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Get your coat, get your culture

Winter guide 2005


It's not rocket science: To keep warm, you gotta keep moving. And just because you're wearing boots and your winter hat makes your hair look funny doesn't mean you can't get out and get your culture on.

This is just a sketch of some of the artsy highlights from now until March. Be sure to check City's weekly calendars for details, changes, and additions. Ready, set, go.


There's plenty to see on local stages. Geva Theatre Center will continue That Was Then, another original Irish play courtesy of Artistic Director Mark Cuddy's Ireland sabbatical, on the Mainstage through February 6. It's the story of two couples, each looking to the other for help at two different dinner parties --- and this marks its US premiere. Next on the Mainstage is Crowns, in which African-American women tell the stories behind their hats --- fur and straw, velvet and flowered, for church or for play --- February 15 through March 20. And for Geva's Nextstage the mystery play has been announced: The Race of the Ark Tattoo, a one-man show with audience interaction, on stage March 2 through 20. Don't miss Geva Comedy Improv, where the theater opens up to late-night fun one weekend each in January and February. Tickets, at $7.50, are a steal.

JCC Centerstage will bring us Strike Up the Band!, a revue of Gershwin music, February 3 through 6 and The Immigrant, the story of two Jews who immigrated from Eastern Europe to Texas in 1909, March 5 through 19.

The Trials of Ezra Pound will be at Shipping Dock Theatre February 11 through March 6. Written by Timothy Findley, the play explores the 1940s hearings that tried to determine if the poet was mentally fit to stand trial for treason.

The very solid Blackfriars will stage a very solid story: Dickens's Great Expectations, March 5 through 24.

And don't forget to check in with Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. The little theater with the relentless energy will doubtless bring plenty of opportunities to laugh and sing in any of its three locations. And I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is now in its fourth year. It might be time to see what the fuss is about.

At the Aud, Lord of the Dance is in mid-February, Bill Cosby will perform two shows on Sunday, February 27, and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League is bringing the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie March 8 through 13. These are the big names, folks. Book tickets early.

University doings include George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara, by the edgy and too-cool-for-most-of-us International Theatre Program at University of Rochester, Thursday through Sunday, February 24-27. But it's Shaw, so we might be able to understand this one. And the RIT players will present Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin. Yes, that Steve Martin. And he can write.

If you're looking to treat the whole family to a good show you have several options: the Harlem Globetrotters on February 5 and Smucker's Stars on Ice on March 12 are both coming to the Blue Cross Arena, and Sesame Street Live will be at the Auditorium Theatre in March. The Rochester Children's Theatre continues its residency at Nazareth College with Seussical the Musical January 14 through 23 and James and Giant Peach March 19 and 20.

Children's-theater newcomer TYKEs (Theater Young Kids Enjoy) will host Catskill Puppet Theater for a production of The Willow Girl on February 24 (school break week!) and will put on their own version of the sing-a-long The Adventures of a Bear Called Paddington March 5 through 13. NTID Performing Arts, whose shows are acted in spoken English and American Sing Language, will perform Rumpelstiltskin on the RIT campus January 20 through 23.

Finally, closer than its Toronto run, Disney's Lion King will be at Buffalo's Shea's Arts Center beginning February 24.

Three annual theater festivals have taken up winter residence and are a chance to see up-and-coming theater, some of it in bite-sized doses. First there is Geva's Hibernatus Interruptus: A Winter Festival of New Plays, the last two weekends in January, in which three brand-spanking new scripts (two of them commissioned by previously Geva-produced playwrights Michele Lowe and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa) are workshopped and read, script in hand. What makes it extra nice? Free admission, that's what.

Second up is the intrepid Bread and Water Theatre's fifth annual Rainbow Theater Festival, devoted to new plays about queer life. This year the festival continues for a month, January 28 through February 27, with three different programs under the theme "making the invisible visible". The first two programs will be at 34 Elton Street, the third program, The Lambda Project: An Ode to Two-Spirits, will be on the RIT campus. Finally there's the Festival of Ten, SUNY Brockport's three-night run of 10 original 10-minute plays. You should be able to find one you like.

