Posts Tagged ‘bedlam theater’

Twin Cities Daily Planet turns 3 and deserves a spanking

The Twin Cities Daily Planet will turn three on May Day, and are celebrating with a Happy Hour Birthday Party at the Bedlam Theatre, 1501 S. 6th St., Minneapolis, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 1.

From the press release: Join TCDP writers, photographers, videographers, media partners, readers, and other contributors for drinks and conversation – this is a great opportunity to meet face to face with members of the Twin Cities Daily Planet community, talk about news stories and happenings in the Twin Cities, and enjoy each others’ company—offline.

Birthday cake and a short presentation at 6. Bedlam offers some great happy hour drink specials, including tap beers for $3.

What do you get a nonprofit online newspaper for its birthday?

Fringe Report: August 6, 2008

fringe2008.pngAfter a hare of a first weekend, I’m trying to tortoise my way to the end of the Fringe. Is there really still four days left? And two of them are weekend days?

Tonight’s Fringe Central fun: DJ. Starting at midnight. Think First Avenue, not wedding. Finish your last show, head to the Bedlam for snacks, then shake your groove thang.

On to the reviews.

The Jamal Lullabies by Emily Conbere and East River Commedia
I didn’t really know what to expect from this show. All I know is if it had the name Jamal in the title, it probably had something to do with black folks and you just don’t see that that often in Minnesota, much less in the Fringe Festival. So I was interested because it was different, but I hadn’t committed to it until I saw Bill Stiteler recommend it on Twitter, saying that this particular show is not getting the love it deserved. He was totally right! So of course, I was not expecting a show about a memorial to a drug dealer named Jamal Slims Hall to be performed by four white women. But I got over that pretty quickly. The thing that really blew me away: The singing is excellent. Tight four-part harmonies (I’m in a choir, I dig that kind of stuff). And it really is funny. And touching, too. I was totally engaged throughout the entire show, and that has only happened a handful of times so far this Fringe. Recommended! Still playing at the Southern Theater on Friday, 8/8, at 10pm and on Sunday, 8/10, at 1pm.

We picked this one because it looked “different” and you can only handle so many one-woman monologue shows. So in a complete 180, this show has no plot. The show descriptions says it’s a “fusion of sound design, original spoken narrative as word design, live piano performance and body movement.” One reviewer called it a collage of media. The thing is, with all those aforementioned elements going on at once, I found it hard to catch it all. I gave up on trying to really understand the deeper meaning and just enjoyed the background music which was some groovy deep house type stuff. There was also a pretty cool marionette scene with a guy on stilts directing another dancer. I wanted to be the guy running the sound board, who sat with his back to the audience through the entire show. It was an experience that I’m glad I’ve had but I wouldn’t voluntarily have it again. Don’t use up your precious few remaining time slots on it.

War of Worlds: The Musical – A Tribute to Old-Time Radio by Hometown Theatre
It’s War of the Worlds, with a twist. They had the old-time radio thing down pat. My girlfriend liked the crazy scientist the best. I liked the Martians the best. Having seen the Fringe-For-All preview, I knew there was going to be a Martian, but I had to wait all the way until the end for that pay off. It was fun and easy. Nice to enjoy a show without having to think too hard. I’d say go see it, but if you have other ones you’ve been waiting for, go see those first.

Further miscellaneous observations…

Fringe Report: August 4, 2008

fringe2008.pngFirst weekend is over. Hope the numbers looked good. I kept seeing Minnesota Fringe Festival Executive Director Robin Gillette appear in places. I don’t think she moves from the neck. I think it’s all in the waist. Just sayin’. You’re doing a great job, Robin! *pinch your cheeks*

Local dance community stalwart John Munger, writing at the Daily Planet, gives his take on the “catastrophe” at the Southern Theater that has “precipitated an incandescent crisis in the dance community.”

Pub-style trivia at Fringe Central (the Bedlam), Tuesday night, 11pm.

Sortable audience review data.

On to the reviews.

Sex, Love & Vomit by Story Tapestries
Christopher Kidder already has described it pretty well, so I won’t repeat. I’ll just say that I was bored. Katie Knutson’s “faggot” story was kind of funny, in that earnest good kid sort of way. I feel like a bad person for saying this, but I found the fact that Arianna Ross is (very) pregnant to be distracting. They had different styles but I didn’t find them to be complementary. It was a little jarring transitioning between stories. It felt disjointed. Still, I gotta give props to someone who can get up there and tell such deeply personal stories in the first place. It’s decent, but don’t go out of your way.

