As the week wraps up, many murals for this year's "Wall/Therapy" project are finished, some are getting closer to completion, and the artists who have stayed in town are beginning new ones.
Manhattan-based twin How & Nosm departed on Tuesday, and Spanish artist Liqen left on Wednesday morning. Rochester artist Mr. Prvrt began a bonus piece today in the Public Market (go find it!), South African artist DALeast began a new kinetic work in the St. Paul Quarter that is visible from a lot across Pleasant Street from where his wife, Faith47, is working on a large piece. Brooklyn-based artist Cern and Siloette, of San Franciso, continue their work side-by-side at the RecCenter at 200 Avenue D.
German artist Case began a new piece based on the Kodak Girl photograph by renowned street-art photographer Martha Cooper on Lake Avenue near Kodak itself. Rochester artist Thievin' Stephen's minotaur on Pennsylvania Avenue nears completion, and he will begin a second mural this weekend. St. Monci, also of Rochester, continues his progress at Roc Brewing Co. at 56 S. Union St. While you're checking it out, don't miss the show of work by the three local artists inside Roc Brewing.
During my documentation of this project, most visitors who came to view Case's image of a swimmer and a mermaid on Pennsylvania Avenue appreciated the lovely ladies, while some asked enthusiastically or uncomfortably if they were lesbians, presumably because one of the gals is embracing the other.
Belgian artist ROA started receiving similar questions from viewers when his mural of a pile of snoozing bears began to take shape on the wall facing the lot of World Wide News at 100 St. Paul St. Many people have suggested or insisted that the bears are engaged in a sexual act because they are lying on top of one another, facing opposite directions. But the faces aren't positioned correctly for the insinuation to be true. Close, but no cigar. It's provided an interesting look at Americans' knee-jerk tendencies to finish a picture (and also exposes some peoples' cases of sex on the brains), but ROA told me he's observed it as Western Culture thing, not just American.
Here's some context:ROA's body of work is rife with fuzzy animals lying in piles together, or silhouettes of beasts with bone or vascular structures revealed. As "Wall\Therapy" is a project of Synthesis Collaborative, which deals in x-ray imaging, ROA considered making one of his bones-revealed works for Rochester, but when he met the neighborhood, he said, he wanted to make something that was "a little sweeter," and decided upon the cuddling bears.
Back to Case: his mural is finished and includes what he has told us is an untranslatable German phrase that means several things, but the gist seems to be that "success hangs on courage." The meaning of the gorgeous imagery is altered for me by this phrase. The swimmer clinging to the mermaid is perhaps embracing the courageous side of herself, embodied by someone who dwells comfortably in the uncharted depths.
It has been such a gift to witness people from different parts of this city looking at art together, discussing it together. There is sometimes a palpable hesitation on both sides of each interaction. The addition of this artwork to city neighborhoods won't magically solve any problems, but it's starting something necessary, moments at a time.
Many of the artists will work through the weekend, weather permitting, and depart Sunday or Monday. Follow us on Twitter at @roccitynews for more updates and photographs of the progress.
This week's opening routine was like something out of a Charlie Chaplin nightmare. The girls and guys were indistinguishable from one another, each clad in a loose fitting suit, bowler cap, and mustache. The routine was filled with lots of nice smaller moments - the guys lifting the girls on develepe and at least one of the dancers had a lovely spinning stag leap - but I didn't feel like the routine had a good sense of direction. There was also a red umbrella they were passing around (at least I think there was one), but it didn't seem to have a purpose, symbolic or otherwise. Tyce DiOrio choreographed the routine.
This week the third judging seat was filled by Christina Applegate. She's got a few Broadway credits to her name, so she can at least recognize dancing, but I think there are probably more qualified options. If you're judging something, I want you to know what you're talking about. Or at least be funny. Christina didn't provide any intelligent critiques all night. In fact, there were moments she was - dare I say it? - worse than Lil' C.
George & Tiffany started off the night with a Nappytabs hip-hop routine about adventures in babysitting. Their married choreographers clearly have baby on the brain (seriously, Tabitha looks like she's about read to pop). It started off with the two "babysitters" going crazy as soon as they heard the baby's cries. The routine was set to "Out of My Mind" by B.oB. feat. Nicki Minaj and had some serious popping. The two started on the floor, gradually popping their way upright - all the time, perfectly in sync. At one point, George got behind Tiffany, controlling her every move. It was impressive how on point they were, considering they got punk'd by wardrobe with those ill-fitting neon pants. Nigel called out Nappytabs for getting too light with their hip-hop (although admittedly this routine had more popping than Nappytabs' last dozen or so routines combined). Christina's critique was that on the slower parts the dancers got "soupier" ("is that a thing?" she asked Nigel) and then she said something about "X" marking the spot. I'm sorry, Christina, but you're going to need to do better than that. This is why we need true dance experts, not celebs to judge this show.
Amber & Brandon had a major challenge this week. As first-time partners, they had to bring some steamy chemistry to a Ray Lepper jazz routine about a couple in the South in the summer - and it was hot. Amber's extension is simply sensational. I don't think there's a way that girl can't bend. I loved the moment when she was picking herself up from a floor spin and Brandon slid the chair from across the stage and it ended up under her butt. There were a few moments where the routine missed it, though. Toward the end, there didn't seem to be any moves planned; they kind of just seemed to be making it up on the spot. Brandon partnered her well, but he was largely invisible to me. The judges praised Amber, but ignored him. Nigel called it "baby-making choreography." Oookay. Nigel also warned Brandon to watch his shoulders (agreed). He tenses up too much, and that sends his shoulders into his ears. Not good for dance.
Apparently Janelle likes to write raps and Dareian is a daredevil. It didn't matter what they said, because their choreographer this week was Pasha! Thank you, dance gods. You've clearly been listening to my prayers. Unfortunately, not even a prayer could save these two in their routine, set to, I shit you not, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepson. That song was fun for about 10 seconds ... like two months ago. Now it's like a cockroach, living in the proverbial apartment of the world's mind, and it refuses to die. ENOUGH. I was somewhat distracted by how poorly that poppy tune fit a cha-cha routine. I wanted some spicy latin flavor. Instead, Janelle and Daeian gave us a big, messy bowl of bland grits. Their footwork was too turned in (Mary picked right up on that) and they struggled with the transitions. Their hand connections were so sloppy, it was almost as if their hands were covered in butter and they couldn't get a grip on one another. On top of that, they were both trying WAY too hard to be sexy (although that might have had something to do with their teacher), but not with one another. Mary slammed their lack of chemistry, footwork, carriage -- basically everything. Christina shrugged it off saying it wasn't their genre. Christina, sweetie, that's the whole point of this show: to challenge dancers to excel in styles other than their own. These two could be in trouble.
Lindsay & Cole got gorgeous a Mandy Moore contemporary routine that they threw themselves into. Lindsay reached new heights with her arabesque on point before collapsing into Cole's arms. I got chills. She was the unquestionable star of this routine. It seemed almost super-human the way she floated into the air on her leaps. Cole was no slouch either. On that grand jete in second, his extension was flawless. Every move with him seems so perfectly placed, any dancer would envy him. I loved the way they lit the stage for this, too. As the two dancers floated across the stage, their shadows danced behind them on the walls. Simply incredible. Nigel called Cole's dancing "meticulous" and all the judges agreed Lindsay was a revelation this week.
During rehearsals, Mandy Moore tried to steal Will away from Amelia. The two danced a jazz routine about how opposites attract set to "You" by The Creatures. The moves for this number were more angular than some of the couple's previous work. They were in-sync overall, and there were a few "wow" moments - I loved it when Will grabbed Amelia's ankles, hanging her upside-down from his shoulders and spun her 'round - but this wasn't their strongest week. I'll say this much, though: kudos to Amelia for being able to dance a jazz number in those 4" heels - damn! Christina started off judging by telling Will and Amelia how amazing the routine was. Nigel quickly contradicted her, scolding the pair for not connecting with one another. There are differing opinions, but Applegate was unable to string a sentence together for most of the night. Mary took the middle of the road, saying it was good, just not as good as some of the other routines they've done so far. Largely, I'd agree.
Matthew & Audrey got a salsa with new choreographer Liz Lira. They seemed to be faring pretty well in rehearsals, until they got to the tricks. I was a bit nervous for this, because these two have been the couple to beat in my mind so far. They stumbled this week. The costuming proved that even hotties like Matthew can't pull off a shocking red full body suit slit down to the navel. The dancing wasn't much better. The whole routine felt lethargic and lackluster. The pot stir Audrey did at the beginning slowed them down. Matthew seemed to always be thinking about the next step, and he let it show. That's a big no-no in dance performance. The judges tore them a new one, too. I think these two have a strong following, but I could see them landing in the bottom. That said, I don't think the judges will send them home unless they really botch next week's routines.
Witney & Chehon took on a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine about two people who love one another but circumstances get in the way. The routine was set to "I Will Always Love You" by the late Whitney Houston (that still feels strange to write). The pressure was on for Witney, whose parents named her after the iconic singer. Witney seemed to grab onto a moment in time and hold onto it with her slightly forward-leaning arabesque. Just when it looked like she couldn't hold on any longer, Chehon was right there to catch her. They cut the song to get to the climax a little too soon for me. I would have liked to see the pair struggle with this forbidden love a bit longer before getting to that moment, but it was incredible. Witney dove at Chehon, who threw her spinning into the air and then caught her, as she draped herself perfectly across his body. Wow. The pair got a standing ovation from the judges and Nigel called it "flawless."
Cyrus & Eliana got a customized hip-hop routine from Nappytabs about a ballerina from a jewelry box corrupted by a robot. Strange as the concept sounded, it kind of worked. Set to a slower version of Britney Spears' "Toxic," the number featured great partner work. There were times when Cyrus would start an arm isolation, and Eliana would seemingly finish her sentences. When it was sharp, he was spot-on, but Eliana killed it when it came to swag. It's probably not a good sign when a hip-hop dancer gets outdone in his own style by a ballerina, but that didn't stop the judges from fawning over Cyrus. I don't get it with this guy. I mean, the is the king of the robot, but that move is so 10 years ago, and it's about the only thing he's good at. And every time he doesn't do well in a style, they chalk it up to "not being his style." That's bullshit. This show is about excelling at styles other than your own. And he hasn't yet. Christina was the voice of reason this time, warning him to prepare for contemporary soon or he could be in trouble.
Elimination time, and once again, there were few surprises for me. Amber, Lindsay, and Eliana landed in the bottom for the girls, and George, Brandon, and Dareian were in danger of going home on the guys' side. Unfortunately with the new format, even though these dancers bombed last week, they all redeemed themselves this week. Lindsay was lukewarm in the dentist routine, but brilliant at tonight's contemporary routine; Eliana struggled through a jive last week, but bucked up (see what I did there?) with her hip-hop number tonight. I thought Amber sizzled in last week's tango (with no help from her partner) and she was hot again tonight. Surprised to see her land in the bottom this week - it seemed like her star was just starting to rise.
I thought George's foxtrot was perfection last week and he was good again tonight. Not sure how he landed in the bottom. Dareian botched it both weeks for me, and Brandon is largely forgettable. I didn't even remember what routine he did last week (it was the Broadway bookworms-on-a-bench number with Janaya, who got axed last week).
The judges asked four of the dancers to dancer solos: Amber, Eliana, Brandon, and Dareian. Amber's solo showed off her incredible extension, but it felt like a series of moves, not a routine. Like I've said before, a good dancer does not a good choreographer make. She did get great height on her leaps and her center was nice, but the number dragged on. Stepper Brandon had a lot of fun with the routine, but it didn't include much stepping. It was mostly him wiggling his hips. He'd do a few short sequences of stepping, but then stop and make some ridiculous face. Not so buck.
Eliana went sans-toe shoes, but decided to dance in hot pink spandex pants (eek!). She's got gorgeous control of her movement though, pirouetting and arabesquing all over the place. Her hands felt a little sloppy at times, but overall, not a bad solo. Dareian seemed to always be falling, and it didn't feel as controlled as it should have been. His center is stunning though. I'm pretty sure his pirouette count at the end was close to a hundred or so.
The special guest dancers tonight were from Alvin Ailey Dance performing a routine called "The Hunt." I'm a huge Alvin Ailey fan. That company does some absolutely incredible dancing, but tonight's routine didn't do it for me. It featured six guys shirtless (yes, honey), but in big black skirts with red undersides (no, honey). The routine had strong warrior-like hand combat-style moves with a mish-mosh of other sporadic leaps and such. The tribal circle was cool, but then the music stopped all together, the men paired off and started tangoing. I didn't totally get it. I will say this much though, as much as I didn't like the routine, their technique is breathtaking.
