Arts & Life


If it weren’t for Willie Mays, we might never have been blessed with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

That’s just one of Penny Sterling’s revelations in “The Story Behind the Story of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ ” presented live at 7:30 p.m. Friday on Zoom. Sterling will reveal the secrets she has uncovered before allowing viewers to ask questions or share their own Ghosts of Christmas Past.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

An expansive, diverse exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center is an homage to the contributions of generations of pioneering local women.

Anomaly film festival review: 'The Columnist'

Nov 13, 2020
Pief Weyman

Anyone who remembers Rebecca Black’s hit song “Friday” knows how cruel internet critics can be. When the song was released in 2011, trolls hit up YouTube comments, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to berate the singer with insults, jokes, and even death threats.

In the 2020 film “The Columnist,” the title character, Femke Boot (played by Katja Herbers), faces the same problem as Black. Femke, however, chooses a very different response to internet criticism of her newspaper columns.


Watching “The Paper Tigers,” I settled in with excitement, right after I recovered from the line, “You look like a fat, Asian Mr. Rogers.”

Quoc Bao Tran’s impressive debut film — the 2020 opening night selection of the Rochester-based Anomaly film festival — is a refreshing and hilarious take on the kung fu movie genre. Packed with one-liners, a great cast, and some chummy pep talks, Tran’s action-comedy is a heartwarming story about friendship and honor.

Anomaly film festival review: 'The Twentieth Century'

Nov 13, 2020

An ice skate decapitation. A traitor impaled on a narwhal. A group of men competing to club the most baby seals.

These images, both garish and hilarious, are littered throughout director and screenwriter Matthew Rankin’s “The Twentieth Century," one of the genre films being featured in  Rochester’s virtual Anomaly film festival this year. (CITY contributing writer Adam Lubitow serves as the festival's co-founder and director of programming; The Little Theatre's Events and Special Programming Coordinator Matt DeTurck is Anomaly's creative director.)


Amy Collins has never seen the northern lights. In the coming months, she aims to address that glaring hole in her soul.

Collins and her husband, Tim Clark -- both folk singers -- were hurtling down the New York State Thruway earlier this week, after leaving Rochester the day following the election. Behind them was Burlington, Vermont. Just ahead, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. They were at the head of a 52-feet-long, one-ton truck, pulling an RV trailer loaded with things they’ll need over the next five or so months of touring the country.


Coming soon to The Little: The Jack Garner Theatre.

The Little Theatre, the art-deco gem of downtown Rochester, is naming one of its five theaters after Garner, the longtime film critic of the Democrat and Chronicle and Gannett Newspapers.


Anyone who knows anything about jazz sooner or later lands on the story of Charlie “Bird” Parker getting out of six months of detox and blowing the roof off a Los Angeles club with a legendary after-hours performance in 1947.

His show that night at Jack’s Basket Room was said to have been the saxophonist’s greatest of his life. No photos were taken. No recordings were captured. And two years ago the building burned to the ground.

Calendar preview: Keep calm and...

Nov 5, 2020

Who can be blamed for waxing nostalgic for simpler times of gripping national uncertainty, such as, say, in 1980 when the big question across the country was “Who Shot J.R.?

Jason Milton/WXXI

Danielle Ponder and her band -- Avis Reese, Derek Bennett, Levi Bennet and Jonathan Sheffer -- are on the stage at The Little Theater. In front of them are 280 seats, virtually all of them empty.

This is not the gig from hell. This is the COVID-19 reality.