WXXI AM News

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.

Ways to Connect

Provided

Right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with no end in sight, Alan Murphy imagines the plight of songwriters as a familiar philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

“I imagine, especially now, everybody wonders, ‘What am I doing?’” Murphy says. “Not, ‘What’s the value of it?’”

The falling tree, and the songwriters, are making vibrations in the air. It’s your ear that converts those vibrations into sound. And if there’s no one on the receiving end, did the sound even exist…?

Provided

In his only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Oscar Wilde tells of a man seemingly impervious to time and travail; it is his portrait, hidden away in his attic, that ages and shows the wear of the world.

The discovery of the remains of the glass negative of one of the most-famous portraits of Susan B. Anthony is Wilde’s story in reverse; the portrait, hidden away in a Geneva attic for decades, does not age. It is the world outside that attic that has changed.

Jazz festival will happen but will move to RIT

Feb 11, 2021
Fred SanFilipo/WXXI file photo

After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is on track for this summer -- but will be held for the first time outside the city and later than usual, festival organizers announced Thursday.

The festival’s co-producers, Marc Iacona and John Nugent, said they were moving the popular nine-day concert series to the Rochester Institute of Technology campus in Henrietta to better adhere to state health guidelines. The festival is scheduled for July 30 to Aug. 7.

Goat Factory Media

As the carnival barkers say, step right up -- and see the amazing Geva Theatre Center schedule change before your very eyes.

This is the COVID-19 reality. There will be no flipping of a switch, so that everything suddenly goes back to “normal.” The emergence of the arts from the coronavirus pandemic will be a cautious, step-by-step process.

As Geva Artistic Director Mark Cuddy says, “We’re trying to step up into the season, every next production a little closer to normal.”

garthfagandance.org

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is announcing plans to help the performing arts get a boost in New York state after so many live performances and other activities have been canceled or delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Cuomo said that more than 300 "pop-up" events are planned throughout the state in the next 100 days, including a performance by Garth Fagan Dance at the Magic Spell Studios at RIT.

Plans tentatively call for two to three 30-minute performances on the soundstage at those studios, on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Max Schulte/WXXI News file photo

An attempt was made to steal a piece from the Andy Warhol exhibit at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery on Sunday, but it was soon recovered.

The museum’s management released a statement on the theft: “The matter is still under investigation and we’re working on putting the pieces together to understand precisely what happened. The artwork in question was not damaged and is safe.”

The museum did not identify which piece was taken, and it has no further comment at this time.

Carla Coots

Brian Lindsay has known for a long time how to write a song that goes straight to the heart.

There was “East Side of the River,” from his 2004 album “The Crossing.” A lament of unrequited love -- her family thinks he’s not good enough for her -- wrapped in Springsteen-like wailing harmonica, drama-drenched guitar and the two banks of the Genesee River as metaphor: “You and I worlds apart, with a river in between.”

And “King of the Mountain,” from his 2009 album “Esperanza,” a coming-of-age yowl with echoes of Steve Earle.

Aaron Winters

Teagan Ward doesn’t need The Weather Channel to understand the current climate in America.

“One of frustration, I suppose,” she says.

Ward works in the travel industry, developing tour packages to be sold by travel agents. She’s also a singer and songwriter on the Rochester scene, with her band Teagan and the Tweeds.

Provided

Rock royalty has played the tiny room known simply as the Bug Jar.

There was The White Stripes, before the duo became indie-rock favorites. The Black Keys, before returning to town a few years later for gigs at Blue Cross Arena and Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center. Vampire Weekend. The 1975, sharing a bill with Rochester’s Joywave. 

Provided by Amy Collins and Tim Clark

The silence of the past year has been deafening.

“If it wasn’t COVID, we’d be out almost every night listening to music,” says Amy Collins. Or perhaps she and her husband, Tim Clark, would be playing music themselves.

True, there are still a few venues where stages remain lit, heeding to state-mandated coronavirus pandemic guidelines with varying degrees of compliance.

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