CITY October 2022

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NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | OCTOBER 2022 | FREE | SINCE 1971 TREASURE HUNTERS

AROUND TOWN

OFF BEAT

ROCK HOUNDS ARE COMBING THE GENESEE FOR GEMS

THE ‘BEST OF ROCHESTER’ IS BACK, BABY

EXPERIMENTAL WEEK IS A SMORGASBORD OF SOUNDS

IT’S PRIMETIME!

THAT’S WHAT THEY SHOUT WHEN KAREN IGLESIA TAKES THE SIDELINES


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IN THIS ISSUE OPENING SHOT

Kindergarten teacher, Gina Mills, hugs her student, Marrion Daniels, outside Roberto Clemente School No. 8 on the first day of classes. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

NEWS

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A CENTURY OF BEING THERE

For 100 years, the Latimers have handled death for families in Rochester.

ARTS SMARTS 34 BOOK Local children’s author Brian

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As Rochester looks to raise the quality of life for residents of one homeless camp, it prepares to raze another.

38 Music meets “The

ELECTION GUIDE

BY LAUREN PETRACCA AND JEREMY MOULE

INTO THE MYSTIC

Twilight Zone” in graphic novelist Dave Chisholm’s newest work, “Enter the Blue.”

50

HIP-HOP 39 “POP-OFF” Rapper Noah Fense was

Before you head to the ballot booth, get your game plan with our skinny on who’s running and what they stand for. BY JEREMY MOULE AND GINO FANELLI

MORE NEWS, ARTS, AND LIFE INSIDE

tired of the same, old hip-hop concert series scene. So, he started his own. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

ON THE COVER

IT’S PRIMETIME!

Karen Iglesia has achieved an unlikely rock star status in local sports circles as the face of PrimeTime585.

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

VOTER GAME PLAN

CITY VISITS

THE ELLISON PARK DOG PARK

We talked to dog owners and their masters, and it was impossible to say which was which.

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

BY GINO FANELLI

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Yanish’s new book has a shark and a robot fighting off zombie doughnuts. But it’s deeper than that, we swear.

BY DAVID ANDREATTA

A TALE OF TWO TENT CITIES

LIFE

BY DAVID ANDREATTA

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FORAGED-TO-TABLE

Meet the foragers who hunt local forests for “chicken of the woods” BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

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WELCOME

NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. October, 2022 Vol 51 No 2 On the cover: Photo by Max Schulte 280 State Street Rochester, New York 14614 feedback@rochester-citynews.com phone (585) 244-3329 roccitynews.com PUBLISHER Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, Norm Silverstein, chairman FOUNDERS Bill and Mary Anna Towler EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT themail@rochester-citynews.com Editor: David Andreatta Deputy editor: Jeremy Moule Staff writer: Gino Fanelli Arts editor: Daniel J. Kushner Life editor: Rebecca Rafferty Contributors: Lauren Petracca, Max Schulte, Mona Seghatolaslami CREATIVE DEPARTMENT artdept@rochester-citynews.com Director, Strategy: Ryan Williamson Art director: Jacob Walsh ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT ads@rochester-citynews.com Sales manager: Alison Zero Jones Advertising consultant/ Project manager: David White OPERATIONS/CIRCULATION Operations manager: Ryan Williamson Circulation manager: Katherine Stathis kstathis@rochester-citynews.com CITY is available free of charge. Additional copies of the current issue may be purchased by calling 585-784-3503. CITY may be distributed only by authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of CITY, take more than one copy of each monthly issue. CITY (ISSN 1551-3262) is published monthly 12 times per year by Rochester Area Media Partners, a subsidiary of WXXI Public Broadcasting. Periodical postage paid at Rochester, NY (USPS 022-138). Address changes: CITY, 280 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the New York Press Association. Copyright by Rochester Area Media Partners LLC, 2021 - all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or by any information storage retrieval system without permission of the copyright owner. WXXI Members may inquire about free home delivery of CITY including monthly TV listings by calling 585-258-0200.

“Best of Rochester” is back — bigger and better than ever

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ongtime CITY readers may have felt something was missing in our news, arts, and life coverage over the past couple of months. They might not have been able to put their finger on what it was, but they knew something was…off. That something was our “Best of Rochester” annual readers’ poll on the people, places, and things that make Rochester special. “Best of ” polls have been a fall trademark of alternative weekly newspapers for decades, and for the better part of 20 years, during most of which time CITY was an alternative weekly newspaper, we followed the calendar for our poll. The calendar went like this: Introduce the primary ballots in the early summer, hold the final vote in late summer, and reveal the results in an insert in the weekly newspaper in October.

But we wanted to try something different this year and devote an entire print issue to the “Best of Rochester.” To get there, we’re opening the primary balloting now, holding the final voting in November, and revealing the results in January. The January issue will be a “Best of Rochester” blowout unlike anything that CITY has ever produced. The issue will be packed with photos and essential information about the winners, and feature stories on the people behind dozens of them. We hope our “Best of Rochester” edition will be the type of magazine to occupy a prominent and permanent place on your coffee table, and that you’ll turn to it again and again throughout the course of the year to find the services you need,

catch the right band, and plan that perfect night out. This year, CITY is offering 150 ballot lines under five categories — Arts & Entertainment, Food, Drink, Recreation, and Shopping & Services. Checkthem out on the next page and cast your vote online. Thanks for playing!

David Andreatta, Editor

best of rochester 2022

@ROCCITYNEWS roccitynews.com

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The “Best of Rochester” is back...

Arts & Entertainment Best Actor

Best Jazz Artist or Group

Best Artist

Best Movie Theater

Best Band (Cover)

Best Live Music Venue (Large)

Best Band (Original) Best Blues Artist or Group Best Art Gallery Best Arts Event Best Club DJ Best Comedian/ Comedy Troupe

...and you’re invited to play.

Best Country Artist or Group Best Dance Company Best Drag Performer Best Film Festival Best Folk Artist or Group

Got a favorite pizza joint? How about a beloved band? Think that bartender was something special? That florist? That dog park? That yoga studio? The “Best of Rochester” readers’ poll is your chance to salute your favorite people, places, and things that make Rochester special. They are all part of who we are, and we are all in this together. This stage of the poll is the primary — and it’s all online. Pencil and paper are so passé. There are 150 ballot lines under five categories. All you have to do is click on the survey posted prominently on our homepage at roccitynews.com and type in your vote on any or all of the lines that speak to you. Primary voting is open until Oct. 14 at midnight. When this round is over, CITY staff will tally your thousands of votes and identify the finalists that will advance to the final round in November. We’ll remind you when that time comes. In January, we’ll drop the biggest “Best of Rochester” book ever. Ever. Word to the wise: It’s not lost on us that some of you might be inclined to try to stuff the ballot box. You can try, but we have our ways of weeding you out. Oh yes, we have our ways. Be sure to follow CITY on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for “Best of Rochester” updates and prompts, and tag us at #bestofroc.

Go to roccitynews.com to vote! 6 CITY

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Best Hip Hop Artist or Group Best Instrumentalist

Best Live Music Venue (Small) Best Museum Best Mural or Public Art Best Music Festival Best Solo Musician Best Photographer Best Place to See Comedy Best Published Author Best Published Poet Best Rock Artist or Group Best Theater Company Best Vocalist

Recreation Best Biking Trail

Best Pick-up Basketball

Best Bowling

Best Place to Go Dancing

Best Camp for Kids

Best Place to Take a First Date

Best Cross-Country Skiing Best Day Hike Best Day Trip with the Kids

Best Place to People Watch Best Place to Play Pool

Best Dog Park

Best Public Golf Course

Best Family-Friendly Attraction

Best Public Tennis Courts Best Public Park

Best Fishing Hole

Best Local Sports Team

Best Foot Race

Best Stargazing Spot

Best Guided Tour

Best Tobogganing Hill

Best Outdoor Ice Skating

Best Weekend Getaway

Best Outdoor Swimming


Food Best Bakery

Best Doughnuts

Best “Plate”

Best Barbecue

Best Farmers Market

Best Restaurant

Best Bread Bakery

Best Fish Fry

Best Restaurant to Dine Alone

Best Breakfast

Best Food Truck

Best Restaurant for Desserts

Best Burger

Best Global Foods Market

Best Ribs

Best Calzone

Best Ice Cream

Best Sushi

Best Candy Shop

Best Italian Restaurant

Best Steak

Best Caterer

Best Late-night Eats

Best Sweets Bakery

Best Chef

Best Lunch Spot

Best Thai Restaurant

Best Chinese Restaurant

Best New Restaurant

Best Comfort Food

Best Mexican Restaurant

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant

Best Cooking Class

Best Outdoor Dining

Best Deli Sandwich or Sub

Best Pizza

Best Wings

Drink Best Bar

Best Coffee

Best Smoothies/Juices

Best Bar to Drink Alone

Best Cidery

Best Sports Bar

Best Barista

Best Cocktails

Best Tea House

Best Bartender

Best Craft Brewery

Best Trivia Night

Best Beer Selection (Bar or Restaurant)

Best Distillery

Best Winery

Best Beer Selection (Store)

Best Dive Bar Best Karaoke

Best Wine Selection (Bar or Restaurant)

Best Bloody Mary Best Bouncer

Best LGBTQ Bar

Best Wine Selection (Store)

Best Pickup Bar

Shopping & Services Best Antique Shop/Dealer

Best Housewares Store

Best Pet-related Business

Best Bike Shop

Best Local Radio Personality

Best Record Store

Best Bridal Shop

Best Local Television Personality

Best Spa

Best Car Detailing Best CBD Shop Best Corner Store Best Fitness Studio Best Florist

Best Mechanic

Best Secondhand/ Thrift Store

Best Media Outlet (Other Than Us, Of Course)

Best Shoe Store

Best Music Teacher

Best Tattoo Parlor

Best Garden Center

Best Musical Instrument Store

Best Independent Bookseller

Best Nonprofit Organization

Best Haircut

Best Neighborhood Garden

Best Hotel

Best Place to Buy Kitsch

Best Social Media Account Best Toy Store Best Vintage Clothing Store Best Wedding Venue Best Yoga Studio roccitynews.com

CITY 7


NEWS

FAMILY BUSINESS

A century of being there

Monique Latimer is the face of Millard E. Latimer & Son Funeral Directors, which is thought to be the oldest Black-owned business in Rochester. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

For 100 years, the Latimers have handled death for Rochester families. BY DAVID ANDREATTA

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@DAVID_ANDREATTA

hen a Black person in southwest Rochester dies, chances are good that their body will end up in the care of Monique Latimer. She often welcomes the grieving relatives of the deceased into her funeral home on South Plymouth Avenue the same way she has for decades, putting them at ease with an anecdote about herself that by now could be the worst-kept secret in the neighborhood. The name everyone knows her by

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is actually a nickname she picked up in high school. “I say to the family, ‘I’m going to be signing some paperwork, but I will not be signing it Monique Latimer,’” she said. “They go, ‘What’s she talking about?’ And I’ll say, ‘I’m just going to sign it my real name — Maggie Lue.’ “And they laugh and then just sit back and relax,” she went on. “I don’t know why, but it seems to relax them. I do it all the time.” A polished woman with a voice

pitched between a lullaby and a prayer, she spoke from her office off the foyer of Millard E. Latimer & Son Funeral Directors, which this year marked 100 years of handling deaths for families in Rochester, most of them Black. She had run the funeral home with her husband, Millard E. Latimer Jr., for nearly 40 years until his death in 2011. She now oversees the operation with the help of some contract employees and family members.

The home, a three-story colonial at the corner of Fuller Place bedecked by white siding and black trim with an addition for funeral services, is thought to be the oldest Black-owned business in the city. There, Latimer carries on a long tradition of Black funeral directors who hold an almost mythical stature in their communities for the compassion with which they handle bodies that, historically, many of their white counterparts would not. In the process, she has preserved


the Black mourning rituals of a Christian “homegoing.” Such funerals are imbued with pride and pageantry, and often include a lively service of songs and stories. The dead are typically on view in richly adorned open caskets and buried with mementos. Latimer has a practice of presenting each family with a Bible. In a city whose Black population is disproportionately touched by poverty and the criminal justice system, Latimer has handled deaths of every sort — natural causes, illness, and products of violence. She has walked countless families through the steps of applying for funeral aid grants offered by Monroe County. Her clients, many of them having relied on Latimer for generations, say her funeral home takes care to restore a dignity and respect to the deceased that sometimes eluded them in life. “Black communities in particular spend a disproportionate amount of money on a funeral, but they see it as a ritual that is extremely important,” said Bill Johnson, the first Black mayor of Rochester, who has known the Latimer family for years and in August emceed a centennial celebration of the funeral home. “They want to see the deceased on display and they want to see as close a likeness to that person as possible,” Johnson said. “Many (of the dead) have been injured, they were ill, their bodies were ravaged. “The Black funeral director is actually schooled in dealing with those things,” he continued. “The reason I think Latimer has endured is because of that quality of service, that empathetic service.” HUMBLE BEGINNINGS For a century, Millard E. Latimer & Son Funeral Directors, or some incarnation of it, has seen the Black community in Rochester through many of its most trying moments. Millard E. Latimer Sr. founded the business shortly upon becoming the first Black graduate of the former Syracuse School of Embalming and Sanitary Science in 1922. He had relocated to Rochester five years earlier from his native South Carolina, where he was one of nine children. He found work as a

Millard E. Latimer & Son Funeral Directors was founded in 1922 by Millard E. “Pop” Latimer Sr. Portraits of him and his wife, Lydia Latimer, hang in an office at the funeral home above a mantle adorned with thank you cards from grateful clients. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meets with leaders in Rochester’s Black community in this undated photo. Millard E. “Pop” Latimer Sr. was among them. FILE PHOTO

porter and a service supervisor at the former Powers Hotel, according to his obituary, before recognizing the opportunity in the funeral business that awaited entrepreneurial Black men like him. Latimer Sr. worked funerals for a time with a partner, but records show that he had his own funeral home a few years later and had opened on Clarissa Street by the end of the decade. He and his wife, Lydia, who eventually obtained her undertaker’s license, raised their family in that funeral home, while handling the deaths of their neighbors. “Pop was a strong Black man with a dream and obviously nothing was going to stop him,” Latimer said of her father-in-law. Clarissa Street then was the cradle of a small but growing neighborhood of African-American families and entrepreneurs. The strip was home to thriving businesses that included Vallot’s Tavern, Gibson’s Hotel, The Pythodd jazz club, and Wilson’s Barbershop. A Black funeral home not only held the community together in times of grief, it was a necessity. The funeral industry’s major trade association in 1912 excluded Black people from membership, and white funeral directors often refused to work on Black bodies. Indeed, the business of burying the dead is still mostly segregated by custom. “Most Caucasian funeral homes, although now they’re starting to, would not do Black people,” Latimer said. “The biggest segment of Black people running their own business are funeral homes. You’re kind of forced to take care of your own.” In her book, “To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death,” author Suzanne E. Smith wrote that the industry was one of the few that gave Black people a chance to be economically independent. Consequently, she wrote, these Black families were not beholden to the white establishment and had the financial freedom and social CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

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Monique Latimer’s daughter, Millena Latimer, and grandson, Jarred Jones, play supporting roles in the family business to varying degrees. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that Latimer Funeral Home exists for another 100 years becasue it’s someting that shouldn't see the end of time,” Jones said. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

clout to serve their communities in a greater capacity. They often ran for office, fought for civil rights, and ran charities. The same was true of Latimer Sr. and Lydia, according to their obituaries. He held prominent positions in two fraternal organizations and was the trustee and treasurer of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, while she chaired the local NAACP’s membership committee and belonged to several service organizations. They died in 1980 and 1996, respectively. Millard E. Latimer Jr. grew up in the house on Clarissa Street. His father had designs on him becoming a dentist, but “Sonny,” as his father and everyone knew him, had other plans. “I couldn’t see myself doing another six or seven years in college to be a dentist,” he once told the 10 CITY OCTOBER 2022

Democrat and Chronicle. After a year at Howard University, he transferred to the Worsham College of Mortuary in Chicago and then enlisted in the Air Force. He flew combat missions over Korea with a bomber crew and, upon returning home in 1954, joined the family business. Father and son moved their funeral home to South Plymouth Street six years later and in 1963 incorporated the business under its current name, with Latimer Jr. as president. Under his stewardship, the funeral home expanded to include private viewing rooms, a chapel, and casket sales. When families were without birth records, a not uncommon problem for older generations of Black people, Latimer Jr. tracked down the paperwork. George Fontenette, 75, said

the Latimers have buried 26 of his relatives, beginning with his greatgrandmother in 1958. He called the family and business “a pillar of the community.” “I look at the old-time Rochesterians and there is a family tradition to go back to Latimer because of the sincere care they have given to people,” he said. “I’ve heard people say they worked with people who couldn’t afford a funeral at the

time. That means a whole lot.” Latimer Jr. married Monique in 1973. She was a beauty queen, literally, who was born Maggie Lue Devlin in South Carolina and raised in Philadelphia. A mutual friend had set them up on a blind date after Latimer Jr. was widowed and Monique had divorced. The couple each had two children from their other marriages and together had one more. They raised their family in Pittsford. Latimer joked that they were “The Brady Bunch in color.” “I had never seen a dead body except maybe in pictures or movies, but not close contact like in an embalming room,” Latimer recalled of her marriage in the early years. “It was a totally new experience for me. I used to talk to my husband with my back to the door.” Like her mother-in-law, however,


The history of the family business and the Black experience in Rochester can be traced through the photographs, diplomas, and accolades on the walls at Millard E. Latimer & Son Funeral Directors. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

she became integral to the business. She started doing secretarial work and odd jobs before eventually getting her embalming license. “I had to help with, you know, paperwork, clerical-type things,” she said. “I ordered flowers, took payments, I drove the hearse, I was pregnant hitting the steering wheel with my belly.” Today, the business handles upward of 80 funerals a year, Latimer said. THE NEXT GENERATION Once one of just two Black-owned funeral homes in the Rochester area, Latimer & Son now competes with seven. Many of their proprietors trained with a Latimer. But nationwide, the Black familyowned funeral homes that prospered through segregation are now struggling to survive amid changing market forces. Many cannot afford to keep their doors open and chains have swallowed them up. The National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, the largest Black trade group in the industry, does not track the number of Blackowned funeral homes in the United States. But its membership of 1,200 businesses has fallen markedly compared with the reported 2,000 members it had in 1997. What becomes of Latimer & Son has been a family question for the better part of 20 years. Despite knowing perhaps better than most that life is finite, Latimer answers the question facetiously. “What happens?” she asked. “I’m going to see another 100 years.”

