Coming up: Vintage Vines and Valentines in Naples; artist Brigitte Baldwin at Artizanns; and a CA alum in Blackfriars' "Next to Normal"
Over the seven years that the Naples community has hosted a Vintage Vines and Valentines event, Suzanne Farley reckons some 20 to 30 people — which translates out to 10 to 15 couples — come out to renew their wedding vows during the celebration of all things Naples with a theme of romance.
And why not? After all, said Farley, "Who doesn't love Naples?"
Vintage Vines and Valentines is back for its eighth year this Saturday, Feb. 8, throughout the village, with events ranging from beverage and food tastings to rides in a vintage horse-drawn carriage to live music at assorted venues to tango lessons and demos — as well as the vow renewal at 4 p.m. on the Maxfield Inn's front porch (105 N. Main St.). Those renewing their vows — it's a quick cerermony — will be serenaded by Strickly Acoustic with Broken Road.
Vintage Vines and Valentines is presented by the Naples Valley Visitors Assocaition. It all started with the need perceived for a special event for the winter months in the village, Farley said. Autumn is covered, of course, with the Naples Grape Festival, and spring has the Busk & Balter showcase of music throughout the village.
"There was a core group of people who decided we needed to liven up the winter," said Farley, owner of Artizanns — Gifts from the Finger Lakes on North Main Street.
It started small, and picked up steam.
"In the eight years it's grown immensely — we have people who were there the first year who come back every year; they come back for the romance of it," Farley said.
The festival runs from noon into the evening. For a $10 donation, attendees can receive a complimentary wine glass at the VVV HQ, Skip's Flooring (125 S. Main St.), to start a "Tasteful Journey" of beverage tastings throughout the village from 1 to 3:30 p.m. — wines, spirits, ciders, craft beers — at 10 different merchant locations, along with local food items, ranging from gourmet chocolates to maple products to chocolate cake. (Bakers, in fact, are vying for the pastry prize in a chocolate cake contest at Morgan Hose Building, 15 Mill St., where slices will be available for the public to buy from noon to 5 p.m.) There's also a fire pit — plus s'mores!
Dancers Steven Thull and Amalia Van Hall will be offering Argentine Tango demonstrations and lessons from noon to 2 p.m. at Flint Creek Soap Co., 126 S. Main St.; and 4-6 p.m. at Hollerhorn Distilling, 8443 Spirit Run. They've been teaching since 2017 throughout the region (and in Cleveland), also hosting social tango dances (or "milongas"), Tango Domingo, Sunday evenings at 470 State St. in Rochester.
And there will be live music at assorted venues in Naples, during the fest and into the evening. Among the performers are a fairly new trio, the Black Robin Band, which got together just last spring. Black Robin Band — Tim Benedict of Penn Yan (drums, vocals), Glenn Litwiller of Naples (electric guitar, vocals) and Doug Amey, recently of San Jose, California (bass guitar, vocals) — will perform from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars (1 Lake Niagara Lane), where Benedict is vice president of winemaking.
All three members have extensive musical backgrounds — Benedict, for instance has performed over the years in jazz, Dixieland, top 40 and Christian configurations. Then he had shoulder surgery. When the three started talking about doing a band — Amey had moved back to the area near Benedict and knew of him through the grapevine, and Amey and Litwiller had been in some bands together, Benedict said — Benedict figured it was just what the doctor ordered, so to speak: "I thought, what better way that getting into a hard-driving hard rock band to make sure I do my physical therapy?"
Since coming together in the spring, Black Robin Band has played various venues and events — the Naples Grape Festival, the Hornell Moose Lodge, José & Willy's in Canandaigua — with a repertoire that ranges from the classic-rock of the Beatles and Rolling Stones through the 70s/80s likes of the Buggles and Dire Straits and on up through tunes by Fountains of Wayne and The Killers.
Why "Black Robin Band?" It's named after an ebon-hued bird native to North Carolina.
"We had come across a story about a black robin that had become almost extinct and was making a comeback," Benedict said. "We thought, 'we have a bunch of guys who were almost extinct and now we're making a comeback. So it almost fit!"
Bringing life to the ordinary
And speaking of Naples, Artizanns — Gifts from the Finger Lakes is presenting the abstract, mixed-media work of Brigitte Baldwin during February and March in the Revolving Gallery Room upstairs at the 118 N. Main St. shop devoted to the work of Finger Lakes artists and artisans.
Baldwin describes herself on her Instagram page as an "Artist born to bring life to the ordinary," and so she does with the radiant, vivid pieces enhanced with anything from gemstones to stained glass to piano wire.
"I guess when you look at a piece of my art, it's not flat — it's three-dimensional, it's interesting; you can look at it multiple times and probably see something you didn't see the first time," the Painted Post resident said Tuesday. "It comes alive, it's a living piece of art."
