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14+ Things to Do: May 12-18

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A scene from "Bedlam," screening at Cinempolis on Sunday afternoon.

The Cherry Arts unveils its latest project, Neighbors Gallery hosts an art opening, and Trampoline returns to downtown Ithaca! Plus, the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale and the SpringWrites Literary Festival continue. Find out more in our roundup of fun happenings in the Ithaca area and beyond this week!

Also, it's Pledge Drive this week! Go here to support WITH, withradio.org, and all the arts-related content we bring to you each week!

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A Matter of ‘Pursuit’

The Cherry Arts will present “Pursuit,” a two-part “suite of new works and works-in-progress in a variety of media, mapping across time and across histories, in creative pursuit of revised connections to place.” One piece of “Pursuit” embraces the Cherry’s expansion into visual art, with an exhibition of new works by advanced graduate students in poetry, architecture, and fine art; it’s curated by regular Cherry collaborator and National Book Award Finalist Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. The other piece of “Pursuit”: an evening of works for audio and video, as well as live readings of new writing for the stage, by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and Kristen Wright, with performances at 7:30 pm. May 26-27 in the Cherry Artspace.

When: May 12-29

Where: The Cherry Gallery, 130 Cherry St. Ithaca (see gallery hours here.)

Cost: free; donations welcome

Event Info


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: through May 21; writing workshops through June 26

Where: various downtown locations and online

Cost: free

Event Info

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Kenneth McLaurin

Laughing Matters

Kenneth McLaurin hosts Open Mic Stand Up Comedy Night at The Downstairs, featuring sets from a variety of local and regional performers.

When: 7-9 p.m. first and third Tuesdays of each month

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: small cover

Event Info


Plenty O’ Plants

The annual Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale, organized since 1982 by Master Gardener volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, features a wide variety of vendors who offer specialty plants and gardening advice on topics ranging from growing rock garden plants to selecting native species for the garden. Plants for sale include organically grown and heirloom vegetable transplants, colorful annuals, fragrant herbs, hanging baskets, small flowering shrubs, hardy roses, fruit crops, trees, evergreens, and specialty perennials. Visitors are encouraged to bring carts or wagons to aid in transporting their plant purchases to their cars.

When: 12:30-6 p.m. Friday (12-12:30 p.m. for seniors/immuno-compromised and their helpers)

Where: Ithaca Farmers Market

Cost: free

Event Info

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Not a Comeback

After a pandemic-induced hiatus, Ithaca’s leading monthly competitive storytelling event is back! Trampoline returns just in time for Spring Writes and the Downstairs Zine Fest, Hosted by the Mighty Mickie Quinn, with Peter Bakija greeting attendees and encouraging storytelling, the event will continue as before: “Show up. Sign up. Tell a 5-minute personal story, without notes, based on this month's theme: ‘DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK’ and be judged by your peers. Your 5-minute story can be about any personal moment that relates to the theme - maybe you have emerged from lockdown with a new tale; maybe you had an actual comeback (sports/arts/love/life/career); maybe you have a personal history with L.L. Cool J; maybe you can't actually call it a comeback because you haven't quite launched yet... we dunno, it's your story and we can't wait to have you share it! Whether you decide to participate in the storytelling, as a judge, or just enjoy listening to the stories, we are THRILLED to have the opportunity to come back together. And, of course, there will be ducks.”

When: 7-9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: $5 (card or cash)

Event Info

Read more about the first Downstairs Zine Fest here!


Opening Night

Neighbors Gallery will host an opening reception for "Cookietown," a show of new work by NYC artist Bucky Miller. "An artist, photographer, and writer, Miller is a recipient of the Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, has had solo exhibitions at spaces including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and has shown at numerous galleries internationally. His first self-published book, “The Picture of the Afghan Hound,” was selected as one of photo-eye’s best photobooks of 2016. Miller’s work has also been featured in publications like n+1, Der Greif, The Believer, and Glasstire. He has an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin, a BFA in Art (Photography) from Arizona State University, and also studied at the Royal College of Art Program in Sculpture. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn and serves on the board of directors of Kimpton House in Carlsbad, Calif."