Latimer, who is well into her senior years but declines to share her age, has been unable to persuade any of her five children or grandchildren to take over the business. She joked that she and her late husband even tried bribing them with the promise of an SUV. Her youngest daughter, Millena Latimer, and a grandson, Jarred Jones, play supporting roles in the business, much the way their mother and grandmother did a half-century ago. Millena lives upstairs at the funeral home and organized the business’ centennial celebration, which was as much about the community as the company. The funeral home offered health screenings, hosted live music, and held a raffle. When he isn’t helping around the funeral home, Jones serves as the deputy state director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “All three of us have had discussions about what’s going to happen in the future,” Millena said of her mother and nephew. She and Jones chatted from a corridor in the funeral home whose wood-paneled walls were adorned with photographs, diplomas, and accolades of their ancestors. Around the corner, huge portraits of “Pop” and Lydia Latimer hung over a mantle festooned with thank you cards from grateful clients. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that Latimer Funeral Home exists for another 100 years because it’s something that shouldn’t see the end of time,” Jones said. Millena nodded and said, “There’s a legacy here.” roccitynews.com CITY 11


NEWS

KEEPING THE PEACE

A tale of two homeless camps

Chrissy Alessi, a street outreach professional with Person Centered Housing Options, delivers lunch to Peace Village residents on a September morning. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

As Rochester invests in one tent city, another awaits razing BY GINO FANELLI

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@GINOFANELLI

he gravel-covered ground of Peace Village, a city-sanctioned homeless encampment tucked away on a side street just west of Rochester’s downtown core, tells a story of crisis and neglect. Cigarette butts, neon orange caps of hypodermic needles, food containers swarming with bees, and crushed prescription pill bottles are strewn across the makeshift village made up of prefabricated sheds and bare-bones wooden shelters. The stale scent of mold and pungent odor of decaying trash hang in the air, wafting on the winds of passing 12 CITY OCTOBER 2022

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trains. Even its location on Industrial Street, difficult to find if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, seems to tell a tale of what our society wants to see, and what it doesn’t. But Peace Village, which was established in 2018 as the city razed a homeless encampment off South Avenue, is about to get some additional attention. The city has directed $250,000 in federal COVID relief funds to the nonprofit Person Centered Housing Options (PCHO) to ramp up the outreach work it has been doing at the settlement. “This funding is really going to

allow us to intentionally work with the folks, to engage with them,” said Nick Coulter, co-founder of PCHO. “If you’re not able to engage with a chronically homeless individual, the likelihood of being successful, building a relationship, and helping to get them out of that situation and, hopefully, into a better situation, is minimal.” The nonprofit provides meals, orchestrates health care and addiction treatment, and helps with job applications, among other things, for residents of Peace Village, with an eye toward getting them into permanent, stable housing.

The legislation allocating the funding suggests that the city intends to work in tandem with Monroe County over the next three years to support PCHO’s work and determine the long-term viability of the nonprofit’s approach to ending homelessness. The county, however, has yet to pass a similar measure. “Regardless of what’s going on, you are a human being and you deserve heat, a roof, running water, and a place to plug in a cell phone if you have to,” said Chrissy Alessi, a street outreach professional with PCHO. “I believe everyone deserves a roof


over their heads. I believe housing is a human right.” As of late September, 11 people were living at Peace Village. A CRISIS IN THE MAKING On a sunny September morning, Alessi and fellow PCHO outreach professional Lisa Kuhman walked through the camp, meeting and greeting the residents as they waited for their lunchtime meals. Many of the residents are in their 20s and 30s. Most arrived at the camp due to a confluence of issues, addiction and chronic mental health disorders chief among them. Some have fled abusive situations. Alessi and Kuhman see the connection between addiction, mental health issues, and chronic homelessness as self-perpetuating. “If they were dealing with chronic mental illness before, once they started experiencing homelessness, more than likely that mental health is going to become more severe the longer they’re out on the streets,” said Alessi, who lived in shelters at a point in her life. “It’s the same with addiction,” she went on.“A lot of people think, ‘Well, they’re homeless because they’re addicted.’ But in reality, it’s often the other way around.” PCHO tracked the circumstances that homeless clients faced over the past five years. Last year, the organization received $40,000 in city funding and served 68 people, 27 of whom were chronically homeless. More than half the people it served — 58 percent — were placed into stable housing, according to the organization. Over the summer, House of Mercy closed down, which Kuhman and Alessi said left a gap in services for the homeless. Open Door Mission, another shelter, took in some of House of Mercy’s residents, but is now at capacity. Rising housing costs have only exacerbated the demand for shelters. Fair market monthly rent for a onebedroom apartment has climbed 28 percent — to $950 from $741 — in the Rochester metropolitan area since 2017, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Average rent had only

Homeless advocate Amy D’Amico consoles Erica, a resident of Loomis Street, who is setting out for treatment for heroin addiction. FILE PHOTO

Above, used needles litter the ground of the Loomis Street homeless encampment. Right, a seldom-emptied needle disposal bin surrounded by a pile of trash and needles at Loomis Street. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

increased by 5.1 percent in the five years prior. Rising housing costs present a challenge to PCHO in placing people into stable housing. Coulter said state and local governments need to work to lower inflation, or to increase wages to prevent a larger housing crisis.

Chuck Albanese, co-founder of the organization, said it’s difficult to address any of a person’s other needs before addressing housing. “If you can’t get the basic needs met — food, water, shelter — it’s very difficult for a person to self-actualize and move themselves out of that situation,” Albanese said. For Kuhman, the resources needed on the ground are simpler.

“It’s just basic needs,” Kuhman said. “Food, clothing, furniture when they move into housing, cleaning supplies, paper products, all of the things that most of us take for granted are things they need, and there isn’t much help for people out there.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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Loomis Street Volunteer Gary Harding. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Peace Village, the city’s only sanctioned homeless camp housed 11 people as of late September. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

TO RAISE UP, OR TO RAZE? In another homeless encampment on Loomis Street off Joseph Avenue, Amy D’Amico holds Erica, a resident, in a prolonged embrace. Erica covers her mouth as she sobs. Erica is preparing to go into treatment for heroin addiction, an issue that led her to Loomis Street. Erica’s boyfriend, Jacob, had also been living at the encampment until he died in August, leaving Erica alone among the tents and tarps of the grassy lot. CITY is withholding the last names of Erica and Jacob to protect their privacy. The following day, Erica headed to the Finger Lakes Area Counseling and Recovery Agency (FLACRA) for detox and rehabilitation. It wasn’t the first time she had gone to treatment, and D’Amico and her fellow volunteer, Gary Harding, understood it might not be her last. D’Amico, a lawyer who formerly struggled with addiction and homelessness, knows well the difficulty of getting treatment to stick. “Every time helped,” D’Amico said. “Even if it got me 24 or 48 hours, it helped me on that journey of believing that it was possible, believing that I could stop.” All of the residents of Loomis Street 14 CITY OCTOBER 2022

Loomis Street volunteer Amy D’Amico. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

— about a dozen people — are heroin users. Discarded needles surround a seldom-emptied hazardous waste bin that sits like an obelisk at the edge of the encampment. All day, cars slowly circle the block, either dealing out heroin or picking up the women who make enough to feed their addiction through sex work, Harding and D’Amico said. Loomis Street is an unsanctioned camp that its residents resurrected after it was razed last year by the city’s Department of Environmental Services following numerous complaints from neighbors. The city is set to clear it out again this year. Nonprofits like PCHO no longer serve Loomis Street, deeming it

too dangerous for its workers. In September, a resident was stabbed in his tent. The discontent from neighbors is also obvious. The back door of a house on Joseph Avenue that faces the encampment bears a succinct message scrawled in spray paint: “You will be shot!” D’Amico and Harding, the latter of whom served as the chief executive of Recovery All Ways until recently stepping down, are among the last advocates tending to Loomis Street. Their goals are to help guide people into treatment and to make sure the residents have access to food, water, and clothing. D’Amico hopes the city will reconsider its plans to clear out the lot. “I don’t want it to stay forever,” D’Amico said of Loomis Street. “I want six months, six months while the census goes down in the shelters....Give us a chance to keep doing outreach, give us a chance to keep talking to people about recovery.” If the camp is cleared, D’Amico is worried its residents will take up shelter in abandoned buildings. She sees that as a dangerous scenario, both for the people at Loomis Street and for the volunteers trying to help them.

Some City Council members have expressed concern about what they say is a lack of a plan for residents of Loomis Street once the encampment is razed. “How can we know how to respond if we don’t even know what the plan is?” asked City Councilmember Mary Lupien. Harding and D’Amico see a disparity in the way the city is treating the two camps. One, Peace Village, is getting a quarter of a million dollars, while the other, Loomis Street, is getting torn down. “This is a community, they all live together,” Harding said. “They may steal from each other when they’re not here, and they may do other shit, but they look out for each other when they’re together.” ‘NO SUCH THING AS HOMELESS AND LAZY’ The money the city is directing to Peace Village is meant to fund two fulltime outreach workers and to increase PCHO’s presence at the camp. It’s a plan that has been in the works for months. City Councilmember Mitch Gruber was in talks with PCHO leading up to the bill’s introduction and approval in September. He sees the bill as a major step forward in addressing the needs of Rochester’s homeless population. “The vision we have of the encampment is merely one part of a continuum of homeless services and outreach that we provide in this community,” Gruber said. As of 2020, the most recently available data, the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimated 815 people were homeless on any given night in Monroe County, and that 96 of them were chronically homeless. At Peace Village, Alessi and


A resident of the Loomis Street camp rests in his tent. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Person Centered Housing Options outreach professional Lisa Kuhman. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Kuhman see a fight for survival. One shed, half-covered in tarp, was partially burned by a resident trying to keep warm during the winter. Rats have nested in the knolls surrounding the encampment, feeding on the scraps left by the residents. What the pair want for Peace Village are simple things that could go a long way. Regular trash pick up, a communal picnic table, a boltedin park grill, and sanitary restroom facilities are top of mind. The only restroom at the site is a lone portable toilet, which Alessi said gets cleaned only when it becomes unusable. A hose attached to a cistern serves as the camp shower. “This isn’t just some dump, these are human beings that live here,” Kuhman said. Alessi said chronically homeless people face barriers to everyday resources, such as transportation to job interviews and appointments, access to the internet to fill out applications, and

obtaining things like birth certificates and other identifying documents. “Something as simple as going to the dentist and getting your teeth done isn’t as simple for everyone,” Alessi said. “And that can cause people’s deaths.” One resident died from an infected tooth after being unable to get treatment, Alessi said. PCHO describes itself as a “housing first” organization, meaning their prime goal is getting a roof over someone’s head. Homelessness, they said, is a hard life, and one that exacerbates every other issue a person might be facing. There also needs to be a societal shift in how the homeless are viewed, Alessi said. She pointed to the challenges faced by a homeless person in doing something as simple as washing their clothes. “What if you have to walk to do laundry?” Alessi said. “You have to somehow cart that laundry to a laundromat, you have to figure out how you’re getting change for it, you got to figure out how to get it back. What if it rains? Now all your clean laundry is wet, moldy, dirty smelling laundry.” “It’s such hard work to just survive in homelessness that when I hear people say, ‘Oh, all people are homeless because they’re lazy,’” she went on, shaking her head. “You can’t be homeless and lazy, it just doesn’t work like that. There’s no such thing as homeless and lazy.”

roccitynews.com CITY 15


BIG ELECTIONS, LITTLE FANFARE

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n case you missed the attack ads on television, the many mailers, and the fresh crop of lawn signs, it’s election season. Some years are big for local elections, others for state or national offices. This year, every single seat in the state Assembly and Senate are on the ballot. Republicans have hammered Democrats on public safety issues, especially controversial bail reforms, while Democrats have tried to cast the GOP as out of touch on important but polarizing issues such as gun control and reproductive rights. The state legislative races are high-stakes. They directly influence the balance of power in Albany as well as the agendas of each chamber. Closer to home there’s a pivotal race for a Webster-based Monroe County Legislature seat. If Republican Mark Johns holds his seat, then the coalition government formed by GOP legislators and Legislature President Sabrina LaMar remains intact. If Democratic challenger Mike DiTullio wins, he’ll ostensibly shift the balance of power in the chamber. Herein is a rundown of the key races. Early voting runs from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6, and Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting information, including locations and times, is available at monroecounty.gov/elections-earlyvoting. To check your registration status, view a sample ballot, or find your polling place, visit the Monroe County Board of Elections main page at monroecounty.gov/elections.

16 CITY OCTOBER 2022


CONGRESS

A politician and a police officer clash in their race for Congress BY GINO FANELLI

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a’Ron Singletary, the former chief of Rochester police, seems like an unlikely candidate for Congress. Aside from never having pursued any elected office before, he rose to prominence over controversy. Namely, his handling of the death of Daniel Prude in 2020. Singletary, then just a year on the job, resigned in the fallout from the release of police body-worn camera footage of Prude’s arrest, and, before he could depart, was fired by former Mayor Lovely Warren. After a year of relative quiet, Singletary, a former Democrat, appeared alongside a who’s who of local Republicans at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center to announce that he would challenge Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle, a career politician who has held the seat since 2018. If history is any indicator, Singletary has an uphill battle. In a district where enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one, Morelle has trounced the two Republican challengers he has faced by double-digit percentage points. But Singetary cannot be counted out. Republicans have in the not-too-distant past occupied some of the territory now contained within the district, and Singletary’s background in law enforcement may appeal to a motivated segment of voters. “I think Singletary could appeal to demographics that are not the traditional Republican base, which is older, white, and male,” said Tim Kneeland, a political science professor at Nazareth College. “So, yeah, I think this could be a closer race.” When it comes to finances, though, Morelle has a distinct advantage. As of the most recent campaign finance filings on record, Morelle had nearly $749,000 in his war chest. Singletary had roughly $233,100 on hand, including $100,000 of which was in the form of a loan.

JOSEPH MORELLE Morelle had been fairly quiet throughout much of the campaign cycle, despite constant baiting from Singletary and his supporters to cast him as anti-police. That changed over the summer,

however, as Morelle began to push back, referring to his opponent as “extreme” and trying to dispel claims that Morelle had supported efforts to “defund the police.” “I continue to support aid to law enforcement, both on the federal and state levels,” Morelle said recently. “Frankly, it’s really, really frustrating that he built his entire campaign on what he knows is a lie.” Asked why he seemed to take so long to defend his record, Morelle offered a swift retort. “No disrespect to La’Ron, but he doesn’t have a job, he’s been campaigning full-time for Congress for a year,” Morelle said. “I actually have a job, and I take it as seriously as anyone here in Washington.” Morelle, a longtime Democratic political rainmaker in Monroe County and former state Assemblymember, was elected to the House in 2018, filling the seat last held by the late Louise Slaughter. Since then, Morelle has legislated in an increasingly polarized political landscape. He said he believes the growing wedge, sharply illustrated by a rejection of the 2020 presidential election by many Republicans, is a threat to democracy. “We’re at, in many ways, a pivotal moment in not only American history, but world history,” Morelle said. “I think democracy needs to be defended, we can’t just accept as an article of faith that it will just be here.” Morelle’s policy positions can perhaps best be described in the current landscape as moderate. He has supported much of President Joe Biden’s agenda. He has been a proponent of banning semi-automatic rifles and large capacity magazines, and backed the

Biden administration’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt. He pointed specifically to his co-sponsoring a bill by Rep. Joseph Courtney, a Democrat from Conecticut, which proposes to fix student loan interest rates at 0 percent. “Certainly the student debt burden is holding a lot of people back from purchasing homes, from moving forward in their careers, so I’m certainly comfortable with the elimination of debt up to a certain amount,” Morelle said. “However, you have to balance that back against the fact that there are a lot of people that chose not to go to college.”

LA’RON SINGLETARY Singletary’s campaign website offers a smattering of slogans that have become boilerplate Republican talking points: “Shall not be infringed means shall not be infringed” and “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” His campaign team did not respond to several requests for an interview. In late August, however, he sat for an extensive interview with Evan Dawson, the host of the talk radio program “Connections” broadcast by WXXI Public Media, the parent company of CITY. During that interview, he pointed to former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell as his political idol, and laid out his stances on the state of the nation, but offered sometimes opaque answers to hot-button issues, including gun control and abortion. When asked if he believed, as many Republicans seem to do, whether there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, Singletary answered indirectly. “President Biden is the president,” Singletary said. “That’s a question that’s being asked by a lot of Republicans and many people, but it’s a question I’m not going to fall into.” There has been no evidence found of significant voter fraud in the presidential election. On gun control, Singletary emphasized the right for Americans to protect themselves and pointed out that

minorities are more likely to be denied access to firearms. When pushed on his position on specific measures, like the banning of bump stocks, he said that should be viewed on a case-by-case basis and that one has to “look at the individual.” “It’s almost like car crashes, when you expect law enforcement to go out there and enforce seat belt laws, or speed enforcement,” Singletary said. “As a police chief, we typically don’t take away the cars. You can’t legislate behavior, but you can deter it.” Describing himself as “pro-life,” Singletary said he wants policies that help women, particularly Black women, make decisions that they “don’t feel they were forced into.” He did not comment directly on if he supports the right to abortion. Singletary did describe family values as a key concern of his, though, and expressed a need for preserving traditional family structures. “I believe the family unit is so strong, whether it’s an extended family member or some sort of father figure in the home,” Singletary said. “I believe there’s too many children today without a father figure in the home, so I would be all about strengthening those family values.” Morelle and Singletary do agree on one issue: trade schools should be emphasized and funded as an alternative to a college education. “The price of college is certainly rising, and I think when we offer trades and vocations to high schoolers, they can enter a field where they can make a decent salary, they can get great benefits, and they can provide for themselves and their families,” Singletary said. roccitynews.com CITY 17


MONROE COUNTY LEGISLATURE

A lone high-stakes race in the County Legislature BY GINO FANELLI

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n an election season when the office of governor, as well as congressional, state Assembly, and state Senate seats, are all up for grabs, one could be forgiven for overlooking the race for the Monroe County Legislature’s 8th District. The seat is the only one in the Legislature in contention this year, but the outcome could shape the county’s policy agenda for at least the next year, and possibly for years to come. The district represents much of the town of Webster and is currently represented by Republican Mark Johns. Johns, a former member of the state Assembly, was appointed to the seat by Legislature President Sabrina LaMar to fill a vacancy left by Matthew Terp, a Republican who resigned in April due to health concerns of long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. Challenging Johns is Democrat Mike DiTullio, a high school English teacher in Webster. Democrats ostensibly hold a slim majority, occupying 15 of the body’s 29 seats. But LaMar, a Democrat, caucuses with Republicans, functionally handing that slim majority to the GOP. That position isn’t a first for LaMar—she formerly was a member of the now-defunct Black and Asian Caucus, a breakaway group of four legislature Democrats who caucused with Republicans. Two members, Frank Keophetlasy and Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, were voted out last year. Calvin Lee, Jr. the fourth official member, did not run for reelection. Should Johns lose the race, it would solidify the edge for Democrats and, in the process, diminish the power of LaMar’s presidency. That outcome would also likely trigger a new vote by legislators to appoint a new president. “If anything, it would become more of their (legislature Democrats) goal to make sure, like the other members of the Black and Asian Caucus, that she was primaried out,” said Tim Kneeland, a history, politics, and law professor at Nazareth College. 18 CITY OCTOBER 2022

MARK JOHNS Mark Johns is a dynamic political figure who is not shy about sharing his ideas on everything from economic policies to the composition of state government, or his pet topic — term limits for elected officials. County law limits legislators to serving 10 consecutive years, and the county executive to serving three consecutive four-year terms. Johns, 69, is a retired county Department of Health worker who specialized in environmental health. He served in the Assembly in the 135th District for a decade beginning in 2011, before being defeated by Democrat Jen Lunsford in the 2020 general election. Upon being appointed to the Legislature in April, Johns made clear his intention of prodding the chamber to be more proactive in setting a legislative agenda, rather than simply carry on playing a supporting role to the county executive, which had been the body’s routine for decades. “If I get elected, you can be sure I’m going to be coming up with some ideas,” Johns said. “I think the main thing is we have a Legislature as evenly split as you can get.” Johns tested many of his ideas during his tenure in the Assembly. Among his more radical gambits was a push for creating a unicameral legislature, eliminating the Assembly and replacing it with one 75-seat Senate. That bill was introduced in the 2020 legislative cycle, and has since been held in committee.

