Guerrilla, an expensive French Macaroon, and others at the Fringe Festival

Posted by Diego Barcacel Pena, GD Poetry Reader for 5.1

Rochester Fringe Festival

A transformed poem at the Rochester Fringe Festival.

The ride to the Rochester Fringe Festival was stormy, filled with great impressions, and witness to bad puns. As we passed a yard sale, I said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you went to a yard sale and asked them how much the yard was?” No one laughed. A fringe festival is a festival that celebrates and promotes art by displaying it to the public. There are so many things to see at a fringe festival that you might get overwhelmed. It lasts for about a week promoting the artistic side of Rochester.

When we arrived at the corner of Main and Gibbs where the Spiegel Garden was located, we were met with wet tents and even wetter tables and chairs. We, Guerrilla Geneseo, were at the Fringe Festival to showcase SUNY Geneseo student’s art. Our biggest selling point was Magnetic Poetry. The idea of Magnetic Poetry is that on five home-made blackboards we would display five different SUNY Geneseo poems and have the participants of the Fringe Festival rearrange them as they saw fit. Here’s a sampling of some of the best lines that emerged from Magnetic Poetry:

She accuses Robert of watching her mountains en route to her behind

NY: the historic apartment, visiting the wind like trees in rain

Around the frame, her town would skin…would I have been punctured?

Other than the Magnetic Poetry, we posted laminated poems and photographs all over–on tables, in urinals, and on fences. We couldn’t chalk poems on the first day because of rain, but on the second day, we took full advantage of the dry pavement.

Other than Guerrilla Geneseo, which I’m biased towards, there were other intriguing shows at the Fringe. There were people dressed as fairy tale characters that kind of weirded me out. They acted fully as their characters and not like normal human beings. So Snow White was actually Snow White. There were also these two men, each dressed in neon purple suits that only had holes for their eyes and their mouths—I wonder how they used the bathroom and if they enjoyed the poetry we left in there for them. They would hide behind cars in order to scare people. I believe that they were supposed to be ghosts reenacting scenes from Ghost Busters—my source for this information is a six-year-old girl screaming, “Mommy, look! It’s Ghost Busters!”

The food trucks were located right next to the Spiegel Garden. Before participating in the Fringe Festival, I had never eaten a French macaroon so when I saw a food truck that specialized in French macaroons, it felt like destiny. One French macaroon cost $2.20. For that kind of money, I could have brought a full meal at a fast-food restaurant, but I decided to buy it anyway. It didn’t disappoint: it tasted like heaven being destroyed in my mouth. For $2.20, it better taste like heaven being destroyed in my mouth.

Also during the Fringe Festival, there were multiple readings and performances. I went to Rachel Hall’s reading from  her new book, a collection of short stories called Heirlooms. This event included readings by Geneseo students Evan Goldstein, Sarah Steil, and Oliver Diaz, who read poetry, CNF, and fiction inspired by the idea of Heirlooms.

A few members of Geneseo Guerrilla also went to a junk store called “Greenovations.” I bought a leather jacket for $5—compare that to the $2.20 for one French macaroon. A school portrait of a teenage girl from 1963 for $10, whom the store clerk christened “Mary Lou.” And I got a free copy of John A. Vitale’s The Abused Prostate.

We went to a penthouse party for all the fringe festival participants in our new leather jackets, where we hobnobbed with ourselves and then we headed back to Geneseo because we were too tired to do anything else. As we drove back, we all felt proud of ourselves simply because “we did it.” We represented Geneseo at the Rochester Fringe Festival, and this made us want to put on shades so people wouldn’t recognize us as the celebrities we are. I would have waited for a mob of fans and photographers, but it was late and we were all sleepy.

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