A year ago Rochester still didn't really know what to expect from a Fringe festival. But after five days of dancing on buildings, light shows, A-list comedians, improvisational puppets, gospel choirs, geriactors, drag queens, kids shows, physical theater, and dozens of other acts, the people got it. More than 32,000 people turned out for the festival's inaugural year, way outpacing organizers' expectations. In response, the 2013 First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival has expanded to 10 days, taking place September 19-28. That's double the time to take in all the dance, visual art, music, comedy, theater, and family shows being offered up in 28 venues in downtown Rochester.
The Rochester Fringe Festival is put on by a nonprofit corporation kickstarted by some of the area's key cultural institutions, including Geva Theatre Center, the George Eastman House, Garth Fagan Dance, and Eastman School of Music, among others. What makes Fringe different from other arts festivals is that participating venues curate their own shows. Acts applied in spring 2013 and the various theaters, galleries, cafes, etc. picked the shows that best fit their venues.
Tickets for Fringe shows vary per venue, typically ranging between $6 and $16 with dozens of events totally free of charge. (The headlining acts in Kodak Hall and the Spiegeltent have higher ticket prices; see details below.) Tickets are available online at rochesterfringe.com, or in person at each venue starting one hour before show time. Fringe Fanatic Passes, which grant admission to all Fringe shows (except performances at Kodak Hall and the Spiegeltent), cost $190 and can be purchased online or at the box Spiegeltent Box Office (located at 460 E. Main St. September 14-28).
For a full schedule of the festival, a list of venues, maps, and other information, se the official Fringe Festival guide included in this issue or visit rochesterfringe.com.
City Newspaper will offer extensive coverage of the 2013 Fringe Festival. Look for daily blogs during the run of the festival, with photos, reviews, and our critics' picks for best of the fest, and make sure to pick up the Fringe Review in print in the September 25 issue. - BY ERIC REZSNYAK
2013 Fringe Festival Headliners
Good dance performances are often mesmerizing. When they're done in slow motion on the side of skyscrapers, bridges, and billboards? Then they're epic. That's what makes San Francisco-based BANDALOOP one of the most captivating dance acts in the world. The performances are so unique, they almost seem like they couldn't be real. But they are real, and they're spectacular.
BANDALOOP made a big splash as one of the headliners of last year's Rochester Fringe Festival, drawing more than 10,000 spectators to its performances. This year it will again take the stage (well, the side of a building) at HSBC Plaza (100 Chestnut St) on Friday, September 20, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 21, at 4 p.m.
The best vantage place for spectators is Manhattan Square Park. Watching BANDALOOP is free, though food and drink will be for sale in the park. On Friday night free entertainment will be available 5-9 p.m. as part of Friday on the Fringe. — BY TREVOR LEWIS
Read our full interview by clicking here.
Dave Barry has written more than 30 books, and at one point his newspaper column appeared in more than 500 papers nationwide. He won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for commentary (which he misplaced for several years), and his newest book, "Insane City," has drawn rave reviews from critics and readers alike. On Friday, September 27, Rochester will get a chance to get the inside scoop from the man the New York Times declared the funniest man in America. Barry takes the stage at 8 p.m. at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.), and tickets cost $20-$65. — BY TREVOR LEWIS
A new addition to this year's Fringe Festival, the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent is an antique-style Belgian "magic mirror tent" that will be set up at the corner of East Main Street and Gibbs Street. But it's not a house of mirrors. This is a performance venue, and the Magic Crystal will be holding a variety of events for all ages throughout this year's festival.
Cirque du Fringe, a Cirque du Soleil-type show created exclusively for Rochester, will have performances Thursday, September 19, through Saturday, September 28; tickets cost $31. The other big draw, Silent Disco, is a dance event where you listen to the music through headphones instead of over speakers. The Disco will take place Saturday, September 21, Friday, September 27, and Saturday, September 28, 10 p.m.-midnight; tickets cost $5-$7.
If that wasn't enough, the Spiegelgarden, an outdoor beer and wine lounge adjacent to the Spiegeltent, opens Thursday, September 19, and it will hold several events of its own. The Pedestrian Drive-In, a moviegoing experience similar to the Silent Disco, will shows three classic movies. On Sunday, September 22, catch "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (the good version, starring Gene Wilder); on Tuesday, September 24, see "The Big Lebowski"; and on Thursday, September 26, it's "The Breakfast Club." All films start at 7:30 p.m.
Then on Wednesday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m. put your arts and culture knowledge to the test with TriviaCity: An Arts & Culture Quiz put on by the fine folks at City Newspaper. This free event will include questions based on the arts, pop culture, and Rochester, and prizes will be awarded to the top teams.
For information on all of the Spiegeltent events check rochesterfringe.com. — BY TREVOR LEWIS