WBFO Arts & Culture Desk

WBFO's Arts & Culture Desk is funded by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and The Buffalo History Museum

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

It took only minutes Thursday for downtown Buffalo's brand new Market Arcade Cinema to have that eternal sign of a movie theater: the odor and sound of fresh popcorn, as customers arrived for the first day of shows.


Alyn Syms

Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Member and composer Alyn Syms is known for playing with Rick James and leading his own group, but for almost a decade he has quietly been performing for patients at Roswell Park. His newest project "Cyrano" is based on the time he's spent playing there. Syms shared some of his experiences at the cancer institute with WBFO's Nick Lippa .


Rochester Institute of Technology

The death of singer Aretha Franklin has touched a lot of people, including a Rochester musician who actually played as backup with her in three concerts in Buffalo and Rochester.

Photography by David Hou

While August is traditionally the month for taking a vacation, that message hasn't gotten to the theaters!

Every summer weekend in Buffalo seems to feature a cultural festival, from Greek to Italian to Lebanese and many more. This year, Jewish culture is being added to that list.


National Public Radio

Condolences and remembrances of Aretha Franklin are coming in from around the world and from her adopted hometown of Buffalo with the news that the Queen of Soul died Thursday morning at the age of 76.

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Cast members from "Disney's Aladdin" appeared at The Belle Center on Buffalo's West Side Tuesday.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they held a special health and wellness workshop for city children.


Nick Lippa / WBFO

It’s been a long journey for Pausa Art House co-owner Lazara Martinez who grew up in Cuba before coming to America. Now, her live music venue has become a hot spot for touring musicians. This weekend, Grammy nominated jazz artist Jane Bunnett will be performing with her all-women Cuban group Maqueque.

Julianna Sebastian

The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame announced its class of 2018 at the Buffalo History Museum Wednesday. The 10 inductees are a diverse group of musicians, artists and producers from Western New York.

Once again this year, the Response Performance Festival will utilize the space at Silo City for a site-specific production. According to Dan Shanahan, Artistic Director at Torn Space Theater, more elements and venues have been added. Some performances will feature a boat ride along the Buffalo River, and Bridgman/Packer Dance will perform inside the bed of a 17-foot box truck at Canalside and at the Adam Mickiewicz Dramatic Circle.


Buffalo Rising

It could be called Buffalo's most colorful new event. Paint vs Paint featured paintball competitors battling at a former industrial complex on Howard Street that has been transformed into NORMEL Paintball. The event also attracted street artists who painted their creations on the walls throughout the complex. On WBFO's Press Pass, Newell Nussbaumer of Buffalo Rising explains how the event's energy has also splattered into the nearby neighborhood. 


shakeonthelake.org

With an abundance of outdoor activities to do this summer in urban and suburban areas, a troupe of actors is bringing the works of Shakespeare to rural communities.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Through Sunday, visitors to Canalside Buffalo have an opportunity to visit the GlassBarge, a traveling exhibit by the Corning Museum of Glass which is on tour to mark 150 years of glassblowing and glass production in that town. The visit also coincides with an ongoing celebration of the Erie Canal's bicentennial.


Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Check photos from the National Comedy Center's opening on Wednesday in Jamestown.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The National Comedy Center opened Wednesday in Jamestown with big fanfare and lots of laughs.


IMDb

"I'm not the star," insists Broadway's Terence Archie in THE ODYSSEY at Artpark. In a conversation with Peter Hall, co-host of Theater Talk on WBFO, Archie makes it clear that it's the huge cast of local actors and musicians, professional and amateur, that give the show its appeal.


National Comedy Center

After years of development and millions in investment, the National Comedy Center officially opened today in Jamestown. While comedy stars like Amy Schumer, Dan Aykroyd and Lewis Black will bring luster to the weekend-long opening, Executive Director Journey Gunderson is confident the Comedy Center will live up to expectations. She says pre-opening testing indicates the center's experience will encourage repeat visits and boost tourism in the Southern Tier.


Paul Lamont

Celebrations are set for Saturday’s grand opening of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum’s new cultural center in Salamanca. The $18 million facility will showcase rarely seen artifacts of Seneca history and the living traditions of the Seneca people Wednesday. It also opens the way to the repatriation of Iroquois or Haudenosaunee artifacts in collections around the world.


Errol Daniels / "Coming Home: Reentry After Incarceration"

What happens to people after they are released from prison? That is the challenge featured in a photo essay at Buffalo's CEPA Gallery called, "Coming Home: Reentry After Incarceration."

