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June 28, 2017 - 9:11am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, Byron-Bergen Public Library, bergen, byron, arts.

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Dave Burke finished the mural on the back of the Byron-Bergen Public Library, dedicating it to Eileen Almquist, better known as "Tally."

Almquist was the director of the Byron-Bergen Public Library before she retired in 1993 and she was also the town historian for 21 years.

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The Bergen Town Board approved the mural and gave Burke the idea of depicting a train, because it is a part of Bergen. 

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Nancy Bailey, the manager of the Byron-Bergen Public Library, said when she walked in the building every morning the parking lot was boring. She originally just wanted flowers painted on the wall, but said she is really excited about the final product. 

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June 16, 2017 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, news, arts.

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Press release:

GO ART! presents an exhibit by Stacy Kirby “A Nice View “-- A Collection of En Plein Aire Paintings and Illustrations.”

After a couple decades of drawing, first in crayon then in pencil, Stacey Kirby picked up a paint brush, pursuing an education in illustration at Montserrat College of Art. After graduating she applied her illustration skills to mural painting, creating large scale art works for private homes, businesses, and public spaces.

Her passion is forming concept and idea into impactful paintings, whether the theme is historic, or of the natural world.

Kirby, a native of Albion, has been contributing murals to the Orleans and Monroe counties for a number of years.

"As a muralist, it's my goal to create artwork that is accessible to everyone, to encourage appreciation for art and the deeply rooted communities that we're a part of," Kirby said. "Public murals are a great opportunity to expose numbers of people to the arts, while sharing something important about that community with the world.”

In her free time she enjoys painting "en plein aire." She is working with “Traveling Towpath Troubadours" -- a music performance group whose summer concerts are part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the Erie Canal in Orleans County -- on a commemorative painting capturing the idea behind their 2017 endeavor.

"A Nice View" opens July 11 and runs through Sept. 10 at GO ART!, located inside historic Seymour Plac,e 201 E. Main St., Batavia.

Gallery hours: Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and on the second Sunday of the month, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

There will be a closing reception, with light fare, on Sept. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.,  featuring “Traveling Towpath Troubadours” as entertainment and the unveiling of the commemorative painting.

June 15, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew, Le Roy, news, entertainment, arts.

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To kick off the third annual Battle of the Bands at the Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew in Le Roy last night, the owners and management presented a check for $2,600 to the Golisano Children's Hospital in honor the White Family.

The money was raised during last year's Battle of the Bands.

Trisha White, holding the check, credits Golisano's with saving the life of her daughter, Jamie, left, who was born at 25 1/2 weeks and weighed just one pound, seven ounces. Now 12 and doing well in middle school, she's holding a picture of herself at birth with her father's wedding band around her ankle.

"That's how tiny she was," Trisha said.

The Battle of the Bands runs all summer and into October with performances every Wednesday night at the Eagle. Last night, Invictra kicked off the series.

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June 13, 2017 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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The Batavia High School Drama Club is staging a showcase concert featuring songs from the musical "Les Miserables" at 7 p.m., Thursday, at John Kennedy School on Vine Street. Free-will donations will be accepted at the door.

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June 8, 2017 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, harvest 56 theater, theater, arts, entertaiment, news.

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Edith Bouvier Beale once famously said, "It could have been me instead of Jackie Kennedy in the White House."

It's not that Beale was ever courted by Jack Kennedy, but she was engaged to Joe Kennedy Jr., the young man his father groomed to eventually become president before he was killed in World War II.

We meet a young and potentially betrothed Joe  Jr. in G'rey Gardens, The Musical," being staged this weekend and next by Batavia Players at the Harvest 56 Theater.

Society and history might have forgotten the Beales except that two, young, aspiring documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles happened across Edith Bouvier Beale, known as "Little Edie," and her mother, "Big Edie," living alone, mostly confined to a single room, of their once-majestic East Hampton mansion in 1975. 

The Maysles brothers secured permission to show up at the mansion, known as Grey Gardens, and film whatever they saw. In an age before reality TV, the Beale women were unselfconscious and uninhibited in letting their lives be documented, with all of their odd, besotted and eccentric peculiarities. 

The documentary was critically acclaimed in 1976 but faded into near oblivion, except as a cult favorite, until resurrected in the age of Netflix and 500-channel cable boxes. That led to a feature film, starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, and finally a hit Broadway musical.

The Batavia Players are presenting one of the first off-Broadway performances.

