genre, simply because if two people meet, and one murders the other, you’re not dealing with superficial or light emotions. You’re dealing with passion, with anger, with fear, with jealousy, with rage. Everything is amplified in the world of murder mystery. You get straight into the character of people because, actually, murder mystery is not about murder, it is about the reasons and the motivation for doing the murder.”

In Magpie Murders, a mystery author dies under suspicious circumstances, with his last book seemingly unfinished. This leaves two mysteries: What happened to him? And how does his latest potboiler end? Magpie Murders revolves around the character Susan Ryeland, an editor who is given an unfinished manuscript of author Alan Conway’s latest novel but has little idea it will change her life.

Magpie Murders airs in its entirety Sunday, May 14 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

To watch the full PBS “Writing Magpie Murders” clip with Horowitz in which he describes the difference between writing Magpie Murders as a book vs. a television series, visit

Photo: Lesley Manville as Susan Ryeland Credit: Courtesy of (C) Eleventh Hour Films Photographer: Bernard Walsh Photo by Jack Lawson

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Serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more.



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1. WXXI Daily News 4. Life Kit 6. American Masters Creative Spark 7. The Frontline Dispatch Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath sits down with series filmmakers for 8. Masterpiece Studio 2. Pop Culture Happy Hour 3. Code Switch 5. The Arthur Podcast


Young @ Heart 40th Anniversary Show

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

Special Coverage of the Coronation of King Charles III

Saturday, May 6 from 2:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.* on WXXI-TV WXXI presents live coverage from BBC of the coronation of his Majesty the King, which will take place in Westminster Abbey, London. Coverage begins at 2:30 a.m. and is expected to last seven hours. King Charles will become the oldest person to succeed the throne in British royal history.

*Please note: As PBS works with the BBC to bring this to our airwaves, the time is subject to change.

Photo: King Charles, Credit: Shutterstock/Jamie Roach

Unearth Ogawa

Monday, May 8 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

This documentary tells the story of a deceased Japanese soldier who is honored by an American who finds him with his diary in a battlefield cave and seeks to return the chronicle to the man’s family. Decades later, the American’s son uncovers new information and retraces his father’s gesture and visits Japan to meet the Ogawa clan today.

Credit: Edward Gajdel

Mysterious Women of Masterpiece Mystery

Sunday, May 14 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Go behind-the-scenes of the popular Masterpiece Mystery series Miss Scarlet and The Duke, Annika and Magpie Murders. Interviews with the stars and creators offer insights into the joys — and challenges — of making these shows.

Photo: Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet, Credit: Courtesy of Element 8 Entertainment and Masterpiece

The Young@Heart Chorus, a group composed of New England senior citizens who have developed into the stereotype-defying, generation-crossing musical extravaganza, perform this special concert in celebration of their 40th anniversary. Their set list includes Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia”, Talking Head’s “We’re on the Road to No Where,” Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” and more.

The 87th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Monday, May 22 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Hosted by acclaimed scholar, lecturer, social critic, writer, and editor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who is chairman of the Anisfield-Wolf Books Awards jury, this special highlights the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners and their literary work.

National Memorial Day Concert

Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

Featuring an all-star line-up with the National Symphony Orchestra, this deeply moving and reverential night brings us together as one family of Americans to honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, military families and all those who have given their lives for our country.

Courtesy of Capital Concerts

Photo by Julian Parker-Burns This program is part of Aging Together in New York Week, May 15-21, a statewide multi-platform project that addresses senior isolation, loneliness, and depression. To learn more, visit Photo: Tiya Miles, co-winner of the award for her book All That She Carried, Credit: Kimberly P. Mitchell


Cinco de Mayo: Viva ¡México!

Thursday, May 5 at 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical

In this special, Venezuelan born host and pianist Ines Guanchez shares the history of Cinco do Mayo through the music of Mexican and Chicano composers from the past and present that celebrates Mexican national pride and heritage.

San Francisco Symphony

Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning May 31 on WXXI Classical

This 13-part series highlights performances from the Symphony’s 2023-2024 season, which includes performances from prestigious soloists, guest conductors, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is the Symphony’s newest Music Director.

Credit: Stefan Cohen


Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Mondays at 8 p.m. beginning May 15 on WXXI Classical Enjoy concerts from the 2022-2023 season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. This series is hosted by Brenda Tremblay, who takes you behind the curtain and up close with the musicians, the maestro, and the music.

Courtesy of the RPO

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A Prayer for Salmon

Sunday, May 7 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

A Prayer for Salmon tells the story of the Winnemem Wintu people and their clash with Shasta Dam — the country’s 8th tallest dam and one of California’s most important infrastructure sites. When it was built in the 1940s, Shasta Dam in Northern California flooded the Winnemem Wintu’s land and sacred sites, leaving them displaced and with no rights on the river where their ancestors lived.

Credit: Tom Levy / The Spiritual Edge

Early Risers: Parent Perspectives on Racial Equity in Early Childhood

Sunday, May 28 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

How do you help young children understand the importance of racial equity? How do we help them make sense of what they’re seeing and hearing about race every day? You’ll hear first-person perspectives of parents navigating these discussions. In addition, we’ll share practical tips and insights from a variety of early childhood experts about how to talk with very young children about race and racism. Courtesy of MPR

Queer Youth Resilience & Mental Health

Sunday, May 14 at 9 p.m. on WXXI News/NPR

Everyday Queer teens and young adults are challenged by the politicization of gender identity and sexual orientation—along with increased levels of discrimination. The mental health consequences are alarming. In 2022, 45% of LGBTQ youth report to have seriously considered suicide, and 14% tried to hurt themselves. At a time when LGBTQ youth face continued fights around their identity, gaps in mental health support and representation by mental health providers... how are Queer youth staying resilient in the middle of continued barriers?


Jim Catalano

Headquartered in Ithaca, Jim writes stories about bands and music for WITH-FM 90.1, which appear on, as well as in CITY Magazine, and on WITH is a broadcast partnership between WXXI and Hobart & William Smith Colleges (HWS). You will also see him out in the community tabling at events, festivals, and concerts throughout the Finger Lakes. We sat down with Jim to ask him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say.

How do you come up with your “Shows to See This Week” column?

It’s a remnant of my Soundoff column, which I wrote for almost 30 years in the Ithaca Journal and Ithaca Times. The latter half of the column was usually blurbs on upcoming shows; now that I do it for the WITH website, I’m able to also put in relevant videos, links, and playlists. By the way, I hope to bring back the front half of the column, where I often write in the first person about the Ithaca/CNY music scene.

Of the shows in your column, how many do you end up going to?

Not as many as I used to, that’s for sure! Before the pandemic, I would see 200-300 shows per year, and often several shows a night almost every day of the week. These days, I’ve dialed that way back, but still try to see as many cool bands as possible.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Meeting a variety of musicians, especially when I get to interview them in their studio spaces. I also like working events, especially the summer concerts at Beak & Skiff and the annual GrassRoots Festival.

If you could invite three musicians (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be?

Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Bruce Springsteen.

What’s the best concert you have ever gone to?

Bruce Springsteen at Vernon Downs, on Aug. 29, 2012. I’ve seen him around a dozen times in a variety of venues, but this was the one show where I was in the pit area in front of the stage, just a few feet away from him and the rest of the E-Street Band for four hours on a beautiful summer night!

What’s the best part about living in Ithaca?

The natural surroundings –gorges, waterfalls, Cayuga Lake, hiking trails, parks, etc. – as well as the cultural scene – music, art, film, books, food, stage, and more.


New films coming this month


(May 19):

A modern-day reimagining of the classical opera starring Paul Mescal (Oscar-nominated for AFTERSUN) and Melissa Barrera (IN THE HEIGHTS, SCREAM VI).


(May TBD):

A wickedly dark comedy about dominatrix, Rebecca (Emmy Award nominee Margaret Qualley), and her wealthy client, Hal (Christopher Abbott), as they engage in a high-stakes role playing game for power and control.


(May TBD):

A stunning debut from writer/director Celine Song and distributor A24, PAST LIVES tells the story of two deeply connected childhood friends, Nora and Hae Sung.

