Spring Into Art at UB Center for the Arts

The artistic community that calls the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts (UBCFA) home welcomes all on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, starting at 5 p.m. for Spring into Art. The UBCFA’s annual showcase turns the spotlight on the various visual and performing arts created in this hub of activity, which has a well-earned reputation for inclusivity, innovation, and quality.

Performances, art installations and exhibits, film screenings, a printmaking station, artist talks, and a student art sale are all part of the evening’s program, which is free to attend and open to the public. Complimentary refreshments will be available, and parking is free. Visitors can expect to experience a taste of what the UBCFA offers throughout the year thanks to the faculty, staff, and students who create in its studios, rehearsal halls, and performance spaces. 

Spring into Art is presented by the Center for the Arts in collaboration with the departments of Art, Media Study, Music, and Theatre and Dance, the Arts Management Program, and the UB Art Galleries.

Live theatrical, dance, and musical student performances will take place in the atrium from 5 to 7 p.m., along with a printmaking t-shirt station.

Spring into Art has become a highlighted event of the UBCFA’s mission to provide the greater community access to where art is made and experienced on the UB campus,” said Jamie Enser, executive director. “We welcome both our university members and the greater Western New York Community to get a behind-the-scenes look at the student work that happens here daily,” she added.

Among the many events scheduled is a special artist talk with Visiting Artist Wuon-Gean Ho, whose exhibition The Heart’s Sight is currently on view in the UB Art Galleries. This talk will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the UBCFA’s Second Floor Gallery.

A full schedule of activities is available online.

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From Riffs to Redemption: “Airness” Rocks Lancaster Opera House. Shred your inhibitions and find your inner rock star at this hilarious air guitar adventure

The Basics : AIRNESS a play with music by Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Drew McCabe presented by Lancaster Opera House starring Amanda Funiciello, Jacob Applegate, Isaiah Brown, Zachary Kushner, Mara Westerling-Morris, Zachary Bellus, and DP Morris. The show runs April 19 through May 5, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm at Lancaster Opera House 21 Central Ave. Lancaster ,NY 14086, 716 683 1776

RUNTIME : 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES including one intermission

THUMBNAIL SKETCH: Airness is a music filled comedy about finding your tribe and your joy. It features fun air guitar performances to hit songs from Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol, Bon Jovi, and REO Speedwagon to name a few. Airness amps up theatergoers and introduces them to the world of competitive air guitar (who knew there was such a thing?) The playwright, Marcantel dated someone who participated in these competitions, and apparently, she did not appreciate or understand the appeal at all. She thought it was ridiculous. Several years later, when she was researching new idea for a play she remembered the ex-boyfriend and the air guitar competitions. She is quoted as saying “He must have felt when he found the air guitar community what I must have felt when I found the theatre kids.“ Adding,

This was his tribe, his people, and the people he wanted to be around. This show is about a specific community and how they connect and interact with each other at its core.

THE PLAYERS,THE PLAY,AND THE PRODUCTION: Scenic designer David Dwyer and Nicholas Quinn, the lighting and sound designer perfectly capture the dimly lit bar atmosphere of any city USA, where most of our tribe of charming, quirky characters gather and compete. This unique, heartwarming story, is once that I had not heard about prior to attending this production, which is always exciting. Airness unfolds by explaining the art form and follows five air guitar devotees, and one newbie, as they try to qualify for a National Air Guitar Competition, the goal is to achieve something called ‘Airness” which is finding your inner joy through the medium of fun and fancy moves to rocking tunes.

Nina, sublimely played by Amanda Funiciello seemingly stumbles into a Staten Island bar where there is a competition about to take place. She meets the Motley Crue, er motley crew there, who all go by their stage names once they enter into this little microcosm of theirs. These folks are serious about their air guitar, whereas most of us have rocked out in the privacy of our homes or in a drunken state at a bar, they meticulously debate and analyze every detail of their performances. Shreddy Eddy, Facebender, and Golden Thunder are the core of this group of friends. They willingly accept Nina and try to help her let go of her inhibitions so she can tap into her emotions and find her joy. She was previously in a band and can play the guitar as opposed to her new friends, but she has some roadblocks ahead of her to achieve “Airness” and ultimately advance in the competitions.

