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‘Fringe allows me to push myself to do things I don’t normally get to do’

August 29, 2018

Interviews by Jessica Kaufman and Jeanette Colby

The annual Rochester Fringe Festival is one of the fastest growing and most attended fringe festivals in the United States. Each year the University of Rochester makes an impact on the event, and this year is no different.

The festival includes more than 500 performances and events including shows created and performed by students, faculty, and staff at the University. The Eastman School of Music continues to offer up several of its venues to the festival and to serve as host to talented local and national artists.

Making its debut at the 2018 Fringe Festival is ArtAwake. An award-winning exhibition founded in 2008 by then student Carlin Gettliffe ’09, it takes place each year in a vacant urban space.

“We are so honored to be listed on the roster and to be an event that is resurrected in a new format through the help of Fringe,” says Fiona Jones ’19, a creative director of ArtAwake. The exhibition will take place on the First Federal Plaza’s 21st Floor, previously the Changing Scenes Restaurant. The student-produced event will take place from noon to 12 a.m. Saturday, September 22, and is free and open to all.

There is something for everyone at the Fringe Festival, whether it’s a comedy show, musical revue, theater performance, or dance event. We ask some University community members what it’s like to be a participant, and what festival events they recommend this year.

See a full schedule of University performers at the 2018 Fringe Festival.

large group of people viewing paintings and other artworks in a large warehouse space

ArtAwake celebrates its 10th year in 2018 and its first year as a part of the Rochester Fringe Festival. (ArtAwake photo)


Jake Lowenherz ’19, an electrical and computer engineering major, and Fiona Jones ’19, a studio art and computer science major, are both creative directors of ArtAwake 2018.

What drew you to the Fringe?
Jones: What ended up drawing ArtAwake to Fringe was to be an event that collaborated with the larger Rochester community. Participating with the Keybank Fringe Festival was a dream come true and we are so grateful that we could collaborate with Fringe in such a larger format.

How did you reinvent ArtAwake for Fringe?
Jones: Fringe was the motivation for a lot of changes in the way that ArtAwake has functioned in years past. Because Fringe occurs right at the beginning of the school year, we wanted to use ArtAwake as a way to introduce the incoming first year class to the Rochester arts community.

What shows do you recommend this year, besides ArtAwake?
Jones recommends going to see previous alumnae of Ru Paul Drag Race, Ginger Minj, as she stars as drag legend Divine (featuring Divine’s own music) Jones: As such a huge fan of Ginger from her steps on Drag Race to her career above and beyond, this is such a great way to learn about drag history through this premiere of the new work, but to also get to support legendary queens!

Lowenherz is looking forward to the Spiegeltent. Lowenherz: The whimsy of the venue seems like it will be perfect for the zany shows being put on inside. I look forward to seeing a circus tent miraculously appear out of Kodak theatre.


John Covach on stage playing guitar

Professor John Covach will perform with University of Rochester students in a tribute to progressive rock. (University of Rochester photo)

The Yes Album

John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music, professor of music in the College, and professor of music theory at Eastman, performs in Institute for Popular Music presents The Yes Album on September 14 at Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School. Participants include students in the College and at Eastman.

How did you reinvent your show for Fringe?
Our shows are organized around some part of pop history. In the fall, the shows are devoted to classic albums and in the winter they are devoted to specific styles. So in the fall we will perform The Yes Album and Led Zeppelin IV, while the winter show will be devoted to the early days of MTV.

What draws you to Fringe each year?
For me, these performances create a great opportunity for the Institute for Popular Music to reach out to the Rochester community—to share some of the great things that happen at the University with those interested in music and art.

What shows do you recommend seeing this year (besides your own)?
I recommend DRE/RED, which will be in Kilbourn on Sept 15. The Dave Rivello Ensemble will play some of Dave’s new music. I’ll be there for sure!


close-up of two artists in costume and makeup, one holding a bottle of wine

Gala Tubera ’15, top, performs with her partner Aurora Quinn-Marsh as a variety show duo. (Hooperellas Spectacular! photo)

The Hooperellas Spectacular!

Gala Tubera ‘15, a senior financial aid counselor in Admissions and Financial Aid, performs in The Hooperellas Spectacular! on September 13 and 15 at the Lyric Theatre at Cabaret Hall.

