Arts & Life

Arts & Life is one of our news focuses at WXXI. From harnessing the musical knowledge from reporters like Jeff Spevak, Brenda Tremblay, Julia Figueras, and Mona Seghatoleslami, to our television products that focus on various lifestyles and the arts, WXXI is the place to turn for arts & life news.

While there is no live, in-person music happening, WXXI is still bringing the artists you love to you - to your home, from the artists homes in our new series HomeStage.

Along with the coverage you'll find here, here's some of our other arts & life features:

Live programs on Classical 91.5 FM

Open Tunings with Scott Regan on WRUR 88.5 FM

Find events around town from the CITY events calendar

Movies and events at The Little Theatre

Showcasing artists on Arts in Focus

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.

John Schlia / WXXI

Very few people who give a damn about music have the same kind of records, album after album, on their shelves. That was the appeal of “Smokestacks,” the largely Rochester-centric closing show of the 12-day KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. A preamble of ukulele and harp, followed by sternum-rattling, downtown-window-shaking energy.

Saturday’s free show brought the exhilaration of big-decibel music in an open space in the cool of the evening, the sound echoing off the nearby buildings.

Ashleigh Deskins / WXXI

The name, Charming Disaster, would seem to explain everything. But I’ll go ahead with this review anyway.

And as it turns out, first impressions built on titles drawn from cute dichotomies (Led Zeppelin!), and a studied attention to Goth eveningwear (Lady Gaga!), are no way to judge a band.“Charming Disaster’s Musical Tarot Show” is a schtick, but the music of the Brooklyn duo is legit.

Jacob Walsh/CITY

The Andreas Delfs era has officially begun for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

On Thursday, Delfs conducted his first RPO Philharmonics concert as music director to kick off the 2021-22 season.

Though Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre was far from filled, the audience was receptive, and Delfs and company treated them to an auspicious, if subtle, first performance.

Matt Burkhartt / WXXI

Rochester’s PUSH Physical Theatre is a remarkable fusion of dance, body architecture, sight gags, and social philosophy. Thursday night at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, these provocateurs took aim at the most-dangerous inhabitants of the planet.

It’s long past time to bust the balloon of the “Generic Male.”

At the core of PUSH Physical Theatre has always been the husband-and-wife team of Darren and Heather Stevenson. Over the course of its 20 years, it has also included an evolving cast of performers. Ashley Jones, who is from England, joined a few years ago. 

Matt Burkhartt / WXXI

The room at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Gibbs Street was packed. Fifty-five or so people, most of whom were likely familiar with what Watkins & the Rapiers would be delivering Wednesday night at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. Whimsy, irreverence and cleverness.

The show was “Singing Serling: An Evening of Songs Inspired by Specific Episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone.’” Fourteen songs, each inspired by one of the show’s science-fiction tales. 

Create a Space NOW

Still singing the same songs

Every time they’re needed, artists are there to reflect on and grapple with urgent concerns, create room for crucial conversations, and provide guiding lights for others lost in the fog.


Joywave might be the only rock band in the country -- or perhaps the only one that will admit to it -- whose hearts go all aflutter at the sight of industrial architecture.

“When we were doing the van tours back in the day, that was kind of the thing we would see at 6 a.m. on the horizon,” Daniel Armbruster says. “We would say, ‘All right, we made it home.’”

Matt Burkhartt / WXXI

Murder mystery on a Monday

Before seeing “Sherlock Holmes: The Loss at Whitechapel,” I was skeptical about what modern dance could possibly add to a murder mystery. Turns out it can enhance the telling to a beautiful degree.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center

Seven voices boomed across the East Avenue garden space alongside Rochester Contemporary Arts Center, in the shadow of Christ Church. The voices of the dead.

These were actors, playing seven significant Rochesterians explaining their roles in the city’s history. All the meandering audience members who came to check out“fLOUR CITY Interactive ROCgarden” had to do was push the red button at the faux-granite pedestal on which each notable Rochesterian stood.