Yes, Rochester winters can often seem endless, but City is here to help you make it through these dark times with a selection of 14 can't-miss events from the first quarter of 2014. Did we miss something especially exciting on your personal calendar? Add it to the comments section of this article at rochestercitynewspaper.com.
By mid-winter, Rochester tends to feel like nothing but a vast expanse of gray and white, and we all start to need a little more color in our lives. Happily, you can easily remedy this by checking out the Memorial Art Gallery's exhibit on Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, often credited as a founder of the Pop Art style. His 1970 portfolio, "General Dynamic F.U.N.," is a collection of silkscreen prints and photolithographs centered around the artist's major obsessions of technology and pop culture, from Liz Taylor to Mickey Mouse and comic books. The exhibit will be on display in the Lockhart Gallery starting January 31 and continue through May 4. The MAG is located at 500 University Ave., open Wednesdays through Sundays, and regular admission costs $5-$12. Find further information and gallery hours at mag.rochester.edu.
If you're anything like me, it's been far too long since your last visit to the zoo. Correct that oversight by heading out to the Seneca Park Zoo's ZooBrrrew, the winter edition of its popular summer ZooBrew fundraiser event. The evening will feature live music, "Around the World"-themed hors d'oeuvres and dessert stations (including fire pits for s'mores), and a cash bar serving a selection of seasonal beers and wines. ZooBrrrew will be held Friday, February 7, 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25-$30, are only for those 21 and over, and grant admission to the zoo along with a pass to get you into a summer ZooBrew later on this year. The zoo is located at 2222 St. Paul St. Visit senecaparkzoo.org for details and a listing of the complete menu.
The local chapter of the international food contest, Battledish, will pit six area chefs against one another in culinary competition. Announced contestants include chefs from Roam Cafe, Dorado, Cafe Cibon, Just Juice 4 Life, and the Blu Wolf Bistro. Each chef will present a dish and cocktail pairing for judging, with the winning dish earning its creator the title "King of Battledish." Think of it as "Top Chef" in your own backyard. The event will be held at multiple restaurants along Park Avenue on Saturday, February 8, 2-6 p.m. Ticket packages range from $40 to $125, and admission-only tickets are priced at $15, with sample versions of each chef's dish and paired cocktail available for $5 each. Full event details and ticket information can be found at dishcrawl.com.
Remember back in elementary school, when Valentine's Day meant stuffing tiny cards into the construction-paper mailboxes taped to the fronts of your classmates' desks? And waiting for the inevitable crying when someone realized that they'd been skipped over? Good times. Feel like you're back in grade school again (hopefully without the tears) as the Genesee Center for the Arts (713 Monroe Ave.) opens up its paper lab on Saturday, February 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to allow anyone who wishes to come in and make their own handmade valentines. Best of all, the event is totally free and open to all ages. Check geneseearts.org for more information.
The 30th Annual Lakeside Winter Celebration transforms Ontario Beach Park into a destination for winter-themed family fun. The event will be held this year on Saturday, February 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, February 9, noon-4 p.m. The list of events includes a chili cook-off, dog-sledding demonstration, a wine festival, snow-sculpture contests, and more. The popular Polar Plunge, now in its 14th year of letting Rochesterians freeze their butts off in the name of raising funds for the Special Olympics, will be held on Sunday, along with "Frostbiters" sailboat racing and a winter hike at Turning Point Park. Various merchants in Charlotte will also be offering discounts during the event. You can check out a full schedule of events at cityofrochester.gov.
Keep the Valentine's festivities going when guest conductor Peter Bay transforms the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre into the most lavish movie house around, leading the RPO in live accompaniment to the classic film "Singin' in the Rain." Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, the beloved movie focuses on the birth of talkies, delivering spectacular dance, romance, and comedy in what's widely considered the greatest movie musical of all time. This is a chance to see the film as it was meant to be seen, and is a killer date night option, folks. The performances will take place Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15, at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $15 to $92. The theater is located on Gibbs Street. For more information visit rpo.org.
Ice wine is basically the nectar of the gods, so it's only natural that this heavenly beverage should merit its own festival. The 6th Annual New York Ice Wine and Culinary Festival at Casa Larga Vineyards (2287 Turk Hill Road, Fairport) focuses on the New York State-produced wines, with food tastings, live music, ice-carving demonstrations, tours of the winery, and of course, sweet, sweet libations. The Ice Wine Festival will be held Saturday, February 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $65. Visit casalarga.com for more information.