One Take Documentary: Sam Now

7:15 p.m. Thursday, May 4 (includes a postscreening Q&A with director Reed Harkness)

3 p.m. Saturday, May 6 Tickets at the

What do two film-obsessed brothers do to solve a family mystery? Using every video format imaginable, they make a movie as they travel thousands of miles looking for their missing mom.

Mother’s Day Screening: Mamma Mia!

3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 14 Tickets at

The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular 1970s group ABBA. Free popcorn for moms on Mother’s Day with the purchase of a movie ticket.

Staff Picks: Gladiator

Picked by: Christian, concessions

6:45 p.m. Monday, May 22

Tickets at

“Are you not entertained?!” Ridley Scott’s 2000 “Best Picture” Oscar winner makes a grand entrance at The Little.

Ave to preview the full list of May’s new movies and release dates.

MUSIC Dirty Blanket

Point of the Bluff Vineyards,

I’ve been on the Dirty Blanket train for a while now. The band’s tireless energy, emotional chemistry, technical prowess make it a must-hear live act for any Finger Lakes music fan who loves up-tempo Americana. And though the quintet doesn’t use traditional bluegrass instrumentation exactly, the spirit of the music is as close as you can come to that authentic Kentucky sound. The allages show starts at 6 p.m., but the doors open an hour earlier. Tickets are $25. Wine, beer, and food will be available. DK



Clothing & Art Supply Swap

The Yards Collective,

Aligning with its mission to repurpose and support the creative community, The Yards Collective will host a clothing and art supply swap in its eclectic studio space at the Rochester Public Market - featured items will be pulled from their closets, art studios, and storage spaces. For a $5-10 suggested donation (Yards members get in free), browse the inventory and take home a newfound treasure (or three). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 28 and 29. LS

MUSIC Paxtor

The Little Theatre Café,

The eccentric band Paxtor is the brainchild of songwriter Payton Marovich, whose free-flowing melodies, jaunty rhythms, and proclivity for sonic silliness places his music in the same freak-folk vein as that of his longtime friend and former bandmate Seth Faergolzia. But Paxtor’s songs — including those on its clever, well-crafted third album “Snow” — are less punk-influenced and more indebted to the legacy of the Great American Songbook, albeit in a quirky, Harry Nilsson-esque way. Marovich and his merry band of weirdos play two sets tonight from 7 to 9 p.m., free of charge (although tipping your musicians is always recommended). DK


FAMILY Memorial Day Parade

East Avenue and Alexander Street,

Load up the folding chairs and slather on the sunscreen (hopefully) for downtown Rochester’s annual Memorial Day Parade to honor those who fought for our country and officially kick off the summer event season. Free to all. Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. LS


Red Wings vs. Syracuse Mets

Innovative Field,

Take in a late afternoon ballgame after your Memorial Day cookout - with $5 tickets for all 100 and 200 level single tickets, it’s an easy choice for kids and adults alike. Grab a white hot and some popcorn before you settle in for this regional match-up at 4:05 p.m. LS


MUSIC Puscifer

Kodak Center,

Puscifer, whose name is taken from a 1995 episode of “Mr. Show,” are as much a spectacle as a band — something you might expect from a band led by inimitable Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. In its bio, the group describes itself as “an electrorock band, multimedia experience, traveling circus, and group of alien abduction survivors.” They promise an immersive live show that blurs the lines between concert and theater. Sounds like they’re taking the Gwar route, but with less...mess. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets costs $40.50 to $70.50, though if you want to drop a few hundred bucks on the experience, there are a few VIP packages. JM


the music uncorks at 8 p.m. at this 18-and-over show. Tickets are $22$25, plus fees. DK

Mystery Wine Tasting

Living Roots Wine & Co.,


Legendary Shack Shakers

Bug Jar,

The energy of the rockabilly-Western swing band Legendary Shack Shakers is on its own level. There’s something about frontman J.D. Wilkes’s roughand-ready vocals, the explosive bluesiness of the electric guitar, and the steady thwump of the upright bass that’ll get you moving before you know where your feet went. Dex Romweber and Viva Le Vox play in support. Doors open at 7 p.m., but

Trivia meets tannins during these monthly classes at Living Roots, Rochester’s only urban winery. Attendees are encouraged to gather a few friends, pick a fun team name, and put their palates to the test as they taste through four mystery pours at Living Roots and answer a range of questions - all for a chance to take home the evening’s prize. Snacks and additional drinks are available during the 7 p.m. class (pro tip: get the marinated cheese), and $100 registers a team of four. LS


T 1 A 2 C 3 O 4 T 5 O 6 A 7 S 8 T 9 E 10 R 11 G 12 O 13 B 14 A 15 D 16 P 17 R 18 A 19 B A T I 20 N T W O B 21 O A R L 22 O U I E T 23 A K E O 24 N M E A N D 25 B O B B Y 26 M C G E E U 27 S E R S E 28 E R I E M 29 O S E O 30 R L M 31 E D I C I 32 M 33 C C A 34 I N S 35 E 36 D 37 U C E A 38 N Y 39 A 40 O 41 B E B 42 E R A T E D M 43 Y 44 G 45 I 46 R L O N F 47 I 48 R E V 49 I S I T A 50 M O S A 51 G A I N T 52 H 53 E N N 54 A A 55 C 56 P 57 S 58 C E N T 59 U 60 L N A R 61 U 62 R G E 63 B 64 U T T 65 A S T I E 66 R R 67 E I 68 G N B 69 E 70 A 71 U T S B 72 O R N T O 73 R 74 U N T H E W 75 O R L D P 76 E 77 A K E D P 78 E T E S A 79 N O T H E 80 R 81 E 82 T C S 83 L 84 A V W 85 Y A 86 T 87 T S 88 T A V E D 89 E K E 90 S 91 E 92 L S E 93 O 94 F U S E 95 A 96 B E E V 97 A N 98 E S Y 99 O 100 U R S O N G 101 B I R D T 102 R 103 A 104 I L E R T 105 R U K 106 N O W H 107 A R L E M O 108 H E N R 109 Y 110 S 111 E N 112 S 113 E 114 D 115 R 116 D A E 117 I 118 R E C 119 O A S 120 T 121 N 122 A C R E U 123 N B R 124 E 125 A K M Y H 126 E A R T O F 127 S T O N E S 128 E L E S E 129 A R S S 130 N O U T A 131 R I D T 132 R E N T A 133 N E T T 134 S A R S L 135 E E S

Festival Calendar


When the sun starts shining and the trees blossom, festival season is around the corner. Balmy evenings full of music. Greasy festival food. Walking it off while browsing rows upon rows of artists’ wares.

Last year a lot of the festivals that were put on hold by the pandemic came back in some form or another. This year, just about every one of them is back to its full, former glory, and the season looks, well, normal.

Here are the region’s festivals, in chronological order, with a new handy key to indicate some characteristics you can expect from each of them.




40 CITY MAY 2023



May 12 through May 21

Our Flower City appropriately kicks off each festival season with the Lilac Festival at Highland Park. This year marks 125 years of the fest, featuring music, food trucks, vendors, and more. This year’s music lineup includes funky soul powerhouse Shine (May 13), singer-songwriter Mikaela Davis and Southern Star (May 15), tribute bands to Fleetwood Mac, Phish, The Grateful Dead, Queen, and more. There’s “Art in the Park,” the Lilac 5K & 10K, and, of course, more than 500 blossoming lilac shrubs.


May 13

This month the Rochester Dachshund Parade celebrates 21 years of its annual fashion show and stroll around Washington Square Park. Get your noodle pup primped and costumed, and head down to the square at 10 a.m. to sing traditional Dachshund songs and make new friends before partaking in the 11:30 a.m. parade. All dog lovers welcome. Organizations dedicated to the relief of animal suffering will be on site. The event takes place rain or shine, although high winds have delayed the event in the past to protect the little stars of the show!


May 20

Lincoln Hill Farms in Canandaigua hosts this annual celebration of Celtic culture, featuring Highland heavy games, bag pipes, Celtic music, dance, demonstrations, a large gathering of Scottish Clans, historical and heritage societies, artisans’ wares, activities for kids, and more. Mayo for Sam!


