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Queer Voices in Theatre, Buffalo’s Artie Awards and Hilarious Onstage Blunders

“And the winner is!!!...” Join host Bentley as she chats with Artie Award nominees Michael Gilbert-Wachowiak, Alejandro Gómez, and Gabriella McKinley. They talk theatre in Buffalo and explore the impact it has in the LGBTQ+ community. The group chats about the public’s reaction to North West’s Lion King performance and shares their views on nepotism and favoritism in the theatre world. Make sure you stick around for their hilarious “the show must go on” stories!

Group Chat 2024
Latest Episodes
  • On this week's Group Chat, and the final show in celebration of National Comedy Month, Bentley welcomes back Western New York comedian Charmagne Chi and introduces listeners to two new voices. Dan Reitz is the founder of Buffalo Improv House, and Megan Eckwahl is the marketing and communications manager at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY. This week, the discussion is about rising stars on screen and in the clubs, the history and evolution of TV comedy, and the (proven) healing power of laughter. Don't believe it? Listen to this week's Group Chat, and you'll feel better afterward!
  • Everyone’s in stitches during this week’s group chat! Bentley welcomes Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, Allie Brady, Comedian and voice of the Buffalo Bandits, and Dallas Taylor, Improv actor, Director, and Poet. This hilarious group spends the hour advocating that comedy is a true art form and doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It's been a connector from the Bible to George Carlin, Kate McKinnon, Mark Russell, and Maria Bamford (and really, there are too many to note). We dissect blue comedy, the influence of AI, the powerplay between a comedian and their audience, and the two sides of social media impacting comedians today.
  • On this week's Group Chat, Bentley welcomes Buffalo State University Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies (and part-time DJ!) Dr. John Torrey, podcast host and Associate Producer for WBFO Charles Gilbert, and co-owner of Town Ballroom Donny Kutzbach into the studio to discuss what's currently in the zeitgeist, including Beyonce and Cowboy Carter - the accolades and some of the unfortunate negative feedback. The group chats about music festivals and their relevance, NCAA Women's Basketball, and the perceived conflict between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. Finally, the tumultuous descent of - but culturally significant - Puffy. It's an enlightening discussion. Join us for this week's Group Chat!
  • For this episode, we welcome comedian Allie Brady, content creator and host of Compact Science on WNED PBS, Cory McCants, to the group chat for conversations with Bentley surrounding the celebrity experience. While sometimes uncomfortable, can famous people open up to contribute to the greater good? We talk about Kate Middleton’s announcement of her cancer diagnosis and how younger people in the spotlight speaking out about their health struggles can lead to greater awareness and, thus, early intervention. “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” is a docuseries exposing a toxic culture behind Nickelodeon television shows from the late 1990s and early 2000s. We discuss the impact these types of shows have on child stars and how to prevent abuse moving forward. Finally, we welcome Sarajane Gomlak-Green, host of the WNED PBS series Compact Science. to the chat for her scientific expertise and positive energy surrounding the total solar eclipse! We talk about safety measures, what we can expect to see, the impact on travel, and what this event means on the grand timeline of scientific wonders in this edition of Group Chat!
  • Join Bentley as she kicks back with an eclectic trio of guests: the vivacious performer and comedian Charmagne Chi, the charismatic actor and podcaster Michael Gilbert-Wachowiak, and the enigmatic poet, writer, and actor Dallas Taylor. First up: in the showdown between online and in-person shopping, this hilarious group unanimously lands in the on-line world. Next, they dive into the phenomenon of the side hustle. From passion projects to entrepreneurial endeavors, our guests share their stories and discuss the unstoppable rise of the side hustle culture. The conversation takes a turn to TikTok and the impending ban looms. What will this mean for the future of social media? Our panelists offer their predictions. Wrapping up, from mouthwatering cuisine to vibrant Dyngus Day traditions, it's time to celebrate heritage, community, and Buffalo Polish culture. Be sure to catch this episode of Group Chat, where laughter and exploration collide in the most captivating way!
  • Bentley welcomes back Dr. Naila Ansari, Ashleigh Chrisena Ricci, and Cory McCants for a jam-packed episode. They discuss the pros and cons of Air BnB vs. hotels and self-driving cars recently being tested in Buffalo, New York. The group also discusses the upcoming Tyson Paul boxing match, the biggest month in basketball for men’s and women’s teams, endorsements, and the challenge of playing at the college level. Finally, it's National Goof Off Day! Bentley and gang talk about what they would do if given an entire day to goof off. Don't miss this episode of Group Chat!
  • This episode of Group Chat premieres on the 4th anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Bentley and friends remember forced isolation and chat about unexpected silver linings. In 2024, the world is open, and spring is upon us. The group discusses St. Patrick’s Day traditions, memories, parade festivities, and Irish culture. Finally, we are on the precipice of festival season! We talk about SXSW, past festival experiences, and the evolution of festivals. Join Bentley and three brand new members to the Group Chat: Co-Founder of Twenty6 Productions and Co-Owner of Buffalo Iron Works, Grace Vesneske, music journalist and Content Supervisor for the Martin Group, Michael Farrell, and education consultant and podcaster Peter Horn for an hour of intelligent pop culture chat!
  • In this episode, we talk about all things Oscars, including the historical role of how women have been represented by the Academy. Bentley welcomes three guests with individually unique insight on the topic: Program Director of North Park Theatre in Buffalo, Ray Barker; Actress and Host of WNED PBS's "Let's Go" Ashleigh Chrisena Ricci; and Comedian and voice of the Buffalo Bandits, Allie Brady. We also dive into topics circulating in the ether, like the newest emersion of the "trad wife" lifestyle and how we've created "third spaces" to combat or create social connection. Don't miss this informative and introspective "group chat" that dives into gender roles in popular culture, the perception of movie performance accolades, and views on congregating in shared spaces.
  • In this episode, we begin Women's History Month with a candid conversation about how inclusion and equity of women are represented in pop culture. Bentley welcomes three strong women: Africana Studies assistant professor, choreographer, podcaster, and performing artist Naila Ansari, educator & researcher in gaming and pop culture; Vanessa Haddad, and comedian and voice of the Buffalo Bandits Allie Brady. You won't want to miss this honest and humorous "group chat" that digs into super fandom, nostalgic television, and the role of women in history, sports, politics, stage, and screen.
  • In this episode, we dive deep into the fascinating realms of artificial intelligence (AI), social media's ubiquitous presence, and the 2024 lineup of nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Join our lively guests, Content Producer of Brave Spaces and Compact History from Buffalo Toronto Public Media, M. Akram Shibly, Content Creator, Actor, and Host of Compact History, Cory McCants, and Talent Promoter and Co-Owner of Town Ballroom, Donny Kutzbach. Get ready for an honest dialogue that navigates the highs and lows of our digital age. We dissect the advancements and potential pitfalls of AI and dive into the pervasive influence of social media in our daily lives. And, of course, it wouldn't be "Group Chat" without a music debate! This year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations are out. Join us for an engaging episode where we explore the intersection of technology, art, culture, movies, and music and invite you to be part of the conversation.