Archery has seen a massive resurgence of popularity over the past couple of years, as Hollywood has put a plethora of heroes who are badasses with a bow and arrows on the big screen — consider Katniss Everdeen and Clint Barton. So if you long to make like Hawkeye or The Girl On Fire, you may want to check out the Winter Cam Classic Archery Tournament at the PAC Center on the MCC campus. It's $40 if you wish to participate (proceeds from the event benefit the Catch a Dream Foundation), but admission is free to spectators. The games begin on Friday, February 21, and continue through Sunday, February 23. For complete details, visit wintercamclassic.com.
Perhaps best known for his work as a lead correspondent on "The Daily Show" (he also charmed fans when he filled in as host during Jon Stewart's absence early last year) as well as his recurring role on the popular TV show, "Community," British comedian John Oliver will bring his wry brand of political satire to Rochester when he headlines RIT's annual FreezeFest celebration. Oliver will perform standup comedy on Saturday, February 22, at 8 p.m. at the Gordon Field House. Tickets are $15 for RIT students, and $35 for the general public. Find full details and information about other FreezeFest events — it runs February 21-23 — at campuslife.rit.edu/freezefest.
Green Day's Tony- and Grammy-winning rock opera, "American Idiot," will have a one-night-only run at the Auditorium Theatre on Thursday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m. The acclaimed musical blends Green Day's popular music with the moving story of three lifelong friends leaving the safety of suburbia to chase their big-city dreams. Following the show, at 10:30 p.m., local theater company Method Machine will be hosting "St. Jimmy's Cabaret," featuring performers from "Idiot," at RAPA's East End Theatre (727 E. Main St.). The Auditorium is located at 885 E. Main St. Tickets to the musical will run $35-$55, and are available through rbtl.org. Tickets for the cabaret cost $10-$30 and can be purchased at rapa.org or by calling 325-3366; for more information visit methodmachine.org.
Prepare to be put through the emotional wringer when JCC CenterStage presents "The Normal Heart," activist Larry Kramer's searing, semi-autobiographical, and award-winning play. The drama examines the H.I.V.-AIDS crisis in early 1980's New York City through the eyes of a tight-knit and resilient group of friends. Timed to coincide with LGBT Health Month, each performance will be followed by a panel discussion of the topics raised by the play. The show's run begins Saturday, March 8, and runs through Sunday, March 23. Tickets are on sale now for $26, $24 for members, and $18 for students. The Jewish Community Center is located at 1200 Edgewood Ave. Find full details at jccrochester.org.
At first, Cirque du Soleil and the late Michael Jackson might not seem like the most logical of pairings. But consider: they're both intensely theatrical, a little mysterious, and totally nutty. Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour pairs the King of Pop's legendary music with the acrobatics, dance, and spectacle that you'd expect from the world-famous cirque troupe. In short, it looks nonstop bananas. The production makes its stop at the Blue Cross Arena (100 Exchange Blvd.) on Monday, March 10, and Tuesday, March 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $50 to $150 and are on sale now through bluecrossarena.com.
Originally formed in Dublin, traditional Irish band The Chieftains has been performing its music around the world for more than 50 years now. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winning group has collaborated with artists ranging from the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison to Madonna and Bon Iver, and has made appearances on classic film scores like "Barry Lyndon" and "Far and Away." The group will make a stop in Rochester, just in time for St. Patrick's Day, when it performs at the Auditorium Theatre (885 E. Main St.) on Thursday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32-$62 and are available now through rbtl.org.
Instantly step back into your childhood by sifting through hidden treasures and find yourself getting nostalgic over old Happy Meal toys, Barbie dolls, and Hot Wheels at the Village Gate Toy Show, sponsored by Yankee Clipper House of Cards. A tradition for more than 20 years, the bi-annual show is next scheduled for Sunday, March 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Village Gate is located at 274 N. Goodman St. Admission is free.
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The Blue Cross Arena once again plays host to the Atlantic Hockey Association Championships for NCAA Men's Division 1 hockey. RIT is usually in the running for the championship, so hopefully we'll be cheering on the home team when semifinals take place on Friday, March 21, at 4 p.m., as well as the championships on Saturday, March 22, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $16, $12 for students with ID, and $6.75 for kids. Visit atlantichockeyonline.com for more information and purchase tickets though bluecrossarena.com.