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Arts beat: Bills art, 'Bright Star,' and songs from Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus

Sports fans show their colors in many ways. Some fans paint their faces, some fans paint their garage doors, and some fans, like Buffalo artist A.J. Fries, make actual paintings.

Starting Oct. 18 at the Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Bills fans can get a look at "Superfan!," a dozen Fries paintings inspired by the museum's Greg D. Tranter Collection of Buffalo Bills items.

The free opening is from 5 to 8 p.m. It will be preceded by a tailgate celebration with Fries from 3 to 6 p.m.; it is for ages 21 and older and tickets are $10.

"Superfan!" coincides with M&T Third Friday at the museum, which includes free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., kids activities in the morning and late afternoon and docent tours.

[Related: Smiles at a previous A.J. Fries opening]

Future events include an autograph signing with Thurman Thomas from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 26. Admission is $20 general, $10 for members and include a free preprinted photo of Thomas for autographs. Additional cost of $40 per autograph on a 3D object with a limit of two 3D objects to be signed per person.

"Evening with an ICON: Mary Wilson" is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and includes a Q&A with Wilson, the wife of the late Ralph Wilson. Tickets are $25 general, $10 members and $50 patron. Advance registration is required at buffalohistory.org.

Aurora Players present area premiere of 'Bright Star'

Knowing that Steve Martin began his career with a banjo in his hand, it makes sense that "Bright Star," the musical he wrote with Edie Brickell (of the New Bohemians), has its musical roots in bluegrass. The show makes its Western New York debut this week, presented by the Aurora Players at the Roycroft Pavilion in Hamlin Park, South Grove Street, East Aurora.

Opening Oct. 18 and running Fridays through Sundays through Nov. 9, "Bright Star" tells the story of intertwined lives and romances in the hill country of North Carolina. Set during the 1920s and 1940s, the events revolve around the limited opportunities and social constraints on its small town characters.

Tom Durham directs the large cast, with Bob Sowyrda as music director and choreography by Renee Obringer. Tickets for the community theater production are $15 general, $14 for students and seniors, available through auroraplayers.org, where you also can find directions and showtimes.

A toast to the 'Time Warp'

Just in time for Halloween, the Lancaster Opera House is hosting a stage version of the cult film classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Brad and Janet and Dr. Frank-N-Furter will be there, along with the traditional cast of transvestites and fun-loving spirits, to loosen up everyone's straightest laces. The audience is restricted to those 18 and older.

Opening Oct. 18 and running through Nov. 3, the schedule includes an audience participation midnight show on Nov. 2, which is selling quickly. Tickets are $32 general,  $30 for seniors and $20 for students ages 18 and older, available at lancasteropera.org. The Opera House is at 21 Central Ave., Lancaster, with free parking in municipal lots behind the building and across the street.

Students on UB stages in theater, dance

Back when the Dowager Countess was a lovely young woman, she won an Oscar for playing the title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." Maggie Smith has moved on, while the play about the unconventional Scottish teacher who thinks the most important lessons come from life and art still holds its own today.

That's how Vincent O'Neill feels about it. The co-founder of Irish Classical Theatre Company and associate professor of theater at the University at Buffalo, is director of UB's student production of the play, which runs from Oct. 23 to 27 with five performances in the Black Box Theater in the Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" began as a novel by Muriel Sparks before it was made into an award-winning film in 1969. Set in Scotland in the 1930s, the action in the private girls school takes place as Nazis and fascists are coming to power in Europe, something that, O'Neill says in a press release, "is sadly relevant today with the rise of populism and even fascism in many parts of the world."

Also at UB, the university's Zodiaque Dance Company presents "What Is Dance?" from Oct. 17 to 20 in the Center for the Arts' Drama Theatre. The concert features contemporary dance, student Mary Schnepf's film "As Within, So Without," and works from artists-in-residence Entity Contemporary Dance, showing connections between hip-hip and modern dance.

New York City-based tap dancer Ali Dietz will lead Zodiaque in rhythm and tap.

Tickets for each show are $20 general, $10 for students and seniors, at ubcfa.org or at the center's box office.

Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus opens season

The theme for the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus this season is "Evolution," with an emphasis on the many things that unite, rather than divide, us. Each part of the series begins with "You Are ... " with the first event this season being "You Are Light." (The upcoming holiday concerts will be "You Are Peace.) Performances showcase men's choral singing and harmony in both voice and life.

There are two venues for the opening concerts: The first is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 in Kenmore United Methodist Church (32 Landers Road, Kenmore); the second is 3 p.m. Oct. 20 in Orchard Park United Methodist Church (3700 North Buffalo Road, Orchard Park). Tickets are $20, available at buffalogaymenschorus.org.

Winning watercolors

The Kenan Center in Lockport is hosting an International/National Exhibition of paintings done in transparent watercolor, sponsored by the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, and opening Oct. 20.

The juried show will be judged by Iain Stewart, an artist and illustrator from Opelika, Ala. The 50 entries were chosen from 136 submissions. A public reception and awards ceremony will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 27; the art will remain on display through Nov. 17.

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