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April 6, 2018 - 10:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, news, arts, entertainment.

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GO ART! hosted a grand opening party for members tonight of the wine and beer bar now open in Seymore Place, which is the former location of the old Batavia Club.

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April 6, 2018 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, Richmond Memorial Library, news, batavia, arts, entertainment.

Press release:

A group of local residents who read and write poetry has come together to host a poetry reading featuring JoNelle Toriseva as well local poets who attend the reading. It will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the Reading Room at the Richmond Memorial Library.

The organizers are interested in meeting with other people in the community who enjoy poetry and might be interested in coming together more frequently for readings and workshops.

“We suspect there are several people locally who write poetry but don’t have an outlet to meet with other poets and that there are a number of people who simply enjoy poetry and would attend readings,” said one of the organizers, Howard Owens. “We hope this initial event will attract those people and show there is enough interest for regular gatherings.”

Toriseva will be the featured reader, but there will also be time for an open reading with each person invited to read one short poem of their own or of another author.

Other organizers include Eric Zwieg, Bill Kauffman, Bob Conrad, JoNelle Toriseva, and Lucine Kauffman.

About JoNelle Toriseva

JoNelle has won the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry from Cutbank. Her work has appeared in, "The North American Review," "Salt Hill," "The Literary Review," "The Saranac Review," "The Cincinnati Review," "Descant," and "JACKET," among others, and included in Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sound from City Lights, and Best Canadian Poetry in English.

She is the director of English, Communications and Media Arts, and an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY-GCC, Toriseva has also taught for Mills College, California Poets in the Schools, San Francisco WritersCorps, and Literary Arts of Portland, Ore.

March 21, 2018 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, entertainment, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced their onsite plans for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5th. Three parties will take place on site.

The first party, running from 11:30 a.m. 'til 7 p.m., will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Paddock Room. It is the Downs’ most well-attended party with more than 600 attendees last year.

For $15, patrons receive their choice of a variety of meals, $15 in Free Play once one point is earned on the gaming floor, a $2 wager on the Derby, and a Free Derby program. There will be a $5 Mint Juleps special which includes a commemorative Derby glass and samplings from Black Button Distilling. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. Many big-screen televisions will show the races and there will be mutual clerks available for wagers to be placed.

The second party, which is new, will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Grandstands Banquet Room on the second floor. Admission to the Derby Gala at the Downs is $50 per person and proper attire is required. Patrons will receive an open bar from 4:30 to 7 p.m., grazing stations, a $10 wager on the Derby, $25 in Free Play and a Free Derby Program. Attendees must be of legal drinking age to attend. There will also be televisions and mutual clerks for patrons to place wagers. A best-dressed contest and best hat contest will take place with prizes from the Hotel at Batavia Downs. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 21, at 10 a.m. on Bataviaconcerts.com and at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop.

The third party, taking place inside 34 Rush, will have Buffalo radio station WGR550AM broadcasting live from 2-5 p.m. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. There will be a $5 Mint Julep special which includes a derby commemorative glass. Cider samplings will be provided by Official Derby Sponsor; Angry Orchard Rosé. A sampling of Corona beer will also be taking place for Cinco De Mayo. Patrons may place Derby wagers using self-service terminals.

Wagering will also be available at the second floor Downs Simulcast center. Prize Drawings for Derby T-shirts and glasses will take place there.

“It’s exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York, “ said Todd Haight, general manager of Racing at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Our Paddock Room party has grown exponentially throughout the years and we expect that trend to continue this year.

"Our marketing department has put together a tremendous offer for our new Grandstands party. It’s a great way for our loyal customers to come out and enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

March 15, 2018 - 10:10am
posted by Steve Ognibene in entertainment, music, batavia, steve ognibene's blog.

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The trio performed their monthly jazz tunes last evening at a packed T.F. Brown's 214 Main St., Batavia. 

They perform once a month, traditionally on Thursdays, but decided to change it up because of the NCAA basketball. Here are a couple photos.

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March 13, 2018 - 2:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, entertainment, news.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced that Asia featuring John Payne is now headlining the July 20th show as part of Batavia Downs’ Rockin’ the Downs Summer Concert Series.

Asia featuring John Payne has been touring since 2008. Payne and his bandmates have been delighting audiences with live performances performing new classics and old favorites like "Only Time Will Tell" and "Heat of the Moment." Rumours – a Fleetwood Mac Tribute will still perform on that date as an opening act. All tickets already purchased will still be honored; purchasers do not need to get reprints of their tickets.

Tickets for this and the other seven concerts in the Rockin’ the Downs series are available at www.BataviaConcerts.com as well as at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop inside Batavia Downs. Individual tickets to each concert will remain at $10 for General Admission while VIP tickets will again be $25. A “Season Pass” that includes a single ticket good for each concert for a discounted rate. Prices are $60 for General Admission and $150 for VIP.