He also enters the county race with a considerable war chest held over from his days in state politics. In July, Johns filed a required financial disclosure report with the state Board of Elections that showed him having $38,230 on hand in his Assembly campaign account and having spent $5,500 on media buys. That balance can be transferred to a new committee for his current campaign. Johns sees himself as a moderate whose utmost concerns are preventing “career politicians” from staying in one place for too long and putting critical policy issues to a public referendum. He also supports chopping the size of the County Legislature from 29 seats to 15. Monroe County is an outlier in the size of its legislative body. The four counties in New York with larger populations that Monroe, excluding the five counties that make up New York City, each have smaller legislatures. Nassau carries 19 legislators. There are 18 in Suffolk. Westchester has 17. Erie gets by with 11. “It should all be on the ballot, let the people decide, the size of the legislature, term limits, let the people decide,” Johns said.

MIKE DITULLIO If history is any guide, Mike DiTullio faces an uphill battle. The 8th District seat has been firmly in Republican control since at least 1992. The office briefly fell into Democratic hands when Carmen Gumina won election there in 2007, but he quickly defected from the party and joined the GOP.

Last year in the general election, Matthew Terp, the incumbent, comfortably defeated Democratic challenger Megan Thompson by 13 points, despite already having announced his intention to resign for health reasons and not campaigning. DiTullio, 56, is unfazed by the odds and said the fractious national political atmosphere moved him to run. Much like Johns, DiTullio was inspired by issues that are largely outside the scope of the County Legislature, including the debates about abortion and gun control. “I was still kind of iffy, and then SCOTUS did what they did with abortion and with assault rifles, well, not assault rifles, but gun control,” DiTullio said. “...It kind of made me feel the way a lot of people felt in 2016, where I just gotta do something.” DiTullio considers himself a moderate and calls himself “a reasonable Democrat” who is willing to reach across the aisle. He said he thinks government’s role is to invest in its citizenry. “I want to be sure that there’s another person in the Monroe County Legislature that believes in government,” DiTullio said. “That may seem kind of pious, but that’s what I believe.” DiTullio’s run is also a teaching tool for his students at Thomas High School. He said he wanted to run, in part, to show his students how to stand up for their beliefs and participate in the democratic system. What sort of financial backing DiTullio has remains to be seen. As of this writing, he had yet to file any campaign financial disclosure reports with the state, although the deadline for doing so for his race was not until Oct. 7. DiTullio said his years of working in Webster provide a foundation for a successful campaign. “I think I know a lot of people,” DiTullio said. “I’ve lived in this town a long time, I can’t go anywhere without running into people I know.”


BALLOT PROPOSAL

State puts record-setting environmental funding measure to voters Voters have a strong track record of supporting environmental bond acts. But is the state asking too much this time? BY JEREMY MOULE

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hen New Yorkers head to the polls, their ballot will invite them to vote yes or no on a state measure to invest $4.2 billion in environmental and climate-related projects. The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 would authorize the state to issue bonds up to that amount to finance projects intended to reduce flood risk and restore flood damage, preserve undeveloped land and promote recreation, mitigate climate change, improve water quality, and make infrastructure more resilient. Bond issuances are the mechanism by which most governments borrow money — and this one is the largest of its kind in history in terms of actual dollars. It’s also the first environmental bond measure to make it on the ballot since 1996. The legislation that authorized the ballot measure stipulates that the funds are to be used for design, planning, site acquisition, demolition, construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation work. Several statewide environmental organizations have backed the measure. “As New York faces the realities of a changing climate including more extreme weather, severe flooding,

and rising temperatures, adapting our communities and upgrading our infrastructure to become more resilient to climate impacts is increasingly critical,” read a statement from the New York League of Conservation Voters in support of the act. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo first introduced the bond act in 2020, but later withdrew it citing the fiscal uncertainties caused by the pandemic. It was passed along party lines after Cuomo re-introduced it in September 2021. All the Republicans in both chambers voted against it. Gerard Kassar, chair of the New York State Conservative Party, urged voters to reject the measure. He called it a “tax increase” and criticized it as “a vague and amorphous ballot proposal that’s more about politics than it is about clear environmental goals.” Voters have tended to favor environmental bond acts. Of the 11 that have been put to voters over the decades, just one has failed, according to the SUNY Rockefeller Institute of Government. The institute figures previous bond acts have generated $5.7 billion for environmental programs or projects — the present-day equivalent of $30 billion when adjusted for inflation.

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STATE SENATE

Cooney takes on VanBrederode in 56th Senate District BY GINO FANELLI

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or nearly 20 years, the 56th Senate District was a bit of an oddity. The district represents much of the westside of Rochester and its suburbs, where Democrats substantially outnumber Republicans. Yet Joseph Robach, a former Democrat-turnedRepublican, comfortably won eight terms in office before stepping down from his seat in 2020. Jeremy Cooney, a progressive Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Robach for the seat in 2018, won election in 2020. In his bid to retain the office, he faces a well-known face in the district. James VanBrederode was the chief of police in Gates for nearly a decade and headed the Monroe County Chiefs’ Association. He stepped down as chief early this year and almost immediately launched his campaign for the Senate.

JEREMY COONEY Cooney enjoys two significant advantages over VanBrederode. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by more than two-to-one, and as of July, the most recent date for which data was available, Cooney’s campaign committee held a war chest of about $375,000 in contrast to VanBrederode’s $47,000. In an interview in September, Cooney pointed to key issues he 20 CITY OCTOBER 2022

8 believes the region is facing. Top of mind for him were public safety, education, and the economic future of Rochester. A supporter of criminal justice reforms like the Bail Elimination Act and Less is More Act parole reform, Cooney sees public safety as being more than just police. “To not give serious consideration to other issues other than crime and punishment is, in my opinion, a disservice to the voters of New York,” Cooney said. “You have to understand the intersectionality of these types of issues. “I always say my platform is jobs, schools, and safety,” Cooney continued. “Because they’re all interconnected.” Cooney supports enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution, and taking steps to expand state-funded healthcare in New York. He also sees New York, and particularly the Rochester region, as a potential hub for people fleeing climate change in places like California or the American southwest. Rochester, he said, can often be stuck in the past, and fixated on its history as a “company town”


for Kodak and Xerox. Cooney said state and local governments should emphasize making Rochester attractive to people who want to set up small businesses and create an economically diverse ecosystem. “One of Rochester’s biggest challenges is our sense of nostalgia, in terms of holding onto jobs and areas of focus that may not be relevant to the next five or 10 years of population,” Cooney said. “I’m not just talking about recent college graduates, I’m talking about for my friends’ kids, what job are they going to want?”

JAMES VANBREDERODE VanBrederode, like many other Republican candidates running for office in New York, is hinging his campaign on public safety. Rochester set a record for homicides last year at 81. VanBrederode joins a chorus of Republican candidates across the state who suggest a direct correlation between the spike in violence and new bail and parole regulations. State data does not link the two, and Rochester’s upward trend aligns with crime rates nationwide. VanBrederode did not respond to several requests for an interview for this report But comments he has made publicly and in previous interviews mostly make clear where VanBrederode stands on some issues. VanBrederode has been skeptical of vaccine mandates at healthcare facilities. In July, he was advertised as a key speaker for an anti-mandate protest outside Strong Memorial Hospital, alongside local right wing radio personality Shannon Joy. He is also a proponent of bringing workforce training into classrooms and improving access to different pathways outside of the traditional

school-to-college pipeline. VanBrederode believes the threat of incarceration can be a motivational tool for introducing people in the criminal justice system to resources like job training programs and addiction treatment. “One of the tools to get people to follow the rules in drug court was a judge telling a person, ‘Hey, if you don’t follow through with this, I’m going to put you in jail,’” VanBrederode said in a January interview. “Now, people are going to opt for those courses, because I’m not going to jail.” A key campaign promise of VanBrederode’s is leading an effort to repeal changes to the criminal justice system, like reforms to the bail and parole processes, which he calls “procrime.” On his public Twitter account, VanBrederode regularly attributes homicides in the city to the reforms. “Unfortunately, our state senators have worked with New York’s career politicians to squander our communities’ best strengths,” VanBrederode’s campaign website reads. “Albany’s pro-criminal agenda has made Rochester a place known for violence, not opportunity.”

roccitynews.com CITY 21


NYS ASSEMBLY

Familiar issues drive local Assembly races BY JEREMY MOULE

130TH DISTRICTWebster, Wayne County

BRIAN MANKTELOW

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE facebook.com/ BrianManktelowNYSAssembly A resident of Lyons, Manktelow has served in the Assembly since 2019. He’s a former town supervisor, an Army veteran, and for more than 30 years has owned and operated Manktelow Farms in Lyons. Manktelow has said his focus in the Assembly has been pushing for policies that encourage economic growth, securing resources to address the opioid epidemic, and protecting natural resources in the district. He has also called for state bail reforms to be revisited, particularly matters of judicial discretion and certain requirements that were placed on prosecutors.

SCOTT COMEGYS

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES electscottcomegys.com The former facility manager of Strong Memorial Hospital, Comegys 22 CITY OCTOBER 2022

bought a Palmyra alpaca farm in 2012 and set about implementing sustainable practices there. Comegys has said he wants to bring people and organizations together to work in partnership on major issues. He wants the state to direct more funding to education and school programs, and favors economic development initiatives that support alternative energy, sustainable agriculture, and ecotourism. Supporting legislation to establish “affordable universal health care” and provide funding for public health research is also on his agenda.

133RD DISTRICT Wheatland, Rush; parts of Wyoming, Livingston, Ontario, and Steuben Counties

MARJORIE BYRNES

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE byrnes4assembly.com Byrnes, who lives in Caledonia, has served in the Assembly since 2019. She’s been an attorney for 32 years, 10 of which she spent as a Rochester City Court judge. She has advocated for the state to increase infrastructure spending and supports term limits. Recently, she’s been trying to advance legislation requiring the state to pay for school districts to hire trained and armed resource officers. Byrnes has said she is a “strong advocate for the Second Amendment” and she has been among Republicans calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to reject a recommendation

by a state wage board to reduce the overtime threshold for farmworkers. The board has recommended that farmworkers earn overtime pay after 40 hours, as opposed to the current 60 hours.

134TH DISTRICT Parma, Greece, Ogden

JOSH JENSEN

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE

SARA SPEZZANO DEMOCRAT

Spezzanoforny133.com A resident of Wheatland, Spezzano’s priorities include the passage of singlepayer universal health care legislation, increasing investment in broadband internet infrastructure, and passing the Universal Child Care Act, which would establish a childcare system akin to the public school system. Spezzano also wants the state to increase education spending and distribute the funding more equitably. Doing so, she says, would enable schools — rural ones in particular — to provide students with mental health services, and to pilot a program that better ties community services, such as food banks or flu shot clinics, into rural schools.

facebook.com/joshjensen134 Jensen, who lives in Greece, is wrapping up his first term in the Assembly. He is running uncontested.

135TH DISTRICT Penfield, East Rochester, Pittsford, Perinton, Mendon

JEN LUNSFORD

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES votejenlunsford.com During the 2020 elections, Lunsford defeated a 10-year incumbent to flip a seat long held by Republicans to Democratic control. She won by a narrow margin that year but this time she’s running in a redrawn district with a stronger Democratic enrollment edge. Lunsford, who lives in Perinton, has supported and advocated for legislation that tightened state gun laws, provided a property tax rebate to homeowners,


expanded children’s eligibility for early intervention services and increased funding for the programs, increased state child care funding, and bolstered state environmental laws. She sponsored legislation that would increase funding for career and technical education aid and backed a different bill that would expand a child and dependent care tax credit.

JOSEPH CHENELLY

long-term care ombudsman program and directed the state’s child care task force to recommend a path to universal child care. Her current priorities include increasing eligibility for state college tuition assistance and increasing the size of those awards, diverting mental health calls from police to specialized agencies, and passing the New York Health Act to establish single-payer healthcare in the state.

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE joefornys.com Chenelly, who lives in Perinton, is the national director of the veterans service organization AMVETS, and has worked on veterans issues for much of his professional career. He served in the Marines for seven years. Like many other Republican legislative candidates, Chenelly wants to cut state spending and lower taxes, as well as roll back reforms to the state’s bail and parole laws. His website refers to him as the “tough on crime candidate.” He also supports increased state investment in roads and wants to “re-empower” local school boards to give parents a larger role in shaping the school environment. A term limits supporter, Chenelly has said he would push for a ballot measure on the issue and would limit himself to eight years in office.

136TH DISTRICT Rochester, Irondequoit, Brighton SARAH CLARK

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES sarahclarkforassembly.com A resident of Rochester’s Maplewood neighborhood, Clark is completing her first term in the Assembly. She previously worked for eight years as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s deputy state director. Clark has sponsored several pieces of legislation that the Legislature passed, including bills that reformed the state’s

ORLANDO RIVERA

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE riverafor136.com Rivera, who lives in Rochester’s Maplewood neighborhood, works as a real estate agent and serves on the boards of several professional associations and nonprofits. One of Rivera’s key issues is housing, and he wants the state to identify and address barriers that keep people from buying homes. He wants the state to place greater emphasis on preventive health care and early testing for diseases such as cancer, and to work with struggling school districts to look at spending and performance, then devise plans to address deficiencies. He has also called on the state to better hold people who commit violent crimes accountable.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

roccitynews.com CITY 23


137TH DISTRICT Rochester, Gates

wants more nuclear energy, and the construction of more gas pipelines to help get the state off of oil and coal. He also wants stronger jobs and trades programs for students and better pay and pensions for teachers to aid in hiring.

138TH DISTRICT Rochester, Henrietta, Chili, Riga HARRY BRONSON DEMOND MEEKS

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES votedemondmeeks.com Meeks, formerly a labor union organizer, is winding down his first term in the Assembly. Among Meeks’s priorities are increasing education funding; workers’ rights and fair wages; increasing the availability of affordable housing; getting the state to recognize health care as a fundamental right and making it accessible, affordable, and equitable; and ensuring that the Rochester region gets its share of state funding and resources. He sponsored legislation that would direct the state to study and make recommendations regarding police brutality in Rochester.

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES bronsonforassembly.com Bronson, an attorney who lives in Rochester, is seeking his seventh term in the Assembly. Before that, he served in the Monroe County Legislature, where he was leader of the Democratic caucus. He also owns Equal Grounds, a coffee shop in the South Wedge. Over the years, Bronson has gained a reputation as a progressive legislator who champions LGBTQ rights as well as workers’ rights and workplace protections. He’s supported legislation granting new protections to renters and ushering in criminal justice reforms, including the state’s new bail laws. Bronson chairs the Assembly’s Economic Development Committee.

agriculture. He sponsored legislation that would expand a key agricultural tax credit and would exempt farms from a state law that makes them liable when a worker is injured in an elevation-related fall. He is also critical of state laws and regulations that are “intrusive” to businesses.

TRACY DIFLORIO

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE tracydiflorio.com A resident of Chili, DiFlorio is a seasoned elected official. She has served in the Monroe County Legislature since 2016 and currently chairs its Planning and Economic Development Committee. Previously, she was a member of the Chili Town Board. DiFlorio believes the state government is out of touch with the people it serves and their concerns. She points to state bail reforms as an example, claiming that it has led to the release of suspected violent offenders without regard to public safety or alleged victims. She is also critical of what she sees as the state over-spending on services.

139TH DISTRICT Hamlin, Clarkson, Sweden; Genesee and Orleans Counties; part of Erie County

MARCUS WILLIAMS

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE marcus4rochester.com Williams, a Rochester resident who describes himself as a “dutiful citizen and community organizer,” has been especially vocal about crime in the city. He advocates for the rollback of state bail and parole reforms, as well as a change in state law specifying that alleged offenders aged 16-17 are no longer automatically tried as adults. He also wants the state to provide more support for reintegration programs to help people leaving jail or prison. He 24 CITY OCTOBER 2022

STEPHEN HAWLEY

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE Hawleyforassembly.com Hawley, who lives in Batavia, has served in the Assembly since a special election in 2006. He is the past owner and operator of a farm and owns an insurance agency. The deputy minority leader of the Assembly, Hawley stresses his focus on

JENNIFER AO KEYS DEMOCRAT

facebook.com/keysfor139 Keys is a social worker who lives in Leroy, Genesee County, and one of her key issues is increasing access to social and health services in New York. The district is largely rural and Keys’ priorities reflect that. She wants to work to increase volunteerism for first responders, support gun legislation that respects the Second Amendment, support LGBTQ and reproductive rights, and improve access to health care. She also supports increasing wages and easing licensing requirements for mental health workers.


roccitynews.com CITY 25


NYS SENATE

Senate candidates have competing agendas BY JEREMY MOULE

54TH DISTRICT Riga, Chili, Wheatland, Rush, Mendon; Wayne, Ontario, and Livingston Counties

Maternal health has been one of Brouk’s key focuses, as has mental health. This past session, the legislature passed a measure she sponsored intended to improve maternal mental

see repealed — and other new state policies. He has also said that the state Legislature needs to act to lower the cost of living and doing business in the state, as well as fix an educational system that is “failing” students.

62ND DISTRICT Hamlin, Clarkson, Sweden, Ogden, Parma; Orleans and Niagara Counties

KENAN BALDRIDGE DEMOCRAT

PAMELA HELMING

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE helmingforny.com Helming has represented the 54th District in the state Senate since 2017. A resident of Canandaigua, she previously served as town supervisor and, before that, a member of the Town Board. During her time in the Senate, Helming has focused on bolstering agriculture and protecting water quality. She also co-sponsored legislation, signed by the governor in January, to create a state task force on rural ambulance services. Like other Senate Republicans, she’s called for state lawmakers to roll back recent bail and parole reforms. Helming has an A rating from SCOPE and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. She’s also introduced legislation that would affirm competitive shooting sports clubs and events can continue under new state gun laws.

baldridgeforsenate.com Baldridge served as town supervisor of Rose in Wayne County for eight years starting in 2012 and he previously served an 11-year stint on the North Rose-Wolcott school board. A volunteer firefighter for 45 years, Baldrige helped form a volunteer organization that brought advanced life support services to ambulance providers in northeast Wayne County. He has a professional background in health care administration and consulting, and has worked turning around underperforming nonprofits. Baldridge has said that he wants the state to boost funding for child care programs, which he would like to see tied into public schools; dedicate more state funding for rural fire and ambulance departments; and address disparities in health care and insurance.

