CITY September 2022

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NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. | SEPTEMBER 2022 | FREE | SINCE 1971 ARTS

MUSIC

WINE

THE MUST-SEE SHOWS AND HIDDEN GEMS OF FRINGE

DANIELLE PONDER IS READY FOR THE SPOTLIGHT

VINEYARDS BRACE FOR THE SPOTTED LATERNFLY

The era of the

$250,000 police officer

RISING CRIME AND A LABOR SHORTAGE MEANS AN ABUNDANCE OF OVERTIME FOR ROCHESTER POLICE. BUT IS WORKING 90 HOURS A WEEK SAFE FOR ANYONE?


best of rochester 2022

NEWS. ARTS. LIFE. SEPTEMBER, 2022 Vol 51 No 1 On the cover: Photoillustration by Ryan Williamson

coming soon.

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 News editor: Jeremy Moule Staff writer: Gino Fanelli Arts editor: Daniel J. Kushner Life editor: Rebecca Rafferty Calendar editor: Katherine Stathis Contributors: Matt Burkhartt, Patrick Hosken, Mona Seghatolaslami, Jeff Spevak, David Streever, Katherine Varga 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.

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MARCH 2022

“Bee in Highland Park” shot by Jacob Walsh Spring ‘22

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IN THIS ISSUE OPENING SHOT

Wineries in the Finger Lakes are bracing for an infestation of the invasive spotted lanternfly. CITY visited a winery in Pennsylvania that was devastated by the bug. See page 4. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

NEWS OUT DAMNED SPOTTED LANTERNFLY!

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10

ARTS

LIFE

20

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DAILY TO DO

WHAT’S GOING ON?

It is not a question of if the dreaded invasive insect will infest Finger Lake wineries, but when.

Geva’s new artistic director launches her inaugural season with her adaptation of the classic “Jane Eyre.”

What’s here, what’s hot, what’s happening, and what’s new every day of the month.

BY GINO FANELLI

BY KATHERINE VARGA

BY CITY STAFF

CITY INVESTIGATES

THE QUARTER-MILLIONDOLLAR-COP CLUB

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There’s no shortage of overtime for police officers who want to make bank. But safety and costs are setting off alarm bells. BY GINO FANELLI

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A BREATH OF FRESH ‘EYRE’

MUMS THE WORD

ON THE FRINGE

Flying motorcycles, drunken princesses, and evil twins made our list of the must-see shows and hidden gems of the Rochester Fringe Festival.

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We talked to people reveling in the red, white, and blue-soaked cultural showcase of food, music, and dance.

BY CITY STAFF

54

How a Henrietta solar farm rethought conventional wisdom. Will it pay off? BY JEREMY MOULE

MORE NEWS, ARTS, AND LIFE INSIDE

FALL INTO THE ARTS

From visual art and theater to music and comedy, it’s a colorful autumn. These are the fall arts events we’re excited about. BY CITY STAFF

CITY VISITS

THE PUERTO RICAN FESTIVAL

BY MATT BURKHARTT AND JEREMY MOULE

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FRUIT OF THE BOOM

Fill your senses with the fruits of the fall at these apple-picking and grape-stomping locales. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY roccitynews.com

CITY 3


NEWS

FLY IN YOUR WINE

Out damned spotted lanternfly!

The spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest from China that has wreaked havoc on Pennsylvania wineries, is on its way to infesting the Finger Lakes. FILE PHOTO

It’s not a question of if the insect will hit Finger Lakes wineries — but when. BY GINO FANELLI

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@GINOFANELLI

he grape vines at Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery creep like spiderwebs over 20 acres of a picturesque hillside in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, about an hour’s drive northeast of Philadelphia. There, the climate closely mimics that of the homelands of heralded Noble and Old World grapes, giving vineyards like Clover Hill ample opportunity to experiment with New World terroir. John Skrip III carries on the family business his father began there in the 1970s, tending to varietals

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GFANELLI@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

like vignole and pinot noir and, in the process, lending to the growing prestige of Pennsylvania wine. The vineyard is a vibrant green and healthy, thanks to the spraying of pesticides multiple times a week to stave off an insect invader that is the scourge of agriculture and that experts say is headed to the Finger Lakes. It wasn’t always this way. In 2015, as Skrip and his team took to their annual harvest, they noticed an odd, vibrantly colored bug fluttering around the garage doors at the rear of the winery. The next year, a couple more popped up.

By 2017, the proverbial locusts of Armageddon had hit. “It was an absolute disaster,” Skrip said. “Every plant had about between 30 and 50 bugs. When we would spray them, when they die they fold their wings out, and their wings are red, so it looked like red mulch beneath the trellis.” “They would all die, they’d be all gone,” Skrip continued. “And then, three days later, it looked like it did right before we sprayed it, like a brand new crop came in.” That bug was the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species of

planthopper native to China that made its first appearance in the United States about 20 miles from Clover Hill in the early 2010s. Experts figure the bug hitched a ride to the area on imports of granite and other stone slabs. Since then, the bug has spread like wildfire into nearby states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Michigan, devastating crops in their path. In New York, populations of the spotted lanternfly have taken hold on Long Island and in New York City. They are creeping into the Hudson Valley, and have been


John Skrip III of Pennsylvania’s Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery lost six acres of vines to the spotted lanternfly. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

spotted in Ithaca and near Syracuse. The development has Finger Lakes wineries bracing. Along stretches of road heading into the wine region, signs beg for the bug to be reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) if spotted. The reality of the situation has become clear in the Finger Lakes: it’s not a matter of if the bugs invade, but when. WHAT DOES THE SPOTTED LATERNFLY DO? The spotted lanternfly is a brightlycolored insect that looks like an alien interpretation of a moth. Their attack on fruit crops, like grapes, can best be described as vampiric. The harm to crops like grapes comes not from the insects attacking the fruit itself, but from taking hold on the vines. The lanternfly digs into the plant using its proboscis, sucking out sap and excreting a saccharine waste known as honeydew. The damage is two-fold. Draining a vine of its sap weakens the plant,

leaving them more susceptible to climate shifts and weather. Honeydew, meanwhile, is a perfect vector for fungal infections like sooty mold, which can further drop yields or even kill vines when frost settles in. “Spotted lanternfly is different (from other pests) in that it causes a lot of damage after the harvest,” said Brian Eshenaur, a Cornell University researcher focused on raising awareness of the lanternfly. “Most growers wouldn’t be looking at their plants after the fruit is harvested, because that’s normally what you need to protect, but this insect taps into the pipework of the vine.” The lanternfly will feed on everything from hops to kiwis, but grapevines are a favorite. Researchers at Penn State University have studied the insect’s invasion of vineyards since 2017. They found that while many ornamental trees, flowers, and crops can feed the lanternfly, grapevines were unique in that they could support the bug at every stage of its life cycle. The results of an

infestation can be devastating to plant yield. In crevices of the wooden posts supporting his vines, Skrip would find blotches of what looked like dried mud. These were, in fact, eggs, awaiting the spring season to hatch and begin the cycle anew. During Skrip’s hellish bout with the lanternfly, he said he was forced to pull six acres of vines. At 861 plants per acre, and at an estimated cost of $4 per vine, that worked out to a loss of $20,664. Some values are unquantifiable, however, like the nearly 20-year-old pinot noir vines Skrip had to remove. After the infestation, pinot noir was off the menu for good at Clover Hill. The grape had been cultivated at the vineyard since 1997. “I planted those vines, so I felt kind of attached to them,” Skrip said. “The next spring, the sun came up over it, and I felt like we did our part…we did everything we could, but we couldn’t save everything.”

‘I’M ABSOLUTELY DREADING IT’ On the edge of Seneca Lake just outside of the town of Hector in Schuyler County, Forge Wine Cellars sits perched atop a hilly overlook, granting one of the most pristine views of viticulture to be found in the Finger Lakes. It was there that Rick Rainey, a former wine seller for esteemed French vintners, pushed the potential of New York’s wine region by demanding wines that rivaled Old World wineries. Vines of riesling, cabernet franc, and pinot noir, grapes that take particular care to thrive in an environment so far from their native land, roll across Forge’s modest vineyard. The inevitable arrival of the spotted lanternfly has sounded the alarm bell for Rainey and other winery owners in the Finger Lakes. “Everybody’s concerned, like mad,” Rainey said. “People are talking about it, but it’s when you know something is inevitable, it’s just…everybody’s waiting to see.” For now, Rainey is simply resigned to stand by, anxiously awaiting the first day the lanternfly flutters into his vineyard. His pinot is particularly at risk because it is a delicate vine, sensitive to environmental changes. It is well-known to vintners that pinot noir is simply a pain to grow. When asked why he even bothers growing it, Rainey smiled. “It’s an addiction,” he said. There’s a certain set of unique circumstances that make the insect’s arrival in the Finger Lakes inescapable. For one, the bug is particularly adept at clinging to transportation. In fact, it is known colloquially to farmers and researchers as “the hitchhiker bug.” In Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture has attempted to control the spread by developing a quarantine program under the Plant Pest Act of 1992. But controlling the spread has been complicated by what could be called a perfect storm of ecological invaders. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

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CITY 5


An overhead view of Clover Hill shows a newly-planted section of vines (middle) where old ones were killed by the spotted lanternfly. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Ailanthus, known commonly as the tree of heaven, is an invasive species of tree that is native to China but that is today found across the United States. The plant derives its name from its ability to grow three feet upward every year. It was first brought to the Americas in the late 1700s as a beautiful, easily tenable garden tree that resembles sumac, but quickly overstayed its welcome. Tree of heaven, sometimes referred to as “tree of hell,” is a cocktail of everything awful in an invasive plant. It can grow in virtually any environment — the tree was one of the only ones found growing in the rubble of London following the bombings of World War II— and it produces a chemical that blocks root growth of native 6 CITY

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plants. Not to mention that it reeks. The tree emits a smell that government agencies have described as “well-worn gym socks.” If that weren’t enough, the tree of heaven is the pinnacle host plant of the spotted lanternfly. Researchers long speculated the lanternfly had to live on the tree of heaven at some point in its life cycle. “It is a very vigorous tree, and you do get a lot of sprouting from the stump that needs to be treated so you don’t wind up with a much thicker population of tree of heaven,” said Chris Logue, director of the division of plant industry for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

Rick Rainey, of Forge Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes, is dreading the arrival of the lanternfly. PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI


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CITY 7


Logue suggested that some tree of heaven could be preemptively removed to help alleviate the stress on vineyards. But researchers are also eyeing the tree as a possible Trojan Horse of sorts to beat back the lanternfly. “One possible way of controlling the lanternflies is injecting insecticide into trap trees,” said Hans WalterPeterson, a viticulture specialist at Cornell. “Bugs will feed off of the sap, that also has some insecticide in it, and that kills them.” That process becomes a unique challenge, though, given that tree of heaven closely resembles some native plants. While discussing the tree of heaven on his winery deck, Rainey spotted an outcrop of foliage at the edge of his vineyard. He swiftly headed down and plucked a branch of leaves from one of the plants and snapped a photo, running it through an app that identifies plants. With a sigh of relief, he said it was a staghorn sumac, not a tree of heaven. “That really would have been something, wouldn’t it?” Rainey asked. SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS No one, from government to academia to the farmers in the field, is under the illusion that the lanternfly will spare the Finger Lakes. The only question is how much damage the insects will do. In 2019, as Pennsylvania grappled with infestations, a report from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences estimated the bugs could cause $325 million in economic damage, from tourism hits to crop loss, in a worst case scenario. “The impact of the spotted lanternfly in the quarantine zone is already significant and its spread throughout the state could be potentially devastating for Pennsylvania’s agriculture and forestry industries,” the report read. In New York, Sen. Charles Schumer announced in August plans to grant $22 million to the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets to attempt to ward off the threat of the lanternfly, saying that an infestation was already afoot. But for people on the ground, despite the fear of the unknown, 8 CITY

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The spotted lantenfly measures about an inch in length, but a swarm of them can damage crops by the mile. FILE PHOTO

there is hope and confidence. Eshenaur, the researcher at Cornell, said New York should be able to learn from the plight of Pennsylvania, where vintners were completely blindsided. “There’s kind of no stopping it, it’s coming through,” Eshenaur said. “But, on the upside, we might not lose plants, we think that vineyards and even backyard growers will be able to protect their vines and we’re not going to lose plants.” What exactly protecting plants looks like is something that most farmers are familiar with — a lot of work and a lot of spraying of insecticides. If there’s any upside to combatting the spotted lanternfly, it’s that the bug is a wimp. It can’t fly very far and generally stays close to a single host plant. Nearly any insecticide will kill it, which is how places like Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery in Pennsylvania have managed the pest. But doing so has required diligence and vigilance. Skrip, the owner at Clover Hill, didn’t mince words: Wineries in the Finger Lakes are in for a rough few years, but they can pull through. “Just keep your foot on the gas,” Skrip said. “It’s going to suck.” Signs like these are posted across Pennsylvania from corner stores to highway rest stops. PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON


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CITY 9


NEWS

BUDGET BLUES

The quarter-million-dollar-cop club

PHOTOILLUSTRATION BY RYAN WILLIAMSON

Rising crime and a labor shortage means an abundance of overtime. But is an officer working 90 hours a week safe for anyone? BY GINO FANELLI

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@GINOFANELLI

n any given day of the week last year, Rochester Police Officer Kevin Sizer put in a full shift as treasurer at the police union hall, then donned his department-issued blues and climbed into a cruiser for another shift patrolling the city. By the end of any given week, police payroll records show, he logged an average of almost 92 hours on the clock. By the end of the year, he had racked up 2,448 hours of overtime and took home $255,760 in pay. In doing so, Sizer joined an exclusive Rochester community that is poised to grow: The quarter-milliondollar-cop club.

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The officers in the club and those knocking on its door are beneficiaries of a new era in policing in the city, one marked by rising crime, a labor shortage, and seemingly no shortage of opportunities for officers to pad their paychecks and pensions with overtime. The quarter-million-dollar threshold was crossed two years ago when another officer, Albert Weech, logged 2,483 hours of overtime to triple his salary to $264,929, payroll records show. A third officer, Rickey Harris Jr., is on the cusp of the club. He took home $249,460 last year. All three officers had base salaries of $86,331 and were among

11 officers who last year eclipsed $200,000 in wages, a figure that until 2020 was so astronomical as to be out of reach for rank-and-file officers. But six officers last year earned more than $100,000 in overtime pay alone. Scores earned more than $50,000. While about one in five officers logged no overtime in the last fiscal year, those who did earned an average of $20,530, according to payroll records. The take-home pay of some officers was so high compared with previous years that the figures staggered even department representatives. “Wow,” said RPD spokesperson Lt. Greg Bello when presented with the

data, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request. “I don’t look at the numbers or approve overtime, but damn.” By contrast, the two most visible city leaders, Mayor Malik Evans and Police Chief David Smith, are paid salaries of $157,019 and $151,265, respectively, and do not have an option to earn overtime. NOT A ONE-TIME EXPENSE A review of police payroll found that the city spent a budget-busting, record-setting $11.8 million on police overtime in the last fiscal year, which concluded at the end of June. That amount represented a 27-percent hike


Mayor Malik Evans introduces Police Chief David Smith. The 30-year veteran of the department was confirmed as the chief in August. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

from the previous year and almost doubled overtime costs two years earlier. The department’s extensive use of overtime is not a one-time expense. There are ancillary costs associated with police officers working beyond their scheduled shifts, some quantifiable and others more anecdotal. Overtime can add significantly to pension payouts, which are based on a formula that takes into account an officer’s annual take-home pay in their highest three consecutive years of earnings. Officers are eligible for pensions after 20 years. Weech, for instance, retired from the Rochester Police Department in March after logging three successive years of wages of $210,233, $264,929, and $181,667. During that time, his base salary was $86,331. Even if the argument can be

made that paying overtime is less expensive than hiring new officers, as some police departments around the country grappling with overtime costs have suggested, there are public safety considerations to officers working so many hours. A growing body of research shows that long work hours can lead to on-duty fatigue and impaired performance. Studies have linked excessive overtime to small increases in use-of-force incidents and ethics violations, heightened biases, and a surge in complaints against officers. Bello said the department is taking steps to rein in overtime, particularly scaling back on successive double shifts, which he called “unsafe.” “We’re working towards limits, where someone can’t be working over 16-hour shifts without some sort of approval from above,” Bello said. “So, if somebody works a double, which

happens pretty frequently, officers can be forced to work a double, (limiting those) can be a safeguard.” Smith, the police chief, said during his confirmation hearing before City Council in August that those limits were already in place, and that he implemented them after learning that some officers were working as many as 30 hours in a shift. He blamed the circumstances on a staffing shortage. “For example,” he told lawmakers, “looking at my most recent daily patrol shortage report…we were short a total of 37 officers for patrol, a shortage of 37 eight-hour slots.” A study of the Phoenix Police Department compared officers who worked 10-hour shifts with those who worked more than 13 hours. Researchers observed significant increases in reaction time, anticipatory errors, and filings of Professional

Standards Bureau grievances among officers who worked the longer shifts. “This study indicates that there are no apparent advantages but considerable liabilities associated with 13-hour and 20-minute shifts for police officers,” the study read. Karen Amendola, a chief behavioral scientist with the National Policing Institute whose work delves into the potential public safety issues and health consequences linked to overworked cops, described overuse of overtime as a “rampant problem.” She said it places officers at risk of short- and long-term health issues, and the public at risk of an exhausted officer making poor decisions. “(Exhaustion) can not only cost an officer their life, but can also result in a decision with a detrimental effect to CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

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BY COMPARISON

THE TOP 10 HIGHLY-PAID POLICE OFFICERS

Mayor Malik Evans: $157,019 Police Chief David Smith: $151,265

Off. Kevin Sizer: $255,760 (Base Salary: $86,331)

OVERTIME AT A GLANCE

Off. Rickey Harris, Jr.: $249,462 (Base Salary: $86,331)

TOTAL HOURS OF POLICE OVERTIME:

AVERAGE OVERTIME PAY PER OFFICER:

2020: 100,882

2020: $9,132

2021: 137,387

2021: $12,649

2022: 175,540

2022: $16,827

Lt. Robert Hill: $219,471 (Base Salary: $111,781)

TOTAL OVERTIME COSTS:

TOTAL PAYROLL:

Off. Angelo Mercone: $216,536 (Base Salary: $86,331)

2020: $6,848,784

2021: $78,002,344

Off. Kevin Radke: $216,307 (Base Salary: $83,010)

2022: $11,846,066

Inv. Robert O’Shaughnessy: $225,889 (Base Salary: $98,314) Off. Ted Serinis: $221,332 (Base Salary: $83,010)

2021: $9,284,458

AVERAGE OVERTIME HOURS PER OFFICER:

Off. Albert Weech: $210,233 (Base Salary: $86,331) Capt. Frank Umbrino: 207,245 (Base Salary: $126,132)

2020: 135 2021: 187

Inv. Kevin Leckinger: $207,231 (Base Salary: $96,432)

the community,” Amendola said. The situation in Rochester, she said, is playing out in police departments across the country and recalled a similar spike in overtime during the crime wave of the 1990s. “This is an old story repeating itself,” she said. Amendola calls for a hard limit of 12 hours for officer shifts. Having witnessed similar scenarios nationwide, she said the burden for solving the matter rests on many shoulders. City leaders have failed to adequately fund a regular staffing model, and unions and chiefs are at fault for allowing officers to work extreme hours, she said. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m a tough guy, I can get through it,’” Amendola said. “That has been the mentality for a long time of many police departments; macho, tough it out.” A SHRINKING RPD HEADCOUNT There are fewer Rochester police officers today than in recent years, mirroring a national trend. The officer headcount in police departments nationwide fell by 3.5 percent between 2020 and 2022, fueled by hiring cutbacks and sharp increases in resignations and retirements, according to the Police 12 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

2022: 249

“You talk about stress and supervision, but every boss, on every shift, the first thing they’re doing is calling and scrambling to try and get somebody to come in,” said Michael Mazzeo, the president of the police union. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Executive Research Forum, a policy institute in Washington, D.C., that surveys law enforcement agencies around the country. The decline here outpaces the national trend, but not by much. Last fiscal year, the RPD had a workforce of 705 officers, according to the department’s payroll records. Two years earlier, the headcount was at 751. In May, city officials said there were 68 vacancies in the Police Department.

