Hot 5 in January

An opinionated to-do list

First Day Hike


Let this really be the month/year/decade that you try something new, just for you. Maybe you need to cram a little art down your gullet or belt out a song. Perhaps some introspection or soul-searching is in order. Whatever lifestyle tonic or stimulant you employ, we hope you go at it full throttle. Do you want the world to end without doing that one thing you’ve always promised yourself you’d try? Now’s the time. Here’s a short list to get you started.


First Day Hike

If you’re used to greeting the first morning of the new year at a postmeridian hour, bleary eyed and reaching for the ibuprofen, this may just be the year to go a different route. Sure, stay up until midnight and kiss someone, but then maybe drink a bunch of water, go to bed at a reasonable hour, and get up in time to head over to beautiful Reinstein woods and do some bird watching. Invigorating! And you won’t hate yourself for feeling gross all day. Registration required.

Jan. 1, 11 a.m. at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve (93 Honorine Dr., Cheektowaga; or 683-5959)


Choir! Choir! Choir!

Three words: super duper fun. If you can’t tell by the three exclamation points in the name of this program, this experience is hella energetic. Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman (known as DaBu) started Choir! Choir! Choir! as a weekly drop-in singing event in Toronto in 2011. The interactive choir encourages participation from everyone, but there’s more than singing going on; comedy, community building, and fundraising are built into the dreamy night. How it works: you get a lyric sheet at the door, an instructor teaches you the vocal arrangement, and a video is recorded. Past guest singers include Rufus Wainwright, Tegan and Sara, Patti Smith, Bruce Cockburn, Joel Plaskett, and Chris Murphy. Everyone has a ball and goes home feeling great!

Jan. 10, 8 p.m. at The 9th Ward (Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave.; or 852-3835)



The Salt Between: Narratives in Paint

Alixandra Martin Exhibit Reception

The Kenan Center kicks off the 2018 gallery schedule with a special solo exhibit of work by this East Aurora artist, muralist, and illustrator. Her colorful and vibrant work manages to be at once whimsical and thoughtful. When you’re not pining for her paintings to hang on your walls, you’ll want to climb into them and maybe stick a bunch of flowers on your head. Included in the exhibit will be illustrations that celebrate the history of the Kenan Center in a specially commissioned children’s book entitled, The Place, written by Cynthia Cotten and illustrated by Martin.

Jan. 14, reception 2–5 p.m.; exhibit through February 25 at Kenan Center Gallery (433 Locust St., Lockport; or 443-2617)



Buffalo Whiskey Fest

Get into the spirit of things with the Queen City’s first-ever whiskey festival. It’s organized by Step Out Buffalo, the folks who brought us Buffalo’s first Bloody Mary Fest and November’s Cocktail Classic. (Are you sensing a common theme here?) SOB is teaming with Tommyrotter Distillery for this ambitious event, which includes tastings of seventy-five whiskeys, a Manhattan bar, and an Old-Fashioned bar, as well as a live DJ and vendors. Jump on this one quickly; SOB happenings are known to sell out almost immediately. Jan. 28, 1–5 p.m., at Hotel at the Lafayette (391 Washington St.;


Explore Buffalo Winter Gala

The gala features drinks, hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auctions, and a raffle of many unique Buffalo-themed experiences and items, from original local artwork to special behind-the-scenes tours. Explore Buffalo is kind of the Queen City’s wingman, talking us up, showing people our best and most interesting aspects, like our heartwarming/harrowing history, gorgeous waterfront, world-famous architecture, and the cool-yet-disturbing bits that we’ve hidden for decades. Anyone who takes a tour with Explore Buffalo falls in love with the city just a little bit more. Let’s support and encourage that, shall we?

Jan. 27, 7 p.m. at Hotel at the Lafayette (391 Washington St.; or 245-3032)        


Wendy Guild Swearingen is senior editor of Spree.


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