Life » Culture

Weekly Planner May 2-8: What's Happening in Music, Arts, and Life


Had a tough week? Try winding down with local theater shows that were originally film comedies, “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Calendar Girls.” You’ll find the complete CITY calendar here.

Asian/Pacific Islander/American Association of Greater Rochester: Through and Beyond the Pandemic
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays
Link Gallery, Rochester City Hall

Rochester’s City Hall has an excellent small gallery that is currently hosting an exhibit curated by Mimi Lee and dedicated to “recognizing the resiliency of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in our region.” The works on display reflect a range of perspectives, ages, and cultures. That includes a self-portrait that confronts shame, titled “Being Too Asian,” a tribute to the many Filipino nurses who lost their lives in the pandemic, and contributions from members of the Indian Heritage Museum. Carve out some space in your day to see this exhibit through June 6 during City Hall’s open hours, which are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or catch the opening reception on the May 6 First Friday event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Clutch, The Sword, and Nate Bergman
7:30 p.m.

As far as stoner-adjacent heavy metal acts go, Clutch and The Sword are something of a modern gold standard. In the pandemic years, Clutch has opted for live streaming concerts, which it called “Live from the Doom Saloon,” the fourth volume of which was released earlier this year. But on this night the bands will be live, loud, and in person. Singer-songwriter Nate Bergman rounds out the bill.


Rochester Mandolin Orchestra
6:30 p.m.
The Little Theatre Café

The mandolin makes me think of two things: the R.E.M. song “Losing my Religion,” which has a pretty infectious mandolin melody, and the entire catalog of The Pogues. Someone more cultured might point to the twangy instrument’s use in bluegrass or European classical music, which is more in line with what the Rochester Mandolin Orchestra plays (


Rochester International Film Festival
Dryden Theatre

Since its 1959 debut, the Rochester International Film Festival (once known as Movies on a Shoestring) has been a stalwart showcase of narrative, documentary, animation, and foreign-language short films — ranging in length from three to 16 minutes, all for free. This year’s iteration, screening Thursday through Saturday, spans the genres and includes the work of filmmakers from across the world.


Blues Traveler at the Lilac Festival
7 p.m.
Highland Park

Rochester’s Lilac Festival opens with the band that famously sang “the hook brings you back” in the ’90s. Whatever Rochester’s hook is for Blues Traveler, the band has become a perennial performer at the Lilac Festival to the point that its annual presence at Highland Park is a running joke around town. But lots of people are fans of the band’s “hip three-minute ditties.” The show is free, unless you want to pay $35 for a VIP ticket that gets you access to a private bathroom and some other stuff. Blues Traveler is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on the fest’s main stage. Openers are The Coupe De’Villes at 5:30 p.m. and Steve Grills & the Roadmasters at 4 p.m.


“Little Shop of Horrors”
8 p.m.
JCC CenterStage

The antics of the insatiably carnivorous Venus flytrap in the front window of Mr. Mushnik’s Flower Shop on skid row has been devouring abusive dentists and the hearts of musical theater-goers for 40 years. But this production may also melt the hearts of tried and true Rochester theater fans. JCC Artistic Director Ralph Meranto made his CenterStage debut in 1987 as the show’s dorky hero, Seymour Krelborn, under the theater’s late and former artistic director, Herb Katz, as Mr. Mushnik. Meranto presents this production in memory of Katz, who died in 2020, and steps into the role of Mushnik in his honor. Curtain rises for today’s opening night at 8 p.m. The show runs through May 22.


“Calendar Girls”
2 p.m.
Blackfriars Theatre

Based on the 2003 film of the same name starring Helen Mirren, this cheery comedy about a group of aging women who pose nude for a charity calendar is a crowd-pleaser. The cast really does bare it all on stage — although tastefully and comically — with their modesty spared only by artfully-placed cakes, knitting instruments, and flower arrangements. Expect a play that hits just the right tone from veteran director Alexa Scott-Flaherty, who has proven herself adept at striking a balance between humorous moments and more somber, reflective scenes. This performance is followed by the “Sunday Salon,” in which the director and actors answer questions from the audience. The show runs from May 6 through 22.