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Sunday
Oct242010

Ashley Cellura & Eliza Sullivan

This medium-sized messenger bag, the “Eighty 012,” is a one-of-a-kind accessory that sells on the EvenOdd website for $64.65. It's made of recycled vinyl, inner tubes and seatbelts.Lots of couples possess shared dreams. But it's the rare pair who are so beautifully matched that they can happily go into business together.

So it is with partners Ashley and Eliza, who make gorgeous accessories from material that would otherwise take up space in landfills.

“We both share a passion for design,” Ashley says, “along with a desire to make a living doing what we love—on our terms. We share everything else in life, so it was only natural for us to close the circle and work together as well.”

At their design firm, EvenOdd Creative, based in Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts, they produce way-cool accessories out of graphic-heavy recycled materials, such as large printed banners. Every piece is handmade. One of a kind.

Eliza, left, brings graphic and web design expertise to the business. She's also a photographer. Ashley, an FIT graduate, is a seamstress and accessory designer. Together, they formed EvenOdd Creative.“Since we met, we've always had the nebulous idea that we'd build a creative firm of some sort together,” Ashley says.

They decided in 2008 that it was time to start to break out on their own.

“We didn't want to be a part of the traditional high fashion world of New York City,” Eliza says. “But we wanted to put Ashley's recent education—at the Fashion Institute of Technology—to good use.”

EvenOdd was the result of months of brainstorming about how they could best merge their skills.

“The recycling aspect came later when we were prototyping our bags,” Ashley says. “We needed durable, cheap material. We found that Rochester has an endless supply of vinyl banners and bike inner tubes that usually go directly to landfills.”

Their message to Rochester businesses? Before you throw it away, talk to EvenOdd.

“Their junk is useful to us, and by partnering with us, they help the environment,” Eliza says.

The business has been a smashing success so far, and Ashley and Eliza have plans to grow. While much of their product line has focused on messenger bags, the duo have released a line of wallets this fall, made from 100% recycled material.

The "Eighty 007" by EvenOdd.“We've also had many requests for EvenOdd T-shirts, so those are in the works as well,” Eliza says. The shirts will be limited edition, screen printed in house, and numbered.

Two Rochester retailers carry EvenOdd products. Thread, 654 South Avenue, and Craft Company No.6, 785 University Avenue.

And then there's the EvenOdd web shop, where you're greeted with this cut-to-the-chase introduction: “If you want a boring, cookie-cutter bag off an assembly line in China, get off this site and go to the mall, because you won't get one from us.”

May it ever be so.

 

See more: www.evenoddcreative.com/store and on Facebook

Say hi: info@evenoddcreative.com



Wednesday
Oct132010

Marcelo Guimaraes

"A moment of fear. A victory. A broken heart. Loneliness. Desire. The stuff that allows us to be different from one another and yet forces us to be the same." These are the elements of inspiration Marcelo draws upon for his music.His thoughtful smile and warm eyes are a welcome indication of the music Marcelo has in store for you.

His work taps into a cross-section of genres, from bossa nova to jazz to rock. An exceptional guitarist and budding composer originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Marcelo’s love for guitar began as a teenager.

“I started singing in a choir in high school, back in Rio, and picked up the guitar at the age of 14,” he says.

“It was only a year later that I realized I was teaching myself how to play it upside down—lefty. It felt natural, of course.”

Marcelo, who now calls Penfield, NY, home, in suburban Rochester, describes himself as “an engineer by training and a musician by soul.” He says he discovered when he was very young that music and poetry were the most meaningful ways for him to express himself.

“Music and words have been a constant love in my life,” Marcelo says. “Women came and went. Music and words stayed.”

He talks about his music as a gateway—one that introduces listeners to his observations as an artist—and a labyrinth that welcomes people to sit down and listen. Even if only for a song or two.

