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17+ Things to Do This Week: May 5-11

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Matt Warren Bruinooge
Fern Collective will present "Altercation of the Mundane" at the CSMA this weekend.

The SpringWrites Literary Festival returns, the Fern Collective presents a new circus show, and several cool events pay tribute to mothers and Mother’s Day in the coming days. Find out more in our roundup of fun happenings in the Ithaca area this week!


Writes of Spring

A program of the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, the 14th annual Spring Writes Literary Festival features 100 regional writers and 40 events – some are live in downtown Ithaca, and some are on Zoom (registration required). Panels, readings, and performances take place May 5-21, and writing workshops continue through June 26. Events include “Afrofuturist Speculative Poetry,” “Hearing Voices: Writer and Their Inspiration,” “The Poetry of Confrontation,” “Intersections and Explosions,” and many more. To see the full slate of events, go here.

When: May 5-21, writing workshops through June 26

Where: various downtown locations and online

Cost: free

Event Info

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Matt Warren Bruinooge
Fern Collective presents "Altercation of the Mundane" at the CSMA

Circus Creativity

Fern Collective – composed of Alice Knipe, Cora Williams, Nuala Hill, Izzy Tenorio, Miley Charsky, Nuala Ugine, and Lily Ryan – will perform their original devised circus show, “Altercation of the Mundane,” in Ithaca this weekend. The circus artists use group acrobatics, soundscape, dance, and tumbling to explore the reality that life without individuality and meaning is pointless. “As you go through life, what do you do when you realize that this simple accepted rhythm is unhealthy? You can either go back to your safe, trapped, and easy existence, or dive into the uncomfortable conclusion that life without individuality and meaning is pointless. It’s scary and feels unsafe as we are conditioned to not stray from the pack, but it’s needed. Join us into the plunge of what it means to be a human, not just humans. Throw a wrench into the system and discover what it’s like to dive into the pit.” The show has been rated PG-13 by the artists, and is not intended for children. Find out more here.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Community School of Music and Arts

Cost: $15, available online here.

Event Info

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Galleries Galore

Gallery Night returns to downtown Ithaca. The walkable art show, held on the first Friday of each month, features a range of in-person shows, a walkable tour of window displays, or artwork in storefront windows throughout downtown. This month’s shows include “Wings, Petals, and Leaves” at State of the Art, with works by Margy Nelson, Carla DeMello, and Diana Ozolins; a dual exhibit from Yen Ospina and Noah Phence at Hair.Color.Art; Jay Hart’s “Earth Patterns” at Hilton Garden Inn; and many more. See a complete list of shows here.

When: 5-8 p.m. Friday

Where: Downtown Ithaca

Cost: free

Event Info


Honoring Survivors and Supporters

The Tompkins Center for History & Culture will open its new exhibit, “Unfolding: A Timeline of Sexual Assault Activism in Tompkins County,” which features Clothesline Project artwork by local survivors of sexual and domestic/relationship abuse displayed alongside a timeline of victim/survivor support and prevention efforts in Tompkins County from the 1970's to the present day. The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County has been providing sexual abuse support services in Tompkins County for over 40 years. This exhibit honors the voices of local survivors and the organizations that have supported them. Learn more here.

When: the opening is 5-8 p.m. Friday; exhibition runs through June

Where: CAP ArtSpace/Gallery, The History Center in Tompkins County

Cost: free

Event Info

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‘Delia Divided’

Civic Ensemble’s ReEntry Theatre Program presents “Delia Divided,” a new play exploring the impacts of mental health, incarceration, and racism. Written by four-time Emmy Award-winning writer and WGA award recipient playwright Judy Tate in collaboration with members of the ReEntry Theatre Program, this play will be the ReEntry Theatre Program’s first in-person production since COVID. "This timely and relevant play follows the story of Delia, a young woman navigating adulthood while living with the realities of her co-occurring mental health disorders and criminal justice system involvement. As she strives for new friendship, Delia must contend with this chorus of mental health disorders – always present and always impacting her choices. 'Delia Divided' is a complex human story at the intersection of mental health, criminal justice, and racism, and ultimately invites the audience to question and challenge preconceived notions of how we support each other."

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. May 14, 2 p.m. May 15

Where: The Hangar Theatre

Cost: Tickets are $20 or pay-what-you-can, and are available online here or by calling (607) 241-0195

Event Info

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A Way with Words

“'What is a zine?' 'How do you make one?' 'Can I make one?' Join local comic/zine creator Melisa Crumrine in a crafting workshop to learn a short history of this beloved and versatile medium and make a zine of your very own.” The event is part of the first-ever Downstairs Zine Fest, a month-long celebration of zines. Read more about it here!

When: 7-9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: free

Event Info

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All That Glitters

“Pink Glitter” is the monologue of a TC3 student and Latina VJ Lola Love. “In this performance, her DJ set goes off track as she worries over how to finish her final project on women’s rights issues for a required psychology class that is her last roadblock before achieving her dream of an associate’s degree.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Cherry Artspace

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info


A Bevy of Books

The Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library presents the 2022 Spring Sale, which features more than 250,000 recycled books, music, movies, puzzles, games, and more sorted into more than 79 categories for easy shopping. Prices start low and decrease every day of the sale.