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Neighbors Gallery, 526 Elm St. ext., Ithaca

Cost: free

Event Info

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Fenimore Art Museum
Perry Ground

Storied Tradition

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will host “Stories from the People of the Longhouse,” presented by Perry Ground. A storyteller and educator for more than 25 years, Ground uses "vivid descriptions, his rhythmic voice, audience interaction, and an active stage presence to bring stories to life. He’ll recount traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) legends that have been told for hundreds of years and showcases the birds, beliefs, customs, and history of the Haudenosaunee people."

When: 10-11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cost: free

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 21-24.

Where: 509 Esty St., Ithaca

Cost: free to attend

Event Info

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It’s the ‘Bee’s Knees’

Celebrate the sweetness of spring at the “Bee's Knees” event, which honors “the unsung hero of gardens across the county, the humble bee, with local children's art, garden art, spring plants, garden necessities, and a honey tasting. Several local beekeepers will be present to offer tastings of honey harvested throughout Cortland county. Learn the difference between spring and fall honey. Contrast and compare dark buckwheat and chestnut honey against delicate, sweet clover and alfalfa honey. Sample honey infused with chili and herbs and learn how to use honey in your favorite recipes.”

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday

Where: Cortland County Visitors Center, 42 Main St., Cortland

Cost: free

Event Info

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Fun Brunch

Hosted by Tilia Cordata, this exciting drag performance featuring local stars will raise funds to benefit the Coddington Road Community Center’s building expansion. The ticket price includes a buffet brunch, two drinks, and a show. Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the show.

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Coltivare

Cost: $50, tickets are available online here. (If you would like to make an additional donation to the Coddington Road Community Center's capital campaign, “Building Community at Coddington,” just add that at the end of the registration process.)

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Road Man

It’s a Celebration

Press Bay Alley in downtown Ithaca will host its third-anniversary party featuring music from two of Ithaca’s top bands: The Comb Down and Road Man. There will also be specialty vendors, craft beer from Lucky Hare, and food from Smash Bros. and Luna Street Food.

When: noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; Road Man at 3-5 p.m., the Comb Down at 6-9 p.m.

Where: Press Bay Alley, West Green Street

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. Saturday, May 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, 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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Cheese to Please

The Notorious G.I.B. Cheese Fest returns to Grist Iron Brewery, offering a new beer release, tastings from local creameries and dairy farms, demos, vendors of all sorts, activities, and live music from The Sorters.

When: 12-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Grist Iron Brewing Company, 4880 NY-414, Burdett

Cost: free to attend

Event Info

Casting Spells

“Spell, sponsor or spectate” at the Ithaca Public Education Initiative’s second Adult Spelling Bee in a new format. “Register your team of 4 spellers – spaces are limited! Individuals may sign up and will be placed on a team closer to the event. Fundraiser to benefit IPEI’s grants for education.”

When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday

Where: South Hill Cider

Cost: free to watch

Event Info


Moviemaking for Mental Health

As part of its series “Breaking Our Silence: Storytelling for Mental Health,” Story House Ithaca will host a filmmaker event and free screening of “Bedlam,” which was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, winner of the 2021 duPont-Columbia Award, and aired on PBS.

“Through intimate stories of patients, families, and medical providers, ‘Bedlam’ immerses us in America’s crisis surrounding the care of people with severe mental illness. Filmed over five years, it brings us inside one of the nation’s busiest psychiatric emergency rooms, into jails where psychiatric patients are warehoused, and into the homes and homeless encampments of mentally ill members of our communities.” Co-writer and co-producer Peter Miller will present the film, take questions, and examine the role of storytelling in sparking change. “An Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary maker who has worked on many of Ken Burns’ projects, Miller helped connect the personal stories in the film to the broader, catastrophic history of one of our nation’s greatest social crises.” Prior to the screening, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Finger Lakes will honor the life of founding mother, Jean Walters. Jean passed away this April and has left a lasting legacy of compassion and support in our community.

See a trailer here.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Cinemapolis

Cost: free admission

Event Info

Looking for more things to do? Check out this week's massive concert roundup here!

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