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Calendar preview: Keep calm and...


Who can be blamed for waxing nostalgic for simpler times of gripping national uncertainty, such as, say, in 1980 when the big question across the country was “Who Shot J.R.?” Sure, the mystery kept everyone glued to their TVs, but no one had to worry how the outcome might affect healthcare, civil rights, the climate, and democracy itself. There was just one man “everybody loved to hate,” and that was that. Pure entertainment, pure fiction. But now, in this surreal, unreal year of 2020, it’s all too real. And we wait.

So what to do?

Well, now is a really good time to get outside. This week’s mild forecast and continued autumn color bursts invite us to stop thinking about the polls and take in some fresh air. Have you visited all of the 20-plus parks in the Monroe County Parks system yet? There’s still lots to explore.

There are even more parks in Monroe County than just the municipals. For those seeking a semblance of wisdom, Helmer Nature Center in Irondequoit will deliver their popular Owl Prowls this Friday and Saturday evening, at both 7 and 8 p.m. These night walks through the woods will include owl calls and identification, plus an indoor workshop where visitors can meet Sherlock and Watson, Helmer’s resident Eastern Screech owls. Space is extremely limited to allow safe distancing, so registration is required ($5 for members, $10 for non-members).

On Thursday at 7 p.m., you can enjoy our local parks from indoors with Master Gardener Bob Beabout as he delivers a virtual talk about one of our parks’ most famous conservationists and landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted, known for designing Central Park, Niagara Falls State Park, and a dizzying number of parks across the country, designed a collection of parks all in the city of Rochester known as The Emerald Necklace. Learn more about this fascinating history in Beabout’s talk, "Olmsted and Rochester Parks," presented online by Rush Public Library. Registration is required.

Our parks are a point of pride in Rochester, as are the musical talents brimming in our city. Let’s not forget the free recitals offered by the Eastman School of Music, streaming live most nights of the week. On stage at Kodak Hall, the Eastman Wind Ensemble will perform this Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Eastman School Symphony Orchestra will play on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Eastman Percussion Ensemble on Tuesday, Nov. 10 – also at 7:30 p.m. And of course, beginning on Monday and running through Friday, Nov. 13 is the Gateways Music Festival, in which classical musicians of African descent are celebrated with myriad virtual recitals, talks, panel discussions, and a film screening. Event tickets range from free to $20, with festival passes available.

If, through this time, you’re wondering “Why can’t we all just sing along?,” you’re in luck. Golden Link Folk Singing Society continues its Tuesday Sing-Arounds virtually, every week at 7:30 p.m. Each week’s sing-around has a different leader, sometimes with themes for the night. Feel free to sing along, even if you’re too shy to unmute.

One nice thing about this year’s election is that it’s followed by First Friday, complete with in-person and virtual exhibits and events. Openings this week include "Beyond Addiction | Reframing Recovery" at RIT’s City Art Space in the Sibley building, which will offer extended hours on Friday. The exhibit explores the stories of those who have journeyed through addiction and recovery — the struggles, the triumphs, and the unique perspectives of real people — as well as open conversations that could positively impact the community. This exhibit, as well as Felix Gonzalez-Torres' “Untitled (L.A.)," both feature online talks and discussions in the coming weeks, and will run through Feb. 21.

So let’s try and keep calm. There is plenty of fresh air, music, and art for all of us.

Keep up to date with full listings of local online events on the CITY Events Calendar. Do you have an event you wish to include? You can submit online, or email event information to