Michael Mazzeo, the president of the police union, the Rochester Police Locust Club, blamed the spike in overtime on the administration of Mayor Lovely Warren cutting the police recruiting class in half in 2020 and department brass subsequently failing to adequately address vacancies. The result, he said, has been a scramble to fill open shifts. “Everybody in every neighborhood of the city should be entitled to know

2020: $77,807,157 2022: $80,327,125

AVERAGE POLICE SALARY (INCLUDING OVERTIME): 2020: $103,596 2021: $106,999 2022: $113,939

that there is a police officer assigned to where they live,” Mazzeo said. “You talk about stress and supervision, but every boss, on every shift, the first thing they’re doing is calling and scrambling to try and get somebody to come in.” The Police Department is currently hiring and has an entrance exam slated for Sept. 17. A recruitment poster asks prospective officers “Do You Have What It Takes?” and promises benefits such as generous retirement plans, excellent medical coverage, and a base salary of $83,010 after about four years on the job. But payroll records show that only about one in eight officers — typically rookies just a year or two into the job — take home less than that salary. Indeed, two thirds of the force earned in excess of $100,000 last year, mostly due to working overtime. More than 100 officers cracked $150,000 in take-home pay. Collectively, Rochester police officers logged 175,540 overtime hours last year, an average of 249 hours, or roughly six weeks, per officer. Two years earlier, officers collectively worked 100,882 hours, or 135 hours apiece, on average. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


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Rochester police at a crime scene. The department is actively recruiting, but there are fewer applicants today than in previous generations. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

BUDGET-BUSTING, RECORD-BREAKING The overtime last year busted the department’s operational budget of $90.8 million, which city officials had trimmed by $4.3 million in response to a year of protests and intense scrutiny on policing practices. Paying for it required restoring more than half of the cut. In June, the City Council approved emergency legislation that injected an additional $2.3 million into the department. The measure passed by a vote of 6-3. “A large number of sworn vacancies in the Police Department is responsible for the majority of increased expenditures in addition to the special event and private detail overtime,” the legislation read. Worth noting is that while the department is spending more on overtime than ever before, the surge in 14 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

overtime is not at an all-time high. News outlets in the early 2000s reported that Rochester police were logging upward of 200,000 overtime hours a year when the city was enacting a crime-fighting initiative known at the time as “Zero Tolerance.” But wages were lower then, and the force was larger, at about 760 officers. That translated to more officers working overtime than today, but logging fewer hours on average. For example, the Democrat and Chronicle in 2008 reported that 55 officers worked 500 or more extra hours that year, the height of the overtime surge in those days. Last year, 117 officers worked 500 or more overtime hours. By 2010, the city had cut police overtime by about a third, aided by a drop in violent crime and a hiring spree that swelled the Police

Department payroll. When Malik Evans assumed the mayoralty in January, he took the helm of a city whose median annual household income the Census Bureau has pegged at $37,395. Against that backdrop, the quarter-million-dollar cop club caught the new mayor’s eye. Just a few days into his administration, Evans issued a news release announcing that he had instructed his senior staff to develop a method to provide Rochester police earnings and overtime costs to the public with the context of factors driving those expenses. The release noted that Evans concluded that the city needed a new method for delivering such information after he examined a think tank’s online database of municipal salaries and discovered that some Rochester police officers were making more than $200,000 a year.

His administration has yet to develop a new approach to conveying the data, but his spokesperson, Barbara Pierce, said doing so remained a priority. In the news release, however, the mayor appeared to already have a handle on what was fueling the soaring salaries and the implications of them. “The primary driving factor behind these costs is the amount of overtime we are paying to an understaffed, overworked Police Department whose people are trying to protect and serve a community experiencing incredible levels of violent crime,” Evans said in the release. “Some of our officers are working more than 80 hours a week,” he went on, “and that’s not good for the officers or the community.”


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NEWS

FLOWER POWER

Mums the word

Charlie and Sarah Remelt with son Parker Remelt and future daughter in-law, Allison Bergamo, on their family farm in Henrietta. A portion of the farmland is now leased to Delaware River Solar. The Remelts are growing mums between the solar panels. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Henrietta farm reclaims idle land amid solar arrays. BY JEREMY MOULE

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@JFMOULE

ead down a chunky gravel driveway off East River Road in Henrietta, and behind a white farmhouse the Remelt family farm comes into view. The fields there produce a variety of crops, Christmas trees, and enough electricity to power roughly 1,000 homes, generated by thousands of solar panels arranged in rows and pointed skyward. This summer, the Remelts tried out a new crop: your everyday chrysanthemums, or mums for short.

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There’s nothing particularly remarkable about a farm growing common decorative flowers, but the Remelts aren’t growing them in the traditional way, which would be in a greenhouse or outdoors at a nursery. Instead, they’re raising mums in a row between two banks of solar panels — making agricultural use of idle land that so many farmers who have reserved acreage for lucrative solar farms might have written off as unusable.

“Using farmland to put solar panels on is absolutely a fantastic resource,” said Parker Remelt, whose parents, Charlie and Sarah, own the farm, and who has taken on the cultivation of the mums as a pet project. “We need more solar panels. We need more clean energy. But we also need to make sure that we’re not robbing our country of the farmland as well,” Parker said. “So we need to make sure that we’re using the land in a more appropriate and resourceful way. That’s

what attracted me to this project.” He spoke while looking over the mums on a blistering day. Half of the plants, which were being raised in nursery pots, were shaded by the panels next to them, while the other half sat in the sun. Parker explained how he and his father, when considering how to use the land occupied by the solar panels, settled on planting mums. They needed a crop that wouldn’t interfere with the operation of the panels, a qualification


Opponents of solar farms often cite the loss of farmland as their top worry. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

the mums met. As a bonus, the perennial flower also tends to be hardier when grown outdoors. Planting mums also enabled the Remelts to build on their existing relationship with Chase’s Greenhouses in Rush, which sold them the mums and advised them on raising them. “The mums are a good in-between for us to kind of bridge into this,” Parker said. For the last decade or so, solar power has been growing rapidly in New York and across the United States, driven by public demand for inexpensive clean energy and government policies aimed at promoting development of solar farms. Many of the largest facilities have been built on large plots of previously unused farmland that the project developers either bought or leased. But as more solar arrays have been erected, they’ve become increasingly

controversial, with critics citing everything from aesthetic concerns to skepticism that solar farms actually do good. Often, opponents cite the loss of farmland as their top worry. For instance, when state utility regulators recently reviewed an application for a solar farm in Byron, Genesee County, that would span over 3,000 acres of farmland, they

received several written comments expressing alarm at the potential loss of agricultural land. One of the concerns came from the operator of a large dairy farm in the town who warned regulators that the solar project could lead to a loss of adjacent land on which it could grow forage crops and spread manure. A group of residents also complained that the project would consume 1,500 to 2,000 acres of productive farmland. In April, state utilities regulators approved the application. Max Zhang, a mechanical engineering professor at Cornell University and faculty director of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, said that when possible, solar projects should not be sited on productive farmland, which have high yields and are valuable for food production. But, he added, that doesn’t

mean all farmland should be off limits. “There’s marginal land, land that’s not been particularly productive and especially has not been used for a long time, or a farmer cannot make the economics work by agricultural activities,” Zhang said. “I think for those lands, it’s a reasonable option to think about whether we can open them up for energy production.” The plot the Remelts leased to Delaware River Solar, the array’s developer and owner, could be considered marginal land. It was used for crops and Christmas trees in the past but at 25 acres, the site is small compared to modern farm fields, and it may not be cost-effective to use as traditionally farmed cropland. Charlie Remelt, who is the fourth generation of his family to work the land, CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

roccitynews.com CITY 17


doesn’t like the idea of losing farmland either. But that’s what’s been happening in Henrietta, which in recent years was one of the county’s fastest growing communities. Much of those subdivisions were built on former farmland, as farmers found developers willing to pay good money for their property. But it’s not just the money that puts pressure on farmers to sell their land. When residential or commercial growth happens around them, it can make access to fields more difficult and neighbors might start to complain about fundamental agricultural activities such as slow-moving tractors on roads or plowing, which can kick up dust. Since the 1950s, Henrietta has lost well over 12,000 acres of farmland to development, leaving around 2,900 acres of productive land that’s farmed, according to the town’s 2018 Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. “Bit by bit everything is being gobbled up to housing and stuff like that,” said Charlie, who is also a battalion chief for the Henrietta Fire Department. “We were looking for a use for the land that would preserve it as open space and provide some benefit to everybody.” Many farmers, the Remelts included, have leased land to solar companies as a way to bring in revenue. Farming is often an economically precarious business and the additional, steady income generated through those leases can help keep the enterprises viable and prevent them from selling the land for residential or commercial development. Delaware River Solar leases onequarter of the 100 acres the Remelts own and its panels provide clean energy to the farm’s neighbors through a community solar program. The remaining acreage is still actively cultivated. Nationwide, some solar farms coexist with agricultural activities, but the practice of combining the two is not yet widespread, said Cornell’s Zhang. “Solar grazing” is the most widelyadopted agricultural activity used on solar farms, according to Zhang. That’s where a solar farm owner hires a farmer to dispatch livestock, generally sheep, to graze on the grass, clover, and other vegetation growing underneath and between the panels. The approach is cheaper than paying someone to mow around the panels. 18 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

“The bottom-line question is if you’re growing something under a solar panel or solar farm, will it make economic sense? That’s one of the challenges here,” said Cornell’s Max Zhang. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

Charlie Remelt tends to the irrigation system his farm uses for the mums. PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE

It is also environmentally preferable, since it eliminates the need to use fossil-fuel-powered equipment to maintain the greenery. But the Remelts are raising a horticultural crop under the panels at their farm, something they are approaching as a test project. That’s a

more experimental use of the empty land under and around the arrays, Zhang said, adding that such tests are necessary to figure what crops, if any, can flourish while co-existing with the panels. “Basically, the bottom-line question is if you’re growing something under a solar panel or solar farm, will it make

economic sense?” Zhang said. “As a hobby, you can do anything you want, but if we want to promote this as a practice, a best practice, it’s got to make economic sense, right? That’s one of the challenges here.” That’s the equation the Remelts are working through. Parker and Charlie Remelt plan to sell the mums they raise to landscapers and retailers in the area. The questions are whether the plants will grow well enough to be sellable and whether the revenue from them will exceed the costs of raising them. If the gambit goes well, the family is likely to try cultivating more crops, using more of the solar farm footprint. Charlie said nursery plants that can be grown in containers would be likely candidates. Parker, who with his fiancée Allison Bergamo is building a house across from the farm, said that landscapers his family works with have committed to buying several hundred of the plants this year. Some, he said, have shown interest in buying several thousand in the future. “We’re very likely to expand next year,” Parker said.


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ARTS

FIRST ACT

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. PHOTO BY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Geva Theatre Center’s upcoming production of “Jane Eyre” is about “what it is for this young woman to create the life she wants,” says artistic director Elizabeth Williamson. PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH

A BREATH OF FRESH ‘EYRE’ Geva’s new artistic director launches her inaugural season with her adaptation of the classic 19th-century novel “Jane Eyre.” BY KATHERINE VARGA

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@KVARGS93

eva Theatre Center took its customary break for the summer, but Elizabeth Williamson has been busy. The summer calendar for the theater’s new artistic director has been crammed with introductions to Rochester and its arts scene, and meetings in preparation for the upcoming season, including getting 20 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

shows on their feet. The first show of her inaugural season will be “Jane Eyre,” a play Williamson adapted from the novel and has directed before. Announcing her arrival to the Rochester theater scene with a faithful adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic might seem out of step with Geva’s

recent push to produce works by historically marginalized artists and Williamson’s extensive background developing new stories by living playwrights. Williamson defended her choice this way: “I think every season should be a broad mix of stories bringing a number of different experiences onstage.”

She called “Jane Eyre” the story “of a really independent young woman who despite not having any family, any class standing… manages to figure out that she wants to create an independent life for herself and proceeds to do so.” Williamson spoke by phone from a taxicab on her way to LaGuardia Airport, where she was scheduled


to return to Rochester from New York City after holding auditions for “Somewhere,” the second show of the Geva season. Her love and knowledge of “Jane Eyre” runs deep. She recalled first reading it as a teenager and being immediately grabbed by the heroine. In college, she took women’s studies classes that held “Jane Eyre” up as foundational to understanding Victorian gender norms. “She was such a radical voice at the time,” Williamson said of Brontë, who wrote the book under a pen name and saw it published in 1847. “The novel was crucified when it came out.” Since then, the story has been adapted for television, film, manga, and the stage, including two operas. About a decade ago, Williamson wanted to direct a production based on the novel, but was dissatisfied with the stage adaptations available. She felt none sufficiently focused on Jane’s journey, which she sees as the core of the book. She downloaded the nearly-600page novel to her computer and began copying and pasting Brontë’s prose, identifying scenes and lines that could most succinctly tell the story. Williamson said 90 percent of her adaptation was taken directly from the book, and that any new lines were written in the style of Brontë. While the novel starts in Jane’s childhood, Williamson’s theatrical adaptation skips ahead to the first moment of decision in Jane’s adult life, when she applies for work as a governess. “Usually positions like that would be found through connections,” Williamson explained. “She figures out how to do that herself. There’s no one guiding her, no one helping her.” Williamson’s adaptation was first produced at Hartford Stage, where she was the associate artistic director and director of new play development before joining Geva. The production ran in early 2020 and closed a week early due to the onset of the pandemic, but received rave reviews. The star of that production, English actress Helen Sadler, will reprise her role as Jane Eyre at Geva. Sadler is just one of Williamson’s past collaborators coming to Rochester. Later this season, Hartford

Stage’s former artistic director Darko Tresnjak will direct the first in-person production of “Russian Troll Farm,” a new play originally created for streaming during the pandemic. Returning to “Jane Eyre” after a tumultuous two years, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Williamson said she is especially drawn to the importance of Jane’s autonomy and ability to control her life. She admires Brontë’s use of the Gothic, a popular Victorian genre, to address social issues concerning women. She hopes to bring the book’s horror and suspense to the stage. “You get into this mysterious house,” Williamson said. “You’re hearing strange sounds from the third floor. Odd things keep happening. And of course, what’s going on in this mysterious house speaks to all the things going wrong in society.” Some parts of Brontë’s classic haven’t aged well. A middle-aged man manipulating and courting the 18-year-old governess under his employment, for example, feels less swoon-worthy in the Me Too era. Critiques have also questioned the book’s portrayal of a Creole woman as a racialized other who must be sacrificed for Jane’s happy ending. Williamson is less interested in exploring these problematic aspects of the book with her production, instead looking to highlight the Gothic atmosphere, the period romance, and “what it is for this young woman to create the life she wants.” A more in-depth look at the novel will be offered in “A Feminist Lens Symposium,” a discussion coordinated by Rachel DeGuzman, Geva’s director of engagement, on Sept. 30. The event includes a keynote address from scholar Irma McClaurin. The event is free to the public with registration. Williamson said the question of how the “complex and challenging story” of “Jane Eyre” can be read across time periods is part of its appeal. “I think it’s important to go back and continue grappling with it,” she said.

