How do you hit my weak spot at the start of a new festival?
With food. Sweet, yummy, tasty, scrumdiddlyumptious food. Songs about food are even better.
My first night at the Rochester Fringe Festival brought me to Writers & Books to see Yum!, a presentation by Beth Ely Sleboda that transcended equal parts cooking, singing, storytelling, and even some knitting (well, at least showing off some previously knitted items).
And all of it was delicious. With her own original songs ("Gimme Another One of Them Creme-Filled Donuts" is just one gem among them that will please your ears as much as it will make your stomach rumble) she, well, whipped up both culinary and musical concoctions. Quaint and musical, her songs were as soft and sweet as the delectable treats she was singing about, layered between kid-friendly classics such as "Over the Rainbow" and "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah."
By the end of the set, Sleboda had handed out chocolate cake, taught recipes, recited poems, showed off her knitting, had audience members assist her in making whipped cream, played guitar, sang, and played dulcimer, before ending with the whole room using myriad instruments she brought with her to jam together. Just to throw an example, I got some kind of fossil-bone-jaw rhythm percussive instrument. Rocking out to extinction.
Don't check out this show hungry, but even if you, do you'll probably leave with a smile on your face. It was good, clean family fun (well, not always; there was some above-the-little-ones-humor as well). And I also won a door-prize book all about candy, so yeah, I'll take that for day one of a brand new festival.
Tomorrow I'll be off from Fringe coverage checking out two shows at Water Street, but Friday I'll be back checking out both The Great Chernesky (at Java’s) and local hip-hop comedy duo Garden Fresh (at Bernuzio's). Enjoy the fringiness until then!
What did you enjoy about the first night of the festival? What are you most excited to see this week? Let us know in the comments!