At the start of the play Facebender, who is inhabited by the delightful Zachary Kushner declares that “this community” is built upon connection and camaraderie and not competition. Kushner plays the sweetness and vulnerability of this character masterfully; we love his hippy dopiness instantly as he encourages and assists Nina in her journey to qualify and move forward. He could have veered into a stereotypical Californian man child, but not in this capable actors’ hands, particularly in a very meaningful moment when he explains why he got into air guitar in the first place. It was one of my favorite scenes from this piece.

Golden Thunder is played by Isaih Brown with great enthusiasm. Thunder is bright and shiny and the most idealistic of the group. Shout out to costume designer Elaine Heckler, I loved all the characters outfit ,but Isaiah damn near steals the show with panache and ability to carry off some very wild and fun looks. DP Morris plays the announcer and several other characters with admirable effect.

Shreddy Eddie who becomes Nina’s mentor, tutor and possibly more later is portrayed by the very alluring Jacob Applegate. Applegate’s Eddie straddles between sheepishly cute nerd and sinewy sexy Air Guitar God. I have never seen Jacob in anything before, but he stands out in a very talented cast. This guy has some moves and does an awe-inspiring flip that is worth the price of admission. He also has great chemistry with Ms. Funiciello’s Nina as well as his two buddies, Facebender & Gold Thunder. I certainly look forward to seeing him back on stage in something else soon.

Cannibal Queen and D Vicious form a sort of a past/present love triangle with Nina. Cannibal Queen is played by a mostly deadpan, sardonic Mara Westerling-Morris who is clad in a bad ass rock chick leather ensemble. She is tough on the outside, less tough on the inside. She is a married woman (mutually non monogamous) having a fling with bad boy D Vicious, played by Zachary Bellus, who we later learn is the ex-boyfriend of Nina, who now goes by the moniker “The Nina.” Mr. Bellus, another actor I have never had the pleasure of witnessing on a stage, channels Sebastian Bach, Brett Michaels, and Axel Rose with an open sensual swagger ramping up to full thrusting male bravado. The character of D Vicious could easily be a very cliched one dimensional pretty boy “front man,” but in the skillful hands of this actor, you get to see some different shades of vulnerability in addition to the fist pumping, champion that he is.

Nina experiences the most growth in this play. She entered into this mostly male dominated world fairly confident that she would dominate the competition, because of her skill as an actual guitarist and her actual disdain for air guitar (much like the play’s author initially). She promptly falls flat on her face after the first competition and is lifted up by the our lovable trio of misfits and she grows to understand what joy there is to be derived from this “art form.” Nina has an adversarial relationship with Cannibal Queen and an unhealthy obsession with D Vicious, who is the reigning national champion. As they navigate through various cities and competitions it becomes apparent that Nina has ulterior motives. She careens down a path that starts at contempt, moves to acceptance, belonging, then betrayal and finally triumphant joy and love. I have admired Amanda Funiciello’s work since I saw her in Alleyway Theatre’s brilliant production of Kragtar: The American Monster Musical last season. Speaking of joy, Amanda has in the last year, beguiled not only me, but has given Western New York audiences an incredible amount of joy, from her portrayal of Tish in Kragtar, to Vivienne in MusicalFare’s production of Legally Blonde, to her exceptional performance as Audrey on this very stage in Little Shop of Horrors. Amanda, as Nina, draws you right in with her expressive face and beautiful big brown eyes and keeps your attention with her ability to be real. Nina is flawed and funny, she is insecure and confident, she is hurt and can hurt others, but most of all she is very relatable. That my friends is what makes Amanda Funiciello compelling to watch on stage, take note casting directors, you want this woman in your shows.

