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The air is crisp and cool, the food is bountiful (thanks, harvest!), and most importantly, our area arts and cultural groups return with packed schedules after relatively quiet summer months.

Fall Guide 2012 

An awesome autumn

Summer is fun and all, but honestly, I'm not sorry to see it go — especially not after that heat wave in July. Give me good old autumn any day. The air is crisp and cool, the food is bountiful (thanks, harvest!), and most importantly, our area arts and cultural groups return with packed schedules after relatively quiet summer months.

Speaking of cultural groups, for this edition of City Newspaper's Fall Guide we wanted to take you behind the scenes of some of those talented organizations; to better examine how they put on their various productions. So you'll find Michael Lasser's story on what goes into the planning of a theater season, Rebecca Rafferty's in-depth look at the largely unseen complications of putting on an art exhibition, and Willie Clark's conversation with several area clubs about why they've abandoned some of the online ticketing giants in favor of smaller, more user-friendly services. These are the people who are creating our local arts and entertainment scene, and it's an opportunity to better understand how they do what they do.

You'll also find City's critics sounding off on their best bets for the 2012-13 seasons, a list of fall special events and festivals, and a piece on the simple pleasures of hitting up one of our area's many farm stands. There are a bunch, but each one offers a slightly different experience. Check out Alexandra Carmichael's story to see which pumpkin/apple/berry farm might be right for you, and make sure to save room for some cider and fry cakes.

In This Guide...

    ART: Wall wizardry

    Behind the curtains of three Rochester exhibition spaces
    When creative works are presented to the public, the illusion of a seamlessness is a necessary factor. On opening night of a theatrical production, the audience is immersed in pure experience along with the characters, and hopefully not pulled out of the story by the visible hand of the designers or director.

    ART: Best bets

    While many Rochesterians dread the shortening of the days and the increased and lingering chill in the air, I love autumn for the sudden surge in art shows. Kids go back to school and our area's many academic institutions triple the amount of shows on display.

    CLASSICAL: 2012 Highlights

    Two years ago, Rochester's concert halls swelled with the depths of the Russians. It seemed every orchestra, group, and soloist in town had something by the great masters Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev on their programs.

    DANCE: Stop, collaborate, and listen

    Partnering with composers, musicians, and designers underscores the 2012-13 dance season
    Dance is about being fully aware — completely present physically, mentally, and emotionally. That being said, let me note that it can be very difficult to get dancers and choreographers to project what they'll be doing a few months down the road, especially this year, when most of the dance groups in town seem primarily focused on their upcoming performances in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival (September 19-23).

    OUTDOORS: Fall flavors

    Local farm stands offer the sights and tastes of autumnRochester-area farms/farmstands
    Fall always creeps in slowly. First it's a couple of red leaves here, some cool breezes there.

    FILM: Waiting for the weekends

    Your guide to this fall's buzzed-about movies
    There are nine Fridays (plus one very desirable Wednesday) between now and Thanksgiving, and, as usual, Hollywood will be pummeling you with movie upon movie. But autumn is typically a strange time for film, acting as a sort of bridge between summer's dopier action flicks and the end-of-the-year Oscar hopefuls.

    MUSIC: That's the ticket

    Local venues explore alternatives to the big-ticket enterprises
    The conversation happens all the time among concert-going friends, and it tends to go something like this: "Hey dude, you should come to this super awesome fun time special concert." "I'd love to man, how much does it cost?"

    MUSIC: Twelve for '12

    A look at a dozen of fall's must-see concerts
    When autumn leaves begin to fall, it's not just back to school — it's back to the clubs, where all kinds of music will be reverberating off the walls, and in your skull. There's almost too much talent calling Rochester home lately.

    THEATER: Let's put on a show!

    How three local theater companies plan and approach their seasons
    Geva Theater Center's artistic director Mark Cuddy calls the huge piece of kraft paper his "planning wall" for the season he is working on — lists in different colors with dividing lines between them, but also extra sheets of paper tacked up helter-skelter to give it the look of the organized chaos it probably is. Yet that list of more than 50 titles eventually leads to the six main-stage plays (plus the annual production of "A Christmas Carol") that Geva is betting on for the next 11 months.

    THEATER: Best bets

    Here are some of the plays I'm looking forward to seeing in the 2012-2013 Rochester theater season. The good news is that this season there are more plays I want to see than I have room to write about.

    CALENDAR: Fall Special Events Guide

    Summer may be over, but it's not time to head indoors yet. Rochester has plenty of events to keep you busy through the fall.

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