Nigel started off saying that each of the dancers got a lot of votes, but not enough. The judges were surprised all three of the girls ended up in the bottom 3, and I agree. Ultimately, they ended up sending Amber home. So sad they had to get rid of one of these three, because Amber was brilliant tonight and didn't deserve to go out like this. For the guys, Nigel seemed less sincere about being bummed about the guys being in the bottom three, and ultimately, they decided to eliminate Brandon. I think that was the right call. So sad to see Amber go. That's bullshit, America. You've got two weeks to think about it though, as the show is taking a break during the Olympics. "So You Think You Can Dance" resumes August 8. See you then!
As noted drag connoisseur Charles Dickens once wrote, last night's "RuPaul's Drag Race" was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This season has certainly bounced back from that dreadful cake episode a month or so ago, and the last three or four episodes have been wildly entertaining. Last night was no exception. The challenge made for instant hilarity and the lipsynch battle was truly jaw dropping.
The worst of times reference has to do with the contestant chosen to reenter the competition. At the end of last week's elimination RuPaul informed the remaining four queens - Raja, Manila Luzon, Alexis Matteo, and Yara Sofia - that Ru is often criticized for sending home dolls before their time. So she would be bringing back an eliminated contestant from this season, one selected by a unanimous vote by her co-judges, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, and Billy B.
I agree that Ru has a tendency to cut some contestants too early, especially in seasons past, since both Ongina (S1) and Pandora Boxx (S2) were axed ahead of less-impressive queens. This season I think Ru's mostly gotten it right, and the Final 4 are the four best contestants. The only S3 eliminees I was remotely interested in seeing again were Mimi Imfurst (cut after the third challenge after assaulting Phoenix on stage - she was a mess, but she was always interesting) and, god help me, Shangela (justly eliminated last episode, but a veritable font of sound bites - that said, I did not miss her this episode at all).
Instead the show gave us one of the worst contestants of the season, one who had already long outlived her expiration date when she was eliminated two episodes back: Carmen Carrera. First, I cannot believe that the other three judges unanimously decided to go for Carmen. Michelle certainly never seemed to care for her when Carmen went before panel. Second, Carmen is about as useless as a drag queen can get. She brings NOTHING to the table. The criteria for this show - when Ru decides to use them - are Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent. Carmen is a charisma vacuum; can you imagine being stuck in an elevator with that vapid queen? She's certainly not unique, relying almost solely on a body that is, let's be honest, not all that impressive. (I was far more in awe of Yara's bod in the singing challenge.) And she has no discernible talent aside from being naked. I can be naked, Carmen. I'm doing it right now. So, boo to Carmen. Literally - I booed at the television when her smirking face walked through that door. What a huge wasted opportunity on this show's behalf.
After I got over the disappointment at Carmen's return, the rest of the show was seriously awesome. The mini-challenge tasked the queens with soaking each other in a dunk tank. That's not some gay euphemism (although it sounds fun); they actually took turns trying to dump one of their competitors in a carnival-style dunk tank. Yes, the show has officially run out of drag-related challenges. We did learn two things, however: 1. Raja throws like a girl. 2. If this drag thing doesn't work out for Alexisáshe should sashay over to Major League Baseball, because sister has an arm on her.
Alexis ended up winning the challenge, which gave her an advantage in the main challenge: the dolls had to transform a straight jock into their drag sister for a night. Of course the queens all fawned over the straight man meat in front of them, and rightly so. My personal favorites were Raja's Texas stallion, Carmen's beefy Asian friend, and Manila's strawberry-blonde jokester. The guys were mostly game for their drag transformations, and it was a hoot watching them learn the actual mechanics of the artform (their faces as they tried to comprehend the ins and outs - beg pardon - of tucking was worth it alone). In addition to the regular mainstage presentation, the queens had to give their sisters a cheerleader look and present a cheer involving safe sex.
Pretty much everyone did well - the cheers were outrageous, especially Manila's and Raja's, which referenced barebacking (guest judge Sharon Osbourne had no idea what that was; classic). But usual front-runner Raja performed worst overall. Her jock did not transform well, and they looked kind of drab on the runway - even the normally glamazon Raja. There was also very little chemistry between her and her sister, "Enigma." Raja rightfully deserved her place in the bottom two. Joining her there was Carmen, who went right back to her wheelhouse by wearing barely anything. She looked great, but her stocky cub of a partner couldn't really pull off a two-piece with all those bulging muscles and... I'm sorry. I blacked out there for a second. Anyway, the consensus among the judges was that Carmen was only looking to show off Carmen (duh) and didn't give any consideration as to what would work for her partner (double duh).
Meanwhile, Alexis did great, Yara's drag sister may have been prettier than her, and Manila and her partner totally killed it. Love her sister. He's that self-satisfied jock from high school who you should probably hate, but ultimately just want to make out with in the band-room closet. Not that I know anything about that.
The lipsynch between Raja and Carmen will stand out as one of the most memorable in the show's history. It was set to Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," and Raja was in the lead from the beginning by, you know, actually doing something instead of standing there and posing, like Carmen. About halfway through Raja took off her skirt, which of course was like flashing red to the nudity-loving gay bull that is Carmen, and that bitch ripped off her bottoms, concluding the lipsynch completely bare on her lower half. The censors' pixel box got a workout. Somehow the two of them ended up on the ground and started caressing and rubbing up against each other -- even guest judge Margaret Cho was shocked, and NOTHING shocks Peg Cho. It's a damned good thing we just had those cheers about safe sex!
After it was over my friend turned to me and said, "If Raja goes home to Carmen, I am done with this show." Amen. Thankfully that didn't happen, and the pointless Carmen Carrera was sent home again, with Manila adding, "Please don't come back this time, for real." FOR REAL. If she had somehow managed to make F3, or even somehow win this thing, I would have been furious.
With Carmen gone - again - that leaves us with a strong Final 4. I think Yara's going to have pull out every trick she has up of her sleeve to survive next episode, because the show has been setting up an Alexis/Manila/Raja finale for quite some time. (I had initially assumed Shangela instead of Alexis, but I'm pleasantly surprised that's not the case.) And I think that may be the best Final 3 this show has ever seen.
Always wanted to build your own Transformer, then duke it out with your friends?
Check out the new trailer for "Transformers: Fall of Cybertron," which shows off the creation mode, and several other new features for the game, including multiplayer maps.
"Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" launches August 21 for PC, XBOX 360, and PlayStation 3.
Artist update: Belgian artist ROA is due to arrive today. San Francisco-based artist Siloette will arrive early this week (update to follow).
**CLICK HERE for City's original feature on "Wall/Therapy.**
Though England's Ben Eine had to back out of participation this year, he has told Wall\Therapy organizers that he intends to visit and paint a mural in Rochester in the future. Everyone involved wishes him the best.
Sunday's block party was a beautiful gathering of Rochesterians, who witnessed a lot of progress on the paintings along Pennsylvania Avenue. New York City artist Cern joined the group there with a whimsical work, and also made balloon animal creations that complemented his mural. Live music in the evening was provided by Thunder Body, who kept the crowd dancing, and Mikaela Davis, who will create an original score for the documentary film being made about this project.
HowNosm finished their strikingly intricate work in fewer than 24 hours on Saturday. Rumor has it that the duo will paint a bonus piece before the artists depart early this week.
DALeast's wall is covered in his characteristic winding tangle of black lines, form taking shape into what will be a great blue whale. Faith47 created a beautiful golden lioness, crouching up above the Union Street Bakery, which includes the words, "I am she whom drives the jackals from you while you sleep."
Liqen's linework includes a massive eagle bound up in barbed wire and padlocks, with surveillance cameras pointed at it. Already I've heard nervous murmurings among the public about whether or not the piece will get buffed out due to its content. There has been no official plan to remove the mural, but the reality behind the concerns is disheartening, considering some Americans' historic defensiveness over "offensive" art. Artists have the potential to jolt us out of the sometimes single version of reality in which we dwell. It can provide insight into the true complexity of the world, which is often painful and confusing. When we are startled from a comfortable pedestal, we may balk and shift into denial.
Intelligent, open people will move through that stage and ask questions and engage with the work. Fearful people call for the removal of works that upset them, but I ask you, readers, to be very critical of those who are fearful of such a subject as the one Liqen presents to us. Even if you disagree with the message in a work of art, let it become the forum for discussion. It is ironic that an artwork about surveillance and control would potentially be censored.
Case made major progress on his piece, which is shaping up into a swimmer clinging to a diving mermaid. The photo-real element of his work is coming through already in the colorful scales and faces.
Mr. Prvrt is putting finishing touches on his eerie owls peering from dark-painted bricked-up windows. His sharp stencil work is getting ethereal detailing, enhancing the already mythic effect of the creatures.
Thievin' Stephen's backgrounds are finished and today he's putting in the first layers of stencils, but so far he's keeping the twin-figure design he's created for the double garage doors a secret. Saint Monci completed some initial geometric patterning yesterday.
An updated map of mural locations was posted yesterday by "Wall\Therapy"; check it out here.
Wall\Therapy kicked off with a reception for the visiting and local artists on Friday, July 20, at 1975 Gallery's elegant new spot on Charlotte Street, providing Rochesterians with the opportunity to speak with several of the artists before they began work early Saturday morning.
Missing from the reception were ROA and Siloette, who will arrive early this week, and Ben Eine, whose circumstances have forced him to back out of participation in the project. Ian Wilson of Wall\Therapy provided the following statement:
"The WALL\THERAPY team is sad to announce that Ben Eine will not be joining us for this year's event. Nevertheless, we wish him the best of luck."
Twins HowNosm must to leave Rochester by midweek. They have really pounded out their mural at lightening speed, but the work is extremely beautiful. You can check it out on Union Street just before it hits East Avenue.
Progress is happening on murals by Thievin' Stephen, Case, Liqen, and DALeast on Pennsylvania Avenue behind the Public Market, where the Art Block Party will take place through 10 p.m. today. Visitors can watch the artists work, enjoy live music, and get goodies from various food vendors. Check out The Yards above Flour City Bread Company for more festivities.
Faith47 is working above the North Union Street Bakery. Also near the market, Mr. Prvrt is painting on the Harman Flooring building along the parking lot along N. Union and Scio Streets. St. Monci is tackling an enormous wall along Roc Brewing Co. on S. Union. Cern is painting the Avenue D Recreation Center.
Once they arrive, ROA will paint at 116 St. Paul Street (facing World Wide News lot) and Siloette will join Cern at the recreation center. Some locations are subject to change, and we'll keep you updated.
In addition to the world-class artists visiting and working in Rochester, street art photographer-legend Martha Cooper has arrived in our city to shoot Wall\Therapy.
More information will follow as murals progress. For updates on the fly, follow us on twitter: @rocccitynews. Our full story on Wall\Therapy can be found here.
For the first time, the performances are eliminations were rolled into one show - and it was a jam-packed box of sweets. But even the best box of chocolates has a few nut clusters you've got to suffer through to enjoy the goodies.
The opening routine started out with a disturbing "Mirror, Mirror" moment, with Cyrus creepily staring down the camera. The image quickly dissolved into a quirky, creepy group routine set to "The Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson. The dancers hit their sharp, zombie-like movements perfectly in synch. I loved when they all created a pyramid and collapsed as one dancer rose up. Very effective. The group melded together again, pulsating and sporadically spazzing out in unison. The darker, quirky number (which was pre-taped so that the dancers had time to change out of their red, black, and white costumes) was choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha.
On the judging panel this week with Nigel and Mary was one-time "permanent" judge Adam Shankman. It didn't take long for them to pimp his new "Step Up" film (they're up to seven or eight now?). I think they managed to get in at least two references in only 90 seconds - and Adam was definitely all aboard the shameless promotion train.
The night's first routine went to Lindsay & Cole, who blew me away with their powerful Paso Doble last week. This week, they were only lukewarm. I actually double-checked my notes to make sure it was the same couple. Dancing a Christopher Scott routine to "Teeth" by Lady Gaga, the two flipped in and around a dentist chair. Cole jumped straight into character as the uber-nerdy patient. Lindsay was only middling as the saucy, sexy dentist. The piece never seemed to pick up steam, which could have had something to do with the song's slower tempo, and the pair's popping sequences were a bit off at times. So-so reviews from the judges.
Amelia & Will were supposed to be dancing as if they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders in the Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. Amelia's leg extension is simply incredible, even when she leaned so far off center for her arabesque that the only thing holding her upright was Will. That's trust. Will partnered her masterfully, lifting and spinning her around like a rag doll. She flopped over, and then emerged in a stunning develope. There was a great moment when Amelia desperately tried to run forward as if she were in quicksand, as Will lunged from the stage floor after her feet. Wonderful bit of choreography. For me, Will sold it emotionally, which surprised me since his personality seems a little less mature than most. Amelia didn't seem to get the emotion of the piece until the very end, but when she got it, it was powerful. Strong reviews from the judges for both dancers and chorographer. Sonya really is growing on me, and growing as a choreographer more and more each season.