I had no idea what to expect coming into Airness. This is by no means a perfect play, but it is good and worth checking out. The impressive cast is guided by an equally impressive director with great heart and soul, a head banging soundtrack, transformative lighting and set design that take the audience on a journey from grubby local bars to the climatic finale set in a rock arena. Airness delivers a good time for all. It calls upon our imagination and makes us root for these people. We hoot, holler, and cheer for them because we can put ourselves in their shoes for a little while. Anyone who has been put down for really enjoying a hobby, a pastime, or even an artist or a band, or has been ridiculed by others for their passion will not only see themselves in these characters, but will  leave smiling and humming because they have thoroughly enjoyed this show.

4.5 Buffalos


FIVE BUFFALOS: Exceptional quality – a rare rating. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy or a touching drama, if this is your kind of show, missing out would be a mistake! 

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of exceptional quality. If the genre and content match your preferences, it’s worth seeing. 

THREE BUFFALOS: Despite minor drawbacks, it’s a solid production and a pleasant evening at the theater. Keep your expectations in check, and you’re likely to have a good time. 

TWO BUFFALOS: If you’re a self-proclaimed theatre enthusiast who simply adores attending shows, go ahead and give it a try. However, if the genre and themes don’t resonate with you, you might want to explore other options. 

ONE BUFFALO: This might not be the best choice for everyone unless you have a compelling reason to attend, like having family or friends involved in the performance. It’s probably a good idea to skip this one.

The post From Riffs to Redemption: “Airness” Rocks Lancaster Opera House. Shred your inhibitions and find your inner rock star at this hilarious air guitar adventure appeared first on Buffalo Rising.


From the Ground Up: Effective Grant Writing

Virtual presentation | Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | 12PM

Grant writing can be intimidating and frustrating for people who aren’t full-time development or grant writing staff.

In this free presentation, ASI’s Grants and Programming Director Holly Grant will demystify the grant writing process, show you how to find arts and culture grants, and provide grant writing tips. As a part of ASI’s “From the Ground Up” series, this presentation is geared for individual creatives and nonprofit administrators who are new to grant writing or would like a refresher course on the topic.

This workshop is free to attend and is fully virtual. Participants are able to leave their cameras on or off and participate via the chat or on camera.

Meet the Presenter

Holly Grant is the Grants and Programming Director of Arts Services Inc. As a versatile and proven arts leader, she is dedicated to ASI’s mission and vision of removing barriers for people to access the arts and helping creatives discover their potential. Bringing nearly two decades of experience working in the Western New York arts and cultural sector to her work at ASI, Holly has developed strategic partnerships throughout her career that support and connect members of the arts community.

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Cutting Edge Play at Road Less Traveled Theater

THE BASICS: The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence runs April 18 – May 19, Thursdays – Sundays at Road Less Traveled Theater, 456 Main Street, Buffalo 14202 – click for tickets.

THUMBNAIL SKETCH: Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ trusty companion; Thomas A. Watson, assistant to Alexander Graham Bell; Watson, the unstoppable supercomputer Jeopardy! champ; and Watson, a Dweeb Team everyman. Four Watsons in three centuries unite to tell one tale in this playful, time-traveling drama about the foibles and frustrations of the human heart and the technology on which it increasingly relies.

RUNTIME: 2 hours and 20 minutes with a ten minute intermission


The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence was written by Madeleine George and produced by Playwrights Horizons in 2013. Ms. George was inspired to write this play after watching a Jeopardy episode on TV where Jeopardy champions played against Watson, a supercomputer. The play won an Outer Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The dialogue is wry and the plot is often surprising. The emphasis is on connections – relationships between people and relationships between people and technology. Can people use technology to replace other people? Can technology act like people? Do people act like technology? Many of the scenes are humorous, but the play offers us a lot to think about.

