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Jeff Spevak

Arts & Life Editor

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.

He has also been published in Musician and High Times magazines, contributed to WXXI, City newspaper and Post magazine, and occasionally performs spoken-word pieces around town. Some of his haikus written during the Rochester jazz festival were self-published in a book of sketches done by Scott Regan, the host of WRUR’s Open Tunings show.

Spevak founded an award-winning barbecue team, The Smokin’ Dopes, and believes Bigfoot is real. His book on the life of a Lake Ontario sailor who survived the sinking of his ship during World War II will be published in April of 2019 by Lyons Press.

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Rochester Broadway Theatre League

This is, John Parkhurst says, “the longest intermission of our lives.”

As we churn toward what epidemiologists predict will be the darkest period yet of the coronavirus pandemic, venues such as Rochester’s Auditorium Theatre are shuttered in uncertainty.

“Right now, you plan for the worst and hope for the best,” says Parkhurst, chief operating officer of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League. “And if we can be open in March or April, it’s still a possibility.”

Provided

Amy Collins has never seen the northern lights. In the coming months, she aims to address that glaring hole in her soul.

Collins and her husband, Tim Clark -- both folk singers -- were hurtling down the New York State Thruway earlier this week, after leaving Rochester the day following the election. Behind them was Burlington, Vermont. Just ahead, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. They were at the head of a 52-feet-long, one-ton truck, pulling an RV trailer loaded with things they’ll need over the next five or so months of touring the country.

WXXI

Coming soon to The Little: The Jack Garner Theatre.

The Little Theatre, the art-deco gem of downtown Rochester, is naming one of its five theaters after Garner, the longtime film critic of the Democrat and Chronicle and Gannett Newspapers.

Provided

The Gateways Music Festival is not simply five days of a spotlight shining on musicians of African descent, before moving on to faces more familiar to audiences of classical music.

“This is not about diversity,” says Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the event. That mission has not changed since he described it two years ago, although in this summer of COVID-19 the circumstances have certainly changed. “This music belongs to us. This music belongs to everybody.”

Max Schulte / WXXI News

“Season of Warhol,” the newest exhibit at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, is a major event for the city’s art scene that explores Andy Warhol’s wild ride. On display are samples of his vibrant pop art, tributes to his fascination with film and television, and goofy cow wallpaper juxtaposed with an image of the electric chair used to execute Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Jason Milton/WXXI

Danielle Ponder and her band -- Avis Reese, Derek Bennett, Levi Bennet and Jonathan Sheffer -- are on the stage at The Little Theater. In front of them are 280 seats, virtually all of them empty.

This is not the gig from hell. This is the COVID-19 reality.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

It was 1966, and Armand Schaubroeck was ready for his close-up.

“He had us sit on that couch that’s on The Velvet Underground album,” Schaubroeck says. “I don’t know if he was trying to make the couch famous, but that’s where he shot most of his photos and his screen tests.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

A murmur of excitement rolled through the area’s movie-going community, long in coronavirus limbo, when word came out early Saturday afternoon that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had just announced that theaters throughout the state – umm, except you, New York City -- could reopen as of this Friday.

The news seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Then reality hit: Restarting an industry is not as simple as firing up the popcorn machine and hitting the projector “on” switch.

Provided

Winter’s coming. A long season of coronavirus discontent is settling over us.

A shift in our community interactions has already proven to be inevitable.

After a slow, downward spiral, one of downtown Rochester’s iconic bars, Richmond’s, closed last weekend. The place goes back more than three decades, back to when it was Schatzees.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

When visitors arrive at the George Eastman Museum, they’ll now be greeted by a 48-feet-long and more than 14-feet-high image of the Taj Mahal. It’s the first of the Eastman Kodak Company’s iconic Colorama photos gracing the museum’s parking lot.

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