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CRITICS PICKS: Rebecca Rafferty 

"Confessions of a Prairie B;+@h"

As a pre-teen, Alison Arngrim excelled at exaggerated petulance in her role as "Nasty Nellie" Oleson on TV's "Little House on the Prairie." Now 54, Arngrim brings her one-woman show, "Confessions of a Prairie B;+@h," based on her book of the same name, to Rochester's Fringe. Through standup and multimedia storytelling, she tells about her life as the petticoated brat audiences loved to hate. Arngrim also dishes on Hollywood encounters with Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Liberace, Marie Osmond, Carol Channing, RuPaul, and others. (Friday, September 16, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, 7:30 p.m. RAPA @ SOTA: Ensemble Theatre. $20. Appropriate for ages 18 and older.)

"Denton Crawford: Savage Sanctuary"

When I spied one of Denton Crawford's pop-mysticism collages at Rochester Contemporary's 2014 Members Show, I became an instant fan. His solo show, "You're Not Here," held at Joy Gallery in early 2015, was filled with mixed media paintings, drawings, and installations, and presented what he called "personalized accounts of experience that explore the boundaries between logic and belief."

Crawford's latest multimedia exhibition, "Savage Sanctuary," on view at Gallery r during Fringe, levels criticism at ancient and popular mythologies, "remixing sacred with kitsch, and aiming toward a new definition of religious experience," according to provided information. The show is part of Gallery r's Faculty in Focus series (Crawford teaches drawing and new media classes at RIT), and continues through September 25. (Thursday-Sunday, September 15-18 and Thursday-Saturday, September 22-24, 1 to 5 p.m. Gallery r. Free. Free. All ages.)

"Scarred by the Somme"

After presenting "Kindertotenlieder" (songs on the death of children) at last year's Fringe, TableTopOpera continues its theme of considering dark and difficult historic subject matter in the context of current events with "Scarred by the Somme." Commemorating the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest engagements in World War I, where more than 1 million people were killed or wounded, the multimedia storytelling combines images of events leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of the battle, with music written at the same time by Claude Debussy. The show aims to consider how the Somme offensive scarred both people and landscapes in 1916, and how current conflicts have similar effects today. TableTopOpera is a chamber ensemble that includes faculty, students, alum, and friends of the Eastman School of Music. (Thursday, September 22, 7 p.m. Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music. $10. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.)

"Guerrilla Art"

Guerrilla, a SUNY Geneseo-based organization that aims to connect student artists of all kinds with wider audiences, will engage Fringe-goers with a magnetic poetry installation at the Spiegelgarden. The hands-on installation will invite participants to rearrange words to create new poems, as well as view student art and short fiction. Preview the group at Guerrilla Geneseo on Facebook, where you can sample their ingenuity. One May post made plain the kind of skill we're dealing with: a request for participation resulted in an entirely new (and surprisingly very good) poem constructed from lines of favorite poems submitted by viewers throughout the day. (Friday, September 23, 5 to 11 p.m., and Saturday, September 24, noon to 11 p.m. Spiegelgarden. Free. Appropriate for all ages.)

"Sacred and Sensual: Gods and Goddesses of India"

India-based dancer Neelima specializes in the dazzlingly poised artistry of classical Indian Kuchipudi dance. The dramatic dance form has ancient origins, and is characterized by animated storytelling punctuated by rhythmic gestures and expressive eye movements. Neelima will perform a show that portrays the gods and goddesses of South Asia/India, complete with poses borrowed from temple sculptures. Accompanied by traditional music, costumes, ancient poetry, and stories, she will treat Fringe audiences to an experience of Indian culture, with introductions in English. (Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, September 24, 4 p.m. TheatreROCS Stage: Main Stage. $15. Appropriate for ages 18 and older.)

"Roc Bottom Slam Team"

Roc Bottom Slam Team returns to Fringe after last year's performance of "Growing Pains," a bold and moving series of breathless spoken-word pieces about navigating the complexities of intimate relationships, parenthood, politics, and self-worth. Roc Bottom is Rochester's first adult slam-poetry team, and was formed in 2013 under the direction of Lu Highsmith. The core group of nine poets hail from all walks of life, delivering earnest and empowering real-talk. This year's show promises to re-envision Rochester in a "new and exhilarating light," and includes a collaboration with Tru Art Dance. (Thursday, September 22, 6 p.m., and Saturday, September 24, 7 p.m. TheatreROCS Stage: Main Stage. $10. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.)


Back this year for the first time since its sold-out Fringe premiere in 2013 is "Anomaly," the collaborative, multi-sensory performance by Biodance, Sound ExChange, and W. Michelle Harris. The 2013 show deeply engaged audiences with its blend of modern dance, live classical music, and immersive visual effects. Again this year "Anomaly" will be performed within the four-story dome of the Strasenburgh Planetarium, setting the tone for the audience to reflect upon its existence within the larger universe. (Thursday, September 15, 7 p.m., and Saturday, September 17, 2 and 7 p.m. Rochester Museum & Science Center: Strasenburgh Planetarium. $15. All ages.)

In This Guide...

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