Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rochester Wrap-Up

Maggie and Nanette along the
Erie Canal bike path
After spending a week in Rochester and its environs, I am a convert.  Don't get me wrong-you still won't catch me there in the dark of winter.  But it is a beautiful area with a great variety of activities to enjoy.  On my last day there, Maggie and I got out on a bike ride along the Erie Canal.   Rochester became America's first "boom town" as a result of the reduced costs of transporting the product of its flour mills by water rather than over land.  The Canal runs 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo, and I am told that there is a bike path along most of the route.  We settled for a 15 mile ride on a beautiful 70-ish degree morning that actually felt like fall.

Maggie and Paula post-performance
One evening we caught a Paula Poundstone comedy show at a local venue.   I was familiar with Paula's name but didn't know much about her.  Suffice it to say that my face hurt by the end of the evening from laughing so much.  She has one of those quick minds that can make anything seem funny, and her conversations with audience members were truly hilarious.   Given that she was able to make us laugh about the water testing done by an environmental engineer, you can only imagine the tears that were streaming down our faces when she talked with a couple of guys who met at a gay campground that was a Christian campground in its former life.  One of the routines Paula is known for involves pop-tarts, and Maggie made her own contribution to the evening by leaving a box of the treats for Paula during the intermission.  This led to some musings about how the instructions on the boxes have changed over the years, although the suggestion to remove the pop-tarts from their envelope before eating has been a constant.   I am looking forward to hearing more from Paula on "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me," NPR's weekly quiz program about current events.  

Maggie and I also found time to catch a performance of Fingers and Toes at the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival in nearby Auburn, New York.   This is the Festival's inaugural season, and if Fingers and Toes is any indication of the caliber of show that they put on, it will be the first of many.   The time is 1939 and two long time friends--a pianist (Fingers) and a tap dancer (Toes)--have an opportunity to audition their new show for a Broadway producer in two weeks.  The problem is that they haven't written it yet.  With the number "Anyone Can Write a Song," I was in for the ride.  There of course has to be a girl, and after a funny scene auditioning actresses, they find Molly Malloy, a girl from the Mid-West who wants to give it one more try before packing her bags and heading home.  The music was great, the tap dancing was phenomenal, and the plot actually worked.  I wish that I were a theater impresario and could bring this show to our area because I know that it would be a hit--and I'd love to see it again!

It was a really fun week, and Maggie and I are already compiling our list of things to do on my next visit as her husband Charlie airs out the guest suite to get rid of the vaguely fishy smell.  This trip capped off my summer travels, so I'm back to exploring the offerings in Southwest Florida.  Stay tuned for my reports!

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