BEST BETS: April 24 to 30, 2015
Rochester International Film Festival
The Rochester International Film Festival, the oldest continuously held short film fest in the world, is today through Saturday. More than 25 short films, including animations, documentaries and narratives, will be screened at Dryden Theatre of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film on East Avenue. Movies on a Shoestring Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit volunteer organization that formed in 1959. Films are shown today through Saturday. Admission is free; donations are accepted. Among the featured films is "Heyln Springs," about a boy who after discovering that his grandfather is terminally ill seeks out the local water spring rumored to have magical powers. Visit rochesterfilmfest.org.
Debut performance set for Lyric Theatre
The Rochester Lyric Opera Inc. holds its first performance at the newly announced Lyric Theatre on Friday. The concert will be a benefit to help raise funds for the new venue. Rochester tenor Matthew Swensen, pianist Christopher Reed, baritone musician Aaron Bigeleisen and Soprano Arielle Nachtigal are to perform songs by Richard Strauss, Grieg, Donizetti, Tosti, Puccini, Lehar and others. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $20 a person and can be purchased online. Admission is free for students with a valid ID. Rochester Lyric Opera this month bought the former First Church of Christ, Scientist at 440 East Ave. for $1.2 million. The 100-year-old Rochester landmark is to be transformed from a worship space to a medium capacity performance hall, with projected renovation costs of $6 million. Go to rochesterlyricopera.org.
'Chances Are' crooner
Old-fashioned romantic crooner Johnny Mathis, 79, takes the stage Friday at Rochester Auditorium Theatre. His hits include "Chances Are," "It's Not for Me to Say" and "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late." Mathis has recorded more than 80 albums and has had 50 hits on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart. During his extensive career, he has had three songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2003 Mathis was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Visit rbtl.org or ticketmaster.com.
Evening of story, song
"The Road to Where" makes its world premiere this week at the Fielding Nextstage at Geva Theatre Center. A trip to Ireland sparks memories of Broadway veteran and writer Cass Morgan's childhood in Rochester, her growing up in a Florida trailer park, and a need to reconcile with her parents. Mark Cuddy directs. It opens tonight and runs through May 10. Go to gevatheatre.org.
Walk for a good cause
Nearly 7,000 participants representing more than 100 businesses will participate Saturday in the 25th annual Heart Walk to benefit the American Heart Association. A health and wellness expo at Blue Cross Arena also is planned. Registration is at 8 a.m.; the 3.5-mile Heart Walk begins at 10 a.m. Visit rochesterheartwalk.org.
On the big screen
"The Age of Adaline" is about a woman who miraculously remained 29 years old for almost eight decades. Harrison Ford, Blake Lively and Ellen Burstyn star. "The Water Diviner" stars Russell Crowe (who also directed the film) and Olga Kurylenko. It's an epic adventure set four years after the devastating battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. Australian farmer Connor (Crowe) travels to Istanbul to discover the fate of his sons, reported missing in the action, where he forges a relationship with the Turkish woman (Kurylenko) who owns the hotel. Connor embarks on a journey across the country to find the truth about what happened to his sons. Find movie times.
Digital Sandbox at Strong Museum
Discover the Digital Sandbox is a special event Saturday and Sunday at the Strong Museum. Visitors can imagine, design and construct during a weekend inspired by online virtual communities such as Minecraft and Terraria. Visitors are invited to come in costume. "Online games with few rules such as Minecraft ... have drastically changed the way people connect and play," said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong's International Center for the History of Electronic Games. "They allow users across boundaries of geography and culture to work together to create and maintain enormous custom worlds." On Saturday, Allendale Columbia School students present "Quest for the Golden Apple: an Unofficial Minecraft Adventure" at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. This original play is themed after the unofficial Minecraft book "The Quest for the Diamond Sword." Go to museumofplay.org.