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 21


ARTS

SHOOTING STAR

DANIELLE PONDER SEIZES HER MOMENT In a breakout year, the popular Rochester soul singer found her voice. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

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“I didn't think this would happen after 40,” Danielle Ponder said of her newfound notoriety. “I’m shocked that there’s a potential to be a household name.” PHOTO PROVIDED

22 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

usic fans everywhere are picking up on what Rochesterians have known for years: Danielle Ponder is a star. The local singer-songwriter and soul artist first peeked into the national spotlight in 2020 when her song “Poor Man’s Pain” garnered praise from NPR Music as part of its annual Tiny Desk Contest. The following year, Ponder played the Newport Jazz Festival for the first time. In 2022, Ponder made even bigger strides. She appeared on the “Late Show with Seth Meyers” to perform the single “So Long,” and shared the stage with Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Billy Porter, The Roots, and more at The Hollywood Bowl as part of a Juneteenth event. She’s been named to YouTube’s Music Foundry Class of 2022, which includes a grant to help artists enhance their visibility. Past participants include pop stars Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa. Coming up, the former public defender-turned-professional musician releases her full-length album “Some of Us Are Brave” via Future Classic on Sept. 16. In the coming months, she also opens for Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford on his fall solo tour,” and sings on the single “Grace” from his debut solo album “Self-titled.” Ponder has already achieved more than she imagined possible. It used to be that she considered success as merely being able to pay the bills as a full-time musician. “I didn’t think this would happen after 40,” said Ponder, who is 40, over Zoom while on tour in Vancouver. “I’m shocked that there’s a potential to be a household name. So I was tempted to redefine success. But early


conversations with my managers really helped me to realize that when you move the goalposts, it’s hard for you to become happy: ‘Oh success is now a Grammy, success is now a house in the Hollywood Hills.’ “I feel very successful right now, because I get to do music full-time, and I’m paying my bills at the same time. But ultimately, success to me is just happiness, none of that other shit matters if you’re not happy internally.” Fans of Ponder from her days leading her previous bands Black August and The Tomorrow People, will undoubtedly recognize her powerful, Mahalia Jackson-meetsMacy Gray voice. But the sound of Ponder’s songs on the forthcoming album “Some of Us Are Brave” has evolved from the straightforward optimism and feel-good party vibes of her previous music. “It’s really from my soul, and it’s more personal,” she explained. “And the sounds are more influenced by trip-hop, deeper soul music, and lo-fi music, and I just was afraid that I would lose an audience if I went there.” Ponder’s new songs have a gravity to them, and the singer takes a resolute, even defiant posture as she confronts listeners with her own humanity. To hear her explain it, her reality is an act of rebellion. “The fact that we have to live in a world as both Black and as women, if you do nothing else but wake up and breathe, holding those two identities and walking in this world is bravery,” she said. The title track of the new album comes from a feminist anthology entitled “All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave,” which Ponder first read while in law school. “I felt really seen in that book,” she said. “Some of Us Are Brave” is a declaration of empowerment. In it, she sings: “I say the darker the berry, the sweeter the fruit/ The kinkier the hair, the deeper the roots/ Bow down when the queendom comes/ Take note when we speak our tongues.” The accompanying music video features Ponder alongside other Black women from Rochester. “In this video, she gives us back our humanity that also allows us to kind

Ponder said her new album, “Some of Us Are Brave,” which comes out Sept. 16 via Future Classic, features her “real tone.” PHOTO PROVIDED

of show up as we are, and see all of the glory in that,” said longtime friend Reenah Golden, who runs The Avenue Blackbox Theatre on Joseph Avenue. Elsewhere in the song, Ponder calls for the freedom to be herself without being harassed. She rejects the notion that her music is political, if only for the reason that being a Black woman isn’t political. “Why can I bring up heartbreak?” Ponder said. “Why can I bring up the fact that my boyfriend broke my heart, which is painful, but I can’t bring up this other chunk of pain that I experience, which is being Black and being a woman in America? So I’m only supposed to express one type of hurt? “And especially as a musician, I believe that the music is an antidote to pain. It’s a healing balm. So why wouldn’t I use that one gift that I have to heal my pain when it comes to the pain of experiencing racism?” While it’s taken time for Ponder to find the messages that resonate most in her music, it took her longer to find her sound, her voice. Though

she never studied music formally, she learned from listening to the voices of Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, and Susan Tedeschi. “I started getting picked on because of my voice,” Ponder explained. “People would tell me I sound like an old lady, or they would say I sounded like an old gospel singer. And I spent a lot of time trying to make my voice sound much cuter. “And it wasn’t until recently where I really started singing in, on recordings at least, my real tone. Because I just felt like, oh, I sound like an old lady. This isn’t cute. I don’t sound like a cute R&B girl. In this album, I’m really singing my real tone. And I’m falling in love with it.” Ponder hasn’t achieved her stature as an artist on her own. She credits keyboardist Avis Reese, whom she’s known for 10 years, with handling the business side of things in addition to providing musical direction. “Avis just has really helped it to be a smoother running ship,” Ponder said. “I don’t know if I could have

done the amount of touring we’ve done, the amount of hustle and grinding, without having a person like Avis in the business. I always say I’m the founder, she’s the CEO. The founder’s a little crazier, has all these crazy ideas. And the CEO is like, ‘Okay, how do we get it? How do we do it?’” Ponder also acknowledges her managers, KCRW DJ Chris Douridas and top-flight booking agent Tom Windish, who she said have never asked her to change her music or who she was. “People ask me all the time, ‘Are you overwhelmed with everything?’” Ponder said. “And I don’t feel overwhelmed. I do feel like ‘Okay, let’s go.’ You know what I mean? This is what I want. Let’s do it.”

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 23


ARTS

DANCE PARTNER

Garth Fagan’s Bucket Dance Theatre circa 1986. PHOTO

PROVIDED

GARTH FAGAN: A CIRCLE OF LIFE A new WXXI documentary is an archaeological dig into the renowned dancer’s style and legacy. BY JEFF SPEVAK

@JEFFSPEVAK1

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After Garth Fagan won a Tony Award in 1998 for best choreography in “The Lion King,” there might have seemed to be nowhere else for him to go. Where he went was back to his studio in the anonymous-looking, nearly century-old building on Chestnut Street in downtown Rochester to work on another dance, “Two Pieces of One: Green.” This time, he choreographed dancers not in hyena masks or lumbering like elephants, but unadorned and gliding and leaping across the polished floors of 24 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

JSPEVAK@WXXI.ORG

Garth Fagan Dance. “When Garth came back from ‘The Lion King,’ it was clear to us that we were part of the creation of a legend,” Bill Ferguson, the executive director of Garth Fagan Dance, says in a new documentary about the man and his company. “A legend of a man, a legend of a time, a legend of a dance technique that transformed Broadway.” The documentary, “Prelude: The Legacy of Garth Fagan Dance,” explores this chapter of Fagan’s fabled life and others. The film, produced by WXXI Public Media, debuts Sept. 8 at The Little

Theatre. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. and a talk with Fagan is expected to follow. A series of airings on WXXI-TV begin at 9 p.m. Sept. 16. WXXI Public Media is the parent company of CITY. Editing a film on the life of a man like Fagan comes down to making choices, and involves a limbo dance of technological sausage making. Just a few weeks before it was to air, WXXI producer Katie Epner was making the final tweaks on video screens filled with colorful bars showing her the placement of each segment, and green

spikes depicting the accompanying audio. She snipped a frame here and a frame there to fit the 58 minutes and 30 seconds time slot. Perhaps because of such constraints, pieces of Fagan’s story are missing. There was his broken relationship with his father, an Oxford-educated man who wanted Fagan to follow in his footsteps as an academic, and not be … a dancer! There was his marriage that fell victim to two people with high career aspirations. There was the death of his 2-year-old daughter in a car accident. None of these made the documentary.


Yet, in that 58 minutes and 30 seconds, “Prelude: The Legacy of Garth Fagan Dance” presents a powerful sense of who Fagan is with an archaeological dig into Fagan’s distinctive personal style honed over 50 years. We see him today, 82 years old, his aging dancer’s frame propped up by a cane, gingerly easing his way down the steps leading to his lush backyard, filled with vegetation and chirping birds, a mirror ball, a pagoda, and even a fountain. We hear his distinctive speaking style, perhaps reflective of growing up in Jamaica, and how he drags out certain words for emphasis: Dancers are donceeers. He frequently cites astrological signs: “My brother Vir-goh.” He is a large and colorful presence in shirts of Afro-Caribbean shades and patterns. The bushy mustache is omnipresent. The hairstyle evolves on a whim, a fountain of hair often tamed into a ponytail secured by colorful hair ties. As with so many who move in the orbit of Garth Fagan Dance, large necklaces are an essential accessory. Here, we see the master of “The Lion King” in his lair. He lives alone in a red-brick neo-colonial mansion on East Avenue built in 1927. His home is filled with the art and tchotchkes of a world traveler. Fagan lives life to its fullest. As a young man, he enjoyed the parties that followed a trip to Cuba to dance for Fidel Castro. And with his own troupe, he expected his dancers to live as well. “He wanted us to be educated and informed,” says Ferguson. “Because as educated and informed dancers, we could inform our artistry. That’s the thing that made touring with the company so special. It was about the whole experience of being wherever we were at.” By digging through filmed interviews, some decades old, the documentary presents Fagan as he emerged on the national dance scene in the mid-1980s. We see video from a 1983 local segment used on the national television news show “PM Magazine,” including raw footage of Garth Fagan Dance rehearsals that was never used. From that same year, there are images from “Dance Black America,” a documentary created by D.A. Pennebaker, who’s perhaps best known for the 1967 chronicle “Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back.” Local filmmaker Carvin Eisen, who did not have a hand in producing the documentary but whose footage is used

Norwood “PJ” Pennywell, Garth Fagan, Natalie Rogers-Cropper and Bill Ferguson gather at Pennywell’s home in the documentary “Prelude: The Legacy of Garth Fagan Dance.” PHOTO PROVIDED

extensively, has been following Garth Fagan Dance with a video camera since its inception. “We just didn’t see people like Garth,” he says. He recalled Fagan’s green Jaguar sports car. His leather coat. The promotional shot of Fagan on the steps of a building and holding a Doberman on a leash. At one point, the documentary turns toward the future of Garth Fagan Dance and gives us Ferguson sitting in The Best Coffee at the Market at Rochester’s Public Market, with Natalie Rogers-Cropper, the school director of Garth Fagan Dance, and choreographer Norwood “PJ” Pennywell. All three danced with the company. They have memories, yes. But they’re also discussing the impact of the pandemic. “We basically lost the company,” Pennywell says. And as Rogers-Cropper adds, “So we’re in the position of starting over.” The parade of accomplished artists from nearby and beyond who chime in on Fagan’s legacy in this film is a testament to the lives he has touched. We see Jacqui Davis, a SUNY Brockport professor emerita, at her home in Brockport, and with Fagan outside the school. She danced in the first piece Fagan wrote. A photo of her then has Davis wearing velour bell-bottom pantsuits. We see Celia Ipiotus in her living room in Oyster Bay, New York. She is the

creator and producer of the PBS show “Eye on Dance,” which featured video from 1983’s “Dance Black America,” the event that catapulted Garth Fagan Dance to the forefront of the dance world. She speaks of the dancers’ jazz sensibility, and “the magnitude of their physicality.” Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, in the Chestnut Street studio, reflects on his collaboration with Fagan on “Griot: New York.” He says, “What makes a work rich is the complexity of the relationships.” We see theater director Julie Taymor in her home in Hudson Valley describing the dances of “The Lion King” as “isolation movement,” and remarking on how the dancers articulated their bodies to mimic the animals they were portraying. And yet Judith Jamison of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater speaks of the stillness of Fagan dances, and how, “I wanted to be able to stop like that.” We see Aubrey Lynch and Lindiwe Dlamini, cast members of “The Lion King,” at New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre. “He wanted dancers who were smart,” Lynch says, “were disciplined, who were unafraid and who would try anything.” Stephen Humphrey, another colorfully clad character in a knit cap, bongos in background, in the dancer lounge at the Garth Fagan Dance studio. Humphrey looks up, and the camera follows his gaze to an old photo of the

dance company that hangs on the green wall. “The women were really incredible,” he says. “They were definitely better than the males.” Somehow Humphrey has found a way to hang in there: He’s been dancing with the company since 1970, and is still a dancer today. And we hear a collage of philosophical axioms that must be preserved for dance posterity. “You have to love more fully, so you hurt more fully,” Fagan says. “It’s a total commitment.” He speaks of his dancers “touching the stars with their feet.” Just as Fagan does not abandon dancers as they age, he seems to have always been committed to their circle of life, not unlike the theme of “The Lion King” that made him famous. We see Nicolette Depass Ferguson, who met her husband, Bill Ferguson, as a Garth Fagan dancer, describing how Fagan created a dance solo for her “and my growing belly” at the Joyce Theater in New York City on a night that resonated across America — the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. “Not only was I able to perform six months pregnant with my first child,” Depass Ferguson says, “… I was making history for myself, for the company, for other women in the audience. Barack Obama was making history in the United States, in the world. “I can’t thank Garth enough for that experience.” roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 25


ARTS

THE SOUND OF INCLUSIVITY

Tai Murray will perform Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto with the RPO on Nov. 3 and 5. PHOTO BY GABY MERZ

RPO PLANNING MORE DIVERSE PROGRAMING IN ’22-’23 SEASON Composers and performers of color get more of the spotlight with the RPO this season. BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

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lassical music has long been a white man’s game. But the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming season attempts to chip away at the homogeneity with programming that highlights composers and performers of color. Here are several concerts to watch for this season, in chronological order. Many celebrate inclusion while 26 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

@DANIELJKUSHNER

DKUSHNER@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

enhancing the connection between orchestra and modern listener. Any time an orchestra steps outside its stylistic comfort zone is healthy. On Sept. 16 and 17, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads the RPO in a tribute to country music’s greatest songwriters with “Country Legends: The Nashville Songbook.” Tyzik arranges classics by the likes of Dolly Parton, Johnny

Cash, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson, as well as hits from such contemporary stars as Garth Brooks, Kacey Musgraves, and Tim McGraw. Country musician Rick Brantley lends his welcoming, subtle southern drawl to the show. The RPO celebrates a major milestone in Rochester music history with the Kodak Hall Centennial Concert on Sept. 24. Presented in

conjunction with Eastman Presents, the evening has RPO Music Director Andreas Delfs sharing the podium with Eastman School of Music’s Professor of Conducting Neil Varon. Eastman alum and celebrated film and TV composer Jeff Beal — known for his work on such shows as “House of Cards” and “Monk” — conducts a new original composition commissioned for the centennial.


Conductor Anthony Parnther leads the RPO in a performance of “Black Panther” on March 11. PHOTO BY HART GETZEN

On Oct. 6 and 8, the RPO presents one of the most intriguing programs of the season when it welcomes conductor Mei-Ann Chen, music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011. Chen’s expressive and incisive style will be a good fit with composer Jennifer Higdon’s lush, but at times pointed “Blue Cathedral.” Pianist Inon Barnatan brings his crystalline articulation on the keys to Chopin’s sensuous Piano Concerto No. 1. The program also features the relatively obscure 19th century composer Louise Farrenc, whose Symphony No. 3 from 1847 combines the charisma and harmonic vocabulary reminiscent of Beethoven with an urgency unique to Farrenc. This is not a concert to be missed. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is best known as an indispensable figure in American jazz. But Rochester audiences will get to hear Marsalis shine as a classical composer on Nov. 3 and 5, when his virtuosic but enigmatic violin concerto makes its RPO debut. Violinist Tai Murray is tasked with realizing the frantic beauty of Marsalis’s violin writing. The concerto is paired with the equally intense Symphony No. 5 by Jean Sibelius. The Cleveland Orchestra’s Associate Conductor Vinay Parameswaran leads the ensemble. On Nov. 17 and 19, Andreas Delfs and the RPO present a world premiere by composer Derrick Skye alongside Johannes Brahms’s “A German Requiem,” one of the crowning achievements in choralorchestral works. Brahms’s choral

writing is densely chordal and lyrical. Subtlety abounds in this deeply personal work, which he composed after his mother’s death. Black composers with Rochester ties get a rare, much-deserved chance in the spotlight on Feb. 9 and 11, when Tyzik leads Rochester vocalists Thomas Warfield and Kearstin Piper Brown and the RPO in works by essential composers William Grant Still, Duke Ellington, Adolphus Hailstork, Nkeiru Okoye, and James Lee III. Here’s hoping that RPO fans will get to experience concerts like this more frequently, and without relegation to Black History Month. The RPO continues to present popular movies in concert with a performance of “Black Panther” on March 11. Composer Ludwig Göransson’s Grammy-winning, Oscar-winning score combines traditional African instrumentation with a classical sensibility for a compelling sound that helped drive the emotional poignancy of this 2018 Marvel Studios hit film. Conductor Anthony Parnther, who led the 2022 Gateways Festival Orchestra, returns to the podium at Kodak Hall. Pop music from the ’80s and orchestras don’t commonly go together, but that hasn’t stopped Tyzik from writing new arrangements of such hits as “Material Girl” by Madonna, “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News, Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. Relive an era with “Decades: Back to the 80s” on Apr. 7 and 8. The RPO’s annual opera-inconcert event, performed May 18 and 20, features a true masterwork of the operatic canon: Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” The enduring tragedy of the hunchbacked court jester Rigoletto and his ill-fated daughter Gilda plays out in some of the most iconic bel canto songs ever written — most notably, “La donna è mobile” and “Caro nome che il mio cor.” Delfs conducts baritone Lester Lynch as Rigoletto, soprano Raven McMillon as Gilda, and tenor Matthew White as the Duke of Mantua.

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 27


30 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

DAILY Full calendar of events online at roccitynews.com THURSDAY, SEPT. 1 THEATER

Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” MuCCC, muccc.org In a post-apocalyptic world, a blind and paralyzed tyrant cloistered away in a shack with his geriatric parents and his dithering companion awaits an unspecified “end.” The end of what? Their relationship? Their lives? The play? The audience never finds out, which is partly the point of this absurdist Beckett one-act that lies somewhere between life and death. The production is an interesting choice for hummingbird theatre co., which favors new and lesserknown works. But it is bound to get an intelligent interpretation in the perceptive hands of producer and director Donald Bartalo. Curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Four shows through Sept. 4. DAVID ANDREATTA

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the satirical farces that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the “Hot Shots!” and “Naked Gun” franchises. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and admission is $7 for members, $11 for nonmembers, and $5 for students and anyone under 17. The theater recommends buying tickets in advance. Oh, and don’t call me Shirley. JEREMY MOULE

Dryden Theatre, eastman.org/drydentheatre “Airplane!” is showing as part of the Dryden’s “It’s a Disaster! Spectacle Before CGI” series. Surely you can’t be serious. “Airplane!” is known for its brilliant one-liners that will leave you laughing for days to come. The 1980 film laid the groundwork for 28 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” Little Theatre, thelittle.org You needn’t know the air speed of an unladen swallow to get into the screening of this classic comedy, you just have to buy an admission ticket. But if your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries, maybe keep your distance. “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” doesn’t really need much explaining. It’s a brilliant Grail quest comedy packed with roughly a bazillion laugh-outloud moments. This classic dovetails nicely with “Spamalot” next Friday (see Sept. 9).

any bells but your interest is piqued consider this: the Tommy Burnett Band is very popular locally, in part because it's provided many local music fans and revellers the soundtrack to a lot of fun nights out. Show starts at 7 p.m. JM SUNDAY, SEPT. 4

JEREMY MOULE

ART

“Artists for Ukraine” Rochester Contemporary Art Center, rochestercontemporary.org The opening reception for this exhibition and emergency fundraiser kicks off at 6 p.m. Artists have stepped up to donate works for purchase, with all the proceeds going to war-torn Ukraine. Works of art are wired and ready to hang, and the largest of them measure no more than 32 inches by 32 inches. Minimum price is $75. The event was produced with WXXI Public Media and RocMaidan, a local nonprofit providing humanitarian and medical aid to the Ukraine. The sale continues through Sept. 17. DA

“Sp(arrows)”

“Airplane!”