May 21 through June 11

This year’s theme of “Gods, Myths, and The Divine” is simply ripe for spring and summer storytelling in tunes. The music lineup includes Iris Trio’s “Blue Chapter” of its multi-year “Project Earth,” a chamber music prayer for global sustainability; two programs of legends and fairy tales from around the world told by strings and piano, and the beloved trad group The Brothers Blue. Returning artists include ATLYS and other favorites. Concerts take place at several venues in Geneva.


Saturdays and Sundays, May 20 through June 4

For three weekends starting in late May, the private Linwood Gardens opens its grounds to the public for the blossoming of the tree peonies, which turn the already serene spot into a veritable paradise. The grounds are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekend, and reservations are required. Admission is a $10 suggested donation per adult (kids get in free) or $15 per adult if you’d like to take part in the guided historical tour. The tour lasts an hour and includes information about the history of the summer house, family, and gardens at 1912 York Road West, Linwood, Livingston County. Sweet Arts Bakery will be on site with light lunch and treats for purchase. More info at


May 25 through May 28

Appropriately hosted in Corning, home of the Museum of Glass, GlassFest is a celebration of glassmaking. In addition to a Friday night “Featured Artist Stroll” — where you can watch live glassmaking and shop for finished wares — there’s live music, including a performance by ’90s rockers Fuel, food, drinks, fireworks, and more.




June 1 through June 4

Spanakopita, gyros, lamb shanks, flaming cheese, dancing, refreshing drinks, kids’ activities, and shopping at the Greek marketplace await at the Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Ave. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily


June 3

A must-attend event for animal lovers, The Fast & The Furriest Dog Walk and Pet Fest returns for a 17th year, featuring a 5K and 10K walk, live music, food trucks, sponsor giveaways, vendors, pet contests, and other activities for families, including, of course, the furriest. A virtual option for the dog walks will be available for those who can’t attend in person. Proceeds from the race and fest help fund food, shelter, enrichment, and medical care for shelter animals, and support adoption, lost and found, and spay/neuter programs. The festival takes place from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brown Square Park across from Rochester Animal Services,184 Verona St.


June 5 through June 11

It’s year 10 of the Rochester Cocktail Revival, the annual week-long celebration of the craft of spirits, artful concoctions, and delectable food pairings. Dozens of events, from seminars to tastings, pairing dinners, and a Saturday night “Heroes Ball” take you on a tour of more than two dozen Rochester bars. This is one of the social events of the summer.


Dates TBD

If lilacs indicate springtime in Rochester, summer’s signal is the rose. Held in the peak of rose-blooming season since 1991, this annual showcase of the heavenly riverside garden and historic Maplewood neighborhood spotlights Rochester’s history, ecology, people, and horticultural heritage. Stroll among more than 5,000 blossoms of 300 varieties while taking in refreshments, live music, tours, and more.


June 2 through June 4

Fairport Canal Days returns for its 46th year with three days of music, food vendors, and art merchants, as well as the popular Erie Canal rubber duck race for charity. Kick things off with the Chicken BBQ Friday night, shop on Saturday, and stick around for Canal Night featuring live entertainment.


June 3

Each first Saturday in June, the 19th Ward Association hosts the Square Fair, a neighborhood festival celebrating community. The event is held in Aberdeen Square, 330 Post Ave., and opens with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by games and activities for kids, local vendors, entertainment, and more until 4:30 p.m. A parade starts at 11 a.m., leaving from the 19th Ward Community Association office at 216 Thurston Road.


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A scene from the 2022 Bar Room Battle Royale, the annual closing event of the Rochester Cocktail Revival. PHOTO BY MIKE MARTINEZ


June 10

If you dream of being outdoorsy, but feel a little out of your depth, head to the 24th annual Outdoor Expo. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., you can partake in demonstrations and workshops for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, camping, bicycling, and other related outdoor activities, all presented by a variety of local clubs and organizations. Live entertainment will be provided by Golden Link Folk Singing Society. Sponsored by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club and Monroe County Parks, the festival will take place at the beach area of Mendon Ponds Park, Douglas Road, Mendon. Admission is free.


June 10

Low Bridge High Water is an annual celebration marking the opening of the navigation season of the Erie Canal. Held at the Brockport Welcome Center, the event features family activities, kayaking, biking, music, a Barge Charge 5K, and food. This year’s event marks Brockport’s bicentennial, when the Erie Canal terminated there for two years before it was completed to Buffalo. LowBridgeHighWater,


June 10 and June 11

Festivities along the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, just a short walk from downtown Penn Yan, include hundreds of fine arts and crafts vendors, food, wine, and live blues and jazz. The free event also features family activities, clowns, and art demonstrations.


June date TBA

The free, day-long family event features vendors and exhibitors, children’s programs, food trucks, and educational opportunities. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Genesee Valley Park, 1000 East River Road.


June 23 through July 1

Rochester’s Jazz Fest turns 20 this year, and Gibbs Street will once more be transformed into Jazz Street in mid-June. Among this year’s headliners are Keb’ Mo’ (June 23), Omara Portuondo (June 24), and Bonnie Rait (June 27). But with hundreds of acts at dozens of concert venues and clubs, there’s something for everyone.


June 28 through July 1

The annual celebration of movement features a series of new contemporary performances by a variety of established and emerging choreographers and companies on the stage at 142 Atlantic Ave. This year’s highlights haven’t been announced yet, so check out


June 10

For its 11th year, the annual celebration of suds is moving from its South Wedge stomping grounds to the concourse at Innovative Field. This showcase of 65 breweries, craft cideries, kombucha makers, and more is accompanied by live music and food vendors, and takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., with a VIP hour kicking off at 5. Tickets are $50-$70 ($10 for DD) and the event sells out every year. All proceeds from the event will still fund South Wedge projects like public art, community events, and neighborhood improvements.


June 23 through June 25

Marking the opening of the summer season at Ontario Beach, Rochester Harborfest features entertainment, professional sand sculpting demonstrations, a huge car show and a boat parade of lights, a volleyball tournament, children’s area, food vendors, tours of the historic lighthouse, free rides on the 117-year-old Dentzel Carousel, and more.

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July 1 through July 15

Carrying on strong under the community-based coalition ROC Pride Collective, Rochester Pride includes a picnic, parade, and festival, along with an ImageOut film screening, a Pride Night with the Rochester Red Wings, Pride Day at Seabreeze, open mics, concerts, and dance parties. Watch for related events beginning in June, including a pop-up Pride Day at the Zoo.


Saturday and Sundays, July 1 through Aug. 17  Time may have stood still in the 1585 village world of the Sterling Renaissance Festival, but the outside world has changed dramatically since the festival’s founding 47 years ago. Escape into the simpler times of this recreation of Renaissance culture that includes themed weekends, artisan demos, jousting, giant turkey legs and tankards of beer, tea with Queen Elizabeth I, and more. Costumes are encouraged. Have fun with it at 15385 Farden Road in Sterling.


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July 8 and 9

Featuring more than 80 wineries, loads of regional artisans, music, classes, a grand prix race, and more, this is a celebration of the fruit of the vine that you can camp out at, if you so choose. The wine weekend is happening at Watkins Glen International Speedway, 2790 County Route 16).


July 8 and 9

One of Rochester’s most anticipated arts festivals turns 55 this year and it continues to provide one of the best bets for early holiday shopping. This massive artist showcase draws hundreds of vendors from across the country who gather on nine historic Corn Hill neighborhood streets for a weekend of art, music performances, food, a 5K race, and more.


July 10 through July 16

Now in its third year, Douglass Week is presented by nonprofits The Globe Lane Initiative, Frederick Douglass Family Initiative, and The Frederick Douglass Ireland Project, as well as a variety of scholars, artists, athletes, and other partners. The collaborative series of events celebrates the work and life of Frederick Douglass in different countries around the world, and includes in-person and virtual performances, creative installations, and critical discussions addressing the history and impact of Douglass in each location.


July 14 through July 16

Well into its third decade, the celebration includes the work of more than 150 juried artists in every medium along with music, children’s activities, and food. The celebration takes place at and around 115 South Main St. in Canandaigua.


