The impressive Flying Españas miss the mark at the Rochester Fringe | Art

Click to enlarge

  • The Flying Españas and the Wheel of Destiny.

Even as The Flying Españas flew over downtown Rochester’s playground, Parcel 5, with their “Flippin Metal Circus” show, the narrator couldn’t help but point out that his recent meal of tacos from food-truck was the real danger.

Pointing to the portable toilet, he warned: “Do not use the third from the left for at least half an hour.

It was day four of the Rochester Fringe Festival, with a trapeze artist dangling from a motorbike that was balanced on a cable suspended above his head. There was also “The Wheel of Destiny”, a huge axel with two cages of wire mesh and steel at each end, and some Flying Españas dressed as waiters in a French restaurant, rushing inside the cages to spinning the whole thing like a giant double hamster wheel.

All to the music of a live heavy metal band.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before at the big Rochester Fringe shows, where thousands of people gather to watch the toys take over. With more or less wonder. Balloons with spectacular colors, representing creatures from other planets. Giant, roaring steam engines. Bandaloop, the outfit with climbing platforms that allows his troop to soar through the air like web-weaving spiders, dancing on the side of a downtown building. In fact, Bandaloop returns to Rochester Fringe next weekend.

So here are the Flying Españas overhead – daredevils using excellent timing, rhythm and a sober awareness of the effects of gravity – to move nimbly from one trapeze swing to the next.

Sections of grass directly below the daredevils were kept away from spectators, just in case… well, just in case one of the Flying Españas dropped their keys, or a wallet, I guess.

Great, but… here’s what was missing: a story. And the human element. Who were these Flying Españas? And why were they doing this? The rigs, eclipsing their humans, were the stars of the show.

And that show ended after a brief half hour; by then the air in the third portable toilet from the left had dissipated. Our narrator must have thought the crowd looked hungry for more as they drifted off to plot 5, reminding us, “And don’t forget the taco truck.”

The Flying Españas return for two more shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

The variety show “Late & Live”

We’ve seen Mark Gindick before, as an ensemble member of Cirque du Fringe. Now he has his own show at the Spiegeltent, “Late & Live”. And he came out singing. Even bellowing, like a forgotten member of the Rat Pack.


Truer words were never sung, as the lights went out and Gindick hit the ground like he was shot.

A simple, stupid gag. But damn funny.

Gindick survived, continuing as host of this variety hour that recruits talent from other Rochester Fringe shows. Serious synchronicity of the jazz dance of a duo presenting a piece from the show Biodance at the Théâtre de la Place de l’Innovation. Magician Jordan Rooks and a hilarious conversation with the omniscient phone sage Siri, and confusion over the words “bandana” and “banana”, something that surely happens all the time.

There were breakdancers, drag queen Golden Delicious, Gindick doing a striptease on “Fever.”

Thomas Warfield, remembering the day Paul McCartney called him to ask him about a song Warfield had recorded. Do you believe the guy on the other end of the line if he says he’s Paul McCartney?

And Gindick released Connie Fredericks-Malone, delivering vibrant vocal standards, “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” and “All of Me.” Though she wisely turned down a request from Gidnick: Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

“Late & Live” returns at 9:15 p.m. Saturday at the Spiegeltent, featuring more talent drawn from the ranks of the Rochester Fringe.

Jeff Spevak is editor and reporter for WXXI Arts & Life. He can be reached at (585) 258-0343 or [email protected]

click on the picture

Comments are closed.