"Grey Gardens has been a unique kind of cult following, you know -- Americana story, for quite a few years," said Pat Burk, who is producing and directing the show. "I know that that's a lot of adjectives to describe it, but I don't know how else to describe it.

"The reason why Batavian Players wanted to do it was because we have always looked for sort of new and original things that can be done in the community that normally would not be done by another theater company," Burk added. "It just seemed like the right fit and I knew I had the perfect cast and I was kind of like stalking them for a little while to make sure that I had the right cast for the show."

We spoke with Burk during a taping of the WBTA radio show "Genesee Life," which is normally hosted by Lucine Kauffman. Kauffman is an avid fan of Grey Gardens, and really, a kind of subject-area expert on the documentary. Since she couldn't interview herself, The Batavian stepped as guest host (you can hear the full broadcast on WBTA's website).

"It was really just by accident (that I found the documentary)," Kauffman said. "I was browsing through Netflix -- this had to have been at least five years ago -- and I love documentaries, so I was looking to the documentary section and came across 'Grey Gardens.' I thought 'oh this sounds interesting' and watched it and just fell in love with the movie and the characters."

Like many Grey Gardens fans, Kauffman has delved deeper into the background and history of the Bouviers and the Beales and the lives of Edith and Edie, so when she heard Batavia Players was going to stage the musical, she certainly wanted to audition for the part, and in fact Burk already had her in mind to play Edith in the second act.

"She was a Bohemian and she was an artist -- she wanted to sing," Kauffman said. "She did sing in at parties. She did give some concerts, smaller concerts.

"We take for granted," Kauffman added, "that the Kennedys were a very prominent Catholic family and that it was the WASPS, the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, were the ones who were dominating the social scene. And Phalen (Beale, husband of Edith and an uncle to Jackie), and I think Major Bouvier, to an extent, wanted to fit in with that WASP culture, and so Phalen was very conservative socially. He did not want his wife out singing in public and giving concerts. He thought she should act like a reserved society matron. She fought against that.

"When they bought Grey Gardens -- when they first married they lived in Manhattan -- when they bought Grey Gardens out on Long Island he basically just let her give recitals in the home for some of her friends. I think it broke her heart because I think she really thought she could have been a star."

The star of the documentary is, perhaps, Little Edie, the once-gorgeous, former '40s-era debutante who may have been engaged to Joe Kennedy Jr., who turned down a proposal from J. Paul Getty, and probably dated Howard Hughes. By the 1970s, in a dilapidated mansion, she seems a little touched.

"She went out with the creme de la creme of the most eligible bachelors," Kauffman said. "She was a debutante. She was absolutely gorgeous. She did some modeling."

The musical's two acts are set in better times and decaying times, first when the Beales still had some money, were still young and living the life of high society, and then in the second act Edith and Edie are living with a motley bunch of cats and scavaging raccoons. The first act is largely fictional, providing a backdrop to how the family was torn apart, and the second act cuts closer to the Beales' life as revealed by Maysles brothers.

One of the fascinating turns of the documentary is the creative ways Edie wears clothes, turning mundane garments into fashion statements, always wearing a turban or head scarf of some sort, adorned with a favorite brooch.

That came about, it seems, Kauffman said, because the Beales had no money left, or not much of it. Major Bouvier had cut his daughter Edith from the will, and once Edith and Phalen divorced, Phalen didn't pay alimony, he just left her the mansion and a small stipend. 

"So imagine you have this house, this big mansion, and you have no money for upkeep or maintenance. You don't have money to go out and buy new clothing or new furniture," Kauffman said. "You see the decay. Everything is pretty much exactly the way it was but decayed, and as far as the clothing choices, I think she (Little Edie) just made do with what she had. You know she might have had this old brown skirt from the '40s and she just turned it upside down and pinned a brooch to it. She wanted to create a new fashion out of what she had."

The first performance is Friday at 7:30 p.m. There are also shows Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., then again the following weekend with shows on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

The cast is: 

  • Edith Bouvier Beale (Act 1 Prologue/Act 2) -- Lucine Kauffman
  • Edith Bouvier Beale (Act 1) /Edie Beale (Act 2) -- Jennifer Neroni-Trupo
  • “Young” Edie Beale (Act1) -- Kristin Gelia
  • George Gould Strong-- Dylan Tomas Kastel
  • Jackie Bouvier -- Kathryn Fitzpatrick
  • Lee Bouvier -- Leigh Le Fevre
  • Brooks Jr/Sr. -- Gregory Munroe
  • Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. -- Colin Fleming
  • Major Bouvier -- James Barcomb
  • Jerry -- Jonah Bower
  • Norman Vincent Peale -- Jim Bauer

Musicians: Cindy Baldwin, Bob Chaplin, Tristan Korzelius, Pamela Wentworth, Kathy White, Melzie Case.

