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The Weekend in WNY: Reasons to venture out of the house

We're not here to bash snow days. They're great chances to relax, stay safe from the elements, spend meaningful time with the whole family and perhaps day-drink, as we saw many Buffalonians share on social media.

But relaxation can turn quickly into restlessness, a strong desire to do something other than dally from the living room to the dining room to the bathroom. For those with the hearts set on leaving the house this weekend, here's what's up in Buffalo.

Casino for a Cause, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Cost is $125 in advance here.

Deal me in, Zach, and don't pick on my fashionable suspenders. Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian's charity, the BOGO Bunch, presents its annual fundraiser where Bogosian and his teammates act as dealers at a pop-up casino in Town Ballroom. (Don't worry, they're not gambling with real money, but you should see Tage Thompson shuffle a deck of cards). The theme is 1920s era attire - think "Great Gatsby."

While tickets may be a little pricey, the event includes an open bar, valet parking, appetizers and live music by the Rat Pack Band. Look back at Smiles from 2017's Casino for a Cause.

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For the Love of Allentown, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 at art galleries in Allentown and beyond. Free to attend. An after party is slated for Community Beer Works' taproom (520 7th St.).

The Allentown First Friday gallery walk kicks off 2019 in earnest, with a swath of off-beat venues hosting art openings, including coffee shop Intersection Cafe, men's and women's clothing stores Trend Up and Ms. Eye Candy, and the Allen Street Dress Shop.

Indigo Art and Pine Apple Company - with its spicy Love Notes group show - are among the more traditional galleries participating, and the after party wraps up at Community Beer Works' taproom. Like Jeff Miers wrote in his 90 Minutes piece, there's still a sense of the quirky, Bohemian culture long identified with Allentown - it hasn't vanished.

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Barks and Brews, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 2 at Lockhouse Distillery (41 Columbia St.). Free to attend.

If anything, Lockhouse's Saturday event is the perfect local tune-up for Puppy Bowl 2019, shown on Animal Planet before the Super Bowl. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome to wander about the event, participate in the dog kissing photo station, sniff and lick the 10 vendors in attendance and perhaps even nibble on a Lloyd Taco pork burrito.

Drink specials will be available from the hosts, and the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter will be present with adoptable pets.

[Related: Smiles at Lockhouse's Rick & Morty party]

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Llama Lounge opening party, 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at The Quarter's second floor (26 Virginia Place). Free to attend.

Since our visit, the Llama Lounge - upstairs from the Quarter, formerly Fierte - has become even more peculiar. Llama wallpaper - strewn with brutal sayings like "no probllama" - is the newest addition to the game room, which has everything from custom Sabres vs. Stars Super Chexx Pro bubble hockey, foosball, shuffleboard and old-school video games.

From 6 to 8 p.m., Thistle Creek Alpacas will hang out outside, despite their probable interest in a life-size Connect Four battle. Read more about Brandon Carr's plans for the Llama Lounge here.

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"Native Son," 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 at Paul Robeson Theatre (350 Masten Ave.). Cost is $30 general admission, $25 for seniors and students; full ticket details here. Runs through Feb. 10.

Playing the role of Bigger, the protagonist in "Native Son," Alphonso Walker Jr. is sublime, News contributor Ben Siegel wrote, absolutely stealing the show with the rawness of his introspection and "surrender" to the script. Far from the most gentle of topics, systemic racial oppression is at the heart of this adaptation of Richard Wright's novel, set in a poor Chicago neighborhood in the 1930s.

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Marble + Rye and Westside Tilth Farm's Super Duper Commercial Football Party, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 at Marble + Rye (112 Genesee St.). Free to attend.

Football comes second at Marble + Rye and Westside Tilth Farm's collaborative Super Bowl Sunday party as - although the game will be televised - the action hinges on the farm's pizzas and special-edition wings, pulled pork and bean nachos. A Super Sampler Platter - with two slices of pizza, smoked wings and nachos - may be purchased for $17.

Humble Braggers will handle the music during the game, pausing only for commercials - which will be the subject of games for attendees. Look back at Smiles from Westside Tilth's pop-up at Perks Cafe at Horsefeathers earlier this month.

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Beau Fleuve's Arts and Beats, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 in Imagine Event Center (71 Military Road). Cost is $10 in advance here, $15 at the door.

Beau Fleuve is more than just one massive summer art and music event; the local organization has expanded to monthly programming to showcase the talents of Buffalo's rising artists and musicians. Curtis Lovell, lauded by both Jeff Miers and Mac McGuire in the last few months, is the marquee name, with more music from 90z Neptunes, Marchon Hamilton and Taryn. Ten Thousand's prolific spoken word gives Arts and Beats more depth, too.

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Buffalo's Biggest '80s Bash, 7 p.m. Friday in Buffalo Grand Hotel (120 Church St., former Adam's Mark). Cost is $15 in advance here, or $20 at the door.

There's no more fitting band for an '80s Bash than Nerds Gone Wild, the quirky Buffalo cover band with spunk and thick glasses. Despite the branding and ownership change, Buffalo Grand Hotel will keep serving as an event space, and a whole bunch of partygoers with ruffles, shoulder pads, Velour tracksuits and an assortment of other '80s fashions I Googled (what the heck is a statement sleeve?) will dance to warm up after a frigid week.

For style suggestions and photos of Nerds Gone Wild, take a peek at Smiles from last year's Lewiston's Largest '80s Bash.

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Subversive Theatre's "Tales of the Driven," 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Jan. 31 through Feb. 2) at Manny Fried Playhouse (255 Great Arrow Ave.). Cost is $30 for general admission, $25 for students, members and seniors (62 and up); full ticket details here. Production runs through Feb. 23.

Subversive's new production is meta in that it celebrates the power of itself - theater - to effect change in a small town. Expectations are high for theater founder Kurt Schneiderman's world premiere, as several other local theaters have trotted out 3.5- and 4-star plays over the last month.

At an ugly time for the Catholic Church in Buffalo and beyond, "Tales of the Driven" focuses on a town's response to the shady dealings of a priest; who will conceal and who will reveal?

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More Super Bowl options:
- Rusty Nickel Brewing (4350 Seneca St., West Seneca) is hosting an open bar and "heavy apps" party, from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, with an open bar during the game. Tickets are $35 here.

- Hot Mama's Canteen (12 Military Road) is hosting a "FAN-tastic 53 Super Bowl Party" at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, with a complimentary nacho bar at kickoff, then a buffet at halftime. Drink specials throughout. The bar-restaurant teased green pork chili as an available dish.

Note: M&T First Fridays at Albright Knox (1285 Elmwood Ave.), from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, is still on, but the Art of Food with Remedy House is sold out. Sebastian Maniscalco sold out all four of his shows well in advance of his two-night stand at Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Read an interview with his podcast partner, Pete Correale, here.

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5 events to look forward to next week

Sweet Charity in the Buffalo Grand Hotel
Mid-Winter's Draw in Hallwalls
"Cats" at Shea's Buffalo
"Humble and Human" in the Albright Knox
"Bridge of Roses" at Alleyway Theatre

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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