Notes from the Fringe: Coffee, Gospel and Left For Dead

Java's on Gibbs Street.

Java’s on Gibbs Street.

It was Sunday at the First Niagara Fringe Festival and I started out the day on Gibbs Street, having coffee and a scone at Java’s. The city is beautiful in the morning, with the sun streaming through the trees and people milling about outside the coffee shop. I really should come down here more often.

My friend and improv partner Laura met me again. We had breakfast with a sparrow and met a dog named Bam Bam.

I shared my oatmeal scone with a sparrow.

I shared my oatmeal scone with a sparrow. Laura scared the sparrow. Repeatedly. And not always accidentally.

This is Bam Bam. I met him in Java's with his mom, Middle.

This is Bam Bam. I met him in Java’s with his mom, Middle. He shared Laura’s scone.

We also ran into our other improv partner, Don Beechner, and fellow improviser Peg DeBaise. Don’s one busy guy this week, doing readings and sketch and theater; you can catch him in a few shows this weekend, including Polite Ink: Sketch & Improv Presents: 9 More Minutes on Tuesday and Murder by MacGuffin this Friday and Saturday. Peg will be appearing in Triple Entendre on Tuesday at MuCCC. (Non-Fringe plug: Don and Peg are both part of the Photo City Players, the new house team at Photo City Improv on Atlantic Avenue, behind Sticky Lips.)

Don Beechner and Peg DeBiase, improvisors, actors and all around very funny people.

Don Beechner and Peg DeBiase, improvisers, actors and all around very funny people.

At the end of the street, kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, were decorating the streets with chalk, filling an already beautiful corner of the city with more color.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

Kids from the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA, along with their mentors, decorating the street with chalk art.

I love Rochester. I’d forgotten how gorgeous the Eastman Theater is. You don’t really see the beauty when you’re driving; you have to stop and walk around to notice things tucked away off the main drag. Like, did you know that right off Main Street, at the intersection with Gibbs Street, there’s a beautiful residential neighborhood? Check out the lovely old row houses.

Grove Street in the city, just off Main Street.

Grove Street in the city, just off Main Street.

Grove Street in the city, just off Main Street.

Grove Street in the city, just off Main Street.

Years ago, in another life, when I had a real job (as opposed to writing with a cat on my keyboard and dogs barking a day long serenade), I used to work in the Sibley Tower. I had no idea these homes were just a block from where I parked every day.

Laura and I had tickets to see Left For Dead improv at Writers & Books. Much like Thank You Kiss and Unleashed, who we saw yesterday, this was super smart, really funny improv.

Left for Dead at Writers & Books. You can catch their show again on Wednesday.

Left For Dead at Writers & Books. You can catch their show again on Wednesday.

They’re all 55 and older, which makes them unique in the improv world. The troupe is fresh off two trips to comedy festivals this summer, in Pittsburgh and in Washington, DC. Again, we’re so fortunate to have so much great talent here in Rochester. You can catch Left For Dead at Writers & Books on Wed, 9/23.

I snuck into the Gospel Sunday event going on in Kilbourn Hall in the Eastman Theater. There wasn’t an available seat in the place. There was music and dance ministry, and it’s easy to see why this uplifting event was jam packed.

Gospel Sunday at the Eastman Theater.

Gospel Sunday at the Eastman Theater.

Gospel Sunday at the Eastman Theater.

Gospel Sunday at the Eastman Theater.

Heading to the car – I had non-Fringe stuff today or I would have been here til dark – I took one more peek in the Spielgarden, just to see if I could catch a better peek at Hot Tub: The Musical. I’m glad I did. I was able to see the “stage” much better than the other night and got to see a bit of the show.

Hot Tub: The Musical

Hot Tub: The Musical

The premise: Abby DeVuyst places a lounge singer doing a set on the patio at a hotel. Some women come to sit in the hot tub and interrupt her with stories of their own song and dance days. I’m not sure what happens next – from what I could see of the rest of the cast was backstage, so I’m sure hijinx of the highest order were on the bill. But I had to run. You’ll have to tell me what happened!

One last thing: if you’re in the Spiegelgarden and you happen to see a row of cars where people are look like they’re fighting, crying or interacting with clowns, don’t panic. It’s just the Dashboard Dramas II. I have no idea what the scenes are about; all I know is the audience starts in one car and then moves to each car in turn, experiencing 10 minute theater productions, very up close and personal.

Dashboard Dramas, the most intimate theater you'll ever experience.

Dashboard Dramas, the most intimate theater you’ll ever experience.

Dashboard Dramas, the most intimate theater you'll ever experience.

Dashboard Dramas, the most intimate theater you’ll ever experience.

Anyway, that’s about it for my weekend of fun. I’m going to a dinner tomorrow for Sinda Nicols, whose one-woman show, The Lady With All The Answers, is at RAPA at School of the Arts on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Can’t wait; this looks really funny and I’m looking forward to meeting her.

And just to end on a silly note: this is Laura. We’re working on a new tightrope routine. We’re going to call it Daredevil Improv. Seriously, this is the First Niagara tribute to Sam Patch inside the Spiegelgarden. Stand in the right spot, ad this 3D interactive art makes it look like you’re walking across High Falls. Or at the very least a big hole in the Gibbs Street parking lot. Cool, isn’t it?

My friend and improv partner Laura and I working our tightrope act, Daredevil Improv. Ha!

My friend and improv partner Laura and I working our tightrope act, Daredevil Improv. Ha!

You can find links to all of my posts from the Fringe here.

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2 responses to “Notes from the Fringe: Coffee, Gospel and Left For Dead

  1. I had a great time! Joanne you are a fabulous playmate.

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