Hot 5 in February

An opinionated to-do list

Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Members’ Writing Contest and Reading is on February 21 at 7:30pm.


Did you know the modern pronunciation of “February” (feb-yoo-er-ee) has its roots in Buffalo?* It’s said this particular utterance occurred one bitterly cold night shortly before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1993, when one Larry Gadowski inquired of his companion, Jimmy Kelleher, as they stood grilling sausages in the driveway of his Cheektowaga home, “I gotta get my bet in for the Bills; when’s the Super Bowl, again?” Kelleher, wool hat over his ears and scarf wrapped tightly around his neck and face, didn’t hear the question but, gesturing with his can of Genny Cream Ale toward his friend’s empty gloved hand, asked, “Where’s your brew at, Larry?” Muffled by layers of wool, Gadowski heard “February?” Gadowski failed to make his wager in time, thereby saving the $150 he would have bet on the Bills who would go on to lose the January 31 game 52-17 to the Dallas Cowboys.


Canadian pianist Alain Lefèvre


Gershwin’s An American in Paris

Oh, Canada. You’re such a giver, dear neighbor to the north. First your open invitation and tacit embrace of residents fleeing shock, tyranny, and environmental degradation in their homeland (thanks, BTW!), then the miracle of the Justin-Trudeau-hugging-pandas meme. Now this. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and the friendship between Canada and America, hunky Canadian pianist Alain Lefèvre joins the BPO for a performance of music from both nations.

Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m. at Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Cir.; or 885-5000)


The Art of Dining: The Spanish Hearth

If you haven’t seen the spectacular Picasso: The Artist and His Models yet, get to AKAG quick, because the show ends February 19. While you’re there, become a member, if you haven’t already, if only to be eligible to attend an elegant soirée with Buffalo’s finest chefs inspired by Picasso’s works in the museum. The evening features a menu created by renowned Chef Mike Andrzejewski, assisted by Chef Ross Warhol of Oliver’s, Chef Corey Kley of Rue Franklin, and Chef James Roberts of Toutant, with select wine pairings. I can’t guarantee this, but I bet there’ll be some artful plating going on. 

February 8 at 6 p.m., cocktail reception, 7:30 p.m. dinner at Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.; or 270-8238)


Moon Over Buffalo

I personally find slapstick humor hilarious and enjoy a long love affair with sitcoms of all stripes. Anyone who shares my predilections is urged to check out this bawdy physical backstage play by Ken Ludwig. Traveling actors George and Charlotte Hay and company are performing Cyrano de Bergerac and Private Lives at the Erlanger Theater in Buffalo in 1953. Charlotte has grandiose dreams of becoming a Hollywood film star; George prefers to tread the boards and thinks live theater is best. Misunderstandings and hijinks ensue.

February 17 through 26 at Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster; or 683-1776)


Just Buffalo’s 9th Annual Writers’ Contest/Reading

Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Members’ Writing Contest and Reading focuses on poetry this year, so, if you want to enter, polish up those verses and submit them by February 1 (see website for guidelines and details). But, you don’t have to submit to attend this lively, mingly, super fun literary event. (I emphasize the fun, because lots of poetry readings I’ve attended have not exactly been chuckle fests.) The equally fun and talented poet and YA writer Janet McNally is the judge and reads her work. 

February 21 at 7:30pm, at Just Buffalo Writing Center (468 Washington St.; 832-5400 or


Orchid Show

The windowsill above the sink in my kitchen is home to an orchid I picked up years ago at a certain unnamed grocery story. It sits there; mostly green, with long tentacles of air roots (?) body-snatching tentacles (?) poking out from the pot. Rarely, by some unknown alchemy, it blooms, and I have no idea why or how. I’d like to find out, so I will go to the orchid show where dozens of amazing exhibits are spread throughout the glasshouses and educational programming enlightens orchid noobs. Plus, orchids and growing supplies are available for purchase.

February 25 & 26 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (1655 South Park Ave.; 8271584 or


*Complete fabrication.


Wendy Guild Swearingen is senior editor of Spree.


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