Marcelo's first album, "Mind the Music," encompasses elements of bossa nova, jazz, rock and pop.He draws his inspiration from “people, situations, universal aspects of the human soul,” he says. “A moment of fear. A victory. A broken heart. Loneliness. Desire. The stuff that allows us to be different from one another and yet forces us to be the same. This incredibly complicated puzzle that we assemble and take apart everyday, all over the world, simply by being alive.”

His 2006 debut album, “Mind The Music,” is a rich blend of light, sensual and pulsating compositions that cover a range of emotions. By the time you're through listening, you'll have an audible portrait of a deeply passionate, yet centered, musician who surely has many more stories inside him.

In addition to playing out at some of Rochester's lower-key hangouts, Marcelo has also helped other people tell stories through the Rochester indy filmmaking scene—as a composer. He wrote the score for the short film, “Drug Dealer” in 2009. By the way, he also had an acting role in the piece, shot entirely at Rochester's Bamba Bistro. (see video below)

And what he doesn't find a way to share musically, he puts into prose.

“I also have plans to publish a book of short stories,” he says, “Paranormal. Scary stuff. Sometime soon.”

And another chapter unfolds.

 

See more: www.marcelomusica.com and on Facebook

Say hi: marcelo@marcelomusica.com

 

* * *

 

Marcelo wrote the music score in "Drug Dealer," from Rochester's Speed Hump Pictures. He also acted in the film.

 

 



Monday
Oct042010

Jane Milliman

If anyone can restore Rochester's historic nickname, The Flower City, it's Jane. Because after 15 years writing about life as a gardener, one thing is clear: her ideas, like her stories, never stop germinating.

It's a subject she's grown accustomed to covering, both as a columnist for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and as editor of Upstate Gardeners' Journal, which she founded with her husband, Dean, in 1995.

Jane Milliman, of Caledonia, NY, launched Upstate Gardeners' Journal with her husband, Dean, in 1995.“My husband's grandmother was in publishing,” Jane says. “She owned a small community newspaper. She gave me my start and is still my mentor.”

The Millimans used Dean's grandmother's office and computer on the weekends for the first few years.

“I don't think we had all of our own equipment until about 1998,” she says.

Later, she added a position as Democrat and Chronicle columnist to her gardening repertoire.

“About a year after I started the magazine, I approached an editor and said I thought it would behoove the paper to have a local garden columnist in addition to running Martha Stewart's syndicated pieces,” she says.

“I was hired right away and have been with the paper now for 14 years,” she says, adding, “Martha's gone.”

As milestones go, Jane just hit a biggie. She wrote column No. 375 for the Democrat and Chronicle Sept. 25. Her 375th topic? A book review of Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities, by Amy Stewart.

JaneAnd if you've followed her in either publication, you know that Jane's columns represent seasons and subjects as only an Upstate Gardener can appreciate them—from crisp fall days full of bulb-planting and cleanup, to long winter evenings curled up with a stack of freshly printed seed catalogs.

To tide her over in those winter months, Jane has lent her support on another project—of epic proportions.

“Right now, I'm really excited about the GardenAerial,” she says of an ambitious proposal to build a vast, lush outdoor garden trail in Rochester. This living spectacle would loop around Rochester's High Falls neighborhood—even crossing and spilling over the expansive Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge. (see video below)

To build momentum and support for the project, Friends of the GardenAerial has planned a first-ever Greentopia Festival for fall 2011 in High Falls.

“It's going to be transformative for downtown,” Jane says, “It'll showcase some really cool horticulture, plants-wise and practice-wise.”

Sounds like we're going to need a bigger composter.

 

See more: upstategardenersjournal.com and on Facebook

Say hi: jane@janemilliman.com

 

* * *

 

VIDEO: The GardenAerial

According to its website, the GardenAerial envisions a transformation of the perimeter of the Genesee Gorge and the Ponte de Rennes bridge into “a magical outdoor arboretum.”

 

Tuesday
Sep282010

Blynn Nelson

“Modern Take on Pearls” features pearl and Lucite neck with varying strands and vintage gold tone and white enamel brooch.Little did she know as a child that a box of vintage brooches her grandmother had given her would one day launch Blynn’s profession as a jewelry artist.