Photos courtesy of Gina Gandolfo 2024

The play has been precisely and subtly directed by John Hurley and his associate Katie Mallinson and their assistant Sabrina Kahwaty. We don’t know exactly who did what, but this is a winning team and they did a beautiful job directing a difficult play.

The production is greatly enhanced by the imaginative work of sound and projection designer Katie Henke. Lights by John Ricks and costumes by Jenna Damburger are fine. Ryan Burlingame’s set serves the play well and is bookended by displays of intriguing devices.

Brendan Didio is the four different Watsons and all the Watsons are the trustworthy, empathetic sidekick aiming to serve. It is the Watsons of the world who give others the support that they need to help both humanity and themselves. Mr. Didio’s performance is wonderfully varied, believable, funny and heart-breaking.

Photos courtesy of Gina Gandolfo 2024

Dave Hayes plays Mr. Merrick through the ages. In modern times, Merrick is a jilted husband and paranoid politician in America, and, back in Sherlockian England, Merrick is the horrifically misogynistic inventor of a revolutionary piston. Mr. Hayes’ pub scene with Mr. Didio, although gruesome in content, is the comedy highlight of the play.

The women’s roles are played by Emily Yancey who gives a consistently animated performance. Ms. Yancey throws herself enthusiastically into all of her roles, but it is with the modern day Eliza Merrick that she makes the biggest impression, and her beautiful work with the exquisitely written end of Act 2 speech is the tour de force of the evening.

This is a masterful production of an absorbing play.


FIVE BUFFALOS: Exceptional quality – a rare rating. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy or a touching drama, if this is your kind of show, missing out would be a mistake!

FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of exceptional quality. If the genre and content match your preferences, it’s worth seeing.

THREE BUFFALOS: Despite minor drawbacks, it’s a solid production and a pleasant evening at the theater. Keep your expectations in check, and you’re likely to have a good time.

TWO BUFFALOS: If you’re a self-proclaimed theatre enthusiast who simply adores attending shows, go ahead and give it a try. However, if the genre and themes don’t resonate with you, you might want to explore other options.

ONE BUFFALO: This might not be the best choice for everyone unless you have a compelling reason to attend, like having family or friends involved in the performance. It’s probably a good idea to skip this one.

The post Cutting Edge Play at Road Less Traveled Theater appeared first on Buffalo Rising.


Chooi Brothers Reunite for Bach Double Violin Concerto: A Celebration of Sibling Rivalry & Musical Mastery with the BPO, May 3 + 4

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) is preparing to present Chooi Brothers & Bach on May 3rd and 4th, 2024. This occaion marks the first joint performance of the Chooi brothers in Buffalo.  In this special program, BPO concertmaster and violinist Nikki Chooi will share the stage with his equally gifted brother, Timothy Chooi, for a performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.

While the event has been billed as “an energetic exchange of musical one-up-man-ship,” Timothy clarified that any competition between the brothers will be good-natured and supportive. “I’ve always been inspired by Nikki’s energy,” shared Chooi.  “So whatever energy he puts out on stage, I tend to challenge that and want to do even more. And then he wants to do more, and then I want to do more…that’s basically the gist of the sibling rivalry. It’s not so much in the fact that we fight against each other. It’s more that we challenge each other all the time and one up each other.”

Nikki and Timothy Chooi in Busan, South Korea

Timothy will take center stage for Prokifiev’s Violin Concerto no. 1, a piece that he first encountered at the age of 11, and one that has continued to evolve for him. “It’s one of Prokofiev’s earlier works. And it’s very unusual for a concerto of that time, because the movements are slightly reversed in terms of their overall mood,” adding, 

“Usually, the first movement is very dramatic and usually, is the lengthiest work within the three movement structure. Prokofiev switches that around. The first movement is actually very light, and it gives almost more of a shadow, rather than an actual picture, of what the work looks like. The second movement, traditionally in most romantic concertos at that time, was a beautiful long slow lullaby-like movement, but [Prokofiev] does the opposite. He turns it into a scherzo. It’s a very light piece, and actually has a lot of colors that are starting to evolve from it. And it’s very short…The last movement is not the most virtuosic at all, but it has the most ‘first movement’ like feeling to it. It has those big melodies, it has a huge climax in the middle of the piece, and it finishes very quietly, which is also very unusual for a violin concerto. So there’s something about this piece that starts so dreamy and ends very dreamy.”   