“Asia featuring John Payne is a great addition to the summer concert series,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “Having Rumours play all of Fleetwood Mac’s hits as an opening act will give concertgoers a full evening of great music.”

Hotel room/ticket packages will be available for each concert. Purchase of a Hotel Room on the night of a concert using the code includes two VIP tickets to the show. Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

March 13, 2018 - 1:56pm

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Press release:

Tonight at the Richmond Memorial Library (19 Ross St., Batavia) from 7:30 to 8:30 "No Blarney" will be performing traditional Irish music with Rich Conroy and Don Bouchard.

This free program is sponsored by the library.

Then on Thursday the duo performs again at the Holland Land Office (131 W. Main St., Batavia) from 7-9 p.m.; cost is $5.

March 12, 2018 - 10:12am

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Batavia High School's sixth annual Mr. Batavia contest is Friday, March 23rd, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. Contestants have been in rehearsals for weeks for the annual event.

Here are this year's contestants and their charities of choice: 

  • Nicholas Neid – Salvation Army
  • Chase Monachino – Catholic Charities
  • Brandon Buck – Batavia VA
  • Valentino Zinni – Volunteers for Animals
  • Jon Liciaga – Anna’s Wish
  • Cameron Hardy – Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Nate Loria – Habitat for Humanity
  • John Kindig – Alzheimer’s Association of WNY
  • Julio Vazquez – Michael Napoleon Foundation
  • Joe Marchese – Crossroads House
  • Evan Bellavia – Lifetime Care, Home Healthcare and Hospice
  • Anand Patel -- Golisano's Children's Hospital 

Previous winners are: Jon Currier (2017), Ross Chua (2016), Jordan Fluker (2015), Spencer Hubbard (2014), Lee Johnson (2013).

A total of $4,646 was raised last year and split among the top three winners.
 
"Every year we have raised more and we hope to surpass this amount again," said advisor Lisa Robinson.
 
Categories are group dance, talent, swim walk, lip sync, tux walk and question to answer and local Batavia members from the community will be judges.
 
Sponsors: Charles Men Shop, Reed Eye; shirts in the picture from Extreme Streetwear. Hosts: Paige Wasilewski, Lauren Leone and Michal (Mikey) Lullo.
 
Tickets are available starting next Monday, March 19th: $7 for adults and $5 for students at Batavia High School; also available during school lunches and at the door the day of the event. Get your tickets early as they sold out last year.

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March 8, 2018 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, news, arts, entertainment.

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Le Roy High School presents three performances of "The Little Mermaid" starting tonight.

The current goes up at 6 o'clock and tickets are $10 at the door or available online (click here).

There are also performances at 6 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday.

Yesterday, the cast and crew of 115 students performed twice for students in grades 7 through 12, and grades 1 through 6.

"We hope you will join us in celebrating our amazing hometown talent and enjoy a night of great laughs and fun," said Le Roy Principal Tim McArdle. "This show is going to be so spectacular and, as always, the Pat Patton backdrops take this show to the next level."

Photos by Don Dessert, except bottom photo, by Tim McArdle.

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March 6, 2018 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GSO, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Genesee Symphony Orchestra rehearsed Monday night at Batavia High School for its concert this Sunday featuring the music of Tchaikovsky and a solo performance by David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The program includes Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D, David Kim solo violin, Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and The Sleeping Beauty: Polonaise.

The concert is at 4 p.m. in the auditorium at Elba Central School.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors, and $35 for families.

Photos by Chris Choate.

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March 5, 2018 - 11:42pm

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The Ridge NY (Frostridge) has announced its 2018 concert lineup, which includes a return of Blackjack Billy (file photo), along with the American Warrior Concert, Quiet Riot, Little River Band, the Outlaws and Travis Tritt to close out the season.

Friday and Saturday, June 1st and 2nd
- American Warrior Concert (A benefit for WNY Heroes, a veterans' organization)
  2 Days, 30 Bands, Vendors of all kinds, Amazing Food, Great Cause.

Friday, June 15th
- JASON MICHAEL CARROLL w/ special guest Rebels Posse

Saturday, June 16th
- RODNEY ATKINS w/ special guests Steven Cali and Branded

Friday, July 27th
- QUIET RIOT w/ special guests Savage Cabbage and

Saturday, July 28th
- LITTLE RIVER BAND w/ special guests The Coupe' De Villes and Boneshakers Blues Band

Friday, Aug. 3rd
- BLACKJACK BILLY w/ special guest Gunner and The Grizzly Boys

Saturday, Aug. 4th
- THE OUTLAWS w/ special guest Bishop Gunn

Friday, Aug. 24th
- Zac Brown Tribute Band

Saturday, Aug. 25th
- TRAVIS TRITT with special guests James Wesley and Savannah Harmon

For concert and camping information, visit theridgeny.com

March 3, 2018 - 9:36am

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Interview with BHS Drama Director Caryn Wood.

