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Encounters with Nature (2)

The first light of dawning.
Move with Her in sacred dance, through fear to feeling.
Bringing ecstasy to those who dare.
Living earth is breathing.
Loving through the night in the bright moonlight,
As seedlings open with the rain.
She'll long for you to return again.
Do not keep Her waiting."

- Ruth Barren, The May Queen is Waiting

ON THE MOVE From Celeste Lawson

Greetings, After50 friends! Here we are in the month of May. For me, May is an important month for a variety of reasons. First, it is my birthday month! I am always glad to celebrate another year of life, good health, family, and friends; these are all the things that make life worth living. In addition, May has the designation of Older Americans Month. That would be me; I am an older American by most definitions– anyone over the age of 50. Each year in May, the Administration on Aging, which is part of the Federal Administration for Community Living, leads our nation's observance of Older Americans Month by establishing a theme that all people, regardless of age, can support. This year the theme is “Engage at Every Age.” The goal is to emphasize that you are never too old or too young to participate in activities that enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is also a time to celebrate the many ways in which older adults make a positive difference in our communities.

This month, you are encouraged to offer wisdom and experience to the next generation, partake in activities and events that promote positive mental health and physical wellness, and learn something from the next generation. We should find time to seek the mentorship or wise counsel from someone who has more life experience than we do. Most importantly, try something you have never tried before. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s new to you, be it a new recipe you’ve been thinking about, a class, a weekend or day trip, writing a poem, painting a picture, riding a horse, racing a car ,or sky diving– whatever will take you out of your comfort zone or make you feel good about yourself. No matter where you are in your life, there is no better time than now to start or continue to live your best life. Engage at every age!

I also want to give a shout out to all the mothers as we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 13th. This includes everyone who is like a mother to someone and is cherished and appreciated for their care and concern. I am especially proud to honor all the mothers who are serving and who have served in our armed forces. Blessings to all of you. I am especially happy to still have my own mother with me at this time. While her health is not the best, she is still interested in being creative and productive.

May is also the time we recognize the work of Amnesty International. It is an organization that strives to protect human rights around the world and bring awareness to citizens and governments on the plight of those who need help and freedom from cruelty because of war, conflict, political policies, and radical behaviors. Amnesty Day is always acknowledged on May 28th of each year.

The last Monday in May is when we honor and remember our servicemen and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom and democracy. We can also honor the memory of any loved one who has passed on from this life on Memorial Day. Oftentimes there are Memorial Day parades and award ceremonies, but I believe you can honor lost and loved ones in any way that you want. So, take a moment and be grateful for the blessings in your life. Find time to enrich and reward yourself, honor your mother or anyone who has been like a mother to you, and give homage to those who have lived in the cause of liberty. After that, well, there are plenty of fun and fine things to do this month and I encourage you to take full advantage of the richness of our cultural offerings. Enjoy!

Matisse and the Art of Jazz – Now through June 17, 10am – 5pm

Open daily except closed on Mondays

Albright-Knox Art Gallery 1285 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, NY, 14222

During the 1930s, Henri Matisse started making collages as studies for paintings and sculptures by arranging cut paper into decorative configurations. Bedridden during a prolonged convalescence, he determined what possibilities “painting with scissors” offered—an experiment that endured for the last decade of his life. Jazz is one of the fantastical imaginings from this period and the only book both written and illustrated by Matisse. Admission: $12.

The Unseen Marion Faller – Now through July 18

Mon.-Fri., 9am-8pm; Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 10am-3pm

CEPA Gallery 617 Main Street Market Arcade Building Buffalo, NY, 14203

CEPA Gallery, is pleased to announce this exhibition and sale by artist/photographer Marion Faller. This is the most comprehensive survey of the late artist’s work. Her diverse artistic practice, laced with humor and a social documentarian’s eye, encompassed early black and white work, collage, and pioneering xerographic art. Later years brought full-color large-scale photography capturing public displays of religious customs, cultural traditions, and seasonal events. Call 856-2717 for information.

Alan Alda, May 2, 7:30pm

University at Buffalo, UB Alumni Arena – Gymnasium, Buffalo, NY, 14260

Actor, writer, science advocate, and director, Alda is best known for portraying Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H,” which earned him five Emmys. A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs for scientists to improve their communication with the public. Tickets: $24. Phone: 645-6147.

Buffalo Gamelan Club- May 4, 7pm
Kleinhans Music Hall, 370 Pennsylvania Street, Buffalo, NY, 14201

Buffalo Gamelan Club – Sari Raras Irama has enchanted audiences with their breathtaking performances of traditional Javanese music. With instruments from Surakarta, Indonesia, the group specializes in playing traditional gamelan repertoire as well as modern composition. Pamardi Tjiptopradonggo, one of the preeminent performers of Javanese dance, will also perform. Tickets: $20. Phone: 885-5000.

Kevin Hart- Sunday, May 6, 7pm

KeyBank Center, 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza, Buffalo, NY, 14203-3007

Kevin Hart brings his “Irresponsible Tour” to Buffalo. His memoir, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, remained at #1 for 10 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller list. Tickets are on sale now. Tickets are $129, $84.50, $54.50 and $39 (includes $4 facility fee) and can be purchased at the KeyBank Center Box Office, online at, or by calling 888-223-6000.

