Posts Tagged ‘fringe festival’

Just Another Music Friday – 07/31/09

Old Cars
Uploaded on June 21, 2009
by manyhighways @ 2009 MSRA “Back to the Fifties” Car Show

Do you know what goes really well with music? Cool old cars.

I don’t have any shows to see this weekend, but I bought a ton of Cd’s last night at Half Priced Books. So I guess I’ll be ripping them to disk and dumping’em on my iPod Bombadil.

Heard and good local music lately?
I hear the new Vampire Hands release is superb, which I don’t doubt for a second. It’s my opinion they are the best “vampire” band out there, and that other vampire band that was so popular on 89.3 . . . well I’m not going to even mention their name.

Here’s Vampire Hands with Safe Word.

What are you listening to?

*Saturday Morning Update*Ways to get live and local this evening, Tim Mahoney will be rocking the 5:00 PM slot at St. Anthony Village Fest (FREE!) and the Unknown Prophets will be laying it down later in the eve at the 501 (FREE?) (I think so)

Or spend a little money and get artsy at the Fringe Festival [ #MNFRINGE ] or perhaps help the Common Room “bust through gallery stereotypes” at The Soap Factory.

So much to do. Rock on.


Found Photo: First Jucy Lucy

Jucy Lucy cheeseburger gooeyness
Originally uploaded by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

A visitor to our fair city tries her first Jucy Lucy. It is, and I quote, “SO GOOD.”

I got to have brunch with Rachel and some other folks on Sunday. She made the most of her weekend, taking in a Fringe show, visiting the Walker, eating at Matt’s, going to a cupcake meetup, and doing readings from her books at Amazon Bookstore and the Smitten Kitten (her reason for being here in the first place). I believe she’s going to the Mall of America today. A quick look at a lake or a river and she’ll have done most of the quintessential things for Minneapolis visitors. We strongly warned her that it would not be safe to visit again next year until May or so.

Fringe Report: August 10, 2008

fringe2008.pngFringe Encore shows! Congratulations to the festival’s top sellers.

You can read all the reviews I posted at in one place. I think that’s a new feature on the website this year. I like it. (Just so you know, those are mostly the same as what I posted here.)

Besides the official staff photos on the Fringe’s website, there are plenty to be found on Flickr. [minnesota fringe]

This is the last Fringe Report from me for this year. I finished the Fringe off with two shows I’d been planning to see since the very beginning of the festival.

On to the reviews.

The Underpants Show by Lili’s Burlesque
When I thought we weren’t going to get in, I tried not to be too upset since Lili’s Burlesque is local and I could see them some other time. But we got in at the last minute and I’m glad we did. It was nice to see the show with a packed house. This kind of show thrives on the hootin’ and hollerin’ in the audience, which there was plenty of. What blew me away was how well-produced a show this was. The acts, the music, the costumes were all fantastic. The three-piece band was great. The host was great. The two guys that cleaned up discarded clothing between acts were great. It was visually interesting and you didn’t have to think too hard. This show was one of the most fun to attend.

Roofies in the Mochaccino by Empty S Productions
Empty S Productions aka Michael Shaeffer, who also participated in at least one other Fringe show this year. Maybe two. I actually didn’t enjoy this one as much as I expected to. I mean, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It was an easy-to-endure show, as each poem was only a few minutes long. I confess, my previous perception of beat poetry involved a beret, sunglasses, and snapping. So if this is beat poetry, this is way better than I thought it was. He writes well and he tells it well. As much as I hated phillip andrew bennett low’s show, pabl’s review of this one is right on. I’ll be looking out for more Michael Shaeffer around town.

Further miscellaneous observations…

Fringe Report: August 9, 2008

fringe2008.pngI totally skipped my early afternoon Fringe plans to watch the Olympics. Hey, I passed up the Opening Ceremonies to see four shows on Friday night.

This is your last reminder to go see The Jamal Lullabies on Sunday at 1pm at the Southern Theater. And then go see The Nosdrahcir Sisters on Sunday at 2:30pm at the Rarig Center Xperimental. I am not kidding. Make time.

I wish would quit logging me out so often.

As of right now (10pm on Saturday night), Musical the Musical and Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead are tied for the most audience reviews at 61 apiece. 15 different shows are averaging 5-kitty ratings; nine of those 15 shows have more than 10 reviews.