July 15 through July 23

This week of concerts and educational events is focused on classical chamber music. Featured programs this year include “Ale-Legro: Classical Music and Beer” (July 16), A Classical Blue Jeans Concert with clarinetist Moran Katz pairing global food and fiery music (July 19), and a Children’s Concert (July 20).


July 16 through July 18

Held at St. Dimitria Macedonian Orthodox Church on Telephone Road in West Henrietta, this annual celebration of Macedonian culture and heritage features music, dancing, and more. Check the festival site for the entertainment lineup, but expect uplifting music and dancing to help work off the Mediterranean fare and pastries. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.


July 22 and 23

Work from more than 100 artists fill the Sonnenberg Mansion and gardens, and the event includes a wine and beer garden, live music, and food. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park is located at 151 Charlotte St. in Canandaigua. Arts at the Gardens runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.


July 21 through July 23

Commemorating the 175th anniversary of The Women’s Rights Convention, this year’s Convention Days will feature a special lineup of speakers and events on site at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls.


July 22 and 23

This annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture spotlights global native cultures through music, dance, storytelling, art, food, demonstrations, and family activities. The event will be held at at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan. This year’s headliners are have not yet been announced, but they will be listed on Ganondagan’s website. The festival goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

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July 29 and 30

This lakeside celebration marks its 50th year this summer. The annual event brings fine art, music, and food to the sparkling shore at Kershaw Park on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua. Admission is free.


July 29 and 30

Browse the arts and crafts vendors, nosh on festival food, sip wine, and enjoy live entertainment at the 41st annual Canal Days. You can also indulge in an elegant carriage ride along Spencerport’s scenic streets, participate in the canaligator race (like rubber duckies, but ’gators), and check out the classic car show. Free admission.


July 29 and 30

Webster’s Charles E. Sexton Memorial Park is the new location for this annual waterfront party that’s marking its 50th year. Previously it was held at North Ponds Park and, for the four decades prior, in Canandaigua. The event features hundreds of artists as well as live music, beer, wine, and cider, and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.


July 29 through Aug. 19

With a tagline of “World Class Musicians by the Lake,” you know you’re in for some serious entertainment at this four-week celebration of chamber music both classic and new. Running Thursdays through Saturdays for a month, this year’s schedule includes string quartets, folk flavors, tributes to Mozart with soprano Kearstin Piper Brown, and a performance by banjo king Béla Fleck.


July 31 through Aug. 6

The Rochester International Jewish Film Festival screens contemporary films telling the stories of Jewish people from around the world, and hosts related events such as talkbacks with filmmakers and social events. When it is released, the schedule of films will be available at



August August


Dates TBA

This parish festival features Polish food, live music, and outdoor activities. St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1150 Hudson Ave.


Aug. 3 through Aug. 6

Just a short jaunt over to Livingston County yields a blues festival that’s worth the trip. This year’s lineup has yet to be announced, but expect both regional and national acts, family events and activities for kids, a BBQ cookoff, and more.


Aug. 5

Formerly called the Afrikan American Festival, this one-day event presented by Rochester A.B.O.V.E. celebrates the various cultures of the African diaspora through entertainment and education. In addition to live music acts there will be a literature tent, a space for health screenings, vendors, food, and a children’s play area. For updates watch


Aug. 9 through Aug. 12

Now in its 63rd year, this showcase of antique steam-powered vehicles also features tractor pulls, sawmill demonstrations, a chainsaw carvings auction, live music, food, and a gigantic flea market that is worth the trip even if you don’t care about the big cool machines. The Pageant of Steam runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day at 3349 Gehan Road in Canandaigua. pageant-of-steam


Aug. 12

Is it really summer if you haven’t had a steaming ear of corn dripping with butter (or whatever fixin’s you favor)? Even if you don’t partake in the featured corneating contest, you can enjoy the arts and crafts, live entertainment, and games. Free of charge, the festival takes place on Genesee Street in the Village of Avon.


Aug. 12 and Aug. 13

Now in its 27th year, the festival sees Main Street in Brockport filled with artists selling their wares, live music, a rubber duck race on the canal, food — including a wine garden and farmers’ market — and a vintage car cruise-in. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and admission is free.


Aug. 18

Rohrbach Brewing Company hosts this beer festival at the Rochester Public Market. The brew fest brings together top-notch beers from New York breweries, food, and music. Cheers!


Dates TBA


Dates TBA

St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on East Ridge Road in Irondequoit hosts a free celebration of traditional Ukrainian arts, food, and culture with Ukrainian folk dancers and musicians, a church tour, and more.

This vibrant, family-friendly celebration of Puerto Rican culture features music, food, dancing, youth boxing, and celebrity guests takes place in the VIP parking lot of Innovative Field (the new name for Frontier Field). The dates and lineup will be available once they are released.



Aug. 18 and 19

Lovers of soul music will want to head to Innovative Field for the return of the Rochester Summer Soul Music Festival. This year’s lineup is TBA, but it will be posted at once it is available.

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Dates TBA

For the past few years, this festival has entailed placing a takeout order of delectable Greek foods. Check the website to learn what shape it will take this summer.


Sept. 8 and 9

This one’s for the Folkies! This annual celebration of traditional and contemporary tunes features evening concerts on both days, workshops and small presentations during the day on Saturday, and many informal opportunities for performers and audience members to sing and play music together. The festival takes place at the Rotary Sunshine Campus, 809 Five Points Road, Rush. Organizers are finalizing contracts with performers, so look for the lineup at


Sept. 9 and 10

For more than 60 years, Clothesline has showcased fine artists and craftspeople on the lawn of the Memorial Art Gallery. In addition to more than 400 artists from around the country, there will be music and dance performances, food, art-making activities, and more. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. mag.


Sept. 12 through Sept. 23

The Fringe Festival is an annual whirlwind of arts performances! Though this is the 12th year of Rochester’s festival, the origins of Fringe date to 1947, in Edinburgh, Scotland, where eight cast-aside theater groups crashed the newly established Edinburgh International Festival, performing on “the fringe” of the festival. Today more than 200 cities worldwide have a Fringe Festival, and Rochester’s has expanded from its original five days to 12 days of artistic performances and interactive events at multiple downtown venues. Stay tuned for the lineup of acts at


Date TBA

For $50 you get to spend an early fall evening tasting food and beverages prepared by area eateries set up throughout the Rochester Public Market on North Union St. All proceeds benefit Foodlink. From 6 to 9 p.m.


Oct. 17 through Oct. 20

With a mission of connecting and supporting classical musicians of African descent, the Gateways Music Festival takes place in Rochester, New York, D.C., and Chicago. In Rochester, this year’s fest presents performances by the Gateways Brass Collective, lectures, a screening of “Chevalier,” and more. In partnership with Eastman School of Music and The Hochstein School.



Kettle corn is ubiquitous at festivals and fairgrounds. Indulging is contagious. It spreads like this: You see someone munching from a comically tall bag they’re cradling, you get a hankering for that salty sweetness and ask them where they got it, and they point you in the right direction. Next thing you know, you’re guiding someone else who caught the bug from you.

When you grab a bag this season, chances are it will be

from Rochester Kettle Corn, a small business founded by

Danielle Marvella and her family in 2017 that seems to pop up everywhere you turn.

They’re at the Flower City Days at the Rochester Public Market, every day and night of the Rochester Fringe, Corn Hill Arts Festival, It’s a Wonderful Life in the South Wedge, and more than a dozen other events.

“I should be tired of eating it, and I’m not,” Marvella said with a laugh. “We really dug in and devoted ourselves to it.”

Marvella, 42, founded the business with her partner Joseph Powell, 52, after what she called a lifetime of illfitting occupations and making ends meet while raising her children. Her grandmother gave her a loan to get the kettle corn business started, she

found an affordable cauldron that the corn gets cooked in and began experimenting. Marvella’s 17-year-old daughter, Alexandria Porter, helps run the business as well.

Halloween of 2017 was their test market.

“We actually popped kettle corn in the driveway and gave it out to all of the trickor-treaters,” she said.

