Buffalo is blessed with a marvelous lineup of cheap, weekly events, usually centered around local musicians and/or food trucks. But scattered throughout the city's summer event calendar are worthy fundraisers, sometimes one-offs, that support landscape-changing projects.
This week, for example, lends an opportunity to scope out the Massachusetts Avenue Project farmhouse, a project that helps on several fronts: the availability of cheap produce, the practice of sustainable agricultural and even employment of low-income youths on the West Side.
Or, there's a happy hour for Olmsted Parks, dedicated to maintaining and beautifying the wide-reaching park system relished by thousands each summer. What would Buffalo's summers be like without these treasured green spaces?
The Mass Ave Project's farmhouse, a $2 million project that spanned several years, debuted in January, a month that's cold and snowy. Now that tolerable weather is upon us, there's a more inviting chance to check out the new digs on Wednesday, with tours of the grounds slated for 5 and 5:30 p.m., then a happy hour at Community Beer Works (520 7th St., less than two miles from MAP), at which a drink and snacks are included in event admission.
Also, Community Beer Works will serve as this summer's host site for MAP's mobile farm stand, a food justice initiative started by Danielle Rovillo that employs teens to learn and execute a produce program on the West Side. The season debut runs concurrently with Farmhouse to Brewhouse.
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Olmsted Parks Happy Hour, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27 at Resurgence Brewing Co. (1250 Niagara St.). Free to attend.
How many of the six major Olmsted Parks can you name without looking? There's one that always trips me up. The Parks Conservancy's website has a handy map/guide that touches on some of the smaller entities, too.
Get involved with the Olmsted Parks with a networking happy hour on Thursday at Resurgence, where leaders of the not-for-profit membership organization will discuss programming and the brewery hosts - who still boast one of the best outdoor settings in the area - will give $1 from each purchase of a Resurgence IPA to Olmsted Parks, and the loganberry wit will be renamed the FLOmingo Wit for the party only.
When Car Seat Headrest first announced a Buffalo appearance in February, News contributor Mac McGuire pounced on the band's arrival with excitement. The buzzing indie act, fronted by Will Toledo - on the fast-track to stardom himself - drops by Babeville with Seattle's Naked Giants, which could be the final time you see the band here in an intimate space. (Also, if you like to pick on overwrought band bios as much as I do, don't miss this one).
A Cooks Tour, 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 24 at Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle). Cost is $63 general admission, $83 VIP; check out the full details. There's a $10 minimum donation to Crisis Services. No tickets will be available at the door, although tickets may be purchased online until 5 p.m. Monday.
Buffalo chef Jill Forster presents the second annual tribute to food culture legend Anthony Bourdain, who inspired chefs and travelers, young and old, to be adventurous through his books and television shows. Admission includes two drink tickets and access to the food stations handled by a Who's Who of local restaurant personalities.
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Long-enduring English prog-rock bands Yes and Asia zoom to Lewiston for a Tuesday night gig, and while both bands may not boast the same lineup as their peak years, some of the changes might be worth checking out. And hey, Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood play in both bands, with Steve Howe pulling double duty in this instance, which should make for quite the exhausting tour for them.
For instance, Asia added former Guns 'N' Roses member Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal as its lead singer in April and the Royal Affair Tour as a whole has somber meaning; it's a tribute to former Asia bassist John Wetton, who died in 2017. Yes - which carries none of its original members from 1968 - hasn't suffered significantly from its personnel changes and has mostly been steady since 2015.
Venues across the area have had success booking national act Dueling Pianos, and Iron Works has scheduled the interactive show with, you guessed it - two pianos - on Wednesday.
Dueling Pianos are a touring group with a rotating cast of performers, but ultimately it's more about the banter with the crowd, lively covers and singing along that makes the show thoroughly enjoyable.
[Related: Check out Smiles from Dueling Pianos' visit to NYBP earlier this year]
Brownie's Sports Bar grand opening, 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 26 at 775 Oliver St. No cost to attend.
Aside from Prosper Brewing's opening earlier this year, North Tonawanda doesn't typically get a lot of new food-and-drink businesses. But Wednesday brings the chance to welcome Brownie's, a new sports bar that's the project of Steve and Lynda Brown.
Acoustic artist Michael DiSanto will play live opening night, from roughly 6:30 to 9 p.m., and discounts on single and double orders of wings make it even more saucy. The News' Samantha Christmann lends more background and details on the Browns' business.
5 quick hitters for this week
Consider these weekly music and food events
Town of Niagara concert series (Monday)
Slow Roll Buffalo (Monday)
Food Truck Tuesday in Larkin Square (Tuesday)
Picnic in the Parkway at Bidwell (Tuesday)
River Fest Park concert series (Wednesday)
Live at Larkin (Wednesday)
Gateway Harbor Canal Concert Series (Wednesday)
Groovin' in the Grove at Banchetti's (Wednesday)
Music on Main (Thursday)
Food Truck Friday at the Marriott (Friday)
Sold out: Starry Night in the Garden for Star 102.5 FM, at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.
5 events to look forward to this weekend
World Refugee Day at LaSalle Park
Taste of Diversity on Grant Street
T.I. at Canalside
Buffalo-Style Garden Art Sale
Veronica Swift at Nichols School
Story topics: A Cooks Tour/ Anthony Bourdain/ Buffalo Iron Works/ car seat headrest/ concert previews/ Dueling Pianos/ event previews/ Massachusetts Avenue Project/ North Tonawanda/ Olmsted Parks/ resurgence/ Resurgence Brewing Co./ this week in Buffalo