Also, be on the lookout for the early Sunday afternoon announcement of the Fringe Encore performances, in which the top seller at each venue gets to perform one last show at 8:30 on Sunday night. You can only see one, because you can only be at one venue at 8:30 on Sunday night.

On to the reviews.

In Rehearsal by Alison Vodnoy
Alison Vodnoy tells the story of Akiva, who’s wookin’ pa nub. She tells her side of seven attempts at relationships (along with visits to her therapist), and then goes back and tells the other person’s side of the story. The show description’s mention of lesbians is sensationalist. One of Akiva’s relationship tries is with a woman, but it’s not treated any differently than the other six. Halfway through, I thought it was a decent show but nothing special. The second half redeemed it. A very interesting way to delve into the character of Akiva and a reminder that there are always two sides to every story, neither of which is necessarily the wrong or the right one. Not bad.

The Gypsy and the General by 3 Sticks
These are clearly very talented people. They did some really cool things with their props. But I totally didn’t get the story. I found that I could only focus on the music or the action but not both, and a lot of times I was more interested in the music. Glad I got one last chance to check out the now-closed Theatre de la Jeune Lune.

Further miscellaneous observations…

Fringe Report: August 8, 2008

fringe2008.pngI got to meet Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood briefly. My ex-roommate knows Curt and she had already told him how I had told her when I saw her last weekend that we saw Curt and Laura at Jimmy John’s and had a fangeek moment but were too shy/embarrassed to go up to them.

That Jimmy John’s at Riverview and 20th must do a brisk business during the Fringe. But probably only when the Rarig Center is a venue (because I don’t think it is every year).

Closing party on Sunday night.

On to the reviews.

Boys Don’t Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses by True Enough Theater
True Enough Theater aka Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood. I adore them. I just do. If you’ve seen Curt and Laura before, you know what to expect. Their storytelling is autobiographical, often self-effacing, and totally clever geek humor. I just want to *pinch their cheeks* when I see them. The Harry Potter glasses on the floor were a nice touch. The Rarig Center Arena is not ideal for their set up, so if you go see their last show on Sunday at 7, hope that it’s not too full or get there early enough so you’re not sitting behind them.

Tipping the Bucket by Allegra Lingo
Another known quantity going in to the show. Honestly, based on the Fringe-For-All preview, I wasn’t quite sure I was gonna like this one, but it was as good as I’d hoped. Allegra does a great job working the space in the Rarig Center Arena. She talks through her spiritual and religious path in life with both humor and meaning that anyone could relate to. Her description of the Wooddale church in Eden Prairie cracked me up, since I drive by there all the time. Solid. See her Saturday at 4 and Sunday at 2:30.

The Pumpkin Pie Show by Horse Trade Theater Group
This being my third storytelling show of the night, I was incredibly pleased to find this one to be different. The previous two were autobiographical, one comedic, one part comedy part thoughtful. The Pumpkin Pie Show was acting. Some funny, some dramatic, all extremely well played. Clay Mcleod Chapman and Hannah Cheek were phenomenal. I was completely captivated by each story. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed shows that didn’t take me in nearly as much as these two did. Recommended! Saturday at 5:30 is your last chance to see them.

All Rights Reserved: A Libertarian Rage by Maximum Verbosity
This is one of those cases of otherwise talented actors having a terrible script to work with. This was completely self-indulgent on the part of writer phillip andrew bennett low, who himself performed a number of screaming, ranty, ideological screeds throughout the show. He said nothing new or different or thoughtful or revolutionary. Disregarding whether or not I agree with any of the points he was trying to make, his presentation of them sucked. The gratuitous use of racial and anti-gay epithets added nothing to the show. Knowing who else was in the cast (Michael Shaeffer, Courtney McLean) I expected more. The bright spot was the songs performed by Michael Shaeffer and Neil Fennell. I’d like to have that hour of my life back, please.

2008 Fringe Festival Closing Party on Sunday Night

Plan ahead.

2008 Fringe Closing Party

Sunday, August 10, 10pm, 18+, free, First Avenue.

I love that vampire rabbit.

Fringe Report: August 7, 2008

fringe2008.pngI will keep reminding you to go see the Jamal Lullabies until you can’t see it anymore. Friday at 10pm or Sunday at 1pm, at the Southern Theater.

