Big name comedian Patton Oswalt headlines the comedy portion of the Fringe Festival. Possibly best known for his roles in "The King of Queens" and the voice of Remy in "Ratatouille," Oswalt has also appeared everywhere from "The Fairly Odd Parents" to "Community" to "Grand Theft Auto." An accomplished stand-up comedian and writer (he most recently penned "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland") and with five comedy albums under his belt -- and just as many stand-up specials -- Oswalt will bring the geek-friendly laughs. (Saturday 9/22 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater. Tickets cost $15-$55.)
Braving the long, long hike from Auburn is The Great Chernesky, a musical maelstrom blending folky strumming with humor, wit, and humorous wit. Chernesky's most recent album, "Spilled Brews & Busted Stools," just hit earlier this month, so you can expect just as much when he comes to Java's as part of Fringe. His Davy Crockett raccoon hat will probably be there, too. (Friday 9/21 8 p.m. at Java's. Free admission.)
Sure, ukuleles have become sort of a thing now: a smaller and higher-pitched answer to those loud and lavishing guitars that used to be all the rage. Oliver Brown and His Extraordinary Ukulelesblends this mystical sea-shanty instrument with humorous song topics ranging from Shakespeare to the wonders of the peanut-butter sandwich. He's also had a song appear on "Sesame Street," so take that credential for what you will. (Friday 9/21 7-8 p.m. at Bernunzio's Uptown Music. Tickets cost $5.)
Dear Dexter (and yes, the group takes the name from the serial-killer show you're probably thinking about) will bring some acoustic-laden rock 'n' roll to the Fringe Fest. The group, fronted by Jason Morgan, is shifting and growing. But Morgan's central vocals and songwriting cement the group strongly in alternative-rock territory, while retaining the intimacy acoustic instruments allow. (Thursday 9/20 9:30 p.m., Saturday 9/22 5 p.m. at Java's. Free admission.)
And sometimes you just need to have fun. Comedic hip-hop duo Garden Fresh, made up of Professor Fizizizt and Tha Dome, takes the style and ground that hip-hop makes as soil and creates something else: a polite, fiscally responsible rap group that is as profound as it is hysterical. You won't find alcohol-promoting jams here (instead the group praises water with songs like... "Water") or rap-battling egos (see; "Sitting Politely").(Friday 9/21 and Saturday 9/22 9:30 p.m. at Bernunzio's Uptown Music. Tickets cost $5.)
Writing a good song and writing a good story aren't really that different. Weaving these two art forms together at the seams, Howie Lesteris equal parts musician and storyteller, bringing in influences from just about every road-faring and wandering people you could imagine. Blues, gypsy, klezmer, Cajun, and other roots traditions all rolled into one ball made of storytelling yarn in his performance, "The Arkansas Traveler Meets Mulla Nasrudin."(Saturday 9/22 10 p.m. at the Little Café. Free admission.)
Hungry? Try some Yum! Yum! is a collection of poems, stories, and songs all about that wonderful thing we can't live without and spend a lot of our time eating, food. Dulcimers, guitars, whipped cream, and jam are all promised to be present, so make sure to save some room for the fun. (Wednesday 9/19 4 p.m. at Writers & Books. Tickets cost $10.)
Special Event: Love Hate Tattoo will present the 5th Annual Roc City Tattoo Expo this weekend at Rochester Riverside Radisson Hotel (120 E. Main St.). The event takes place Saturday, 12-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Admission is $10 per day, or $25 for a weekend pass. For more information, call 546-6400 or visitroccitytattooexpo.com.
Special Event: Preview the brilliance of the coming generations at the Finger Lakes Regional Invention Convention, hosted by Rochester Museum and Science Center (657 East Ave.) on Saturday, May 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The event is included in museum admission ($11-$13). For more info, call 697-1942 or visit rmsc.org.