Special Sections » Rochester Fringe Festival

Frank reviews Champagne Brown, Castle Creek, and 'White'


It was a cool, fresh Fringe that assailed my senses as I moved about downtown Saturday night. What a sensational vibe; what a sensational sense of community. I love this festival.

With all the venues packed with intrigue, I stuck to the outdoor stage for the most part. First it was Champagne Brown proposing a funky toast to those piled up in front of the stage. The band dug a deep groove with the dangerous Dexter holding down the bottom end like a funky sandbag.

Next came Castle Creek, straight out of The Salt City with a brilliant guitar-driven sound that came off bluesy and classic. The female lead vocals were powerful and arresting above a host of tasty licks. This band needs to come back, Jack, pronto.

It killed me to skip out on Burn It Up (formerly Mrs. Skannotto), but I had a date with John Borek's new one-man excursion, "White," at MuCCC. Now, I knew better than to arrive with any expectations, but I also realized that no expectations are a sort of expectation in and of itself. Borek can be blunt and uses the theater as his medium, his muse -- and he delights himself in chaos.

Over the years, the man has delighted and enraged me -- I once snuck out of the theater during one of his productions that I was performing in. "White," however, no matter how controversial its creator's rep, explored the aspect of being white, with its privilege and self-imposed guilt. In the show, Borek talked about discovering that his freshman roommate turned out to be an influential writer in the white supremacist movement some 20 years later. Borek wondered aloud at why white society became so dominant. What was its everlasting impact? How did we get here?

He was both charming and convivial in his quest going so far as to greet each audience member as they came in creating a bottleneck of curiosity and mirth right off. Bravo Senor Borek!

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