When: from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Monday, through May 14-16, and 21-24.

Where: 509 Esty St., Ithaca

Cost: free to attend

Event Info


Celebrating Spring

Ithaca Waldorf School welcomes the spring season with a lively MayFaire celebration filled with live music from our students and faculty, maypole dances, singing, free crafts for kids, a puppet show, and a BYOPicnic along with local vendors and a bake sale, and an area for a plant and canned goods swap.

When: 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday

Where: Ithaca Waldorf School, 20 Nelson Road

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

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Shadow Puppet Party

Hear the tale of the Cabbage Girl, see the dancing Robot’s Ballet, and follow Goldilocks and the 3 ALIENS in this dynamic collection of short shadow puppet shows. After the performance, stay for a glimpse into how shadow puppets work with creators Lily and Matt.

When: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: The Cherry Artspace

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for ages 3-18, free for 2 and under, and are available online here. Tickets are free for participants of the Big Brother Big Sister program; half-priced tickets for anyone with an EBT card.

Event Info

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Holly Adams

Shapes Alive!

Cornell's Johnson Museum of Art will host “Art-Full Family Day: Shapes Alive!” Join performer and teaching artist Holly Adams to bring art to life through drama, storytelling, movement, and imagination. “The museum and its collections are filled with shapes, from the geometry of our building to the rotund belly of a snarling jaguar jar to the striking forms in the exhibition ‘Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s.’” This program is appropriate for ages 3 and older. Masks are suggested at the Museum and social distancing will be encouraged.

When: 11 a.m.-noon Saturday

Where: Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell

Cost: free

Event Info

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Spring Into the Gardens

Celebrate spring at Cornell Botanic Gardens with a variety of events: a plant sale hosted by students in the Botanic Gardens' Learning by Leading program, guided tours of the Gardens at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., a wildflower walk at 1 p.m., some hands-on botanical crafts, and a display by the Auraca Herbarists. This event is offered as part of National Public Gardens Week.

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens

Cost: free

Event Info

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More than Mom Jokes

Mama's Comfort Camp presents season 3 of its Maternal Comedy Showcase, featuring sets from local luminaries such as Phoebe Brown, Shira Evergreen, Alina Kim, Serenna McCloud, Katie O’Connor, and Dee Smith, along with special guest Leslyn McBean-Clairborne and emcee Yael Saar. The performance is part of the How are the Caregivers festival, with a full day of programming for the whole family.

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Press Bay Alley (rain location is Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge)

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

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‘Mama Said’

Whiskey Tango Sideshow will present “Mama Said,” featuring performances from the local nouveau burlesque troupe. “You can't argue with Mama when she tells you to join Ithaca's babes of burlesque for a special night of celebrating hot mommas!” Hosted by the Mighty Mickie Quinn, the show will feature two special guests: Rochester’s San Bonnie, and Ithaca’s own Deja Star.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Liquid State Brewing Company

Cost: $10

Event Info

Walk in the Woods

Join Cornell professor and lifetime trustee Marvin Pritts for a Mother’s Day stroll through Smith Woods, an old-growth forest across from the Trumansburg Fairgrounds. The walk will start at the corner of Cemetery and Fall Roads; please park alongside the road on Cemetery Road. Hosted by the Paleontological Research Institution and Cayuga Nature Center.

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Smith Woods, 8825 Falls Road, Trumansburg

Cost: free

Event Info

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Creating Connection

Learn about Prisoner Express, a program founded by Gary Fine more than 20 years ago to help break the isolation and despair of incarcerated people through writing, reading, and art. Through newsletters, book exchanges, and art and creative writing programs, Prisoner Express brings hope and fosters a sense of community among the more than 4,000 prisoners who participate. Meet Gary and some of the volunteers who help manage the creative writing programs offered by PE. If you wish, you can write a letter to a prisoner in response to one of their poems, stories, journals, or art. The session is part of Story House Ithaca's "Placemakers" series featuring people and organizations using culture and art to build community, and of "Breaking Our Silence," a series of events on the power of creative expression to help lift the shroud of secrecy around mental illness

When: 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Durland Alternatives Library, Room 130, Anabel Taylor Hall, Cornell University

Cost: free

Event Info


Bots on Board

Humans take on the bot-generated words of "Bots of New York" in this celebration of the absurdity of language and the surreality of our lives. "Hosted by the Mighty Mickie Quinn, this event will combine curated readings by some of Ithaca's favorite carbon-based lifeforms as well as spontaneous readings by members of the audience. Stay tuned for the lineup." Learn more about Bots of New York here. The event is part of the first-ever Downstairs Zine Fest, a month-long celebration of zines, and the Spring Writes Literary Festival.

When: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: $5

Event Info

Looking for even more fun things to do? See our massive weekly concert roundup right here!

Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, WITHradio.org) and its affiliates.