Get It OFF YOUR CHEST!!! by Mary Helena
I cried! Holy crap, this is one of the best shows I’ve seen so far. So the theme is “If you have excess stress, get it off your chest.” Mary Helena goes through a series of stories, in character, about women dealing with stress. She sets up each scene, neatly transitions into character, portrays the character with simple costume and accent or pidgin, transitions back out, and then has an astute observation on each which is usually some variation on “Ain’t that some shit?” It flows easily from scene to scene as she pulls each costume from a trunk. It’s clear watching each character who she’s speaking to and where she’s coming from. Each story is a clear display of sympathy or empathy, except for the very last one which is from her own point of view. I loves me a sassy black woman. Armitea made me cry. I won’t spoil that story, though. MUST SEE. Seriously. Wednesday at 8:30 or Saturday at 7, at the Mixed Blood.

adjective by Megan Dowd
Two words: Dawson’s Creek. Skip the first season where the surprisingly mature dialogue was still a novelty and fast forward to the part where it just got annoying. In fact, Brandon Sommers looks kind of like Pacey. So the story is about an inappropriate student/teacher relationship. The student is both manipulative and naive. The teacher’s a dumb ass. In the scene where they finally — finally! — kiss for the first time, the guy sitting behind me actually snorted out loud. It was a train wreck of a show, because it was terribly predictable, and you know it can’t end well. And then some other woman who I think may have been the director/producer actually came out to give the standard post-Fringe-show speech, which I’ve never seen given by anyone other than a perfomer. Must avoid.

Further miscellaenous observations…

Fringe Report: July 31, 2008

fringe2008.pngI had ambitious plans for the first night of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I had four shows to see, one in each time slot. I picked four shows all playing in/around Cedar-Riverside. I thought about driving over with my bike, getting parked in one spot, and riding around the rest of the night. Despite the fact that there was nary a cloud in the sky, I let four separate weather reports of isolated thunderstorms scare me out of biking. That and I haven’t checked my lights in a while and was in a hurry to get out of the door.

But anyway, you want to know how I liked the shows I saw.

Reincarnation: Another Chance at Failure by Rampleseed
Don’t let that picture scare you, there’s no actual nudity (or if you like that sort of thing, don’t let it disappoint you). I liked this one better than I thought I would. Their Fringe-for-All preview was the very first scene of their show and while it was entertaining, it doesn’t do the show justice, but there’s no way you could know that because you have to see the whole thing for it to make sense. It didn’t fully hit me until after it was over how the title really was reflective of the content. So anyway, the first few scenes are kind of “enh?” but as the show builds on itself and the same themes and scenes are revisited, it becomes more and more entertaining. So don’t be late to this one. Recommended!

59 Minutes ‘Til the End by Steve Anderson
My girlfriend, in trying to explain Fringe to a friend of hers, said that sometimes there’s bad content with great acting and sometimes there’s great content with bad acting. This was an example with the latter. I really wanted to like this show. It’s a decent concept: guy realizes he’s at his own funeral and then goes through a whole series of “how did I get here?” and “am I okay with this?” questions. There were some pretty good one-liners (“This is not Como Zoo!”). I actually found Steve himself to be distracting. I’d probably be really freaked if I somehow found myself consciously attending my own funeral, but there’s gotta be a better way to convey that than by panting, slapping yourself in the forehead, and constant shuffling. For 49 minutes. I wanted to yell at him to please stand still for a minute. This show was so close, but not quite there for me. A for effort, though. See it if you’ve got a time slot to kill.

Stimulate This! by Mad Munchkin Productions
This one edged out Reincarnation as my favorite show of the night. Clever, good acting, lots of props, and anything that starts with a puppet impersonation of George W. Bush is right up my alley. It’s a series of sketches about how people spend their stimulus checks. Some are hilarious. Some are embarrassingly accurate. Some are really sad. I was surprised by the serious nature of some of it; in retrospect it made it a much better show. Recommended!

Further miscellaneous observations…

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