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Skeptical poetry

The Center for Inquiry, a global hub for secular humanism dedicated to discrediting religious and supernatural claims, has developed a large international following. But local adherents to the center’s defiantly skeptical philosophy have been somewhat harder to come by.

To that end, the staff of this bastion of scientific incredulity near the University at Buffalo’s North Campus has increasingly organized cultural activities in its complex at 3965 Rensch Road in Amherst.

On Wednesday, the CFI and Just Buffalo Literary Center present their monthly Café Poetry Reading in the CFI’s Amherst headquarters. The event will feature readings from accomplished Lancaster-born poet and actor Loren Keller, retired teacher, writer and visual artist Theresa Wyatt, and CFI Senior Research Fellow Joe Nickell, who is regarded as one of the world’s great debunkers of religious and supernatural myths.

For more information, call 636-4869 or visit www.centerforinquiry.net.

Road trip

Opera lovers should look north in January and February, as world-famous opera director Peter Sellars arrives at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto for the first time with Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” The opera, a medieval tale of forbidden love, opens the winter season and marks not only Sellars’ company debut but also the first time this production has been presented in North America. It includes video imagery by artist Bill Viola, to reflect Wagner’s “scale and scope, grandeur and immensity, and genuine transcendence,” Sellars said in a press release. Canadian tenor Ben Heppner leads the cast. “Tristan und Isolde” will be presented for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. West, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, 8, 14, 17, 20 and 23. It is sung in German with English projected.

Tickets are available at coc.ca, by calling (416) 363-8231, or at the box office, Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check the website for discounts for students and day-of-show seating.