55TH DISTRICT Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Perinton, East Rochester, part of Rochester SAMRA BROUK

DEMOCRAT, WORKING FAMILIES samraforsenate.com Brouk, who lives in the city’s Park Avenue neighborhood, is wrapping up her first term in the Senate. She won her 2020 race by a wide margin and this year she’s running in a redrawn district that’s friendlier to Democrats than the previous iteration. 26 CITY OCTOBER 2022

health screenings, combining both focuses. She’s also called for the state to increase child care funding and has advocated for stronger gun laws. She supported a package of gun law reforms signed by the governor in June and a package of laws meant protect women’s access to abortion.

ROBERT ORTT

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE Ortt, who leads the Republican minority in the Senate, is running uncontested. He’s served in the Senate since 2015. Improving public safety and our educational system, expanding business opportunities, reigning in excessive taxes and inflation to help our residents thrive… that is why Len is running for Senate in New York’s 55th District.

LEN MORRELL

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE morrellforstatesenate.com A Penfield resident, Morrell is the founder of Morrell Manufacturing, which makes precision engineered products for the automotive industry. He also founded a Christian concert venue, Worship Warehouse, and a company that owns and leases commercial and residential real estate, LCM Properties. Throughout his campaign, Morrell has denounced the rise of violent crime in the city, blaming it on bail law reforms — which he wants to


roccitynews.com CITY 27

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


Celebrate Public Radio Music Day Wednesday, October 26 On October 26th, join WXXI Classical, WRUR-FM 88.5, and WITH-FM 90.1 as we celebrate Public Radio Music Day, a nationwide celebration that recognizes public radio’s essential community service and its unique role in music discovery. Locally, listeners and supporters of WXXI’s radio services know who we are and how we’re dedicated to the Rochester and the Finger Lakes music scene. On Public Radio Music Day, we want to spotlight that we’re part of a network of public radio stations dedicated to helping listeners discover new artists and music and connecting our listeners to local artists. To celebrate Public Radio Music Day, we’re hosting a few FREE events on October 26th that we hope you’ll take part in.

Live from Hochstein – Schleuning-Pegis Duo 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave. Featuring violinist Maria Schleuning and cellist Jolyon Pegis (who is originally from Rochester), the main focus of this program is the Duo for Violin and Cello by Zoltán Kodály. This is one of the greatest works for this combination of instruments, virtuosic and very dramatic. The performance will also air live on WXXI Classical. Photo provided.

Share your favorite song that you discovered on public radio! Follow WXXI Classical, WRUR-FM, and WITH-FM on Facebook and watch for a post inviting you to share your favorite song that you discovered on public radio. We’ll curate that list and share it on social on October 26th.

Open Tunings with Scott Regan Between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on WRUR-FM and WITH-FM Host Scott Regan welcomes a special guest in studio to perform and talk about his/ her work. Tune in to find out who it is! 28 CITY OCTOBER 2022

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A Special Performance by Hanna PK 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Little Café, Winthrop Street Hanna PK is a blues pianist and singer born and raised in South Korea and based in Rochester. She has been building a strong local following with her wide-ranging repertoire, the power of her voice and piano playing, and the way she can rock the house! Photo provided.

Exploring the Great Outdoors with Elinor Wonders Why from PBS KIDS Saturday, October 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Seneca Park* Join WXXI, the Rochester Chapter of NYAEYC, and a whole bunch of our friends for a FREE family event on Saturday, October 1st from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Longhouse Shelter in Seneca Park*. The event is open to families with young children and will be full of outdoor play and hands-on activities. Come explore the great outdoors with us and meet Elinor from PBS KIDS Elinor Wonders Why. *Please note: This will be held in Seneca Park, not at the Seneca Park Zoo. Look for WXXI Kids signs to find your way. This event is co-presented by the Rochester Chapter of NYAEYC and WXXI Kids with support from a Ready to Learn: Learning Neighborhood grant.

Learn more and let us know you’re coming!


WXXI TV • THIS MONTH

The House That Norm Built

Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes

Monday, October 3 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV After over four decades, This Old House’s Master Carpenter and pioneer of the home improvement television genre, Norm Abram (pictured) is officially leaving the show and hanging up his tool belt. This special highlights and chronicles 43 years of Norm’s incredible career — featuring classic moments, archived footage, interviews, and memories from celebrities, friends, peers, and those who worked alongside him.

Friday, October 21 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV Enjoy this intimate portrait of the quiet genius who speaks with his music, and who brought the upright bass out from the background into the spotlight. Finding the Right Notes explores the life and career of jazz luminary Ron Carter, the most recorded bassist in history. A 2015 Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductee, Carter earned a full scholarship to the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1959 and becoming the first African American to play in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Credit: Courtesy of Bob O’Connor/This Old House

Credit: Courtesy of © PARTISAN PICTURES

Independent Lens: TikTok, Boom.

Making Black America: Through the Grapevine Tuesdays, October 4-25 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV This four-part series from executive producer, host, and writer Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. chronicles the vast social networks and organizations created by and for Black people beyond the reach of the “white gaze.” The series recounts the establishment of the Prince Hall Masons in 1775 through the formation of all-Black towns and business districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, destinations for leisure, and the social media phenomenon of Black Twitter.

Monday, October 24 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV What does it mean to be a digital native? TikTok, Boom. dissects the platform along myriad cross-sections— algorithmic, sociopolitical, economic, and cultural— to explore the impact of the historymaking app. Balancing a genuine interest with healthy skepticism, delve into the security issues, global political challenges, and racial biases behind the platform. Photo provided by PBS.

Credit: Courtesy of PBS/McGee Media roccitynews.com CITY 29


TURN TO WXXI CLASSICAL FOR MUSIC PERFECTLY TUNED TO YOUR DAY Live from Temple B’rith Kodesh: A Yom Kippur Service Tuesday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m. on WXXI Classical WXXI Classical brings listeners this annual broadcast celebrating the Jewish New Year, as Senior Rabbi Peter Stein leads the Yom Kippur Service live from Temple B’rith Kodesh. This special broadcast is made possible with support from the Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation.

Fiesta! Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on WXXI Classical Host Elbio Barilari (pictured) is your guide for this trip through the hidden treasures of Latino concert music, including the magical rhythms of Silvestre Revueltas and Heitor Villa-Lobos, or the symphonic tango; plus the series shares little-known wonders from the Latin-American Baroque and celebrates classical guitar through the music of Agustin Barrios, Antonio Lauro, Leo Brouwer, and more. Photo provided by Fiesta!.

Live from Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., beginning October 12 on WXXI Classical Live from Hochstein returns to the newly-renovated Hochstein School’s Performance Hall with eight weeks of programs! The season kicks off with the RPO String Quartet (pictured), featuring violinists Shannon Nance & Liana Koteva Kirvan, violist Marc Anderson and cellist Lars Kirvan performing music by Ravel and Vaughan Williams. Join us at the Hochstein School for this free noontime concert series, or tune in to WXXI Classical to hear it live every Wednesday through December 7th. The program repeats on WXXI Classical at 10 p.m. that same day. For the complete schedule, visit WXXIClassical.org. Photo provided by The Hochstein School.

Meet Teej Jenkins, Manager/Producer of City 12 and Li

Teej oversees the TV Production Services agreement between WXXI and the City of Rochester, which operates City 12; Roches channel 1303. WXXI programs the channel and creates the daily on-air TV schedule with shows that range from lifestyle, cook produces social media segments for “What’s Good Rochester,” the City’s media project collaboration with WXXI that highligh

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is field video production for “What’s Good Rochester.” I love getting out into the community, conne great businesses & hardworking people in our city. I always learn something new and each time I produce these stories, it mak in our city and across the country but it is important that we don’t allow those things to make us ignore or overlook the good p youtube.com/c/WhatsGoodRochester

What led you to this career?

Being on TV was always a dream of mine and so I went to MCC for Communication and Media Arts and ended up in an internship at W the City 12 Manager/Producer position opened up, I applied for it and qualified to fill it. I am thankful for that and all the other opportunities directing, and other behind-the-scenes production work I’ve done over my 21 years at WXXI.

What’s your favorite part of Rochester and why?

The High Falls District. It is just beautiful! It’s great to be able to drink beer at the Genesee Brewery while gazing at the stunning scenery around the falls relaxing on a bench or a meet up with friends. Now, I am even more excited about this area because of the National Park that will be there in the future. I 30 CITY OCTOBER 2022


AM 1370, YOUR NPR NEWS STATION + WRUR-FM 88.5, DIFFERENT RADIO Searching for Providers of Color Sunday, October 16 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM 107.5 The mental health treatment field is disproportionately white. How important is it to find a care provider that can identify with a person’s culture and experiences? And how can systems be strengthened to provide acceptable mental health support to people of color? This special explores how race, culture, and language affect how people perceive and experience mental health conditions – and shares the experiences of BIPOC people looking for effective care.

1A with Jenn White Weekdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on AM 1370/ FM 107.5 Every day, 1A convenes a conversation about the most important issues of our time. Host Jenn White (pictured) takes a deep and unflinching look at America, bringing context and insight to stories unfolding across the country and the world. With a name inspired by the First Amendment, 1A explores important issues such as policy, politics, technology, and what connects us across the fissures that divide the country.

Acoustic Café with Rob Reinhart Sundays at 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on WRUR-FM Each week, host Rob Reinhart (pictured) takes you around the globe to hear the latest from today’s great songwriting talents. It’s hard to put a definitive label on Acoustic Café’s music selections. After all, a good song is a good song… any individual set of music could contain a bit of country, rock, blues, folk, pop… and more! Photo provided by Acoustic Café.

S K IC P S K IC S IC U P M S K IC IX S IC S U P s M S i K IC x IX S IC S m U P M u IC s IX S S SIX MU ic picks

z i z i F L mL om frro F liz Before WXXI’s summer intern Liz Hogrefe left for her fall semester at the University of Rochester, she shared some of her favorite songs and why you should add them to your fall playlist.

Credit: Stephen Voss/WAMU

iaison to The City of Rochester

ster’s government access channel within city limits on Spectrum Cable king, health, & travel; to public affairs, and children’s shows. Teej also hts positive stories in our city.

ecting with people, and being in a position to share stories of the really kes me feel proud of my city. I understand that negative things happen people and good work that exist around us. Check it out on YouTube:

WXXI. After my internship, WXXI hired me as a Production Assistant. When I found within the station such as being a TV host, doing voice overs,

s. The whole area is a great place to walk around, take pictures, and enjoy I can hardly wait!

Phoebe Bridgers, “Sidelines”

Quintessential Phoebe Bridgers — breathy, devotional, and heartbreakingly honest — this is one of the year’s most succinct love songs for anyone who leans indie.

Slaughter Beach, Dog, “Building The Ark”

A song that feels like a dream you spend the day trying to interpret, this strange, folky track devolves into an electric guitar solo that calls back to singer Jake Ewald’s days as part of Modern Baseball.

Pavement, “Harness Your Hopes”

Originally an almost-forgotten B-side, this Pavement track has been given a new life in recent years. It’s dangerously catchy and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Lucy Dacus, “Kissing Lessons”

This pop rock gem manages to fit in a sexuality crisis, a guitar solo, and an incredibly compelling, bittersweet story about first love in just under two minutes.

The Strokes, “Hard to Explain”

Even though this track just turned 20 years old, the classic Strokes riffs and confessional lyrics are as timeless as ever — and there’s no better time for a little nostalgia than the turn of the season.

Black Country, New Road, “Concorde”

An exercise in musical catharsis, let the buildup of this gorgeously orchestrated two-parter be your deep breath before the triumphant ending, all framed around the doomed Concorde jet.


240 East Ave thelittle.org

From crypts to cryptids, ghouls to ghastly gargoyles, The Little’s Spooky Season is here to fill your October with harrowing, haunting films and events. From classic horror to modern family-friendly fare, international frights to 90s-witchy-vibes, we’re here to celebrate the spookiest time of year. Details and tickets at thelittle.org/spooky.

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz will perform live on The Little’s historic Theatre 1 stage 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 18. Kurtz’s music is a blend of jazz, blues, folk, and pop — her hit songs include “Reconsider Me” and “Love Gets in the Way.” The Little Concert Series is sponsored by Rohrbach Brewing Company, with community partnership from Different Radio

The Details: What:

The Little Concert Series Presents: Dayna Kurtz

When:

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 18 (doors open at 7 p.m.)

Where:

Little Theatre 1 (240 East Ave.)

Oct. 1: Saturday Night Rewind: Beetlejuice (35mm) | Oct. 5: Pan’s Labyrinth (English subtitles) Oct. 8: Coraline | Oct. 8: The Host (English subtitles) | Oct. 10: Staff Picks: Little Shop of Horrors (Director’s Cut) Oct. 15: Saturday Night Rewind: Shaun of the Dead | Oct. 22: Saturday Night Rewind: Halloween (1978) Oct. 23: Lords of the Gourd (FREE screening) | Oct. 23: The Addams Family (1991) CITY Oct.3228: Practical Magic | Oct. 30: Insidious | Oct. 31: Spellbound Cabaret presents: A Halloween Soiree OCTOBER 2022

Tickets:

$25 advance; $30 day-of-show. Tickets are available at thelittle.org and at the box office


roccitynews.com CITY 33


ARTS

BOOK SMARTS

Children’s book author and artist Brian Yanish works in his home office in Rochester. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

GRAPHIC LESSONS Local children’s author Brian Yanish’s new book has a shark and a robot fighting off zombie doughnuts. But it’s deeper than that, we swear. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

G

rowing up in Pittsford, Brian Yanish didn’t know he would one day author children’s literature. He just knew he was into illustration, particularly the newspaper comic strip “Bloom County” by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkley Breathed. Yanish also didn’t know he’d eventually work on “The Muppets” at Jim Henson Productions or go on to create “ScrapKins” — a series of books about monsters who encourage kids to create art projects and toys 34 CITY OCTOBER 2022

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

out of everyday items that he would one day promote on “Sesame Street.” Yanish, 49, has been writing and illustrating for about 10 years, and now works on his book series featuring characters Shark and Bot that he shares with readers at events such as the Rochester Children’s Book Festival at Rochester Institute of Technology on Nov. 5. Book Three of the series, titled “Zombie Doughnut Attack!” was released on Aug. 2 by Random House and follows two friends — a

gregarious shark and a thoughtful robot — as they build a castle for a school project. But the stakes are high, and Bot begins having stressinduced nightmares about zombie doughnuts. Will the duo finish the project in time? “I like the idea that Shark is exuberant and silly and passionate about his ideas, even if he has no idea where they’re gonna go,” Yanish said. “And I like the fact that Bot is a little more grounded and sees the world differently. And


you realize that celebrating that these characters are so different is a wonderful thing. And yet they still find this common ground.” The first Shark and Bot book introduced the odd pair with a message about embracing individuality in the face of bullies, and the second story dealt with homesickness while away at camp. “Zombie Doughnut Attack!” focuses on overcoming anxiety. Shark walks the reader through a mindfulness exercise as he comforts Bot. Yanish was partly inspired by the anxiety he’s endured during the pandemic. But he said he also wanted to write the kind of literature he wishes he could have read as a kid. “When I was growing up, we certainly didn’t talk about a lot,” Yanish explained. “And there wasn’t a lot of dialogue around feeling anxiety at school, or what to do with it. And so, as I got further into the story, and with my editor’s help, I kind of leaned into that. “And I said, ‘This is a journey that the characters are going on, but I think it’s something that kids can relate to because maybe they’re not given the space or the voice to express how they’re feeling in a particular situation.’ But by seeing these characters go through it and talk about it in a normal way, and not in a stigmatized way, I would hope that kids would feel a little more open and be like, ‘Oh, well, sometimes I feel off.’” Eventually the readers of “Zombie Donut Attack!” learn how anxious thoughts can distort thinking and keep them from enjoying the things they love. Even though the book tackles these complex ideas, the heart of the story is silly, Yanish said. Michelle Nagler, senior vice president and publisher at Random House Children’s Brands and Graphic, edited Yanish’s latest Shark and Bot book. She said that while the main goal of a graphic chapter book written for “emerging readers” between 5 and 9 years old is to entertain, it’s important to help teach children how to relate to the world around them as well. “We’re also looking for characters in situations that reflect what those children are going through,” Nagler

Yanish’s Shark and Bot stories are silly, but they also touch on important emotional issues that affect kids. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

said. “So often, it’s about feelings. I’d say in the case of Shark and Bot, there’s a strong ‘social emotional learning’ — SEL — component to these books.” The Shark and Bot stories are funny, Nagler said, but the emotions of the characters are overt and universal. The graphic chapter books have the added benefit of appealing to children for whom reading is challenging. “For kids who struggle with decoding and learning to read, graphic novels help turn the pages a lot faster,” Nagler said. Yanish is working on a fourth Shark and Bot book, set in an amusement park, to be published by Random House next year.The author is also working on a picture book and a novel for middle-grade readers about the Erie Canal. “As long as there’s a new story out there, I’m going to chase it,” Yanish said, “whatever format it happens to be.”

>> Are

those . . . DOUGHNUTS?

>> Wait.

Those are no ordinary doughnuts. Those are ZOMBIE DOUGHNUTS!!!

Time for us to eat YOU. 6 Yani_9780593485347_all_xp_r2.indd 6

2021/12/15 下午6:36

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 35


NEW MUSIC REVIEWS

Louise continues to impress with thoughtful songs that showcase her knack for pop writing. But I can’t escape the feeling that she has a much higher ceiling, one that she hinted at with the ballad “Honey, Hold On.” The technical ability is there, but Louise has yet to unleash her voice expressively in a way that sounds completely free. I’d like to think we haven’t yet heard her singing at the height of her powers. — DANIEL J. KUSHNER

“BUTTERFLIES” EP BY SALLY LOUISE Sally Louise is a songwriter seemingly born of the pandemic. Her sudden switch from opera singer to original artist unbeholden to any one genre came at a time of widespread stunted creativity, and her first single “Milky Blue” in July 2020 was ethereal, fresh, and introspective. Two years later, with several singles and the engaging, if stylistically unfocused fulllength album “My Hands Are on Fire” in the rear-view mirror, Louise moves toward a more folk-based sound while retaining her varied sonic approach. Her new EP, “Butterflies,” released Sept. 23, draws renewed attention to her best musical gift — her voice. If Louise’s previous recordings suffered from anything, it was that her songwriting was at times too self-conscious, so intent on pointing to structure and clever arrangements that her vocals could come off as emotionally tethered. It was as if there was another level, another gear into which Louise had yet to shift. While that remains the case on much of “Butterflies,” Louise’s voice soars with confidence and a sense of purpose inthe closing track “Open Hands”: Loving freely ‘cause I know you chose me/ Oh, this is loving with open hands… Now my patient wait is over/ You’re my lucky four leaf clover I’ll shout it from the mountaintops/ All my self hatred from here stops I got my chosen family/ And they remind me that I’m free. The title track is a loping, harmonyladen morsel of Americana that is comfort food for the ears. But the anomaly here is the opening track “The Sun,” a stunning a cappella song that recalls both polyphonic church music from the Renaissance and Celtic folk tunes. The result is an original composition that sounds like a standard that has existed for 300 years. 36 CITY OCTOBER 2022

“HEADED HOME” BY BELLWETHER BREAKS The Rochester quintet Bellwether Breaks fills a niche that so many local singer-songwriters, progressive rock bands, and folk-Americana acts cannot. A retro rock band subtly indebted to blues and country music, Bellwether Breaks demonstrates its appeal with its debut EP “Headed Home,” one of the more refreshing local releases I’ve heard in a long time. Vocalist Elyse Gayann has a lot to do with it. Her earthy tone is rooted in rock ‘n’ roll, but she can soar at all the right moments. Her charisma and melodic integrity sell the songs, but the instrumental details give the music a vintage flavor that makes it distinctive. Take the flute-like tones from keyboardist Chris Coon on “The Oracle,” as he channels the late-’60s Mellotron. They’re wistful, slightly psychedelic, and transportive. When paired with Eugene Bisdikian’s breezy bass-playing, you’ve got a throwback ballad with serious summer island vibes. The title track features Coon prominently again, this time with a Hammond organ hook that recalls The Kingsmen’s indelible classic “Louie Louie.” Peter Goebel’s steady guitar helps to keep the sound rhythmically grounded, while Gayann sings with a soulful optimism, “I got a ways to go, but I’m headed home.” “Blow the Roof Off” feels like it would make a better opening statement than


the conclusion it is, particularly with the tone-setting lyrics “Got no time for suckers, I’m a fixer-upper/ Got a ship to sink.” But as the sound sinks in — gritty country guitar meets bluesy keyboards reminiscent of The Animals — the question of where the song appears on the EP seems suddenly irrelevant. With “Headed Home,” Bellwether Breaks achieves a timeless sound because it refuses to choose between classic rock and more modern blues and soul characteristics. A lot of bands try to sound like a blast from the past, instead of a current band for which the past has its rightful place. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

page, the music from “Cantus Circæus” was inspired in part by the life and work of Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century friar who embraced a heliocentric model of an infinite universe that might sustain life outside our own planet. He also rejected several principal Catholic doctrines, and was eventually burned at the stake as a heretic. It’s difficult to hear the direct musical correlation to his life, but the sensibilities of the sounds are more important than the narrative, and the sensibilities can be brooding, hopeful, and at times, both.

