Join me and the other artists at Central Creatives for a three day holiday pop up event on Black Friday weekend. Stop up Friday 11/26, Saturday 11/27, or Sunday 11/28 for some beautiful, unique items from local artisans.
I’ll be there throughout the weekend but I hope you’ll stop up on Small Business Saturday between 11 am and 4 pm! I’ll have signed copies of “Suddenly Stardust” available for purchase as well as a selection of jewelry, bookmarks, ornaments, photo frames, and a bunch of discounted “less than perfect” items. And as an added treat, throughout the day I’ll be doing mini-readings of some of your favorite columns as well as book excerpts and new micro flash fiction. All weekend you’ll be able to contribute to a collaborative poem, and who knows? I might even give some stuff away.
Central Creatives is located at 349 West Commercial Street, in the Piano Works Mall, East Rochester, NY, 14445, right off 490. Park at the end of the plaza near Ferrari Pizza and enter through the red door between Weaving Arts Guild and Penn Fair Golf. Then just follow the signs to the second floor (via stairs or elevator). Use the gallery entrance to get to my studio. There’s plenty of free, accessible parking at Piano Works and lovely restaurants nearby – make a day of it!
As the festival winds down to the last days, just a quick recap of yesterday and a reminder of a few shows you’ll not want to miss.
Yesterday, my improv teammates Laura Fleming and Don Beechner joined me for the Steele Sisters at the Strong Museum of Play. We hit the 9 PM special pirate show. Well, actually, Don went to the earlier show and had so much fun he came back for more comedy, sword-fighting, and sisterly love. The Steele Sisters’ run at the festival is done, so you’ll have to catch them on the Renaissance Festival circuit. Continue reading “Notes from the Fringe: Pirates and Downton and Disco, oh my!”
It was Hump Day at the Fringe, and that phrase took on a whole new meaning with the two shows I saw last night.
“The Lady With All The Answers”, starring Sinda Nichols, is a one woman show based on the letters of Ann Landers. Written by David Rambo, it’s funny, classy and poignant, and a must see for anyone who ever read the “Dear Ann Landers” column – or had a column stuck on the fridge as a gentle suggestion that there’s a problem that needed to be discussed which no one was really sure how to bring up.
No topic was off limits to Ann Landers, from the appropriateness of doing housework in the nude to the proper way address sexual fantasies with a partner to the mundane dilemma of which way is the proper way to hang a roll of toilet paper (back to the wall, of course). She was the first to discuss homosexuality in a column and to talk about oral sex on television. Of course, less sexually charged topics came up just as frequently – settling family disputes, proper manners, dealing with difficult coworkers.
The show takes place in 1975 on the eve of a deadline in which Ann – or in her real life Eppie Lederer – is writing the most difficult column in her (to that point) twenty year career. Through the monologue, as well as phone calls from her daughter, sister and husband, we learn more about her marriage, her relationship with her sister (who penned the Dear Abby column), and her trip to Vietnam to visit with the troops, something she didn’t write about in her column. Continue reading “Notes from the Fringe: Ann Landers, Princess Wendy, and naked laughter”
This is preview post of sorts, since technically I didn’t hit any official Fringey things on Monday. But there are some fun things happening tonight and tomorrow that I want to make sure you don’t miss.
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.
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.)
As you know, I’m covering the Fringe for RochesterSubway.com, my favorite local website. Saturday, however, was designated for me as “no work day.” Instead, my friend and improv partner Laura and I had tickets for several shows and we were going to spend the day just hanging out. It was raining, so I left the camera in the car and didn’t take the notebook out once.
Just a quick update: I spent the evening on Thursday at the opening night of the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, checking out the art, shows and activities in the Spiegelgarden, the heart of the festival. I’m doing a long post for Rochester Subway, but since it won’t run until Monday I wanted to quickly share something amazing from a show called the Cabinet of Wonders.