Among her more interesting projects in recent years was a series of Lucille Ball pieces she would paint for an annual festival in Jamestown celebrating that Southern Tier city's favorite daughter.
Baldwin will be on hand for a reception, with refreshments, at Aritzanns from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, during the Vintage Vines and Valentines fetival.
'Hearts and Harmony II'
And speaking of valentines, Seneca Soundwaves will present “Hearts and Harmony II: A Valentine Love & Laughter Show” with Standard Time and Full Swing! at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Cobblestone Arts Center, 1622 state Route 332, Farmington.
Sunday's concert will include a gift-basket silent auction and desserts. Doors open at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and free for ages 5 and younger. Call 585-364-9686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Dual doctor role for CA alumnua
When Canandaigua Academy alumnus Carl Del Buono learned that Blackfriars Theatre planned to mount a production of "Next to Normal" — with Kerry Young and Andy Pratt as director and music director, respectively — he knew he had to be involved.
"I was really, really excited that they would be taking those roles, because they are fantastic," said Del Buono, a veteran of many theatrical productions throughout the region. "I would be a TREE — a piece of scenery in the show — if they would have me. And they were kind enough to cast me as the doctors."
Del Buono plays a dual role of two psychiatrists, Dr. Fine and Dr. Madden, in the musical by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) about a suburban family dealing with the repercussions of the mother's struggle with mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, along with other issues in the family such as grief, trauma, drug abuse and depression. Dr. Fine is mostly focused on, in Del Buono's words, getting Diana (Janine Mercandetti) the right cocktail of medications for stability; Dr. Madden takes a therapy approach. The Blackfriars cast also includes J. Simmons as Diana's husband Dan; Haley Knips and Zachary Jones as their kids Natalie and Gabe; and Evan Miller Watelet as Natalie's boyfriend Henry.
The show won three Tony awards in 2009 plus a 2010 Pulitzer.
The Blackfriars production reunites Del Buono with his frequent castmate Mercandetti, which whom he's shared such area stages as Blackfriars and the JCC CenterStage many times — "The Last Five Years," "Tommy," "Parade" and more. The two plan a cabaret musical duo act for March 20 at Comedy @ The Carlson in Rochester.
The past several years have had many a meaty role for Del Buono: the two-actor relationship musical "The Last Five Years" with Mercandetti at JCC and the Fringe Festival; Method Machine's production of "Angels in America" at Geva, in which he played a young man living with AIDS in 1980s America; Friar Lawrence in a WallByrd Theatre Company production of "Romeo and Juliet" in Rochester's Highland Bowl; and the title role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at Fringe, to name just a few. He's back in the area after having relocated for a time to Chicago.
As it happens, as the Blackfriars production of "Next to Normal" prepares to open, a production of the same show at New York's Broadway Center Stage just wrapped up Feb. 3 — with Canandaigua native Michael Park in the same dual role as Drs. Madden and Fine. It's one of those happy theatrical coincidences for the two actors, who once shared a Rochester Children's Theatre stage some 10 years ago for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
"Next to Normal" opens Friday, Feb. 7, at Blackfriars Theatre, 795 E. Main St., Rochester, and runs through Feb. 23. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays. Tickets are $31.50 Thursdays, $36.50 Fridays, and $39.50 Saturdays and Sundays (group, student and senior discounts are available). For tickets or more details, go to blackfriars.org.
Livingston Taylor at JCC
Livingston Taylor — who a few years back celebrated 50 years of being a professional musician with an 87-live-track box set — will appear in concert Sunday, Feb. 9, in the CenterStage Theatre at the JCC of Greater Rochester, 1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton.
Taylor, now in his 53rd year of performing and having released 22 albums, has been a professor at Berklee College of Music for 30 years, teaching stage performance to such students as Susan Tedeschi, John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw. His own repertoire includes folk, pop, gospel, jazz and more, and he has appeared with such artists as Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell — and has written songs recorded by his brother, a fellow named James Taylor.
The concert starts at 7 p.m., with Berklee student — and Rochester native — Rozlyn Menachof as opener. Reserved tickets are $35 (front-center VIP seating $50), available at https://tickets.vendini.com/
Folkus presents Da Vines
Da Vines — the father-son duo of Fred and Alex Vine, playing country blues, ragtime, folk and more — will be the featured performers for the next Rochester Folkus concert. The concert will be at 7 p.m. in Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, 20 Windsor St., Rochester; admission is $10. Reservations are accepted (but not required) and can be made by calling 585-325-4370.
Fred is an acoustic guitarist specializing in Piedmont finger-style and Delta blues bottleneck guitar. Alex plays guitar, mandolin, bass and percussion.
Next up in the Rochester Folkus series, which is devoted to traditional, old-time, bluegrass and other acoustic styles: Jim Clare, Cathy McGrath and Allen Hopkins, the musicians who organize the similar Tunes by the Tracks series in Clifton Springs, who will perform Feb. 26 at DCT.