Fans of the Rochester Museum and Science Center's trippier laser shows, as well as astronomical enthusiasts, will delight in "Lost in the Funhouse: Revolution," a multimedia show held last night at Strasenburgh Planetarium (657 East Ave.) as part the Rochester Fringe Festival. Created and performed by Robert Kulik and Rick Scott of the vocal trio F'loom, the show combines the planetarium's own projected star maps of the Rochester sky with swirling visualizations, electronic music, field recordings, and spoken word to explore how humans relate to the shifts in season as our home revolves around the sun.
The 50-minute program is divided up with gongs and dronal chords, the former signifying a shift in season, the latter taking place every 8 seconds, approximating a single day. Guitar player Kulik also provided "alien transmissions" captured by his radio telescope - periodically a distorted voice would pipe up to tell us humans how strange we are. These vocalizations were humorous but at times a bit hard to decipher. The cycle of seasons began with autumn, which we now approach, and overhead small light bodies with blue auras swarmed, converged, and separated, leaving light trails. The spots resembled sperm under a microscope, but could easily be construed as ants or other animals busying themselves in preparation for hibernation. These images were followed by brushstrokes covering the sky, like a wind gust chasing its own tail.
Winter swept in suddenly, with dancing wisps of frost, a poem recited with a perfect Scottish brogue, and the eeriest reading of a Robert Frost poem I've ever heard. Spring was heralded in by visions of warm bodies of light whirling and waking, and what sounded like Vivaldi's "Spring." Summer was accompanied by birdsong and patterns growing across the sky.
I found that the duo's theatrical readings of seasonal associations and poetry were more suited to autumn and winter, as the tone remained a bit too sinister to evoke springtime or summer. The gritty, dissonant, experimental music flowing through the background was easily the best part of the performance. The show was really cool, with only a couple of minor technical hiccups that took me out of the flow of seasons, but hopefully those will be smoothed out for the next couple of performances.
Catch "Lost in the Funhouse: Revolution" again Saturday, September 22, 8-9 p.m., or Sunday, September 23, 6-7 p.m. at the Planetarium. Admission is $8, and the show is recommended for ages 5 and up. Kulik and Scott will also act in "Howard and Emily" at Writers and Books on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday night I'll be seeing the Wearable Technology Fashion show at Little and "Howard and Emily" at Writers and Books.