Then, the two brothers will share the stage for the Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins. “The Bach Double is a terrific work, it’s one of those timeless pieces,” said Nikki Chooi. “The first and third movements, they build upon each other. It’s very interactive between the two violins, responding, communicating, and talking through the music itself. The slow movement is this really sublime, ‘out of this world’ kind of movement, that is very beautiful and very ethereal. So, I think the fact that it’s such a great work, and the fact that us as brothers are playing is the whole package itself. I think people will enjoy our interaction.” 

The program will also feature Saratoga Overture by Behzad Ranjbaran and Brahms’ Serenade No. 2. Timothy shares that he hoped audiences come because it “is a really cool thing to see two brothers play the violin. The repertoire itself is some of ‘the best of the best’ classical music works out there, and is relatable and yet also pushes the boundaries of the classical music sphere.” Additionally, the brothers may have some surprises in store for enthusiastic audiences.  “We have a number of encores in our back pocket,” said Nikki.  “So keep clapping and that’s where the show [really] begins.”

Chooi Brothers & Bach will be presented by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday, May 3, 2024 at 10:30 AM and Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 PM.  Tickets are available here.  

The post Chooi Brothers Reunite for Bach Double Violin Concerto: A Celebration of Sibling Rivalry & Musical Mastery with the BPO, May 3 + 4 appeared first on Buffalo Rising.


2024 Spring Seedling Sale at MAP’s urban farm

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) will host their annual spring ‘Seedling Sale’ event, which promises to offer a wide range of garden treasures, including vegetables, herbs, and flower varieties such as lemon verbena, oregano, pineapple mint, calendula, squash, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, zinnias, and tulips. All total, there will be over 70 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herb seedlings, all grown at the West Side farm. MAP’s Mobile Market truck will be on-hand to ensure that visitors to the event have access to seasonal, farm-fresh goods.

Topping off the incredible seed sale, there will be 15 vendors present at the event, serving up all sorts of delicious delights, including Colombian arepas (Breva Kitchen), soul-food style barbecue (Denver N Dallas), Armenian pastries and appetizers (WNY Armenian Community), gluten-free and vegan dessert items (Sack + Sugar), and coffee, tea (Undergrounds Coffee).

“For over a decade, MAP’s Spring Seedling Sale has served as an opportunity to promote food sovereignty and empower folks to connect with the land and grow their own food,” said Diane Picard, Executive Director, Massachusetts Avenue Project. “Last year, we sold over 2,500 seedlings and we are thrilled to once again open our doors for this important community-building event in support of our local food system.” 

Local vendors will provide a diverse assortment of offerings for sale including:

Youth-made functional art for gardens from The Foundry

Ceramics from a variety of artists will also be available for sale

Books from Read It & Eat Bookshop

Garden-oriented products from BFLO Worm Works, Creekside Flowers, and more.

Last but not least, the event will feature a number of community partners, such as Grassroots Gardens WNY, The Tool Library, Greater Buffalo Urban Growers, and WNY Partnership for Regional and Invasive Species Management. There will be plenty of takeaways, for people who want to live healthier, more sustainable lives.