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June 1, 2017 - 10:06am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Le Roy, news, arts, education, Le Roy Junior/Senior High School.

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The Le Roy Junior/Senior High School hosted its annual fine arts festival on Wednesday, showcasing students' artwork inside and holding a musical performance outside.

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Senior Kearyn Sczudlo displayed her art and said each piece took her anywhere from one week to four months to complete. She will study Art at Alfred University this fall. 

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May 21, 2017 - 9:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia society of artists, arts, batavia, news.

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Jenny Wood hosted the Batavia Society of Artists today at her home on West Main Street Road, Batavia, for a "sketch out," a chance for artists to paint and draw the landscape of her yard, which is well known locally for the annual bloom of forget-me-nots.

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May 19, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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GO ART! opened two shows at Seymore Place last night -- the member's show, with the theme, "Summer of Love," in honor of the 50th anniversary of the hippies' heyday --summer of 1967, and "The Dream of America."

"The Dream of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants," is a display of the photography and writing of Lisa Catalfamo Flores. It originally was on display at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls. GO ART! is its first stop on a statewide tour. The show will be on display through July 7.

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May 12, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia society of artists, arts, batavia, news.

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David Burke is the winner of the 2017 Spring Art Show hosted by the Batavia Society of Artists at the Richmond Memorial Library. Burke received his award at the show's opening last night.

Richard Ellingham received second place and Kevin Feary received third place.

Rachel Beck, a Genesee Community College student and resident of Attica, received the Carr-Mumford scholarship.

May 12, 2017 - 9:10am

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Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra visited Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School yesterday to meet with students from each grade to talk with them about classical music and the instruments they use. Above, Bob Knipe talks about his French horn. 

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Conductor Shade Zajac.

May 11, 2017 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester 56 Theater, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Amy Martin and Joe Kusmierczak star in the Batavia Player's production of "The Last Five Years," a musical written and composed by Jason Robert Brown and produced and directed by Kathy White, with performances this weekend at the Harvester 56 Theater.

Show times are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday.

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May 4, 2017 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Elba Central School Drama Club, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Elba Central School Drama Club performs a Broadway musical review they've dubbed "Spotlight" at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the school's auditorium.

Drama Club members past and present were invited to audition for the show, performing show tunes of their choosing so long as they numbers hadn't been part of a past or an upcoming show.

After the performance, audience members will be invited to participate in a mega game of musical chairs in the gym.

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May 4, 2017 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, elba, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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The Genesee Symphony Orchestra performs in Elba Central School at 4 p.m., Sunday, in its final concert of the season.

The program is called "Escaping Gravity: A Journey Through the Stars," and features "And God Created Great Whales," by Hovhaness, "Music from Apollo 13," arranged by John Moss and featuring the String Workshop, "Suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind," by John Williams, and "The Planets," by Holst.

Musical Director S. Shade Zajac conducts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors and families are $35. Tickets can be purchased online at GeneseeSymphony.com.

Photos are from Monday's rehearsal.

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April 28, 2017 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Roz Steiner Art Gallery, GCC, arts, entertainment, news.

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A new show opened at the Genesee Community College Roz Steiner Art Gallery yesterday featuring the work of students. The show, called Vision, runs through May 21.

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April 26, 2017 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre will be transformed into the deep jungle, allowing audiences to follow three cheeky monkeys. Seeno, Hearno and Sayno journey toward wisdom as they swing through the trees without a care, learning to survive as humans encroach upon their idyllic world.

Three Wise Monkeys is presented by GCC’s Forum Players Children’s Theatre Ensemble and features one show only at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Audiences of all ages will enjoy watching Seeno, Hearno and Sayno in their quest to find their lost baby monkey, Dono, and return him to his rightful place—all while eating bananas, of course!

Tickets are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on adult ticket. To reserve seats contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.