“I kept them in that box for years, pulling them out occasionally, wondering how I could incorporate them into my own unique style,” Blynn says. “They demanded to be worn.”

As an adult, she eventually used one of the brooches to fashion a necklace.

“I combined it with glass beads, turquoise and a vintage bracelet that I had found at a flea market,” she says.

The piece received rave reviews from friends and strangers.

“I wore it out one night in Saratoga Springs with my friends and was literally accosted by women of all ages,” she says. “My friend said, ‘you need to make these,’ so I did.”

That was five years ago. And today, Blynn, an RIT grad who lives in Rochester, has built a successful business she calls Reckless Necklace.

This is no ordinary jewelry. Blynn’s work looks like something out of a Tim Burton film. Whimsical, romantic, exaggerated and glamorous. All at once.

Blynn calls this piece “Eyes On Me." Most of her jewelry is priced at $300 or less.Blynn“I get my inspiration from wherever I am—the things around me,” Blynn says. “It could be fabrics, shapes, colors, art, interiors, fashion, or movies.”

She has a new collection in the works for a trunk show at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery.

“I’m creating six necklaces especially for a new exhibit coming to the MAG, Psychedelic Optical & Visionary Art Since the 1960's,” She says.

“I’ve incorporated vintage pieces with crazy materials and in crazy colors. Really fun!”

Judging from her past success, they won't be around for long.

“I've sold necklaces right off my neck more than once,” Blynn says.

It's all part of the charm.


See more:
www.recklessnecklace.com or on Facebook

Say hi: blynn@recklessnecklace.com

* * *

If you're in the Rochester, NY, area, Blynn's collection will be showcased as part of Rochester Fashion Week from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 at Four Walls Gallery, 34 Elton St., and again from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave. A Trunk Show at The Gallery Store will include selected pieces from Blynn's collection Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. Click here for details.


Tuesday
Sep212010

Albert Abonado

Albert at playLike many poets, Al suffered early for his art.

“I wrote a poem for a girl in kindergarten who returned it to me and said 'that's nice.'”

He was so put off that he didn't find his way back to his craft until high school, when he “wrote a lot of bad poems because I felt really hormonal,” he says.

Of course, in Al's defense, poets who start young are never more overwrought than they are at 17. But you can tell by his sense of humor—and perspective—that he gets it now.

“During this tragic, dark period of scribbling in the margins of my marble notebook, I discovered I liked being inside the world of a poem,” says Al, of Rochester. “Then I read a lot of poetry. Then I wrote poems that were not as bad.”

Today, his poetic voice has changed no less than the octave it dropped from those same high school hormones. Along the way, he's earned an MFA from Bennington College and has been published by several literary periodicals, including Anti-, Front Porch Journal, and Rattle.

When it comes to finding inspiration to write, Al says there's no steady stream.

“Honestly, I wish inspiration happened with some consistency so I could produce quality poems on a regular basis,” he says. “I just take the whole process poem by poem, although patterns do develop.”

For instance, he's spent some time exploring his Filipino background. He's looked at family history, which comes through in pieces like this one, published in Issue No. 150 of Front Porch Journal

In a Field Called Vietnam

“You look like someone I shot once”
What bothers me was his specificity:

In a field he called Vietnam where
the one I'm supposed to be is

more of a memory of me who fidgets
with a gun twenty yards away.

He stopped thinking about me until
I was standing among buckets of

produce where he says “I shot you
once, and how are you planning

on living with that?” In his defense,
I was very tan that summer

so I didn't bother to correct him
with my Filipino-ness. I said

you remind me of my mother
whose green card was stolen

last month. Sometimes, I have
two mothers. I'm not sure which one

was the one I once saw holding
the hole in the neck of a man

dying in a field. I saw the hole
grow teeth and now the man travels

around the country talking
out the back of his head with two

voices: the bored voice
and the surviving voice,

and when he asks for water
his mother tilts his head back

to let the air out of his brain.