MAP’s Spring Seedling Sale

Saturday, May 4, 2024

10am – 2pm

MAP’s urban farm – 387 Massachusetts Avenue

Entry to the event is free of charge

MAP’s seedlings will be sold for $4 a piece

SNAP benefits will be accepted for live seedlings and eligible MAP products in addition to cash and credit card

For additional information, visit the Seedling Sale Facebook Event Page


Participating Food and Beverage Vendors Include:

Breva Kitchen

Sack + Sugar

Undergrounds Coffee

Denver N Dallas Barbecue

WNY Armenian Community

Community Resources:


Grassroots Gardens WNY

Greater Buffalo Urban Growers

Pollinator Conservation Association

The Tool Library

Art and More:

Curious Rabbit Art

Kapong Pottery

The Foundry

Read It & Eat Bookshop

Bonnie Ceramics

Abby Walters Ceramics

Rainbows and Wildflowers

BFLO Worm Works

Creekside Flowers

Native Sol

The post 2024 Spring Seedling Sale at MAP’s urban farm appeared first on Buffalo Rising.


Unsolved Crimes & Avenging Angels: Author and Buffalo Native Robert Brighton Weaves Local Lore Through Gilded Age Fiction (Podcast Included)

Author and Buffalo native, Robert Brighton knows how to tell a good story.  A former speech writer, graduate of the Sorbonne in France, and avid traveler, Brighton’s experiences have enriched his imagination, and have informed his love of research.  His new work of historical fiction, Current of Darkness, is now available, and is, in Brighton’s words, “a tale of industrial espionage set in turn of the last century Niagara Falls, and also in Buffalo,” during the period known as The Gilded Age

Growing up in Buffalo, Brighton was a voracious reader, who took to adventure novels as a way to explore the world, and satiate his desire to travel.  He obtained a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and worked for DuPont as a speech writer.  It was at that position, walking up the stairs that Brighton decided he wanted a different kind of life afforded by a 9-5 job. 

“I was walking up these wonderful stairs inside the DuPont building. It’s an art deco building. Even the stairs are all marble. You know, it’s beautiful. And what I noticed, as I was trudging up the stairs to the 9th floor, was that these hard marble stairs had been worn. That they had a dip or a divot worn in them by the passage of countless feet, innumerable feet, going up and down these same stairs over…however long it had been around. It hit me with the force of an epiphany, that I was just another pair of feet wearing my tiny little grain of marble away, up and down those stairs. And I thought that’s not the way I want to live my life… By the time I got to the 9th floor, I’d resolved that I would sell everything. I would quit my job and travel around the world with a backpack on my back, and that’s what I did.” 

Brighton traveled the world, and returned home, but felt the call to become a novelist. “I just decided that while I had done a lot of writing in business and some for fun, I just got to the point where I thought, ‘You know, if my whole life passes by, and I’ve never really tried this, I think I would feel the same way I felt when I was walking up those stairs in the DuPont building. That I had somehow squandered the most precious gift of all, and that’s the gift of time, the gift of our lives… So, in the little time that I’m here, I want to make the most of it.”

In order to start to prepare to write, Brighton did some primary source research.

“I picked 3 Buffalo newspapers and one New York City newspaper. and I read them from 1898 to 1902… I mean articles, op ed, ads, comics, whatever. I read. I read all those newspapers cover to cover. It took four years. And by the time I was done, I had really been steeped in the vernacular of the time…I finished the 1902 newspaper, and I was really sad when I finished reading the last page of the last newspaper in 1902, and I thought ‘Oh geez, you know, I’ve got to stop this research and get serious.’ And then I decided that I would just read a couple more months. ‘I’m going to open up 1903, and do a few more months.’

So, I get to February 1903, and I trip across, quite by accident, the biggest unsolved crime in all of Buffalo’s history… So, I resolved that my first book, The Unsealing, would be the fictionalized solution to this famous case,” said Brighton, adding, “Well, I needed a detective. And so, I don’t know how these things happen, but Sarah Payne, who’s my heroine and lead detective for the eventual Avenging Angel Detective Agency, which is a series that got going, you know, just sort of knocked on my door one day and announced herself, and inserted herself into this project.” 