What draws you to Fringe each year?
I’ve been going since it started—going to all the public free events. I also manage to catch some of the smaller shows, which is the scene we like to keep an eye on. It’s not like acrobatics with people on the sides of buildings, but it’s people making small art in small venues for small audiences.

How did you create your show for Fringe?
My partner, Aurora Quinn-Marsh, and I have been putting on shows for the past two years and it’s developed into large collaborations with all of our talented friends. Last February we did a variety show that was really successful at the Yards at the Public Market, so we wanted to do an idea like that, but really step it up and take it to the next level and make it multidisciplinary. In our Fringe show this year, we’ll have film projection, live music, poetry, comedy, and dance.

What shows do you recommend seeing this year (besides your own)?
Definitely Aria by [director of the University’s Institute for Performing Arts and of the Program of Dance and Movement] Missy Pfohl Smith. It’s her work with projection and dance and incorporating live music. For me I feel like I’ve watched it develop since I was a student and she first started collaborating with the Eastman School of Music. I also really look forward to watching the live performances in the Spiegeltent.


two dancers

Program of Movement and Dance lecturer Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, left, joins with Tammy Carrasco for a theatrical dance event, View From Here.  (Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp photo)

View From Here

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, senior lecturer in the Program of Dance and Movement, can be seen in the performance View From Here on September 13 and 16 at the Allen Main Stage Theatre at the School of the Arts.

What draws you to Fringe each year?
I am a believer that the Fringe Festival cultivates a culture of creative community. Before coming to Rochester, I did many Fringes across Canada and the United States and found that each has a unique character. I loved exploring the vibes of each one and meeting new people both within the field of dance as well as in other disciplines.

How did you reinvent or create your show for Fringe?
Each show is different. Some years, like last, I go into Fringe with a solid idea, working on creating a specific vision, and other years are more fluid and flexible. This year, I have the amazing opportunity to collaborate with my dancers as well as Tammy Carrasco, a dancer/professor from The College at Brockport. I enjoy the unknown when creating something that I am less clear on. The process of creation is the scary part but also the thrilling part. To let my mind and body wander through the possibilities is what draws me to making art in the first place.

What shows do you recommend seeing this year (besides your own)?
I am always a consumer of all things dance and I highly recommend taking in some dance this year. I think people shy away from it, especially if they are used to theater and music, but we have a pretty amazing scene here. Of course I recommend shows by my fellow faculty, including The Kitchen Revue and Other Enticing Treats by Anne Harris Wilcox and Aria by Missy Pfohl Smith and Lost in the Shuffle by Cheryl Johnson. Also check out Merged VI and FrazeeFeet Dance.


group of musicians performing in a bar

The Dave Rivello Ensemble’s performance will feature all newly composed music by Dave Rivello, specifically created for Fringe 2018. (Don VerPloeg photo)


Dave Rivello, assistant professor of jazz studies and contemporary media and director of the New Jazz Ensemble at the Eastman School of Music, performs in DRE/RED on Saturday, September 15 at Kilbourn Hall.

What draws you to Fringe each year?
Fringe allows me to push myself to do things I don’t normally get to do. For me, each year is something different. My first year I wrote a continuous piece of music an hour long—my first time writing such a piece. The second was a 30-minute collaboration with a dancer/choreographer as well as a metal artist. Last year I focused on electronic music. This year is about pushing myself to create a new sound. I realized it’s been 25 years since I formed my own ensemble, performing my own work. So I should celebrate that in some way. I’ve always wanted to do a more electric version of my ensemble, so this year launches an electric version of my band.

How do you reinvent or create your show each year for Fringe?
I do try to push myself to reinvent each year—things I don’t normally write or perform. I love the concept of fringe—the chance to do something a little more experimental or out of the ordinary for me and my daily world. To create something special just for Fringe audiences.

Which shows do recommend seeing this year (besides your own)?
This year I can finally attend a Missy Smith show. I’ve always had my own shows while she’s been on stage, so I’m looking forward to her, as well as John Covach, for sure. My shows are in the first weekend this year, so I’m looking forward to being able to catch more acts than I’ve been able to in the past.


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Category: The Arts