WXXI AM News

Jeff Spevak

New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center

The Equal Rights Heritage Center has got Harriet Tubman right. There she is, standing on the lawn in downtown Auburn, holding a lantern. And just in case you choose to ignore that symbol of truth-seeker, there's also a gun tucked in the statue's belt.

"Frederick Douglass dominates African-American history for the pre-Civil War period," says Robert E. May, author of the new book "Yuletide in Dixie: Slavery, Christmas, and Southern Memory."

"Then you get to figures like Nat Turner, and others who are important for other reasons. But Harriet Tubman is right up there."

Courtesy of the University of Rochester

Jeff Beal can put his feet up and relax Friday night at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater. “I have nothing to do,” he says.

Yes, that’s the job of the Eastman Philharmonia, conductor laureate of the St. Louis and Detroit symphony orchestras Leonard Slatkin, and Grammy-winning soprano Hila Plitmann. It’s a celebration of Beal’s Emmy-encrusted career as a composer of film scores, television themes and classical compositions.

Missing Piece Group

Black Violin is not a Frankenstein creation, where we can see all of the parts stitched together, the bolts sticking out of the neck, the lumbering gait. “We approach the performance like rappers, but the music is approached sort of like Beethoven,” says Kev Marcus.

Black Violin. Kev Marcus on violin, Wil B on viola. Plus a DJ and drums. On Thursday, they’re bringing this surprising fusion of classical and hip-hop to Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Road.

The band’s new album, “Take the Stairs,” was released earlier this week.

Fleming Artists

It was the early 1980s and Christine Lavin's longtime boyfriend, a lawyer, told her a special guest would be joining them for dinner at a Manhattan restaurant. "But he wouldn't tell me who, because he figured I wouldn’t show up," Lavin says.

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

Michelle Wolf certainly has a way with words. Whether those words are truth-telling or rabble-rousing depends on the listener’s perspective. But it was certainly both sides of that argument, after her appearance at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, that catapulted her into the upper realm of talked-about comedians.

Wolf has two shows here Saturday, 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Comedy at the Carlson.

Yep Roc Records

There are times when Greg Townson seems to be spread so thin, you can read these words right through him. He’s a co-founder of The Hi-Risers, the glorious garage-rock trio, a steady part of the Rochester scene since 1989. Playing guitar on tours with soul singer John Ellison and pop singer Eleni Mandell. Or he’s jetting back and forth between here and London as a hired guitar, or to produce a record for a band like the Swiss rockabilly outfit Hillbilly Moon Explosion. The song, “My Love For Evermore,” Townson says, “is a standard in Europe, people have it tattooed on them.

Jeff Spevak/WXXI News

Leave your digital devices at the door. At last weekend’s Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, old-school technology was on display. The printing press.

The Main Street Armory was a creepily appropriate setting for the people who love old books. To see the books, hold them, smell them, own them and, I suspect, sleep with them.

“Where did you get the braille Playboy?” I ask Dennis Seekins. I figure he found it under a bed.

“At an estate sale!”

Jeff Spevak / WXXI

Water Street Music Hall, which had been the most-significant club on the local scene since the late 1980s, is rising from the ashes of discord once again. The two-headed entertainment center announced its return Wednesday afternoon with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the red brick, turn-of-the-last century old warehouse tucked away off of Andrews Street in the St. Paul Quarter.

Owner Peter Sewell explains that the extensive renovations are working alongside a repurposing of the two rooms, a restaurant called Jack’s on Water Street and the larger music venue side, Water Street 2020.

A re-branding of Water Street was essential. Sewell says the venue’s nights of bad economic management and hip-hop brawls are over.

David McClister / futurebirdsmusic .com

This is the start. It’s like the opening moments of a “Star Trek” episode, where you know the new young guy in the blue shirt will be the one to die at the hands of an alien, before Captain Kirk works it out. Likewise, the editors at WXXI have shot down all of my suggestions, so you can help name this column. Until then, it’s called “Your Name Here.”

Check out events happening this weekend

WXXI News

WXXI has announced that it will expand its coverage of the arts. 

“Thanks to support from our donors, we are in a unique position to enhance our existing arts and culture services and expand arts reporting in our newsroom,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “We know that the arts have widespread social impact and we believe we have an important role to bring focus to the arts community.”

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