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This Week in Buffalo: Treasuring the past

Buffalo's appreciation for the past runs deep.

Whether it's a brilliant songwriter like Paul Simon, an influential jam-rock band like the Grateful Dead or an Orchard Park restaurant that endured for nearly 50 years, there's deep respect shown by event organizers and attendees.

Powerful ties to the past connect several events in this week's preview, which touches on musical theater, patio openings, a changing-of-the-guard in a Southtowns restaurant and much more.

"Late in the Evening: The World According to Paul Simon," 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 22-23, runs through May 26 in MusicalFare Theatre (4380 Main St., Suite 123, Daemen College in Amherst). Cost is $45.

Guitarist-singer-songwriter Zak Ward, formerly of Buffalo bands Son of the Sun and Kurt & the Loders,, is the lead performer in a multifaceted MusicalFare Theatre tribute to the music of Paul Simon, half of legendary Simon & Garfunkel but also a magnificent solo artist with a gift for storytelling.

A six-piece band, dancers and a carefully curated mix of Simon's music - organized by the subjects presented and emotions conveyed - should appeal to the ears and eyes of the audience at Daemen College. The production has likely been refined since it was reviewed by Ben Siegel in late April, but even then it earned a strong three stars.

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The Mansard grand opening, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 at 3365 Abbott Road, Orchard Park. Free to attend.

Becky and Mike Morgan, owners of Apple Wood Cafe and Catering, have taken over elegant Orchard Park restaurant the Mansard and scheduled a grand opening party for Tuesday.

The major appeal is 50 percent off all menu items from 5 to 7 p.m. - orders must be placed before 7, the Facebook event page reinforces - and reservations are limited. The rest of the seats will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

News food editor Andrew Galarneau wrote about the ownership change, with reaction from the Mansard Inn's former owners, Steve and Sherri Molisani, who ran the business for 46 years.

[Related: Read about the Mansard's famous Turkey Jerome]

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Templeton Landing patio opening party, 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at 2 Templeton Terrace. No cost to attend, but you can register through Eventbrite.

Templeton Landing is blessed with a glorious location overlooking the Erie Basin and the Buffalo River. Its patio deck, which opens Thursday evening, is a strong choice for dabbling in happy hour outside or watching a sunset.

'80s pop cover band Invisible Touch will provide the entertainment, with happy hour specials running through at least 9 p.m.

[Related: Best open-air drinking spots with views of the city]

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River Fest Park Concert Series kickoff, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 at 249 Ohio St. No cost to attend; refreshments may not be brought to the festival but will be available for purchase.

"Wide right" isn't a phrase beloved by Buffalo football fans, but when it comes to local rock cover bands, it's passable - even anticipated. Wide Right is the first band scheduled to play the free Buffalo River Fest Park Concert Series, held in the verdant Ohio Street green space that overlooks the water and the grain elevators - a picturesque platform for live music. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets.

TakeĀ a gander at more free concert series in the Buffalo area on tap for this summer.

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Dark Star Orchestra, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $30 in advance, $34 at the door.

Grateful Dead fans will converge upon Town Ballroom in droves for Dark Star Orchestra, likely the best known Dead tribute band on the planet. The jam band played Canalside the last two summers, and though they're not yet on that bill in 2019, Tuesday's indoor show should be a pleasant spring consolation for Dead Heads.

Look back at Smiles from last year's Canalside show.

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Passion Pit, doors at 7, show at 8 p.m. Monday, May 20 in Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). Tickets are $37.50 in advance.

It was unfortunate that, due to a scheduling conflict, Passion Pit rescheduled its Sunday show in Rapids for a day later; attracting fans to a Monday show is considerably more difficult. But Niagara Falls is just a long stone's throw from the hometown of frontman Michael Angelakos, and his presence alone should draw.

News contributor Mac McGuire previewed Passion Pit's visit - based on the 10th anniversary of the band's breakthrough album, "Manners" - in his "can't-miss shows" post. Back in 2010, not long after "Manners" release, Jeff Miers dug deeper into the band's work.

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MyCity Brew launch party, 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, May 20 through 23, concluding May 24 at Pizza Plant Williamsville (7770 Transit Road, East Amherst). No cost to attend.

It took more than year longer than anticipated, but contract brewer MyCity Brew collected more than 10,000 votes for a Buffalo-inspired brew, and landed on the Byson Brown Dunkel, a dark session lager. The Kickstarter-driven project - detailed by CraftBeer.com - was capped with a dunkel by 12 Gates Brewing's Dave Schiralli. (A "slam dunkel" quip just didn't sound right).

While the beer's official launch was Friday in the Amherst Pizza Plant, MyCity founder Jonah Epstein will be hanging around the bar-restaurant through this Friday, explaining MyCity Brew's concept.

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Legends of Jazz Concert Series: Veronica Swift, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 at Williamsville East High School (151 Paradise Road, East Amherst). Cost is $20 in advance.

The annual Legends of Jazz show at Williamsville East has gone against the grain to pick a rising star - rather than a legend - for 2019, as singer Veronica Swift will accompany the school's jazz ensembles in two parts.

First, the 24-year-old vocalist will perform in more intimate groups - with just few musicians, rife with improv and soloists - then join the Williamsville East's entire jazz orchestra for a more robust second set. The school's East Side News has more on what to expect.

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Repeating: Food Truck Tuesday at Larkin Square; Slow Roll Buffalo Parkway Revival Ride.

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5 events to look forward to this weekend

Taste of Lewiston
Chris Young at Darien Lake
Buffalo Marathon
Clarence Bark in the Park
Rock Autism Battle of the Bands

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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