It’s this really funky, classy, smart and sassy variety show with comedy, acrobatics, juggling and more. It was really, really entertaining. (There’s more in this post.) But I walked away really moved by the music from Alexander Morgan, which offered the musical backdrop to the aerial dancer and acrobatics.
The show was amazing, but the music really tied it all together. It was spellbinding. And since there wasn’t much of a plug for him specifically – the performers were mentioned by name at the end of the show but that’s it – I wanted to make sure that if you saw the show, you knew how to get his music. He’s just released his debut album, “For The King”, available on iTunes.
Many of you know that for a long time I used to cover entertainment for Christian and community publications, so naturally I was intrigued by the album and a few of the song titles. You get sensitive to certain words and phrases (“The Flood”, “Thoughts Upon A Hill”, stuff like that) , and I wondered if there was a spiritual inspiration to his songwriting. So I asked, and he answered:
“Though most of [the songs] don’t speak literally to a particular faith or belief, I absolutely draw upon my relationship with religion and spirituality. Many of the questions I ask in these songs involve a philosophical challenge to even my own beliefs. So the fact that you pick up on that is certainly no coincidence. The title of the album refers to a sort of fictional antagonist in the loose ‘story’ of the album, but really represents people who put it upon themselves to abuse power and act as (very dramatically put mind you) Demi-gods. People in politics, war lords, religious heads, or even those who govern our hearts. It’s a broad metaphor, but they certainly all relate in my mind. “
“In this city, as in most places around the world, women still can’t lawfully go bare-chested, although their male counterparts have had that privilege for decades. It’s time to celebrate women’s topless pride in spite of all the silly and unconstitutional restrictions posed by local laws.”
She goes on to further say:
“Imagine if, 100 years ago, women had worn pants with lifelike knees painted on them. Many people in 2014 don’t know it, but women’s knees were considered too indecent to show back then. Today, no one bats an eye at the sight of an uncovered woman’s knee. Soon it will be the same for bare breasts! How silly it is to have to wear painted ones!”
She makes some interesting points. It is silly for a woman to be allowed to wear in public a bikini top designed to look like a naked breast, but not be allowed to bare a naked breast in public. What’s the difference? The Ta Ta Top looks just like a naked female breast (and that’s coming from a man I showed the photo to). Nude beaches are commonplace in other parts of the world.
Those readers who know me know that I’m not really into tattoos. I’m not an opponent of tattoos. I just don’t have one, and probably never would have one, and wasn’t really thrilled when my daughter got a ginormous one on her back. I’d spent her whole life to that point trying to protect her from pain and scars she’d carry for her whole life, so yes, her decision to permanently ink her body freaked me out for a while.
But I got over it.
So you may be surprised to learn that I’ve been watching the first two seasons of the reality series “Miami Ink” on Netflix (using my handy dandy Roku, the greatest technology a Luddite like me could ever own).
The show has offered me the chance to see the artistic and emotional motivations people have for getting tattoos.
But what I’m most fascinated by is the creative process the artists go through, how hard it can be sometimes to be creative on demand, and how an artist balances that creative process with the need to do the job they’re being paid for.
I know that most of you think I’m a nut for painting with the dogs (my daughter does, at least), but it’s actually pretty fun. Here’s the process:
Step 1: Put some paint on paper – I usually just plop colors around in no particular order.
Step 2: Cover the paper with something plastic. I’ve been using those plastic page protectors, which hold up well. I’ve also experimented with plastic wrap, which is more sensitive to the dog’s touch and yields a different texture to the paint. Tape the edges so the plastic stays in place. You may want to tape the paper to a large craft board or cutting board to help it stay in place while the dog plays with it.
Step 3: Put the paper on the floor and let the dogs go at it. I use food on and under the page, and I’ve started spreading peanut butter over the plastic. The dogs lay down on the page, claw at it with their paws, pick it up in their mouths, and wrinkle the page.
Step 4: Carefully undo the tape and lift the plastic off. Viola! A masterpiece!