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

RIT City Art Space, rit.edu/cityartspace Where does your mind wander when you’re doing the dishes? The current show at RIT City Art Space, “Sp(arrows),” is an exploration of the “cathartic relationship of domesticity and surrealism” through recent drawings, paintings, sculptures, and installations by Annalisa Barron and Taylor Kennedy. The show is part of RIT’s programming for the Rochester Fringe Festival, but it’s on view through Sept. 25. RIT City Art Space is open from 1 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Admission is free. REBECCA RAFFERTY

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3 FESTIVAL

New York State Festival of Balloons Dansville, nysfob.com Whether you’re a fan of hot air balloon rides, or you’ve never experienced the near-stillness of gliding on air currents while taking in breathtaking views, you’ll have the opportunity this weekend. The festival kicks off Sept. 2, and continues through Sept. 4, in Dansville. There are six scheduled balloon launches, but if there’s no way you’re going up in the air, you can still partake in the pretty sights of the balloons, an international food court, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ rides, and more. RR

MUSIC

Tommy Burnett Band Whiskey River Pub and Grill, whiskeyriverpubandgrill.com/ It's the last weekend before the masses return to the grinds of work and school, so why not party a bit. The Tommy Burnett Band cranks out the kind of hard rock that keeps barrooms lively and dance floors moving. Chances are you've heard of Burnett, the founder of Iron Smoke distillery, or you've seen him and his band opening for ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, or Kellie Pickler. If none of this is ringing

MUSIC

Judy Collins & Richard Thompson Point of the Bluff Vineyards, concertsatpob.com The summer series “Concerts at Point of the Bluff” on Keuka Lake began in 2019, and Point of the Bluff Vineyards has quickly become a prime Finger Lakes venue to catch top-flight singer-songwriters and their bands. On Sept. 4, concertgoers can take in performances by not one, but two members of folk music royalty. Judy Collins brings her ethereal voice and songs cultivated over the course of her remarkable 60-year career. If that wasn’t enough, singer-guitarist Richard Thompson, a founding member of Fairport Convention, possesses unparalleled earnestness and technical polish. Doors for the all-ages show open at 2 p.m., music at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $75 to $120. DANIEL J. KUSHNER

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30 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

MONDAY, SEPT. 5 EVENT

Labor Day Parade Rochester’s East End Labor Day isn’t just the traditional end of summer, it’s a federal holiday that celebrates workers and their contributions to society. Really, though, its roots are in the organized labor movement, which convinced lawmakers to establish the holiday. In that spirit, each year the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation organizes the annual downtown procession. This year, the parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and organizers say it will follow East Avenue from North Union Street to East Main Street. JM

promises to announce her presence on the Rochester theatre scene with authority. That the love interest of the heroine Jane Eyre is the brooding Mr. Rochester, shows that Williamson knows how to play to her audience. Through Oct. 2. Tickets start at $32. DA

MUSIC

The Levin Brothers Lovin’ Cup, lovincup.com Rochester music lovers are already well-acquainted with bassist Tony Levin. The Eastman School of Music alumnus and Rochester Music Hall of Famer is a regular presence with beloved rock acts King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, but he’ll be teaming up with his brother, the pianist Pete Levin, for this intimate show at Lovin’ Cup. Joined by flutist Ali Ryerson and drummer Jeff Siegel, the Levin Brothers make “straight-ahead” jazz loaded with tasty riffs. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show presented by Bop Shop Records are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. DK WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7 MUSIC

Thick MUSIC

Sam Swanson New York Beer Project, nybeerproject.com Cover songs can be tricky things, but Sam Swanson takes otherwise unwieldy tunes and tames them with his soaring tenor voice. He interprets a wide range of music, too — everything from Etta James and Frank Sinatra to Destiny’s Child, Queen, and Green Day. Don’t let the glossy pop hits fool you, though: Swanson is a highly skilled singer. 6 to 9 p.m. DK TUESDAY, SEPT. 6 THEATER

“Jane Eyre” Geva Theatre Center, gevatheatre.org Bringing Charlotte Bronte’s 19thcentury novel to the stage was a passion project for Geva’s new artistic director, Elizabeth Williamson, when she was the associate artistic director at Hartford Stage. When she got her play up on its feet there in 2020, critics called it “the best piece of theater” she had ever directed at the company. Her Geva production 30 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

Bug Jar, bugjar.com The pop-punk banged out by Brooklyn trio Thick puts the “punk” first, making it more Bikini Kill than Blink-182. But singer Nikki Sisti’s frenzied exclamations (“I’ll always be a loser”) stay hooky and endearing, even when shouted over layers of guitar fuzz. Oklahoma wunderkinds Skating Polly and Toronto’s Bad Waitress are the supporting acts and they promise the same enticing blend. The noise starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. PATRICK HOSKEN

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8 MUSIC

Coral Moons Water Street Music Hall, thewaterstreetmusichall.com It may be tempting to call most of this line up a Beantown Invasion, what with headliner Coral Moons and its accompanying act Tory Silver hailing from Boston. But make no mistake, the Coral Moons exudes a distinct Rochester vibe with Webster native Carly Kraft on vocals and guitar leading the band’s signature blend

of playful retro-rock and surf-pop. Its carefree hit “Winnebago,” from the 2021 album “Fieldcrest,” is an earworm that will have you drumming your steering wheel for days. The Sideways, a local band, rounds out the night. At $15, this evening is a steal. Music starts at 8 p.m. DA

and the Holy Grail,” this artful celebration of idiocy retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table with no shortage of killer rabbits, showgirls, and flatulence thrown in for the middle-schooler that resides in all of us. In the words of a Daily Telegraph reviewer, “It’s a wonderful night, and I fart in the general direction of anyone who says otherwise.” The inanity ensues at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $33 to $40, much less than a suit of armor. Through Sept. 25. DA

MUSIC

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: Beethoven’s Fifth Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, rpo.org They’re arguably the four most iconic notes in music history, ringing out at the opening to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: da-dada-DAH. Was it fate knocking on the door for Beethoven, or just a joyful birdsong that caught his ear while enjoying a walk in the countryside? These few notes later became a powerful symbol of resistance and freedom for the allies during World War II, connected to the Morse Code for V, for Victory. There are a lot more notes where those four came from, and you can take the time to hear the full symphony with the RPO conducted by music director Andreas Delfs. Rounding out the program are Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, for which star violinist Gil Shaham will join the orchestra, and the charming trifle of the composer’s “Ruins of Athens” overture. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and repeats at 8 p.m. Saturday. MONA SEGHATOLESLAMI

FESTIVAL

Turtle Hill Folk Festival Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus, goldenlink.org This annual festival, presented by Golden Link Folk Singing Society, is as much about community as it is about the music. The 51st iteration, which runs through Sept. 11, returns to its typical, robust three-day celebration with daytime workshops, concerts featuring accomplished musicians from the Finger Lakes region and beyond, and campfire singalongs each evening. Festivalgoers will be transported by performances from Americana experts Richie Stearns and Aaron Lipp, Scottish folk troubadours Jim and Susie Malcolm, and the stylistically elusive vocal quartet Windborne. Single day passes range from $20 to $45; weekend passes are $75 to $100. Tickets for children are $5 to $15. DK

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9 THEATER

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” Blackfriars Theatre, blackfriars.org Shamelessly and lovingly ripped off from the 1975 film “Monty Python

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

Support is provided by: Nocon and Associates, A Private Wealth Advisory Practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC; Jacqueline Davis, Dance Professor Emerita, SUNY Brockport; Gouvernet Arts Fund at the Community Foundation; Jane K. and Robert C. Stevens Fund for New Programming

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The Tony award-winning choreographer’s life’s work is embodied in his dance company and training school, where three long-time disciples are now tasked with bringing his technique and legacy to the next generation. (Read Jeff Spevak’s article on page 24.)

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Travel the twists and turns of Garth Fagan’s storied, collaborative, and prolific career.

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roccitynews.com CITY 31 Photo Credit: Jason Milton


Great Performances puts a spotlight on Lynn Nottage’s opera Intimate Apparel and its star, Rochester’s own

Kearstin Piper Brown Intimate Apparel, the opera based on Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s play of the same name, had a great run at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City from January-March 2022. WXXI is pleased to offer you a front row seat to Intimate Apparel as it makes its television debut as part of PBS’s Great Performances on Friday, September 23 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The Great Performance presentation features Rochester’s own soprano and WXXI Classical’s fill-in host Kearstin Piper Brown, who stars in the lead role as Esther.

Photo: Kearstin Piper Brown and Arnold Livingston Gies, Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Set in turn of the century New York, Great Performances: Intimate Apparel tells the story of Esther, a lonely, single AfricanAmerican woman who makes her living sewing corsets and ladies’ undergarments. Seeking love and romance, Esther’s warm affection with an Orthodox Jewish fabric seller is socially taboo. So, she embarks on a letter-writing relationship with a mysterious suitor laboring on the Panama Canal, but eventually realizes that only her self-reliance will see her through life’s challenges. Featuring a libretto by Lynn Nottage based on her play and music by Ricky Ian Gordon, the opera is directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher. A New York Times review writes “Kearstin Piper Brown is especially heartbreaking as Esther – and is astonishingly tireless in a huge role.” She was recently honored with a Lucille Lortel Award from the Off-Broadway League in the “Outstanding Lead Performer in a Musical” category and received a Theatre World Award for her stage debut in Intimate Apparel. Kearstin never expected to be in front of a microphone—or in the spotlight on stage. She started out as a music history major in undergrad at Spelman College. When she landed a job as the editorial assistant on NPR’s Performance Today, she became interested in performing as a singer. While booking interviews with classical music artists for NPR’s Fred Child, she began to seriously consider pursuing a vocal career. What sealed the deal was an encounter with Rochester’s William Warfield at a conference in Denver. He encouraged her to pursue a soprano career and she began taking classes with Mr. Warfield at Northwestern University. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Kearstin moved to Rochester in 2015 when her husband took a job here. She has built an amazing career that has spanned opera and musical theater, including appearances with the San Francisco Opera, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Opera Kazan, Skylight Music Theatre, Dayton Opera, Virginia Opera, Utah Festival Opera and the Belarusian State Philharmonic Orchestra. 32 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

See it on the big screen ahead of the TV premiere! WXXI Classical presents… Great Performances: Intimate Apparel Doors Open: 5:30pm, Discussion with Kearstin Piper Brown: 6:00pm, Screening: 6:30pm The Little Theatre (240 East Avenue) For details and tickets visit: thelittle.org/intimate-apparel


WXXI TV • THIS MONTH The U.S. and The Holocaust Sunday, September 18 through Tuesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV This new three-part documentary, directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. Inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources, The U.S. and The Holocaust examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States, and race laws in the American south. Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, the series dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference. The film features interviews with some of the country’s leading scholars on the period, including Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, a historian of American responses to the Holocaust, who grew up in Churchville, NY and graduated from Mercy High School. In addition to the broadcast, WXXI was awarded a grant from the film’s co-producer WETA to host a series of outreach events, which will run through spring 2023. Events are currently in the planning phase and could include screenings, discussions, and speaking engagements. These will be announced soon. Local support for The U.S. and The Holocaust is provided by Bank of America in Rochester and the Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust. Corporate funding for The U.S. and The Holocaust was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by: David M. Rubenstein; the Park Foundation; the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation; Gilbert S. Omenn and Martha A. Darling; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; and by the following members of The Better Angels Society: Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; Jan and Rick Cohen; Allan and Shelley Holt; the Koret Foundation; David and Susan Kreisman; Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder; Blavatnik Family Foundation; Crown Family Philanthropies, honoring the Crown and Goodman Families; the Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky; The Russell Berrie Foundation; Diane and Hal Brierley; John and Catherine Debs; and Leah Joy Zell and the Joy Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.

Long Road to Hope: Ending Parkinson’s Disease Monday, September 5 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV The University of Rochester Center for Health + Technology looks at how we can address and prevent Parkinson’s disease, now the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world. Speaking with 12 Parkinson’s patients, UR Medical Center’s neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D. and Bas Bloem, M.D., Ph.D. with Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands discuss the global effort required to address it. Photo provided by urmc.rochester.edu

100 Years from Mississippi Monday, September 12 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV Follow Mamie Lang Kirkland as she returns to Ellisville, Mississippi, the hometown she fled due to an incoming lynch mob in 1915. She passed away at age 111 at her home in Buffalo, NY in 2020, but her story remains just as crucial of a testament to the enduring reality of racial terror in America as ever. Photo provided by APT

From Broadway to Obscurity Sunday, September 18 at 4 p.m. on WXXI-TV Soon to be featured at the Rochester Fringe Festival, Eric Gutman explores his rise to Broadway success in the smash hit Jersey Boys, followed by his new life as a suburban father in Michigan, far from the city that never sleeps. This musical exploration combines musical theatre, popular music, and a unique look backstage. Photo provided by PBS roccitynews.com CITY 33


TURN TO WXXI CLASSICAL FOR MUSIC PERFECTLY TUNED TO YOUR DAY Live from Temple B’rith Kodesh: A Rosh Hashanah Service

GamePlay, Season Three Saturdays at 11 a.m. an 7 p.m. on WXXI Classical A whole new season of GamePlay kicks off September 3 with a show featuring music from the spiky-haired, fleet-footed blue mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. The series celebrates the vast worlds of videogame music. Each episode brings the music, composers and performers to life.

Sunday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. on WXXI Classical Tune in for this annual broadcast celebrating the Jewish New Year, as Senior Rabbi Peter Stein leads the Rosh Hashanah Service live from Temple B’rith Kodesh. WXXI’s Jeanne Fisher hosts. This special broadcast is made possible with support from the Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation.

Live Remote broadcast from the Clothesline Arts Festival Saturday, September 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on WXXI Classical WXXI Classical host and music director Julia Figueras hosts this annual radio celebration of music and the arts from the Memorial Art Gallery. Julia shares her observations from the festival and interviews several of the artists, as well as staff from the gallery, and of course — plays some beautiful classical music.

Meet Brian Sharp, WXXI News’ Business and Development Reporter He has been covering Rochester since 2005, working most of that time as an investigative reporter. As WXXI News’ Business and Development Reporter, Brian’s job is to focus on where we live, work, and shop, how we get around and how that might change because of technology and development. Brian is a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 34 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

What’s your favorite part of Rochester and why? The water. I love the Lower Falls area. I used to live along Irondequoit Bay. The canal is wonderful. There is so much of the Genesee River that I want to kayak. And, of course, Lake Ontario.

What’s always on your desk? Coffee, black. What book did you read last? What did you think of it? A to Z Mysteries – The Vampire’s Vacation. My preschooler loves mysteries, and we read every night.


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

988: A Call for Crisis Care

The So-Called Mystery of Rapa Nui

Sunday, September 4 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM107.5 As of July, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has transitioned to a 3-digit number. But what is the real state of crisis care in the United States and how else can it be improved? Hear from experts working to improve crisis care and learn more about the new call and text line.

Sunday, September 11 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370/FM107.5 For hundreds of years, European explorers’ questions about the civilization that placed moai around what they dubbed “Easter Island” set global perception of the island. But Rapa Nui, its Indigenous name, isn’t shrouded in mystery — its inhabitants’ ancestors’ oral history has just been consistently ignored. Photo: Moai at Ahu Tongariki, Credit: Carlos Reusser Monsálvez

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to your first day at WXXI? Be patient. I have been a print reporter for almost 30 years, so I feel pretty comfortable in how to craft a news story. Radio came with a whole new set of rules. I’m a veteran and a newbie at the same time. With each step you realize how much more you need to learn. It’s a new journey. And that is humbling and exciting.

Live Remote broadcast from the Clothesline Arts Festival Saturday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on WRUR-FM 88.5 WRUR’s Scott Regan will host his show, Open Tunings, live for the festival site on Saturday. Scott will play a variety of tunes and talk with some of the artists at the festival. roccitynews.com CITY 35


240 East Ave thelittle.org

Black Cinema Series:

“Alma’s Rainbow” 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 9 Alma’s Rainbow is a coming-of-age comedydrama about three Black women living in Brooklyn. Ayoka Chenzira’s feature film explores the life of teenager Rainbow Gold (Victoria Gabrielle Platt) who is entering womanhood and navigating conversations and experiences around standards of beauty, self-image, and the rights Black women have over their bodies.

Staff Picks:

Babe (1995) 6:35 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12 That’ll do pig! An eccentric little pig, raised by canines, trains to be a champion sheep herder in this classic family comedy. Oscar winner for best visual effects. Based on the novel “The Sheep Pig” by Dick King-Smith. Starring James Cromwell, and Christine Cavanaugh (the voice of “Babe”). Picked by: Matt D. For fans of: Cozy comfort movies, Charlotte’s Web, Shaun The Sheep Movie

Saturday, Oct. 1 10:30am: “The Adventures of Mark Twain” (1985) | 12:45pm: “Claydream” (2022) A celebration of stopmotion animation legend Will Vinton, father of Claymation, and creator of the California Raisins, M&M’s characters, numerous holiday programs and special effects. Tickets are $5 for “Mark Twain”, $9 for “Clay Dream”, or $12 for both.

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Saturday Night Rewind presents the Michael Keaton fall classic.


SATURDAY, SEPT. 10

FAMILY

Fall Kickoff

FESTIVAL

Clothesline Festival Memorial Art Gallery, mag.rochester.edu For more than 60 years, Clothesline has showcased fine artists and craftspeople with booths set up on the lawn of the Memorial Art Gallery. In addition to browsing the wares of more than 400 artists from around the country, you can enjoy music and dance performances, food and drinks, art-making activities, and more. Admission to the gallery is free with Clothesline admission: $7 for adults, $4 for children 3-12, and free for kids 2 and younger. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 10 and 11. RR

Schutt’s Apple Mill, schuttsapplemill. com/events Is there really any question that Schutt’s produces some of the best cider and fry cakes in the region? The business practically oozes autumn, making it the perfect host for a Fall Kickoff. This event really has anything a kid or adult could ask for including bounce houses, a petting zoo courtesy of Seneca Park Zoo, a magic show, photo booth, live music, a hard cider tasting, pick-your-own apples and flowers, wagon rides, a fry cake eating contest, and so on. Here’s hoping for a nice, crisp day for the kickoff, instead of the scorchers the Rochester area sometimes has in mid-September. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. JM SUNDAY, SEPT. 11

“Babe” The Little Theatre, thelittle.org On its surface, “Babe” is the story of a pig who would rather be a sheep-dog than Christmas dinner. (Wouldn’t you?) He finds his way in the regimented world of the farm, learning that he can forge his path with kindness and authenticity, rather than toughness alone. This mid-90s movie has the trappings of a kids’ story, but succeeds for adults beyond nostalgia, with warmth and beautiful direction, not to mention its soundtrack adapting classical favorites, including from French romantic Camille Saint-Saëns. That’ll do, pig. “Babe” is back on screen for one night at The Little’s Jack Garner Theatre at 6:35 p.m. MS

THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

FESTIVAL

Rochester Fringe Festival

Front 242

JM

FILM

moody on-screen material, with an anti-hero star turn from Henry Fonda, alongside Barbara Bel Geddes and Vincent Price. Note for my fellow classical music loving film nerds: this movie’s soundtrack uses the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, the same music that shows up in “The King’s Speech,” cult classic “Zardoz,” Tarsem Singh’s “The Fall,” and Jacques Demy’s “Lola.” The film starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $11 for non-members, $7 for members, and $5 for students and those 17 and younger. MS

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13

MUSIC

Photo City Music Hall, photocitymusichall.com The late 1970s and early to mid 1980s were a wild time for music. Disco was on the decline and stripped down, aggressive punk and metal made their rise. It was also a time when the fledgling genres of electro-pop, noise, and industrial developed and solidified. Belgium’s Front 242 was at the cutting edge, pulling from all of those genres to create what came to be called “electronic body music.” Imagine a danceable amalgam of pounding drum loops, synths, bursts of noise, and sporadic vocals. The sound is similar to Nine Inch Nails’ debut “Pretty Hate Machine” — Front 242 was an influence on Trent Reznor, who pretty much is NIN. The show is $30 and doors open at 7 p.m. Supporting acts include Rochester industrial synth-punk band Komrads.