WNY Soundstage
Gilded Age Crime Novels: Conversation with author Robert Brighton on what inspired him to weave local lore through historical fiction



Download file | Play in new window | Duration: 00:36:44 | Recorded on April 23, 2024

The Unsealing was followed by the second book in Avenging Angel Detective Agency series, A Murder in Ashwood, and the recently released Current of Darkness. The historical fiction series is set in the Buffalo/Niagara region, and features recurring characters, including the aforementioned Sarah Payne. Fans of the series are thrilled to see the characters return, and excited to more deeply dive into the history of the region.  Brighton believes that people like his characters because they are, “people that have extraordinary gifts in some dimensions, but also are very ordinary people in many others. They’re people that you would want to get to know. They’re people you’d want to spend time with, they’re people you’d want to maybe learn from, and there are some things that they can probably learn from us. I think the charm of The Avenging Angels Detective Agency lies in the fact that they are very real people and warts at all, and they’re people that my readers seem to want to keep learning about as they go.” 

According to Brighton, readers can start with Current of Darkness, or can begin with The Unsealing to start the series. “I’m writing standalone books too [like The Buffalo Butcher], so it’s not just [Avenging Angels Detective Agency ] series, and I specifically designed the series so that people don’t have to start at the beginning, and read them all in order. You could drop in anytime. They’re all free standing. You’ll be rewarded if you start at the beginning. You should have a deeper understanding of the long arc of these characters’ lives, but at the same time you don’t have to.”

Robert Brighton’s next book, The Phantom of Forest Lawn, will be released in the fall, just in time for Halloween. His books are available at all retailers. Here’s a link to his Amazon Author page: Robert Brighton, Author

The post Unsolved Crimes & Avenging Angels: Author and Buffalo Native Robert Brighton Weaves Local Lore Through Gilded Age Fiction (Podcast Included) appeared first on Buffalo Rising.


Salsa in the Park: Outdoors Summer Dance Party 2024

Since 2008, “Salsa” Sarah Haykel, Director of Salsa for the Soul, a part of Love Is Real LLC., set out to establish a dance party in Delaware Park. Eleven years later, her vision to create a fun-loving dance social is as strong as ever. Now, with the help of her dance partner Jerome Williams, Salsa in the Park is more impactful than ever. Haykel attributes the success to movers and shakers that participate in the dance series, which, she says, is a combination of art, music, life coaching, movement, mindfulness, and empowerment.

Salsa in the Park, open to dancers of all abilities, kicks off with a beginner’s partner dance lesson, followed by open social dancing to Salsa, Timba (Cuban Salsa), Bachata, Merengue, Cha Cha Cha, and Kizomba. Anyone who is interested in the love and art of Latin dance is encouraged to try their hand at this motivational dance experience. The event series is open to beginners, singles, employee outings, groups of friends, and families. It’s a great way to meet new friends, share common interests, and witness some talented Latin dancers who are happy to share some valuable tips when it comes to the art of the dance.

“Singles and couples welcomed to attend, no partner necessary. It’s a great date night idea!  Prepare for an awesome night out in one of Buffalo’s most beautiful locations, The Rose Gardens Pavilion, Delaware Park. See why Salsa in the Park has become one of Buffalo’s most beloved summer events. Partner dancing is an amazing way to socialize and meet new people, get exercise in a fun and social way, and be in a beautiful outdoors setting during the magical summer’s in Buffalo!” – Sarah Haykel

11th Annual Salsa in the Park, 2024

Starts Monday, June 3rd.  No partner necessary.  Groups and families welcome.

Weekly on Mondays between June 3rd – July 8th (six consecutive events), 6:30-9PM. Plus, Grand Finale Party August 19th (RAIN DATE: Aug. 26th), 6:30 – 9:30PM. Please bring your own water bottles.