Recordings, was the result.

A low, sneering synth on “Through Aether Propelled” is thoroughly menacing, but it’s tempered by incoming feathery textures and bell-like tones. “Wet Ink on Velum” sounds like an impromptu chapel service for a fringe sect, complete with harp and handbell choir.

The link to nature is less overt in Mettens’s “Avaloch Sketches.” The composition is notable, however, for its captivating range of moods, from the complementary roles of the flute and cello in “I. Floating” to the caustic interplay in “II. Aggressive.” To call this music “mercurial” is like calling the music of Mozart “melodic.”

To call this music esoteric is an understatement. Still, it’s not just for devotees of Magic: The Gathering and D&D players. If you’re looking for music you can use to greet trick-or-treaters this Halloween, Notule makes for the perfectly spooky choice. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

“CANTUS CIRCÆUS” BY NOTULE “Cantus Circæus,” the new collection of goth-synth soundscapes from Jim Shaul, aka Notule, may have been released in August, but October is the perfect time to dive head-first into the creepy ambience of these instrumentals. If the medieval period had an equivalent to the steampunk movement, “Cantus Circæus” would be its soundtrack. Over the course of eight tracks, each more than four minutes long, the listener moves through a dark, yet serene labyrinth of sound. The keyboard sounds seem purposefully outdated, and the resulting moods vaguely suggest the occult. A sense of solitude permeates the entire album. Song titles such as “Alchemical Lore Forever Lost,” “Obsequiem Sylvanus,” and “Index Librorum Prohibitorum” underscore a rich, forbidden fantasy world looming behind the music. Compared to Notule’s previous work, “Amongst the Averns” — an ambitious album that seemed to try too hard to be a video game soundtrack — “Cantus Circæus” has smoother transitions, a more sensitive approach to timbre, and less of a cartoonish affectation. According to Notule’s Bandcamp

“Stillwater Marsh” by Aaron Travers is anything but still. It evokes the many species of birds found at that marsh in Bloomington, Indiana. Ketter’s cello sounds as if its sound is feeding back through an amplifier, as he plays around with distorted timbres and harmonic overtones. Meanwhile Johnson’s flute flutters through complicated articulations. “Stillwater Marsh” is less about communicating a melody than it is about evoking a vibe. At no point, however, does it veer into atonal territory.

For “Two Nocturnes” by Liptak, Johnson and Ketter are joined by clarinetist Ellen Breakfield-Glick, who adds brightness while providing a buffer between the sometimes harsh differences in tone of the flute and cello. The two movements, titled “Stone and Leaf” and “Under Starry Skies,” are meant to be performed outside. Breakfield-Glick’s clarinet brings intrigue to the American Wild Ensemble’s sound, and Liptak’s deliberate use of sonic space between the three instruments makes for a more open, resonant sonic environment. “Fear, Hiding, Play” by Brouwer draws from the vocalizations of birds in the Great Lakes region. The trio of musicians uses a full palette of unconventional techniques to create a different range of expressive possibilities that prioritizes an ambient environment rather than melodies.

“DUOS AND TRIOS” BY AMERICAN WILD ENSEMBLE Few musicians are as tied to nature as those in American Wild Ensemble. Directed by flutist Emlyn Johnson and cellist Daniel Ketter — who both received their doctorates at Eastman School of Music — the contemporary classical group commissions new chamber music from composers with the goal of helping audiences connect more directly to their environment. Originally created to play new music in national parks, the American Wild Ensemble has tasked composers Margaret Brouwer, David Liptak, David Clay Mettens, and Aaron Travers with writing works that are influenced by nature. “Duos and Trios,” released in July by New Focus

“Duos and Trios” is the perfect album for those listeners wanting to dip their toes into experimental sounds without abandoning melodies altogether. A winning combination of accessible and adventurous, “Duos and Trios” finds American Wild Ensemble operating with sensitivity and precision. The music is impossible to pin down, but that’s not the point. Johnson, Ketter, and Breakfield-Glick understand that hooking the audience means providing people with the familiar while also leaving room for mystery.

SUNDAY, OCT. 23 2131 ELMWOOD AVE. BRIGHTON

9AM-5PM Fine Arts & Crafts Show & Silent Auction Free Parking $2 Suggested Donation Paintings, Jewelry, Wearable Art, Wood Work, Metal Work, Ceramics, Glass, Photography, Textiles. & more!

— BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

artfestontheavenue.com roccitynews.com CITY 37


ARTS

ROUNDUP

FOCUS THEATER OPENS IN SIBLEY BUILDING The Focus Theater — which hosts classes and performances in shortterm and long-term improv, standup, and sketch comedy — has some new digs. The theater officially opened the doors of its new space to the public on Sept. 10, just in time for a series of performances as part of the Rochester Fringe Festival. Previously located in a 45-seat space in the South Wedge from 2016 to 2019, The Focus Theater now occupies twice the space on the third floor of the Sibley Building. Co-run by John Thompson, Keith Gomez, Roger Sutphen, and Cody Jones, The Focus Theater is, in part, a home for comedy. But the goal is to cultivate the local scene rather than showcase national artists. “We want to grow local talent and then showcase local talent,” Thompson said. “It’s more of a grassroots thing, and so everything that we do is driven by that attitude.” Gomez called the space “one of the only places that offer ‘farm-totable’ comedy meats.” “You can come in here, take your class, and then be doing stuff on the stage for people that paid to see you,” he said. “But trying to make that happen in other spaces is so much harder,” he went on. “You take a class and you hope that you struck the eye of the guy that’s going to be holding the auditions where they have two slots for the year. In here, we’re finding 30 people at a time, and making teams and getting stuff going.” In addition to classes, The Focus Theater presents an improv show every Saturday beginning in October for $10. Starting Nov. 5, the theater hosts the monthly Improv Plate, in which improvisers of all skill levels form new teams on the spot. For more information on classes and performances, go to focustheater.us. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

38 CITY OCTOBER 2022

Music meets ‘The Twilight Zone’ in new graphic novel ‘Enter the Blue’

BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

R

ochester artist Dave Chisholm first combined his skills as an illustrator and a jazz musician in “Instrumental,” a 2017 graphic novel in which a frustrated trumpeter named Tom encounters a strange trumpet that could reverse his fortunes, if it doesn’t usher in the apocalypse first. Chisholm returns to the trope of the disillusioned jazz musician in “Enter the Blue,” his latest music-meets-“Twilight Zone” graphic novel, commissioned by Blue Note Records and released by Z2 Comics on Sept. 27. This time, the story follows Jessie Choi, an all-but-failed music school grad who reluctantly picks up her instrument again to rescue her mentor Jimmy Hightower from being trapped in an alternate plane

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of existence known to jazz musicians as “The Blue.” Despite the surface similarities in the graphic novels’ plots, their protagonists are polar opposites, Chisholm said. Tom is inherently driven and selfish, whereas Jessie is considerate, self-denying even. Tom is self-important, but Jessie suffers from impostor’s syndrome and struggles with selfacceptance as a musician. “I think I’m a bit more like

Tom than Jessie,” Chisholm admitted. “I think I’m a bit more comfortable putting art out there, putting music out there. I’m pretty comfortable performing, especially on trumpet. And my frustrations as an artist — as a musician and


ROCHESTER EXPERIMENTAL WEEK IS A SMORGASBORD OF SOUNDS

Trumpeter Jessie Choi must save her mentor Jimmy Hightower in Dave Chisholms graphic novel “Enter the Blue.” PHOTO PROVIDED

as a visual artist — are almost always rooted in, ‘Why am I not getting enough attention?’ And that’s much more of a Tom angle.” Music lovers and comic book fans familiar with Chisholm’s work — perhaps most notably “Chasin’ the Bird: a Charlie Parker Graphic Novel” from 2020 — will recognize the artist’s exuberant, surrealist style when depicting music being played. Notes cascade over the pages with a feverish energy, as if they’re about to leap off the music notation’s bar lines. Chisholm draws like an artist who not only loves music, but truly believes in its transformative power — which is perfect for a story about jazz musicians who encounter a conspiracy theory about the legendary label Blue Note and its connection to Jewish mysticism and the secret path to entering “The Blue.” “I think that learning the language of this music, the realtime improvisational language of this music, is a magical thing,” he said. “And when you do participate in that on a deep level, with other people who are participating with it on a deep level, I think that there is a kind of communion with history that happens. It’s not quite as literal as what you see in this book.”

Concert promoter and recent Florida transplant Adam Arritola thinks of himself as a “sound explorer.” While that may sound pretentious to some, the ambitious lineup he’s assembled for the new music festival Rochester Experimental Week — which runs from Oct. 10 to 16 at various venues throughout the city — shows that Arritola is adventurous. The festival hosts nearly100 musical acts from around the country, as well as artists from Argentina and Japan. A contingent from upstate New York helps give the event a local feel. “A good friend of mine told me that my greatest skill, my greatest value as a person in life is my ability to take people from different walks of life and get them to cross paths and build something beautiful from that,” said the 27-year-old Arritola, who presents shows under the moniker Eclectic Overdrive. PHOTO BY CHRIS BEIKIRCH The music featured during Rochester Experimental Week is nothing if not eclectic. Rochester metal band Sulaco plays a rare, entirely improvised set at Rosen Krown on Oct 12. On Oct. 14, the E. Main Street church-turned-venue DUTCH hosts Tatsuya Nakatani — a visceral percussionist whose soundscapes range from ambient to just plain cacophonous — and his Nakatani Gong Orchestra. Arritola’s mentor Frank Falestra, aka Rat Bastard, brings his noise guitar riffs and eccentric spoken-word vocals to 75 Stutson Street on Oct. 15. Arritola said Rochester Experimental Week was inspired by an event Rat Bastard co-founded called International Noise Conference — a free, weeklong music festival in which musicians play 15-minute sets back-to-back on different stages simultaneously. Experimental Week is also free, with the musicians playing for no money, save for reimbursed travel expenses in some cases. Concertgoers can expect music that’s weird and avant-garde. But ultimately what they’ll hear at Rochester Experimental Week can best be described as different. “There’s something new on this festival for everyone, including the people that think they’ve seen it all,” Arritola said. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

NOAH FENSE “POPS-OFF” ON HIP-HOP Rochester rap artist Noah Fense was tired of the hip-hop and electronic music concert scenes. One seemed to blend into another. “It’s the same people every time,” Fense said. “There’s no lights or visuals or art around. Everyone’s just drinking beers and sniffing drugs and partying.” He had his own vision for the events. “I feel like when you have the art and the vendors, and you put thought into the lighting and all these things, people act different,” he said. That’s why he and his Foresee Collective created a new concert series called “The Pop-Off!” combining music from hiphop artists and DJs with live painting and art vendors. Vol. 3 in the series, which takes place Oct. 21 at Photo City Music Hall, is a Halloween edition with tarot readers and a visual aesthetic created with Fense’s graphic designer brother Ethan Beers, aka Pink Boy. The featured musicians include Fense, Stevie Xolo, DJ Atlas.B, and ThankUQuata. “I’ve been to some rap concerts that are just incredible,” Fense said. “The person is really pouring their soul into it and they really care, and then I’ve been to some where it’s really all about the ego. It’s more about them and not about the audience, is what I’ve experienced. “I want to create something that allows a very clean and proper presentation for hip-hop artists I believe in.” Pop-up shows were also an inspiration to Fense in creating “The Pop-Off!” He liked the combination of musicians and vendors at the same event, but he wanted to elevate that environment to create a kind of indoor music festival with quality sound. For Fense, the festival experience isn’t just about promoting a collaborative vibe, but also about generating a spiritual environment in which everyone feels connected. “I think when you walk into a venue that has art all around, people are all vibrant,” Fense said. “It just changes the collective consciousness of the space, and then we all co-create something.” — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER roccitynews.com CITY 39


31 MUSIC, ARTS AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

DAILY Full calendar of events online at roccitynews.com SATURDAY, OCT. 1 MUSIC

Crys Matthews Café Veritas, cafeveritas.org Hailed as “the next Woody Guthrie” for her songs of compassionate dissent that speak truth to power, Crys Matthews is at the forefront of a new generation of social-justice folk musicians. The Washington, D.C.-based songwriter lays down her chords and lyrics about social and political ills with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Matthews, whose “Changemakers” won the International Folk Music Awards “Song of the Year,” swings through Rochester for a night on her way to a series of upstate venues before heading to the West Coast. Buffalo Americana artist Alan Whiting opens. Tickets are $20 and masks and proof of vaccination are required. DAVID ANDREATTA

todo

Smugglers, Public Water Supply, Jackson Cavalier & the Big Dead Waltz, and Bellwether Breaks. But don’t sleep on Finger Lakes folksters such the Henrie Brothers, Temple Cabin Band, and Rose & the Bros. Day passes range from $30 to $45 at the gate. DANIEL J. KUSHNER SUNDAY, OCT. 2 MUSIC

“Compline” with Schola Cantorum Christ Church, christchurchrochester.org As the weather cools and the shadows lengthen earlier, the meditative musical experience Compline returns to Christ Church on East Avenue on Sunday nights. From October through April, the Schola Cantorum performs peaceful, evocative music from medieval to modern by candlelight from 9 to 9:30 p.m. The first Sunday of the month adds a brief concert to the mix starting at 8:30 p.m. This month, Malcolm Matthews plays the organ. MONA SEGHATOLESLAMI MONDAY, OCT. 3 HORTICULTURE

MUSIC

“Folkfaces Fest 6” Cherry Hill Campground, folkfacesmusic.com/folkfacesfest Folkfaces frontman Tyler Westcott is a force on the stage. But his free-spirited approach to roots music also makes him a force behind the scenes of the annual music gathering Folkfaces Fest at Cherry Hill Campground in Darien Center. The four-day, backwoods extravaganza runs through Oct. 2 and features more than 50 performances and workshops on three different stages. Rochester music fans will recognize artists such as The Honey 40 CITY OCTOBER 2022

Houseplants 101: Fall + Winter prep Rochester Brainery, rochesterbrainery.com Over the past year, I turned my black thumb into a green thumb, which meant asking a lot of questions and making mistakes. Soon I’ll need to get my purple passion plants out of the window, lest the impending frost get them. It’s intimidating, but this class is intended to help guide newbies like me on winterizing plants. Shelby Rae, aka @thebotanist_rochester on Instagram, leads the class. Participants get a plant care guide and kit. The class costs $32 and runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. JEREMY MOULE

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

TUESDAY, OCT. 4

THURSDAY, OCT. 6

FILM

“Don Juan” Dryden Theatre, eastman.org/dryden-theatre Any time they let John Barrymore run wild and chew the scenery on screen (“The Twentieth Century” shown recently, and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” a few years ago), audiences are in for a good time. Here, Barrymore portrays the famed seducer Don Juan (aka Don Giovanni). Along with supposedly the most kisses on screen of any film (can that really be a record still held by a movie from 1926?), there are fun scenes of historical court dramas amidst the house of Borgia. There is actually sound for this picture. The “Vitaphone” system uses sound discs that have been restored by the George Eastman Museum to play alongside the print. MS WEDNESDAY, OCT. 5

MUSIC

RPO: “Romantic Chopin” Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, rpo.org This concert offers perhaps the most intriguing program of the entire Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra season. Maestra Mei-Ann Chen, the bold and dynamic music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, makes her RPO conducting debut and Inon Barnatan, who is among the most admired pianists of his generation and a fan favorite in Rochester, returns to lend his crystalline articulation to Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This is not a concert to miss for lovers of classical music. The RPO is staging two performances. The magic begins tonight at 7:30 and on Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $18 to $99. DA FILM

FILM

“Pan’s Labyrinth” The Little, thelittle.org Guillermo del Toro’s beautiful film is full of visual wonders and surreal nightmares against a haunting musical score by Alexandre Desplat. It is on one hand the story of a young girl living in a world of violence, betrayal, and loss in war-torn Spain in 1944 Spain. On the other, perhaps she is a princess, negotiating a fairytale world and destiny. Plot matters less here than the overall, stunning style. Despite the age of the main character and the early showtime, this dark fairytale is not for kids, and is rated R. The film is part of “Spooky Season” at The Little and the curtain rises at the comforting, daylight time of 3:30 p.m. MS

ImageOut Film Festival imageout.org For 30 years, ImageOut has been showcasing films, creative works, and artists that celebrate, promote, and bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community. The festival features more than 30 programs in a hybrid of intheater/in-person and virtual screenings over 11 days. Tickets for in-person and virtual screenings range from $10-$12 and $10-$15, respectively. Festival passes can be had for $200. Through Oct. 16. DA

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31 MUSIC, ARTS AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

FRIDAY, OCT. 7

SUNDAY, OCT. 9

ART OPENINGS

MUSIC MUSIC

First Friday Around Rochester, firstfridayrochester.org. Art enthusiasts have their pick of six venues participating in October’s round of First Friday art openings. This month Rochester Contemporary Art Center hosts “State of the City 2022,” a showcase of work by Susan Begy, Quajay Donnell, and Emiliano Diaz that explores Rochester’s architecture, public art, and community. Also opening at RoCo is “Come What May, It Takes a Silver Bullet” by Abiose Spriggs, and the studios upstairs will be open for public viewing. Another option is heading East Main Street for the annual “Haunted Hungerford” bash, featuring open studios, costume contests, food trucks, and more. Most events take place from 6 to 9 p.m., but check with individual venues. REBECCA RAFFERTY

