Buffalo has some frivolous events, and there's nothing inherently wrong with them. But when there's a chance to have a good time and support something that matters - such as feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless or encouraging more Buffalonians to register as organ donors - the benefit extends beyond your own enjoyment.
When local fundraisers are run well, attendees leave with a better understanding of and often greater appreciation for a cause, connecting like-minded, philanthropic folks at the same time. Maybe you'll be inspired to champion your own cause.
Local organizations Friends of the Night People and ONE8FIFTY are very different in nature; the former has served the community for 50 years, while the latter is still finding its footing. But combating homelessness and New York's void of organ donors are causes that touch many, so here's how you can help.
Friends of the Night People has shown compassion to Buffalo's homeless and impoverished through its Hudson Street soup kitchen, where workers - mostly volunteers - dole out warm meals to people in need. There are medical, outreach and clothing elements to FONP, too.
Admission includes dinner and two drinks, plus live music from the Fredtown Stompers, the Tim Britt Band, the Timothy Alice Band and the Diane Kallay Band.
ONE8FIFTY is a charitable organization with a strong goal: to encourage more people to become organ donors. Tom Jasinski Jr., a recipient of a kidney and a pancreas after a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, is the founder and executive director of the initiative, and Hayden Fogle - the star of the Sportsmen's Tavern charity lineup on Monday - has also experienced the effect of organ transplants in his own life and family, as his mother donated a kidney to her sister.
Sue Kincaid and Doug Yeomans will also perform. Jeff Miers details the full story behind ONE8FIFTY.
Independent Health has altered the course of many Buffalo food festivals by demanding each participant offer a healthy choice. Thursday's fundraiser, Taps and Apps, furthers that emphasis on healthy fare through 15 restaurants and supports local beverage businesses, too, with 20 on hand.
Mosey between stations to sample everything from poke to kombucha to pumpkin bites, and take advantage of the fact that alcohol is being considered healthy in this context.
[Photos: Smiles at the 2017 Taps & Apps, too]
Don't forget about local theater: New productions flew in fast and furious after Friday's Curtain Up! party to mark the opening of the 2019-20 Buffalo theater season, with Ujima, Paul Robeson, New Phoenix, Irish Classical Theatre and the Brazen-Faced Varlets all being reviewed Friday or Saturday.
It was Ujima's "Pipeline" that earned the highest rating of the lot, capturing 3.5 of four stars while tackling tough topics and conveying strong emotions.
Gypsy Parlor's sixth anniversary, 6 p.m. until late Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 376 Grant St. Free to attend.
Gypsy Parlor has been a consistent, quirky presence on Grant Street, boasting everything from belly dancing and spoken word to tarot readings and magic tricks. The overall food menu is underrated, the secret is out about the brunch, and Gypsy Juice goes down alarmingly smooth. For the anniversary party, four live bands and complimentary appetizers mark the celebration.
Since taking a risk by opening a small business in a tough neighborhood in 2013, owner Gabrielle Mattina has been a staunch advocate for the development of Grant Street, too, which is making steady progress.
An elderly man and his friendship with his dog, Flike, is at the heart of "Umberto D.," screened Tuesday by Buffalo Film Seminars. An Italian film from 1952 directed by the esteemed Vittorio De Sica, "Umberto D." touches themes such as the struggles of old age, helplessness and survival. Peruse the entire season of BFS, with tidbits about each film.
Press tour of The Buffalo News, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at One News Plaza. Cost is $10 for general public, free for subscribers.
Farm to Table defines the process that takes food from a local farm to a plate at a local restaurant, emphasizing the importance of each step in between that eater might not think of or appreciate. This general method applies to newspapers, too: it's an elaborate process for the stories of local writers to appear in a neat bundle on Buffalo doorsteps early the next morning.
A tour of the Buffalo News' production operations and printing press reveals the machinery, the efficiency, the gargantuan rolls of newsprint and even a little of the troubleshooting it takes to get the paper out each day. The best part? The guided tour is free for subscribers, with light refreshments for all.
Bar Louie's birthday, 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at One Walden Galleria, Suite P103. Free to attend, runs until 2 a.m.
Bar-restaurant chain Bar Louie, which opened at the Walden Galleria in 2008, will throw an anniversary party on Wednesday that features discount drinks: $2.50 select bottled beers, $5 martinis and $4 shots of Fireball, Jameson and Skrewball PB Whiskey.
"Mean Girls," only single seats remain for shows Sept. 24-27, Tuesday through Friday. Seats start at $40.
Fetch happened twice on Saturday and twice Sunday as the Broadway production of "Mean Girls" opened at Shea's Buffalo Theatre with book writer Tina Fey on hand. Alas, the sparse tickets that were available heading into the weekend have all but vanished, with only single seats remaining.
But there's no shame (just irony) in seeing "Mean Girls" - a hilarious story with an honest look into the meaning of friendship - by yourself. Not even Regina George will judge you.
[Related: Interview with Tina Fey on "Mean Girls"]
3 more quick hitters for this week
5 events to look forward to this weekend
Larkinville Fall Festival at Larkin Square
Uplift Buffalo: Mindfulness Festival at Buffalo Grand Hotel
Oktoberfest in downtown Niagara Falls
Black Rock/Riverside Oktoberfest
Harvest & Hops Festival in Lewiston