Nick lucked out again, getting a ballroom routine for a second week in a row. Nick & Amber took on a tango that was chock-full of fast, intricate footwork. Even though she was largely forgettable last week, Amber sizzled tonight. Her un gancho series was perfection and her carriage wasn't too shabby either. Nick was largely forgettable (again) in his own style, which doesn't bode well for him. He did a decent job partnering her, but that's about the best I can say for him. Amber got a glowing report from the judges again this week. She should be fine for eliminations, him not so much.
The show's producers didn't keep us waiting too long for our yummy man candy. Matthew & Audrey were barely clothed for their evil robot-inspired routine from Sonya Tayeh. She can call it what ever she wants, as long as Matthew is shirtless. The dancing matched. It was full of freezes that showed off Audrey's flexibility (she's the queen of knots in my mind) interspersed with spastic leaps from him (holy height, Batman!). The routine still had a creepy-crawly vibe too it - the two of them prowling across the stage in unison, necks cocked forward in an unsettling way. This was a huge, yet brilliant, departure from the pair's flowy, romantic "Titanic" number last week. That will probably work to their advantage, since it shows their versatility. These two are the couple to beat in my mind.
I still have mixed feelings about Dareian & Janelle's "hip-hop" routine. Choreographer Christopher Scott set it to "My Girl" by The Temptations. No doubt an iconic song, but how it relates to hip-hop, I'm still not sure. Janelle's poofy tutu of a dress and his gold starter jacket weren't doing the couple any favors either. The dancing didn't seem to fit the song. Some moments where the intricate hand movements were slowed down to match the music worked well. Dareian & Janelle milked all the chemistry out of those moments, but were left scrambling when the popping picked up its pace. Overall, the routine felt too frantic for this romantic anthem. The ending was adorable, with Janelle finding a ring in Dareian's coat pocket and the two embracing in a kiss (did I mention they were supposed to be a couple in love? That's OK, I think Christopher Scott forgot too). Adam told Janelle to make sure she lived in the small, in between moments (good advice for all the dancers). Nigel slammed Scott's choreography, calling it "uninspired." Let the claws come out, Nigel!
Apparently choreographer Sean Cheesman does Broadway now. He choreographed Janaya & Brandon's routine about a couple of love-struck bookworms on a bench. Janaya got the energy and comedy out of the routine, but the pair of them lost me in the dancing. It didn't do it for me, although there was one cool moment when Janaya hooked her foot on Brandon's shoulder, crept up backwards and did a somersault mid-air. The judges gave Cheesman a tongue bath (ugh), but only gave the dancers a lukewarm critique. I feel like the styles this season haven't been as pronounced as in seasons past. Tony and Meredith and Jason Gilkinson have carved out a niche for themselves in the ballroom realm, and Nakul's got Bollywood nailed, but the other choreographers seem to be all over the place. Jury's still out on whether that works for me.
Poor Cyrus & Eliana got stuck with a jive routine this week and they didn't seem happy about it - way out of both their comfort zones. But they bucked up, dialed the energy up to about a 13, and muddled their way through it. Eliana actually fared surprisingly well. Her kicks and retractions were sharp and dead-on for a jive. Cyrus was clearly trying, but was simply out of his element. I think the choreographers may have actually toned down the footwork for him a little bit. He seemed to have the energetic spirit of the style down pat, though. Eliana got the footwork pretty well - light and over the toes -- but Cyrus was stopping short and forgot to point his feet. That's a big no-no in this style. Still, they did look like they did have fun. And they got through some very tricky partnering and hand switching sequences very smoothly. The judges were gentler with Cyrus than they should have been, but praised Eliana for the routine.
Daniel & Alexa had to redeem themselves for me after last week's bizarre jazz-in-the-box routine. This time, they started off trapped in a bathtub, but emerged, gracefully and beautifully. The pair had stunning lines that complimented each other well, but Dee Caspery's choreography didn't really go anywhere. There was no real rise and fall to the piece. There was a nice moment when they seemed to be imitating the water - very fluid - but the rest fell kind of flat for me.
Last week, it was the dreaded Paso, this week, the Foxtrot. Could the Quickstep be around the corner for one unlucky pair next week? I think Tiffany & George could nail it. They certainly nailed their Foxtrot this week, set to "I Wanna Be Loved By You" by Sinead O'Connor. The routine oozed the glamour of old Hollywood. They became a modern-day Fred and Ginger before our eyes. Their topline was the top, their partnering was near perfection, and their chemistry with one another and the audience was sublime. I was very impressed by these two, and the judges were too. They should be good for next week.
The final routine of the night was a spirited Bollywood routine from Nakul Dev Mahajan. Witney & Chehon seemed a bit overwhelmed with the intricacies in rehearsal, but they got it down in time for the performance. The routine started with a "call and answer" section - anything he could do, she could do better. That made their fast-paced hand work even more effective. And how Witney didn't manage to wrap herself into a knot in that flowy, gorgeous red and gold costume with that many knee spins, I'll never know. Adam picked on Witney's posture (yeah, I can see that), telling her to pull up in her neck and broaden her shoulders. The judges said Chehon's personality beamed and that he redeemed himself from last week's near-train wreck of a samba. Good on them.
Immediately after the critique, Cat brought all the dancers on stage for elimination. It was a very "Chorus Line" moment, all 20 contestants standing in a line, as Cat called six forward who would be in danger. This week it was Janaya, Alexa, Witney, Nick, Daniel and Chehon. I wasn't sure the judges would have enough time to weigh all their options, but apparently Nigel and the crew knew who was in the Bottom 6 going into tonight's episode. I wonder if that informed their critiques tonight. That lets the judges decide ahead of time if they need to see any of the contestants "dance for their lives." Ultimately, the judges thought they had seen enough from the six dancers in danger this week. I think it's a smart move to get rid of the mandatory "dance for your life" segment. Even though these are all tremendously talented dancers, they're not all necessarily strong choreographers too, and that made that segment unnecessarily painful sometimes.
Before we found out who would get the ax, we got a behind-the-scenes look at the film Shankman had been pimping out all night (I counted 13 references) - "Step Up: Revolution." The cast features S6's Kathryn McCormick in the lead role (get it, girl!), as well as S5 alum Phillip Chebeeb and S4's Twitch. It was a shameless promotion, but the dancing was top notch and bursting with energy. Great popping and isolock movements from Phillip in the beginning. The spectacle really picked up momentum in the middle with sharp, precise footwork and upper-body movements. The chair dance section with Kathryn was a little stripper-ish, but she really served it, and it was at least brief, so I can deal with that I suppose. The audience was definitely feeling it, and surprisingly by the end, so was I. So here it is, Shankman: "Step Up: Revolution" hits movie theaters Friday, July 27.
Right to the results - no sugar coating it. Nigel said they were all great dancers, but hey, someone's gotta go. I love how blunt this is. Ladies first, and the two girls going home were Alexa and Janaya. Boom. Done. The two guys going home were Nick and Daniel. Ultimately, there weren't really any surprises here. Both weeks, Daniel and Alexa did a so-so job with bizarre routines, Nick botched his own style in Week 1 (that's practically an automatic elimination) and Janaya had a weak week with hip-hop. I wouldn't be surprised if people confused her and Janelle (I know I did). And now we're already down to the Top 16. We'll resume next week with just eliminating two dancers, but still, this season's gonna fly by fast at this pace!
This morning the organizers of the inaugural First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival announced the schedule for the new arts & cultural event, which will feature more than 180 performances of 120 shows in 21 venues in downtown Rochester. Shows range from theater to music, visual art to comedy, dance to family-friendly fare, and will take place Wednesday, September 19-Sunday, September 23.
At this morning's press conference, Festival Producer Erica Fee touted the Fringe Festival's "mind-boggling variety of choices and depth of offerings."
Joining previously announced headliner Project Bandaloop -- an aerial dance troupe that will perform on the side of One HSBC Plaza in a free show on Thursday, September 20 -- are headlining acts the Harlem Gospel Choir, with will perform with Rochester's Campbell Brothers Friday, September 21, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (8 p.m., $10-$40) and comedy superstar Patton Oswalt, who will be on the Kodak Hall stage Saturday, September 22 (8 p.m., $15-$55). Additional headliner announcements may be forthcoming.
But the real heart of this festival will be the more than 100 shows taking place at a variety of downtown Rochester venues, among them Bernunzio Uptown Music, Blackfriars Theatre, Gallery r, George Eastman House, Geva Theatre Nextstage, Java's, The Little, Memorial Art Gallery, Monage Music Hall, RAPA's East End Theatre, RMSC's Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, The Hungerford Building, Xerox Auditorium, and Writers & Books.
These shows are a mix of award-winning traveling acts (such as plays "The Bicycle Men" and "The Event," both at Geva), original collaborations (RIT is combining 3D light displays with local dance troupes), and a variety of homegrown artists. A full line-up of this year's shows from the Fringe press release appears at the bottom of this article.
The festival will feature more than 40 free shows, including street entertainment that will take place on Gibbs Street -- the festival's "hub" -- which will be closed for traffic September 21-23.
Single tickets for most shows will run $5-$15. A limited number of Fringe Fanatic passes, which grant admission to all Fringe shows except the Kodak Hall headliners (similar to the Jazz Festival's ClubPass) will cost $150. Tickets are now on sale at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 E. Main St.) and Wegmans' That's the Ticket locations, by phone (877-368-2207), or online at rochesterfringe.com.
City Newspaper will continue to cover the Fringe Festival leading up to its debut. Check back at rochestercitynewspaper.com for updates.