Ana Popovic

MUSIC

The Wonder Years Water Street Music Hall, thewaterstreetmusichall.com Fresh off the release of its seventh studio album, “The Hum Goes on Forever,” this cult-favorite pop punk band from the Philadelphia burbs is headlining a tour with fellow punks Fireworks out of Detroit and Long Island rockers Macseal. The band, whose members have been together since middle school in 2005, is all growed up, with its frontman recently becoming a father. Pitchfork called the album an “ambitious concept about parenthood, its attendant anxieties and ecstasies, whose wizened candor challenges what we’ve come to expect from pop-punk.” Tickets are $27.50. Music starts at 7 p.m. DA

Fanatics Pub, fanaticspub.com No regional venue serves up blues as consistently as Fanatics Pub in Lima. Fans of spicy blues rock will love the sound of guitarist-vocalist Ana Popovic, who’s been touring for 20 years and has frequently been near the top the Billboard blues album chart. Most recently, Popovic released the 2018 album “Like It on Top” — full of soulful vocal performances, funky grooves, and energizing brass arrangements — and the electric live version at the height of the pandemic. If this set at Fanatics doesn’t get you dancing, you might want to check your pulse. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $50 to $55. DK MONDAY, OCT. 10

TO THE MARKET

“Trip to the Moon” Artisan Market DANCE

“Dark & Dreamy” The Theater at Innovation Square, rochestercityballet.org Before the advent of silent film staples such as “Nosferatu,” the ghastly and the macabre flourished in short stories, plays, operas, and dance. This spooky season, Rochester City Ballet is making more than a nod to it all with its program “Dark & Dreamy.” The troupe will perform scenes from Artistic Director Robert Gardner’s “Dracula!,” the Black Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake,” a rendition of the Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw,” and the Waltz of the Wilis from the ballet “Giselle,” described by RCB as a dance by ghostly spirits of maidens betrayed by their lovers. This is the dark side of ballet. Tickets start at $15. The performance starts at 8 p.m. and is scheduled to repeat at 8 p.m. on Oct. 8 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 9. JM 42 CITY OCTOBER 2022

TUESDAY, OCT. 11

Lumiere Photo, lumierephoto.com As the winter holidays approach, the local artisan market scene gets livelier. But few are as high-concept as this planned event, themed around the classic Georges Méliès short film, “A Trip to the Moon.” Organizers Lumiere Photo and ROC ONly promise an immersive event featuring over 50 vendors, an interactive selfie wall with life-size pieces to post next to, live music, food, kombucha mocktails, and Iron Smoke Distillery samples. The market runs from 2 to 7 p.m. in the College Avenue parking lot shared by Lumiere and Rochester Broadway Theatre League. JM

SPORTS

Flower City Union vs. Michigan Stars Flowercityunion.com My interest in soccer is relegated almost exclusively to my longing to be caught up in the fury of English football hooliganism. This is, however, the inaugural year for the Flower City Union, Rochester’s new professional team since the Rhinos went under in 2018. Flower City Union will play its final game of the season at the Rochester Community Sports Complex against Detroit’s Michigan Stars. Kickoff starts at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $17. GINO FANELLI

Marty O’Reilly Good Luck, honestfolkpresents.com The Rochester music scene is a better place when the Honest Folk Presents series is doing its thing. The premier purveyors of indie Americana locally, Honest Folk hosts singer-songwriter Marty O’Reilly for a solo show at Good Luck. O’Reilly has the proverbial fire-in-the-belly and it comes out of his mouth with an emotive, gritty tone alongside bluesy folk guitar accompaniment. Fans of The Lumineers and the Avett Brothers will pick up what O’Reilly’s layin’ down. Show at 7 p.m. Tickets $33.60. DK WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12 THEATER

“Rochester Ghost Stories”: Tales to Make Your Skin Crawl MuCCC, muccc.org The Twitterverse has been treated for the past few years to a collection of Rochester-area ghost stories as recounted by @MimZWay. The woman behind the handle, Miriam Zintner, now brings these haunted tales to the stage in a one-woman show directed by Penny Sterling. Taking on the role of legendary medium Kate Fox, the youngest of the Fox Sisters, Zintner shares the chilling legends of the “Lady in White,” “ The Sad Tale of Sam Patch,” and “The Ghost of Rush Rhees Library.” Performances at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 15. Tickets are $10. MS LECTURE

“Fear and the Art of Being Afraid” RMSC Eisenhart Auditorium, adk-gvc.org While the title of this talk hosted by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club might seem in the Halloween spirit, the subject has nothing to do with ghosts. But the fears discussed in this iteration of the club’s “Outside Voices” series are more substantive than any fantastical forces. Author and 60-year backpacking veteran J.R. Harris tells of


his fearful moments on the hiking trail and what he learned from them. Club meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Lecture starts at 7:30 p.m. RR THURSDAY, OCT. 13

FASHION

Rochester Fashion Week fashionweekofrochester.org This is your chance to up your fashion game with a peak at the coming styles while giving to a good cause. The three-day week of six runway shows at the Dome Arena in Henrietta spotlights local designers, boutiques, businesses, and artists while shining a light on youth homelessness. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Center for Youth. The little turns on the catwalk start tonight at 7:30 p.m. and shows run through Oct. 15. There is possibly nothing more Rochester than the event boasting a menu of charcuterie options and The Meatball Truck. Tickets start at $37. DA FRIDAY, OCT. 14 GHOST WALK

Ghosts of Mt. Hope Mt. Hope Cemetery, rochesterghosts.com The dead do tell tales and in October at Mt. Hope Cemetery, they speak in the form of ghost walks. On these guided tours, which happen at twilight every Friday throughout the month, guests walk around the cemetery and hear eerie tales that are sometimes brutal or tragic, sometimes funny, but always riveting. Don’t tell the kids, but you’ll probably learn a little local history, too. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 10. These events tend to be quite popular so buying tickets ahead of time is a good idea. JM

SPORTS

Amerks Home Opener Rochester Americans, amerks.com Rochester’s boys of winter open their 72-game season at Blue Cross Arena tonight by hosting their crossborder rival, the Toronto Marlies. The Amerks are coming off a thrilling season that included two playoff series victories before a supremely talented Laval Rocket team edged them off the shoulder of the proverbial Road to the Calder Cup. There’s plenty to get excited about with this squad. Catch the stars now before they’re picked up by their pitiful National Hockey League parent, the Buffalo Sabres. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. DA SATURDAY, OCT. 15

THEATER

SUNDAY, OCT. 16

“On the Market”

WIENER WEIRDNESS

JCC CenterStage Theatre, jccrochester.org This world premiere romantic comedy by Jason Odell Williams, about a widowed real estate agent whose attempt to wade into a depressing-asa-sunless-sea dating scene is tempered by signs from beyond the grave, has legs. The writing is crisp, the laugh lines are fresh, and the storyline moves. I know because I was involved in some early readings of the work. Couple that with the extraordinary talent of local actors D. Scott Adams, Beth Winslow, and real-life spouses Esther Winter and John Winter, and the deft direction of Donald Brenner, whose credits include a host of productions off-Broadway and at regional theaters around the country, and you’ve got a play that will stick with you. The run spans just five shows, starting tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $35. Students pay $20. DA

Wiener Dog Races Batavia Downs, bataviadownsgaming.com New York never legalized gambling on greyhound races the way almost twodozen other states did, so the sight of a long dog on an Empire State track is an unfamiliar one. But once a year, some tiny long dogs run at Batavia Downs. We’re talking dachshunds, better known as wiener dogs. Watching these little pups fly down a straightaway with their sweet little ears flapping is really a treat, though many are just as likely to tear off through the midfield. There will be no pro racers here, just high-energy sausage dogs entered by their people for a day of fun. There’s no betting either — the payoff is the joy of watching these goofballs run. Details will be available on the Batavia Downs website. JM CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS PUZZLE ON PAGE 62. NO PEEKING! MUSIC

SLIFT, The Ginger Faye Bakers, Haishen Bug Jar, bugjar.com The Bug Jar has long welcomed sludgy psych-rock bands that know how to bliss out like nobody’s business. But it isn’t every day that on hops the Atlantic to get there. The French trio SLIFT does just that when it brings its trudging grooves, souped-up electric guitar, and dense bass to the club. It would be dismissive to call what SLIFT does “stoner rock.” This band comes correct with its high-octane tunes, in support of its 2020 studio album “Ummon,” and gets local support from The Ginger Faye Bakers and Haishen. The 18 and over show is $22.85 to $28. Doors open at 8 p.m. Music starts at 9 p.m. DK

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31 MUSIC, ARTS AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

MONDAY, OCT. 17 MUSIC

Babe Rainbow Photo City Music Hall, photocitymusichall.com Got stress? A few bars of the chill, happy vibes of Babe Rainbow’s music could put the anxiety behind you. They bring their surf-inspired pop from Australia to Photo City along with a new project called Seventies Tuberide from pro-surfer Alex Knost. Local favorites Maybird start the evening off with their gently rocking psychedelic grooves. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20. MS

the right wing back to life, it is Jack Simel. He has chops and looks the part. This show premieres a day earlier, on Oct. 18, and runs through Oct. 21. Tickets are $15 to $20. DA THURSDAY, OCT. 20

TUESDAY, OCT. 18 THEATER

“Somewhere” Geva Theatre Center, geva.org The title is an unapologetic nod to the plaintive duet in “West Side Story,” which serves as the backdrop for this heartfelt drama by Matthew Lopez. It is 1959, and the singing and dancing Candelaria family of the old San Juan Hill section of Manhattan has a shot at auditioning for the landmark musical. But the city’s plans to raze the Candelarias’ tenement building to make room for a new home for music and dance, Lincoln Center, leaves them searching for “somewhere.” Don’t let the singing and dancing fool you. “Somewhere” is a play, and there is a place for it. The show premieres today at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Nov. 13. DA WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19 THEATER

“Marx in Soho” MUCCC, muccc.org If the father of communism, Karl Marx, could see the world today, what would he say? This one-act, oneman play, written by the late activist historian Howard Zinn, is one answer. “Marx in Soho” has Marx strike a deal in the afterlife to return to Earth to clear his name and distance his theories from their authoritarian implementation in the 20th century. He winds up in New York City’s Soho neighborhood to find wealth disparity of unfettered capitalism on full display. If there is a local actor perfect to bring the perennial bogeyman of 44 CITY OCTOBER 2022

HALLOWEEN

“Halloween on Ambush” 15 Ambush Lane, Churchville, halloweenonambush.com Piling into the car to check out the most spectacular suburban lighting displays is a holiday tradition usually reserved for December. Wait your turn, Christmas, because there’s a new display in town that’s more spooky swashbucklers than Santa Claus, more hellfire than ho-ho-ho. Kicking off tonight and continuing through Oct. 31 is “Halloween on Ambush,” a 30-minute, stand-and-watch, looping lighting display with music and special effects (and on the evenings of Oct. 28 and 29, they’re adding live actors and food trucks to the mix). While the display, which was featured on “Good Morning America!” and in the new “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” book, is free to attend, donations to The Dream Factory of Rochester are accepted. The show is open to the public Thursday through Sundays (and Monday, Oct. 31) from 6:30 p.m. until late. RR FRIDAY, OCT. 21 MUSIC

Cypress Hill The Vine at Del Lago, dellagoresort.com I was in middle school when I first heard Cypress Hill’s debut album. It was the early ’90s and the band’s biggest album, “Black Sunday,” was a few years off. I had my portable CD player and headphones with me,


rocked it during my next study hall period, and was blown away. They were rough and rugged like many of their Los Angeles peers, but with a laid-back, funky swagger and Latin influences exemplified on songs like “Stoned is the Way of the Walk.” There was something about the tracks that felt heavy, too. Cypress Hill has had a long and accomplished career since. Seeing these legends will set you back at least $59. JM

DRINK

Brit-ROC Fest Sager Beer Works, sagerbeerworks.com You can keep your Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales, I’ll take a pint of bitter, served cool (not warm, just not ice cold). If you feel the same, you might enjoy these two days when Sager Beer Works (off of University Avenue) goes Full English and devotes its taps to local renditions of British beers. Sager’s contributions to this party are its Burton-on-Genesee English IPA and the Olde Ezra Nut Brown. Guests including Strangebird and Faircraft Brauhaus add their takes on British traditions to the mix. Soak it all up with traditional English pub food, including Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers and Mash, from 4 to 10 p.m. and noon-10 p.m. on Oct. 22. MS SATURDAY, OCT. 22 FILM

“Halloween” Little Theatre, thelittle.org In case there is any doubt, this is the original 1979 “Halloween.” Not the Rob Zombie remake. Not the 2018 reboot. This is the real deal, with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode fighting for her life against a seemingly unstoppable homicidal maniac who, later films in the franchise reveal, is her older brother. It plays up all the slasher movie tropes, particularly the booze-addled, frisky teenagers who

meet their grisly ends one by one. The showing is part of The Little Theatre’s “Saturday Night Rewind” series. The blood flows at 8 p.m. JM MUSIC

Ali McGuirk Abilene Bar and Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com Hypnotic. Intimate. Sexy. Sultry. Raw. Stunning. Powerful. These are a few of the adjectives that have been used to describe the music of Ali McGuirk, who made her name in Boston before relocating to Vermont. Blending classic soul with folk songwriting lyricism, McGuirk has been said to be able to captivate a room within the first few words of a song. She was named an “artist to hear” by The Boston Globe in 2016, and has since been recognized by the Boston Music Awards as “Blues Artist of the Year.” Hearing her tonight is a bargain at $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Prepare to shut up and listen in awe when McGuirk takes the stage at 8 p.m. DA SUNDAY, OCT. 23 CULTURE

“Glory of Gujarat” India Heritage Museum, ihmrochester.org On the western coast of India lies the state of Gujarat, noted for its history, culture, and festivals as well as stunning landscapes. On MonroeWayne County Line Road, lies a small museum where you can learn more about Gujarat and its culture: the India Heritage Museum in Macedon. I only found out about this exhibit thanks to a chance encounter with a flyer in a coffee shop, but I’m bookmarking the museum’s site, because it presents a few interestinglooking offerings throughout the year, including on weaving, food, and different regions of India. Glory of Gujarat is on display noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Admission is free. MS

CONTINUED ON PAGE 46

roccitynews.com CITY 45


31 MUSIC, ARTS AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

FILM

“The Addams Family” The Little Theatre, thelittle.org There’s so much to love about this quirky comedy from 1991, but one of the best moments comes when Wednesday Addams, played by a very young Christina Ricci, suggests that somehow it’s possible that Girl Scout Cookies are made from real Girl Scouts. If you’ve seen the movie you know the scene. “The Addams Family” is a fun flick and a great choice to get all Halloweeny without bad scares or gore, but with plenty of belly laughs. The movie starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are between $6 and $11. JM MONDAY, OCT. 24

METALWORK

Blacksmithing Sampler: Wall Hook Rocafc.com Unleash your inner Andre of Astora and learn to make your own metal wall hook. This class at the Rochester Arc and Flame Center will teach the basics of steelwork, including forging, hammering, and tooling, but will specifically focus on teaching the fundamentals of hammering. Plus, you’ll have a place to hang your keys by the end of it. Tickets are $90 and include materials. GF TUESDAY, OCT. 25 FILM

“The Man Who Laughs” Dryden Theatre, eastman.org/drydentheatre This 1928 film directed by Paul Leni is most famous for Conrad Veidt’s creepy performance as the title character, which is said to have 46 CITY OCTOBER 2022

inspired the creation of the Batman villain, Joker. Veidt steals the show, but the expressionist setting and atmosphere also get the credit for this film’s reputation as a horror and overshadowing the romance and adventure elements of the story. This screening at 7:30 p.m. with live piano accompaniment by Philip Carli marks the first time this classic has been shown at the George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre. MS WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26 MUSIC

Home Free Vocal Band Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com The a capella country group Home Free are hitting Rochester on their “Road Sweet Road Tour.” Still stuck on the idea of a capella country? It works. The electric guitars, lap steel, drums, fiddles, and all that are gone, aptly replaced by well-harmonized vocals that can be sweet and soulful or that can bring the dive bar boogie. Home Free Vocal Band made a name for itself in 2013 by winning a season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” but since then has gone on to burn up Billboard’s country music charts. The performance begins at 8 p.m. with singer-songwriter Erin Kinsey opening. Tickets are $15.50 to $50.50. JM THURSDAY, OCT. 27 MUSIC

Great American Ghost Montage Music Hall, rocevents.com Great American Ghost churn out riff-heavy metallic hardcore with tons of chugga chugga and double bass drums. The Boston outfit also weaves in the melodic, frenetic fretboard maneuvering of technical death metal. If you’re a fan of this style of tough, chunky hardcore, you’ll dig this band. Tickets are $18 and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Several opening acts are on the bill. JM THEATER

“Barbecue” Blackfriars Theatre, blackfriars.org Robert O’Hara’s unconventional and hilarious play turns the formula for


the American domestic comedy upside down and forces audiences to rethink their presumptions about poverty, race, and social class in dysfunctional families. Set in a nameless public park, the play crosscuts between two versions of the fractious O’Mallery family — one white, one Black — as the clan attempts to wrestle one of their own into rehab. Produced in partnership with The Bronze Collective, which promotes Black theater, and directed by David Shakes, this show promises to be a thinking person’s comedy. The production premieres today at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Nov. 6. Tickets range from $30 to $40. DA FRIDAY, OCT. 28 METAL

Venom Inc. Montage Music Hall, rocentevents.org Satanic provocateurs. Progenitors of the black metal genre. Rochester Halloween weekend kick-off show. These are all descriptions of Venom, er, excuse me, Venom, Inc. Venom Inc. is a reboot of the classic English metal band, featuring only one original member of Venom: bassist and vocalist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan. Fun fact: Dolan, post-Venom breakup, had a bit part in the 2003 Russell Crowe vehicle “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” Weird! Anyway, Venom Inc. will be making its Rochester debut with progressive death metallers Cult of Lilith and bayou sludge metal quartet Eyehategod. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30. GF SATURDAY, OCT. 29

the Kodak Center. James, a frequent Adam Sandler collaborator, offers a standup style mixing the “have you ever noticed?” schtick with Sandleresque goofiness and delivery, creating his own unique animal. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $50. GF

SUNDAY, OCT. 30 MUSIC

Halloween Tricks & Treats Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, rpo.org Costumes are encouraged for this interactive concert for youngsters, where they will be invited to create their own spooky story to accompany Igor Stravinsky’s suite to “The Firebird.” The RPO, led by guest conductor Matthew Straw, will also play music from “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” along with classical favorites including “Danse Macabre” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Starting at 1 p.m., there will be an hour of free pre-concert activities for kids at The Hochstein School. The concert begins at 2 p.m. in the performance hall. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids. MS MONDAY, OCT. 31 MOVIE

“Trick ‘r Treat” Cinemark Tinseltown, cinemark.com One of the greatest injustices of modern cinema is that “Trick ‘r Treat,” Michael Dougherty’s Halloween love letter and Jack-o-Lantern-fetish confession, never made it into movie theaters back during its initial release in 2007. “Trick ‘r Treat” was poised to become a genre classic. Is it a great movie? No. But it’s campy in all of the right ways while still finding avenues to be genuinely unnerving. Instead of a wide theatrical release as planned, it was quietly put out on home video and fell into relative obscurity, despite it featuring a werewolf Anna Paquin. At least Warner Brothers recognized its mistake, and is now screening “Trick ‘r Treat” for the first time this Halloween season. Movie starts at 7:30 p.m. GF

COMEDY

Kevin James Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com “King of Queens” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” star Kevin James comes to roccitynews.com CITY 47


LIFE

CITY VISITS...

