Contrary to popular opinion — and yes, probably common sense — Rochesterians don't go into hibernation during the winter months. We're a hearty bunch; blizzards, ice, snow, slush, and wind aren't enough to dissuade us from venturing outdoors when there's a good time to be had. This winter there's no shortage of fantastic events that should tempt even the most dedicated of homebodies to brave the elements and head out for a night on the town.
Below find 10 of the most exciting events happening around the city over the next few months, each one sure to keep those winter blues at bay. This is no way a comprehensive look at all of the arts and cultural happenings coming up in Rochester; for that make sure to pick up City Newspaper every Wednesday or check our searchable online calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com. In the meantime, here are some great events to get you started. So bundle up, it'll be worth it.
Rochester B.R.A.W.L. (Broads Regional Arm Wrestling League) celebrates one year of kicking ass for charity, empowering women, and bringing attention to the issues that affect them, with The SnowBRAWL, a formal-themed anniversary party/arm-wrestling event at Skylark Lounge. Get dolled up in your best prom attire (make sure to stop by the photo booth to document your spiffy outfits), then drink, dance, and scream like a maniac to cheer on your favorite wrestlers, all for a good cause. Proceeds from the event will benefit Alternatives for Battered Women, which provides aid and counseling to victims of domestic violence. The SnowBRAWL will be held Saturday, January 26, 8 p.m. at Skylark Lounge, 40 S. Union St. Suggested $5 donation to attend. Check rochesterbrawl.tumblr.com for more information.
Remember when you were a kid and the opposite sex was something to be feared (unless, of course, you'd received your cootie shot), and a simple cardboard box held endless possibilities for fun, limited only by the boundaries of your imagination? Thirty Rochester artists will be getting back in touch with their inner child, as they divide into two teams — 15 boys and 15 girls — to battle it out and see what each of them can create based around the material of cardboard. It's all in the name of good fun, and the results of their efforts will be displayed in a two-gallery show called, naturally, "Boys vs. Girls." The girl's group will present their work at The Yards (50-52 Public Market Way), while the boys will show at 1975 Gallery (89 Charlotte St.). Both shows will be on display through March 2, with an opening night reception Saturday, February 9, 6-10 p.m. Check 1975ish.com and at attheyards.com for details.
Providing a solid argument that summer isn't the only good time to visit the beach, the 29th Annual Lakeside Winter Celebration will offer loads of winter-themed activities that the whole family can enjoy. Scheduled events include a snow-sculpture contest, chili cook-off, sailboat racing, and dogsled demonstrations, in addition to the enormously popular Polar Plunge fundraiser for New York Special Olympics. If that's not incentive enough, there's also an ice wine festival, which is a fairly recent addition to the event, and that stuff is delicious. The Lakeside Winter Celebration will be held on Sunday, February 10, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Ontario Beach Park, off Lake Avenue. Visit cityofrochester.gov for the full schedule of events.
No celebration of Valentine's Day would be complete without a little music to get you and your sweetheart in the mood, and Bill Evans Dance is here to provide. "Rochester Rhythm and Romance: Jazz Hugs and Tap Kisses" is an evening of tap and jazz performances sure to delight all the lovebirds out there. The line-up of performances will include rhythmic tap from Bill Evans, Cheryl Johnson, and Courtney World as well as instrumental and vocal jazz by Richard Delaney, Cheryl Johnson, and Tamara Wilcox. The event will take place at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre Center, 540 E. Main St. Tickets cost $25. Show times are scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, 7 p.m.; Thursday, February 14, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, February 15, and Saturday, February 16, 5:30 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 17, 2 and 4 p.m. Call 325-4370 for reservations or visit billevansdance.org.
Why wait for St. Patrick's Day when you can break out your "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirt an entire month ahead of time? The RocCity Brewfest is an annual themed beer festival (last year's theme was Mardi Gras) celebrating independent and local breweries. Brewfest offers live music, food, and a wide variety of craft brews to sample. Eat, drink, and be merry, all with an Irish flair. The Brewfest takes place Saturday, February 16, Session 1 runs 1-4 p.m. with a second session 6-9 p.m., both at the Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. Tickets cost $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Designated driver tickets are available for $10 and include free soda and water. Visit roccitybrewfest.com for more information.
Indie-rock band Passion Pit arrived in a big way this year, with the hit single "Take a Walk" off its album "Gossamer" in constant radio rotation, an appearance on "Saturday Night Live," and a track on the soundtrack for the final "Twilight" film (but don't hold that against the band). It will be joined by Brooklyn-based pop/dance duo Matt & Kim, making its return appearance in Rochester. Passion Pit will perform with Matt & Kim on Monday, February 18, 7 p.m. at the Main Street Armory, 900 E. Main St. Tickets cost $30-$35. For more information visit rochestermainstreetarmory.com.
A Rochester landmark is currently getting a shiny new coat of paint, and in March the Dryden Theatre will reopen its doors after two months of major renovations, including new, larger, and (hopefully) more comfortable seats and updated digital projection capabilities. The theater will debut its snazzy new look with a special presentation of the critically acclaimed 2004 comedy, "Sideways". The film's Oscar-winning writer and director, Alexander Payne ("The Descendants," "Election," "About Schmidt"), will be on hand for the screening and a Q&A session following the film. The Dryden will screen "Sideways" on Saturday, March 2, at 8 p.m. Advance tickets cost $6-$8, and will be available starting February 2. The theater is part of the George Eastman House, located at 900 East Ave. For more information visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org.
At first, you might not think "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone would have it in them to write a splashy Broadway musical. But then you stop and consider that 1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" film somehow emerged as one of the best, most entertaining movie musicals of all time. Considering that, it's not quite as much of a shock that their gleefully filthy send-up of Mormonism (and organized religion in general), "The Book of Mormon," took The Great White Way by storm when it debuted. Now the 2011 Tony Award winner for Best Musical makes its way to Rochester, and it's the perfect ticket for anyone who thought that "The Sound of Music" could have used a few more dick and fart jokes. "The Book of Mormon" will run at the Auditorium Theatre (875 E. Main St.) from Tuesday, March 5, through Sunday, March 10. Advanced tickets sold quickly, and are already extremely limited, so keep a close watch on rbtl.org and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League's Facebook page for updated ticket information.
Fresh maple syrup is pretty much one of the greatest things ever. It's like the sweet, delicious reward for surviving another season of freezing cold temperatures. I'm not talking about that "pancake syrup" nonsense you can buy at the grocery store; I'm talking about the good stuff, made from sap from real maple trees. Happily for all of us, both the Rochester Museum & Science Center's Cumming Nature Center in Naples and the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford have events scheduled to coincide with maple-sugaring season. Each offer a look into the process of making maple syrup, nature walks, and pancake breakfasts, so you can actually sample the fruits of their labors. Both events are being held March 16-17 and 23-24, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the RMSC and 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Genesee Country Village. Check gcv.org and rmsc.org for complete details.
Eastman School of Music's Women in Music Festival is an annual celebration of the contributions of women in all aspects of music, through a week-long series of concerts, classes, open rehearsals, lectures, and presentations. This year's festival will run March 25-29, and the 2013 composer-in-residence is Pulitzer Prize winner Melinda Wagner. Concerts of Wagner's music will be performed by Eastman students and faculty throughout the week. Wagner will be in town from March 27-29, and during that time will participate in rehearsals and lessons at ESM. All of the festival events are free and open to the public. Check esm.rochester.edu/wmf for a complete schedule of the week's events.