MONDAY, SEPT. 12

FESTIVAL

Lumberjack Festival Macedon Center Fireman’s Field, macedoncenterfire.org The two-day celebration of sylvan sports takes place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11. From 10 a.m. onward you can catch the NYS Lumberjack Association Professional Competition, which includes axthrowing, hot saw, two-man crosscut, and more (Saturday is the prelims and Sunday is the finals). But for those who want to do more than watch the pros in action, there’s the Lumberjack Breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon each day ($6-$12), a crafts and collectibles sale, exhibits, festival food, and a petting zoo. Admission is $1-$5, and free to ages 5 and younger. RR

Multiple venues, rochesterfringe.com This 12-day festival needs no introduction, but its annual launch is worth noting for the mere spectacle of the event. With more than 500 shows at upward of 30 venues, this extravaganza offers unparalleled access to performing arts all kinds — from live music to stand-up comedy and theater to dance. The best part of Fringe-bingeing is stumbling across a treasure that stays with you, and there are plenty of them. The giant tent at One Fringe Place, across from Eastman Theatre downtown, serves as the nightly hub for shows, food, and drinks. Through Sept. 24. DA WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14 FILM

MUSIC

Stephan Crump Bop Shop Records, bopshop.com Upright bass does not get a lot of shine as a solo instrument, but Brooklyn-based bassist Stephan Crump may just change your perspective on the stringed behemoth and its expressive capabilities. Crump’s latest album, “Rocket Love” is a solo bass exploration that manages to be both soulful and experimental. On compositions such as “Pannonica” and “Groove for Stacey Abrams,” the Grammy-nominated musician fluctuates between heavy groove and ambient bliss-out. Bop Shop Records excels at bringing in elite New York jazz artists, and this 8 p.m. show is no exception. Admission is $20. DK

“The Long Night” Dryden Theatre, eastman.org The George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre has been taking a deep dive into the world of film noir since last year, highlighting the different takes on the style from 1946 and 1947, led by Curator of Film Exhibitions Jared Case. “The Long Night” is a tale of murder told through flashbacks that make for

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30 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

MUSIC

FRIDAY, SEPT. 16

Smooth Jazz Birthday Bash: Celebrating Jimmie’s 55th 75 Stutson, 75stutsonstreet.com Jimmie Highsmith’s sweet, smooth saxophone playing has earned him a Grammy nomination and national recognition, while he has remained rooted here in Rochester as a music educator, founder of a free community band, and as a favorite performer at festivals, clubs, benefits, and a recent residency at the French Quarter Restaurant. Friends and fellow musicians will be celebrating Highsmith’s 55th birthday in style with a concert that includes his band, along with jazz group Paradigm Shift, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Bakari Smith, and more. For $40, you can join in the musical celebration that gets started at 7 p.m., hosted by Dr. Shaun “Big Shaun” Nelms. MS

FESTIVAL

Rochester Oktoberfest

MUSIC

Pusha T “It’s Almost Dry” Tour Water Street Music Hall, thewaterstreetmusichall.com From his start as one half of the Virginia Beach duo Clipse to becoming Kanye West’s protégé and a pesky thorn in the side to Drake, the rapper known Pusha T landed his first No. 1 album this spring with “It’s Almost Dry” after nearly 30 years into a journeyman rap career. His tour of the album, which plays on the coke rap themes of the work, has been called “electrifying” and was so successful that he launched a second phase. Catching this act will set you back between $30 and $65 but the experience could be unforgettable. Music starts at 8. DA MUSIC

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Texas Hippie Coalition The Montage, rocevents.com The first time I hit play on a Texas Hippie Coalition song it gave me a strong urge to ride a hog to a roadhouse and drink bottles of cheap beer. The band calls its sound “Red Dirt metal,” a riff on the “Red Dirt country” genre that evolved out of the Outlaw Country pioneered by the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, and many others. It’s all named after the Red River in Texas and Oklahoma. Back to THC — the band has the bourbon-and-smoke-soaked twang of classic country, but the music is thick, heavy, and bluesy. It’s what you’d expect to hear in a particularly rowdy barbecue joint. Tickets are $20 — leather jacket, beard, and custom motorcycle not required. JM 38 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

College for a 7:30 p.m. performance as part of the college’s “Changemaker Series.” MS

American String Quartet and Octavio Vazquez Glazer Music Center, Nazareth College, www2.naz.edu Composer Octavio Vazquez pursued music in defiance of societal expectations when he was growing up in Galicia in the waning days of Francisco Franco’s rule over Spain. Now an established composer with an international presence and the director of the composition program at Nazareth College, Vazquez writes music incorporating elements of his Galician heritage as part of his expansive musical language. Last summer at the Aspen Festival, he premiered his quintet for piano and strings with the American String Quartet. They’ll bring that music to Rochester at the resonant Beston Hall of the Glazer Music Center at Nazareth

rohrbachs.com Just like the annual celebration in Munich, Rochester’s Oktoberfest begins in September. Chant “Eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa!” and throw back some German-style beer from Rohrbach Brewing Co. Bratwurst and other traditional German food will be available from Swan Market, and accordionist Marianna Gonzales will bring the ‘oom-pah-pah’ sound. It all starts at 5 p.m. in the Railroad St. beer garden pop-up. Ticket information will be on their website close to the event. DAVID STREEVER SATURDAY, SEPT. 17 EVENT

Museum Day Various Locations, smithsonian.org Just because most museums in our area have pretty reasonable ticket prices, doesn’t mean that I’d turn down a couple free tickets and the extra motivation to get out to enjoy some of the treasures in our area. Smithsonian Magazine is encouraging people to enjoy museums by providing two free tickets per email address when you register on its website for this national initiative. In Rochester, the George Eastman Museum is part of the promotion, so you can get complimentary tickets to tour the historic mansion and the galleries, including contemporary photography and William Kentridge’s moving images. If you want to venture out a bit, other Museum Day participants in the region include the Antique Wireless Museum in Bloomfield and the Rose Hill Mansion in Geneva. MS THEATER

“Tick...tick... BOOM!” OFC Creations Theatre, ofccreations.com Here’s a chance to see a live production of a show that mostly reached music theater fans as a Netflix hit. Jonathan Larsen’s autobiographical musical is about trying to make it on Broadway and the sacrifices he made along the way,

which has added poignance knowing that his untimely death meant he didn’t get to see the success of his musical “Rent.” Blackfriars Theatre’s new artistic director Brynn Tyszka directs this professional production, with evening performances Sept. 16, 17, and 18. Tickets are $35, or $50 if you want some champagne thrown in with your ticket. MS SUNDAY, SEPT. 18 FESTIVAL

Purple Foot Festival Casa Larga, casalarga.com When an event bills itself as one of the largest grape stomping festivals in the eastern United States, you just have to wonder how many grape stomping festivals there are. Casa Larga Vineyards and Winery are holding this event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and if you don’t want to purple up your feet, or you just don’t give a fig about squishing grapes, there will be all sorts of other activities, from horse-drawn tours of the vineyards to live music and a pie eating contest. Wine, beer, slushies, and small snacks will be available for purchase. And for the well-under-21 set, grape juice will be available. JM MUSIC

Ricky Montgomery The Montage Music Hall, rocentevents.com Major-label money often obscures the idiosyncrasies of homespun musical talents. That’s not true of Los Angeles pop wiz Ricky Montgomery, who signed with Warner Records in mid-2020 after having two songs go viral on TikTok. The theatrical “Line Without a Hook” found success in bedroom pop simplicity, whereas subsequent singles boasted walls of keyboards and harmonies, which preserved the playful spirit that first endeared Montgomery to a quartermillion scrollers. Whisper-folkie Delaney Bailey will also play the show. Advance tickets start at $20. Music begins at 8 p.m. PH


MONDAY, SEPT. 19 FESTIVAL

Foodlink Festival of Food Rochester Public Market, foodlinkny.org For $60 you get to spend an early fall evening tasting food and beverages prepared by area eateries set up throughout the Rochester Public Market. This year’s event features live music by The Cool Club and the Lipker Sisters, raffles, and festival swag that comes with your ticket. All proceeds benefit Foodlink. From 6 to 9 p.m. RR TUESDAY, SEPT. 20

performing the music of Pink Floyd “with note for note perfection” since 1988, according to the band’s bio. That’s great, but here’s a better idea of how they measure up to the British rock legends: When longtime Floyd member David Gilmour turned 50, The Australian Pink Floyd Show played his birthday party. Their performances have included all kinds of high-tech visuals and a giant inflatable pig and pink kangaroo. It’s not a Pink Floyd concert, but it might be the next best thing. Tickets are $35.50 to $75.50. Show starts at 8 p.m. JM THURSDAY, SEPT. 22 MUSIC

David Wax Museum

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Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys Abilene Bar and Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com Swing and hillbilly boogie collide in the performances of this Southern California group that has been a staple of the ever-changing Americana circuit for nearly 40 years. You’ll catch glimpses of roots and R&B in Robert “Big Sandy” Williams’s sometimes upbeat, sometimes sultry buttersmooth crooning that jumps between jive and mourning blues. These guys are on the road constantly, but only land in Rochester periodically. Best to catch them while you can. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. DA WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21 MUSIC

The Australian Pink Floyd Show Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com The Australian Pink Floyd Show has been travelling the world and

Abilene Bar and Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com In the hands of couple David Wax and Suz Slezak, indie rock, Americana and Mexican folk influences blend together in a heady mixture of cozy but unpredictable songs. The duo’s band, called the David Wax Museum, creates highly personal musical moments of quirkiness and charm. On the Wax Musem’s latest album, “Remember My Future,” vibes range from the cacophonous title track to the coaxing “Missouri Skies.” The result is eclectic, fun, and confessional without being self-serious. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show. DK MUSIC

Knocked Loose, Dying Fetus, Terror, Omerta Water Street Music Hall, thewaterstreetmusichall.com Terror hails from Los Angeles, but it is fronted by western New York hardcore royalty in the form of Scott Vogel, the animated vocalist for influential Buffalo bands Slugfest and Despair, both of which broke up a long time ago. Knocked Loose should probably be opening for Terror, right? The order on the bill doesn’t change the fact that both bands are known for playing heavy, fast-paced music meant for spin kicks and windmills in the pit. They’ll be joined by Maryland death metal / grindcore heavyweights Dying Fetus and Houston-based Omerta, whose sound is fast, punishingly heavy, and a little chaotic. Tickets are $27.50 in

advance or $32 day of. Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show is 18 and over. JM ARTS

“Meme Me” Art DeTour Memorial Art Gallery, mag.rochester.edu As museums and galleries became interested in marketing themselves to younger audiences on social media, they loosened up their restrictions on taking pictures of the exhibits and now encourage folks to snap and share. They even go as far to encourage “meme” challenges where the users provide funny captions to describe what they think the subjects of the art are doing or thinking. You can get in on the fun from 6 to 7 p.m., when Rochester street art photographer Quajay Donnell guides participants on a tour of his favorite works in the MAG’s collection, shares a selection of his award-winning photos and discusses his passion for public art. Tickets are $25. RR FRIDAY, SEPT. 23 FESTIVAL

Oktoberfest at Sager Beer Works Sager Beer Works, sagerbeerworks.com The harvest season is Sager Beer Works’s head brewer Paul Guarracini’s time to shine. The traditionalist beermaker is a master in simplistic styles entrenched in nuance, complexity, but that are fit for chugging by the stein. Pair your liquid indulgences with some really awesome pretzels made in the Sager kitchen. The celebration runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. GF SATURDAY, SEPT. 24 SPORTS

Rochester Cyclocross Genesee Valley Park, rochestercyclocross.com If you’ve never seen cyclocross before, well, you’re in luck. Every September, licensed pros and amateur ‘cross racers descend on Rochester to compete in a two-day mud battle. Your typical race is an adrenaline-fueled sprint over barriers and up rocky paths, on a short, looping track that makes for

great spectating. Races start at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day, with races resuming at the same time Sept. 25. Admission and parking are free. Youths and adults can register to race until Sept. 21. DS COMEDY

Randy Rainbow: “The Pink Glasses Tour” Kodak Center, kodakcenter.com I’m not the biggest fan of musicals, but when a fellow satire-loving friend introduced me to the delightful phenomenon that is Randy Rainbow during the Trump presidency, I devoured his political parodies of showtunes. The New York-based entertainer got his start making videos in his apartment, splicing himself as a “cut the b.s.” interviewer into real interview clips and proceeding to trounce Trump and his cronies with parodies of songs ripped from famous musicals. A “Jesus Christ Superstar” medley of songs transformed into “Cheeto Christ Stupid-Czar,” Betsy DeVos was skewered in “Cruella DeVos,” and Rainbow created two Trumped-up versions of “Cell Block Tango” from “Chicago.” His singsong praise of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, didn’t age so well. Rainbow last visited Rochester in 2019 and his current tour, on which he’s been performing new material, stops here at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $36.50.RR

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30 DAYS OF MUSIC, ARTS, AND LIFE EVENTS TO CHECK OUT THIS MONTH

MUSIC

LECTURE

Roger McGuinn

“A Donkey and An Elephant Walk into an Election: Fostering Politics Where We Respect Each Other”

Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, fhpac.org There is no more iconic sound in 1960s folk rock than Roger McGuinn’s jangly Rickenbacker guitar, which strummed its way into the cultural consciousness with The Byrds’ 1965 hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!” McGuinn, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, hasn’t stopped strumming since between his 10 post-Byrds studio albums, his Folk Den Project, and several live albums. The Bob Dylan collaborator will bring his underrated musical legacy to Canandaigua with a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $50 to $60. DK PETS

Barktober Fest Lollypop Farm, lollypop.org Dog people are always looking for places to hang out with their dogs and the pet-obsessed folks at Lollypop get it. The organization’s annual Barktober Fest packs in a lot of fun for humans and canines alike, including bounce houses, live music, a dog costume contest, a pie eating contest, and more. I have some sweet, slobbery memories of the time I took Lucky, my previous dog whom I had adopted from Lollypop, and got her in the Pooch Smooch Kissing Booth. Noodle the Pug of Tik Tok fame is also scheduled to make an appearance. The festival is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. JM SUNDAY, SEPT. 25 HISTORY

Harriet Tubman & Beyond Sonnenberg Gardens, sonnenberg.org This year is the bicentennial of the birth of Harriet Tubman, noted abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. This talk is a chance to learn more about her work and the influence of the underground railroad on our region, starting at 2 p.m. at this mansion surrounded by lovely gardens. For more of her story, head 40 miles east of Canandaigua to Auburn, where you can visit Tubman’s home, which has been transformed into a museum. There are bicentennial events planned through the rest of the year, listed at harriettubman200.com. MS

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Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, gmeforum.org With so much dividing us politically — and if you’re like me and have family members on the opposite side of the aisle who love to provoke and goad and mock — it can be difficult to find the patience to talk it out effectively. This year’s George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum lecture series kicks off with a discussion that may help. The event brings together Robert M. Shrum, director of the Center for the Political Future, and “GOP Political Strategies” host Mike Murphy to discuss our polarized electorate and how we may reach consensus to solve common problems we face. WXXI’s “Connections” host Evan Dawson moderates the 4 p.m. talk. Tickets are $25. RR MONDAY, SEPT. 26 FILM

“Moonage Daydream” The Little Theatre, thelittle.org There’s a lot of David Bowie material out there to absorb, given the impact that his 54-year chameleonic career had on musicians, artists, and everyday weirdos around the world. And having been a fan since the second grade, I rabidly devour every bit. After all, the man died in 2016 and isn’t producing anything new. But the tributes and explorations of his creative and spiritual journeys within his musical career keep coming. “Moonage Daydream,” Brett Morgen’s new film, includes 40 exclusively remastered Bowie songs, and is the first film officially sanctioned by the Bowie Estate (Morgen’s film benefitted from access to the artist’s official archives). The movie opens Sept. 16 nationwide, and The Little expects to screen it by today. Check with the theater for updates on times, ticket pricing, and additional info. RR

TUESDAY, SEPT. 27

FRIDAY, SEPT. 30

MUSIC

Tuesday Pipes Christ Church, esm.rochester.edu The pipe organ is known as “the king of instruments” and there are two of these royals holding court at Christ Church on East Avenue: the Craighead-Saunders Organ (a recreation of an 18th century European instrument) and the Hook & Hastings Organ, featuring original pipes from 1862 and 1893. Carve out time in your Tuesday to hear their sumptuous sound starting at 12:10 p.m. in a 25-minute lunchtime concert, performed by Eastman School of Music students, faculty and alumni. The free performances are held weekly. MS WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 28 SPORTS

Rochester Red Wings Home Closer Frontier Field, milb.com/rochester Our hometown boys of summer close out the season with a hookymagnet afternoon matchup against the Worcester Red Sox. The Wings were in the hunt for a pennant in the tightly contested International League East before blowing 19 straight games. Playing on the top farm team for the woeful Washington Nationals likely means this crop of Wings won’t be in town long. If you want to catch these rising stars before they get called up to the big leagues, close your laptop, play sick, and skip that afternoon meeting at the office. Opening pitch at 1:05 p.m. DA

THURSDAY, SEPT. 29 MUSIC

Rivers of Nihil Montage Music Hall, rocentevents.com Rivers of Nihil, a band that embodies the mid-2000s shift in death metal, in which bands began incorporating softer tones to contrast brutality. Vocalist Jake Dieffenbach ranges from clean, emo-esque crooning to crushing growls and screams, accompanied by sonic backdrop seemingly drawing influence in everything from Necrophagist to Explosions in the Sky. The band will be performing the entirety of its 2021 release, “The Work.” Tickets are $16 in advance, doors 6 p.m. GF

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Evan Meulemans Rootstock Cider & Spirits, rootstockciderworks.com There’s something decidedly autumnal about the combination of hard cider and singer-songwriter Evan Meulemans’s soulful and varied rock tunes, so why not let him provide the soundtrack to your end-of-the-month cider-sippin’. On his latest album, 2021’s “Waves,” Meulemans ups the intensity and utilizes an expressive vocal palette. In all his songs, warmth and sincerity are key, and the musician’s Midwestern charm (he hails from Wisconsin originally) put the music over the top. Meulemans is nothing of not a genuine musician with plenty of hard-earned hope to share with audiences. 7 p.m. DK DANCE PARTY

“22 & good 4 u” Water Street Music Hall, 22andgood4u.com/ This touring, all-ages event is named after two massive hits, Taylor Swift’s “22” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u.” The title is a good indicator of what to expect: a dance party set to the songs of Swift and Rodrigo. Both artists have recorded some high-energy tunes that surely translate well to the dance floor — the “22 & good 4 u” Facebook page shows lots of happy, slightly sweaty people who’ve presumably been shaking it off. Tickets are $13 to $18 in advance or $25 the day of. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the music starts at 8:30. JM


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NEW MUSIC REVIEWS

somewhat ominous, as with the gentle acoustic-guitar fingerpicking against the drome of a sustained low D in “Post Wrestling.” “Exit Interview” sounds like primitive folk music masquerading as reverb-soaked psychedelia, with rock instruments borrowing from New Age sensibilities and occasionally evoking sitar sounds. Deceptively simple but endlessly listenable, Veeder’s music is mystical without being indecipherable.

