Posts Tagged ‘rarig center’

Fringe Report: August 3, 2008

fringe2008.pngI hadn’t been to the new Acadia Cafe since it moved from Franklin and Nicollet to Cedar and Riverside. We spent the break in our Sunday schedule eating there. As good as always. I recommend the black bean burger, the West Bank burger, the GLBT sandwich, and whatever’s on tap. I do not recommend the hummus and pita plate. Another good choice for a centrally located place to eat while Fringe-ing.

Did you know that the Minnesota Fringe Festival website has a mobile version? That’s http://fringefestival.org/2008/m/.

On to the reviews.

The Dog, Moses & Me by Regi Carpenter
Not every storyteller at the Fringe is riotously funny, and that’s a good thing. Regi told some poignant autobiographical stories with just the right amount of imagery and movement, and with a quiet, captivating tone. She takes you through some very tough life situations with grace and strength and good humor. I was totally absorbed by her smile. A nice change of pace from some of the “bigger” productions I’ve seen so far. Recommended!

Great American Horror Movie Musical by LSD Productions
In short, parts that involved singing were good and parts that involved talking were bad. I think the Fringe-For-All preview I saw was the best part of the whole show. It’s like the actual plot was a poor excuse to gratuitously string together a bunch of ’80s songs. If you can’t do a good gay joke, don’t even bother. Everyone around us seemed to enjoy this show way better than I did. There was a pretty wide range of acting talent. All were good singers. Sari Lennick was a bright spot. Don’t bother with this one.

Stupid Face by Courtney Roche
An autobiographical story of being struck with Bell’s Palsy at the age of 17. I wanted to like this one, but I just couldn’t get there. It was self-indulgent. I suppose I would expect a selfish reaction from a teenager to such a life event, but with no context as to how everyone else dealt with it and only her story of “I was bitter, then self-conscious, then I got over it” with a too-pat “here’s the moral of the story” bit about change and shit happening in life at the end to go by…. meh. Don’t bother.

Trying Guilt by Culture Mesh Collective
This one was a tad hard to follow. The various characters Christina Frank played all had related story lines, but I couldn’t quite put them all together. The show description says it explores the phenomenon of guilt. I didn’t consistently pick up that theme, but it certainly applies. All that aside, it was different from other stuff I’m seeing and that was a good thing. Go see it for that reason alone. Hip hop doesn’t get enough love at the Fringe. Worth a look, but I wasn’t wowed by it. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on future Culture Mesh Collective productions. And they’ve got their social media joint down: [facebook] [myspace] [twitter] [upcoming]

An Intimate Evening with Fotis: Part Two by Mike Fotis
Exactly what I expected from Mike Fotis, which was fantastic. If you’ve ever seen the guy perform anywhere else (e.g., Brave New Workshop or Rockstar Storytellers) it’s just like that. He’s self-deprecating. He’s a little bit manic. He’s… I don’t know, he’s just Fotis. The icing on the cake for me: The last story is all about blogging. Recommended!

Further miscellaneous 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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