Downtown Journal has some behind-the-Fringe-scenes stuff with folks from The Mistress Cycles, My Hovercraft is Full of Eels, Deviants, Mike Fotis, and the Fringe Sherpa program which I saw a description of in passing somewhere but didn’t hear or see much more about. Hey, Fringe, y’all might want to pimp this harder next year.

The Fringe’s myspace page is actually nice.

Fringe Famous has made its nominations and polls are open for the First Annual Fringies. Voting is open until Saturday night.

On to the reviews.

Mortem Capiendum by Four Humors Theater
I had high expectations for this one, having seen previous shows by this group. I don’t know if it was because I was tired or what, but I just didn’t enjoy it that much. It was cleverly written and well acted, I just didn’t like the story. There are better choices you could make for the last weekend.

Phi Alpha Gamma by Dan Bernitt
Just now as I typed out “Phi Alpha Gamma” did I realize what those letters spell out. I had seen exactly one review of this show and it was glowing, but I tried to consider the source because of course a gay guy is going to be more inclined to rate a gay-themed show very highly but then I decided that’s a bigger plus because it means the topic was handled well. It’s the story of a fraternity dealing with the reputation it earned when one of its members gay-bashed a guy and further consideration of this reputation when a brother comes out in a chapter meeting. Having seen a lot of one-woman shows, a one-man show was a nice change of pace. Dan Bernitt was great, very effectively portraying four different characters and the world of fraternities. Recommended!

The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue by The Cody Rivers Show
I stumbled upon the Cody Rivers Show at last year’s Fringe and was totally blown away, so I had high expectations and every one of them was met. They’re like a live action They Might Be Giants song. I felt smarter for having seen it. So clever and funny and WTF?! and never a dull moment. Seriously, not one part of this show was bad. Recommended!

Further miscellaneous observations…

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 5, 2008

fringe2008.pngFriendly neighborhood actress lady and blogger extraordinaire Leigha Horton has been blogging the Fringe, since she’s not in a show this year. My favorite part: Audio interviews with folks in line. Of course she knows, like, everyone in line. Follow along. As a theater type person, she asks performers and directors totally different questions than I would ever ask.

Slideshows of official Fringe photos are going up at

I was just wondering, and my question was answered: Opening weekend numbers were great! From Thursday through Sunday, 14,215 tickets were sold. Up 10% over last year’s opening weekend attendance which you’ll note was somewhat dampened by that bridge that fell down.

On to the reviews.

The Survival Pages by Malia Burkhart
Malia ponders humanity’s relationship with nature, talks about hosting her own wildlife show, asks the questions we all ask about how we’re killing our planet and what we should be doing to conserve and survive, and goes on this kind of interesting exploration of soil vs dirt. All this is presented with spoken word, some kind of free-form movement that I wouldn’t quite call dance, some recliner acrobatics, video, this really cool thing where she makes her own cocoon, and a bucket of dirt. I didn’t find the story she told to be gripping, exactly, but I really liked the way she presented it. I’m sure every Fringe artist puts a lot of thought into their show, but it was interesting watching the show keeping in mind that every little bit was very carefully considered (having skimmed through her blog dedicated to the development of this show which includes the cut-and-pasting of a rejection of her request for a second projector by the Fringe’s tech director which she is not pleased with). One last showing Friday at 7pm. If you’re looking to try something “different” this is a good option.

JACK by Eric Van Wyk
So this is a reinterpretation of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. The puppets were really cool. He had several different types so it wasn’t just different characters, it was puppets with truly different aesthetics which made for good variety. Some of the puppetry techniques and production elements were pretty cool, like how he portrayed the passage of time with the moon rise and how he portrayed traveling with the scrolling backdrop and how he portrayed the growing of the bean stalk. In some cases, the execution wasn’t entirely polished. The actual story itself was totally meh. I think an 8-year-old would enjoy it quite a bit. As much as I enjoyed it visually, I found myself ready for it to be over, or at least pick up the pace, about halfway through and I really didn’t get the ending. If you have kids, take ’em. Last night was his first show, so he’s got four more. Coincidentally, this guy went to school in Iowa back in the day with one of my co-workers. I told my co-worker to go see it anyway.

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…

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