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15+ Things to Do: May 19-25

Circus Culture will present "Wonderland" at the Ithaca Cheldren's garden this weekend.

The Ithaca Night Bazaar debuts at Steamboat Landing, Circus Culture brings three new shows to the Ithaca Children’s Garden, and the Blackbird Film Festival returns to Cortland. 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!

For this week's local concert roundup, go here!

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Taking a Tour

The Tompkins Center for History & Culture will present the guided tour, “A Downtown History of Ithaca College,” from 403 Seneca St. to the Wilgus Opera House and beyond. “Ithaca College began as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1892 and before its move to South Hill in the 1960s, classes and administration were located in downtown Ithaca. At various times, the college rented or purchased a variety of downtown commercial buildings, public schools, churches, and movie houses. This one-hour walking tour will connect Ithaca College families and soon-to-be graduates with the history of their school in the community, and the expansion of a one-building music conservatory as it evolved into Ithaca College in the first half of the twentieth century.”

When: 2 and 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Where: All tours will meet in the atrium of the Tompkins Center for History & Culture on the Ithaca Commons.

Cost: Tickets are $15 per person; pre-registration is required.


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Alleys of Art

It’s Pop-In Studio Night at Artists Alley! Several artists’ studios will be open to the public. Come visit, shop, and meet artists in this monthly event.

When: 4-7 p.m. Thursday (third Thursday of each month

Where: South Hill Business Campus, Artist Alley, 950 Danby Road, Ithaca

Cost: free

Event Info

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Circus in the Garden

Circus Culture will bring three completely different full-length shows to the Ithaca Children's Garden this weekend and next. This week features “Headspace” and “Wonderland,” while next week’s show is “Unseasonable.” Seats can be reserved in advance here or you can just show up.

When: Thursday-Saturday this week and next

Cost: free

Event Info


A Flock of Films

The 2022 Blackbird Film Festival returns to Cortland, with more than 130 films from around the world. “Whether you love hilarious comedies, compelling documentaries, heartwarming tales, or psychological thrillers - Blackbird has it all!” Visit the festival website for more information about the various film screenings and social events.

When Thursday-Sunday

Where: SUNY Cortland

Cost: free

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 continuing 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


Weird and Wonderful

Self-described as “a monthly festival of music, art, food, drinks, craft fair, performance, weirdness, and wonderfulness,” the Ithaca Night Bazaar will make its debut, offering a rotating mix of music, food, craft vendors, burlesque and more on the Ithaca waterfront. This month’s lineup includes music from Jimkata, Ariel Arbisser, and Dom Martyr; two sets by Parlor City Burlesque; dozens of craft vendors, and much more.

When: 6-11 p.m. Thursday, rain or shine

Where: Ithaca Farmers Market, Steamboat Landing

Cost: $25; a season pass is also available online here

Event Info

Read more about the Ithaca Night Bazaar here!


Sew Good!
The Downstairs Zine Fest continues with a Pamphlet Books & Variations Class presented by Laurel Tree Bindery. “Learn how to sew a traditional pamphlet-bound book that is great for zines, poetry books, and short stories. We'll learn five different structures with this basic stitch so you can create your own cool, artsy variations!” Supplies are limited; get there by 7 p.m. sharp!

When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: $5

Event Info

Read more about the first Downstairs Zine Fest here!

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What’s New

Join Tilia Cordata and Kizzie Lovelips as they welcome a whole crew of new and new-ish performers to the “Thursgay at the Range” stage.

When: 11 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Range

Cost: $5; proof of vaccination required

Event Info

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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

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Prose and Poetry

The Downstairs Zine Fest continues with Poetry & Prose Open Mic Night. “Come share poetry, prose, share a story, perhaps a brief performance, or just to enjoy the night and meet others with a love for language and expression. Open to all! Song, show-and-tell, or some other kind of performance is welcome.” Pre-registration is strongly encouraged; do so here:
When: 7-9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Downstairs

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-Tuesday, through May 21-24.

Where: 509 Esty St., Ithaca

Cost: free to attend

Event Info

F. R. Newman Arboretum
Cornell Plantations
[DESCRIPTION] - Required, mapped, not controlled

Back to the Garden

Experience the beautiful gardens, arboretum, woodland trails, and panoramic views that helped Cornell Botanic Gardens earn its #1 ranking as the most beautiful college arboretum. Led by Peter Davies, PhD, Cornell Professor Emeritus, Plant Biology and Horticulture, participants will enjoy an extended hike (approximately 3 miles) and learn about the diverse plant collections and landscapes of Cornell Botanic Gardens. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Walks will be held rain or shine and will include some slopes and stairs.” Additional dates: June 18, July 16, Aug 20, Sep 17, Oct 15

When: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens

Cost: $10 for Botanic Gardens members, $12 for nonmembers; Pre-registration is required; please click here to register.

Event Info

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Message in a Bottle

As part of the 2022 Spring Writes Literary Fest, Mary Lorson will reprise “Seven Minutes,” the spin-the-bottle-fueled artistic collaboration event that she first hosted three years ago. Come see spontaneous collaborations among local writers, readers, and musicians, who create on the fly in front of a live audience.

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

Where: Sacred Root Kava Lounge & Tea Bar

Cost: free

Event Info

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The Grand Finale

Stories, theater, music, and dance serve as the grand finale for Story House Ithaca's series on storytelling and mental health Come to an evening of music, storytelling, theater, dance, poetry, and more featuring storyteller Regi Carpenter; the Ithaca High School Chorus; dancers Kathy Lucas, Megan Omohundro, and Indira White; Civic Ensemble's ReEntry Theatre; Ithaca High School poets; and more. The program is coordinated by Rachel Lampert, artistic director emerita of the Kitchen Theatre Company. We ask that audience members wear face masks. This free public event is part of Story House Ithaca's series “Breaking Our Silence: Storytelling for Mental Health.

When: 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ithaca High School Kulp Auditorium

Cost: Free admission, tickets not required

Event Info

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The Diderot String Quartet

Going for Baroque

For the final concert of its in-person 2021-2022 concert series, NYS Baroque welcomes the period-instrument Diderot String Quartet for a concert in collaboration with baritone Jesse Blumberg. “The concert will include string quartets of Franz Joseph Haydn and Felix Mendelssohn as well as more unusual offerings in the form of German lieder by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms. These songs, originally for piano and voice, are finding new life as arrangements for our musicians, the Diderot Quartet and baritone Jesse Blumberg.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: First Unitarian Society, 306 N. Aurora St. Ithaca

Cost: $25 for adults, $10 for students, $15 for the virtual concert (watch the recorded event online afterward), available online here.

Event Info


Open Mic Night

The Downstairs and SingTrece Publishing Production present “Ithaca's Best Open Mic for Singers, Rappers, Songwriters, Poets and Spoken Word. Perform at Ithaca's most intimate and supportive open mic. Come see Ithaca's favorite artists as well as discover someone new. Sing with tracks, sing acapella, play acoustically or read poetry!”

When: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday (the fourth Tuesday of each month)

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: free

Event Info

For this week's local concert roundup, go here!

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