Cultural stories & organizations

Buffalo native Lauren Belfer is heading back to the best-seller charts with her new novel "And After The Fire." It's a look at the music of Bach, anti-semitism and family. Belfer talked to WBFO's Mike Desmond about the book.

Photo form Paul Spitale's Facebook page.

A Buffalo couple wed on national television Friday morning. Paul Spitale and Jenell Greene said their vows on "Good Morning America" in Times Square. WBFO's Eileen Buckley spoke with the couple as they were traveling to New York City, prior to tying the knot.

The Buffalo Connection: David Milch

Apr 25, 2016
Jenna Schoenefeld

Tim O'Shei of The Buffalo News has been traveling around the country profiling people who were raised or educated in Western New York and have gone on to become pop culture influencers. His series is called The Buffalo Connection.

In a Friday afternoon press conference, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson did not say what led to the death of singer Prince, whose body was found yesterday at his home in Minnesota. He was 57.

Olson did say there were no "obvious signs of trauma" on the singer's body, and that there is no reason to believe his death was a suicide.

To many Western New Yorkers, his music was a part of growing up in the 1980s. He took on the record industry in the 1990s by replacing his name with a symbol. As as one local music critic put it, Prince - who was found dead Thursday at the age of 57 - was truly a musical genius in the same class as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson.

Prince, Musician And Iconoclast, Has Died At Age 57

Apr 21, 2016

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

The next WBFO Blues Bash takes place Saturday, April 9 in the WNED|WBFO studios. Blues host Pat Feldballe recently had a chance to speak with Blues Bash headliner JP Soars.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Thousands of Western New Yorkers, just one day after enjoying Easter Sunday, were out on Monday taking part in Dyngus Day festivities. Inside Buffalo's Broadway Market, the celebrations included a contest to determine "Buffalo's Best Kielbasa."

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While churches throughout Western New York will host Holy Thursday services and remain open for continued quiet prayer, seven in Buffalo's Polish heritage neighborhoods will welcome visitors to take in both a spiritual and cultural experience.

Irish Trad seisiún

Mar 17, 2016
Photo provided by Mark Warford

There will be plenty of the wearing of the green, green bagels and beer on this Saint Patrick's Day.  But WBFO's Eileen Buckley found out about some local musicians who provide traditional Irish music monthly in the area.

Thomas O'Neil-White

If it was a movie, it might be titled "Spring Sojourn for Shark Girl."

Brian Meyer/WBFO News

A newspaper that serves the region's growing immigrant and refugee populations has published a primer for new Americans that highlights the voting process. A recent edition of Karibu News featured a two-page spread in three languages. It's an effort to encourage naturalized citizens to head to the polls and to spur discussion among those who cannot vote. WBFO's Brian Meyer sat down with publisher Rubens Mukunzi, a Rwandan immigrant who moved to Buffalo three years ago.

Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

Dancers, dignitaries and shoppers gathered inside The Broadway Market Friday to mark the official launch of the Easter shopping season at the Buffalo landmark.

Andrew Beiter

Messages of hate have plagued society for many centuries, but they’ve never spread more rapidly than in today’s Internet society.


On Sunday, the Buffalo History Museum will host a conversation with Western New York native and celebrated actor William Fichtner. Prior to his return, Fichtner shared some time with WBFO.

Craig Windham, a voice familiar to many NPR listeners, died unexpectedly last night of a pulmonary embolism. He was 66.

Windham was an award-winning journalist who covered presidential campaigns, hurricanes, earthquakes and the first Persian Gulf War. More recently, he focused on anchoring and reporting for NPR's Newscasts. In less than 40 seconds, Windham could explain the intricacies of a complicated bill or capture the glory of a space shuttle flying over the nation's capital.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Canisius College hosted a civil and human rights leader at its annual Black History Month celebration in downtown Buffalo today. Former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous was the keynote speaker at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. 

Motorists on the Thruway are seeing signs near the site of the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn in an initiative that pays tribute to an icon in African-American history.

WBFO file photo

You might say that late local music legend Lance Diamond is getting his own "way" on Elmwood Avenue.

On this first week of Black History Month, the bureau that promotes tourism locally is looking to stress the importance of Buffalo’s African American heritage.

Changes to state law lifting distillers' spirits

Feb 3, 2016
Wendy Guild Swearingen

You may have noticed more and more distilleries opening in recent years in the Buffalo area. One reason is a recent change in state law that's allowed local distillers to run more lucrative operations. WBFO contributor Wendy Guild Swearingen, an editor with Buffalo Spree magazine, visited some local distilleries to learn about some of the unique spirits being concocted in the Queen City.

David Bowie, An Icon Who Wrote Anthems For The Alienated

Jan 11, 2016

Legendary rock musician David Bowie, who influenced generations of musicians and fans, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Photo from the Chautauqua Institution website

The president of the Chautauqua Institution has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this year. Thomas Becker issued a letter outlying his decision to leave.

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The celebration of Kwanzaa is in full swing. Monday is day three, know as Ujima or collective work and responsibility.

Poinsettias a perfect plant for the holidays

Dec 16, 2015
Elizabeth Licata

When you think of holiday plants this time of year, a few things probably come to mind: holly, mistletoe and poinsettias. Buffalo Spree editor-in-chief Elizabeth Licata, a WBFO contributor, visited Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville to learn more about the decorative plant, a favorite of many during the Christmas season.

If you're a longtime listener of WBFO, you may remember the Heart & Soul commentaries of writer Christina Abt. Once a month, Christina joined us with essays -- some of them very personal, others commenting on the news of the day. She also wrote essays for the Hamburg Sun. Christina has compiled these essays into a new book titled, Heart & Soul: The Best Years of My Op-Ed Life.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Downtown Buffalo was hopping Saturday night. "The Nutcracker" was staged at Shea’s. There was the "World’s Largest Disco" at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. And the Town Ballroom hosted the third annual Continental Reunion.

Avery Schneider/WBFO News Photo

Today is a solemn day for members of Buffalo's LGBT community. Locally, it's the Transgender Day of Remembrance - a day set aside to memorialize people killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice.

Yes, soup for you!

Nov 16, 2015
Wendy Guild Swearingen

As the November issue of Buffalo Spree magazine proclaims, it’s soup season in Western New York. Spree associate editor and WBFO contributor Wendy Guild Swearingen visited one local restaurant, Buffalo Proper, to find out what’s hot in the soup world.

A movement to recognize Native Americans on Columbus Day is attracting more cities around the nation.