Marvella characterizes her corn as somewhere between traditional kettle corn and caramel corn, because she just wanted more flavor and kept adding more sugar when she was developing her recipe. Then came more experiments, which yielded a barbecue variety, the cinnamon toast crunchlike variety — meant to entice early-morning customers with a breakfast-y flavor, said

Powell — and a lightly salted corn for folks who don’t want too much sweetness.

It’s a universal treat — it’s vegan, gluten-free, free of peanuts and tree nuts, dairy-free, and soy-free.

The business first hit the scene at the Rochester Public Market’s Holidays at the Market in 2017 and was steadily increasing its festival presence until the pandemic hit. But the family weathered the downtime, and Rochester Kettle Corn has been invited to a growing list of festivals. Sales during festival season support the family in the off-season, when they work on their tie-dye business.

“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Marvella said. “And I don’t ever want to do anything else.”

Rochester Kettle Corn almost didn’t make it off the (festival) ground. But five years in, the business seems to pop up everywhere.
Danielle Marvella, owner of Rochester Kettle Corn, serves up the treat in a variety of flavors with her partner, Joseph Powell, and daughter, Alexandria Porter, at the Rochester Public Market and more than a dozen festivals and other events. PHOTOS
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Marking 175 years since the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls.

One-hundred-and-seventy-five years ago, more than 300 people packed the humid Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls to hold America’s first convention to advance women’s rights. The two-day event that began on July 19, 1848, formally launched the American Suffrage Movement, a battle that would outlast many of the women who waged it.

When Congress passed the 19th Amendment in 1919, many who fought for the right to vote — including Susan B. Anthony and convention coorganizers Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton — had already died.

Realizing this likelihood in 1900, just two years before her death, Stanton wrote in her diary, “We are sowing winter wheat which the coming spring will see sprout and which other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.”

The enduring struggle for equal rights and representation has always involved a hard push for slow advancements that may not bear out in one’s own lifetime. Paving the way has ever been part of it.

Janine Waller, chief of interpretation at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, said Stanton’s words echo into the present as legal discussions on equity continue to evolve.

“The women who participated in the convention spent more than 80 years as activists fighting for causes that they never saw come to fruition,” Waller said. “At some point in their lives, you have to imagine that they decided that they were going to have to be okay with that, and that they were going to continue to work for something regardless of whether or not it came through. They recognized that every battle won was really just a step in the process.”

Taking this as inspiration, the park’s annual Convention Days festival this summer will commemorate the 175th anniversary of those initial steps, and the many steps taken since. Planning is underway for special programming under the theme of “Women, Gender, and Law.”

The goal, Waller said, is to connect modern legislation to the “Declaration of Sentiments,” which was written and ratified at the original convention and called for women’s equal representation in civil society.

“We think it’s a great time to talk about what has changed and what hasn’t,” Waller said. “How everything from the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act to Title IX and Supreme Court justices have changed the way that we practice law, think about law, and what our expectations of the law are.”

Convention Days, which takes place July 21 through July 23, will feature living history interpretations, talks by law professors and legal activists, panel discussions, and more. In addition to commemorating the Women’s Rights Convention, the festival will focus on the centennial of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1923, when suffragist Alice Paul introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, known as the Lucretia Mott Amendment.

The National Organization for Women and Women’s March are sponsoring other events, including a rally regarding contemporary issues to be held on July 21. The National Women’s Hall of Fame will host an event on July 22.

Waller said organizers are committed to cultivating “a multi-generational experience” and are planning events that aim to engage all ages.

“Being in the places where these conversations were had, where these people lived their lives, is the best way to connect to our past and really be inspired,” she said.

Visitors to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls can take in museum exhibits at the visitor center, learn about the site from information markers throughout the grounds, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the first wave of the American Women’s Rights movement. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


Rochester’s collection of Jamaican eateries grew again when Jamaican Spice opened at 518 Monroe Ave. The spot doesn’t have an online menu just yet, but you can walk in and get oxtail, curry, jerk, or brown stewed chicken, pepper steak, and a variety of meat and vegetable patties. Snack on some plantains and quench your thirst with a mango-carrot juice or pineapple soda. Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 585-491-4869.

The sweet-and-cheekily-named Go Frost Yourself bakery has opened in Erie Canal Commons at 2544 Ridgeway Ave. in Greece, and is offering cupcakes, cookies, brownies, custom cakes, and more. Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Need a teaser? Drool over the scones, sneaker cake, and French macarons on the business’s Instagram account @gofrostyourself.

Check out Keepers’ café and bar at 1060 University Ave., which serves organic coffee, espresso, tea, smoothies, and electrolyte beverages. Healthy snacks include grain bowls, yogurt parfaits, and superfood bars. The smoothie menu in particular sounds great, with cute names like “Packed Lunch” (strawberry, raspberry, banana, peanut butter, date, vanilla, cashew milk) and “Golden Hour” (cantaloupe, sweet potato, OJcarrot-turmeric juice, yogurt, cashew milk). If you want to make your coffee break a truly checked-out experience, indulge in the infrared sauna ($25 for 30 minutes, book ahead of your visit). Keep that service in mind when the skies are overcast again. Because they will be. It’s Rochester.

The newest member of the Swan Family of Restaurants is Leonore’s, which opened in early April at 703 Park Ave. Recent Thai-leaning comfort food menu items have included panang beef short rib with dressed bean sprouts, candied pork belly with hot miso mustard, and ube

poundcake with matcha fluff. The bar menu, too, has its Thai twists: try the gin martini with lemongrass, Thai basil, and kumquat. Notably, the dreamy, colorshifting palette on the walls is courtesy of Rochester artist Thievin’ Stephen. The kitchen is open 4 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; the bar goes later.


On May 6, four Railroad Avenue spots are participating in Rochester Margarita & Mimosa Fest. The bar hop kicks off at Bitter Honey for registration from 2 to 4 p.m., and continues at Ziggy’s, the Secret Garden, and Rohrbach’s through 7 p.m. The event is 21+ and tickets cost $25$31, which get you a wrist band for drink specials, swag, and entry into grand prize contests. Partial proceeds will benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. margfest.

Eat Me Ice Cream (1115 East Main St., Suite 148) will host several cooking classes with instructor Christin Ortiz for Rochester Brainery this month. On May 10, try your hand at making Tortillas and Arepas with instructor Christin Ortiz ($39). Then on May 11, learn How to Make Bakery-Style Scones with Bobbie Gluck ($43). That class is repeated on May 25. On May 16, learn about Advanced Pasta Making (Ortiz, $39). Then on May 17, take instructions on Homemade Chicken Tomatillo Tamales (Ortiz, $39). Learn to Make Empanadas on May 22 (Ortiz, $39). Finally, on May 24, learn the tricks of Classic French Crepes ($39). All classes are recommended for ages 14+ and start at 6:30 p.m. Pre-register for each class at

May’s edition of the Food Truck Rodeo takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. on May 31 at the Rochester Public Market. Blues-rock outfit FolkFaces take the stage, and your favorite meals on wheels will be there. cityofrochester. gov/foodtruckrodeo


Getout ofthe

Camper Quiz: Find the perfect place to pitch a tent — or roll in with an RV.

May is the month for getting serious about planning that summer glamping, er, camping trip. Whether you’re new to sleeping under the stars, or just tired of the same old spot, our quiz will pair you with the perfect place to pitch a tent — or roll up in your RV — within a short drive from Rochester.

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How are you getting to your campsite?

A. In my version of the Griswold’s Family Truckster with Goldfish crumbs interior.

B. In style behind the wheel of a blinged out RV.

C. Hoofing it on my own two feet with a backpack in tow.

How do you want to prepare your food?

A. I’ll settle for something between a Weber and a rusty wrought iron grate. They don’t call me “Grill Master” for nothing.

B. Prepare food? I thought this was a vacation. The closest Dairy Queen with a drive-thru will do.

C. Over an open flame. A potato wrapped in tinfoil in a fire is my idea of haute cuisine.

How secluded do you want your campsite to be?

A. I like quiet. But it would be weird if Bigfoot were the only other living thing I saw walking upright.

B. The more the merrier. Sing it with me: “This land is your land, and this land is my land.”

C. Three words: Off. The. Grid.

How do you prefer to go No. 1 and No. 2?

