WBFO Arts & Culture Desk

WBFO's Arts & Culture Desk is funded by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

WBFO Photo/Rich Kellman

Volunteers from Amherst Helping Hands are handing out homemade face masks at the Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier 's Masjid An-Noor mosque at 745 Heim Road in Getzville.

Alleyway.com

Anthony recalls a time when, as a high schooler, Broadway was a bit out of reach, so he read everything he could about the theater. Now, when theaters are dark, he finds reading a comfort. Even though social distancing rules might be relaxed by summer, so much work takes place long before opening night that Shakespeare in Delaware Park can't just "flip a switch" on June 18 and put on a show. Sadly, AS YOU LIKE IT has been canceled. Meanwhile, the Alleyway Theatre's "Buffalo Quickies" air live Sunday mornings at 11am on YouTube.


Special Olympics NY goes virtual for 50th anniversary

Apr 20, 2020
Special Olympics

Spring is usually a time of intense training for New York's Special Olympics Summer Games in June. This year was to be particularly special, as the largest sports organization for people with intellectual and physical differences celebrates its 50th anniversary. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, Special Olympics had to get creative.

MGM publicity still, Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia

In the 5th week of social distancing, electronic media is becoming a bigger part of our lives as we try to stay connected and entertained or both. This Sunday at 11 a.m., the Alleyway Theater will have a socially distant but live theatrical event via YouTube. And with no theaters to attend, Anthony has discovered, or re-discovered, binge-watching streamed television shows and is delighted to see how many follow the 19th century model, proposed by Eugene Scribe, of "the well made play." 


Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Ani DiFranco

Where: New Orleans, La.

Recommendation: Staying informed and immersing yourself in activity

File photo

It's spring in Ontario's Niagara-on-the-Lake, usually a time when the flow of tourist buses increases, hotel reservations flow and the performers of the Shaw Festival move quickly between rehearsals and the first preview performances of the 2020 season. Except, they aren't, with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kate Glaser

A Buffalo man is making headlines by playing bagpipes for the public during the COVID-19 shutdown, and last weekend, Dan Ryan and friends gave a special performance for a young woman living with a critical heart defect.


WBFO file photo/Mike Desmond

The day after Easter, under usual circumstances, draws thousands of people to venues in Buffalo's East Side and throughout Western New York in celebration of Dyngus Day, the Polish custom marking the end of Lent. But this year, COVID-19 has thrown a bucket of water on the Dyngus Day plans of many venues and their would-be patrons.

hhcinstitute.org

This is a tough time for organizations raising money for projects like the $10 million Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute. 

Times-Standard

The last record of any semblance of live theater, once a staple of the mighty Greek and later Roman cultures, was around 530 A.D. Then we entered "the dark ages" and, as now with the COVID-19 pandemic, theater was dark. But ultimately, it was Easter, and depictions of the three Marys at Jesus' tomb (the Holy Mother, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the sister of Lazarus) that reignited the magic of live presentations.


biography.com

Are you being productive during this time of "social distancing?" Shakespeare, during one period of the plague in the early 1600s wrote ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA, MACBETH, and KING LEAR. 


WBFO Phot/Kate Kaye

Verve Dance Studio, one of the few places anywhere in the world dedicated to teaching b-boy’s dance and philosophy of self-expression, has kept the tradition strong for 15 years --and is one of many schools on hold because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

File photo

The film industry in Western New York, like most other businesses, has been shut down because of COVID-19. On this week's Press Pass, Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark talks with WBFO’s Pat Feldballe about the state of things, proactive efforts to aid the cause by members of the film community, and a suggestion for a movie available on streaming services made here in Buffalo.


YouTube.com

Just Buffalo Literary Center had been planning to release its Lit City Voices video series this month, long before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation and altered modern life. Produced last summer, the series highlights local poets "out in the community inspiring other people about what this great city means to us," said Barbara Cole, Artistic Director and Associate Executive Director at Just Buffalo Literary Center. "I think this is one of those moments, too, where you realize that we really do sometimes need to seek out some wisdom, and writers are there to offer it.”

Tom Kirdahy, husband of Mr. McNally, on Facebook

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing hardship because of social distancing (see the list of theatrical cancellations and postponements below) and it has led to the sad death of a wonderful friend of Buffalo theater, especially BUA, playwright Terrence McNally, many of whose plays were produced locally.


