Arts & Life


The defining question for every band is always: How will this play in Kristiansand, Norway?

So it was that The Colorblind James Experience had booked a hotel-lounge gig in that beachside city in southern Norway. This was the mid-1980s, when the Soviet Union — just a couple of narrow Nordic countries away — was still a thing. And about 30 of what bassist Ken Frank calls “members of the Soviet elite” showed up.

“Bad music! Very bad music!” they shouted.

The Little renames theater for Jane and Larry Glazer

Oct 14, 2021
Scott Pukos/The Little Theatre

The Little Theatre on Thursday renamed one of its theaters after the late Jane and Larry Glazer, the Rochester couple whose philanthropy and businesses reshaped the city.

The Glazers were trustees of The Little and its parent, WXXI Public Media, and together co-chaired the organizations’ popular “Go Public” fundraising campaign.

That initiative raised $18 million, according to the organizations, and a portion of the revenue went toward improvements at The Little that included new seats, lighting, a screen, and a digital projector, among other enhancements.

Jim Dolan

It was the late 1980s, and Greg Townson was playing guitar in one of the more successful acts on the Rochester scene at the time, The Essentials. A rock band with some horns, which lent it a sense of funk and R&B.

And if you’re going down that road, there’s James Brown right in front of you.

Gino Fanelli/CITY

The Genesee Brewery’s special release beers are, well, special.

Not just because they’re inexpensive, good beers that complement the seasons, but because they introduce relatively niche styles of beer, like schwarzbier, in a way that gives beer nerds and casual drinkers alike a reason to raise a glass.

A cranberry-orange imbued kellerbier, aptly named Cran Orange Kellerbier, is the latest entry in that tradition.

Max Schulte/WXXI News file photo

If you’re lucky, here’s how Garth Fagan greets you at the front door of his home off East Avenue:

“Give me a hug!”

And you do. He’s earned it.

Fagan played a major role in creating the look of contemporary dance, incorporating Black culture into the art. “I wanted to see dancers and dance movement on a stage that wasn’t existing anyplace else,” he says. “Everything was ballet-based.”

Jacob Walsh/CITY

When Roy Ernst, an Eastman School of Music professor, set out in 1991 to form a band of senior citizens from around Rochester with little to no musical experience, he wasn’t looking to change the world.

He wanted to give people whom he saw as being stuck in the past, disconnected to their present and its future, a chance to improve their lives by making music. He called his ensemble New Horizons.

Rebecca Rafferty/CITY

In the Haudenosaunee creation story, Sky Woman, the daughter of the Great Spirit, descends from the heavens toward a watery world whose animals, fearing for her safety, dredge mud from the bottom of the sea to make the earth grow on the back of a giant turtle.


Now in its fifth year, Tyler Westcott’s annual Folkfaces Fest at Cherry Hill Campground in Darien Center has become a fall tradition for the upstate New York roots music scene. Westcott has assembled 40 different musical acts — including his high-octane Americana-blues-jazz-punk band and festival namesake — to play over four days, from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.

The surging delta variant may have forced Dinosaur Jr. to cancel the first leg of its fall tour. But it hasn’t stopped the band’s bassist Lou Barlow from hitting the road on his own. 

Next week, he’ll kick off a solo tour with three dates in upstate New York: Sept. 28 at Six Mile Creek Vineyard in Ithaca; Sept. 29 at Bug Jar in Rochester; and a house show on Sept. 30 in Buffalo. 

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Thomas Warfield was thinking back about 20 years, to when Shawn Dunwoody had created a work of art for the Rochester Museum and Science Center. “Some day,” Warfield remembers thinking, “we need a bust of Uncle Bill.”

Someday came Monday, in the Miller Center Courtyard across from the Eastman School of Music, with the unveiling of Dunwoody’s bust of William Warfield. Uncle Bill. A sculpture of the singer and actor’s head, larger than life.