Nick Lippa / WBFO

You’ve may have heard of Shakespeare Behind Bars. It teaches Shakespeare to incarcerated and post-incarcerated adults and juveniles. There’s a program like that here in Western New York called Voices UnCaged. WBFO’s Nick Lippa has more from Groveland Correctional Facility near Perry, New York.


| Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

This week Anthony went to NYC to take in Lincoln Center's MY FAIR LADY (with Michael Yeargen's high energy set and on Sundays Kerstin Anderson's big voice) as well as the similarly structured PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL at the Nederlander, and another play by Joshua Harmon (a Shaw for our times) called SKINTIGHT starring Idina Menzel. Peter went to the Glimmerglass Festival, equidistant from Buffalo and NYC, attracting an audience which appreciated the seldom seen Janacek opera THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, the new Pulitzer Prize winning SILENT NIGHT, and a youthful WEST SIDE STORY with a (literally) show-stopping version of "America" with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

CTC (Chautauqua Theater Company)

Theater Talk promotes gender inclusion in the arts and this week recognizes three strong women. Eleanor Jean Murray who recently passed away at the age of 95 was a driving force behind the Studio Arena Theatre (now Shea's 710 Theatre). Chelsea Marcantel has another of her plays on stage at Chautauqua called AIRNESS. And 2018 Artie-nominated Heather Fangsrud presents her one-woman play KNOCK KNOCK, JESUS CALLING about growing up gay in a Jehovah's Witness family.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The long-discussed expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery shifted from a bunch of architects around a computer screen to a project Monday, as the $155 million project went before the Buffalo Planning Board.

Cheryl Gorski

There is a wide variety of theater offerings this early July, from the innocent ALICE IN WONDERLAND in East Aurora's Hamlin Park (an outdoor event), to the definitely 18+ SILENCE! THE MUSICAL at the Alleyway, some farce (HERE LIES JEREMY TROY) at Desiderio's Dinner Theatre, KING LEAR closes this Sunday at (free) Shakespeare in Delaware Park and something different at Chautuaqua: AIRNESS about an air guitar contest!

Nick Lippa / WBFO

Doctors from around the world are in Buffalo this week not to discuss medicine, but to play music. With some help from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, they performed music at Oishei Children’s Hospital for patients and parents. It’s part of the hospital’s Healing Arts Initiative which focuses on bringing performances and visual artworks into their facilities. WBFO’s Nick Lippa has more.


Marian Hetherly

It was decades ago when Ken Goldstein first saw the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna. The moment moved the young artist to write what he calls a "depressing" song about the crumbling facility and the struggling community. Many years later he was invited to Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley where the original Bethlehem Steel Plant had undergone a renaissance as a community arts center. The transformation inspired Goldstein to produce a film and revise "The Song of Bethlehem."


Thomas O'Neil-White

The corner of Hertel and Commonwealth avenues is busy with commerce and the traffic is loud. But artists are at work here with brushes, ladders and buckets of paint. The stained glass design of their mural, which seems more fitting in a place of worship, symbolizes what this neighborhood stands for.


Haldan Kirsch / The Chautauqua Daily

In 1859, Dion Boucicault wrote a hit melodrama about the fate of AN OCTOROON in the antebellum south. Today, BJJ (a young black playwright) writes his own version, but when the white actors in his adaptation quit, BJJ decides to take on the role of the racist plantation overseer himself. Seen at Shaw last summer, there are only four performances left at Chautauqua through Sunday. In Buffalo, BUA's "summer camp" offering is SILENCE! THE MUSICAL based on "Silence of the Lambs" (really!) while at MusicalFare MURDER FOR TWO pits two great musicians, Phil Farugia and Joseph Donohue III, in a (musical) battle of whodunit.


Francesca Bond

What do "Jane Eyre," "Harry Potter" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" have in common?

They're all part of the Great American Read -- a list of 100 novels, from classics to more contemporary works. And this summer, PBS and WNED-TV are asking people to vote for their favorites.

But it's impossible to get all of the greatest literary works on a list of a mere 100.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Peace Of The City continues providing inner city youth with life, arts and social justice skills. One of its showcase events is Shakespeare Comes to (716).   WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley attended a rehearsal for a modern-day performance of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew at the Shea’s Smith Theatre, featuring a diverse cast and crew of 50-Buffalo teens.

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