Minnesota Fringe 2012: What I’m excited about


What I’m really looking forward to (versus feeling sort of obligated to attend):

The Love Show. Beautiful music, three beautiful, funny ladies – can’t miss with this one. Might tend slightly silly/raunchy, but in good ways.

Big Thinkers, Serious Issues, Improv Comedy. Starts with an interview with a real person, ends by influencing an improvised summary? Not really a spoof, from what I hear. Should be interesting AND entertaining. Featuring a new guest every show – see them all! Schedule of guests:

The Limits of Government – Sat, Aug 4 – 4:00 pm, Kim Crockett, COO, EVP and General Counsel, Center for the American Experiment
College, is it Worth it? – Sun, Aug 5 – 10:00 pm, Chris Farrell, Economics Editor for American Public Media
Putting a Price Tag on Public Art – Tue, Aug 7 – 8:30 pm, Kaywin Feldman, Director, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Voting Rights and the Election – Thu Aug 9 – 10:00 pm, Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Good, if not Great, Government – Sun, Aug 12 – 7:00 pm, Tom Horner, Former Gubernatorial Candidate, Independence Party 

Mary Mack’s Anti One-Woman Show: Sh*t Makes Flowers Grow.  Billed as a “folk humorist,” a term that frightens me a little, Mary Mack has been around to a degree that lends credibility. Expect funny.

The Habit. Brazilian (now based in Florida) Wilson Loria is one of the sweetest, most delightful visiting Fringers to grace our festival. His show To the Winners a few years ago was transcendent. His subsequent show Oens was a train wreck. The Habit is billed as “a daring look at a religious woman facing the crossroads of her life”. I have very high hopes, and can’t wait to see Wilson, regardless.

Sin Eater. How can I describe the work of Tamara Ober…she’s a serpentine dancer, fairytale teller, contortionist…I look forward to anything she does. This might be the show for your friend or family member who thinks they want to see something “Fringy” but not naked/uncomfortable/political Fringy. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t feel like they “get it” totally. One performer, likely playing multiple characters.

Along those lines – but different – you must see (and bring others to see) Ash Land, a movement-based ensemble piece (does that sound pretentious? If so, that’s entirely me, not them) by Transatlantic Love Affair. You will have to remind yourself throughout the show that there is actually no set, although you can see it clearly.  This show follows the massive Fringe hits Ballad of the Pale Fisherman and Red Resurrected.  Multiple performers, likely playing multiple characters and inanimate objects.

Font of Knowledge by the Shelby Company. In from New York once again (their fourth year) the Shelby Company consistently gives us weird, brilliant shows. “This continent spanning comedy follows a burned out former font maker Eli Calibri and gal librarian Korinna Goudy (head of the Secret and Evil documents section in the National Archives) as they try to stop the world’s most deadly font, HELVETICA, from falling into the wrong hands.” Who doesn’t hate Helvetica, really? It’s just so, so sans-serif. Don’t miss this one.

Sneak Thief. Diamond Thieves. Two very, very funny guys with lots of Fringe and other stage cred. And I have a secret crush on Tim Hellendrung.

BOOGIEography. The preview featured hot enough male dancers. It’s clear from their Cast + Crew page that there will also be women. Is it wrong for me to be sad about that?  This should be a fun, accessible dance show featuring a variety of styles.

Storms Beneath Her Skin. A show coming in from Chicago by transgender artist Rebecca Kling, answering all of our burning questions about surgery and other aspects of her metamorphoses. I love issues around gender and identity. And I really love stories about people who become exactly who they were meant to be, whether that be a gymnast, the president, or a girl.

Scarborough Fair. I love Simon and Garfunkel. And not only because my husband looks a little Garfunkelly when his hair gets too long.  Brought to us by Hazy Shade Productions from Brockport, NY. I repeat: I love Simon and Garfunkel. Please don’t ruin that for me.

The Hungry Games: Mocking the Mockingjay by Tom Reed. Finally, a Tom Reed show where I’m actually familiar with the source material. And finally, a way for me to imagine Gale and Peeta as I feel more fitting for a woman of my years: with killer abs and not underage.  We pretty much know that Tom will take his shirt off at some point in the production. Let’s hope it’s early and often. Prepare yourself; the pasty, lanky ginger has a truly astounding body. Oh yeah, and his voice isn’t bad, either. Enjoy. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Carol and Cotton: Minnesota’s Crime of the Century. (And it wasn’t a hotdish theft, I assure you.) I love true crime stories, especially based right here in Minneapolis (and by Minneapolis I mean St. Paul)! This show comes with enough bona fides to assure that it’s a safe bet.

Threads, by Tonya Jone Miller from Portland, Oregon. I’m intrigued for many reasons. 1. The story is set in Vietnam (one of my favorite places on Earth) in 1968 (the year of my birth, i.e., the best year ever).  2. It’s based on true stories of Tonya’s mother’s experience.  3. Sometimes the nicest, squarest people put on the naughtiest, raunchiest Fringe shows, and in this case, it’s reversed: this is a nice, square Fringe show put on by an “aural courtesan [I don’t know what that means but it sure sounds naughty] and openly kinky, sex-positive educator who teaches workshops across North America on how to talk dirty and role-play in the bedroom and dungeon.” Whoa.  I predict special workshops at Fringe Central. I wonder if they have a basement.

And last, but certainly not least, I’m excited about Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-yo Man by David Harris (one of two David Harrises in the Fringe this year). One of the many things I love about the Minnesota Fringe Festival is the community and the people – it’s so much more than just shows. I met David at an event where we were trying out this year’s Fringe Central, the Crooked Pint. He was sitting alone at a table, and I didn’t recognize him among the many familiar faces of Fringe regulars who turn out readily for beer specials. Assuming someone sitting alone in a crowd of people must be sad (even though, ironically, sitting alone in a crowd of people would make me very, very happy), I told my introverted self to suck it up and be a good Fringe ambassador and introduce myself. And guess what? David is lovely! And perfectly normal, even though he was sitting alone in a crowd of people. (It is obvious that I am nowhere near normal, given my tendency, among other things, to project feelings on others that aren’t even in my emotional range.) I found out David lives next to my office and then we became Facebook friends and then I saw him on the street in the ‘hood and then I was REALLY happy to like his preview. Thank god. Nothing more awkward than making a new Fringe friend and then finding out their show sucks.  This one will be awesome.