Rhinos, Rickshaws, & Revolutions - Tuesday, May 8, 7pm

Kleinhans Music Hall, 370 Pennsylvania Street, Buffalo, NY, 14201

In this National Geographic Live presentation, you’ll see through the eyes of photographer Ami Vitale, who has worked through the war in Kosovo, lived in mud huts, and donned a panda suit to tell our shared story. Tickets: $35. Box Office: 885-5000.

National Public Gardens Day - May 11, 10am – 5pm

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14218

A national day of celebration to raise awareness of America’s public gardens and their important role in environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation, and education in communities nationwide. Admission: $1. Call 827-1584 for information.

Christ Trapper with Mary Scholz - May 11, 8pm-11pm

341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY, 14202

Chris Trapper began his career as the front man for alternative rock band THE PUSH STARS, and had a run with Matchbox Twenty. Singer/Songwriter Mary Scholz’s music, a blend of lyric folk and pop/rock, is sweeping the nation with its heartfelt melodies. Her voice resonates with clarity and emotion. Tickets: $18-$20. Phone: 852-3835.

Chris Smither - Wednesday, May 16, 8pm–11pm

341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY, 14202

CALL ME LUCKY is the new release from Chris Smither, and his first set of new originals in six years. The new record features Smither trademark songs that offer commentary on the human condition with a wink of an eye and pulls from deep in the soul. Tickets: $25-$30. Call 852-3835 for information.

Nickel City Con 2018 - May 18–20

Fri., 3pm-8pm; Sat., 10am-7pm; Sun., 10am-4pm

153 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY, 14202

Nickel City Con is Upstate NY’s largest pop culture and entertainment event combining the worlds of comic books, movies, television, graphic novels, toys, cosplay, and video games. This 3-day convention brings the best in the world of entertainment to Buffalo! Through celebrity panels and memories captured with autograph and photo sessions; Nickel City Con gives fans the ability to interact with their favorite stars and creators. It’s just plain fun!

Tickets: $15-$40. Phone: 1-877-847-6640.

Central Terminal Concert Series (Wednesdays) - May 23-September 12, 6pm

Buffalo Central Terminal, 495 Paderewski Drive, Buffalo, NY, 14212

This begins the third season of Wednesday night music in the Terminal’s stunning concourse. Join in for a special evening of music featuring talent from the Colored Musicians Club. Free parking and refreshments. Tickets: $5.

Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos- May 23, 8pm

341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY, 14202

In 1996 Finnish Rockers, APOCALYPTICA, released their debut PLAYS METALLICA BY FOUR CELLOS. The instrumental cello album changed the landscape of heavy music for years to come. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album, the group re-released it in 2016 and it was remastered with three bonus tracks: “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “Seek & Destroy.” This is the first time the band will play in support of this record. Tickets: $35-$40. Phone: 852-3835.

One World Lantern Festival- May 26, 3pm -9:30pm

Outer Harbor Buffalo, 225 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, NY, 14203

One World Water Lantern Festival is an amazing experience where you’ll witness the magic of lanterns as they light up the water. This festival is filled with fun, happiness, and hope. Be a part of this opportunity to come together to create a peaceful, memorable experience. Gates open at 4pm. Enjoy food trucks/music/fun, 4pm-7pm and design your lantern. Lantern launch 7:30 - 8:30, event ends at 9pm. Tickets: $40-$45. E-mail:

Guitarists Luca Stricagnoli and Calum Graham Live! May 27, 7:30pm

Lakeward Spirits Event Center, 65 Vandalia Street, Buffalo, NY, 14204

Acoustic guitar fans, you don’t want to miss this world-class concert!

Luca Stricagnoli, born and raised in Italy, is an acoustic guitarist known for his unique style and innovative playing techniques. His original approach to music has led him to a variety of successes, from obtaining over 100 million views on his music videos to performing all around the globe.

Calum Graham enjoys a career that would be the envy of most artists twice his age. The Alberta-based guitarist and singer/songwriter has released five acclaimed albums, won major national music competitions, and performed at the Olympic Games in both Vancouver and London. He was recently named one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Tickets: $25. Phone: 541-1454.

Buffalo Pride Festival- May 29 through June 3

No other event in WNY touches such a varied and large demographic cross-section of residents and visitors while bringing neighbors together to celebrate pride in our community. Events during the week include a flag-raising ceremony, Big Gay Sing, the Gay 5K Run, Dyke March, and the Pride Parade. See site for venues and times. Website: <>

Buffalo Greek Fest - June 1-3

Fri. & Sat., 11am-Midnight; Sun., 12pm-10pm

Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 146 West Utica Street, Buffalo, NY, 14222

Enjoy this very popular event where the Greek heritage is in plentiful supply. There will be authentic food, traditional music and dance, baked goods, and a gift shop along with church tours, cultural exhibits, and other events.

Any thoughts, you can email me at


Celeste Lawson is a long-time arts advocate, arts administrator, and artist in WNY. Over the years she has worked with arts organizations locally, statewide, and nationally including the National Endowment on the Arts, Americans for the Arts, NYS Council on the Arts, the NYS Council on the Humanities and the NY Foundation on the Arts.