Cast and crew:

  • Maryanne Arena, artistic supervising director, Le Roy
  • Jessica Skehan, “Dono,” Holley
  • Taylor Renee Wilson, narrator, Cheektowaga
  • Mikayla Godleski, stage manager
  • Benjamin Martis, "Sayno," Curacao
  • Pedro Phellipe, "Seeno," Jundiai, Brazil
  • Valentine Strange, costume designer, Alden 
  • Becka Naber, dancer
  • Xochitl Rosario, dancer
  • Tillison Pease, sound designer, York
  • Emily Carey, narrator
  • Spencer Henley, "Hearno"/Tiger, Akron
  • Kaylee Koch, lighting designer, Alexander
  • Celeste Brownell, "Hearno"/Tiger, Batavia
  • Brie Cummings, backstage/projections, Bath
  • Gabriel Grey, backstage, Batavia
  • Robert Reiss, director, Batavia
  • Ed Hallborg, technical director
  • Tara Pocock, choreographer
  • Clare Francis, narrator, Alexander
  • Kandice Green, backstage

Photos by Maureen Spindler.

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April 21, 2017 - 12:30pm

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The concert lineup for the 2017 season at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center continues to fill out, with a total of 23 shows schedule after the latest addition, Lady Antebellum.

Other shows added over the past few weeks: Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Zac Brown Band, Third Eye Blind, Nickleback, One Republic, Kings of Leon, and John Mayer.

This is the 25th season for Darien Lake PAC and to celebrate, concert tickets are also good for admission to the theme park.

For a complete concert lineup and ticket information, click here.

April 21, 2017 - 1:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, Harvester Center, 56 Harvester, theater, arts, news.

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Hamlet may be undecided about his fate, but the Shakespeare tragedy will "be" despite heavy flooding overnight at the Harvester Center that came close to jeopardizing the stage and the costume and prop room of Batavia Players at 56 Harvester.

Batavia Players President Pat Burk said Batavia City firefighters had a lot to do with keeping the heaviest flood waters out of the most critical areas of the theater.

Most of the flooding, caused by last night's heavy rain, was confined to the common areas just outside of the theater, but some water did get into the theater and members of the troupe are being asked to come in tomorrow at 3 p.m. to clean up inside the theater.

The Players are scheduled to open Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at 7 p.m. There will definitely be a performance, Burk said.

The flood could have been a disaster except that Hunter Doran and other members of the theater group were on hand getting costumes ready for the show's opening.

There was leaking as early as 3 p.m., Doran said, but water started to flood in at 8:30 p.m. That's when he called for help.

City fire responded with shop vacs and squeegees to help stem the tide and most of the water was dumped down drains by the time firefighters had to leave for another call.

"Hamlet" is part of Batavia Player's annual Shakespeare in the Springtime production. Besides the show tomorrow, there is one at 7 p.m. Saturday, at 2 p.m., Sunday and again at 7 p.m. on April 28 and 29. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Photo: Ed Canty finishes water cleanup in a hallway outside the theater.

April 7, 2017 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, batavia, news.

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Gregory Hallock, assistant director of GO ART!, reads off the winners Thursday night of the juried exhibition held by the arts council this month at the show's opening at Seymore Place in Batavia.

First Place, with a $200 cash prize, went to Conrad Borucki, of Alden. Joann Long, of Bloomfield, was second (both pictured below).

Third, Kevin Hammon and honorable mentions to: Rebecca Graham, John Hodgins, Lynnette Celedonia, Sabrina Ahmed, Brian Kemp, David Burke, Tracy Billings and Richard Ellingham.

GO ART! received hundreds of submissions under the theme "Art of the Rural." A total of 68 pieces were selected for the show, which runs through May 12.

Pictured with Hallock, Director Jennifer Gray and Board Member Mary Jo Whitman.

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April 6, 2017 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education, arts, music, entertainment, news.

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Le Roy Central Schools has been named one of the best communities in the nation for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants. It  was one of only 527 schools, or 4 percent of the eligible schools, in the United States to earn the award.

Le Roy High School Principal Tim McArdle said the award recognizes the efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have helped make music education an important part of students' lives. 

"This award represents our district's long-standing commitment to valuing what music education does for our students and the true pleasure it brings to our community," McArdle said. "We are so proud of all of our music students and staff that year in and year out produce high-level performances on our stages, in the pit, in competition, on the field, and in many places across the region. Our strong music program is one of the many aspects of our school that makes being an Oatkan Knight so special!"

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April 1, 2017 - 9:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, schools, news.

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Music students from Genesee and Wyoming counties will perform today at 2 p.m. at Pavilion High School in the second of two all-county music festival concerts.

The festival is organized by the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Today's show features the high school band, the junior high chorus and the elementary band.

Tickets are $4 each at the door.

These photos are from yesterday's rehearsal.

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