 

Other times, Al's subject matter has more to do with where he is in his life, which you see in this excerpt from the longer piece titled “APARTMENT 2B”published in Rattle No. 31

I think my neighbor is dead, or maybe I don’t know
what to do with a neighbor so quiet compared
to the ones that came before her, like that couple
who found a reason to fight every day, and I laughed the day
I heard the man cry out about the black eye his girlfriend gave him,
and when I saw him the next day down in the basement
doing laundry I wanted to ask: hey man,
what happened to your face?
but instead I said:
I think you dropped a sock.

 

At the moment, Al has a manuscript “floating out in space that I continue to add to and subtract from like a bad habit.”

His subjects?

“Lately, I find myself referring more to pop culture and examining my concerns about the future,” he says. “Some friends have had babies recently so you could say I’ve had babies on the brain, too.”

That's right, Al. Just let it all out.

 

See more: Anti-, Front Porch Journal, and Rattle

Say hi: albertabonado@gmail.com

 

Tuesday
Sep142010

David Henderson

He’s worked in fine art. In film. On Broadway. Off Broadway. And wayyyyy off Broadway. Like Rochester.

And the city’s lucky to call this South Wedge resident one of its own.

As the Artistic Director of Method Machine, David has directed The Lipstick Massacre, Closer, Edge, Lux in Tenebris, and The Second Coming of Joan of Arc.If you’re remotely familiar with Rochester’s theatrer scene, you’ve probably heard of David. If not, it’s easy to find one of his productions. It might mean a trip to GeVa Theatre. Or a smaller, more humble, but equally charming venue like the MuCCC (yes, it’s pronounced “muck,” short for Multi-use Community Cultural Center).

Currently artistic director of a theater company he helped found, Method Machine, David is a 1997 Nazareth College grad with a degree in Theater Directing.

“I’ve been working in theater and the arts for over 15 years,” he says. And in that time, he’s seen experienced some dramatic professional twists.

Born and raised in Rochester, David lived in New York City for eight years, where he worked as a director, producer, stage manager and deck hand on some of Broadway’s most celebrated productions, including Doubt, Jersey Boys, and Phantom of the Opera, as well as directing theater workshops there.

Then, something brought him home.

“I got pretty frustrated at the end of my time in New York,” he says. “I had great jobs in management but I was unable to further my directing craft. I came back here and directed a few shows and produced great results. I had found a place where I could live humbly and create my work.”

David, as captured by Kate LemmonIn 2007, having resettled in his native town, David founded Method Machine with his friends and collaborators, Marcy Savastano and Mike O'Connor. The trio shared a vision for introducing emerging artists to Rochester’s stages.

David raves about the local talent. He recently produced an original murder mystery, The Lipstick Massacre, by local playwright Michael Steck. The early success of the production led to an invitation from GeVa Theatre across town, where Lipstick reappeared a few months later.

“It was a hit!” he says. “It feels great to support such a creative mind and help them realize the play that they wrote. Rochester has a healthy community of playwrights and companies that produce them.”

Whether it’s a portrayal of the grim, imagined final hours of Sylvia Plath or a madcap, cloak-and-dagger satire starring drag queens, David’s forte is putting fresh work in front of people.

His advice for would-be playwrights, directors and producers is simple.

“Put on a show. Do it. Pick something you could die for and just do it,” he says.

“No one is gonna do it for you.”

* * *

Robert Swanger and Hannah Karpenko perform in the Method Machine production of Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, a zombie tale of suburban teens whose real lives begin to collide with a video game about—what else—suburban teens fighting off zombies. If you’re in the Rochester, NY, area, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, By Jennifer Haley, runs through Sept. 26 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center, 142 Atlantic Ave.