44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS (theatre)
GevaTheatreCenter Nextstage; Sat.,
Sept. 22, 8-10pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 3-5pm; $15
GevaTheatreCenter presents the Geva Theatre Conservatory production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, in association with "Rock the Vote." Written by the Neo-Futurists of Chicago, this is a smart, hilarious and irreverent look at whom our country chooses as its President...and why. Each President gets a two-minute play in a surprisingly informative yet moving view of American History, with a 2012 Presidential vote by the audience at the end of each performance. Middle school and up
A CAPPELLA HOUR (music)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Fri., Sept. 21, 5-6pm; $12/$8 students
A Cappella Hour features the University of Rochester's all-male Yellow Jackets and RAPA's Roc City Singers! The Yellow Jackets recently competed on Season Three of NBC's The Sing-Off, and the Roc City Singers are Rochester's own "Glee!" This highly-prestigious regional show choir features the top high school and college talent in the area. Complimentary wine. All ages
A NIGHT OF LAUGHS (comedy)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Fri., Sept. 21, 9:30-11:30pm; $12
Free workshop, 17+: Fri., Sept. 21, 6:15-7:15pm; www.rapatheatre.org
Representing NYC, Chicago, LA and Philly - eight name comedians - all on one stage! Hosted by NYC's Burlesque bombshell, Kitty Cockpit, this show features witty composer-lyricist, Mark Nutter; NYC sketch comedians, Kirsten O'Brien and Evan Zelnick; Philly's brash and brazen, Judy Clay; Chicago's musical comedian Matt Griffo; and character comedy from LA's Joe Liss (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Second City) and John Rubano (According to Jim, Second City). 18+
AL BILES AND GENJAM (music)
The Little Café; Sat., Sept. 22, 1-2pm; Free
Al Biles and GenJam play jazz, which doesn't sound all that fringy. Well, the music may be straight-ahead, but the band is far out. Al (a human trumpet player) and GenJam (the Genetic Jammer) improvise on tunes ranging from swing and bop to Latin and pop. Al and GenJam listen and reply to each other, but since GenJam is computer software that evolves its musical ideas in real time, it's spontaneous, responsive, and definitely on the fringe! All ages
AN EVENING WITH CHRIS WILSON (music)
The Space at Hungerford; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-10pm; $12
Chris Wilson is a unique singer/songwriter whose voice sets him apart from anyone else in his genre today. Chris burst onto the scene on the MTV television series, The Cut, where he placed second out of 10,000 hopefuls from around the country. A modern folk artist with influences ranging from Paul Simon to Johnny Cash, Chris has entertained audiences all over the world. Now he brings his intimate storytellers style concert to The Space.14+
ANONYMOUS WILLPOWER (music)
Java's; Wed., Sept. 19, 7-8pm; Free
Don Anonymous and Suzi Willpower are a husband-and-wife team of soul-inspired songwriters and genre-bending interpreters. Willpower's vocals have been described as ʺa blast of psycho-sexual seduction and wail.ʺ The band's four instrumentalists lay down a variety of hip-shaking grooves. The result is soul-baring vocals married to jazz, blues and New Orleans traditions, with a dash of reggae and punk-rock attitude. There's a dynamic push and pull within the songs: a poetic polemic of love. 16+
THE ARKANSAS TRAVELER MEETS MULLA NASRUDIN (music/storytelling)
The Little Café; Sat., Sept. 22, 10pm; Free
In the spirit of a Gypsy campfire, a Turkish coffee house, a Greek Hash house and a New Mexican Matachine, Howie Lester tells stories with music. "The Great Topanga Fire," "My Father's Violin," "Learning a tune from the son of a slave," and "The Arkansas Traveler meets Mulla Nasrudin" are just some of the stories, with songs from Blues, Gypsy, Klezmer, Cajun and Appalachian roots traditions - sometimes all at the same time. All ages
BATA CON PIES (music)
Java's; Sat., Sept. 22, 3pm; Free
This African/Caribbean drum and dance company promotes the concepts of cultural diversity, performing music from Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and Brazil. The name Bata Con Pies translates to "African drums with feet." The group uses bata drums, a family of sacred double-headed drums from the Yoruba culture in present-day Nigeria. All ages
ASTRO DANCE (dance)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sat., Sept. 22, 6:00pm; Free
An astrophysics/dance project funded by National Science Foundation, this RIT collaboration pairs the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) with the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. RIT/NTID Dance Company performers present an aesthetic, educational experience representing concepts of gravitational physics interpreted through dance, which was conceived and choreographed by RIT faculty Thomas Warfield. All ages
BEE EYE (video installation)
Gallery r; Throughout Fringe; Free
Immerse yourself in the world of the honeybee in BeeEye, a video installation by Cat Ashworth. Enter the hexagon-shaped structure and be surrounded by the sights and sounds of the honeybee. The honeybee has been in the public mind ever since Colony Collapse Disorder threatened their survival. This artwork takes a unique perspective on the human-honeybee relationship. All ages
BEFORE DAWN (film)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:45 & 3:45pm; Free
According to filmmaker, Haoran Li, Before Dawn is: "a response to my idea and understanding of the human perception of the universe...I wanted to create an underwater experience that is unique and familiar and that parallels the intuitive experience of being in space. The underwater acts as a barrier to the world we live in and the world that we don't know." Xiaoyo Liu composed the music. All ages
Blackfriars Theatre; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10pm; $5
It's 1963. Betty Parsons, the ʺden motherʺ of abstract expressionism, is about to lose her famous art gallery to a rival dealer who's lured away her ʺgiants of the art world,ʺ which include Jackson Pollack. Simultaneously, her career as an artist is being reignited. As the fiery Parsons dreams of her perfect gallery - a royal court with Betty as the Queen - she must face a world of loss that includes her former lover. Will Betty reclaim her gallery, or will losses so great destroy her? 18+
BEYOND THE SPHERES (film)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:15 & 3:15pm; Free
Saturn and Jupiter "space voices", recorded by Cassini and Voyager satellites, create a backdrop of inspiration in Beyond the Spheres. By extracting the features of these space audios, controlled properties of particles create the arresting visuals. Some mathematical equations are used to control the movements of those particles in their unfolding and changing sequences throughout the work. By Meghdad Asadi-Lari (MFA graduate candidate, RIT School of Film and Animation). All ages
THE BICYCLE MEN (theatre, musical comedy)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Wed., Sept. 19, 8:30-9:30pm;Thurs., Sept. 20, 6-7pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 7:30-8:30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 1:30-2:30pm; $15
The Bicycle Men is a sublimely silly musical comedy about a hapless American tourist whose bike breaks down in a quaint French village. Mayhem ensues as he steps into a surreal world of depraved marionettes, creepy bicycle repairmen, and off-the-wall cabaret performers. "Nothing could possibly lift your spirits as quickly as 'The Bicycle Men." -NY Times; "Absolutely not to be missed...delicious...intensely funny." -Chicago Tribune. Award-winning show features Dave Lewman, Joe Liss, Mark Nutter and John Rubano. Ages 16+
BIG VAUDEVILLE HOOK COMEDY HOUR (comedy)
The Space at Hungerford; Sat., Sept. 22, 10-11pm; $5
The Big Vaudeville Hook Comedy Hour showcases the best improv, stand-up and sketch comedy in Rochester! Hosted by Anna Hall. 18+
BILL EVANS and COMPANY: Modern Jazz, Modern Tango and Contemporary Dance (dance)
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music; Sat., Sept. 22, 8pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 2pm; $10/$5 student
This exciting, dynamic, emotionally-moving and entertaining choreography by award-winning dance-maker, Bill Evans, will be performed by nine world-class dance artists. The 50-minute program includes athletic modern jazz, visually stunning modern tango, and both humorous and lyrical contemporary dance. This fast-paced and uplifting event includes a variety of musical styles and is suitable for all ages.
BREAKDOWN: DANCE/SOUND (dance/music)
Christ Church; Sat., Sept. 22, 4-5pm; $10/6 students
The fusion of orchestral music and contemporary dance has never been more interactive, surprising, and engaging. Dancers and musicians alike will test assumptions about the roles of audience and performer, stage and house. This family-friendly, multi-art experiment invites all to become part of the visual and aural landscape. Featuring "some of the area's top modern dancers" (Anna Reguero, D&C), BIODANCE will playfully premiere new dance works that will fuse seamlessly with the power of Sound ExChange's 30-member orchestra. All ages
BROKEN IMAGES (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox; Sun., Sept. 23, 8-9 pm; $15, $10 seniors
Presented by Indo American Community Theater Group, KALIDAS, Girish Karnad's play is about a regional short story writer who becomes a literary phenomenon overnight when she decides to write a novel in English. Although the novel explores the complex relationship between the writer and her invalid sister, her own 'image' explores the 'real story.' A psychological thriller that keeps the audience guessing till the end. 18+
CANARY IN A COAL MINE: A Sketch Show (theatre)
The Space at Hungerford; Fri., Sept. 21, 8:30pm-9:30pm; $5
Experience a night of dark, irreverent, all-original sketch comedy with Rochester's very own Canary In A Coal Mine, featuring the talents of BJ Scanlon, Jeff Andrews, Kirk Stevens and Angela Prodrick. They may make you laugh, they may make you cry, they may make you sick, but most importantly - they'll make you feel. 16+
CASEY JONES COSTELLO Sings the Great American Songbook (music)
Java's; Fri., Sept. 21, 5-6pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 7-8pm; Free
Prepare to be wowed. Young crooner, Casey Jones Costello, takes you on a time trip through the early and mid Twentieth Century songbook. Along with veteran Broadway musician and conductor, Craig T. Raisner, Costello croons out the classics and forgotten gems, taking you on a sentimental journey in song. His silky-smooth vocals cushion you like a cat's pillow. Close your eyes and you'll see Bing Crosby. All ages
CHARLIE BETHEL'S GILGAMESH (theatre)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Sat., Sept. 22, 3pm & Sun., Sept. 23, 8pm; $15
Friendship and enmity. Joy and lament. Sex and violence. Gods and Men. Life and death. Huge antitheticals of the human experience come together in this 3,000-year-old tale from ancient Mesopotamia. Cross into the underworld with the king who did not want to die and learn the Big Secret of the Gods. 13+
CIAS ALUMNI AT THE LITTLE CAFÉ (visual art)
The Little Café; Throughout Fringe; Free
Recent fine arts, illustrations and photography of RIT alumni from the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences are on view at the Little Theatre Café, September 15-29. Check out the artwork while attending RIT performances, poetry readings or other scheduled events at this familiar venue. All ages
CLUB RIT: Poetry Readings Sponsored by Signatures Magazine (poetry)
The Little Café; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:30pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 12:00pm; Free
Poetry in a variety of modes by RIT students, staff and faculty. All ages
COMMUNITY MOVES KIDS SHOW (children's/dance)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 12:30-1:30pm; Free
From the sibling rivalry in "Perpetual" to the working cogs of a "Machine" to the feather brains in "South for the Winter," Core Project Chicago's Community Moves Kids Show will appeal to a child's senses of adventure, humor and excitement. All ages
CULTURE CLASH JAZZ QUARTET (music)
The Little Café; Sat., Sept. 22, 5:30pm; Free
Playing improvisational music, influenced by a range of world cultures and the music known as "jazz," Cultural Clash Jazz Quartet is led by noted saxophonist and composer, Carl Atkins, who's also professor of fine arts and director of the music program at RIT. All ages
DANGEROUS SIGNS (poetry/multidisciplinary)
The Little; Fri., Sept. 21, 6PM, Café; Sat., Sept. 22, noon, Theater 1; Free
Dangerous Signs is an exploration of African-American, Deaf and original poetry presented by RIT's Masquerer's Drama Club. A fusion ASL (American Sign Language)/poetry performance using music, dance, mime and spoken word, this performance is accessible to Deaf and Hearing audiences. 6+
DAY OF DANCE, SATURDAY (dance)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 12:15-3:15pm; Suggested donation: $5
12:15pm: Next Best Thing is a collective of energetic choreographers
celebrating their quirkiness through dance.
1pm: Pokerfaced cat fights, raw female prowess and absurd infatuation with food illustrate Kristi Faulkner Dance's intimate, unapologetic performance.
1:45: I am Cooper explores the battles and successes of former slaves of America settling in their homeland, Africa.
2:30 - Geomantics Dance Theater premieres "Twisted Surveillance," a satire on spying eyes, ears and pelvises of our times.
DAY OF DANCE, SUNDAY (dance/music)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sunday, September 23rd 12pm-3pm; Suggested donation: $5
Noon-12:45pm: Juxtapose, by Juliana Utz and Nicole Kaplan, demonstrates the
complexities of concert dance in a presentation of technique, artistry and
strength;12:45-1:30pm: Rochester's four-piece GrooveDogs deliver 'cool' jazz
animated by the dauntless dynamic tap dance artistry of Cheryl Johnson.
1:30-2:15pm: Percussive dance specialists, Brouhaha, led by Janet Schroeder, raises a rhythmic ruckus in the show "Tap and..."
2:15-3pm: NYC's modern dance company, Areadance, premiers Britney Falcon's newest work. Join them for a highly visceral, engaging experience!