A. An outhouse with a crescent moon carved in the door is privacy enough.

B. I like things that go “flush” in the night with PooPourri and two-ply tissue paper within reach.

C. All I need to pop a squat is a trowel and a huggable tree.

How do you like to spend your days?

A. Like John Denver: Singing songs around a campfire.

B. Like a weekend warrior: A little hiking. A little biking. A little paddling. A little fishing.

C. Like a Michigan militiaman: Aimlessly wandering the woods.

If you mostly answered A,

you’re a camper who wants a site that’s chill and comfortable and close to home. Here are the best campsites for you:

Hamlin Beach State Park, Monroe County Drive time from Rochester: 30 mins

Drift off to sleep to the sound of water lapping against the shore of Lake Ontario. Clear water, sandy beaches, and 264 tent and trailer campsites bring thousands of visitors to Hamlin Beach State Park each year.

Amenities: Five pavilions are perfect for entertaining or watching the sunset over the water. Got a family dog? Bring her along. This park is pet-friendly. If jumping in the lake to get the grime off you is too outdoorsy, there are showers.

Activities: Besides swimming, fishing, and picnicking, there are six miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through the park. The Yanty Creek Marsh has a milelong self-guided trail ideal for spotting migrating waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds. For a closer look, paddle into the marsh from one of the boat launches on the lake.

Keuka Lake State Park, Yates County Drive time from Rochester: 70 mins

Located on 620 acres in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country on the north end of the west branch of Keuka Lake, this park’s gentle charm is enhanced by vistas of vineyard-covered slopes and glimmering, glasslike water.

Amenities: The campgrounds have 150 tent and trailer sites, about a third of which have electricity. A boat launch, showers, and picnic shelters heighten the comfort.

Activities: Hike the trails, fish the waters, tour the wineries. If you’re looking for adventure in the park, wait until sundown and check out the Beddoe-Rose Family Cemetery, a settlement-era burial ground on the National Register of Historic Places. There hasn’t been a report of a haunting yet, but there’s a first time for everything.

Webster Park, Monroe County Drive time from Rochester: 20 mins

Located on the shore of Lake Ontario, Webster Park spans 550 acres of cool green valleys, wooded slopes, and lakeshore breakers. It is the only public park in the Monroe County Parks system that welcomes camping, and it has sites to accommodate everything from tents to small campers to RVs.

Amenities: The park has four lodges for large parties of between 36 and 100 people, including two with a full kitchens and refrigerators. All offer picnic tables, woodburning stoves, and grills. Six open-air shelters have grills, seating, and bathrooms.

Activities: Anglers can drop a line right off the pier. Not into fishing? Get out on the water in a canoe or kayak, or pick up a racquet and hit the tennis and pickleball courts. Going for a run or a hike? Five color-coded hiking trails ranging from a halfmile in length to 1.6 miles keep you on the right track.


you’re a glamper who likes plush and peopled campgrounds that maximize your fun. Here are the best campsites for you:

Conesus Lake Campground, Livingston County Drive time from Rochester: 40 mins

These private campgrounds on Conesus Lake offer 140 sites, half of which have “full hookup,” meaning you will have access to fresh water, sewers, and electricity.

Amenities: This place is glamping heaven. There is free WiFi all around, a recreation building, a laundromat, a camp store, and restrooms that are advertised as being “super clean” and consistently receive excellent ratings.

Activities: Rent a boat. Mine for “gems” in a nearby stream. Let the children hit the playground. Launch yourself off the jump pad into the lake. Water too cold? There’s a heated pool on the grounds.

Genesee Country Campground, Livingston County Drive time from Rochester: 30 mins

Whether you’re cruising in a full-sized RV or looking to crash in a cabin, Genesee Country Campground in Caledonia is a great option for campers who like creature comforts. It also offers tent camping, if you’re into that “outdoorsy” thing.

Amenities: The grounds have pull-through buddy sites with electricity and water. No buddy? Make a new friend. Cabins are basic, but have electricity and sleep up to four people comfortably. Each site is outfitted with fire pits, picnic tables, and even outdoor chairs. With onsite laundry, restrooms with showers, and a playground, you’ll feel like you’re at home — but not really.

Activities: Easy hiking trails wind through the resort, which has basketball courts, volleyball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, cornhole, a video game arcade, and a par-3 golf course. Certain weekends have planned activities, like pancake breakfasts and vendor fairs.

Watkins Glen State Park, Schuyler County Drive time from Rochester: 90 mins

This “gorge”-ous state park at the southern end of Seneca Lake has a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. Carving a winding path of two miles through the park, the glen’s stream descends some 400 feet over 19 breathtaking waterfalls.

Amenities: The park offers 305 campsites with a healthy mix of spots for RVs, campers, and tents. Facilities with toilets and hot showers are conveniently located on the grounds, and firewood is for sale. Gift shops, pavilions, and picnic tables abound. Every campsite has a grill. But if you don’t feel like cooking, restaurants and bars in the Village of Watkins Glen are waiting for you.

Activities: Hiking the gorge path over and under waterfalls and the through the spray of Cavern Cascade is the thing to do. But other options include swimming in the Olympicsized pool, biking the west side of Seneca Lake on Route 14, and fishing the lake or nearby Catherine Creek, which is renowned for its rainbow trout.

you’re a camper who wants a rustic and remote setting that really lets you get back to nature. Here are the best campsites for you:

Italy Hill State Forest, Yates County Drive time from Rochester: 70 mins

This huge state forest about an hour drive from Rochester is a remote escape for anyone craving peace and quiet in the wilderness.

Amenities: There are almost none, which is part of the charm. This state forest is open for what the state Department of Environmental Conservation calls “primitive camping” — settling into a lean-to or a tent away from running water, electricity, and restrooms.

Activities: The Bristol Hills Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail offers good access to the northerly and central portions of the forest, which spans nearly 1,900 acres. Be careful accessing stream corridors, though. Gentle streams become steep gullies very quickly and the shale bedrock can be slippery.

Ossian State Forest, Livingston County Drive time from Rochester: 65 mins

This 1,300-acre state forest at the southern tip of Livingston County offers a rustic experience with just a touch of helpful conveniences that still leave you feel like you’re roughing it.

Amenities: There is a lightly developed camping area with picnic tables and fire rings around Evergreen Pond, but no running water or restrooms.

Activities: Adventure abounds at Ossian State Forest. Paddling and fishing are permitted on Evergreen Pond, and there is a hand boat launch to help get your craft into the water. The forest shares a boundary with Rattlesnake Hill State Wildlife Management Area, which has hiking trails and streams stocked with trout.

Sonyea State Forest, Livingston County Drive time from Rochester: 50 mins

The 922 acres of largely untouched leafy woodlands, cool streams, hiking trails, and fishing holes make Sonyea State Forest an excellent place to spend the night off the grid.

Amenities: There are three designated campsites along the Shaker Access Road and two along Keshequa Creek, but they are primitive. Some have a fire ring and a semiflat spot to pitch a tent, but not all of them do.

Activities: There is easy access to the Genesee Valley Greenway for hiking, the Keshequa Creek Gorge for fishing, and two abandoned spurs of the Pennsylvania Railroad for exploration. The forest abuts the Groveland Correctional Facility, which only enhances those spooky campfire stories about killers on the loose.

56 CITY MAY 2023
If you mostly answered B, If you mostly answered C,

backpack carrying a six-ounce flask a few other lightweight items.

Squeeze the juice from half of your lemon or lime into the cup.

3. Mix half the rum from your flask into the blend, stir, and sip, mountain mama.

3. Mix with 2 to 4 ounces of whiskey (preferably bourbon), add a slice of lemon, and prepare for sweet dreams.

Mark Quinn has been Monroe County’s superintendent of horticulture for 15 years.
58 CITY MAY 2023


Meet the master gardener who helps Flower City live up to its name.

On a rare 80-degree afternoon in April, Mark Quinn knelt before a bed of pansies in the shape of a starburst in Highland Park. The superintendent of horticulture for Monroe County Parks said the flowers had only recently been planted, and he needed to check the health of the blossoms.

