So far, this May has been a chilly, rainy, snowy affair — but before we know it, spring will have sprung in Rochester.
The lilacs are yet to bloom and we may have sidestepped a soggy festival in their honor, but we can still commemorate the tradition at the virtual Lilac Pop-Up Shop, where Lilac Festival merch can be pre-ordered online and picked up this weekend at The Distillery. In the meantime, kids (ages 8-12) can get acquainted with our Olmsted-designed arboretum through Central Library’s ongoing History Mystery at Highland Park, an interactive online puzzle that combines local history, math, map reading, problem-solving, and more through a virtual tour of the park. As for those lilacs, stay on top of their purple progress with Highland Park Conservancy’s 2020 Lilac Bloom Alerts, and you won’t miss a thing.
Historic gardens are a point of pride in Rochester, and they’re one of George Eastman’s legacies. On Friday, May 15, at 1 p.m., Eastman Museum’s Kathy Connor will present Focus 45: Eastman’s Gardens Then & Now, which will take a look not only at the mansion’s horticultural features, but their historical context as well. The talk is free, but registration is required.
The spring theater season has also sprung. This Wednesday, May 13, at 7:10 p.m., Geneva Theatre Guild’s Playwrights Play Readings launches its six-week series with Adam Szudrich’s “Rosa and Leo,” Evan Baughfman’s “Son of a Bench,” and “One’s Cup of Tea” by Jeff Dunne. A different trio of plays will be presented every Wednesday through June 17.
Also this week, on Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m., Bristol Valley Theatre in Naples will present a free virtual encore performance of “The King’s Legacy,” a musical that made its world premiere on the BVT stage last summer. Meanwhile, WallByrd Theater Company continues Call Time, a virtual performance series now in the midst of a serial radio-play adaptation of “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” every Sunday at 8 p.m.
Sunday is also a great time to catch up with local poet Albert Abonado, who will be sharing his work in the national virtual reading series, Poets in Pajamas, at 7 p.m. Abonado just released a new book of poems, titled “Jaw.”
If you’ve been inspired to write, consider submitting work to the 2020 BOA Short Fiction Prize. This annual local literary contest awards a $1,000 honorarium and 2022 publication to the winner. Submissions are due May 31, with a fee of $25.
Our resilient musicians have been building a presence on the virtual scene for some time now, and this week’s highlights include some great local guitarists. The Tuesday night series, 6PM Music in Rochester Sessions, continues this week with guitarist Ken Luk. I first caught him playing in last month’s Rochester Livestream Music Festival, and found his presence very calming.
Over at the Virtual Little Café, longtime local fave Bobby Henrie will continue his May run on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. This week, on May 14, he’ll be streaming with his buddy Aaron Lipp. Then on Sunday at noon, cap off the week with Rochester Classical Guitar’s Guitar Salon. While normally at Java’s café, this virtual session will be part performance, part open mic, and part chit-chat about all things classical guitar.
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