DEAR DEXTER (music)
Java's; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9:30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 5 pm; Free
Dear Dexter plays acoustic rock 'n' roll, meshing acoustic guitar styles with classic rock for a unique sound. We shoot for melodic and simple with driving progressions. The show will be mostly original material with reformatted covers to suit our style. We're excited to be a part of this festival and know we'll give you a good show. 13+
DEATH OF (AN) ARTIST (theatre/multidisciplinary)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Fri., Sept. 21, 8-9pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 8-9pm; $12/$10 students. Free workshop, 12+: Fri., Sept. 21, 9:15-10pm; www.rapatheatre.org
In this multi-disciplinary drama written and directed by classical cellist Esther Rogers, actors, musicians and dancers participate as equal performers, asking: "Who killed Artist?" With a strong element of traditional theater script, the real energy of the play comes from the improvisatory language shared between performers from different disciplines. Surprising, simple and honest, this show will be unique and thought-provoking. 12+
DIVINE MILIEU: The Last Confession of Teilhard de Chardin (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Fri., Sept. 21, 4:30-5:30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 11:30am-12:30pm; $10
Reverand Edward Heidt delivers a compelling performance as twentieth-century philosopher, theologian, paleontologist and priest, Teilhard de Chardin, in L. John Cieslinksi's Divine Milieu. Discouraged and frustrated by the Vatican's efforts to silence him for his views on evolution and his order's heavy-handedness in dealing with him, Teilhard confides his feelings to a sympathetic friend. Fighting with his frustrations and his unwillingness to leave the Jesuit Order, he only wishes to show the Church that it has nothing to fear from science. 14+
DOUG WATERMAN'S FUN WITH FAIRY TALES (children's)
Writers & Books; Sat., September 22, 10-10:40am; Sun., Sept.23, 1-1:40pm; $7
Doug Waterman puts you and your family into some of your favorite stories, using music, laughter and lots of participation. You'll howl with the Big Bad Wolf, fall under a Wizard's spell, and end up dancing in the Deep Dark Wood. The show is based on Doug's CD, Truly Hairy Fairy Tales, which won WRUR's Open Tunings' 2006 Listeners' Poll for best local release in any genre. The CD will be available at the performances. All ages
DRAG 101 (theatre)
Sproull Atrium, Miller Center, Eastman School of Music (next to Max of Eastman Place); Fri., Sept. 21, 11pm-12:30am; Sat., Sept. 22, 12-1:30am; $8
DeeDee Dubois hosts Drag101, a unique blend of Rochester's best drag entertainers! A different show each night, featuring seasoned and fresh drag performers. Big heels, bright colors, spectacular costumes, lots of laughs, amazing illusion and fabulous impersonations. This high-energy show is guaranteed to leave you wanting more and wondering, "How'd they do that?" Don't forget your cameras! 16+
DRAGON'S LAIR (3D projection)
Christ Church; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9pm; Free
Crazy graphics and a fairy tale projected onto the exterior of Christ Church created by 3D Digital Design students at RIT, Professor Marla Schweppe and others. Perhaps the first projection-mapping experience in Rochester! Step inside the church afterwards to see more mapping, but this time on the organ. All ages
THE DUST (multidisciplinary)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sun. Sept. 23, 5-6pm; $10/$8 students. Free workshop, 14+: Fri., Sept. 21, 7:45-8:30pm; www.rapatheatre.org
A multi-media exploration of contemporary myth and belief, Core Project Chicago's The Dust explores the archetypes of Death, Fate, Memory and Man through dance, poetry, experimental music and visual art. The Dust takes audiences into the collaborative creative mind, as the artists of CPC debate, reminisce, narrate, philosophize, make fun of, dance around and dive headlong into the BIG questions of life and death. All ages
EIGHT BEAT MEASURE: Live A Cappella (music)
The Little Café; Sun., Sept. 23, 1-1:30pm; Free
Now in their 24th year of existence, Eight Beat Measure is RIT's original a cappella group. Begun as a faculty-led extension of RIT's choir, they quickly expanded their horizons and branched into the world of contemporary a cappella, where they're constantly taking risks and exploring new territory to make sure you get the best show possible! Make sure you pick up their latest album, "No Safety Nets," available on iTunes. 16+
ENCORE A CAPPELLA (music)
The Little Café, Sun., Sept. 23, 1:30-2pm; Free
Started in 1996, Encore A cappella is RIT's original, all-female a cappella group, consisting of a selected number of talented singers! Encore loves to entertain both on campus and off, and performs a diverse assortment of music from many different genres - all without accompaniment! All ages
THE EVENT (theatre)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Wed., Sept. 19, 7- 8:05pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 6- 7:05pm; $15
A man stands in a pool of light and attempts the ultimate magic trick: disappearing while remaining in plain sight. John Clancy's "extraordinary tour de force" (Scotsman), comes to Rochester via Amsterdam, Australia, Belfast, Berlin, Edinburgh, London and New York. "Performed with a conjurer's élan" (Guardian, London) by Edinburgh & Adelaide Fringe Best Actor Winner, David Calvitto, "one of the funniest and cleverest performers around" (Herald, Scotland), "a single performer gifted enough to rivet any audience" (London Times) 14+
FACES OF MADNESS: Classic Tales of the Insane Mind (theatre)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 5.30-6.30pm; $12/$10 students. Free workshop, 14+: Sat., Sept. 22, 6:45-7:30pm
Experience a glimpse into madness as four actors recount tales of insanity by such classic authors as H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Through dramatic, horrifying monologues and haunting physicality, MCC's On the Edge Drama Troupe will transport audiences to the depths of madness and present the circumstances that drove such minds into lunacy. 12+
FLOWER CITY VAUDEVILLE (variety)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 2pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 12:30pm; $10/$5 kids. Free workshops, all ages, following each show! www.rapatheatre.org
What do you get when you combine fantastic feats, family fun, and a variety show with a flair for the fabulous? The answer is: a multi-talented troupe of top Rochester performers skilled in juggling, music, clowning, circus arts and comedy whose name is FLOWER CITY VAUDEVILLE! There'll be club and knife throwing, plate spinning, washboard playing, unicycle riding, tale telling, rope walking, and a big wheel that keeps on turning! All ages
FOOTBALL [and other things theatrical] (theatre)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Fri., Sept. 21, 6.30 -7.30 pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 4-5pm; $7
The brainchild of several young actors from Brighton High School, Football [and other things theatrical] features two one-act plays by highly-acclaimed playwright, Christopher Durang: For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls and A Business Lunch at the Russian Tea Room. These hilarious plays satirize the more famous Glass Menagerie and skewer the film industry. And then...there's a football. Directed by Judy Shomper. 13+
GALLERY r SHOWCASES CIAS (visual art)
Gallery r; Throughout the Fringe; Free
Visit Gallery r's metro showcase and learning laboratory, where global thinking and creative solutions are the results of investigations by RIT's undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences. Appreciate the convergence of art and technology, interpreted through an impressive range of techniques and processes. Many of the works exhibited are interactive and encourage audience participation. All ages
GARDEN FRESH (music)
Bernunzio Uptown Music; Fri., Sept. 21, 9.30-10.30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 9.30-10.30pm; $5
Garden Fresh began in 2010 when Chris Coon and Pete Johnson set out to create hip-hop alter egos who could espouse the polar opposite of the genre's stereotypical content while still reveling in its music and machismo. Dubbing themselves Professor Fizizizt (read: physicist) and Tha Dome, Garden Fresh eschews praising money, intoxication and misogyny, and instead pens clever odes to thrift, water and politeness to a fault. The result is a jovial, all-ages performance full of catchy choruses and witty wordplay. All ages
THE GAY FIANCÉE (theatre)
Writers & Books; Fri., Sept. 21, 10-11pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-9pm; $15
In The Gay Fiancée, we meet blushing groom-to-be, Harvey, when he locks himself in the tux shop dressing room to soothe his cold feet. In this fantastical tale of love and mystery, Harvey must come to terms with the past before he walks down the aisle for his ninth life with the perfect guy, The Man in the Moon. From Method Machine, the company that brought you ʺThe Lipstick Massacreʺ and ʺAngels in America.ʺ 13+
GCI's ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (comedy improv)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Sat., Sept. 22, 10:30pm-12:00am; $10
Geva Comedy Improv's live-action, improvised Zombie gore-fest returns with even more rotten flesh, grisly dismemberment and hilarious, undead ultra-violence. Pack up your chainsaw, gas up the flamethrower, and rummage through your purse for shotgun shells. GCI is waking the dead and we want you there - for bait! **Strong language, violence and adult content - viewer discretion is advised** 18+
GENESEO BHANGRA (dance)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 4:30-4:45pm; Free
Since 2005, SUNY Geneseo's Geneseo Bhangra has been traveling throughout the Northeast, performing high-energy Punjabi dance in competitions and shows. The dance team performs for numerous fundraisers in addition to participating in local community service. Now, Geneseo Bhangra brings its wild, entertaining fun to the Rochester Fringe Festival. Watch this exciting routine and become immersed in the awe-inspiring world of Punjabi dance! All ages
GEVA COMEDY IMPROV PRESENTS FACE-OFF! (comedy improv)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Thurs., Sept. 20, 10:30pm-12:00am; Fri., Sept. 21, 10:30pm-12:00am; $10
A nail-biting comedic competition based upon suggestions from the audience. Two teams of improvisers go head-to-head in a contest of quick thinking, bold action, and wanton humiliation. It's hilarious improvised theatre featuring songs, scenes and an unforgettable evening of custom made, on-the-spot entertainment. 18+
GOOD MORNING (film)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sun., Sept. 23, noon-3 pm; Free
RIT student, Jieting Chen, tells the compelling story of a girl's morning using hand-drawn animation. 13+
THE GREAT CHERNESKY (variety)
Java's; Fri., Sept. 21, 8pm; Free
The Great Chernesky is a folk performer hailing from Auburn NY, who has mastered the art of ʺvagrant vaudeville,ʺ which is a performance style incorporating folk songs, joke telling, skits and stunts. Always a high-energy, entertaining act that engages the audience, The Great Chernesky is the greatest performer east of the Mississippi...and west of that don't matter! 16+
Max of Eastman Place/Sproull Atrium, Eastman School of Music; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-9pm; $10
The GRR! trio will take you on a genre-bending musical journey. Expect original compositions and select cover tunes ranging from fun and quirky to dark and haunting, always with carefully-crafted arrangements and provocative twists and turns along the way. The brainchild of guitarist Geoff Tesch, bassist Ron Broida and vocalist Robin Whiteman, GRR! will travel from stark, riveting Blues, to Folk, Jazz, Funk, and beyond. All ages
HANDS ON (Even If They're Sticky!) (children's)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Sun., Sept. 23, 11am to noon; $7
Watching a live theatre show is fun and exciting - so much so that lots of kids wish they could jump out of their seats and come right up on stage to be a part of the action. Here's their chance to get HANDS ON with live children's theater! TYKEs (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy) brings little volunteers from the audience up on stage to help create a little show - right before your eyes! 5+
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Fri., Sept. 21, 10:30pm-12am; $10
This rock musical, written by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, follows a post-botched-op transsexual East German singer on her journey to find her other half. Also a Sundance award-winning film, Echo Productions' cast features local actors Carl Del Buono and Sammi Cohen, along with a live band, The Angry Inch. Through beautifully-crafted music and clever anecdotes, this one-night-only performance about the ʺinternationally-ignored song stylistʺ is bound to captivate and entertain. Directed by Wayne Alan Dunbar. 17+
HIDE THE MOON: BASED ON SALOME (theatre)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Wed., Sept. 19, 8:30-9:30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 10:30-11:30pm; Free
Infatuation. Loathing. Fear. Lust. Hide the Moon: based on Salome leaves no emotion undiscovered. In this reinvention of Oscar Wilde's scandalous 1891 play, Eastman School of Music students combine drama, music and movement in what promises to be a wild and fresh theatrical event. Featuring a live instrumental ensemble and original arrangements of music by artists like Fiona Apple, Björk, and the Dresden Dolls, Hide the Moon is one Fringe Festival production you simply won't want to miss. 16+
HOWARD & EMILY (theatre)
Writers & Books; Fri., Sept. 21, 8-9 pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 4-5 pm; $10
In this theatrical/literary/psycho-musical mashup, (ghosts of) Emily Dickinson and Howard Phillips (H. P.) Lovecraft share the stage, unaware of each other's existence, speaking in quotes from their writings and letters. Between them sits Doktor Bronisław Kielbasa-Funk, a Polish acolyte of Sigmund Freud, who has fallen into ill repute. Emily and Howard find each other and fall in mad love; Doktor Kielbasa-Funk analyzes the proceedings and is forever changed by what he sees. Period music serves as accompaniment. 15+
I REMEMBER YOU: A Coffee Cabaret (music/cabaret)
Java's; Fri., Sept. 21, 6-6:40pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-8:40pm; Free
This caffeinated cabaret is the journey of five people discovering who they are through past experiences, relationships, and cherished friendships. Throughout the evening, they sort through this hectic, but beautiful, cup of life. This cabaret of classic and contemporary musical theatre features talented Nazareth College students Scott Charles, Erin Hassett, Katie LeSuer, Jennifer Menter and Brian Ziemann, with Don Kot at the piano. All ages
I WRITE...TO DISCOVER... (theatre)
Writers & Books; Wed., Sept. 19, 8-9pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 5-6pm; $10
Process Productions presents a monolog of opinions, biography and excerpts from the works of mid-twentieth-century American Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor. Her darkly coming fiction has entertained and challenged readers for 60 years. Gretchen Woodworth portrays the author in the twilight of her short life, but at the height of her career. Joan D. VanNess directs this award-winning production by Ed Scutt. High school+
THE ISLE OF DOGS (theatre)
Writers & Books; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 7-8pm; $8
