Thursday, November 6, 2008

Upcoming events at Fredonia Opera House

Below are a couple events happening this week at the Fredonia Opera House (These are from the press releases I received)

Opera House Cinema Series to Feature “Bottle Shock”

FREDONIA – “Bottle Shock,” the comedy being lauded as “the next ‘Sideways’ or ‘Little Miss Sunshine’,” is the next featured film in the Cinema Series at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. It will be screened Sat., Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. and Tues., Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Based on a true story, “Bottle Shock” chronicles the events leading up to the famous 1976 “Judgment of Paris” wine-tasting, in which a group of small California wineries dared to challenge the exalted French wines of the times in a head-to-head taste-test. Told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett, the competition is credited with putting the California wine industry on the map.

A former real estate attorney, Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) sacrifices everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay. His business, however, is struggling; and he’s not only fighting off the creditors but also is trying to overcome differences with his slacker son (Chris Pine). Meanwhile in Paris, unwitting British wine shop owner Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) hopes to revive his own failing business by sponsoring a wine-tasting competition. Little do Steven and Jim realize that the resulting contest pitting the traditional French powerhouse against the California upstarts would change the history of wine forever.

Rex Reed of the New York Observer calls the film “a marvelous, beautifully made, feel-good movie that is guaranteed to revive everyone’s flagging faith in American pride at home and abroad.” Stephen Farber of the Hollywood Reporter calls it “Rocky for wine aficionados.” Manuel Mendoza of the Dallas Morning News notes “the characters are vivid, the scenery is lovely, and lines like, ‘I detect bacon fat laced with honey lemon,’ establish the silly seriousness of wine snobs.” John Anderson of Newsday adds “a winning cast and a magnum’s worth of subplots make ‘Bottle Shock’ extremely watchable, perhaps a bit fruity, with grace notes of leather, oak and no ham.” Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual content and a scene of drug use, “Bottle Shock” runs 110 minutes.

Tickets for the Opera House Cinema Series are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students & children) the night of each showing. For more information, call the Opera House box office at 716-679-1891. The Series continues with “The Duchess” on Nov. 15 & 18 and “Flash of Genius” on Nov. 22 & 25.

Chautauqua County’s only year-round performing arts center, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit

Folk Legend Jonathan Edwards to Play Fredonia Opera House

FREDONIA – Folk Legend Jonathan Edwards, best known for his 1971 No. 1 hit, “Sunshine,” will make a rare western New York concert appearance at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. He will be joined by Stuart Schulman on keyboard, violin and bass, and Taylor Armerding on mandolin and guitar.

The word “legend” is often used to describe veteran folk/rocker Jonathan Edwards, whose 1971 million-selling song “Sunshine” (“go away today...”) brought him instant fame. He was born in Minnesota and detoured into blues and rock before realizing he was hooked on folk music.

“My inspiration came from the soul of people, not so much the technique,” Edwards says. “My influences came from Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Van Morrison and even some of the more popular folk people like the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary. But there’s no one I ever tried to sing like.”

Edwards has acquired an enviable track record; and he has done it while keeping intact his ear for a strong melody and love of a beautifully crafted song. During his 36-year career he has recorded 15 albums and penned such notable hits as “Shanty” and “Sunshine,” which earned him a gold record. This classic song, covered by Paul Westerberg, is included in the 1995 release of “Friends,” a compilation of music for the hit NBC-TV show, and is heard in the 2004 Will Ferrell film “Anchorman” and included on its soundtrack. His 1987 children’s album, “Little Hands,” selected by the National Library Association as a “Notable Children’s Recording,” has sold more than 20,000 copies and is still going strong.

Edwards’ natural ability to sing and compose as well as produce has garnered him a reputation as a “musician’s musician.” He’s produced albums for other artists, such as Cheryl Wheeler, including “Driving Home” and “Mrs. Pinocci’s Guitar.” He takes great pride in having shared the stage with B. B. King, Emmylou Harris, Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson, The Allman Brothers, The Judds, James Taylor, Roger Miller, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Seldom Scene, to name just a few.

His varied career has included theater, highlighted by a 1980s tour of the Broadway musical “Pumpboys and Dinettes” with Henry Gross and Nicolette Larson, as well as commercials, record production and two movie soundtracks. In 1994 he joined Don McLean, Tom Rush, Jesse Colin-Young, Steve Forbert and Al Stewart in a “Back to the Future” tour that played in major venues from coast to coast and earned him rave reviews. In 2000 he narrated and performed in the Media Artists series “Cruising America’s Waterways,” a 13-week travel series which started airing on PBS-TV stations in 2001. A second 13-week series aired in 2004.

Edwards’ most recent CD, “Live in Massachusetts” was released in December 2006; and Media Artists released a 90-minute documentary of his career, “That’s What Our Life Is.” He scored the soundtrack for the romantic comedy “Chatham,” starring Charles Durning, David Carradine and Bruce Dern and scheduled for release this month. He also has a small role as a reformist preacher in the film.

“I’ve been a very lucky guy,” he says. “And I’ve seen it all – black limos, red carpets, blue nights and green money. Success is being able to sing your heart out no matter what else is going on in your life and to follow each song to where it may lead without regard to category, market niche or radio format.”

Tickets to Jonathan Edwards are $18 general admission ($15 for Opera House members) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716/679-1891 Tuesday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. and Saturday, 2-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at

This performance is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, which is generously sponsored by The Gilman Family. It also is made possible, in part, with public funds from NYSCA, a state agency, and the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua County’s only year-round performing arts center, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of events is available at

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