"Into the Woods" is a musical comedy written by Stephen Sondheim, (from Wikipedia). This show takes many well-known Grimm Brothers fairy tales and combines them in an interwoven masterpiece.

The blissful serenity quickly unravels however, as the result of a giant run amok in the kingdom. Sondheim is known for his difficult yet emotionally charged music and lyrics; the cast has worked tremendously hard to bring this challenging story to life.

There are 50+ students in the cast, crew, and orchestra combined with 30+ adult directors and staff and volunteers.

Auditions were held back in November. Casting is always a difficult process because we want to make sure you have considered all of the options. People think you can just choose the person who sings the best, but in reality, you have to take many things into consideration when casting a high school production.

You not only have to consider how well a certain individual will handle the difficult music, but also what their characterization abilities are, and how will that person plays off another person. Casting a show is like writing a composition, it's a process that Musical Director Dan Grillo and I take very seriously.

One of the best things about "Into the Woods" and also a big reason why we chose this show has to do with it being an ensemble cast. There aren’t one or two specific leads, but rather a group of people whom the audience follows as the story unfolds.

These characters include The Baker and his wife, played by senior Evan Bellavia and junior Eryn Dunn; you see their relationship on display and their need to undo a curse put on them by a witch -- a key role played by senior Madison Hoerbelt. Others include Cinderella, played by senior Madeline Keenan; Jack, played by junior Sam Rigerman; Jack's Mothe,r played by senior Parise Ricks; and Little Red Riding Hood, played by freshman Kathryn Fitzpatrick.

There are many other recognizable characters as well including Rapunzel, the Wicked Stepmother and Cinderella's stepsisters. We've also added Grimm fairytale characters like the Three Little Pigs, Rumpelstiltskin, the Princess and the Frog, Hansel and Gretel.

Overall, the cast really embraced this show and dug right in working on the difficult music when we started rehearsals back in December. There are great themes woven throughout the show also; sometimes what you wish for the most, doesn't turn out as planned; the love of family and despite their faults, and many others.

One of my favorite moments is when the Baker's Wife realizes that her humble marriage to the Baker is more important than all her fantasies during the song "Moments in the Woods."

With all of the characters there is more to them than meets the eye. A line from the show about this says, "witches can be right, giants can be good."

Watching all of the characters evolve through the plot turns and twists may not be portend the traditional "storybook" happily-ever-after ending you might expect. Yet, in the end everything is tidied up.

Two shows remain this weekend: tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or Roxy’s Music Store in Batavia.

To view or purchase photos click here.

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March 2, 2018 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia High School, entertainment, drama club.

"Into the Woods" is an epic fairytale about wishes, family and the choices we make. Despite the snow conditions, school officials say it will be performed by the Batavia High School Production Club tonight at 7:30.

It will also be performed Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 p.m.

This announcement, of course, is barring any mitigating weather advisory. Tickets available at Roxy's Music Store and at the door.

March 1, 2018 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, GCC, news.

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The GCC Fine Arts Students annual exhibit, this year titled "Master Peace," opened today in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery.

The exhibit runs through April 6.

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February 16, 2018 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, arts, entertainment, news, batavia.

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Two art shows opened at GO ART! on Thursday night -- "Where Do I Go From Here?" a ceramics exhibit by Shirley Nigro, and "The Kite Boy,"  an acrylic exhibit by Alex Segovia.

Nigro is the owner of Fire Up Ceramics on Ellicott Street in Batavia. 

Her ceramic work is nothing like most people might associate with the word -- figurines and knickknacks to scatter around the home. Her work is complex and imaginative but still leaning heavily on realism.

The exhibit is a good demonstration of how ceramics can be used to create art.

Segovia is originally from El Salvador and now resides in Avon. He started painting three years ago after watching a documentary about Vincent Van Gogh. His work reflects that post-impressionistic style, though he says he's moving more toward abstract expressionism. The bright colors recall Henri Matisse or fauvism.

Both shows run through April 7. 

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February 15, 2018 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news, notify.

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Last summer's concert series is one of many reasons Batavia Downs has been able to grow revenue and remain competitive in a saturated gaming market, said Henry Wojtaszek, president of Western OTB, and Mike Nolan, CEO, today at a press conference announcing an eight-show lineup for this season.

"We offer a lot of different things," Nolan said. "We have our own little niche here."

Wojtaszek said the key is offering options for customers and when you get them in the door, treating them right.

"That includes entertainment, it includes better food, it includes a cigar lounge, and frankly, just provide the best customer service," Wojtaszek said. "We like to think that’s why we’re growing. That’s what we like to concentrate on. Our focus is on providing excellent customer service."

