Formal concerts in clubs and arenas are great, as are band sets in bars, coffeehouses and the like. But there's something very basic — very elemental and close to the core at what it's all about — to a street performance. A busker, playing to the passers-by on the sidewalk, hoping to attract some appreciative ears — and perhaps some nice, green paper tokens of appreciation in their hat or guitar case.
Urban streets aren't the only place you'll find buskers 'round these parts. On Saturday, June 1, downtown Naples in the picturesque Bristol Hills will play host in some 20 street performers as part of the Naples Valley Visitors Association's fourth annual Busk & Balter event.
The downtown area will come alive with live performers and dancing on the sidewalks (that's the "Balter" part), jugglers and some surprises, plus tastings of wine, beer, cider and spirits from local producers, and edible treats at nine different merchant locations. (To take part in the beverage tastings, a $10 donation is requested — purchase your beverage bracelet at Naples Hotel, 111 S. Main St., and it'll give you access to each of the participating wineries and breweries in the village.)
The Naples Historic Society will be set up in the Morgan Hose Building, 15 Mill St., with local-music history from its archives on display (along with the Arbor Hill wine tasting in the cellar).
And when the afternoon buskers are done, there will still be plenty of live music at assorted Naples venues, including Naples Hotel, Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars and Roots Cafe.
The curtain rises
A rundown of area theatre groups taking the stage this weekend:
Blackfriars Theatre, 795 E. Main St., Rochester: "The Unbearable Sound of Right Now" — 7:30 p.m. May 23; 8 p.m. May 24-25; 2 p.m. May 26. Taking place in early-1990s Chicago, the play — written by Laura Eason and directed by Alexa Scott-Flaherty — explores the generational struggle of adapting amid changing times and tastes, as the owner of a legendary, and struggling, rock club contends with his daughter's relationship with an up-and-coming DJ. Tickets: $28.50 Thursday, $33.50 Friday, $36.50 Saturday and Sunday (senior, student, group discounts available). Box office: 454-1260.
Geva Theatre Center, 75 Woodbury Blvd., Rochester: "Revival: The Resurrection of Son House" — 7:30 p.m. May 23; 7 p.m. May 24; 4 and 8:30 p.m. May 25 (post-show talk with cast and crew after later show); 2 and 7 p.m. May 26. (Also 7:30 p.m. May 28; 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 20; 7:30 p.m. May 30; 4 and 8:30 p.m. June 1 and 2 and 7 p.m. June 2.) The story of blues legend Eddie James "Son" House, tracing his life from his beginnings in rural Mississippi through his resurgence after being rediscovered in Rochester is written and directed by Keith Glover, with music by Glover, Billy Thompson, and, of course, Son House himself. Tickets range from $25 to $75. Box office: 585-232-4832.
Screen Plays — Hollywood's Golden Age on Stage, at Multi-use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), 142 Atlantic Ave., Rochester" "Black Comedy" — 8 p.m. May 23-24; 2 and 8 p.m. May 25; 2 p.m. May 26. This 1965 farce by Peter Schaffer, directed by Mario Savastano, is a one-act play set in a London flat during a blackout and is about its effect on a group of people who all hold things from one another. Tickets: $19 (senior, student discounts available). Box office: 585-200-7007.
A honey of a beverage fest
Wines, craft beers, ciders, local spirits — this region is a sipper's dream. And also gaining in prominence: Mead, a specific type of wine, crafted from honey. It's said to be the oldest fermented beverage.
Never tried mead? This Saturday's the perfect time to give it a try, when CK Cellars hosts the Finger Lakes Mead Festival at Earle Estates Meadery, 2770 Route 14, Penn Yan, on Seneca Lake's west shore. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25.
A new state law allows mead-makers who use 100 percent New York state honey to apply for a state farm meadery license, which allows them to offer onsite tastings and sell their products by the glass in tasting rooms or takeout packages.