The Isle of Dogs, presented by Spanner Theatre Company and Method Machine, is Kimberly Niles's original, dark, British comedy written in the style of Magical Realism and Dadaism. The unlawful use of veterinarian- grade pharmaceuticals and victimless misdemeanors are considered charmingly normal at this holiday destination. Visitors to The Isle of Dogs have been described as narcissistic, glue-sniffing sex pests-in-training, but they can't stay that way forever - someone always raises the stakes. Mind the gap. Mature audiences
THE LIFE OF LEO WOOL (theatre)
Writers & Books; Sat., Sept. 22, 6-7pm; Sun., Sept.23, 11am- noon; $10
Literature is dying. And so is Leo Wool, the last American superstar literary critic. When visited in his home by a feminist colleague, an outraged writer, and an adoring co-ed, Leo must confront the real life he has led and what he may have sacrificed in search of the sublime. 13+
THE LIGHT COLLECTOR (film)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:30 & 3:30pm; Free
A collaboration by Jim Downer (Animator, RIT Alumnus) and Billy Vazquez (Graduate student, Astrophysics, RIT), The Light Collector is an experimental, stop-motion animation and a portrait of an astronomer. Downer was inspired by Vazquez' extensive space photographs and telescope research, and the astronomer's attempt to create an understanding of the universe around us. All ages
LIGHTER TONES (dance)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 3:30-4:30pm, $10
Collections Dance Company and Company Mariko Yamada share the stage in this Fringe show. Collections Dance Company premieres Other Homes, which examines the close relationship between environment and identity by exploring the shifting dynamics between two separate realities. Company Mariko Yamada presents Lime is the sweet name I call. Witty, poetic and musical, this delightful collection of satisfying images is an experience of moments of beauty created by an exquisite balance between perfection and imperfection. All ages
LOST IN THE FUNHOUSE: REVOLUTION (multidisciplinary)
RMSC's Strasenburgh Planetarium; Thurs., Sept. 20, 6-7pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-9pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 6-7 pm; $12
Lost in the Funhouse: Revolution is a one-hour presentation of one revolution of the earth around the sun. Using live computer music, field recordings, spoken text and projected planetarium star maps and videos, Revolution will depict both the science (physics) and psychology (emotions) of the passage of seasons, solar/lunar cycles, celestial mechanics and harmony of the spheres. 5+
LOVE AT FIRST WALTZ: Biodance & Resonanz (dance/music)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sun., Sept. 23, 6:30-7:30pm; $12/$8 students
Close harmonies, creative dance and cabaret mix when BIODANCE and RESONANZ celebrate love in the time-honored traditions of the American Songbook and romantic Austria. Two polished ensembles perform music of Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Johannes Brahms in an intimate cabaret setting. Featuring original choreography by Missy Pfohl Smith and musical direction by Eric Townell. All ages
MANSFIELD AVENUE BAND (music)
Sproull Atrium, Miller Center, Eastman School of Music (next to Max of Eastman Place); Thurs., Sept. 20, 10pm-1am; $8
Whether you enjoy your live music served up at center stage or prefer to chill with friends just tapping your toes, this foursome will keep you moving. Mansfield Ave delivers a high-caliber, modern, acoustic-rock sound, and covers music from the 90's to now. Between the fluid, jam-band grooves of DMB, and pop gems revived from a time before Bono put on the orange shades, this group delivers. 21+
MARIAH MALONEY DANCE (dance)
George Eastman House Terrace Garden; Sat., Sept. 22, 1-2pm; Free
International choreographer, Mariah Maloney, is a former member of the world-renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company. Celebrate the Terrace Garden's elegant floral setting as you take in choreography inspired by Baroque choral compositions and set on a 14-member ensemble; a solo infused with traditional Irish Music by Lad Lane; and an edgy, empowering female sextet dancing to music ranging from Brazilian Girls to Carl Orff. All ages
MARY'S WEDDING (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox; Thurs., Sept. 20, 5:30-7pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:30-4pm; $15
Bristol Valley Theatre presents Stephen Massicotte's haunting, dreamlike romance set at the outset of the First World War. Charlie and Mary duck in to a barn to escape a summer storm, only to find each other. But the world is at war and duty calls Charlie. Will their love pay the price? Directed by NYC's Innovative Theater Best Director Award Winner, Suzi Takahashi, this is a heart-stirring tribute to those who serve their country and those who wait for them. 12+ and up
MATT GRIFFO (comedy/music)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10 pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 9-10pm; $15
Matt Griffo is a Chicago musical comedian, combining serious piano and ukulele chops with hilarious lyrics. The composer of the smash Chicago production, Jersey Shore: The Musical, Matt has opened for Reggie Watts; plays regularly at the Laugh Factory; and has performed for Chicago Sketchfest, LA Comedy Festival, Black Box Comedy Festival Atlanta, Big Little Comedy Festival Michigan, and the Milwaukee Comedy Festival. 16+
MELIA with STARLIGHT CITIES (music)
Montage Music Hall; Thurs., Sept. 20, 8-11pm; $5
Rochester's Melia won three awards at 2012's Indie Music Channel Awards in Hollywood: Best Female Rock Artist, Best Rock Song and Song of the Year. Melia and her band will start off the night at 9pm, followed by Rochester pop/rock band, Starlight Cities, for an unforgettable night of great, high-energy, pop-radio-friendly music. 16+
MICHAEL VADALA TRIO (music)
George Eastman House Terrace Garden; Sat., Sept. 22, 2-3pm; Free
The Michael Vadala Trio features writer/pianist Michael Vadala, along with drummer Jamie Greene and bassist Robert Ferguson. MVT began as an engineering project at Finger Lakes Community College, but after finishing its first full album in May of 2011, the trio's looking to create a reputation as a young jazz trio with a great upside. MVT is looking to bring a new, fun dance-ability to the jazz scene. All ages
MY PLASTIC SUN (music)
Bernunzio Uptown Music; Fri., Sept. 21, 8- 9pm & Sat., Sept. 22, 8-9pm; $5
Although a relatively new band, My Plastic Sun has already received a tremendous amount of positive press from major indie music blogs who have been comparing them to Radiohead, Coldplay and the Beatles. Two-time Emmy award-winning cinematographers, the Olson Brothers, have just completed My Plastic Sun's first music video and their live shows have been drawing rave reviews. Come and see what the buzz is all about! All ages
NUTS AND BOLTS COMEDY IMPROV (comedy improv)
TheatreROCS at Xerox; Fri., Sept. 21, 7:30 pm; $10
Around since 2000, Nuts and Bolts Comedy Improv is Rochester's longest-running improvisational comedy show. Enjoyed by audiences across the country, Nuts and Bolts is a comedic, short-form improv show that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Come see why they've been around so long! 13+
OLIVER BROWN AND HIS EXTRAORDINARY UKULELES (music)
Bernunzio Uptown Music; Fri., Sept. 21, 7-8pm; $5
Described by the Santa Cruz Good Times as the ukulele's answer to Jonathan Richman, Oliver Brown performs Shakespearean tales about milk runs, girls with cotton-candy hair, and master-servant deli situations. During his 25-year career, he has delighted audiences in nightclubs, living rooms and parking garages from New York to San Francisco (where he once got heckled by Jello Biafra). Featured in the documentary, Rock that Uke, Oliver also has a song on Sesame Street. All ages
ON TAP: ORIGINAL MUSIC with DANCE (music/dance)
Sproull Atrium, Miller Center, Eastman School of Music (next to Max of Eastman Place); Fri., Sept. 21, 7pm; $10
Live contemporary jazz and classical music - composed by Eastman School of Music and Nazareth College students and alumni - meets local professional dancers. Featured composers Jennifer Bellor, Matt Evans, Josh Forgét, Colin Gordon and Aaron Staebell collaborate with featured dancers and choreographers, including Hannah Beach Chisholm, Alex Dugdale, Rebecca McArthur, Missy Pfohl Smith and Courtney World. All ages
ONE WORLD: Hamlet and the Rest of Us (theatre)
Blackfriars Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 2:30-3:30pm; $10
Monarch Players is an inspirational troupe of actors with and without disabilities. They make Shakespeare's Hamlet accessible to all with text, music and dance, and the play comes alive with the raw emotions only available to actors with developmental disabilities. You will never see the world the same way again after you watch the Monarch Players perform Hamlet! All ages
OPERATION SUPERPOWER (children's)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 11am-12pm; Sun., Sept 23, 2-3pm; $10/$5 students
Every child has an inner gift - a superpower! Whether its singing, sports, kindness or friendship - Operation Superpower is here to take children on an inspirational musical journey to help them discover their superpowers and become real-life superheroes. Juilliard graduates Armand Ranjbaran, Tobias Greenhalgh and John Brancy combine their superpowers of composing and operatic singing to create an action-packed show filled with original music and audience participation. All ages
PEACH PRESERVES (music)
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music; Sat., Sept. 22; 5-6pm; $5
Peach Preserves is the inspired music child of Adrian DiMatteo, several rhythm players from Eastman School of Music, and a night of jamming. The jazz, rock, funk fusion with uniquely smooth melodies was too good to confine to just one jam session, and so Peach Preserves was born. Peach Preserves has released its first, self-titled album graced with the artwork of young Rochester artist, Khari Thompson. All ages
PERFORMING PUBLIC SPACE w/ Rochester Contemporary Dance Collective (dance/multidisciplinary)
RoCo (Rochester Contemporary Art Center); Sat., Sept. 22, 3-6pm; Free
How are dancers, artists and activists redefining public space today? As part of the exhibition, ʺState of the City 2012: Whose Space? Our Space!ʺ, RoCo and The Memorial Art Gallery present: Performing Public Space with Rochester Contemporary Dance Collective. The performers included in this original program will challenge us to think differently about the public spaces we all inhabit. The exhibition takes its title from the popular protest chant: ʺWhose Streets? Our Streets!ʺ All ages
PICK LOVE (theatre)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10:30pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 7- 8:30pm: $15. Free workshop, 14+: Fri., Sept. 21, 7:15-8pm
Join Partridge Place Productions and a cast of romantic yet zany characters for a humorous and heartfelt look at the different stages of love: Passion, Intimacy and Commitment! Michael Radi returns to his native Rochester as Composer/Librettist and Musical Director for this Fringe performance of PICk Love, with direction by David E. Shane and an all-star cast directly from NYC! Come and experience this premier new musical and decide for yourself: would you PICk Love? High school and up
THE PIPES ARE CALLING: An Elegy to Dan Higgins, Sr. (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox; Sat., Sept. 22, 1-2pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 6:30-7:30pm; $10
Dan Higgins laid bricks, served the Buffalo Common Council and raised five children. His grandson, Matt Crehan Higgins, could not relate. But when his grandfather's memory begins to fade, he is overcome with a desire to make up for lost time. As Dan's ability to relate in the present tense is lost, family roles change, decisions are made, unfiltered feelings surface and Matt sees clearly how the man his grandfather was shaped the one he has become. All ages
Max of Eastman Place/Sproull Atrium, Eastman School of Music; Sat., Sept. 22, 4-5pm; $8
Magic, mind reading and mentalism by Nickle. A high-energy show crammed with humor and mind-numbing magic that will tickle your funny bone and fry your brain. Ages 10+
PROOF OF PURCHASE (music)
The Little Café; Sun., Sept. 23, 4pm; Free
RIT's newest and only co-ed a cappella group, Proof of Purchase, just finished recording its first CD, Yay!, and is ready to take on the world. PoP does it all - sing, dance, create original songs, and cover a variety of different genres. But above all else, they just have a blast singing together! All ages
PUSH Physical Theatre (physical theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Fri., Sept. 21, 6-7pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 10:30-11:30pm; $15
This talented group of performers inspires awe with physical illusions and gravity-defying, dance-infused, acrobatic high-jinx. Masters of physical storytelling, PUSH Physical Theatre grab hold of audiences' emotions and "push" the boundaries of traditional theatre. Award-winning PUSH will perform two new pieces: "The Evolution of Aviation" (world premiere) and "The Natural World" (Rochester premiere) - and begin their show on You Tube before the Fringe even opens! All ages
RADIO RONNIE'S AMAZING FINGER LAKES JUICY SECRET! (children's)
Black Radish Studio; Sun., Sept. 23, 2 - 2:45pm; $5/$3 children
Are you ready to hear the coolest story since the last Ice Age about planet Earth and the unique Finger Lakes region? Radio Ronnie is lively and engaging, and he knows how to connect with young audience members and their accompanying adults. Colorful visuals, interesting sounds and props make this fresh, family entertainment. When you hear about the EarLectrics, the GrapeHeads & Their Bunch, and the Amazing Finger People, you'll know why this story has to be kept a juicy secret! Ages 7-10/family
RENAISSANCE REMIX: 16th-century Art, Music, and Dance for All Ages (multidisciplinary/children's)
Memorial Art Gallery; Sat., Sept.22, Noon-4pm; Free with gallery admission
This multi-faceted event celebrates the Memorial Art Gallery's new Gill Discovery Center exhibit, Renaissance Remix: Art & Imagination in 16th-century Europe. Designed especially for families, the afternoon features performances and mini dance lessons with the Rochester City Ballet, interactive organ demonstrations and concerts by Eastman School of Music faculty and students on the antique Italian Baroque Organ, and guided tours of the Gill Discovery Center and other Renaissance artworks. All ages, especially 10-13
RICHARD III, by William Shakespeare (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Fri., Sept. 21, 9-10pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 2-3pm; $15/$10 seniors/$5 under age 25
The Shakespeare Players program of the Rochester Community Players presents Richard III, Shakespeare's historic tragedy of a wickedly ruthless king. Period costumes, sizzling battle scenes, murder and mayhem all abound in Shakespeare's incomparable original text. Originally staged at the Highland Park Bowl in July, 2012, this specially-edited, hour-long presentation has been recreated exclusively for the Fringe. 12+
RIT JAZZ COMBO (music)
The Little Café; Sat., Sept. 22, 4-5pm; Free
The RIT Jazz Combo, directed by John Kruger, consists of trumpets, trombones, saxes, piano, drums, bass and guitar. Repertoire typically includes traditional big band music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Woody Herman, as well as more contemporary music from groups such as Spyro Gyra. The ensemble also performs musib by local composers, including Matt Harris. All ages
RIT's SURROUND SOUND (music)
The Little Café; Sun., Sept. 23, 2-3pm; Free
An a cappella group, RIT's Surround Sound specializes in Comedy and Barbershop.
ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (music)
Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music
RUDDY WELL BAND (music)
Java's; Fri., Sept. 21, 7-8pm; Free
The Ruddy Well Band is a contemporary folk/rock band, driven by the harmonies of guitarist and banjo player, Andrew Ruddy, violin and accordion player, Monique Ritter, and guitarist, Ryan Burdick. "So the musical chemistry began...Ruddy and Ritter, of Pulaski, and Burdick, of Baldwinsville, are cutting into a huge slice of American pie as the Ruddy Well Band." - Mark Bialczak of the Post Standard. All ages
RULES AND REGULATIONS (multidisciplinary)
Writers & Books; Fri., Sept. 21: 6-7 pm, Sat., Sept. 22: 2-3 pm; $10
Detroit-based writer Caedra Scott-Flaherty, New York City-based choreographer Lauren Hale Biniaris, and Rochester-based composer rachMiel each use their respective mediums - language, movement, and sound - to explore the nature of rules: how they are made, how they are obeyed, how they interact, and how they are broken. And most importantly: how they can be used to enhance, rather than limit, personal and group freedom. 13+
RUN FOR THE ROSES: a Tribute to the Grateful Dead (music)
Montage Music Hall; Sat., Sept. 22, 9pm-2am; $6
This a MUST SEE show for any music fan! A magical night of sound and lights as the band RUN FOR THE ROSES pays tribute to The Grateful Dead and their music - note for note. Come see the band's over-two-hour set, as they represent one of music's best jam bands. Doors are at 9pm. 16 +
SAVOR: PORTRAITS OF EATING (visual art)
Max of Eastman Place/Sproull Atrium, Eastman School of Music; Wed., Sept. 19 - Sat., Sept. 22; Free
Savor is a series of portraits by Sara Basher, a recent MFA graduate of RIT who appreciates people and the way in which food and drink bring people together, time and time again. The series was inspired by friends and coworkers from Sara's serving job at Questa Lasagna. It should be said here that coworkers are friends, especially if one works in a restaurant. All ages
SEARCH ENGINE IMPROV (comedy improv)
The Space at Hungerford; Wed., Sept. 19, 7:30-8:30pm & 8:45-9:45pm; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 7:30-8:30pm & 9:30-11:00pm & 11:30pm-12:30am; Sat., Sept. 22, 11:30pm-12:30am; $7
Three-man comedy team, Search Engine Improv (SEI), combines the best of Chicago and New York City styles of long-form improvised comedy performance. SEI creates award-winning, uniquely styled live comedy shows, each an exciting exploration of compelling characters and hilarious scenarios and all created on the spot, in the moment, as you see it happening. SEI is Cal Keefe-Perry, Law Tarello and John Forrest Thompson. 13+
SETH FAERGOLZIA & THE 23 PSAEGZ (music)
Bernunzio Uptown Music; Wed., Sept. 19, 10-11pm; Thurs., Sept. 20, 10-11pm; $8
Seth & the Psaegz concoct music which remains outside the scope of particular genre-labels or classification. With their harmonic subtlety, poetically-experimental lyricism, quirked-out energy and -of course - Seth's soaring, roaring, gurgling, whip-crack-acrobatic vocals, each Psaegz performance lovingly unweaves time, revealing moments honest and organic in their exploration of possibility. 18+
SHIMMY SHAKE DOWN (dance)
Max of Eastman Place/Sproull Atrium, Eastman School of Music; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9-10pm; $10
Tribal Goddess Collective presents a breathtaking display of Middle Eastern-inspired dance featuring a dozen Rochester dancers showcasing swords, veils and more. Trained by world-renowned belly dance professionals, Shimmy Shake Down is a celebration of the feminine power in all women - young or vintage, thin or curvy. You will not want to miss this one-of-a- kind extravaganza! All ages
The Little, Theatre 1;Sat., Sept. 22, 2 & 3pm; Free
In Signal, visual compositions of Sun images interwoven with animated sequences respond to the perceived chaos on the Sun. Following a musical trajectory that features sharp contrasts of dynamics, register, timbre and texture, Signal is "a dramatic revelation...of chaos that is pleasing to see." A collaborative work by Prof. Stephanie Maxwell (RIT School of Film and Animation), Peter Byrne (Associate Prof., RIT School of Design), David Saroff (RIT PhD student, Astrophysics), and composer Elizabeth Kelly (PhD candidate, Eastman School of Music). All ages
THE SILVER THREADS (music)
Writers & Books; Sat., Sept. 22, noon; $8
The Silver Threads are an original, roots-Americana band, with a literate take on classic musical forms birthed by our fair nation. Harmonies, red-hot banjos, sad songs played fast, and happy songs played slowly will all appear. All ages
SKOOBA & COMPANY (music/multidisciplinary)
Black Radish Studio; Sat., Sept. 22, 8-11pm; $5
Progressive, ambient, upbeat. Moving through different realms to sculpt soundscapes of imagination, sKoOba (Steven Bertolone) takes his audience into an alternate universe outside the everyday perception. Inspired by new ideas and old video games, he strives to remind society that the imagination and the self are endless. sKoOba's musical performance will also feature visual art by John Bertolone and a beautiful flowing hoop dance by Libby Miga. 16+
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Sat., Sept. 22, 6pm; $8
Smith tells the true story of Zach Smith, an infectiously positive young man who followed his dreams of becoming a US Marine. Four days into his first mission and six months into his marriage, he was killed in Afghanistan - changing his hometown of Hornell, NY forever. This play, derived from a series of interviews with his family, friends, and members of the community, calls attention to the sacrifices being made by young men, women, and their families every day. Ages 13+
SOLITUDE OF SELF: The Journey of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (theatre)
Blackfriars Theatre; Sat., Sept. 22, 5-6pm; $10
Recipe for a women's revolution: take one brilliant housewife stranded in Seneca Falls, NY, c.1848; fold in 7 children and a healthy pinch of outrage; mix with humor and passion. Let simmer. Solitude of Self is the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, friend and partner of Susan B. Anthony and the force behind the Women's Rights Convention of 1848. Written and performed by well known local actress, Patricia Lewis. 12+
SOLO PERCUSSION & MULTIMEDIA: Peter Ferry (music)
Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music; Thurs., Sept. 20, 6-7pm; Sat., Sept.22, 1-2pm; $5
Peter Ferry is an enthusiastic performer of new works written for percussion, using multimedia technology to create an unforgettable experience for all audiences. This Fringe performance will include the Nostalgia Project, a collaboration exploring personal memories created with composer Matt Evans, students and faculty from RIT (artists, designers, computer scientists), and YOU! Become a part of the project by visiting http://nostalgia.cias.rit.edu/ to upload an image which evokes a feeling of nostalgia for you. All ages
SONGS BY DAVID TEMPERLEY (music)
Max of Eastman Place/Sproull Atrium, Eastman School of Music; Sat., Sept. 22, 6-7pm; $10
David Temperley is a professor of music theory at the Eastman School of Music, but in his spare time, he's written more than 100 songs. The style is a unique blend of rock, classical and cabaret, with engaging melodies, witty and touching lyrics, and intricate piano accompaniments. Two talented Eastman graduates, Noelle McMurtry and Carli Miller, will sing, accompanied by Temperley at the piano. All ages
SPECTION - INTRO/RETRO (dance)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Sat., Sept. 22, 4:30-5:30pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 6-7pm; $15
Spection - Intro/Retro is a presentation of choreography by Rochester's Heather Roffe. Set to a range of music from Aretha Franklin to Tango to Meredith Monk, the dance works are inspired by observations of humanity. Celebrating irony, vulnerability, and topics of gender, technology, love and loss, the works span the past five years. A new piece will be premiered: ʺHier,ʺ an abstract reflection on the societal constructs that divide and distance us from others and ourselves. All ages
SPIRITS WITHIN (multidisciplinary)
Christ Church; Thurs., Sept. 20, 9:30pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 8 & 9pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 8 & 9pm; $10
Eastman School of Music's Stephen Kennedy will improvise on the amazing scientifically-restored 1790 Christ Church organ while dancers from FuturPointe improvise in movement, and RIT Professor Marla Schweppe and her 3D Digital Design students improvise graphics projected on the organ and dancers. Improvisation times three! Every performance will be different. Thanks to Geva for projection support. All ages
STUART LITTLE (children's)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Sat., Sept. 22, 10-11am; Sun. Sept. 23; 3:30-4:30pm; $10
E.B. White's classic tale of a tiny mouse with a giant yearning for adventure comes to life in Rochester Children's Theatre's production of Stuart Little. Whether it's ice skating in Central Park on paper clips, racing boats at Sailboat Pond, rescuing his friend Maragala from the family cat, or posing as a substitute teacher - one things is clear: Stuart never lacks for fun and excitement. Join Stuart and his friends as they search for what is important in their lives: family, loyalty, friendship and - of course - adventure! 5+
THERE'S ALWAYS TIME FOR A COCKTAIL (theatre)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Thurs., Sept. 20, 10pm; Sat., Sept 22, 9pm; Sun., Sept 23, 5pm; $15
Kasha Davis knows fringe...and she looks fabulous in it! The story of little Eddie Popil's transformation from a young boy in Scranton, PA, to "International Celebrity Housewife, Mrs. Kasha Davis," the star of Big Wigs, makes its world premiere at the Fringe. Join the ultimate hostess for an evening of music, stories and party games with a heartfelt story of love, acceptance and finding your own path. 13+
Writers & Books; Sat., Sept. 22, 10-11pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 3-4pm; Free
Theading is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of the three Fates, the legendary figures charged with spinning, measuring and cutting the thread of life. It follows three co-workers cooped up in a corporate office, accompanied by their otherworldly supervisor, Moros. Life outside of the office is a child, a husband and a lover, all of whom seem to slip further away each evening. Farcical reality meets melodrama as fate entangles with self-fulfilling prophecy. Wine will be spilled. 12+
TRAVELING WITH A BROKEN COMPASS (theatre)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Sat., Sept. 22, 6:30-7:30pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 1:30-2:30pm; $15
It's 2012 - the year it's all supposed to change. The world's a mess, we all seem to have lost our way, and the maps they gave us are out of date. So, we had better pay attention to the road signs. Traveling With a Broken Compass is a ʺhow toʺ for navigating this new world. With humor, political satire, memoir and a dose of performance art, Linda Starkweather offers some crazy ideas for finding a path out of the madness. 16+
UNLEASHED! IMPROV PRESENTS: You Never Know, featuring Puppetrov, The Musical (comedy/musical)
TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium; Thurs., Sept. 20, 8:30 -9:30 pm; Sat., Sept. 22, 7:30-8:30pm; $10
Unleased! has performed at the Toronto Improv Festival, the Baltimore Improv Festival and the prestigious North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, but this is their newest challenge: a complete musical, improvised, with puppets! The brainchild (well, brainpuppet, really) of three of the silliest and most sincere founding members of Unleashed!, and one newer (but equally silly and, frankly, more talented improviser), this is by far the craziest show they've ever attempted - don't miss it! 12+
THE UNSEEN (theatre)
RAPA's East End Theatre; Wed., Sept 19, 7-8pm; Sun., Sept 23, 3:30-4:30pm; $10
From the producer and writer of TV's Lost, Six Feet Under, Brothers & Sisters and Dirty, Sexy Money, comes The Unseen: a contemporary drama that explores the boundaries between faith and intellect, religion and science. Two men are imprisoned in an unknown place, in an unknown time, interrogated about an unknown crime. Their conversations and word games reflect upon the personal prisons in which human beings often find themselves entrapped. Adults
UR AFTER HOURS A CAPPELLA (music)
Bernunzio Uptown Music; Sat., Sept. 22, 6-7pm; $8
After Hours, the University of Rochester's co-ed a cappella group, began in 1998 as a vocal jazz group, and was originally called Charivari, after the Old French term for ʺrough music.ʺ Two years later, the group dynamic changed from vocal jazz to rock and pop, making way for the UR's newest a cappella ensemble, After Hours. All ages
VANESSA MANGIONE QUARTET (music)
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music; Fri., Sept. 21, 7-8pm; $5
The Vanessa Mangione Quartet is a young-blood jazz/R&B group with its own take on standards and contemporary hits. With original arrangements of repertoire from Cole Porter to The Beatles to Amy Winehouse, VMQ offers performances that blur the lines between jazz and pop; old and new. Vanessa's scintillating vocals compliment the rhythm section of Adrian DiMatteo on guitar, Chris Potter on drums and Kyle Vock on bass - all graduates of the Eastman School of Music. All ages
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music; Thurs. Sept. 20, 6:45-7:30pm; $7
Present Tense Dance Company examines the bluntness of truth in this compelling new work, Veritas, by choreographer Anne Harris Wilcox. Additional highlights in the concert will be Wilcox's comical work, Magnum Opus; the upbeat and swinging Reunion; and Wild Swans at Coole, a collaboration with Eddie Murphy of Drumcliffe Irish Arts. Wilcox delivers work that engages your eyes, your mind and your heart. 10+
VIRTUE: THE CAT PLAY (theatre)
Writers & Books; Wed., Sept. 19, 6pm; Fri., Sept. 21, 4 pm; $5
Do you like cats? How about sad people? Well, this has both. Come see a man drink, smoke and chat his way to victory over depression through the use of drugs and cats. "It'll be a blast. I promise," says author/actor Andrew Jones. 15+
VOCAL ACCENT (music)
The Little Café; Sun., Sept. 23, 3-4pm; Free
RIT's Vocal Accent is an all-female a cappella group re-created in 2009 at RIT. Using only their voices to create a magnificent sound, the lovely ladies of Vocal Accent have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with. Vocal Accent's repertoire spans from crowd-pleasers, to pop, to rock/alternative and even the occasional modern hip-hop piece. Come check us out!