THE ELLISON PARK DOG PARK

AAROM BLUMKIN, 42, SCOUT, 2, & LOLA, 3 DATA SCIENTIST

ALEEZA ZOCCHI, 27, & OLLIE, 2 MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR

CRISSY WELZEN, 45, & WALDO, 2 GRAPHIC DESIGNER

JANET RICH, 76, GANDALF, 7, & MERLIN, 7 RETIRED PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT

JAY, 35, AND RENEE, 31, PETSCH DAISY, 10, KENOBI, 4, & QUILL, 1 TRACK & FIELD COACH, CONSULTANT

JOYCE MCDONOUGH, 74 & MISS KITTY, 4 LINGUIST

“My coloring is very similar to Lola’s (the brown one) and all three of us like lounging on the couch, that’s a fun activity, and hiking.”

“He’s Lord of the Rings, he’s of course King Arthur. They’re supposed to be wise and powerful. The powerful thing worked, the wise thing not so much.” 48 CITY OCTOBER 2022

“We bonded very quickly and now we both have separation anxiety from each other.”

Renee: “I’ve been told I look like my hound and I have the same demeanor. The other two are very active and my husband works in athletics, so he’s very happy to play fetch and frisbee.”

“He gets along with all dogs, every single one.”

“Giving her a bath is a big deal ... but in between times she can shake off a lot. She gets really muddy feet so we wash those off, like any dog.”


PHOTOS BY LAUREN PETRACCA

INTERVIEWS BY JEREMY MOULE

We talked to dog owners and their masters soaking up the sun, and it was impossible to say which was which.

LORI KOENICK, 28, BODHI, 3 PROGRAM ASSISTANT / FARM TECHNICIAN

KATHRYN RIVERS, 70, PI, 12 RETIRED ENGINEER

JULIE ADNER, 33, ROBIN, 1 CUSTOMER SERVICE

ROXANNE CULLEN, 63, SNOOPY, 5 RETIRED SOCIAL WORKER

SAM MURRAY, 32, GAEA, 1 STORE MANAGER

SAMANTHA FADARE, 28, LUNA, 1 CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT

“He’s calm and playful at the same time, he’s very cute, great at snuggling. I love him.”

“We’re not alike, except maybe short and stocky. I think we’re both very food-focused.”

“We went to classes and I had dog trainers tell me she’d make a good therapy dog.”

“It’s hard to explain but any kind of way I sleep she lays the exact same way right next to me. She’ll lay on the pillows, she’ll cover herself up, the whole nine yards. It’s super weird.”

“I got the blond highlights in the front, because my hair is dark and she’s got dark hair, now we have similar features.”

“She just picks one person and kind of sticks with it and I think I do that a little bit, too.” roccitynews.com CITY 49


LIFE

Karen Iglesia and Nick Holmquist, a lacrosse player at Sutherland High School in Pittsford and a leader of the “Sutherland Superfans,” chat for a PrimeTime585 pre-game show. In the foreground, Gerard Iglesia works the camera. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

50 CITY OCTOBER 2022


PUBLIC LIVES BY DAVID ANDREATTA

@DAVID_ANDREATTA

DANDREATTA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

“IT'S PRIMETIME!” Karen Iglesia, a middle-aged mom of two grown sons, has attained unlikely celebrity as the face of PrimeTime585.

K

aren Iglesia had no sooner stepped onto the sidelines of the soccer field at Sutherland High School in Pittsford than the chatter in the student sections of the stands began. “It’s PrimeTime!” “Where? I love PrimeTime!” “Oh my God, she’s here! PrimeTime!” The sun was setting on a perfect summer night, and the boys varsity season opener that had the Sutherland Knights hosting their cross-town rivals, the Mendon High School Vikings, was minutes from kickoff. Hundreds of students wearing the colors of both schools had already taken up their positions on either end of the bleachers, the blue and gold Knights to the west, the maroon and gold Vikings to the east. The only common ground between them was their stanning over the middleaged woman with her hair in a tidy bun walking the sidelines. They beckoned her to join them, attempting to entice her with school paraphernalia. “They try to get me to put on their stuff,” she explained, then shouted playfully into the stands, “I told y’all I can’t wear that!” The crowd erupted with glee. Rock star receptions have become the norm for Iglesia, a 50-year-old married mother of two grown sons who has attained unlikely celebrity as the face of PrimeTime585, a nonprofit enterprise she founded with her husband. Their organization, incorporated a year ago, operates at the intersection of school sports, social issues, and social media in the 585 area code. In simple terms, that means it aims to highlight school sports and encourage athletes to give back to their communities by taking on weighty matters like racism, poverty, and mental health. Iglesia has galvanized sports teams to adopt needy families, helped develop mental health forums for athletes, and hosted panel discussions on race and

policing between law enforcement officials and young people. In practical terms, though, Iglesia spends most nights of the week doing what she did that evening at Sutherland — creating video coverage and commentary of a high school athletic event and posting it on her social media channels. She does it with the help of her husband of 26 years, Gerard Iglesia, who works the camera and plays the Stedman to her Oprah, forever behind the scenes but close by and integral to the operation. “I always say that she’s Michael Jordan and I’m Scottie Pippen,” he said with a laugh. Their content includes game highlights, interviews with athletes and fans, and post-game analysis with players. They also often record a “halftime show,” which typically lasts 30 seconds and consists of Iglesia recapping the score and playing up the excitement. The role has shot her to stardom with student athletes across the region. In Rochester, they call her “Ms. PrimeTime.” In the suburbs, she’s “PrimeTime.” Adults call her “585.” “When we started this, I didn’t think I’d be going to a Delta Sonic and kids want selfies with me when I’m going

through the car wash, or at McDonald’s,” Iglesia said. “I can’t go to Wegmans anymore. It happens every day.” Her influence also extends beyond students to the grownups in their lives. To put her clout with them into perspective, consider this anecdote: Parents of 27 student athletes from 24 schools in four counties agreed to her request to drive them to Schroeder High School in Webster for a photo shoot to illustrate this story. In that instance, she also convinced the school’s athletic director to let the photographer and the families use the school’s facilities. “She speaks a lot of languages,” Shawn Strege, the athletic director at Schroeder, said of Iglesia. “She speaks the language that kids love — they love to see their name in lights, they love to have representation. “She speaks the school language,” he went on. “She’s omnipresent. She’s everywhere. It’s hard not to find her, and we are always looking for ways to highlight the wonderful things that kids and schools and coaches do and we’ve not really had the avenue to do it. She’s figured it out.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

roccitynews.com CITY 51


“When we started this, I didn’t think I’d be going to a Delta Sonic and kids want selfies with me when I’m going through the car wash, or at McDonald’s,” Iglesia said. “I can’t go to Wegmans anymore. It happens every day.” Karen Iglesia films a halftime show during a break in the action of a soccer game at Sutherland High School in Pittsford. Inset, she tossed custom bracelets advocating mental health into the crowd. The bracelet reads, “It’s okay to not be okay.” PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

‘FANS OF THE GAME’ The Iglesias are not trained sports journalists, nor do they claim to be. Her on-camera delivery is relaxed, but lacks the polish of a pro. She is not shy about what she does not know about a particular sport. He shoots their footage with an iPad or an iPhone, sometimes out of focus. They call themselves “fans of the game” and dispense with any pretense of objectivity. Their coverage gushes with praise. But in an age when the sports departments of cash-strapped local news outlets have been depleted — and in spite of earnest efforts by the likes of the Democrat and Chronicle to ramp up coverage of high school sports — PrimeTime585’s social media platforms have become the go-to channel for many student athletes. Indeed, even television news outlets turn to PrimeTime585 for footage. “Her personality and energy makes you want to keep watching her,” said Hanna Davis, 16, a standout lacrosse player at Canandaigua High School, who has her cellphone set to notify her when PrimeTime585 posts. “Everyone has more energy when she’s there,” Davis said. “At halftime, when we see her, everyone on the sidelines is wondering who she’s going to interview and everyone is so excited to see what she has to ask us and say about us.” 52 CITY OCTOBER 2022

Students from across the region used words like “authentic,” “genuine,” “raw,” and “huge” to describe what PrimeTime585 does. Some referred to Iglesia’s coverage as “episodes,” as though her snippets of video were “Must See TV.” Her accessibility only bolsters her street cred. On social media, she tags students and retweets them. Between posting video from the sidelines at Sutherland, she was replying to texts from students, most of whom were inviting her to a game. “She answers all our DMs, everyone’s,” said Rex Kesselring, 17, a senior at Sutherland who helped corral the “Sutherland Superfans” student section. “I contacted her before the game to make sure she was popping out.…She gives the kids who don’t have an opportunity to be seen get seen.” Her connection with young people was notably on display in August, when Isaiah Ficklin, a 23-year-old former high basketball player at Vertus High School, contacted Iglesia wanting to share his story to deter students from a life of crime. He had recently pleaded guilty to gun charges and was facing prison time. “He was a great basketball player,” Iglesia said. “His dad ended up getting shot by his brother in front of him when he was a senior in high school. He never went back to school.”

She interviewed him and subsequently advocated on his behalf with Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who is among a handful of local elected officials to publicly endorse the work of Iglesia and PrimeTime585. A judge adjourned his sentencing to the fall. “I played some basketball with her son, so she was like a mentor to me,” Ficklin said in a phone interview. “You feel comfortable talking to her. You just know she’s genuine.” DEEP ROOTS The Iglesias began creating video coverage of high school basketball in 2019. They said they realized they were onto something late in the season during a sectional game when the crowd began chanting “PrimeTime!” They branched out to football and, last year, to all sports — from soccer and field hockey in the fall to tennis

and golf in the spring, and everything in between. Sports like volleyball, cheerleading, and alpine skiing have gotten coverage, some with the help of parents who serve as PrimeTime585 “ambassadors.” In that time, PrimeTime585’s social media following has shot up more than tenfold to 25,000 followers and counting across its platforms on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. While it may appear that PrimeTime585’s profile has risen exponentially almost overnight, the Iglesias have been linked to schools, students, and sports for decades. Gerard, 63, taught physical education in Rochester public schools and coached basketball teams at East High School and School of the Arts, among others, before he retired in 2014. He and his wife have run a free weeklong summer basketball camp for city youths since 2005. This year, there were more than 140 attendees. Iglesia was born in Jamaica to a teenage mother who, upon immigrating to Rochester to work at the Eastman Kodak Co., left her with an aunt on the island until Iglesia was 10 and her mother could afford to send for her. She graduated from Wilson Magnet High School and the University of Rochester. A chemical engineer by training, she said she learned early in her career that she preferred working with children.


Iglesia launched a science and math program at Baden Street Settlement, and later started a tutoring company that grew to become among the largest in the state, with locations across Rochester, Syracuse, and the Utica area. The company, Iglesia Educational Services, had seized on a federal mandate for tutoring in struggling school districts, and by the early 2010s had taken in millions of dollars from the federal Department of Education for serving Rochester public school students. That enterprise ended abruptly in 2012, however, when the city school district cut her contract and those of other private tutors, and required tutors to operate on school premises under the oversight of principals. The district was responding to critics who claimed off-site tutoring companies were not meeting the needs of students. The lost revenue led to Iglesia failing to fulfill contracts she had for rental space, student transportation, and other services. Several companies and people sued her, and court records show that she has yet to settle some debts from that year. “We lost everything,” Iglesia said, adding that she is working with her creditors to make payments. Since then, the couple, who live in Webster, has thrown themselves into parenting, their health, and running PrimeTime585. They have a son, Anthony, on the basketball team at the University of Washington, and another, Allen, at Monroe Community College. Gerard has kidney disease and is on dialysis. PrimeTime585 does not have a revenue stream, although the Iglesias said people have suggested they try to monetize their operation. They said they do what they do for youngsters, their community, and their enjoyment — not for money. “A lot of people don’t understand how we’re doing this and not getting paid, we’re using our own gas, our own time. They say, ‘What are you guys getting out of it?’” Iglesia said. “I say, ‘When you’re retired and you go golfing every day, what are you getting out of it? When you’re knitting all the time, what do you get out of it?’ “Some people golf. Some people knit,” she continued. “We do sports.”

Gerard Iglesia is behind the scenes at PrimeTime585, working the camera for his wife of 26 years, Karen Iglesia. “I always say that she’s Michael Jordan and I’m Scottie Pippen,” he said. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

Students use words like “authentic,” “genuine,” and “raw” to describe the appeal of Karen “PrimeTime” Iglesia. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

roccitynews.com CITY 53


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Amateur rock hound Khoury Humphrey hunts for fossils of early animals and plants, which he sometimes carves into small sculptures of teeth. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE 54 CITY OCTOBER 2022


RANDOM ROCHESTER BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

@RSRAFFERTY

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

ROCK HOUNDS Crystals and fossils and minerals, oh my! New York is full of geological wonders and hobbyists who want a piece of them.

O

n a breezy summer morning, Khoury Humphrey walked a path along the Genesee River deep in the gorge at Seth Green Park long before the sun reached its peak in the sky. With a few hours to work in the shade, he scanned the base of the exposed limestone and shale gorge wall for treasures to add to his collection of fossilized crinoids, brachiopods, trilobites, horn coral, and other remains of plants and animals that dominated this region hundreds of millions of years ago. Avoiding areas where the fragile cliff face is crumbling, he scaled some sloping wooded areas and picked over piles of loose stones. He poured water over boulders to highlight the contrast of different minerals, and tapped here and there with a mallet. Humphrey is a self-taught, amateur rock hound who is adept at identifying the fossils and gems tucked into the terrain of western New York. His collection includes fossils from the Cambrian and Devonian periods, and he makes and sells off-beat jewelry from stones he has carved into shapes like teeth or tiny cinder blocks. But mostly, Humphrey’s after the pure fascination of the find. “I’ve noticed that there are a lot of trilobites along a certain bend in the gorge,” Humphrey said. “It really shows you where these things kind of colonized. You can imagine, like, ‘This is the neighborhood of the trilobites,’ and then, ‘This is a neighborhood of the brachiopods,’ and stuff like that. It’s a lot of fun to map or envision the ancient underwater life.” Spend any amount of time outdoors in the company of children, and you’ll quickly realize it’s almost an innate human behavior to pick up a pretty rock and keep it. People like shiny things, and we like the possibility of stumbling upon something of value or that offers some connection to something deeper. The crystal industry is booming, with some

Khoury Humphrey hunts the east bank of the Genesee River on Seth Green Drive for crinoids, honeycomb corral, and trilobites. PHOTOS BY MAX SCHULTE

dealers reportedly valuing it at in excess of $1 billion. But you don’t have to drop a lot of dough on rare gems or prehistoric specimens from across the world to own a piece of the earth. The terrain of New York is home to deep geological history, and there’s a wide variety of fossils and minerals readily available, if you know where to find them. Across the state there are several designated dig spots that are known for yielding gems and fossils. Among the most popular are the Penn Dixie Reserve in Buffalo, the Herkimer Diamond Mine in Herkimer County, and the Hooper Garnet Mine in North Creek in the Adirondacks, where enthusiasts can pay a fee for access to the site that often comes with tools and instructions on digging specific gems or fossils out of the ground. Another good bet is to search along beaches where fossils may have washed up, or along rivers and creeks where water erosion has does some of the excavation work, revealing strata that span millennia. But treasures can be found just about anywhere, and it pays to keep your eyes open. “Some lesser fossil-picking spots are parking lots,” Humphrey said.

He recalled stumbling on some of his favorite finds — chunks of honeycomb coral glittering with quartz crystals, and marine animal fossils such as crinoids, which can look like a bird’s footprint — in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot. “The gravel they use for lots was sourced from some rock quarry somewhere,” he said with a shrug. Thousands of regional enthusiasts at all skill levels have found camaraderie in common-interest groups on Facebook, including Rock Hounds Upstate New York. That group’s nearly 13,000 members range from people who find something interesting on their own property and want help identifying it, to amateur geologists looking to expand their knowledge about the region’s deep history, and lapidary artists who find, clean up, and sell pretty crystals. Others are flies on the wall who just want to know where to start. The group is an always-interesting resource for sharing finds, asking advice, and getting connected to other groups and organizations that organize excursions led by more experienced rock hounds. Jason Dobbs of Rochester is one of the eager-to-help members who knows where to dig in the region and best

practices while in the field. He warned novices to be mindful of trespassing on private property, and shared how to avoid running afoul of the law while rock hunting. “The biggest issue you have to consider is that it’s illegal to remove any material from land owned by the state,” Dobbs wrote. “No taking home rocks like fluorescent sodalite from Chimney Bluffs, no cool brachiopod fossils from Second Creek in Sodus.” While treasures can be found just about anywhere, he said, the safest bets for beginners are the various commercial payto-dig sites. Julia Schwind, a 27-year-old hair stylist based in Fairport, frequents these sorts of sites. Since she began collecting seriously in 2016 she has amassed more than 1,000 crystals and fossils. Like many people, Schwind’s fascination with rocks began in childhood and has only sharpened with age. “It’s a link to the past, a link to things that are unknown that people don’t usually think about,” she said. “And I’ve always thought that was really cool.” Schwind’s personal collection includes many purchases from collectors across the world who vend their wares at mineral shows and online, but she estimates that about a third of it is self-collected from regional sites. She says she’s always looking, but goes on deliberate digs every week or so. Among her self-collected favorites are the range of garnets — New York’s state gem — and the 300 or so trilobite specimens she found at Penn Dixie. These Cambrian relics of extinct marine arthropods, easily identifiable by the parallel, horizontal lines of their segmented exoskeletons, are familiar from elementary lessons on regional geological history. “These fossils are more than 500 million years old,” she said with a childlike wonder. “Some of the very first organisms that showed up on our planet are right here.”

roccitynews.com CITY 55


LIFE

MANGIA

Thinking outside the breadbox: Falafel is made from the chickpea, a versatile “grain legume” that’s ground and combined with spices, fried, and served in a pita or salad form at Cedar Mediterranean Restaurant. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

CARB HARVEST Great grain-based dishes at Rochester restaurants are delectably heavy fare for the cooler months. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

A

buddy of mine — who shall remain nameless — likes to murder his pasta by overcooking it until it nearly disintegrates, and has none of the substance that makes it feel like a meal. He once quipped that al dente is Italian for “Ow, my teeth.” As someone with Italian blood — my mother is a Genovese — that both hurt my feelings and made me cackle. I have strong opinions about how pasta should be cooked. But this

56 CITY OCTOBER 2022

@RSRAFFERTY

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carb-celebrating, grains-based dish roundup explores the wide world of glorious grains, not just Italian fare, that can be found in eateries right here in Rochester. There’s a lot out there to love — curried rice, sauce-soaked flatbreads, and good-ol’ American mac & cheese. Grains do a lot of the lifting in meals, providing versatile substance and texture as a backdrop to just about any other fruit of the farm, be it animal or vegetable. But as

