Commentary: The timing is exceptional for Western New York hip-hop fans to welcome Kendrick Lamar to town. The "Damn." creator accepted the Pulitzer Prize Wednesday for his most recent album, marking the first time in the award's 75-year history that a non-jazz or classical album claimed the honors.
Sunday, Lamar will bring his The Championship Tour, supported by Schoolboy Q, SZA and Jay Rock, among others, to Darien, and a surprising number of tickets remain.
2) Pride Parade and Pride Festival, begins at noon June 3 at Elmwood and Forest avenues, ends at Allen Street and Elmwood. The parade is free to attend, while the festival costs $10 general admission and $45 for a premium ticket.
Commentary: Under the theme of Icons and Heroes, the 2018 Pride Parade will mosey south down Elmwood Avenue on Sunday on the final day of the Buffalo Pride Week festivities, presented by The Pride Center of WNY, Evergreen Health and M&T Bank. Roughly 100 floats representing LGBTQ-friendly local businesses will take part.
As usual, Pride Week concludes with a festival at Canalside, with Kameron Michaels, Spencer Ludwig and DJ Citizen Jane handling the entertainment. Read The News' Colin Dabkowski's breakdown of the events, below.
Commentary: One of Buffalo's most consistently enjoyable parties over the last two decades, the Buffalo Bash - formerly the M*A*S*H. Bash and the Red Cross Bash - will throw one final camouflage-laden bonanza on Friday on Delaware Avenue. The Smiles galleries from 2017 and 2016 are worth revisiting - it's quite the scene.
Former M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit - who played Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan - is the celebrity guest, while omnipresent party band Nerds Gone Wild takes on musical responsibilities. The News' Mary Kunz Goldman discusses why the Bash is ending after a 20-year run and what's expected as a replacement, below.
4) Ballin' for a Cause, 6 to 10 p.m. June 1, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 2 and 3 at Villa Maria College (240 Pine Ridge Road, Buffalo). Cost is $10 on Friday, $8 on Saturday and Sunday, or $20 for a weekend pass.
Commentary: Some of the region's best amateur basketball talent - from men to women to kids - will clash on the hardwood in the three-day charity tournament at Villa Maria College.
The event begins with a celebrity game on Friday night - Buffalo Bills Kelvin Benjamin and Dion Dawkins are the rival coaches - before league play begins in earnest.
Although Buffalo will be well-represented, visiting teams from Ontario, Canada, and Akron, Ohio, among others, will compete.
5) Rock the Gates, noon to 11 p.m. June 2 at 12 Gates Brewing Company (80 Earhart Drive, East Amherst). Tickets range from $10 for general admission (includes one free beer) to $30 for VIP and may be purchased here.
Commentary: While 12 Gates might not be on a major thoroughfare or in the heart of a vibrant village, the Northtowns brewery will attract plenty of attention Saturday with a day of live music and special beer.
Four bands will cover most of the last 50 years in music, spanning classic rock (A-List Band, 9 p.m.) to modern pop (XOXO, 6 p.m.), and Ancient Chaos - a 12 Gates-brewed tropical stout - is a limited release for which only 100 bottles (22 ounces, $12) are available.
VIP guests receive access to nine special-release beers, including the enticing Taco Cat. I have no idea what a Taco Cat beer comprises.
6) Buffalo Greek Fest, 11 a.m. to midnight June 1, 11 a.m. to midnight June 2, noon to 9 p.m. June 3 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (146 W. Utica St.). Admission is $3.
Commentary: All aspects of Greek culture will be on display in and around the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on West Utica Street for three days, with authentic food, drink, church tours and folk dancing, as well as vendors inside the church.
It's the 42nd running of the festival, which offers free admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 1. Parking can be difficult, but spots along Delaware Avenue are often the best bet.
7) Run the 'Burg for Autism, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 2 at J.P. Fitzgerald's (4236 Clark St., Hamburg). Registration is $25 in advance, $30 day-of from 8 to 10:30 am. Team and family entry information is available here with the ticket details. Kids 10 years old and younger may run for free.
Commentary: Hamburg's own Autism Services, Inc. is supported by Run the 'Burg, a certified 5K race course through the village. The run is open to competitive and non-competitive runners alike; find the race map here.
The team element to the race is new this year; awards will be given to the biggest team (in number) and the fastest team (judged by the times of the top five finishers from each group).
Commentary: Step Out Buffalo's warm-weather event schedule rolls forward with the Pints and Pierogi Fest - rebranded from the Pierogi Fest, now with cheaper tickets and more versatility in food and beverage choices.
Potts Deli, Polish Villa 2 and Ru's are among the more established Polish food vendors on the list, although we're confident Lomo! Lomo!, Lloyd and The Black Sheep can concoct succulent, pillowy pockets of dough, too.
9) Buffalo Polkafest, noon to 6 p.m. June 3 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Admission is free.
Commentary: RiverWorks will bustle Sunday afternoon (good luck with parking and traffic!), as Polkafest 2 runs alongside Pints and Pierogi, although the former is free of charge.
Buffalo Touch, Phocus and Special Delivery are the three polka bands slotted to play between noon and 6 p.m., while food will be available from Potts Deli and Polish vendors will set up in Polkafest's area, too.
10) Tech N9ne, 7 p.m. June 2 in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $31 in advance here or $35 at the door.
Commentary: Rapper-producer-songwriter hybrid Tech N9ne, the stage name for Kansas City, Mo. native Aaron Dontez Yates, drops by Town Ballroom in support of his 2018 studio album "Planet," which topped Billboard's Independent Albums ranking and reached No. 9 on the site's top hip-hop and R&B discs.
He's also one of the rare artists to have two alcoholic beverages created in his honor - the 1995 Caribou Lou and 2018 beer Bou Lou.
BONUS: Flogging Molly, 7 p.m. June 3 in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $35 and may be purchased here.
BONUS 2: Rusty Nickel three-year anniversary, noon to 11 p.m. June 2 at 4350 Seneca St. No cost is listed.
BONUS 3: Billy Club two-year anniversary, 5 p.m. June 1 at 228 Allen St. No cost to attend.
BONUS 4: D-Tour grand opening party, 4 p.m. June 1 at 49 W. Chippewa St. No cost to attend.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, playing with the Head & the Heart at Artpark, has sold out the venue for Saturday night.