The Hot 5 for January

An opinionated to-do list

Buffalo On Tap, Buffalo’s largest beer festival, is Jan. 14 at Buffalo Niagara Convention Center


We’re giving you a mix of old and new to start 2017. Sometimes, it’s comforting to hearken back to a simpler time when you felt whole and full of hope and joy. Then again, out with the old and in with the new can be cleansing. After the year we’ve just had, find your happy place wherever you can.


Old: Elvis Birthday Weekend

Remember when the site of a pelvis gyrating on TV could offend and outrage viewers? Good times. In a loving, rocking ode to The King, James Gibb and Pat Dunn perform a three-day special concert series celebrating Elvis Presley’s birthday weekend, beginning with The Early Years show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by his spectacularly rhinestone-festooned sixties Comeback Special and hits from that decade at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and concluding with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinée covering The (somewhat-bloated) Vegas Years and taking place on his actual birthday. 

Jan. 6 through Jan. 8 at Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster; or 683-1776)


New: Buffalo On Tap Festival

While Buffalo is thrilled and proud to be the home of so many new breweries, it’s fun to see what other craft brewers around the country are up to. Swill to your heart’s content at Buffalo’s largest beer festival, where you can try more than 150 different kinds of beer from America’s best craft breweries. If you think you only like super hoppy IPAs, sampling cream ale sweetened with local honey from Crow Peak Brewing in Spearfish, South Dakota, might just turn your head.

Jan. 14 at Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.;


Old: Third Thursday Trivia Night

Burchfield Penney Art Center celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year by sharing trivia about Buffalo and Western New York. Do you know: Which current Supreme Court Justice was born in Western New York? What event led to Mayor Jimmy Griffin’s nickname, “Jimmy Six Pack”? Which well-known nineteenth century author lived in Buffalo and served as editor for a local newspaper? If not, no biggie. There also will be questions on music, sports, politics, scandals, architecture, geography, art and artists, and more. Food and drink will be available for purchase all night in the café; admission is free.

Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.; or 878-6011)


New: Short Play Festival

Niagara University’s Theatre and Fine Arts Department is renowned for its quality programs. If you want to see how kids these days are directing, this festival is a good place to start. With comedies, dramas, and everything in between, Niagara University’s annual debut of nearly two-dozen student directors produces a smorgasbord of professionally published ten-minute plays.

Jan. 20 through Jan. 28 at Niagara University Theatre (5795 Lewiston Rd., Lewiston; or 286-8685)


Really old: Beethoven’s Fifth

How did Beethoven compose music without being able to hear it? How? Now we can find out. At this special evening at Kleinhans, the audience listens to Beethoven’s masterpiece while exploring his increasing hearing loss and how his passion transcended his physical limitations. Learn how this genius created such extraordinary music as deafness engulfed him. Experts from the UB Medical School join the BPO for this multimedia presentation to help us understand the causes and effects of hearing loss. Stefan Sanders conducts.

Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Cir.; or 885-5000)



Wendy Guild Swearingen is senior editor of Spree.

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