Arts Features


Helene Biandudi Hofer believes politics, religion, entertainment, history, education, sports, race, and culture share a common thread: clothing.

The host and producer of WXXI-TV’s Need to Know has launched an independent, multi-media series called The Empty Hanger.

It explores the fascinating, misunderstood, perplexing, profound, and often overlooked meanings of dress.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Helene.

Gail Albert Halaban

A new exhibit opening at the Eastman museum may change the way you look at your neighbors.

Gail Albert Halaban had only been living in New York City for a short time when something weird happened. It was her daughter's first birthday, and they received a package in the mail from her neighbors in the next building over.

"They sent me balloons and flowers," she says, "and a note saying, 'It's been fun watching your daughter grow up.' And we had never met them."

At first, Halaban says, she was a little creeped out.

Serving an underserved and under-resourced neighborhood through the arts. That’s the intention of a new theater that opened in June 2018 on Joseph Avenue in the City of Rochester. It’s called The Avenue Black Box Theatre. It’s being dubbed the first performing arts venue in the northeast quadrant. The theatre doesn’t intend to only serve, but to also transform a community one block at a time.  This edition of Need to Know explores how it will be done.

flickr.com/University of Houston digital library https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/p15195coll38/item/272

Critics are praising the documentary film "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" as a comfort in dark and divisive times.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville's nostaglic tribute to Mr. Rogers, the cardigan-clad, gentle-voiced, kind grownup who befriended generations of kids, premeires in theaters Friday.

Paul Siefken, president and CEO of Fred Rogers Productions, the company that carries on Rogers' legacy through children's television programming, says Rogers was a kind and gentle soul but his work was bold and courageous.


A play echoing the themes of the #MeToo movement premiers at Geva Theatre's Fielding stage on Thursday.

Swans explores a family torn apart by abuse. It's a story of reckoning, recovering lost memories, and maybe even redemption. It’s the work of playwright Maria Brandt, who also teaches creative writing at Monroe Community College.

Brandt says while many women have been empowered to find their voices and speak out against their abusers, it's important to include men in conversations about violence against women.

Renowned and award-winning puppeteers from around the world will be coming to New York from June 14 - June 24 for the inaugural New York State Puppet Festival. It’s all happening in a small, rural town, with a mighty passion for art and a deep desire to expand your perspective of a childhood pastime.

The Bob Dylan Birthday Bash

May 25, 2018

In one of the city’s longest-running popular-music traditions, about three dozen Bob Dylan songs will be interpreted by Rochester musicians at Friday’s 31st annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash at Lovin’ Cup Bistro & Brews.

Host band HuNu? opens the 8 p.m. set  on May 25 with the only non-Dylan song of the night. “A Different Bob” is a composition by the late Chuck Cuminale, the originator of the event with his band, The Colorblind James Experience.

Jeff Spevak looks at a summer of music

May 24, 2018

A hip-hop Pulitzer Prize winner and a country music star who was onstage when last summer’s mass shooting in Las Vegas broke out. This is one outdoor concert season that reflects our changing and challenging times.

It started as an effort to unify African American writers throughout the Rochester region. Now, one writer calls it “a movement,” that enables authors of color to connect with the community and encourage young people to turn their thoughts and imaginations into stories. The efforts of the upcoming Rochester Black Author Expo, now in its 4th year, begs the question: how can teaching about black writers impact young people? On this edition of Need to Know we’ll also learn how African American literature is influencing generations of all ages?

In a city dealing with severe poverty, crime and a challenged education system, some young people in Rochester might think a life beyond all of that is hopeless. However, a new film project premiering on May 10th is showcasing the resilience and tenacity of a city and its residents. As we’ll learn on this edition of Need to Know, it’s all in the hopes of helping at-risk youth create hope beyond what they may see.