 

See more: www.methodmachine.org

or Method Machine on Facebook

Say hi: david@methodmachine.org



 

Monday
Sep062010

Romolo “Rome” Celli

Where there’s fashion to be found, he’s not far behind—camera in hand.

Rome has an eye for emotion, texture, and mood, human subjects and otherwise. Makes sense: for 30 years, he’s been portraying properties in their most flattering light as a real estate broker.

Gorgeous fabric, form, shoes, movement, color, texture, hats. These comprise Rome’s muse. Featured here: clothing and hats from dado boutique and Godiva’s Vintage Clothing. Accessories from Joette's on Monroe. Model: Jaclyn O'Dell.

But it’s the movement of fabric, the shine of patent leather, and the intrigue of a smoldering glance where Rome’s passion truly shines.

“I'm deeply interested in editorial and commercial fashion photography,” he says.

Rome has worked with area lifestyle magazines and he’s also captured local events, such as a recent fashion show at Good Luck. Then there’s the steady stream of small, trendy shops around town, such as Godiva’s Vintage Clothing, dado boutique, and Joette’s on Monroe, who’ve all worked with him to showcase their collections.

While much of his work is close to home, Rome is not averse to hitting the road for juicy projects.

“Especially for designers and retailers all around western New York, north to Toronto, south to New York City and west to Columbus,” he says.

He recently worked with Buffalo designer and retailer Báles Clothing Company.

“I would travel anywhere to shoot for a commercial gig,” he says. He’s also in the middle of a local shoot for Minneapolis-based designer Samantha Rei.

Through the years, his influences have evolved alongside his talent. One of his earliest?

From a shoot for Thomas Lee Designs. Model: Kayte Dies.“An inspiring high school teacher and a couple of friends plugged me into a photography club and introduced me to shooting and developing film,” he says.

Today, he adds some bigger names to the list. Richard Avedon. Steven Meisel. Craig McDean. Javier Vallhonrat. Sophie Delaporte. And Mario Testino.

Rome is in the midst of expanding his Elton Street studio. But that’s merely home base. He loves location shoots, and many of them feature iconic Upstate and Western New York locales as you’ve never seen them before. Downtown high rises. The Lake Ontario shoreline. Favorite pubs. And historic gems with just the right amount of decay to add some gothic drama, where appropriate.

Oh, and then there’s the gravel pit.

“Scheduled to shoot there next month,” Rome says.

Anything for fashion. 

 

Rome See more: ROCimage.com, Rome on Flickr

Say hi: romolo@ROCimage.com, Rome on Twitter

 

 

Friday
Aug272010

Erich Lehman

What sort of guy joins a group of artists who spend a month filling an empty, 19th-century factory space with a deliciously bizarre installation of original art and found objects?

Erich, ©2008 Garrick DorsettWelcome to the skateboard-cultured, labyrinthine world of Erich Lehman.

Erich, a Rochester, NY, designer and art curator, is one of five artists who came together in the fall of 2009 to form an art collective, the Sweet Meat Co. The circus-like installation of paintings, sculptures and found objects drew hundreds to its opening night reception.

The name Sweet Meat Co. was inspired by the Hungerford Building, where the installation took place. It once housed a manufacturer of "fruits and flavors," Erich says.

“Sweet meat is old slang for candy,” he says (although attendees may have noticed more of a Sweeney Todd flavor to the theme). “We just kind of meshed those two ideas together to come up with the name.”

Check out more of Erich's snapshots from the Sweet Meat Co. show on Flickr.While he’s proud to be a part of an artist collective, Erich is equally drawn to the role of curator.

He is an insatiable collector of all things creative, from fine art to toys, skateboards, rare shoes and type samples. And that fascination with what makes artists tick led to an epiphany about three years ago.

“Over lunch, one of my roommates asked what I’d do if I didn't have to worry about money,” he recalls. “Without hesitation, I said ‘start an art gallery here in town.’ He looked at me deadpan and then asked, ‘Well, why not? Why don't you do that?’”

Erich was ambivalent at first.