I mentioned, they still need to be prepared well. Though carb-shirking diets have given grains a bad name, we’re here to celebrate, not shame, these grain-based comfort foods and highlight some stand-out dishes from around town. WOOD FIRED MANICOTTI Merchant’s Wood Fired Pizza & Bistro (564 Merchants Road, merchantswoodfiredpizza.com) In a menu filled with Italian, carb-

heavy classics that include arancini, bruschetta, pizzas, and all manner of pasta, Merchant’s seemingly humble but mouth-watering manicotti meal shines. At $19, the price tag is teetering on the special-occasion, steeper end, but you get two big manicotti shells bursting with a whipped ricotta mix, smothered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, baked to a chewy-melty perfection in the brick oven and served with garlic toast points. Once you bite into the


chow toothsome pasta and herby cloud of ricotta, you’ll find this indulgence worth the expense. The manicotti are quite filling, but carnivores can add homemade meatballs for $3 each. If you’re craving the dish but the bistro is closed, you can try to replicate it at home using the fourcheese ravioli or ricotta gnocchi from Merchant’s sister company, The Pasta Shoppe (277 N. Winton Road, thepastashoppe277.com), where Merchant’s sources all of its fresh pasta. All of the tender spaghetti, fusilli, bucatini, and more are made fresh daily. You’ll also find frozen goods and a variety of sauces and herbed butters there. SALTY BREAD Amazing Grains Bread Co. (1000 Turk Hill Road, Fairport. amazinggrainsbreadco.com) As far as Rochester is concerned, the perfect loaf of bread has a slightly oily, chewy crust, a subtly sweet, fluffy center, and a sprinkling of sparkling coarse salt. Amazing Grains’ Salty Bread is a local staple — so popular it has its own page on the company’s website. It’s a wonderful choice for your basic table bread to spread with butter or dip in oil. Its oblong shape makes it easy to pack for a picnic, and it’s great for ripping apart and dunking in stew, or making into a hoagie or pizza. You can buy the bread straight from Amazing Grains, or find it at dozens of retail spots in the region, including Abundance Food Co-op, various farmers markets. It is also on the menu at a number of local restaurants and food trucks. FALAFEL PITA OR PLATTER Cedar Mediterranean Restaurant (746-A Monroe Ave., 442-7751) There’s some debate about classifying chickpeas as grains. They’re a legume, but because of the way they’re used in cuisines across the world, and their versatility as an alternative flour, they’re deemed one of the 40 “grain legumes,” a group that includes a variety of beans, lentils, and more. So that makes them a grain, right? Right. In my opinion, their best manifestation is as falafel — mashed with fava beans and mixed with Lebanese spices, rolled into small balls

ound

OPENINGS SQUATCHO’S, a new vegan joint featuring pizza, sandwiches, and other comfort food is open for business at 17 E. Main St. Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A grand opening is scheduled for mid-October. squatchos585.com

An Amazing Grains worker prepares dough for the company's popular salty bread, which is ubiquitous at small businesses and dining room tables around town. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

that are fried and eaten in sandwiches, on salads, and on their own with a cooling tahini dressing. For my money, the best place to get falafel in town is at Cedar Mediterranean Restaurant, where you can order their house-made, warm falafel as an appetizer ($6.50), in a pita with greens, tomato, pickles, and tahini sauce ($7.50), or as a combo plate, served with hummus dip (chickpeas another way!), pita wedges, and Greek salad or rice ($12.99). While you’re at Cedar, try something off the manakeesh menu, which features fresh, chewy Lebanese flatbread topped with a variety of shawarma or gyro meats, spices, cheeses, and vegetables ($5.25 to $8.50). ABYSSINIA SPECIALS WITH INJERA Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant (1657 Mt. Hope Ave., abyssiniarochester.com) Injera is a spongy Ethiopian flatbread made of teff, a grain that grows in the highlands of Ethiopia and has a flavor that resembles sourdough, with little or no gluten in the finished product. It’s used to scoop up richly spiced and saucy meats, lentils, and vegetables, and is a staple of Ethiopian fare. A great way to experience injera is to order one of Abyssinia’s specials ($14.75 to $16.25). They vary to include different beef, chicken, lamb, and vegetable dishes such as doro tibs (garlic-ginger chicken breast), yebeg alicha (tender lamb marinated with onions, garlic, and turmeric sauce), kitfo (spicy

minced beef with herbed butter and buttermilk cheese) or tikil gomen (cabbage sautéed with turmeric, onions, and garlic). The restaurant has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and you’ll want to sop up every satisfying bite with the bread. FUNGHI PIZZA Nocino Bar & Ristorante (818 Eastview Mall, eatnocino.com) Italian eatery Nocino offers a nice take on greens and beans (theirs comes with Tuscan kale, prosciutto, and cherry peppers), as well as calamari, clams, and cured meats. But of note on their 10-inch pizza menu is the Funghi ($19), which offers a gorgeous, surprising blend of deep, earthy notes and a lighter sweetness. That’s achieved with a combination of just a few complementary ingredients — wild mushrooms and truffle oil paired with sausage and creamy fontina cheese on a crispy, chewy, thin crust. Change up your tomato-mozzarellagreasy pepperoni mainstay and give this wonder a whirl. Nocino also offers gluten-free crusts. HONORABLE MENTIONS: Nice Rice: Somali African Cuisine (480 W. Main St., 445-0042) offers curry chicken (or goat), rice, and salad for $11-$12. The long-grain rice is marinated in a spiced broth that elevates it from a bland starchy side. Send Noods: Seasons’ Noodle specializes in hand-made noodles. (50 Chestnut St. C201, seasonsnoodle.com).

TASTE OF SUPREME BAKERY & CAFE, known for its vegan cookie stand at the Rochester Public Market, has opened a storefront at 696 N. Winton Road. In addition to vegan and glutenfree cookies, pies, and other baked goods, it offers soups and other savory take-out items. tasteofsupreme.com CLOSINGS CHARLIE’S FROG POND on Park Ave. closed at the end of August. NAPA WOOD FIRED PIZZERIA & BISTRO on S. Clinton Ave. closed in August. YIANNI’S RESTAURANT & BAR on Pixley Road closed in August. STICKY SOUL AND BBQ on Culver Road closed in late August. QUEEN J’S DINER on State St. closed in early September. EVENTS On Saturday, Oct. 1, THE GENESEE BREW HOUSE will present ROCtoberfest, with live music, food, and beer. Ages 21 and up. geneseebeer.com/brewhouse Hilton’s BLUE BARN CIDERY will host its 5th annual CiderFest from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9 featuring seasonal and limited-edition draughts, cider donuts, kitchen specials, local vendors, a corn maze, and more. bluebarncidery.com RESTAURANT GOOD LUCK and ROCHESTER COCKTAIL REVIVAL will present Hand of the Maker: A Cocktail Pairing Dinner at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25, at THE JACKRABBIT CLUB. The event will feature five mezcals and seasonal cuisine. Tickets are $125 and are available through exploretock.com. On Oct. 27, THE REVELRY will host a multi-course Foragers’ Dinner and discussion. Limited tickets will be available through therevelryroc.com.

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Wild food forager Dk, who supplies mushrooms and other plants to local restaurants, points out the edible stalks of the broadleaf plantain plant, a native weed that grows abundantly in woods and lawns. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH 58 CITY OCTOBER 2022


FOUND FOOD BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

@RSRAFFERTY

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

FORAGED-TO-TABLE Trust between foragers and local chefs make for rare dishes made with ingredients that are picked with care and prepared with style.

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n a sunny August morning, the pink-haired owner of Black Adder Beauty Bar, a Rochester salon, who goes by Dk, set out on a trail hike in a suburban county park with her teacup YorkieShih-Tzu mix Ayla in her backpack. But unlike the other hikers, Dk wasn’t there for fresh air and exercise. She was there to check on a few of the secret, sylvan places where she had previously spotted some wild maitake mushrooms growing on rotting logs and living hardwood trees. The particular species of fungus is dubbed “chicken-of-the-woods” for its textural resemblance to poultry and is a prized, seasonal ingredient in dishes offered by local restaurants. The vivid orange, ruffle-shaped mushroom is so versatile it can be used as a vegetarian stand-in for chicken parmesan, chicken nuggets, or barbecued pulled chicken. Foraged mushrooms can fetch a hefty fee. Rodrigue O’Flaherty, the chef at The Revelry, said last year he paid a forager $20 per pound for 20 pounds of chanterelle mushrooms. With any luck, the chicken clusters that Dk spotted would be untouched by other foragers and ready to harvest and haul back to the city, where she would supply them to chefs at Happy Gut Sanctuary and The Revelry. Dk hustles foraging wild food — from greens to berries, fungi, flowers, herbs, and other plants — under the social media moniker The Foragette. She’s part of a growing number of people who supply these edible finds to local chefs who want to work with foods that can’t be cultivated and mass-produced, such as the peppery and meaty chanterelles, marshmallow-like puffball mushrooms, and smokey black trumpets that can be found in regional woods and fields. “A pocket of warmer weather and humidity after a good rainfall is ideal

heading straight to restaurants to negotiate a sale. Responsible foragers are careful not to overharvest, so the plants can propagate themselves. Something is always left behind. Dk recently presented several pounds of puffballs to O’Flaherty at The Revelry. O’Flaherty prepared a test meal for a guinea pig staffer, breading and deep-frying a few thick slices of the delicate, pillowy mushroom and laying them on a bed of greens. He finished them with salt, a dusting of parmesan cheese, and some spritzes of lemon. It smelled divine, looked exactly like a chicken or veal cutlet, and had an audible, satisfying crunch when the staffer bit into it.

Chef Rodrigue O’Flaherty of The Revelry finishes a wild-foraged puffball mushroom cutlet with parmesan. O’Flaherty and forager Dk will co-present a Foragers Dinner in late October. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

for their growth,” Dk said. During the fall, foraged food — and fungi in particular — hits the plates at select Rochester restaurants in a serious but subtle way. Foragers fresh from the forest show up at the kitchens of The Revelry, Lento, Restaurant Good Luck, and others, peddling their bounties to creative chefs who incorporate these items

into specials served to customers almost immediately. Foraging for wild food is more than just a walk in the park. Dk estimates that she forages three or four times a week at different locations, averaging about four hours per walk. Others, who forage fulltime, camp out in the woods and emerge days later with their hauls,

A MATTER OF TRUST The park Dk hiked — the location of which is being withheld to ward off her competitors — has more than 500 acres of off-trail, cathedrallike woods. Walking them, she cast long gazes for specific colors and shapes and visited familiar breeding grounds. “A lot of it is just walking and keeping your eyes to the ground, which funny enough, is something my parents would give me a hard time about, growing up,” Dk said with a smirk. “It worked out in my favor.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 60

CITY5959 roccitynews.com CITY roccitynews.com


Dk brought a recent puffball mushroom haul to The Revelry, where Chef O’Flaherty made them into a mushroom cutlet special. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

Some eateries offer dishes with foraged food items from spring through autumn, but there’s a distinct boom in the fall of fungi, the “fruit” in season. Most foraged items are not on a regular menu. They tend to pop up, like they do in the woods, as specials announced by the wait staff or on restaurants’ social media posts within a day or so of arriving at the restaurant. “Foraged food is always a nice addition to a menu, because it just keeps things interesting,” said Dan Martello, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Good Luck, Cure, and Lucky’s. “And most restaurants that use foraged food are probably chefdriven, so the customers that are coming in are expecting those sorts of special items on the menu.” Martello buys foraged items for his restaurants from a group of individual foragers he trusts, and recently received and featured chicken-of-thewoods and wine cap mushrooms. He said he has worked with foragers for about 20 years, and that the gatherers he works with are just as passionate about what they do as he is about cooking. The items they bring in tend to be pristine and beautiful, he said, and more flavorful than massproduced food. “So we really try not to manipulate it too much,” Martello said. “Just like a quick sauté, and if we have an extraordinary amount, we might pickle some just to kind of get a little longevity out of them.” Flavor aside, foraging is at its heart a matter of trust. The idea of eating 60 CITY OCTOBER 2022

things someone found in the woods — particularly mushrooms, which can have deadly “look-alikes” — can make diners understandably nervous. The reputations of the foragers, the chefs, the restaurants, are all on the line. Martello and other chefs who use foraged items say they educate themselves about the species they accept, and tend to shy away from things other than the easilyidentifiable flora and fungi. They also don’t accept foraged food from just anybody. Everything has to be verified with a state-certified mushroom expert. Often, those experts are the foragers themselves. Restaurants also keep verifications on file for a minimum of 30 days along with information about where the item was found and by whom. A LIFETIME OF FORAGING Dk, who grew up foraging on her parents’ 80 acres of defunct farmland, is working on getting state-certified. Her involvement in foraging for restaurants was, like so many things, a result of the pandemic disrupting her life. Forced to shut down her salon for a while and without income, she took to the woods. “Foraging to supplement my meals was just an easy way to save money and cut costs,” she said. She soon found just how in-demand her skills could be. She estimated that she harvested and sold 95 pounds of “chicken-of-the-woods” last year, sourced from a variety of spots. “This year has just been hard with the lack of rain,” she said. “But now


Dk sprinkles sea salt on bread topped with mushroom duxelles, a spread she made with foraged chanterelles and morels mixed with shallots, herbs, and sherry. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

that the rain has come, we should have a great fall season.” O’Flaherty and Dk are collaborating on a five-course foraged food dinner set for Oct. 27, during which she’ll discuss the foraged contents of the meal and O’Flaherty will discuss how the meal was prepared. They’re hoping to seat at least 20. The exact contents of the dinner are subject to change, but they are planning for a local greens salad that may include mustard greens, dandelion greens, and wood sorrel, with wild blackberries and a vinaigrette using garlic scapes that Dk pickled. Another planned course will feature a French-style ragout with braised puffball mushrooms to go with short ribs. They hope to finish the meal with a tart made from foraged crabapples and strawberries with dandelion honey. For diners hoping to catch these rare ingredients in local cuisines, the best bet is to watch the social media accounts of spots that use foraged

food, including The Revelry, Happy Gut Sanctuary, Lento, Restaurant Good Luck, Cure, Lucky’s, and Atlas Eats. The lack of rain through much of the summer has the forager’s harvest looking lean, though. “Local chanterelles and black trumpets, usually I’m flush with them right now, but because of the lack of rain, I haven’t gotten any,” Art Rogers, the owner-chef at Lento, told CITY in early September. Rogers both works with a network of foragers and forages himself. He learned how while living in Maine nearly 20 years ago, when he foraged stinging nettles, ramps, and mushrooms. These days foragers bring mushrooms to Rogers, but he still harvests ramps for use at Lento on private land owned by his aunt and uncle. Rogers said that using wildforaged food is something that fits with Lento’s local-focus ethos, which also emphasizes the use of plants and meats from local farms. In a typical spring-to-fall season, he said, he’s able to regularly include wild-foraged fungi in his meals. He has used foraged mushrooms for bruschetta, pasta, and to top off a steak. “You don’t have to do much to make them shine,” he said. “Just sauté them in butter with a little bit of herbs. I don’t mess with them too much.”

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NEVERTHELESS

Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 43

PUZZLE BY S.J. AUSTIN & J. REYNOLDS ACROSS 1. Segment of a circle 4. Landlocked African republic 8. Palestinian leader Yasser 14. Green-blue hues 19. _____ favor 20. Streaming service for “The Handmaid’s Tale” 21. Sticks that may be taken up or passed 22. God, to 8-Across 23. **[With 120-across] Elite athlete 25. **[With 120-across] Scattered here, there, and everywhere 27. Try to jam in more camping gear, say 28. “It’s 100% true!”

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50. Cockney’s residence 51. Tiny iPod model from 2005 – 2017

71. Arduous journeys

92. L.L. Bean competitor

52. Stephen of “The Crying Game”

75. “Cheers” actor Roger

93. Simple knitting project

53. Name on a guitar headstock

77. 1990s late night TV host, familiarly

94. **[With 120-across] Chaos ensues

54. Past, present, and future 56. Actress Thompson of “Selma” 60. Narrow inlet 62. Relinquish, as territory 63. Muse of lyric poetry 64. Common vaccination side effect 66. Suffix for buck 68. Songwriter who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature 69. **[With 120-across] High stakes bet 62 CITY OCTOBER 2022

78. Dye used in temporary body art 79. Woolen Highland garment 82. DiCaprio, in tabloids 84. Singer and drummer Carpenter 85. Remove pits from 86. Trouser measurement 88. Insect whose Pig Latin name sounds like an e-commerce website 90. Where you might spend up to three turns in Monopoly

99. Took a load off 100. Surreptitious booze vessel 102. Morn’s poetic counterpart 103. Tappable symbol 104. Sustained castle attacks 105. Sean of “The Goonies” and “The Lord of the Rings”

115. Goal for a young aspiring quarterback 117. **[With 120-across] Sweeping 120. **At the end of the day 122. Erenow 123. Make new metal money 124. “I smell _____” 125. Mai _____ 126. Lavished attention (on) 127. Pre-dinner ritual

107. Painful longing

128. Bad side on a list

111. Item drying on a faucet, maybe

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DOWN

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61. Villain in 67-Down

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65. Basic trigonometry function

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5. Tom’s fence-painting pal 6. French phrase that sounds like an Arabic word also found in this puzzle

70. Assassin of old Japan 72. Month after diciembre

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73. Capped joints

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74. Sink who portrays Max in “Stranger Things”

9. Pasta “pillow” 10. Perfectly, after “to” 11. 19-Across, en inglés 12. Colonial pest? 13. Many concert souvenirs 14. Art form for Ann Miller and Gregory Hines 15. Eponymous talk show host with 33 Daytime Emmy awards

76. Stately tree 79. Chocolate wrapped in foil 80. Old South American empire 81. Exam for an aspiring atty. 83. Having a body mass index over 30, medically 85. The “D” of D.J. 87. Declared as true

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89. Order at a lodge

17. Milk: prefix

91. Related

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94. Exhausted and unwell in appearance

24. Palindromic detection device 26. Automaker Ferrari 29. Ye _____ Shoppe 32. Ivy League school in Philly 33. Story 34. Lend _____ (be attentive) 36. Inner ring of a racetrack 37. Spanish aunties 40. Created 41. Took advantage of 42. Trifling 43. Schlepped 44. Manicurist’s board 45. Pertaining to the kidneys 46. Ballot caster 47. Uninvited wedding guest 49. Bonus sets at concerts 53. Distant 55. First stringer 57. Pulitzer winner ___ St. Vincent Millay 58. Reef diving implement

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95. 1950s stereotypical subculture 96. Puts in one’s two weeks 97. _____’acte

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98. Sign outside a radio studio 101. Jump 104. Where the sea meets the sand 106. Author and biochemist Asimov 108. Training enclosure for a dog 109. Islamic equivalent of kosher 110. Perry of fashion 111. Like a phone at 0% 112. Lowdown 113. Wearer of a 79-Across 114. “Da Vinci Code” sect 115. Lee who created X-Men 116. Bearded dragons and betta fish, e.g. 118. Title for a knight in “A Song of Ice and Fire” 119. Poli-_____ 121. To’s counterpart

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64 CITY OCTOBER 2022