“We grow 20,000 pansies, but we’ve actually got quite a few extra because the pansies weren’t particularly good this year,” Quinn said. “If they’re big, it takes less, probably 15 or 16,000. But if the plants themselves were small, we’d have to get more in there.”

The bed is just one small patch on the south-facing hill of the park that is home to the horticultural stars of Highland Park — more than 1,200 lilac bushes, some more than 100 years old, in 500 varietals with different shapes, colors, and scents.

Quinn leads the team of county workers who make the park pop with color each spring for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the annual Lilac Festival, which this year runs from May 12 to May 21. The throngs of people who stick their noses in the lilac bushes and snap cheerful selfies have Quinn and his crew to thank.

The crowds invariably damage some of the team’s work, but Quinn is unfazed by it.

“Parks are for people,” he said with a smile and a shrug. “Yes, you put up to 500,000 people in this park, it’s going to show that there were 500,000 people in this park. But the staff is pretty good at making any trampling or damage go away. We’re not here for the lilacs, we’re here for people that come see the lilacs.”

Strolling the hilly paths of the park, it’s easy to forget how much work goes into keeping the manicured place flush with florals. The paths are clear. Fallen trees are quickly removed and replaced. Lawns are mowed. The lilac bushes are trimmed to encourage blossoming lower to the ground. Left on their own, the flowers would blossom far above eye-level.

Maintaining Highland is a yearround process. Pruning the lilacs, for example, takes place after the last blossoms have fallen.

“We had somebody in the lilacs pruning throughout the winter, especially this winter, because it was actually fairly mild,” Quinn said. “Now, ideally, I’d tell somebody, if they were going to prune a lilac, the time to prune it is right after it blooms. But when you have 1,200 of them, that’s not realistic. So, we prune whenever we can.”

On that unseasonably warm day, a persistent breeze offered relief from the humidity and rustled the park’s hundreds of trees and flowering shrubs to carry heady scents of blooming magnolia and cherry trees in the air. Birdsong and the hum of insects completed the picture of nature shrugging off winter.

Soon, the people will come.

They’ll come in droves through the soaring pines lining the steep staircase to the park’s entrance on South Goodman Street that lends the impression of

walking into an open-air cathedral.

They’ll snake their way through the park’s hundreds of trees from around the world, some of which were planted by the designer of the park, the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted.

“The genius and foresight of Olmstead is that he could envision what it would be like, but he wouldn’t have seen it like this in his lifetime,” Quinn said.

There will also be media. Lots of media.

Part of Quinn’s job is predicting the best blooms that make for ideal television news spots. There are some controlled aspects to that task, such as the bushes being planted on a southfacing, sandy hill with ample drainage.

But much of managing that crystal ball comes down to reading the fickle weather. Those few days of April heat gave way to cooler weather that will keep the blossoms at bay for a while longer, but Quinn said the blooms were falling into place.

He has had some practice with these predictions.

Quinn has been in his current position for 15 years, but his relationship with Highland Park stretches back to his previous work as supervisor for the parks and other positions he has held with Monroe County for nearly 40 years. His office is in the park.

For him, the park is a second home. From his perch, he watches the seasons change. He sees blooms as early as January some years, and as late as when the snow starts to fall. The earliest blooms are fragrant witch-hazel and magnolias, and late into the year, there are the roses and other annuals.

The hilly park is like an island oasis in an urban center year-round.

“There’s little secluded valleys here that you can get into and you’re just in the wilderness, but we’re right in the city.” Quinn said. “You’re really able to disconnect.”



You love live music, but with a young family in tow your carefree days of going to shows on the spur of the moment are behind you. Don’t despair.

With summertime comes a plethora of upstate music festivals for the whole clan — if you know what you’re doing. The Family Hoedown at The “G” Lodge in Hannibal. Estival Festival in Canadea. The Rochester International Jazz Festival. Sherman’s Great Blue Heron Music Festival. Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance in Trumansburg. They’re waiting. And that’s just the shortlist.

Wanting to bring your little wild ones to a music festival and actually making it happen are two different things. Will you be able to get through the weekend in one piece? CITY has your Music Fest Family Survival Guide — an essential checklist of the tactics, tools, and tidbits of advice you need to have your ear candy and eat it, too.




• Happy hydration: Summer festivals can mean unrelenting heat. Just ask last year’s GrassRoots attendees. Keep your energy up and the kiddos from burning out by packing enough water bottles for the whole family.

• Shelter from the sun: Sunscreen. We suggest using high-SPF lotion that rubs into your skin dry and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. Enough said.

• Noise-canceling headphones: Ear protection from the loud sounds of the festival is a must for even the heartiest little headbanger. Keep your kid from becoming one of the 5 million children and adolescents the CDC estimates have suffered lasting damage from noise exposure.


• An ungodly amount of fresh diapers: Pack a to-go bag full of them. Then pack more. You’ll never regret being prepared with replacement underwear, plenty of baby wipes, coconut oil, and baby butt paste  — especially when baths are not an option.

• Build a home base: Once you’re at the main festival grounds, establishing a central meeting place to eat meals, rest, and form a plan for the day is a must. A mobile canopy and camping chairs are highly recommended.

• Snacks, snacks, and more snacks: Getting quality nutrition from your festival food while also saving money is a tall order if you’re not prepared with your own stash. Fresh fruits like apples and berries are always a crowdpleaser, but we won’t judge you if you also go for cheese sticks, pretzels, and other convenient options for living handto-mouth at the music fest.


• Sturdy baby carrier: If you’ve got an infant or toddler you already know how important a reliable infant carrier or toddler backpack can be. At festivals, one thing you can count on is plenty of walking.To keep your child safe and comfortable while you go from one stage to the next, invest in a highquality carrier. If your kid has graduated from baby sling transportation, a hiking-style backpack carrier will let your little bean take in the sights and sounds of the festival from a high perch.

• Lightweight stroller: Because nap time isn’t just inevitable, it’s indispensable. A comfy, shady stroller with plenty of storage space underneath can be a godsend when your family’s campsite is nowhere in sight. And there are few things more discouraging for parents at an outdoor event than realizing they left the stroller at home.

• Ambient noise machine: Trying to sleep away from home can be next to impossible for kids. A battery-powered noise machine equipped with the sounds of steady rain, a babbling brook, or good old-fashioned white noise can go a long way in providing a calm nighttime environment, especially if you’re tent camping near some late-night revelers.



• A strict no-screens policy: Live in the moment, take in the music, and enjoy each other’s company. You can stare at your cell phone when we’re at home, Timmy.



Albert Wan and Jenny Smith’s Bleak House Books retains its overseas roots.

When lawyer-turnedbookstore owner Albert Wan and his wife Jenny Smith, a university professor, decided to pack up their family in Hong Kong and move back to the United States in February 2022, they had no connection to the Rochester area. They didn’t know much about the region, but they did know they wanted to reopen Bleak House

Books, their small English-language bookstore they started in 2017.

A little more than a year after the move to Honeoye Falls, Bleak House Books — in the center of the village on West Main Street — is poised to open in May.

On a recent visit, the shop was a work-in-progress, buzzing with contractors building wooden shelves and installing light fixtures.

Wan said being a bookstore owner is harder than it seems.

“People have dreams of wanting to own a bookshop,” he said over the din of construction noise. “But I think people don’t understand how much work running a bookshop is. You know, you don’t really get to sit around all day and read books.”

The store takes its name from the Charles Dickens novel satirizing the legal

system of which Wan was once part.

“It wasn’t a dream or vision that I had to own a bookshop one day in my life,” he said. “Like I said, it was just sort of more of a timing thing. It was a time and place to do it.”

Wan maintained that he doesn’t have a “grand vision” for the book store, but that he is motivated by a desire to be connected to his community.

Jenny Smith and Albert Wan at Bleak House Books in Honeoye Falls. The couple is opening the bookstore after closing an English-language bookstore in Hong Kong. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
62 CITY MAY 2023

“I decided the bookshop would be a good way to contribute to the community,” he said. “But also, it would be a good way for me to understand more of what the community needs, you know, just by virtue of having a bookshop and doing what a bookshop does — selling books, having events, you know, supporting local authors, things like that.”