Museums and art

Art exhibits will open throughout the winter, but here is a selection of those already planned or on display. Nicole Maynard's Expressing Christian Imagery: paintings and works on paper, is on display at Roberts Wesleyan College's Davison Art Gallery January 7 through 31. A\V, where you can always find out-of-the-mainstream art and music, will next open Biodomes in Watercolor, an installation of paintings by Brian Blatt and music by Gaybot and Pals. That is up January 21 through February 6. And Rochester Contemporary, another bastion of new and interesting artwork, will show the electronic and digital media art of Emile Devereaux, January 14 through March 4. The show is called Wormhole and it will be accompanied by a video piece, Snow Black, by Haluk Akakce.

At the University of Rochester you can see artifacts from around the world, collected and brought home by Peace Corps volunteers in Share Their World: An Exhibition, on view at Wilson Commons from January 13 through 23. The Rochester Art Club will display their favorite pieces at The Center at High Falls Gallery, January 14 through February 27. The Members' Choice Show will include work by artists applying for membership.

From Saturday, January 15, through February 26, the Oxford Gallery will display sculpture by Jacquie Germanow and paintings by Amy Lucille Williams. At the Memorial Art Gallery, Better Things will continue through February 13, in which Douglas Holleley interprets the MAG collection through color photos and essays.

In photography, Rigel Klingman will display her work in The Visual Poetry Project, January 14 through February 20, at the Sunken Room Gallery in the Genesee Center, 715 Monroe Avenue. At the 4 Walls Gallery, one of the newest establishments to join the artistic-minded crew housed at 34 Elton Street, Three Tales Told: Aesthetic Elision in the Scottish Landscape, with photos by Mercedes Fages-Agudo, Monika Ueffinger, and Tammie Malarich, will be shown January 21 through March 13.

And The George Eastman House will open Law & Order: Crime Scenes, the work of the TV show's photographer,and Photography on the Edge: Create and Be Recognized, work by "outsider" or untrained artists. Both exhibits are open January 22 through April 10. David Byrne's PowerPoint masterpiece, Trees, Tombstones, and Bullet Points, has been extended through February 6.

The museums know that winter is a time to play indoors. The Rochester Museum and Science Center still has Surprise! It's Science through May, and ongoing exhibits include AdventureZone, At the Western Door, and Raceways. At Strong Museum, Arthur's World is closing January 23, but Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog will open the last weekend in January, with the opportunity to meet Clifford "in person."

If you venture out of town, there's plenty to see. The Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery at Syracuse University has the traveling exhibit Flor Garduno: Witnesses of Time and So, What's So Funny About the Funnies? through February 13. The Redhouse, an arts center offering art, theater, music, and film, has named January "Gallery Month." You can see a multimedia installation by Daniel Raffin, sculpture by Fritz Dietel, and printmaking by Thea Reidy in Lamentations.

The CEPA Gallery in Buffalo will display What We Can Become: Images of Civil Rights History, an exhibit organized by Western New York's Housing Opportunities Made Equal, January 13 through 27. Also in Buffalo, Albright-Knox Gallery is always worth a trip. An exhibit of Georgia O'Keeffe's work will open January 28 and continue through May 8. And A-K has recently begun Gusto at the Gallery, free Friday-evening parties with cash bar and activities like dance, poetry, music, talks, and workshops.

A little bit further, in Corning, you can see Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women, photographs by Barbara Van Cleve, at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. Or, thaw out at The Corning Museum of Glass. In addition to the wonderful glassblowing demonstrations and workshops, their exhibits are a treat. Animals in Glass is open through April 24, and the Museum is hosting monthly "Families Explore" and other fun events through the winter.


If you're looking for warm words, people both serious and funny are being shuttled in for our convenience. First up: The very funny political satirist Mo Rocca (former correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show and author of All the President's Pets) will be at the University of Rochester on February 4. The next week, on February 9, also at UR, Aaron McGruder, cartoonist-writer of the syndicated "The Boondocks," will speak. McGruder has broken ground with his strip, which he started while he was still at the University of Maryland. Now Huey and Riley, two young kids who comment with wisdom and cynicism beyond their years on topics like politics and race, are seen in 350 papers across the country.

Two news correspondents are coming to town: First NBC's Victoria Cordeiri will give the keynote at the Women's Council's Annual ATHENA Awards and then Cokie Roberts will speak at the February 22 Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon.

More big names: Jeanne Ray, author of sweet bestsellers Julie and Romeo, Step-Ball-Change, and Eat Cake, will come to town for the first spring engagement in Rochester Arts & Lectures, on March 10. And humorist-writer-radio man Garrison Keillor, the rich voice behind NPR's A Prairie Home Companion, will visit the University at Buffalo on January 24.

In This Guide...

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