“EXIT INTERVIEW” BY WILL VEEDER Devotees of the Rochester indie rock scene are already familiar with Will Veeder as bassist for the ’90s-born quintet Muler and as the singer-guitarist of its offshoot Hinkley, both of which lasted well into the 2010s and were shepherded by the local label Carbon Records.

As calming as the album often is, an ever-present drone imbues every song — an unwavering sonic metaphor for the inevitability of death, perhaps — and is the glue that holds this sometimes somber, sometimes ecstatic 15-song collection together. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

Veeder’s new solo album, “Exit Interview,” released by Carbon Records on July 29, draws from some of the multi-instrumentalist’s usual influences — Americana, rock, and post-rock — while veering down a more contemplative track than his previous work. Veeder plays all the instruments on the album, including guitars, keyboards, and percussion, lending consistency to otherwise divergent moods that shift from track to track. Despite varying tempos and subtle distinctions in the guitar instrumentation, the first three songs of “Exit Interview” are all in the key of C minor and are based on the same droned note. These qualities give the listener the sense that time is suspended, and the music is as unsettling as it is luxurious.

Ska music holds a special, sentimental place in my heart. It wisks me back to my high school days, when punchy horns and bouncy bass lines formed the soundtrack to my sunny yet naive outlook on the world .

Vocals don’t enter until seven minutes into the album, during the third song “What We Break Is What We Hold,” and even then, they act merely as another instrumental layer, despite the cathartic lyrics: “Dying, you’re gonna rise.”

“Habits of the Average Degenerate,” the debut full-length album from Rochester ska outfit Turkey Blaster Omega, released on June 17, pairs the customarily upbeat music with angsty lyrics about finding oneself.

It all feels like a soundtrack to a psychedlic-fueled spiritual rite of passage, experienced in some remote desert far away from here. There is something deeply meditative about Veeder’s compositions, as if they urge the listener to get lost in their own thoughts.

The band boasts tight arrangements, but its collective performance is held together by charismatic vocalist Katie Mangiamele, whose pop-punk melodies and spunky delivery sell the songs.

Even at the album’s most cacophonous, as in “War Drones,” and in the toe-tap-inducing repetition of “Ozona Stockman,” tonality reigns supreme and the sense of melody never breaks down. The ethereal “Night Ride” leans into more ambient textures. But even Veeder’s peaceful soundscapes sound 42 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

“HABITS OF THE AVERAGE DEGENERATE” BY TURKEY BLASTER OMEGA

On “Wish I Knew,” Mangiamele’s earnest lyrics underscore the frantic energy of the band behind her as she sings, “My mind is far away and my spirit starts to break/ The only light that I see is from the girl that I want to be.” Mangiamele and company reluctantly embrace the sappy side of romance with the plainly titled, “Love Song,” as the singer manages to sound both irritated and elated:


“Oh, you’re the sweetest soul I ever met, and I swore I wouldn’t do this shit again/ But here I am, and there’s something in the air/ If I’ve fallen and I won’t get up/ It’s kind of gross, yeah, it’s cheesy as fuck/ But at this point I don’t even care.” Turkey Blaster Omega describes itself as “fourth-wave ska.” But with the band’s indebtedness to punk music, I don’t hear the evolution past the third wave. That’s not to say its music misses the mark. Although fourth-wave moments of relaxed psychedelia are nearly non-existent on “Habits of the Average Degenerate,” good vibes are plentiful, especially on songs such as the relentless, punk-addled “Alive to Survive,” which first appeared on the band’s 2020 EP “First Contact.” Silliness rules the day on tracks such as the instrumental “Spaghetti Feet” and the closer “Mozzarella Sticks,” which extols the virtues of the popular barroom appetizer before the band gets roasted by an unnamed comedian. “Have you ever had an actual audience?” he asks. Inane moniker aside, Turkey Blaster Omega most definitely has an audience, and “Habits of the Average Degenerate” succeeds because it tempts listeners to experience the music’s full effects live. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

way through a hypnotic synth loop and thunderous drums on “Georgia,” the closing track. Throughout the album, drummer Nick Cerbone and electronics-synth player Eric Andersen, both of Cottage Street, bolster Cloninger and Davies’s sound and add mystery to a music that seems to be from everywhere and nowhere all at once. It will be fascinating to see where Wren Cove goes from here. Regardless of whether the group moves toward more structured compositions or continue to create music in the moment, the band’s intuition and ear for compelling sound combinations make it one of Rochester’s most exciting sonic surprises. — BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER

“TREES” BY WREN COVE Wren Cove is the unexpected collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cloninger, formerly of the Daniel Bennett Group, and cellist Melissa Davies of the band Cottage Street. What’s more unexpected is that “Trees,” Wren Cove’s five-song EP released by Basement Factory Music on Aug. 1, was improvised. Most of the spontaneous compositions on “Trees” are lush vignettes, and all of the tunes clock in under four minutes. On “Wheeler,” the EP opens with cello chords, which soon gives way to electronic static, synth, and guitar, before the cello suddenly enters again, alone. A lethargic, but catchy drum groove wafts in and out. A genre is impossible to pin down. Davies’s cello tone is tender, and Cloninger is attentive in matching the intensity of his guitar playing accordingly. This results in a kind of dirge in the case of “Douglas.” But acoustic instruments don’t get all the love on “Trees.” Ambient electronics and a delicious drum groove lay the groundwork for the cinematic sweep of the cello on “Short Leaf.” Abstract vocals by Cloninger wend their roccitynews.com CITY 43


ON THE FRINGE MUST-SEE SHOWS AND HIDDEN GEMS

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he Rochester Fringe Festival was one of the few annual festivals that managed to hang on through the early years of the pandemic, embodying the maxim of “The show must go on!”

But this year’s lineup of some 500 shows at more than 30 venues, including the return of some festival-favorite big acts, is reminiscent of the pre-pandemic Fringe. From theater to music, dance to daredevils, and improv comedy to immersive art, the festival has something for everyone. Here’s a sampling of some must-see shows and hidden gems playing at Fringe, which runs from Sept. 13 through 24. For the full list of shows and everything there is to know about the festival, check out the complimentary Rochester Fringe Festival Guide inserted into this month’s CITY.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13

“Cirque Du Fringe: Afterglow” Spiegeltent, 7:30 p.m. Real-life husband and wife Matt Morgan and Heidi Brucker Morgan are real-life clowns whose “Cirque du Fringe” variety shows have become must-see fixtures at Fringe. At times irreverent, raunchy, and weirdly romantic, these Las Vegas legends push the boundaries of circus and theater (when they last played Rochester in 2019, they used their newborn baby as a prop). Audiences familiar with their acts will recognize some recurring characters — such as America’s favorite inebriated royalty, Princess Wendy — but the comedy is never recycled. Expect something fresh and fun. Thirteen shows throughout the festival. Tickets range from $30-$36, except for the $22 kids’ matinee. DAVID ANDREATTA

Public Water Supply Rochester Music Hall of Fame, 7:30 p.m. Public Water Supply is a refreshing Rochester country band that seemed to come out of nowhere, but its members are stalwarts of the local scene. Frontman Iggy Marino has punched up the bands Walrus Junction and Nobody’s Marigold with his presence, guitarist Karis Gregory has led the soul band Baker Street Music, and vocalist Adrianna Noone is a dynamic singer-songwriter in her own right. As a quintet, Public Water Supply brings southwestern vibes and danceable hillbilly energy. The result is irresistible. Tickets $15. DANIEL J. KUSHNER WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14

“Dirk Darrow: Magic of Future Past” Geva Theatre Center, 8 p.m. Duck Dodgers of the 24½th century has nothing on Tim Motely as Dirk Darrow, the time-traveling, Prohibition-era, psychic detective whose magic show against a backdrop of film-noir and futuristic sci-fi settings has amazed fringe festival fans around the globe. Charge up your flux capacitor because this show is a 1.21-gigawatt experience that transcends time and will keep you on your toes. Eight shows. Tickets $13. DA 44 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022


Bushwhacked gets baking

MUST SEE SHOWS WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14

“At Home with Garth Fagan Dance” Garth Fagan Dance Studio, 7 p.m. Garth Fagan Dance is a world treasure that we have right here in Rochester — with groundbreaking dance and movement performers, choreographers, and teachers. While others get to see them perform as they tour, in Rochester we also get to visit with them up close and personal in the studio. These Fringe dates are a chance to meet the new dancers and see new choreography and works-inprogress, and to do so at an important time of transition for the company. Sept. 14 through 16 and Sept. 21 through 23 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 17 and 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $20. MONA SEGHATOLESLAMI

PHOTO PROVIDED

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BY NATALIE RIETH

ushwhacked — the improv-based comedy duo of Abby DeVuyst and Kerry Young — is tying on its baking apron again this year at the Rochester Fringe Festival with a new edition of “Bushwhacked British Bake Off.” This year the Bushwhacked tent will be home to the “Game of Scones,” a mashup of the Netflix hit baking show “The Great British Bake Off” and the HBO fantasy drama series “Game of Thrones.” From the moment audience members enter the Bushwhacked tent, they will take on the roles of contestants on the show. The Bushwhacked duo will play the show’s hosts and judges interchangeably. “Audience members come to our show, they can expect that they will be a part of our show,” DeVuyst said. Up to 16 contestants will be divided into teams, or houses, of two. Each house will be provided aprons, an oven, and all the baking supplies they will need to undergo a series of baking challenges. “We’re not experienced bakers and we don’t expect you to be,” DeVuyst said. The “Game of Scones” will begin with a skills test, a challenge in which bakers are able to prove their technical skills. Later, bakers will undergo a “showstopper challenge” where they use their creativity to make an innovative treat. At the end of the show, the winners of “Game of Scones” will be announced. “We give them nicknames. We play around with each person,” Young said of Bushwhacked’s audiences. “At some point, somebody gets Bushwhacked love in some form.” “I feel like we are one of the fringe-iest fringy things you can do at Fringe,” Abby DeVuyst said. DeVuyst and Young first began working together in the Rochester-based improv troupe Unleashed. They eventually joined forces to create Bushwhacked, an immersive experience that welcomes folks with a range of improv

skills and encourages them to let loose and start laughing. Bushwhacked has been a part of the Rochester Fringe Festival since 2013. “We’re peas in a pod, really,” Young said of the duo’s dynamic. “Once we found each other it was magical.” The pair first introduced “Bushwhacked British Bake-Off” in 2019. Ever since, the improvised baking competition has been a sellout hit at the Rochester Fringe Festival, producer Erica Fee said. “I think it’s the inventive or immersive nature of the shows,” Fee said. “People are really able to get down and dirty with the Bushwhacked gals every year.” Bushwhacked will also host “Bushwhacked Backyard Bonfire,” and for fans of the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” this year they are throwing a ball and introducing the new “Bushwhacked Bridgerfun Ball(s).” DeVuyst said that the small size of Bushwhacked shows allows the audience to quickly build community, connections, and inside jokes. After meeting new people at a Bushwhacked show, audience members will often get a drink together at the beer tent or add each other as Facebook friends, she said. DeVuyst and Young both said that their favorite part of performing at Rochester Fringe Festival is the people who come back every year to support their shows. After each “Bushwhacked” experience, the duo gives out a trinket or button to their fans. And some even keep a collection at home, Young said. “It’s always just this joy bomb,” DeVuyst said. “Everyone is excited to see us and we’re all excited to see them. And I think that is really what sustains us through all the crazy crap we put ourselves through.”

Marcelo Maccagnan: “Night Tales” The Theater at Innovation Square: The Stage, 8 p.m. Brazilian-born bass player Marcelo Maccagnan brings his energetic brand of jazz fusion to the Fringe Festival in support of his new album, “Night Tales.” A virtuosic talent and a mercurial composer, Maccagnan tickles your ears with acoustic and electronic sounds that will make you want to dance. This is jazz for the active listener. Tickets $15. DK CONTINUED ON PAGE 46

This story is part of CITY ’s partnership with the students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications’ Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University. roccitynews.com CITY 45


THURSDAY, SEPT. 15

“When the Souls Rise” Mount Hope Cemetery - North Entrance, 7 p.m. This homegrown dance homage to Halloween from the perspective of departed souls has been performed at many festivals in many places since its inception in 1990. But it has never been played amid the eternal resting places of departed souls — until now. (Cue eerie whistling sound and a crack of thunder!) Mount Hope Cemetery is the perfect backdrop for this gorgeous evening of dance, music, and phantasmagoric wonder. The creatives behind the show are Anne Harris Wilcox, a University of Rochester dance professor, and Ward Hartenstein, a composer who has been in the local arts scene for 40 years. Three shows. Free. DA

Fiesta at the International Plaza The International Plaza, 5:30 p.m. Earlier this summer, Nicole Conde was crowned the very first Miss Latinx Rochester Pride at the International Plaza on North Clinton Avenue. She returns to the site of her coronation to share the stage with Latin jazz from the JazzTet, RIT’s music and dance group Alma de Mexico, and a parade showcasing members of the Grupo Cultural Latinos en Rochester. This free mini-festival within a festival kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month in style. MS

“One Man’s Trash: A Repurposed Circus” The Theater at Innovation Square: The Stage, 7 p.m. This show isn’t trash, but it does take place in a junkyard. In true Oscar-theGrouch style, acrobats, aerialists, and clowns emerge from behind bins and beneath trash cans for a lighthearted adventure with subtext about recycling and reuse, and finding your own fun. Three-ring circuses are so passe, but a threegarbage-can circus sounds pretty cool. You can also catch the show on Sept. 16 and 17. Tickets start at $18. JM FRIDAY, SEPT. 16

“The Flying Espanas: Flippin Metal Circus” Parcel 5 on Main Street, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Public spectacles are a staple of the Fringe Festival, but there are none this year quite like this show. Death-defying acrobats swinging on the trapeze and riding motorcycles on a highwire overhead accompanied by a live soundtrack isn’t something you see every day in downtown’s premier open space. The Espanas, who have been wowing audiences with their aerial act since 1975, don’t look down. You won’t either. Music by the New York City-based band Mountain Girl. Four shows. Free. DA

“C’est Pas La, C’est Par La” City Blue Imaging, 84 Scio St., 8:30 p.m. This immersive show, whose names loosely translates from French to “It’s Not Here, It’s Over Here” or “It’s Not That Way, It’s This Way,” is a communal exercise in how crowds move. An empty space is filled with miles of string woven like a spider web, and spectators become actors who untangle it. In the process, they form small communities. The show, from France and inspired by a South Korean pro-democracy rally, has gotten rave reviews all over the world. Word has it that the string, once collected, will be set ablaze outside the host venue, City Blue Imaging, which has been rebuilt after burning to the ground two years ago. That’s gutsy. Two shows. Free. DA

46 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022


“Charming Disaster: Our Lady of Radium” The Spirit Room, 6 p.m. A multimedia goth-folk performance based on the life of pioneering scientist Marie Curie, who discovered radium and devoted her later years to searching for ways to use radioactivity in medicine. Sign me up! The performance consists of original songs that explore everything from the folklore of the mountains in which radium ores were mined to duels, alchemy, radioactive decay chains, scandal, and more. Other performances have been scheduled for Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. and Sept. 15 at 6 and 9 p.m. Tickets start at $15. JM SATURDAY, SEPT. 17

“Runaway Princess: A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking, and Happiness” The Sprit Room, 7:30 p.m. This one-woman show has been a hit everywhere it has played and won multiple awards in the process. Mary Goggin tells the true and inspiring story of her Irish Catholic upbringing, drug addiction, and prostitution on her way to carving out a life of what she calls “ultimate joy.” Her biting sense of humor and ability to play multiple characters make this show a must-see. Four shows. Tickets are $15. DA

“Band Geeks” School of the Arts, 4:30 p.m. Chances are your memories of your school band experience are buried somewhere in your consciousness. Do they make you smile? Cringe a bit? A Rochester Fringe-favorite comedy team (Kerry Young and Abby DeVuyst of Bushwacked) and musicians from the local chamber orchestra Cordancia have teamed up to mine those fond and awkward musical memories for some laughs. Trumpeter, composer, and middle school music teacher Matt Osika has created original music for the production, and the comedy is based on stories from oboist and Cordancia co-founder Kathleen Suher. Appropriately enough, the show is being held in a school gym. Tickets are $12. The band boosters march again Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. MS

“Generic Male” JCC CenterStage Theatre, 7 p.m. The beloved hometown troupe PUSH Physical Theatre combines dance, theater, and storytelling like few other performance companies. If there’s a helpful comp, it’s Pilobolus and its visceral, fantastical brand of dance. But part of what makes PUSH so special is its honesty, and its willingness to tackle serious social and psychological issues. In its latest production, “Generic Male: Just What We Need, Another Show About Men,” the group takes on toxic masculinity with blend of humor, drama, absurdity, and beauty. What does it mean to be male today? PUSH will get you thinking. The 13-and-over performance is reprised on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 8:15 p.m. 15, $20. DK CONTINUED ON PAGE 48

roccitynews.com CITY 47


Street Beat brings party vibes, hip-hop culture

MUST SEE SHOWS SATURDAY, SEPT. 17

“Thank You Kiss Presents: Slippery Slopes”

PHOTO PROVIDED

S

BY JOYELLE RONAN

treet Beat is popping, locking, and breakdancing its way to the Rochester Fringe Festival for the seventh year. The annual dance-off invites crews of three to compete in preliminary trials leading up to bracketstyle dance battles. Street Beat allows fresh talent to shine while immersing the audience in the western and central New York hiphop scene. While the Rochester hip-hop scene is a bit underground, that doesn’t mean it’s small or lacking in skilled performers, says Street Beat organizer Will Young. Having danced in Rochester for more than 13 years, he is currently an adjunct dance instructor at University of Rochester. Young is primarily a B-boy, meaning he dances in breakdance style — one of the many styles seen at Street Beat. “We call it an all-styles event, which means that any style is open to enter,” Young said. “One year, we had a salsa team enter, just for kicks, and they did great. And we still have the krumpers and the hip-hop dancers as well. So you never know what you’ll see.” Emceeing this year’s event is Ben Ortiz, aka DJ haMEEN. Ortiz has worked with Street Beat since its first year. Originally from Detroit, Ortiz is based in Ithaca and has been DJing professionally for over a decade. He said the real magic of Street Beat is when a dancer is inspired by music they don’t typically dance to and subsequently does something creative and unexpected. “The DJ has a wide variety of music to use to create the sonic tapestry of the day,” Ortiz said. “What appeals to and motivates dancers who specialize in one style of dance may have a different effect on practitioners of other styles.” Local crews like Roc City Krump come out each year and represent Rochester, but many crews come from throughout upstate New York. Last year’s winner, T.E.I.N, is based in Buffalo. Crew member James Levy Jr. is returning this year as a judge. He is a dancer, teacher, and

48 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

performer who competes in a variety of styles including hiphop and funk. His advice for this year’s talent? “Be present. Be genuine. Be patient.” “I know it’s not easy to be patient,” Levy said. “I remember my first time, I was very anxious, rushing and just all over the place. But being able to take a breath and have that understanding of why you dance in the first place be your foundation of what centers you. And remember while you’re trying your best, to have fun as well.” T.E.I.N member Rishone Todd said that part of his success with Street Beat was a combination of staying true to himself and his culture. Todd grew up in Jamaica and learned dancehall, a style of music and dance that originated there in the 1970s. He said he appreciates that Street Beat is a fusion of so many different styles and cultures. “It is a microcosm of the entire culture,” Todd said. “It’s so rich, everyone has a positive energy. It’s a community that’s welcoming to everyone. It’s just a reflection of what the world should be.” Audience members are encouraged to hype up the dancers and show off their own moves between rounds. Levy said there is a big party atmosphere in which everyone is there to have a good time and celebrate hip-hop culture. “It’s just an extension of Black and brown communities and Black and brown art forms that are continuing to grow and have voices amplified,” Levy said. “And I think it is just another continuation and even higher level of that. At the end of the day, it’s all love.” Fringe Street Beat will be held at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square on Sept. 24. Preliminary rounds run from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with finals following from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The event is free. This story is part of CITY ’s partnership with the students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications’ Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.