$15 General, $10 for Students with current student I.D. Includes a dance lesson for beginners and dance social to follow, so you can practice your new moves. Grand Finale Party August 19th (RAIN DATE Aug. 26th) with live Latin music by Sol Y Sombra, tickets $20 general public, $15 for Students with a current student I.D. Children under 10 years old free of charge and must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Salsa in the Park Details:

Mondays June 3rd – July 8th 6:30 – 9PM, Grand Finale Party Aug. 19th:

June 3rd: “Salsa” Sarah’s Birthday Party & Merengue Dance Lesson

June 10th: Bachata Dance Lesson

June 17th: Salsa Dance Lesson

June 24th: Merengue Dance Lesson

July 1st: Bachata Dance Lesson

July 8th: Cuban Rueda de Casino Salsa Dance Lesson with Buffalo Rueda

August 19th: Grand Finale Party with live Latin music by Sol y Sombra (RAIN DATE AUGUST 26TH). *See stars below for details about the Grand Finale Party.

Event Details: Each event is on a Monday night and will start at 6:30pm with a beginner dance lesson for 30-minutes. No partner necessary. Open social dancing will follow from 7-9pm, where you can practice your moves and meet other dancers.

Ticket Sales: ONLINE & IN PERSON TICKET SALES. Tickets will be released online at 3:30PM the day of each event. Go here to purchase tickets online the day of each event:  People can pay in person at the door starting at 6:15PM the day of each event via cash, Venmo or Cash App.  

Event will be canceled in the case of inclement weather by 3:30PM the day of the event.

The Rose Gardens Pavilion at Marcy Casino, Delaware Park, 199 Lincoln Parkway, Buffalo, N.Y., 14222. Parking on Lincoln Pkwy or Rumsey Rd.

Lloyd Taco Factory will have a taco truck at every Salsa in the Park event, with tasty food and cool drinks for purchase.

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Ride Reels: Happy Hour and Film Screening

The bike, oft-called “Our noblest invention of mankind,” is being celebrated throughout the month of May, aka National Bike Month. Leading up to the month-long celebration, GObike Buffalo will be presenting Ride Reels: Happy Hour and Film Screening on Thursday, April 25 (5:30P – 8:30P) at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Presented by Evans Bank, with support by Clean Mobility Buffalo and Burchfield Penney Art Center, the single screening of long-form documentary, THE ENGINE INSIDE from Anthill Films.

Screening attendees will get to enjoy yummy treats from Manna @ Northland, as well as beer and wine during a pre-film networking event. The schedule is as follows:

5:30 – 6:30 PM Networking Happy Hour – Drinks and appetizers served
6:40 – 6:50 PM Opening Remarks
6:50 – 8:15 PM Screening in tha auditorium
8:15 PM Have a great night and ride safe!

Tickets are $30 (open bar and food). Click here for more information, and to register.

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Celebrate Spring at the 11th Annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival

For over a decade, enthusiasts of the Buffalo History Museum and Japanese culture have been flocking to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Each year, thousands of visitors to the Festival are treated to all sorts of culturally significant surprises, including displays and activities that revolve around the traditions of bonsai, origami, folk dolls, and Kanazawa (Buffalo’s sister city in Japan).

During the weekend of April 27 and 28, festival hosts – the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, The Buffalo History Museum, Friends of the Japanese Garden, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, and Music is Art – invite the community to attend this one-of-a-kind celebration of the spring season and cherry blossoms in the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park.  

Visitors to the 2024 Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival can expect to find:

Pink boats on Mirror Lake

Music is Art’s stages of live music in the Japanese Garden

Pop-up tea ceremony on the museum’s upper portico.   

Two Japanese Tea Ceremonies and Tea Tastings at The Buffalo History Museum on Wednesday, April 24 (now sold out)

Food trucks

A sold out fundraiser, benefitting the residents of Kanazawa, which suffered a devastating earthquake in January of this year – the sold out event is a testament to the strong bond between Buffalo and Kanazawa

Festival details are as follows:

Saturday, April 27th – Sunday, April 28th | 11:00am – 3:00pm  

Japanese Garden in Delaware Park and The Buffalo History Museum 

One Museum Court, Buffalo, NY 14216 

FREE Admission

For a full schedule, visit: 

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