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This Week in Buffalo: Plantasia is different than 'Fantasia'

I'll admit to confusing Plantasia, the coming exhibit at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, with "Fantasia," the 1940 Walt Disney animated film put to classical music. (Cut me a break: how many words rhyme with "-asia"?)

The two are actually remarkably different, as the former teases spring in Buffalo's not-so-distant future, while the latter involves Mickey Mouse's curious attempts at magic.

From an exceptional Buffalo musician playing in a room with 28-foot-high ceilings to a global street food dinner at a longstanding Elmwood bar-restaurant, there's much to consider.

Plantasia preview night, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at the Events Center at the Hamburg Fairgrounds (5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg). Tickets are $15 in advance.

The sight of green grass sparks excitement in Buffalo gardeners, as the process of turning the soil, planting flowers and food, and reaping the harvest is a favorite hobby of Buffalonians, regardless the size of their plot.

More than 150 vendors will showcase 2019 trends and serve as gardening inspiration for the annual exhibit, which runs March 21-24 in Hamburg. This year's theme is tropical, dubbed Plantasia in Paradise.

At the preview night, food samples, a recyclable tote (for the first 300 guests) and music by Gimme Buffett are the highlights.


Street Food Dinner at Coles with Thin Man Brewery, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at 1104 Elmwood Ave. Tickets are $45 and available only until 6 p.m. March 20.

Inspired by his world travels, Coles Chef Nick Rada and his kitchen present a five-course meal of street food, representing four countries and one city, with pairings by Thin Man Brewery's brewmaster Rudy Watkins. A food course is dedicated to Peru, Belgium, Mexico, India and Taiwan (technically part of China), while some of the Thin Man beers include Bliss, Awesome Jenkins and Burning Money.

Since Coles isn't a massive place, tickets are limited - the bar-restaurant's last dinner, featuring stuffed peppers, sold out quickly.


Mayer Bros. Cider Mill opening, 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 20 at 1540 Seneca Creek Road, West Seneca. Free to attend.

One of winter's biggest surprises was news that Mayer Bros. Cider Mill, a popular fall destination, would open in the spring for the first time in its history - which spans more than a century.

Known for their fresh apple-cider doughnuts, ice-cold cider slushies and housemade pies popular at Thanksgiving, Garrett Mayer and his staff decided to give a monthlong test run before determining whether they'll keep serving through the summer and into the fall.


Jose Gonzalez and the String Theory, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts (103 CFA, Amherst). Ticket prices range from $24-$49.

Jose Gonzalez, of Swedish and Argentinian descent, is a guitarist with a wild mix of influences, both from his ethnic background and the styles of music he's grown comfortable with, ranging from hardcore punk to folk. He's joined by the String Theory, a European chamber orchestra that complements Gonzalez's prowess on the guitar.

Read the Boston Globe's interview with Gonzalez to learn his bent toward ecomodernism, why he was reluctant at first to play with an orchestra, what he's listening to and how he's joined Twitter.


11 Day Power Play community shift, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at Thin Man Brewery (492 Elmwood Ave.). No cost to attend.

Join the legion of amateur hockey players who participate in the annual 11 Day Power Play, a hockey game in HarborCenter that raises money to fight cancer through organizations such as Roswell Park, Camp Good Days and Make-A-Wish.

The endeavor is roughly one-third of the way to its $1 million goal for 2019, and Thursday's happy hour will continue to push the fundraising in the right direction.

The News' Keith McShea previewed the 11 Day Power Play's plans for 2019, while Sean Kirst's 2017 feature on founders Mike and Amy Lesakowski lends the backstory.


Sonny Baker: ReSounding, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the east gallery of the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.). The concert is free with museum admission, for which details may be found here.

Baker - whom you might recognize from his other projects Lazlo Hollyfeld, Wooden Waves and A Hotel Nourishing - is one of the busiest men in Buffalo music.

Thursday, he'll be joined by a full band in a special show tailored to his environment, with ample reverb to appreciate the 28-foot-tall ceilings of the Burchfield. Baker is no stranger to the setting, either, as he curates the musical programming for the art gallery.


Noir Essentials: "Strangers on a Train," 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at Dipson Eastern Hills Mall (4545 Transit Road, Clarence). Cost is $7 at the door.

One of Alfred Hitchcock's best films, "Strangers on a Train" from 1951, is Noir Essentials' first showing in its Departures series, spread among five movies through July 10. Teased as a "psychological delight" with "tennis, murder and chance encounters," the film will be introduced by host Alex Weinstein.

[Related: Read about the organizations in Buffalo that celebrate noir films]


Meet Min Jin Lee, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 in Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle). General admission is $35, while students get in for $10. Present your Buffalo & Erie County Library card and receive $5 off.

The focus of Just Buffalo Literary Center's BABEL series is Lee, an acclaimed author who learned to rebound from rejection while trying to publish her work "Pachinko," a historical fiction novel about a Korean family living in Japan. She's not too proud to admit that the publication - which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2017 - involved a decent amount of luck, either.


A Tribute to Pink Floyd's The Wall: Live, 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.). General admission is $10 in advance.

Critt's Juke Joint has gathered a strong and diverse lineup of local musicians - including The News' pop music critic Jeff Miers, the busy Vin DeRosa and drummer Damone Jackson - to perform a tribute to Pink Floyd's "The Wall: Live," in Iron Works. Jeff Garbaz will tackle the visuals crucial to "The Wall" experience.


Sold out: 10,000 Maniacs' fundraising performance at Irish Classical Theatre; Sabres Alumni Wine Festival in KeyBank Center.


5 events to look forward to this weekend

Ariana Grande in KeyBank Center
Mariah Carey in Shea's Buffalo
Spring Hamburg boutique crawl
Buffalo Whiskey Riot in Buffalo Grand Hotel
WWE Live in KeyBank Center


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