The Focus Theater, 9 p.m. Local sketch comedy troupe Thank You Kiss brings a blend of skits, improvisation, and video to its performances. The SNL-style content ranges from relationship humor to social commentary and surreal musings (like what the figures in Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” paintings are going through in their daily lives). “Slippery Slopes” is alluded to in sketches titled “Medieval Insurance Man,” “America’s First Shock Jock,” and “Sexy DMV.” Group members Marc D’Amico, Megan Mack (producer of WXXI’s “Connections”), John Forrest Thompson, and Beth Winslow have studied and worked at renowned comedy theaters including iO, The Second City, and The Annoyance, and the group is a winner of The Missouri Review’s prestigious Miller Audio Prize for Humor. The 60-minute show repeats on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. $15. REBECCA RAFFERTY

SUNDAY, SEPT. 18

“ExperiMENTAL” School of the Arts, 6 p.m. Taken out of context, the description of “Steven knows what you’re thinking and wants to prove it” sounds ominous, but “ExperiMENTAL” is a realitybending interactive mind-reading experience. Whether Steven is really ready to dig into the dark corners of people’s psyches notwithstanding, audience participation is integral to this performance. Organizers say your individual thoughts and decisions make every performance a unique event and that you should bring a friend, a secret, and an open mind. In other words, embrace your inner enigma and have fun with it. The show is 13 and up. Tickets are required and cost $12. Performances also take place at 9 p.m. on Sept. 15, 16, and 17. JM


“More Fire” The Theater at Innovation Square, 5 p.m. The contemporary classical ensemble fivebyfive is undoubtedly the local group most dedicated to performing the works of living composers. With its new performance at Rochester Fringe, the quintet deepens that reputation but with some unexpected collaborative partners: glass-blowing artists from More Fire Glass Studio. As the musicians perform pieces inspired by glass, the artists create objects live, via Zoom, from the safety of their studio. All ages show. $15. DK MONDAY, SEPT. 19

“Remnants” Ellison Park, 5 p.m. This free performance is no simple walk in the park, even though it’s set in Monroe County’s Ellison Park. Creators Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Trish Corcoran, Andrea A. Gluckman, Greg Woodsbie, and Stella Wang have woven together dance, music, photography, visual art, and storytelling to conjure human and ecological memories of Ellison Park, once the site of a colonial-era trading post and fort. The performance is intended to serve as a walking art installation, and the audience will be encouraged to move through the performance space to watch the dance, view photographs, and more. Tickets are not required. If you can’t make this date, catch earlier shows at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 18. JM

“We Will Give You Wings” Roc City Circus, 6 p.m. This year marks Roc City Circus’s Fringe Festival debut. If you’re into trapeze artists and other aerial performers, this performance is tailor-made for you. The story follows a heroine as she collects “feathers of wisdom,” gained through navigating love, joy, sadness, and reflection. Her prize is inner strength. Aerial acrobats are dedicated, aweinspiring performers and as an added bonus, Roc City Circus has upstate’s only flying trapeze. This event screams Fringe, so why not give the new folks a chance. Additional performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 18, and 6 p.m. Sept. 23 and 24. Tickets are $15. JM TUESDAY, SEPT. 20

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The Spirit Room: Bar Room, 9 p.m. Is this the Fringe equivalent of slow jams? Soprano Sophia Mostafa of Rochester is making her return to the festival and will once again serenade audience members with art songs and arias. Jeff Spevak, WXXI arts and life editor, wrote of Mostafa’s 2020 Fringe performance that she “sings with conviction, with a dramatic timbre that projects a gravitas that demands the listener’s attention.” Mostafa is scheduled to perform again at 7:30 p.m. on Sept.21 and 6 p.m. Sept. 22. Tickets start at $14. JM

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“Gilbert and Sullivan’s Improbable New Musical: Less Miserable” JCC CenterStage Theatre: Hart Theater, 7 p.m. It’s a madcap idea that’s just right for the Rochester Fringe Festival: What if the kings of operetta, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, were around to rewrite the smash-hit musical “Les Misérables” in their own very imitable style? In its 45th year, the local Gilbert and Sullivan troupe Off-Monroe Players take on the American premiere of this show, which first appeared in 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Musical lovers are sure to enjoy this wonderfully indulgent bit of fun. Performances are also scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 2 p.m. Sept. 18. $8, $10. DK CONTINUED ON PAGE 50

N URSERY & G ARDEN C ENTER (585) 482-5372 • doug@clovernursey.com roccitynews.com CITY 49


WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21

Bruce Molsky Eastman School of Music: Hatch Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m Folk musician Bruce Molsky specializes in the kind of down-home, backwoods sound that’ll warm your heart and get your toes a-tappin’. A fiddler, guitarist, and banjo player with a passion for the songs of Appalachia, this Grammy-nominated artist has released albums in the double digits and has won the appreciation of fellow musicians such as singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz and guitarists Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, and Chris Eldridge. Don’t let this concert fly under your radar. Tickets are $20. DK

“If These Walls Could Speak” St. Joseph’s Park, 6 p.m. The skeleton of St. Joseph’s Church frames one of the most unique public parks in Rochester. It will be the location of what organizers call “an experiential, multi-sensory, site-specific dance performance” within the ruins by Natalia Lisina — she’s a member of the BIODANCE troupe — and other artists. The participatory performance will blend dance, music, and spoken word to explore themes of memory and loss. Tickets start at $15 for this performance (and a previous one on Sept. 14). JM THURSDAY, SEPT. 22

“My Evil Twin” Geva Theatre Center, 9 p.m. Real-life identical twin opera singers and Rochesterians John and Jim Demler, star in “My Evil Twin,” a charming musical that serves as a comedic memoir about their lives and relationship with one another. Both Demlers possess mellifluous bass-baritone voices that boom without losing any musicality. Composer Eric Sawyer and writer Harley Erdman fill out the story as the two singers navigate their connection as well as their rivalry. The first performance of the 13-and-over show is on Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m. $18, $20. DK

“Hungwe: Mbira Music of Zimbabwe” Eastman School of Music: Hatch Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. Zimbabwe’s mbira, or thumb piano, is an instrument with a long history and a pleasantly melodic percussion sound. This show is a chance to hear a master of the instrument, Musekiwa Chingodza, with his longtime collaborator, Jennifer Kyker of the Eastman School of Music, and singerpercussionist Memory Makuri, who often encourages listeners to join in by clapping, singing, and dancing. You can connect with this music as medicine, sacred experience, or just beautiful sounds. Tickets are $10. MS FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

BANDALOOP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park: Five Star Plaza The Oakland, California-based troupe BANDALOOP made a big impression at the 2012 and 2013 Rochester Fringe Festivals, when the pioneer of “vertical dance” used the side of the Five Star Bank building on Chestnut Street as its performance space. This year marks the first time since the 2013 festival that Bandaloop will perform, and the spectacle of spectacles is sure to draw a heavy 50 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022


crowd to neighboring Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where audience members will be able to get a clear view of the performers deftly maneuvering their way around Rochester’s sixth-tallest building. These daredevils combine mountain climbing, aerial arts, and modern dance — and Fringe vets will tell you BANDALOOP is a must-see. But here’s the best part: The 20-minute performances, which are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 and 24, are free. JM

“Ethel” - Live to Picture with Empire Film and Media Ensemble Kilbourn Hall at Eastman School of Music, 7:30 p.m. Miriam Cutler is a prolific movie and TV composer, whose specialty is documentaries. Her music is heard in “RBG,” “Love, Gilda,” “Lost in La Mancha,” and a number of docs featured on PBS and HBO. In 2013, she wrote the music for Rory Kennedy’s documentary about her mother, Ethel Kennedy. Any way you slice it, the experience of seeing the Empire Film and Media Ensemble (EFAME) accompany movies live to picture (like they did with the documentary “The Biggest Little Farm” a few years ago) is pretty special. Plus, the composer will be here in person for the performance and a talk at Eastman. Admission is free for the movie and the music, conducted by EFAME Artistic Director Grant O’Brien. MS

DivaZ: A Musical Tribute to Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Tina Turner School of the Arts: Allen Main Stage Theatre, 8:30 p.m. Zahyia is one of Rochester’s best, most charismatic soul-R&B singers, at once fiercely emotive and impossibly smooth. Formerly with the band Vanishing Sun and a compelling original solo artist in her own right, Zahyia pays homage to three of the most important voices of the 20th century, with backing from The Benevolent Mischief Arkestra. A guaranteed powerhouse performance that repeats at 9 p.m. on Sept. 24. Tickets are $21 and the performances are for ages 13 and older. DK SATURDAY, SEPT. 24

The Largest Juggling Lesson Ever (Maybe) Strong National Museum of Play Garage – Top Level, 12 p.m. Busy parents know all about juggling kids, work, school, schedules, and meals. But keeping three balls in the air is something else. Local jugglers Ted Baumhauer and Jeff Peden attempt to teach you how at this once-in-a-lifetime event in which the instructors look to break a world-record with the largest juggling lesson that ever was. Everyone who attends will get three juggling balls. If you don’t think that’s cool, then there’s no hope for you. DA

Bebop to Bach Spiegelgarden, 12 p.m. As much as I love attending shows and experiencing the art that others create, I have to admit I sometimes have trouble sitting still when not making music myself. So I love that there is this opportunity for kids and adults alike to make some noise with homemade musical instruments. Supplies will be on hand to build an instrument, and then we’re all invited to join in this performance by a group led by Harley School’s strings teacher Kelly Stevenson, starting at 12:15 p.m. in the Spiegelgarden, at the corner of Main and Gibbs across from Eastman Theatre. MS

roccitynews.com CITY 51


LIFE

CITY VISITS...

THE PUERTO RICAN FESTIVAL

JANELISE DIAZ, 13

RANDY COMPANARO, 45

JUAN RAMOS FIGUEROA, 20

ROCHESTER, STUDENT “I like having [the flag] around when I come to this type of thing because I feel like I’m a part of it.”

GATES, FOOD TRUCK CHEF “We come to this every year . . . to come and hang out and be around our people and listen to our music.”

ROCHESTER, CUSTODIAN “There’s a wide variety of people here, all colors, and no judging. It’s a free, open space where everyone can be themselves.”

RICHIE ROSA, 48

JASON RIVERA, 41

STEVEN TEJEDA, 18

ROCHESTER, TATTOO ARTIST “We’ve always got the flavor. We’ve got the soul.”

ROCHESTER, TIN KNOCKER “We need a lot more stuff like this, a good spot where everybody can go and be safe.”

SPENCERPORT, CASHIER “Growing up I had trouble speaking Spanish. By learning to dance I could still communicate and join in on the fun.”

52 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022


PHOTOS BY MATT BURKHARTT

INTERVIEWS BY JEREMY MOULE

We talked to people reveling in the red, white, and blue-soaked cultural showcase of food, music, and dance from dusk to dark.

KEYRA VEGA, 45

GERRY CINQUINO, 63

JOSEPH GIARRANTINO, 65

GREECE, OFFICE MANAGER “We’ve got Spanish food, we’ve got Spanish music, we’ve got people from Puerto Rico. You see people that you haven’t seen for so long.”

CLEARMONT, FLORIDA, RETIRED “My wife is Puerto Rican and we’ve been coming down here. When I was living here we’d come down quite frequently.”

ROCHESTER, RETIRED “I just like to see the community get together and Rochester come back to life. It’s getting a good name again.”

ROSEMARY ORTIZ, 62

JIMMY RODRIGUEZ, 33

FRANCIS HARE, 73

ROCHESTER, PARAPROFESSIONAL “In Puerto Rico, everybody’s proud. If you go to a concert in Puerto Rico everybody’s dressed like me. You dress red, white, and blue.”

ROCHESTER, MACHINE OPERATOR “Every year I just come down to see my people here, my friends and my family.”

PITTSFORD, TEACHING ARTIST “Once you start getting that swing and you’re dancing with that partner, you’re in a different kind of state of mind about it.” roccitynews.com CITY 53


ARTS

ARTS HARVEST

Cypress Hill plays Del Lago Resort on Oct. 21. PHOTO PROVIDED

FALL INTO THE ARTS It's a colorful autumn on the arts scene. These are the upcoming events we’re excited about. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY, DANIEL J. KUSHNER, JEFF SPEVAK, AND JEREMY MOULE

T

he change in the air and shift in the hues of nature’s palette are markers that signal the top of the new arts season. The Rochester region has much to sample — and there’s something for every taste, from serious-minded exhibits of artwork to transporting comedies on stage and throwback hip-hop shows. This preview of notable shows and events coming down the pike is just a sampling of what’s in store. Look for more info about scheduled shows on venue websites, and keep an eye on CITY in print and online at roccitynews.com. 54 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

VISUAL ARTS YOU’VE GOT TO SEE “UBUHLE WOMEN: BEADWORK AND THE ART OF INDEPENDENCE”

Through Oct. 23, Memorial Art Gallery, mag.rochester.edu. Paintings made of pigment and oil or acrylic media are an everyday sight at galleries and museums, but have you ever seen a picture made entirely of seed-sized beads? Out of a textile tradition emerges a new art form in “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork

and the Art of Independence,” a showcase of the work of six artists based in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, that’s currently on view at the Memorial Art Gallery. They’re part of a community of Xhosa and Zulu women who have developed a new form of bead art “paintings” called ndwango, which refers to the black fabric they stretch like a canvas and adorn with tens of thousands of colored Czech glass beads to form abstract or figurative pictures. Each work can take more than 10 months to complete. REBECCA RAFFERTY


FILE PHOTO

RoCo’s group experimental video exhibition, “Numinous Pools,” which explores the Great Lakes’ histories and ecologies from diverse cultural perspectives, as well as “Come What May, It Takes a Silver Bullet,” a series of works by Abiose Spriggs inspired by the 1933 film “Emperor Jones.” An opening reception for all three shows takes place Oct. 7, 6 to 9 p.m. RR

“ANASTASIA SAMOYLOVA: FLOODZONE”

Through Dec. 18, George Eastman Museum, eastman.org Human civilization is an unending battle to stave off nature’s tendency toward entropy — it’s a constant fight to resist the grip of chaos in our carefully manicured existences. But stronger forces are speeding up these unwelcome changes, and that’s the focus of photographer Anastasia Samoylova’s work in “FloodZone.” On view this fall at the Eastman Museum, this set of more than 60 images explores the southern United States and its sought-after tropical climate, where real estate development continues on land ravaged by climate changedriven flooding and hurricanes. The work is filled with subtle and overt indications of erosion and encroachment of decay creeping into lush utopias, like visual klaxons amid the desperate artifice of denial. RR

THEATER WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT “JANE EYRE”

Wilson Stage Sept. 6 through Oct. 2, Geva Theatre Center, gevatheatre.org Geva kicks off its 50th season with Elizabeth Williamson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s English Gothic story of poverty, longing, ruinous secrets, and resilience. Not long after the titular heroine, penniless and orphaned, takes work as a governess, she falls for her mysterious and temperamental employer, Mr. Rochester. But his not-so-settled past disrupts their would-be happiness. I’m looking forward to how Williamson tackles Brontë’s dated treatment of madness and power dynamics. The season continues with “Somewhere” (Oct. 18 through Nov. 13), Matthew López’s depiction of a Manhattan-based Puerto Rican family balancing dreams of starring in “West Side Story” with the real struggles of urban poverty in 1959.