“Running a free-standing gallery in Rochester catering to the niches I love was shaky at best,” he says. “But later that night, back home, I said that somehow, by fall of 2008, I was going to have my first show.”

The artistic enterprise 1975 was born. And just as Erich vowed, 1975 (unrelated to Sweet Meat Co.) had its first show in the fall of 2008.

“I partnered with Lee Gray at Surface Salon in Rochester's South Wedge,” he says, "And from that point on, it was nothing but growth, frayed nerves, and not a lot of sleep the few weeks before openings.”

While at RIT, Erich went to work for Rochester skate shop Krudco, where he designed T-shirts, worked on their advertising, and helped produce video. This series of paintings by Erich, called “The Four,” was inspired by an earlier photo by Krudco photographer Jason Goodrich. “I thought it would look good as a series for our business cards,” Erich says, “so we shot one for each of the four main people at the time.” They are, from left, Chris Hogan-Roy, Alan Presutti, Aaron Costa, and Erich. The series now resides on a wall of Erich’s dining room. “It's one of the rare things of my own that I actually have hanging on any walls,” he says.That first show in 2008 led to more. Some at Surface Salon, others elsewhere. Like the soon-to-be opened exhibit, “The Worst is Yet to Come,” featuring the work of Don Pendleton and Mark Penxa, who are “two incredibly talented creatives from the skateboard world,” Erich says. The show begins Sept. 3 at Gallery Kunstler.

“One of my longtime goals has been to build something that had a strong enough following that I could start bringing in those original inspirational artists that I admired to upstate New York,” he says.

Erich has more exhibits planned for 1975, which will soon celebrate its second anniversary in business.

“This town is filled with so much raw talent and possibility,” he says.

With folks like Erich around, perhaps the best is yet to come.

 

See more: 1975 Gallery, Sweet Meat Co.

Say hi: erich@unprofessional.net, Erich on Twitter

 

* * *

If you’re in the Rochester, NY, area September 3, “The Worst is Yet to Come,” featuring new works by Mark Penxa and Don Pendleton, debuts with an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. at Gallery Kunstler in the Booksmart Studio at Village Gate Square, 250 North Goodman St. The exhibit runs through Sept. 25, 2010. See the show’s Facebook event page for details and to RSVP.


Wednesday
Aug182010

Brian O’Neill

"Passion for Peonies," 30" x 40" oil. Brian’s reputation has grown steadily beyond his Rochester, NY, home base. His work has been shown in galleries across the U.S., Canada, England, and Japan. He’s currently working on a collection for a gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz., that will exhibit his work this fall. In Rochester, Brian’s paintings can be seen at the Nan Miller Gallery.He’s always been happiest when playing with paint. Good thing Brian got started early.

“I’ve been painting and drawing since my earliest memories,” he says.

Yet, had he first picked up a pen instead of a brush, Brian might have been a writer. Because for him, art is all about telling stories.

“What gave me my start was the need to express what I saw around me,” he says. “What I found beautiful. What was in my head.”

So what’s in there? The gentle glow and lush texture of his hyper-realistic art suggest it’s a rather romantic place. But while he’s drawn to the serene, Brian also has his restless moments.

He paints “not because I want to but because I have to.”

Brian“It stems from the continual quest for peace and fulfillment through beauty,” he says. “It’s as natural to me as breathing.”

"Peaceful Journey," 24" x 12" acrylic. Brian works primarily with organic subject matter and is best known for his floral paintings and drawings. But he also creates abstract works that deal in shape, mood, color and texture. “All of these elements can be found in my realistic work when you break them down in the micro,” he says. “They are the energy, mineral, and fire that fuel the realistic work.” Through most of his profession, Brian breathed life into his canvases with little more than instinct, talent and practice. That changed in 2009.

“Until then, I was entirely self-taught. That’s when I began apprenticing with The Waichulis Studio in Pennsylvania,” Brian says, referring to Tromp L’Oeil painter Anthony Waichulis.

