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Holiday shopping is stressful for so many reasons: the crowds, the parking, the mall madness. Even once you get inside, it's not over because then you have to find a unique – or at least – useable gift. Too often, we make the easy choice and get gift cards. But, let's face it, that's pretty impersonal. Out of ideas? We're here to help. Starting this week nearly right up…

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I will never forget the scene on stage at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on May 26, 2004, when Fantasia Barrino became the third American Idol, beating a particularly impressive roster that included future Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (and Williamsville native John Stevens). It was an incredible sight for television and for popular music. Barrino had made impressive l…

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I guess if you’re going to take a cult classic, a movie beloved the world over, and pull it apart at the seams, stuff it with padding, and sell it back to us – well, this is how you do it. “Mean Girls” is as perfect of a comedy as contemporary hits come. Though the Tina Fey-penned movie that helped make Lindsay Lohan a global superstar is now 15 years old and frankly, s…

Festivals

Borderland has set its standards high, even though the East Aurora-based music and arts festival enters just its second year. The idyllic setting of Knox Farm was a powerful memory from 2018, while The News' Jeff Miers was complimentary of the roots and Americana-focused lineup that created a "chilled out, mini-Woodstock feel." How could Borderland possibly top that deb…

Food and Drink

Free concerts are fundamental to Buffalo summers. Enjoying a green space or bustling village while listening to local and regional musicians is an enduring pastime, and there's ample opportunity to participate. Buffalo River Fest Park's concert series opened nearly three weeks ago, while the popular Picnic in the Parkway will return to the Elmwood Village later in June.…

Buffalo

Shea's Performing Arts Center is taking the first steps toward putting up a five-story addition to its primary theater to make it more accessible by adding two new elevators, expanded concessions and more office space. The organization that operates Shea's Buffalo Theatre wants to put the structure on a parking lot at 439 Pearl St., just south of the theater building an…

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Let's not wait until the end to sum up: "Dear Evan Hansen" is an extraordinary piece of musical theater, and if you have a chance to see it at Shea's, you should go. The show is the modern-day story of Evan Hansen, a socially inept high school senior who struggles to make friends. His time-stressed mom has him in counseling, and his counselor has him on anti-anxiety dru…

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The national touring production of the musical "Rent," now playing at Shea’s, is powerful and beautiful. The youthful cast embraces the story and the music with the roar of a jet engine. Their fully committed performances and terrific voices make the material seem as fresh and vital as when I first heard it. This is billed as the 20th Anniversary Tour. My memories of th…

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"Miss Saigon" returned to Shea’s Buffalo Theatre in a national touring production, directed by Laurence Connor, that features an excellent cast and spectacular scenic design. Even after all these years, this show continues to pack the emotional wallop we associate with an overripe musical from the creators of "Les Misérables." With music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and A…

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Purrfect Cafe and Gallery generally doesn't let outside cats in, but on Feb. 8, they'll make an exception. Actors from the touring production of "Cats," which is at Shea's Buffalo Theatre until Feb. 10, will cozy up with Wanda, Vex, Ashi and Homer at Buffalo's sole cat cafe. The actors will be there from 1 to 1:30 p.m. The cafe has a 15-person limit, so if you plan t…

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They're back. "Cats," the musical revue with as many lives as its fuzzily costumed characters, has taken over Shea's Buffalo Theatre with a fresh new energy. "Cats" lovers will be thrilled, and "Cats" newcomers get to see what it means when someone says a show is as good as, or better than, "Cats." It has been more than 30 years since "Cats" first played in Buffalo -…

Art

We promise this week's Buffalo events will be more entertaining than the Super Bowl, the rather dull, low-scoring affair in which the Bills' bitter adversary continued its (rather sketchy) dynasty. It won't take much to trump it, and yes, it was agonizing to write that last sentence. Although there's not much scheduled for Monday - go outside and enjoy the sun and the h…

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The snow, cold and traffic couldn’t keep Buffalo crowds from seeing Sebastian Maniscalco at Shea’s Performing Arts Center Friday night, as the comedian brought the packed house down for the first of four headlining shows this weekend. Dressed in black jeans, a black shirt and silver jacket, Maniscalco spun hilarious story after story during the Buffalo stop of his “Stay…

Art

New Year's resolutions are often well-meaning but pretty cliche. Due to previous habits, they're remarkably tough to keep. If a little push is needed to keep you on track - especially in regard to personal health and a greater appreciation for Buffalo art and music - feel free to use the Weekend in WNY as a launching pad toward 2019 greatness. Or, just find a cool event…

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No falling chandeliers. No helicopters. No elephants marching down the aisles. If you bought a ticket to "Hamilton" expecting flying carpets, glittering treasure caves or chocolate waterfalls, disappointment awaits. But for everyone else, the touring version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop history musical is spectacular without the spectacle. Its vivid hip-hop war…