Philadelphia FringeArts, aka Philadelphia Fringe Fest

Philadelphia FringeArts started on Sep 5 and will run  through the 22nd. It's big. Shows I saw:

and a couple of other previews held at The Trestle Inn.

New Orleans

I was in New Orleans for the Supercomputing ‘10 conference last week. Managed some time to see a few shows at New Orleans Fringe Fest, too. Of those, I thought The Mudlark Public Theatre’s puppet show Hunter’s Blind was amazing. 

Avoiding Bourbon St, New Orleans has some really nice neighborhoods, and what looks like a really active independent performing arts scene. Not to mention great little bars, like Bar Tonique. And the great music. Coincidentally, two friends from Boston happened to be in town separately, and I got to meet up with them. One was performing and teaching classes at Fringe.

On this site in 1897 nothing happened.

Salon Gone Wrong

Jojo Lazar, the Burlesque Poetess, organized and hosted an evening of variety entertainment, featuring music, poetry and fiction reading, juggling, walking on broken glass, comedy, a contortionist, and partial stripping. It was held at the Amazing Firehouse in Framingham, MA.

You know the drill with the clicky clicky.



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Stormy Weather

I just got a copy of Stormy Weather (since I got a 30% discount coupon in email), featuring Lena Horne, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Cab Calloway, and other huge names. Am watching it now: opening scene is Bojangles drilling a time step with a bunch of kids. :D

This clip is not from this movie, but was a deleted scene from “Café Metropole”:

Stormy Weather (20th Century Fox)

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Performing with the Grindhouse Marionettes

I performed with the Grindhouse Marionettes this past Saturday, doing the pre-show for Voltaic Vaudeville at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA. I copied my face from Red Skelton. It was fun. I was stuffed, with Jake, into the rumble seat of a 1931 Ford Model A. We drove up to the theatre, hopped out, and did a Keystone Kops chase routine around the block. Click the picture below for the rest of the photoset.



Listening to Ringleaders Revolt (Beat Circus)

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Forbidden Zone on Stage, not quite

Well, the stage version of Forbidden Zone which I was part of is indefinitely shelved due to financial reasons. For the last couple of weeks, we tried realistically to see if we could pull it off, after deciding we weren’t ready for a Halloween opening. I got recruited as secretary for the new production team, and started helping out with vocal rehearsals since our music director had little experience with singers who don’t read music.

Anyway, it may still happen, but likely not as a completely independent project. We’ll see what happens. I’d really like to see this thing get off the ground.

Listening to St. Joe’s Infirmary (Those Gambler’s Blues) from the album “1997 - Vol 9 - H2 (1923-1930) DOCD-5513” by Female Blues Singers - Complete Recorded Works

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Samurai 7.0: Under Construction

I went to see “Samurai 7.0: Under Construction” last night, performed by Beau Jest Moving Theater. (Reviews here, and here.) It’s basically a stage adaptation of Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”.

It had funny bits, a good bit or two, and a well-choreographed melee scene at the end. On the whole, however, I felt it was disjoint. They make references to other movies with ‘seven’ in them: “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”, and of course, “The Magnificent Seven”. They had bits from Shakespeare, they made self-references about getting grants to do the show, there was a sort of constant thread of theatre talk (samurai auditioning, samurai with other shows as conflicts). They used puppets, shadow puppets, and toys, which worked a little better than I expected. With only eight performers, I think they handled multiple roles quite well.

However, I suppose I expected something that was more strongly narrative. They did basically follow the plot from beginning to end, but there was a lot of random stuff tacked on that I felt interrupted the flow. I felt like a lot of the business was gimmicky, and that they could have contrived a way to serve the narrative with the prop play and other things. There were a few places where they did use, say, the projection above the stage to substitute dialog, which worked, but for the most part, the business was a distraction. I felt like there were no sustained scenes, and that they shied away from any attempt at holding any particular emotional moment.

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