While the shop was based in Hong Kong, Wan found that one thing English-language readers in the Hong Kong community needed was a curated used-book subscription service, which Bleak House provided under the name “The Pickwick Club” — another nod to Dickens. Wan said he hopes to start the service for readers in the Rochester area.

Wan and Smith’s decision to close the Hong Kong store and move halfway around the globe was twofold.

They viewed the Chinese government’s pandemic guidelines as too restrictive, and worried that the government’s attitudes toward free speech and censorship could impact their business.

“That’s a very difficult thing to have to process as a bookseller — whether you can sell a certain book or not, because you might get in trouble for selling it,” Wan explained. “That would keep me awake at night.”

In relocating to Honeoye Falls, the couple left behind the restrictions, but brought a little Hong Kong with them.

In addition to selling new and used books by mainstream authors and those whose work is lesser known, the shop will have a section dedicated to writers from Hong Kong and books about that city. The work of Hong Kong artists will hang on the walls, and there will even be a mural by artist Yerke Abuova on the ceiling displaying the floor plan of the original store.

“Part of the point of the shop is to feature some of our best Hong Kong memories and to keep those alive,” Smith said. “But western New York is also really cool.”

Nick Bober, an installer with Carver Creek Woodworks, builds shelves at Bleak House Books. The store is expected to open in May. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE Jenny Smith invetories a recent shipment of books. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE A mural of the floor plan of Smith and Wan’s Hong Kong bookstore will adorne the ceiling at Bleak House Books. PHOTO PROVIDED



“I wrote a book called ‘From the Womb to the Plantation to the Penitentiary.’ When you come out of the womb, we are faced with adversity.”


“I have a blog called Fashion Forward Edition. I just love fashion. I love the history of fashion. I love anything that relates to that.”


“2023 is our year to recover. Anything you think you lost, anything that you’re looking forward to, this is your year to recover.”


“I’m a mother of five, four grandchildren. And I consider myself an awesome woman. You have to give yourself a pat on the back.”


“My family’s life is work, home, and church. We’ve been with the ministry for three years.”


Rico: “We cater to the people. So we stand on solid rock, and we want God’s light to shine through us.”


We visited Zion Dominion Global Ministries on Resurrection Sunday, when the congregation came together in all of the colors of spring.

“I ’ve been a member of Zion Dominion since its inception in Rochester. This is where we come to draw from the well that never runs dry.”

“This is regular Sunday decorum — especially as church elders. We dress a little formal to represent Zion Dominion.”

“I retired, but now I’m working part-time driving school buses, the small buses. I stay pretty busy.”



“I’m a mother of five adult children. My oldest is 48 and my youngest is 31. I have 17 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.”


“We’ve been in Rochester about 15 years, and there’s about 400 members. The church is centered around covenant.”

“I love to sing the gospel music.”




1. Tuesday treat

5. Wedding reception tradition

10. Therefore: Lat.

14. Something an agent might have to spin

19. Like _____ out of hell

20. Halved

21. Creature whose hair is used for brush bristles

22. Nephew of Donald Duck

23. Wacky duet between a Norwegian synth pop band & a Woodstock headliner?

27. People who take advantage of others

28. Mood in a haunted mansion

29. Dwight Schrute’s cousin

30. The Magic, on a scoreboard

31. Florentine ruling family

33. Obama’s first presidential election opponent

35. Tempt away

38. Novelist Seton

41. Royal designation of chivalry, for short

42. Harangued

43. Wacky duet between a Motown quintet & a judge on “The Voice”?

49. Stop by, or what you might stop by for

50. Hebrew prophet quoted by Dr. King in his “I Have a Dream” speech

51. Once more

52. After that

54. Org. founded by W.E.B.


58. Clue for a bloodhound

60. Nearly radial?

62. Impulse

64. Conjunction that sounds like a body part

65. More delicious

67. Period of rule

69. Real fine examples

72. Wacky duet between The Boss & the voice of Nala in “The Lion King” (2019)?

76. Reached the top

78. Sampras and Davidson, for two

Mashup d2

79. One more

82. List ending abbr.

83. Ukranian, e.g.

85. One of the Earp brothers

88. Fend (off)

89. Feints

92. Otherwise

94. Good for something

96. Busy as _____

97. Barn toppers

99. Wacky duet between a knighted singer-songwriter & a curly haired saxaphonist?

102. Actor’s hideaway on a movie set

105. Hotel chain operated by Hilton

106. Not just think

107. NYC district uptown of 96th St.

108. Short story author famous for twist endings

111. Felt

116. Nutritional fig.

117. Ireland, in Irish

119. Come to a stop without braking

122. Mother-of-pearl

123. Wacky duet between a 7-time Grammy winning R&B singer & a British band that has been active in 7 decades?

128. Tennis great Monica

129. Prominent features of an African elephant

130. Prominent feature of an Afghan hound

131. Too dry to support most vegetation

132. Rocker Reznor

133. Work without _____

134. Bygone Russian rulers

135. Some jeans

page 39
Answers to this puzzle can be found on
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 66 CITY MAY 2023


1. Actor Channing

2. Demean

3. Stuck on like dried mud

4. SNL alum Cheri

5. Atomic number 50

6. “This round’s _____”

7. Perfectly suited, with “to”

8. Group of bees ready to form a new colony

9. Cocktail mixer (try it with tequila instead of gin!)

10. Recede

11. Dorm room buddy

12. Equatorial French-speaking African nation

13. Spheres

14. Racial justice movement since 2013, in brief

15. Bronx-born Congresswoman, familiarly

16. Baseball bench locale

17. Puncture

18. Hauled (in, as a fish)

24. One of three for Meryl Streep and Ingrid Bergman

25. Interior designer’s expertise

26. Affirmatives

32. “To Live and Die _____”

34. Assist in criminality

36. Activist Brockovich

37. Android officer in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

39. Milk fermented with bacteria

40. Fussy in the extreme

42. Search engine that recently incorporated an AI chatbot

43. Post on a sailboat

44. Workout center often referred to by just its first letter

45. Reverts

46. Violates rules of decency

47. Word at the end of un cinéma

48. Stuck

49. “Around the World in Eighty Days” novelist

53. Jackman of “X-Men”

55. Largest member state of the United Arab Emirates

56. Laceration

57. Stat in the NBA, NFL, and

NHL-but not MLB

59. Wear out

61. Reaffirm, as wedding vows

63. Black, poetically

66. Means justifiers, sometimes

68. Words of recognition

70. Greek god of love

71. Windows keyboard shortcut for switching apps

73. Pearly white gemstones

74. Guns

75. IBM supercomputer that won big on “Jeopardy!”

76. Walker, on a street sign

77. Summer: Fr.

80. At any time

81. Saxophone mouthpiece attachment

84. Lascivious look

86. Continental abbr.

87. Protruding tooth

90. Nefarious

91. Storewide discount

93. English literary heroine Jane

95. Grandson of Eve

98. Site of Hercules’s first labor

100. One-sixteenth of a pound

101. Journalist Ifill and others

102. Forceful push

103. Founding cast member of SNL who died of ovarian cancer

104. Suitable for farming

105. Contraction commonly misspelled two different ways

108. Financial author Suze

109. Prepare beef for a sandwich

110. Rambling tales

112. Related to birth

113. Put the puck in the net,

say 114. Bert’s buddy
Good works 118. Place to buy meatballs or an end table 120. Portico
Go on the road 124. Stimpy’s buddy 125. Superlative suffix 126. F.D.R.’s successor 127. Foul shots, for short Monroe County’s Oldest Nursery WITH OVER 3 ACRES OF FRESH, HARDY, NURSERY STOCK from the common to the hard to find! Annuals PERENNIALS FERTILIZER Seed Bulk Mulch BAGGED MULCH STONE Large selection of fine pottery 485 LANDING ROAD NORTH Located near Ellison Park CLOVERNURSERY.COM Open 7 days a week BULK DELIVERY AVAILABLE! mulch, topsoil, compost, stone N URSERY & G ARDEN C ENTER (585) 482-5372 •