“STATE OF THE CITY 2022”

RR

Oct. 7 through Nov. 12, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, rochestercontemporary.com RoCo’s annual creative exploration of Rochester’s people, systems, and spaces returns after a two-year COVID hiatus. This year’s iteration of the show brings together the work of several artists who each explore different power dynamics, identities, shared spaces, and creative practices. The lineup includes Susan Begy, Emiliano Diaz, Quajay Donnell, Reb Ayşe Geduk, Gary Lamaar, Ray Ray Mitrano, Meredith Davenport, Michael Goldman/Consolidated Studios, David Hammond, and Richmond Futch, Jr. During the run of this main show, check out

“ON THE MARKET”

Oct. 15 through 23, JCC CenterStage, jccrochester.org JCC CenterStage darling Jason Odell Williams is back with another world premiere production, this time a romantic comedy about a widowed real estate agent struggling to break back into the world of dating. But the middle-aged protagonist finds that the terrain has shifted over the years, and grapples with modern meetups, the whole effort even further complicated by supernatural signals. Will she move on, or cling tighter to the past? Donald Brenner directs. RR

“MARX IN SOHO: A PLAY ON HISTORY”

Oct. 18 through 23, Multi-use Community Cultural Center, muccc.org Under the direction of Crescenzo Scipione, Jack Simel stars in Howard Zinn’s one-man play about 19thcentury philosopher Karl Marx. The play centers not on the writer’s pivotal and notorious ideas about class and economic systems, but on Marx as a man struggling to support his family — not that the two personas aren’t irrefutably linked. Zinn transports his subject from London’s Soho neighborhood, where he spent a chunk of his life, to the newer New York district of the same name, to uphold communism in its ideal form and defend humanity against capitalism. RR

“BARBECUE”

Oct. 27 through Nov. 6, Blackfriars Theatre, blackfriars.org Turn to our Daily to Do section on page 30 to read about Blackfriars’ season kickoff production of “Spamalot.” Next up at Blackfriars is “Barbecue,” a new play by Obie and Helen Hayes Award-winner Robert O’Hara. Family gatherings are ripe for providing a vignette of tricky dynamics, personality clashes, and deeper issues, often erupting into conflict even during our best intentions for quality time together. The scene is set for just that when the O’Mallery family meets up for a summer meal, and drug-addicted sister Zippity Boom arrives under the influence. A spur-ofthe-moment intervention sparks utter chaos and some comedic scrutiny of the not-so picture-perfect American family. RR CONTINUED ON PAGE 56

roccitynews.com roccitynews.org CITY 55


The Killers. PHOTO PROVIDED

HEAD-TURNING CONCERTS JOAN OSBORNE [POP, ROCK]

Sept. 7, JCC Canalside, jccrochester. org/arts-culture/special-events Back in 1995, Osborne asked, “What if God Was One of Us?” That question remains unanswered. But with her latest album, “Trouble and Strife,” she asks even more of us: What about racism, and our corrupt political leaders? All sung beautifully, and soulfully. She spans many genres, with her 2013 album, “Bring it on Home,” nominated for a Grammy as Best Blues Album. Roz Menachof opens. Tickets to this 7 p.m. show range from $34.50 to $57.50. JEFF SPEVAK

bill. Bassist Kate Black, guitarist NIkki Sisti, and drummer Shari Page make supremely listenable garage rock with endearing melodies and punk bravado. Doors at 7 p.m. $15. DANIEL J. KUSHNER

THE KILLERS [ARENA ROCK]

Sept. 26, Turning Stone Event Center, turningstone.com/entertainment The Killers are arguably the best arena rock band in the game. Led by frontman Brandon Flowers, the group has churned out numerous hits over the last 20 years, including “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “When You Were Young,” “Human,” “The Man,” and “Caution.” Flowers and company wear influences such as Bruce Springesteen and U2 on their sleeves, with plenty of synths added to drive the anthems home. 8 p.m. $39-$125. DK

THE BE KIND FESTIVAL [VARIOUS]

THICK [GARAGE ROCK]

Sept. 9, Bug Jar, bugjar.com There’s no better venue in Rochester to find up-and-coming indie rock acts with plenty of momentum and mojo than the Bug Jar. New York City trio THICK, fresh off the release of its sophomore album “Happy Now” on Epitaph Records, fits the 56 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

Oct. 1, Three Heads Brewing, threeheadsbrewing.com Three Heads Brewing has long been a fierce advocate of local music, presenting countless shows by original artists at its brewery. The lineup this time around features some of Three Heads Minister of Mayeh Geoff Dale’s go-to acts, including Americana band A Girl Named Genny, soul-R&B singer Zahyia, Eli Flynn of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Upward Groove, and more. With BBQ from Big Boy Catering, this shindig also serves as a fundraiser for The Local Sound


Stephane Wrembel. PHOTO PROVIDED

Collaborative, an organization that works toward financial stability for Rochester-area musicians. Doors open at 1 p.m. $10, VIP tickets are $25. DK

AGENT ORANGE [PUNK]

Oct. 8, The Montage Music Hall,rocevents.com Agent Orange were pioneers of So-Cal hardcore punk and skatepunk — if you’re into those scenes, there’s a good chance Agent Orange is probably your favorite band’s favorite band. The group is known as the first punk band to incorporate surf music into its sound. Its high-octane cover of Dick Dale’s “Miserlou” and it’s original “Pipeline” came out at roughly the same time as other surf-influenced gems from their peers, including Dead Kennedys’ “California Über Alles” and several Descendents tracks including “Myage,” “Parents,” and “Ride the Wild.” But the band was also raw and powerful; the track “Bloodstains” is a buzzsaw of an opening track on the band’s 1981 debut LP, though many people have likely heard it while playing the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. Tickets are $16 advance and $18 day-of. Only people over 16 admitted and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

the know may have first heard his music in 2011 when his composition “Bistro Fada” was prominently featured in the Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris.” A musical descendant of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wrembel’s music is irrepressibly charming, and his guitar licks seem to roll off his fingers effortlessly. The guitarist and his band will treat local audiences to not one, but four nights of consecutive performances featuring songs from different albums in his discography. All performances are $25 to $30. DK

LILLY WINWOOD [FOLK, ROCK]

Oct. 20, Abilene Bar & Lounge, abilenebarandlounge.com Although she is the daughter of Steve Winwood, Lilly Winwood is following a different musical road than dad’s old bands, Traffic and Blind Faith (although she has been known to play one of his solo hits, “Higher Love”). Shuttling back and forth between the U.S. and England while growing up, she now lives in Nashville, and that folky sensibility prevails in her music. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. concert are $13 advance, $17 the day of the show. JS

JEREMY MOULE

CYPRESS HILL [HIP-HOP] STEPHANE WREMBEL [JAZZ]

Oct. 13 through 16, Lovin’ Cup, lovincup.com Jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel is beloved in Rochester, as evidenced by his nearly annual performances at Lovin’ Cup. Those not already in

Oct. 21, The Vine at Del Lago Resort, dellagoresort.com/entertainment The story of 1990s hip-hop would be incomplete without the unapologetically aggressive, proCONTINUED ON PAGE 58

roccitynews.com CITY 57


cannabis West Coast group Cypress Hill. With impossibly catchy beats and B-Real’s signature nasal delivery, the trio’s songs are loaded with swagger and heavy with pot smoke. The 1994 hit “Insane in the Brain” is still an iconic touchstone in the cultural consciousness, but with over 30 years in the rap game, Cypress Hill isn’t resting easy. The multiplatinum-selling artists are currently touring in support of its 2022 album “Back in Black.” 8 p.m. $59.50$179.50. DK

prodigy, the 29-year-old Strings, who won a 2021 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, cites influences as diverse as Ralph Stanley and Jimi Hendrix. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show range from $39.50 to $69.50. JS

AMY HELM [FOLK]

AMIGO THE DEVIL [FOLK]

Oct. 30, Water Street Music Hall, thewaterstreetmusichall.com I can’t think of a better way to gear up for Halloween than to hear Amigo the Devil live. Singer-songwriter Danny Kiranos is a master of the macabre. Don’t let the acoustic guitar and banjo instrumentation fool you — the lyrics rival anything you’ll hear from a horror death metal band. For Amigo the Devil, debauchery and death are essential to storytelling. I defy you to listen to “Perfect Wife” without getting the willies. Amigo the Devil ratchets up murder ballads to a whole different level. Don’t sleep on this guy. Willi Carlisle opens. 8 p.m. $20.

Nov. 19, JCC Hart Theater, jccrochester. org/arts-culture/special-events Helm released her third album, “What the Flood Leaves Behind,” last year. It’s a graceful collection of songs that reflects the influence of her father, The Band’s Levon Helm. Her mother, Libby Titus, was also a songwriter. Amy Helm lives now in the rustic Woodstock home that was the scene of Levon’s famous Midnight Rambles, and that vibe remains. The show was originally scheduled for last spring, before being postponed. Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert range from $44 to $74. JS

COMEDY THAT’LL HAVE YOU ROLLING

DK

BILLY STRINGS [BLUEGRASS, ROCK]

Nov. 9, Blue Cross Arena, bluecrossarena.com Strings presents guitar, banjo and mandolin as a high-octane mix of bluegrass, jazz and psychedelic rock (the first band he played in was heavy metal). Strings’ upbeat sound belies the often-dark content of his songwriting, including a portrait of a drug user in the song “Dust in a Baggie.” A bit of a musical child 58 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

JAY PHAROAH

Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, Comedy at the Carlson, carlsoncomedy.com Best known as a Saturday Night Live cast member from 2010 to 2016, Jay Pharoah is a master impressionist known for his portrayals of former


John Mulaney. PHOTO PROVIDED

President Barack Obama, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, and Jay-Z, among many others. Pharoah’s upbeat, energetic style and pinpoint takes on celebrities make for a highly entertaining performance. 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. $25, $35. DK

JOE PERA

Oct. 8, State Theatre of Ithaca, stateofithaca.org It’ll be a homecoming of sorts when comedian Joe Pera performs at the State Theatre this fall. The Buffalo native and long-suffering Bills fan (just one more in a long list of reasons to like the guy) attended Ithaca College, where he initially honed his craft. Pera has since become a comedic darling on Adult Swim for his show “Joe Pera Talks With You,” which ran from 2018 through 2021. Pera’s act is as much performance art as it is stand-up, in which he plays a softspoken, wholesome version of himself as 30-something going on 70. Far from a conventional performer, Pera’s sweetness makes for disarming and oddly uplifting humor. 7 p.m. $35.

JOHN MULANEY

Nov. 9, Kodak Center, kodakcenter. com/events One of the top stand-up comedians working today, John Mulaney boasts an impressive resume. He has performed sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall, been a writer on Saturday Night Live, starred as George St. Geegland alongside fellow comedian Nick Kroll in “Oh Hello on Broadway,” and worked as an executive director, writer, and actor in the IFC mockumentary series “Documentary Now!” with Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyers. Mulaney’s style is predicated on his quick wit, penchant for selfdeprecating humor, and working knowledge of pop culture that transcends his 40 years. Mulaney brings his articulate, not-quite-clean comedy to the 585 for the first time since headlining the Rochester Fringe Festival in 2017. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $55-$262. DK

DK

roccitynews.com CITY 59


LIFE

HARVEST TIME

ILLUSTRATION BY JACOB WALSH

FRUIT OF THE BOOM Fill your senses with the fruits of fall at these apple-picking and grape-stomping locales. BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

A

@RSRAFFERTY

utumn is harvest time, when all of summer’s sunshine seems to be distilled into the flavors of the fall that are ripe for the picking. New York has two particular standout fruits for the season — apples and grapes — and many hands-or-feet-on opportunities to indulge. New York is the second-largest apple producing state in the country (after Washington), and the rich, vineyardsupporting land of the Finger Lakes

60 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022

BECCA@ROCHESTER-CITYNEWS.COM

region has earned the nickname “Napa of the East.” Autumnal celebrations pop up everywhere this season, so don your coolweather layers and get into the groves.

APPLE PICKING We’ve tried our best to include every spot to pick apples in Monroe County (and there are loads more in surrounding counties), but if we missed your favorite let us know. Bring your own tote bags or baskets, be gentle so

you don’t bruise the fruit, and store the produce in a cool, dry spot when you get home. Prices and hours vary from biz to biz (and in some cases, depending on the apple variety), so call ahead or visit the sites for more details.

required to access the grounds of this farm, which in addition to 13 varieties of apples for picking, boasts a corn maze, rides and games, farm animals, mini golf, a bakery and grill. It’s basically a rural playground dream.

WICKHAM FARMS

WHITTIER FRUIT FARM

1315 Sweets Corners Road, Penfield, wickhamfarms.com

219 Whittier Road, North Chili, whittierfruitfarm.com

Admission ($10.95 for just apple picking, additional fee for other activities) is

Pick from 32 varieties of apples, as well as blueberries and pumpkins.


CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS berries and stone fruit, but you’ve got to go to West Wind for apples — more than 25 varieties fill a chart on the website that delineates when each is best to pick and what dishes they’re best suited for. The Blue Barn Cidery is located at West Wind Farms. KIRBY’S FARM MARKET 9739 W. Ridge Road, Brockport, kirbysfm.com

Kirby’s offers nine apple varieties available for picking, cider and cider slushies, pumpkins, and baked goods. Fall activities include wagon rides and a huge straw-bale maze.

PUZZLE ON PAGE 62. NO PEEKING! 1

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SCHUTT’S APPLE MILL 1063 Plank Road, Webster, schuttsapplemill.com

In addition to more than a dozen apple varieties, you can pick cherries, raspberries, and a variety of flowers. Schutt’s also features a tasting room and shop with cider and donuts, tours, and events — see the Sept. 10 free Fall Kickoff party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring family activities, tastings, wagon rides, and live music. ROBB FARMS 800 Gallup Road, Spencerport, robbfarms.com

Call ahead for specific u-pick dates and choose from 20+ varieties of apples. The shop also has cider and donuts, peaches, berries, meats, honey, and maple syrup for purchase. KELLY’S FARM MARKET & BAKERY 611 Old Wilder Road, Hilton, facebook.com/kellysfarmmarket

Opens for the season on Sept. 3, and offers apple picking, pumpkins, cider, and a variety of baked goods including sought-after pies.

There are far fewer local opportunities to get your feet dirty stomping grapes than to pick apples, and they tend to be held only during special, bacchanallike events. Get barefoot and silly at these spots: PURPLE FOOT FESTIVAL 2022 Sept 18., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Casa Larga Vineyards, 2287 Turk Hill Road, Fairport. casalarga.com

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This annual boozy harvest festival features horse-drawn wagon rides through the vineyard, wine flights, live music, a pie eating contest, a kids’ zone, and yes, grape stomping. Visitors of all ages can hop in a barrel and brutalize the juicy fruit of the vine. Just don’t pull a Lucille Ball and lose an earring in the muck. Tickets are $15 ($20 at the door) and free admission for those under age 21. HUNT COUNTRY HARVEST FEST Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hunt Country Vineyards, 4021 Italy Hill Rd, Branchport. huntwines.com.

Set on gorgeous Keuka Lake, the event features wine tasting, festival food, live music, trolly and hay wagon tours, and grape stomping and picking. No admission is listed, but food, libations, and activities have fees.

GREEN ACRE FARMS 3460 Latta Road (and West Wind Farms 928 Manitou Road, Hilton) greenacreupick.com

Celebrating its 50th year of selfpicking, the Green Acre location will retire after this season. Both sites offer roccitynews.com CITY 61


LIFE

A CROSS WARRED?

Answers to this puzzle can be found on page 61

PUZZLE BY S.J. AUSTIN & J. REYNOLDS ACROSS 1. The “J” of J.S. Bach 6. Food that provides more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans 10. Yemeni or Iraqi 14. Colts and fillies 19. Virus with a deadly outbreak in 2014 20. Slugger who was suspended for the entire 2014 MLB season 21. Michael of “Arrested Development” 22. Russian currency 23. Holst’s “The Planets”?

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31. Ceasefire

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45. Typical state for a lazy Yank? 48. American rocker Bob or Swedish soccer captain Caroline 50. 1960s atty. gen. whose brother was president 51. Fisherman’s accessory 52. Frigid temps (in Fahrenheit, anyway) 54. Morning coffee or Holy Communion 58. Apply cream cheese to a bagel 60. Ending for fractions 61. Alamo competitor 64. D.C. org headquartered in the J. Edgar Hoover Building 65. Accessory for a princess 68. Add insult to injury 69. Beverage company whose name is based on South Beach, Florida

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78. Court record keepers: abbr.

107. Induce to commit a crime

131. Complete: prefix

79. “_____ wish” (catchphrase in “The Princess Bride”)

108. Like red meat that is red

132. Moisten again

109. Ambient music pioneer Brian

133. Lays money on

82. Cultural tradition

110. Microsoft tablet introduced in 2012

134. Not minding one’s own beeswax

83. Short albums, for short

113. Come up, as a problem

85. Schnoz

115. Lively wit

89. Sequential

117. Robbed during a riot

91. Certain NCOs

120. Wins the heart of

93. T-shirt size options, in brief

124. Jib stored in a local band’s rehearsal space?

81. “How was _____ know?”

70. iPod model that was not onebillionth the size of the original

95. Resort with a mineral spring

73. How the red-ribbon winning priest finished in the 100-yard dash at the Roman Catholic field day?

99. Nostradamus after cleaning out the pig sty?

96. Modify formally

76. Ad Council output, for short

102. Ab exercise

77. Sch. for grades K–5

105. Bearded dragon, e.g.

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35. Amt. on a nutritional label

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42. Coach Lasso, to friends

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33. Bible book between Amos and Jonah

39. Northernmost Scandinavian country

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27. Word with jam or rap 30. Assignments for English class

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25. Origin of a Ford SUV model? 28. Opera singer Bocelli

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126. 7-day sir? 128. Grandson of Adam in the Book of Genesis 129. Phrase repeated in the course of identifying Superman flying overhead 130. Real estate measure

135. “You’re in for _____ surprise” DOWN 1. Pesach observers 2. Double reeded wind 3. _____ d’oeuvres 4. Smash Mouth hit associated with Shrek 5. Lowest point 6. Shower apparel 7. Anger


8. Tropical shrub whose leaves are used to make a narcotic 9. Paradise 10. Bitingly sour 11. Move into an exit row, say 12. Rooms with Pac-Man and Frogger machines

40. Accompanying

69. Worked like Rumpelstiltskin

41. Fruity drinks

70. Astronaut Armstrong

44. “Falsehood can hold out against much in this world, but not against ___”: Solzhenitsyn

71. Harmonizers with soprani and bassi

46. Crucifix inscription 47. Break off a relationship

13. Sheep’s bleat

49. Ma’s ma

14. Sass-mouthed prince?

53. Red cup brand

15. Mine and yours

55. Unexplained aerial phenomena, more commonly

16. “All _____!” (Conductor’s shout) 18. Attacks

56. Swedish pop group whose greatest hits album has sold over 30 million copies

24. Leap like a cat

57. Falsehoods

26. Green morsel in shepherd’s pie

59. Basic elemental unit

29. Writer Arthur Conan _____

60. Musical direction for silence

32. Ending with west or east

62. Horne and Dunham

34. Suffix with cyan- or ox-

63. Gehrig and Rawls

36. Besmirches

66. Dispel all doubt

37. Radio dial letters

67. Softens in water, as flax

38. Hockey fake

68. A.P.B. issuers

17. Big name in insurance

98. Prepare a football before the big game, a la Tom Brady 100. Mrs., en español 101. First in importance

72. Gas outside a diner?

102. “If I Had a Hammer” singer Pete

74. Lennon’s in-laws

103. Out of one’s mind

75. Claim on some food packaging

104. Where to find QWERTY

80. Capital of 39-Across

106. Follower of Chinese philosophy

82. Sunset over the boathouse?

111. Great Basin native

83. Famed English boarding school

112. RC and Jolt, for two

84. Discreet attention-getter

114. St. Nick

86. Workplace watchdog agcy.

116. Speed

87. Letters below 0 on an old phone

118. Actor McGregor

88. Museum on the Thames

119. Art _____

90. Water: Fr.

121. Stare creepily

92. Meet at the door

122. Perlman of “Cheers”

93. It might be left under the welcome mat

123. Small-runway aircraft capable of short takeoff and landing

94. Steve Buscemi’s role in “Reservoir Dogs”

125. Bro or sis

97. “A1” airer

127. Sounds of hesitation

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64 CITY SEPTEMBER 2022