Arts & Life

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While the summer COVID season has forced the cancellation of many long-standing Western New York events, the Memorial Art Gallery’s M&T Bank Clothesline Festival will be happening Sept. 11-12 on the museum grounds.

Aaron Winters

Rochester’s festivals are back, and with them comes a new batch of city dollars.


After 20 years of writing its own history, you’d think people could talk or write about Blackberry Smoke without referencing The Allman Brothers Band. Or Lynyrd Skynyrd. Or The Marshall Tucker Band.

Charlie Starr pays no mind to our need to place his band in such a box.

“Not really,” says Blackberry Smoke’s lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter. “Because I love those bands, so dearly.”

One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.

“It’s like, ‘Well, it could be worse, you know,’” Starr concedes. “They could say, ‘You guys remind me of the Bay City Rollers.’”

Max Schulte/WXXI News file photo

In some respects, it’s as though the coronavirus pandemic never happened. Over the last couple of weeks, blueswoman Carolyn Wonderland was at Abilene Bar & Lounge. Oliver Wood, lead singer and songwriter of the Wood Brothers, was at Anthology. Irascible and invaluable social critic Steve Earle was at Point of the Bluff Vineyards.

This was how it always was, back in the day.

The Puerto Rican Festival is back. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s festivities will be different than in previous years: events will be held over two separate days at two different locations, and admission is free. One of the goals is to bring the festival to different parts of the city.

This hour, we preview this year’s events and talk about the festival’s past, present, and future. Our guests:

International Riesling Expo returns to Finger Lakes

Jul 16, 2021

GENEVA — The International Riesling Expo returns to the Finger Lakes this weekend.

“FLXCursion 2021: Riesling and the New Normal” runs from July 17 to 20 and features riesling producers, academics, masters of wine, writers, beverage professionals and riesling enthusiasts from around the world who are coming to the Finger Lakes to celebrate what has become the region's signature grape variety.
FLXCursion is produced by Geneva Community Projects.


A music festival dominates our perception of what American culture was a half-century ago. It is Woodstock, of course. Properly filmed and recorded, it’s a touchstone that social historians, documentary makers and dads who once dropped acid -- but not the brown acid!! -- return to repeatedly.

And now, after that same half-century, we have found another one.


After nearly two decades of shining the klieg lights on women both in front of and behind the camera, Rochester’s High Falls Women’s Film Festival is making an abrupt turn.

Sometime this fall, the yearly festival will evolve into a monthly series shown at The Little Theatre, 240 East Ave. The theater is operated by WXXI.

Along with the films, directors and actors will be brought in to preserve the festival's connection between the audiences and the filmmakers. Previous guests have included Lynn Redgrave, Diane Ladd and Leslie Stahl.

Scott Pukos / WXXI

The Little Theatre is expanding its hours this week. The theater, operated by WXXI, had been open Friday through Sunday.

As of Thursday, July 8, it will be open Thursday through Sunday. Public relations coordinator Scott Pukos said that Thursday movies will have open captions.


After a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Five Star Bank Party in the Park joins the sudden summer crush of concert announcements, with nine dates at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Rochester.

The series opens with an unusual mid-week combo. A Wednesday, July 14 show features the Baltimore funk and jam band, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.