Claiming that the Super Bowl "transcends sports" is a popular cliche each year at this time, but as former Buffalo News digital engagement editor S.J. Velasquez puts it, the game still revolves around large men romping around in tight pants and running into each other. For me, at least, that sheds Super Bowl Sunday in a slightly different light.
Still, 6:30 p.m. on Sunday presents a chance to sit in front of the TV and eat (America!) but to also spend quality time with friends and family. In other words, there's no judgment if you chose to stay inside and stage your own personal wing-eating contest as the Seahawks win again.
You'll get to watch this adorable Budweiser commercial, too (don't worry, local craft breweries, we'll get to you later):
But, for Friday and Saturday, here are activities where you can appreciate what Buffalo has to offer:
1) Buffalo Winter Brewfest, two sessions -- 1 t0 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday in the Connecticut Street Armory, 184 Connecticut St. Tickets for each session are $35 in advance, then $45 at the door. VIP tickets are sold out, and so is the complementary brand-new "Wine About Winter Festival" upstairs.
Comments: Winter Brewfest inside the Armory is turning into a winter tradition in Buffalo, and The Results Group promoter Tom Tarry passed along some of the rare-to-Buffalo breweries that will attend: Abandon Brewing (Penn Yan, NY), Galaxy Brewing (Binghamton, NY), Binghamton Brewing (Johnson City, NY), Perennial Artisan Ales (St. Louis, Mo.), Westbrook Brewing (Mount Pleasant, SC) and Beau’s Brewing (Vankleek Hill, Ontario). Locals Resurgence, Ellicottville and Woodcock will be on the scene -- perhaps with seasonals in tow -- but trying something new is part of the Brewfest's mission.
2) Buffalo Groundhog Day, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in Colter Bay Grill, 561 Delaware Ave. Attendance is free, but a $1 donation to The Buffalo Zoo is suggested if you want your picture taken with Buffalo Mack.
Comments: Saunter off your pedestal, Punxsutawney Phil, there's a new groundhog in town. After Buffalo's mysterious Inner Circle moseyed down to Punxsutawney, Pa. for the true Groundhog Day celebration a few years ago, they left with a strong urge to host a more lively gathering in their hometown. Will Buffalo Mack (the groundhog) see his shadow? You'll know more about your meteorological future by dropping by Delaware and Allen on Saturday.
Comments: Not to be confused with Buffalo Mack from the previous item (one is a groundhog, the other is a legendary rock band), Fleetwood Mac has endured for nearly 50 years, and News Music Critic Jeff Miers' Gusto cover story pays tribute to both the band's staying power and talent. And hey, Christine McVie is back with the band again, fully admitting that she missed the camaraderie. If she announced her decision by performing a spoof on Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack" (maybe "Return to the Mac"?), that would have been even more special.
Comments: Don't be resigned to several scarily close variations of chicken-wing dip made by shady friends-of-friends; several local bars have Super Bowl specials -- click on the links above to see their respective parties, and visit other bars' Facebook pages for further specials. One noteworthy special event comes from (716), which will sell New Era Super Bowl Champions Locker Room hats following the game's conclusion. Perhaps you should carefully mull the merits of buying a Patriots hat in Bills country, though, if Belichick and Brady reign supreme.
5) Larkinville Ice Festival, in the Filling Station, the Hydraulic Hearth and Flying Bison Brewing Co. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
Comments: A terrific mix of mini-events make up the inaugural festival, including educational -- four local speakers in The Filling Station, beer-centric -- a tour and sampling in Flying Bison Brewery as well as Bagels and Brooze inside the Hydraulic Hearth, and family-friendly -- build-your-own snowman, winter pickle ball and KanJam in Larkin Square. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
6) Watch Oscar-nominated live-action and short films in Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville. You can see the schedule for showtimes here (Jan. 30 through Feb. 2), and also buy tickets, ranging from $7.50 for matinees to $9.50 for evening slots.
Comments: Christopher Schobert wrote a brief breakdown for Buffalo.com, highlighting animated films "Feast" and "The Bigger Picture," and also live-action film "The Phone Call." If you're tired of debating how dominant "Birdman" will be and how "Selma" was snubbed in several categories, you can broaden your horizons by heading out to Eastern Hills.
7) Katherine Sehr's "Small Obsessions" exhibit opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. It's free and open to the public. Exhibition runs through March 13.
Comments: Here's a little detail from WNY Book Arts Center -- colloquially dubbed "Winnyback," I learned today: "[Sehr's] drawings are heavily driven by process and follow a variation of pattern, representing a slow accumulation of lines across the paper. The use of color is limited which is both subtle and calming, mirroring her process. Sehr draws her inspiration from a number of different sources including Taoism, calligraphy, philosophy, driving, mathematics, dancing, history, and art history." Perusing "subtle and calming" art sounds like a relaxing way to spend a Friday.
8) SPORTS: In addition to the Super Bowl, there's a lot going on in local athletics this weekend at the high school, collegiate and professional levels.
Comments (or just details):
*High school sports schedule link
*Niagara men's basketball: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Marist; 2 p.m. Sunday vs. Quinnipiac
*Canisius men's basketball: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Quinnipiac; 2 p.m. Sunday vs. Marist
*UB men's basketball: 10 p.m. Friday vs. Kent State
*Buffalo Bandits vs. Minnesota Swarm: 7:30 p.m. Friday
*Buffalo Bandits at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester vs. Knighthawks: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
9) David Kane and Them Jazzbeards at 9:30 p.m. Saturday in Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St. Tickets are $5 (cash only) at the door.
Comments: Hang out in the cozy Black Rock gem of a music venue to enjoy the seven-piece, piano-driven show that's featured in this week's Farrell Four and has a short all to itself. If you're lucky, maybe you can become pen pals with someone in Kane's German fan club.
Comments: Hear some honest opinions of several local advertising specialists through an open panel on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Hunch: I bet they'll like the Budweiser dog and horse commercial.
Story topics: Advertising Club of Buffalo/ Buffalo Groundhog Day/ Buffalo Winter Brewfest/ Colter Bay Grill/ Connecticut Street Armory/ Fleetwood Mac/ Katherine Sehr/ Larkin Square/ Larkinville Ice Festival/ super bowl/ The 10/ Uber Bowl/ WNY Book Arts Center