The eight shows announced for this summer:

  • Eddie Money, June 22
  • Grand Funk Railroad, June 29
  • Blue Oyster Cult, July 6
  • Rik Emmett of the Band Triumph along with Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch, July 13
  • Rumours, a Fleetwood Mac Tribute, July 20th
  • Puddle of Mudd, July 27
  • Three Dog Night, Aug. 3
  • Lee Ann Womack, Aug. 10.

Wojtaszek said the concert series went so well last year that Batavia Downs would like to add more shows, but one step at a time.

He also said Batavia Downs will be working with the City and the Town to accommodate larger crowds. Last year, attendance was about 4,000 and this year the casino would like to attract 5,000 to 6,000 fans to the shows.

The concentration on classic rock and country is a conscious effort to bring in shows more appealing to older music fans, Wojtaszek said.

"They are the patrons coming into Batavia Downs and we wanted to provide them with the entertainment they’re looking for at a reasonable cost," Wojtaszek said.

Tickets for the shows will be $10 each.

Batavia Downs is hosting several other events this year sure to bring people from throughout the region to Genesee County.

There will be professional wrestling Feb. 24, a Whiskyfest in June, a Mixed Martial Arts event during the summer, plus Batavia Downs is in the midst of a $4 million capital improvement project that includes opening a cigar lounge, expanding 34 Rush sports bar, Fortune's Restaurant, and the conference center.

"There’s a lot of demand to have things here and it’s amazing to see the response we get to the events we do have," Wojtaszek said. "It’s a perfect location, right between Buffalo and Rochester and we're even getting people here from as far as Syracuse."

February 1, 2018 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, theater, arts, entertainment, news.

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Genesee Community College drama students participated in a workshop today with members of Polite Ink, a sketch and improv troupe from Rochester that will perform this Saturday at the Stuart Steiner Theater.

Polite Ink is a co-ed comedy team that writes and performs its own original sketches and improv games live on stage with the help of the audience.

Saturday's performance is at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (55+) and GCC faculty/staff. Students and children are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket.

To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected](link sends e-mail) or (585) 345-6814.

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January 20, 2018 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in independent living of Genesee Region, art, entertainment, news.

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Artist and musician Chris Humel was featured in an opening art show reception at Independent Living of the Genesee Region at 113 Main St., Batavia, on Friday night.

Titled "8 X 10," the show features the work of Humel, who uses intensely hued acrylics, to depict postage stamps and other mail-related themes. Twenty years ago, he co-founded the still-active band BC Psychos. 

"I am a person with disabilities," Humel said. "I am 55 years old. I have been battling schizophrenia and related depressing problems for most of my life. My work is about breaking out of isolation and 'going postal' in a good way, by making contact with artists, writers and through the Post Office."

This is the third show in the series of the ARTiculations Ability Exhibition sponsored by ILGR and the University Heights Arts Association. The goal is to help artists with disabilities reach a wider audience. The association has a program to place art on the walls of local businesses and nonprofits.

Together they are looking to reach more artists with disabilities and feature them in art shows. ILGR serves Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties.

"This gives them a venue for their art in the community," said Rae Frank, director of ILGR.

The partnership with University Heights helps integrate artists with disabilities into the wider artists' community, said Mary Ouimette-Kinney, cofounder of the association.

"It doesn't matter if somebody is in a wheelchair or has PTSD, we just want to make sure that people who are interested in art and would like for their art to be seen to put their art on walls," Ouimette-Kinney said.

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Mary Kate, of Buffalo, with a postcard she made at last night's show. Humel has created a handmade postcard program for people to share with each other through the postal mail.

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January 12, 2018 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Players, 56 Harvester, arts, entertainment.

Tomorrow the Batavia Players will screen a premier showing of "Macbeth," filmed and produced in Batavia, at the Harvester 56 Theater.

"Though the language is true to the original Shakespeare, the period is modern with a 'West Side Story' flare," said Emily Crawford, publicist for Harvester 56.

"The roles of nobility and the murderous rivalry between them has been adapted to a gang environment. This is the first time many of our actors are appearing on screen, though we do have a few veterans in the mix."

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a reception. The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 at the door.

December 22, 2017 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, batavia, news, arts, entertainment, cooking.

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At GO ART! on Thursday night, there was both a cooking class and an art show opening.

Joseph Rojo, above, provided a demonstration of Asian fusion cooking. Below, Kimberly Perl and Marie Scofield get to participate in creating a chicken adobo.

For the art show below, Judy Wenrich poses with her painting, "My 3 Pets." Look closely and you'll find three ferrets. The show features work by GO ART! members on the theme of "Juxtaposition."

GO ART! also has an art sale in the main gallery featuring both current member works and works from the archives.

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