Arts Features


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.


Until this summer, the coat rack in Martin Hawk’s home was a spot to set his keys and wallet and other everyday personal items. Now, it’s a place for his gas mask.

“None of us were prepared for the tear gas and the pepper spray,” Hawk says.

Hawk is a photographer embedded in what he calls the “battleground” of downtown Rochester, documenting the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have rattled the halls of power and earned international media attention.

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.

ImageOut 2020 comes down to the final reel

Oct 8, 2020
Image Out

The task of booking films for Rochester’s ImageOut LGBT Film Festival has been unfolding like a good thriller: It’s all coming down to the final reel.

The coronavirus pandemic’s chokehold on the arts has not ignored the film industry. For the most part, this year festivals have gone virtual, of course, with ImageOut running Oct. 8 through 18, in your living room.

provided photo

Feminist, journalist, and social activist Gloria Steinhem has been the face of the women's movement since the 1960s.

The producer of a new play presented by the Jewish Community Center's CenterStage said even a global pandemic can't silence Steinem's voice.

Illustration by Jacob Walsh/CITY News

Morning glory vines have overtaken my backyard this summer. They are deceptively beautiful, with their lush greenery and scattering of delicate trumpet flowers creeping up the deck railings, thin tendrils reaching out to embrace the legs of the grill. The morning glory grows with startling virility. If the dog stood for too long within its reach, I might have to tear the vines from her legs.

But in truth, the morning glory is a lie. It is a noxious weed. If I allow it to spread, it will kill everything beneath it.

For fans of metaphors, the morning glory is 2020.

James Brown takes a bow at his namesake diner

Oct 2, 2020
Jacob Walsh/CITY News

James Brown sat in his usual spot, on the last stool at the lunch counter in his namesake diner on Culver Road, thumbing through a stack of bills and reminiscing about his time in the restaurant game.

“The customers and the neighborhood, they made it fun,” Brown said. “But you can’t do it forever. I physically can’t do it anymore.”

He swung a beefy leg onto the open stool next to him and rubbed his swollen knee. It was flaring up again.

Album review: 'Majestics MMXX'

Oct 1, 2020

The Majestics have returned mightily with “Majestics MMXX” with a musical fist in the air and a steady, rocksteady-reggae groove.

The band's appeal is found partly in its longevity — with a tenure that goes back all the way to the 1970s when it was on Record Archive’s imprint and fans still called it Bahama Mama — and also in its willingness to color outside the lines. Though they've shared the bill with legendary artists like Burning Spear and Lee “Scratch” Perry, traditional bonds and sounds have eluded them.

Album review: 'Samadhi'

Oct 1, 2020

“Samadhi” is a Sanskrit term referring to a state of heightened awareness, leading to communion with the divine. That may seem to be quite a reach for a record title, but on Jacám Manricks’ new album, “Samadhi,” you can feel the musicians aspiring to a lofty goal.

Manricks not only wrote all eight tracks (one is a collaboration), he also plays alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet, flute and alto flute, and MIDI (synthesized) strings. His arrangements are unfailingly ambitious.

Album review: 'Lilac Hill'

Oct 1, 2020

If Korean-born pianist Sukyung Kim ever visits Rochester in the springtime, she can feast her eyes on our real lilac hill at Highland Park. The title tune of Kim’s impressive debut EP, “Lilac Hill,” was inspired by a dream, but that won’t stop listeners from taking an evocative musical journey there.