Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

A Rochester couple is making a substantial contribution to the Seneca Park Zoo’s “Wilder Vision” capital campaign.

Mark and Maureen Davitt have committed $2.5 million for the zoo’s multi-year transformation project that began last year. The total cost is expected to be about $60 million. Monroe County has committed $37.75 million through its Capital Improvement Program budget. The Seneca Park Zoo Society will raise the remaining $23 million.


A mentalist and magician performing at this year's KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival says he impresses audiences with his skills, but he's not psychic.

Banachek says he uses his five senses to create the illusion of a sixth sense.

"I'm doing what mediums do. I talk to the dead. I bend metal with my mind, apparently. I read thoughts. I have people stand up and think of playing cards and I immediately tell them what cards they're thinking of from their body language. I go through all of these things and in the end I say, 'this is not real.' "


Paley says that in about 18 months the lease on his largest studio, located on Lyell Avenue, will be up, and he thinks that’s a good time to move out of the 40,000 square foot space used for metal fabrication and other aspects of his business. Paley also notes that by that time he will be 76, so it’s a good time to reassess how he wants to move forward with his art.

“It’s a huge business enterprise, so, to restructure and to downsize I can focus more on the intimacy of the work, because we focus nationally and internationally and there’s a lot of travel involved and it’s just time to reassess and downsize.”


Words. They are with us one moment… and then they are gone. Those words you read just seconds ago? Already pushed aside by the new words arriving now, barking for attention.

Is this weightlessness a concern? Should we hold our words, and those who speak them, more accountable?

Aldous Huxley would think so. Writer, poet, Hollywood screenwriter, philosopher. Perhaps best known for Brave New World, a novel published in 1932 depicting a future in which science creates genetically and behaviorally engineered humans. And 1954’s The Doors of Perception, in which Huxley describes his experiments with psychedelic drugs.

It is forward-looking writing that has survived to this day. Yet the prolific Huxley left us much, much more. A few years ago, a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate, Jon Budington, was poking through a used-book store in Vermont when he found Words and Their Meanings, a slim volume by Huxley, published in 1940. Budington contacted RIT Press and suggested the book was worthy of resurrection. The publishing house’s director, Bruce Austin, agreed.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

What happens to the butter sculpture at the New York State Fair once the event is over? Well, for the third year, it will be recycled and used for electricity.

Following its 13-day stint at the State Fair, the 50th annual butter sculpture was deconstructed, plopped into garbage bags and sent west, to Noblehurst Farms in Livingston County.

Here, it will be recycled into energy. Market Area Manager of the dairy farm Michel Boerman says they have been producing biogas energy with area food waste and manure since 2014.

Beth Adams

A classical pianist and teacher at the Hochstein School has found a unique way to conquer her lifelong struggle with performance anxiety.

"The thing is, I love to play the piano,” said Paula Bobb at her home in Brighton. “I love to play the piano...it just fed my soul.”

She loves it so much she was willing to endure years of crippling stage fright every time she performed in public, starting when she was just five-and-a-half years old.

No matter how long or hard she practiced, or how prepared she felt, Paula just could not shake the anxiety.

Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Detroit will celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin on Friday, August 31st at 10 a.m. EST.

Over two dozen people -- including heads of state, a record mogul, and music legends of nearly every description -- will take the stage of the Greater Grace Temple to speak, sing and pray in honor of the gift that Franklin so readily shared with the world.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Strasenburgh Planetarium is turning 50 years old this year, and it's celebrating with some renovations.

Kate Bennett, CEO of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, says the planetarium will be closed beginning Sept. 4 for those renovations, which will include new, moveable seats and carpeting in the Star Theater, accessible restrooms and an updated lobby.


A local floral workshop for city youths got a new home Monday morning,

A ribbon cutting was held for a new floral design space and shed in the JOSANA neighborhood for the local project Green Visions.

But it wasn’t outside a building, it’s outside a repurposed shipping container. The 800-square-foot space is on Whitney Street.

Michael Phillipson is the co-founder of Greentopia, which runs the project.

University of Rochester

A well-known figure in the University of Rochester community  has died. Paul Burgett died Wednesday after a brief illness, he was 72.