WE WERE THERE (theatre)
Geva Theatre Center Nextstage; Fri., Sept. 21, 4-5pm & Sat., Sept. 22, 11:30am-12:30pm; $15
We Were There, an original work by Rochester's Geriactors, dramatizes true stories from personal and ancestral experiences of company members during the Napoleonic wars to WWII. These are not war stories per se, but stories of what happens to ordinary people in extraordinary times: a Jewish merchant following Napoleon's armies, a Polish youth after WWI, an American second lieutenant in North Africa and more. The stories are light -- you will laugh -- and complemented with appropriate song. All ages
WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY SHOW (tech fashion)
The Little, Theatre 1; Fri., Sept. 20, 6-7:30pm; Free
See the latest not-so-serious fashions that incorporate technology. What do flying birds, fireflies, invisibility and blinking lights have to do with clothing? Come and find out! RIT student creators will explain the technology and answer any questions. All ages
THE WORLD IN TIME (theatre)
The Little, Theatre 1; Sat., Sept. 22, 4pm; Sun., Sept. 23, 3:30pm; Free
This series of short, one-act plays, written by RIT students for the annual Spring 24-Hour Show, features a theme of time and different cultures. The 24-Hour Shows, put on each fall and spring by the RIT Players, are auditioned on a Friday night, written and cast overnight, then rehearsed and performed on Saturday night! Works include: "Time's Up" (Shawn Gray), "A King's Lament" (Allie Trimboli), "A Long History of Time" (Reginald D. Pierce), and "Time Highway" (Robert Paul Hoops). 10+
Writers & Books; Wed., Sept. 19, 4-5pm; $10
Life is short - eat dessert first! YUM! is a delicious mix of original and traditional food stories, songs and poems. Win a serving of Love Cake. Witness a live whipped-cream demo. Help make pomegranate jam. Entertainer, Home Ec teacher, knitter and composer Beth Ely Sleboda will use voice, mountain dulcimer, guitar, ArtScarves and a variety of percussion instruments to cook up interactive musical fun! Songs include ʺGimme Another One of Them Creme-Filled Donutsʺ and ʺShortnin' Bread." All ages
Can't attend Comic-Con yourself? Today, along with the Comic-Con panel announcement for the upcoming "Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two," Disney revealed the opening movie for the game, "A Story Begins," which you can check out right here for the first time.
"Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" will be released for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on November 18. Keep an eye on City for more information on the game as it nears launch, and for all your video game needs.
If "So You Think You Can Dance" was a kid, it'd be a full-blown fourth grader. Our little dance show is growing up fast - we're on Season 9! -- and like a kid, things are changing year by year.
We have a Top 20 again, and the best 10 guys and 10 girls are paired up each week to be put to task by the choreographers. Each week, voters dial in to keep their favorite individual dancers out of danger. At the beginning of each show, Cat will announce who's gotten the least amount of votes. They'll all still dance as planned, but those in danger will have a bit more pressure as it'll help the judges decide who to keep and who to send home.
I'm cool with the new format, largely because it means we don't have to suffer through 50 minutes of bullshitting each week for eliminations that frankly take about 10 minutes. We won't have any performances from music "superstars" that have fallen kind of flat lately.
Some things never change, though, including Nigel and Mary on the judging panel. Choreographer and movie producer extraordinaire Kenny Ortega was tonight's guest judge. Let's jump in, shall we?
Witney & Chehon got a samba from Louis Van Amstel, who asked them to shake it, and shake they did. Witney was right in her comfort zone and it showed. Her footwork was spot on and the little spitfire nailed the lifts, but she treated the audience like her partner and all but ignored Chehon. And I can kind of understand why: he was pretty much forgettable in this routine. His footwork was a bit off (too turned in, as Mary pointed out). Still, playing to the audience is part of this game, but you've gotta have a connection with your partner if you want to survive. The judges loved her, but gave Chehon a harsh reality bitch slap, saying he's got to do better next week. Witney's already got a ride to next week on the Hot Tamale Train. Woo woo!
Tiffany & George danced a flowy, more romantic contemporary piece from Sonya Tayeh. The two melted into one another beautifully both physically and emotionally. The fluidity carried into difficult moves, including one where Tiffany spun, then leapt up onto George's knee effortlessly. A solid start to the season for this pair.
Janaya & Brandon got a hip-hop routine from Napoleon and a very pregnant Tabitha (everybody go awww) about a man who's forced to choose between a life of drinking and a life with the girl he loves. Great isolations and synchronization that's become part of Nappytab's signature, but the storyline felt forced. If they hadn't said these two were fighting over his alcoholism and there wasn't a bottle in a paper bag on stage, I'm not sure it would have translated. I love Nappytabs for their storytelling style (I think that's what's made them so popular), but I don't think they always have to have a story. Let the dance be the dance. The middle section, while featuring great dancing and choreography, didn't seem to have anything to do with the struggle over alcohol. Nigel warned Janaya that her core wasn't low enough for hip-hop (I agree), but thought this smoother style suited her and Brandon well. He added that he was glad Brandon picked her instead of the bottle at the end. "If someone asked me to choose between Mary and a bottle of vodka, I'd pick Mary every time." Well, both are bound to give you a headache, Nigel.
Alexa & Daniel got a very bizarre jazz routine from Sean Cheesman that started with the pair of them trapped in some metal box-line structure. Once they escaped, they became entangled by fast-paced and intricate choreography. At one point, Alexa pushed Daniel's feet forward, as he robotically marched on. Both seemed to struggle a bit with the intricate partnership and choreography. There was a complete lack of chemistry between these two. As Nigel pointed out, the routine was too frantic and complex for chemistry. The pair only got a lukewarm reaction from the judges, who were worried the audience might not "get it"
Amber & Nick got a Viennese waltz from Jason Gilkinson. Gilkinson didn't waste time giving Nick a tongue lashing for not being good at his own style (ouch). Being tough on Nick made him nervous, and it didn't work to his advantage. Nick seemed to stumble with one of the routine's main spin/lift combinations (which the judges didn't point out - was I the only one who saw that?). It didn't help that he tried to overcompensate for his nerves by overselling it, pulling his face all over the place and hugging the crap out of Amber. Amber's extension was lovely, but she was largely forgettable for me in the routine. The waltz did suit her style well with its flowy, dream-like qualities. Nigel liked the routine, but said there weren't any "wow" moments for the audience to grasp onto and remember to vote for them. They could be in trouble next week.
Amelia & Will got a fun, "hip-hop lite" routine from Nappytabs about a sophisticated sassy cat and a back alley cat appropriately set to "The Lovecats" by The Cure. Will, who couldn't stop giggling in rehearsals, pulled it together with his character in the routine. He flipped Amelia upside down and played her leg like a bass. Moments later, he grabbed her leg, flipped her right-side up and on top of his shoulder like it was no sweat. In between the mind-boggling lifts were some solid, albeit lighter, synchronized popping. The choreography was more jazz-hip-hop fusion, but there's no denying it was fun. Their personalities shined right through. These are the kind of people I'd invite to a party, which likely means they'll get votes and stay safe this week.
Janelle & Dareian got lost in the jungle with an African jazz routine from Sean Cheesman. After this routine, I'm convinced Janelle is secretly Gumby reincarnated. At the start, she bent her legs into a 90-degree angle (dislocation much?). Dareian lost his rhythm, particularly in the middle section. That's a big no-no, especially in this style. Credit where credit's due, though: he had insane control on his handstand and flips just moments later. Janelle got so lost in the moment during the head-bopping part, I forgot she was a belly dancer. Could've fooled me. Hoping to see at least her stick around for a few more weeks.
Eliana & Cyrus got stuck with a Tyce DiOrio Broadway routine from "Hairspray." Poor things. They threw every once of energy they had into it, but the routine itself, set to "Run and Tell That," felt disconnected and not Broadway-ish at all. She was leaping and prancing half the time, and he was grinding on her the rest. And the two barely moved around the stage all. That speaks more to the choreographer than the dancers, and hits at why Tyce is a paradox to me. His contemporary stuff is gorgeous and connected and passionate, but his Broadway stuff, the style he's "known" for is, drab, disjointed, and lifeless. Although we did get to see Tasty Oreo bust out his inner bitch during rehearsals - "Don't forget that shit, or I'm gonna knock you out!" Classic. I'm rooting for these two to get a second chance. They seem like fun, fine dancers who got slapped with a bad routine week one. Nigel told Cyrus he wasn't a great dancer yet, but has the potential to become one because he immerses himself in whatever he's doing each week. He added that Eliana was the benchmark for the girls to reach this season and that we haven't seen her true potential yet. I missed most of the "audition" part of this season, so I'll have to take his word for it.
Audrey & Matthew gave me the first chills of the season with their contemporary routine about two lovers on the Titanic. Yikes. That could be bad in so many ways. I've never seen the movie (yup, we're a rare bread that contrary to popular belief do exist), but I was immediately worried this could take a turn for cheesiness. But in the hands of Travis Wall, it somehow worked. Set to "Unchained Melody' by the Righteous Brothers (thank you forever, Travis, for not doing that God-awful Celine Dion ballad that was on repeat on every radio station throughout the 90s), it was romantic and unbelievably fluid. They danced on, around, over and off the chaise lounge set at the middle of the stage flawlessly. Audrey moved, bent and leapt (once right off the couch into Matthew's arms) like a dream, and he partnered her beautifully, catching her and complimenting her every step of the way. The routine oozed chemistry and passion. It rightfully got a standing ovation from all three judges. Nigel pointed out that the rise and fall of the dance met the rise and fall of the music perfectly - a testament to Travis' growth as a choreographer and to the strength of these two dancers. They should have no trouble getting through to next week.
Lindsay & Cole got the dreaded Paso Doble on week one. That could be disastrous (and has been) for dancers just starting out on this show. But these two weren't going down without a fight. Both tackled the routine from Jason Gilkinson with such ferocity it gave me chills. Instead of the typical matador and cape storyline, Lindsay was supposed to be a poison trying to infect him. It was aggressive and raw and dramatic and wonderful. Reminds me that the Paso Doble can be such a powerful routine in the hands (or rather feet) of such skilled dancers. Both dancers' footwork and carriage were flawless. There were also some smaller moments of brilliance - particularly Cole's little stag leap in between partnered spins with Lindsay. Nigel said it was one of the best Paso Dobles he's seen from a guy on this show ever (I agree) and that it was hard to believe Cole's background is in mixed martial arts with a little dance on the side. Color me impressed. No question, these two will be around for a while.
For me, the show saved the best for last, but there are some definite strong contenders here. More contemporary dancers than I'd like to see, but overall, a relatively decent mix. I'd like to see more of their personalities each week. These dancers need to prove to me they're a star to earn my vote. Next week, six dancers will be in danger, four will go home because the show skipped last week. Normally only two would go home. It doesn't really give the dancers a fair chance when they do that, which bothers me. I also worry that means we could lose some of the better dancers who might have had one misstep out the gate (be it the routine, lack of chemistry with a stranger or a minor dancing stumble). It all goes down next Wednesday.