The apprenticeship has opened up a new world of artistic expression to him.

“It’s one of the greatest gifts I could have ever given myself,” he says.

Brian finds inspiration everywhere he looks and listens, a hundred times a day. But his formal influences come into play as well. He admires the Pre-Raphaelite artists.

“Their obsession with allegorical and literary subject matter was always so beautiful yet tragically romantic,” he says.

He also mentions William Harnett and Norman Rockwell among his influences. John Singer Sargent, too.

“His portraits give me goose bumps and have brought tears to my eyes,” he says of Sargent.

Great stories often do.

 

See more: www.brianoneillstudio.com 

Say hi: boneillart@yahoo.com or on Facebook

 

 

Monday
Aug092010

Jennifer Sciarabba (a.k.a. Jennifer V.)

JenniferShe was driving near her native Cortland, NY, one summer evening in 1989 when Jennifer nearly pulled over as she crested a hill. The dial on her radio hadn’t changed. But the station had. She’d been listening to 90.5 WSUC. Yet, as her car went out of range, a different 90.5 beamed her way for the first time.

It was WBER.

“An XTC song I had never heard before,” she says. “I almost pulled over because it was this new, interesting station.”

Little did she know that in less than a year, this new, interesting station would be her home for the next two decades. But when she moved to Rochester the following January, her radio was serendipitously preset.

Fast forward to 2010. If you’re near Rochester, NY, your radio is well within range of the DJ known as Jennifer V., broadcasting live from 90.5 FM WBER each week as the morning drive-time host of New Wave Wednesday.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a Generation Xer, a Baby Boomer, a Millennial or a high school kid. If you like one-hit wonders, memory-stirring anthems and obscure tracks mostly from the 1980s, you’ve come to the right place. So has she.

Jennifer, who lives in West Irondequoit, NY, with her husband, John, and two children, has a loyal Wednesday morning fanbase. Between tracks, she ponders life aloud, gabs about her kids (Jack, 11, and Olivia, 9) and reminisces about her Reagan-era adolescence.

She went on-air at WBER for the first time in April 1990, after moving to Rochester to intern for musician Chuck Mangione's company. In that job, she had a chance to meet local station managers—including WBER’s Andrew Chinnici.

“I handed him a demo tape and asked if he had any openings,” she says. Turned out he did.

Over the years, through jobs, school, and kids, Jennifer always found her way back to WBER. She got a Master’s Degree in Communications at SUNY Brockport. She worked at other stations. And other organizations, like Junior Achievement and George Eastman House, where she held some impressive titles. Through it all, 90.5 was still on her dial—and in her heart.

In 1992, Jennifer got a morning show of her very own at WBER.

“It was kind of a big deal at the time,” she says. “Not many women were at the helm alone. Not being a sidekick, not being the newsgirl or someone paid to just laugh at the guys’ jokes.”

A few months in, friend and fellow DJ FrizB asked about joining Jennifer Wednesday mornings to do a show “where they would just play the old stuff,” she says. The first program featured music from 1976.

New Wave Wednesday was born.

“We would highlight a particular band or significant release from that year, and continue where we left off each week,” she says.

These days, the show often takes on odd-ball themes. Songs with the word “hand” in the title. Or titles that start with a certain letter. Or songs about war.

Whatever the theme, whatever the playlist, if you listen to New Wave Wednesday, chances are you’ll soon hear a song you haven’t thought about in umpteen years. Might even smile to yourself as you’re reminded of how much music connects you to people and places and memories.

That’s the gift Jennifer gives to her listeners every Wednesday morning.

“Playing music that means something to people,” she says. “Sharing something I’ve learned—or something I’m going through—that maybe someone else has a connection to. That’s everything.”

* * *

If you’re in the Rochester, NY, area, tune in to 90.5 FM WBER from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Wednesdays for Jennifer’s show. Or stream it online.

 

See more:  WBER.org, New Wave Wednesday on Facebook

Say hi: jenv@wber.org

 

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