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Frank reviews Mental Graffiti, 'The Black Bird of Death,' and the Immersive Igloo


First off on this tepid evening, I sauntered over to see RIT's Mental Graffiti poetry reading. Topically it was young person fare and charming, with lots of clever digs and clever ways at reclaiming compromised innocence. One fellow even performed an ode to his foot. When a performer did something of note, the other poets would intone "mm-mm" and snap their fingers beatnik-style. Right on.

(That was it for Mental Graffiti at the Fringe, but check them out at facebook.com/RITMentalGraffiti)

"The Black Bird of Death" at MuCCC. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • "The Black Bird of Death" at MuCCC.
This festival is spread out and not as walkable as say, the Jazz Festival, so I pointed the jalopy toward MuCCC for "The Black Bird of Death." I'm sorry, but it was the Black Bird of Boredom. The show was loosely set on the movie "Casablanca," with direct references to the "Maltese Falcon," and meant to be a whodunnit. It ended up being kind of winded and dull. The actors were good, but the story and the clues weren't well thought out or presented in a way that made sense.

So I jumped back in the battle wagon and headed downtown for the Fringe's HQ, the eye of its collective storm. The place was positively teeming with folks wandering about in the dark as a movie played for people on the make-shift lawn. You could smell the curiosity in the air with the waffle fries and fried dough. It was a vibe that reminded me of that island those donkey boys took Pinocchio.

The Immersive Igloo in the Spiegelgarden. - PHOTO BY FRANK DE BLASE
  • The Immersive Igloo in the Spiegelgarden.
One place they might have enjoyed was the Immersive Igloo; a giant inflatable igloo housing a sound installation fired through eight surrounding speakers. It was loud enough where you wouldn't fall asleep, but just quiet enough for meditation and contemplation. Roars of sound became lions, crashing waves, or the voices of the dead; it got to where it was talking to me. The downside was that it was saying, "Your ass hurts." Yes, the little chairs were a bit of a challenge, but it overall was a sweet experience.

The 3D Sound Experience in the Immersive Igloo has shows every day of the Fringe in the Spiegelgarden. Click here for specifics. $16. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.

Tomorrow night, you'll find me at MuCCC for "Where? I. Come! From...," then at Bernunzio's for Leo Crandall. Say goodnight, Gracie.

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