File photo

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra doesn’t know when its musicians will get to take the stage again at Kleinhans. So until then, the orchestra is partnering with Classical WNED to air archived performances on Tuesday nights until they resume playing. 

Iimage from GoFundMe.com

Restrictions on public gatherings have silenced Buffalo's dynamic music scene at clubs and bars. "Part of the reason I chose to live in Buffalo all those 30 years ago was because I was blown away by the resiliency of the people in this music community and they're totally displaying that now," said Jeff Miers, the Buffalo News music critic whose coverage and reporting are now confined to his home. He's adapted as have many local artists who are performing "virtual gigs."  Performed without a live audience, the shows are offered free of charge with the hope viewers will respond with in-kind donations. Miers says a collective effort called Band Together Buffalo is having success with the model. 


Irish Classical Theatre

As theaters are canceling their current runs (see listings) many are also canceling rehearsals for upcoming shows. Social distancing is affecting everyone, from the Stratford Festival to Shawfest, to local productions, to Broadway, and all the Broadway national tours across America. Many theaters will, we hope, be able to turn a cancellation into a postponement. Listen to Theater Talk weekly and, in-between, subscribe to  Anthony's (FREE) blog theatertalkbuffalo.com for updates.

Shea's Buffalo

The bright lights on the Shea's marquee in the Theatre District were flashing Thursday night, but staffers were at the doors to tell customers "Hello, Dolly!" had been canceled by orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Larry Rowswell courtesy of the New Phoenix Theatre

Carolee Carmello swept into audience's hearts as Dolly Levi, the matchmaker from Yonkers, in a darn near perfect production of HELLO, DOLLY! at Shea's now cancelled. At the New Phoenix Theatre, Victoria Perez once again demonstrated her formidable skills as a director in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN with a breakout role for actor Rick Lattimer, cancelled so far only for this weekend. There's also a breakout role for actor Dan Urtz down Main Street at Road Less Traveled's HAND TO GOD, open this weekend! In all cases, it's best to contact the box office (see listings for contact information). Also see Anthony's blog www.theatertalkbuffalo.com

NYC & Company

All public gatherings of 500 people or more are banned in New York starting Friday, and Broadway shows are effectively shut down as of Thursday evening, under a directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Photo of rendering/Chris Caya WBFO News

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is getting some financial help to grow the facility.


Independent Western New York theaters like North Park Theatre and Aurora Theatre plan to keep operating after the state announced a ban on groups of 500 or more people, starting Friday afternoon.

Thomas O'Neil-White

From the midpoint of the 19th century to the present day, the Irish community and Buffalo have become inseparable from each other.

NYSCA

The New York State Council on the Arts awarded about $675,000 to several Western New York arts and culture organizations Thursday.

Julieta Cervantes

Carolee Carmello has had a fabulous Broadway career, reports Anthony, and she's bringing her big, big voice to the Shea's stage in HELLO, DOLLY! where a very rich next season opens with a straight play, Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of MOCKINGBIRD. Read all about it on Anthony's blog TheaterTalkBuffalo. On a much smaller stage, four local playwrights have dealt with the theme of Armageddon in THE END: AMEN whose Alleyway cast includes two superb actors "on loan" from the Paul Robeson.

WBFO file photo

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has received gifts totaling $1.22 million that center officials say will help them better bring arts education to diverse families and school children. 

 

Matthew Murphy

Atticus Finch, the Temptations and Queen Elsa will soon be on the Shea's stage, as the 2020-21 Broadway series kicks off with the new version of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in August. The entertainment center is looking forward to another year of success in Buffalo's Theatre District.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

The Buffalo Teachers Federation is expecting to meet the Buffalo Public Schools in court two weeks from today. The BTF says the BPS is not meeting state requirements for music education. Amidst the conflict, two Hutch Tech High School music teachers could be facing a position cut after speaking out about the issue. Retired Hutch Tech music teacher Ben Boyar and two alumni spoke about some of the challenges they faced as part of the band program.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Buffalo high school students brought to life the words of a playwright who was described in his obituary as “theater’s poet of Black America” earlier this month.


Pages