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Posts Tagged ‘2014 Neighborhood Fringe’

Lovertits: Interview with Neighborhood Fringe artist Annie Wilson

Posted September 17th, 2014

Lovertits_Annie-Wilson-283x300“Multiple climaxes, drifting off, getting exciting again, plateau-ing out, calming down, another climax, some snuggling.”

In a performance she describes as a “burlesque-postmodern-dance-theater-bad-improv,” Annie Wilson explores our societal views on sex and the real, messy, embodied sex that humans actually have. Lovertits will run at the Ruba Club (416 Green St) from Sept 19 to Sept 21 in this year’s Fringe Festival.

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Behind the Carousel: Q and A with Josh McIlvain on “SLIDESHOW”

Posted September 11th, 2014

SLIDESHOWFollowing two successful nights at Chris the Brit’s house, because obviously that’s where you kick off your Fringe Festival productions, Josh McIlvain, late of editing our Festival Guide, takes his SLIDESHOW on the road, stopping at Headlong Studios, WetLand, and Moving Arts of Mount Airy before he’s done. We caught up with him to talk about the show.

Tell me about the show. Justify your existence.
I’ve winnowed down 1,500 slides to 80 per tray, for five carousels. The goal was to make the story through pictures, along with writing a narrative that I tried not to tie too directly to the pictures. I figured out a story with the pictures, and then married them into the script. Then I whittled each carousel down so they’re like chapters. Once I did that, I could see where each chapter could end.

Where did these slides come from?
These slides I bought off eBay.

When my grandmother passed away several years ago and she left an attic full of camera equipment. Old film, Polaroid cameras, slide carousels. All this stuff was really nice, sturdy, well-made. I thought I was only person in family who would be interested in this stuff, and it would be fun to incorporate it in a show in some way. I found a booklet of slides in one of her closets, random vacation house on a lake—maybe from the 1950s, maybe the 1970s. I had no idea where the lake was, or knew anybody in the pictures, and they were kind of boring so I didn’t take them.

What was interesting to me was the disconnection I had from them. So I thought that if I can track these slides down again, I could create a show that’s a fictional account of those slides. Then I thought maybe those slides weren’t good enough, so I started acquiring large caches of other family slides.

These were slides that were in lots of anywhere from 100 to 1000 slides of people’s vacations. I don’t know where the hell they came from, maybe estate sales or something. A couple of them I had to pay like $30! I thought I was going to have to pay $2 for them. I’m using material from each group, but there’s one main one that’s the subject of the piece. I trace this one family from the 1950s through the 1980s. I actually portray somebody in the slides, their child, to tell the story of their lives and my life at the same time.

I didn’t do this on purpose, but it ended up being about that same disconnect I felt with my grandmother’s slides.

Why perform solo this time, and why so many venues?
I’ve wanted to create a solo show for a while so I could tour it, so I could have something where if I’m vacationing or traveling somewhere, I could do a couple shows there. And I wanted to do something different, and this is very mobile. There’s me, a slide projector, and a standalone screen. So it could be done anywhere, and I thought it would be good to take advantage of the Neighborhood Fringe idea. I definitely wanted to do a show out here [in Mount Airy], doing a show at my friend’s house, Arts Parlor, WetLand.

I think I’ll learn a lot from doing it at the Fringe. I knew from the beginning it would be a slide show, and that the audience was there, but not in a theater—we’d be all in the same room together. I knew I was basically in the center of the audience talking over these slides. The one big decision I made was to become a person in the slide show itself. Originally I was thinking of a conceit reconstructing the lives of those in the slides through journals and “research.” But I liked the idea of putting myself into the slides. And it just so happens somebody in the slides kind of looks like me. I like the idea of immediately making the audience buy into the illusion of it, like collapsing time, for them to know that the person who’s giving the slide show is not just a lecturer—he’s got other motivations going on than just showing people something. He’s a little wayward.

The cool thing about the slides is that they look so good. They’re crisp, their color is really lush. And it’s really voyeuristic; it’s weird to look at somewhat intimate pictures of people that never had any intention for this kind of use. There’s something interesting about intimate or social pictures of people from fifty, forty years ago, because it brings an immediacy to them that’s cool.

There’s the sense that my character’s kind of living in the past, or that the past is very much in the present, they’re both very much there. A lot of the actual piece—it’s basically a drama. There’s funny stuff in it, but what it is not is my making fun of the people in the slides. My character makes fun of his parents, people in the slides. But it’s definitely not me riffing off these funny people from the past.

What’s unique about the slide show?

There’s a very interesting thing to me about the aspirational aspect to the slide show. You’re gathering your neighbors, friends, family to your house and basically putting on a show. That’s what struck me about doing a theater piece–everything is already there, it’s a type of show. There’s something interesting in this idea that you show your successes to people, almost like you’re in a movie: showing real slides of yourself in a presentation about your real life that you want to share with your friends and your family. Exploring your kingdom in your format that invites you into this screen, like a movie that puts you in the picture.

What’s really different about this from Facebook or Instagram is the live event in the home. It’s nothing like a concert in the home; I don’t really know of anything that’s really similar to that. I was talking to somebody last night, and I think this basically existed from the late 50s through the mid-80s. The computer image stuff wasn’t really a thing until the mid-1990s or late 1990s. What killed it was video–the video camera took over the slide show. Instead of taking images for slides, they filmed everything on video.

It was the thrill, you could make your own TV–video cameras were a way to see yourself on television, and that was crazy. The slide show was harder to do, and probably more expensive in some ways.

SLIDESHOW September 12 and 13, 7:00 pm
Headlong Studios (formerly Arts Parlor)
1170 S. Broad Street
$10

September 16, 8:00 pm
WetLand
Independence Seaport Museum Pier
Columbus Boulevard at Dock Street
Pay what you can

September 19 and 20, 8:00 pm
Moving Arts of Mount Airy
6819 Greene Street (at Carpenter Lane)

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Inside “Underground Episodes”: Q and A with Allen Clark

Posted September 10th, 2014

UndergroundEpisodesFlyer1The first performance of the 2014 Neighborhood Fringe show Underground Episodes is already sold out–we just caught up with Allen Clark, the executive producer of Run Boy Run Productions, to find out what the fuss is about.

What’s the basic idea behind the show?
The premise of Underground Episodes comes from everyday riding on the train and seeing the interaction of people within the subways. From the homeless men and women, the many going to work, the kids going to school, the hustlers, the police officers and the old, many are characters within themselves with stories that you can only imagine want to be told. Think about this. When you see a person loud-talking on their cell phone to someone and it’s about, oh, the baby for example. You get to see the beauty of the story come out in the form of someone screaming and telling you details that you didn’t even want to know, but it’s nonetheless a story that you are now part of. After that you go home and for some strange reason that story becomes part of your conversation of crazy stories of the day.

How is the show structured?
I structured the play as a spoken word theater piece. I have been a poet for years and a writer even longer, and this project was 10 years in the making. However the issue I had was people thinking it was just poetry when its not just poetry but pieces put together to make a story. Finding people that can bring to life the pieces through acting and performance was key.

Why did you decide to present in Neighborhood Fringe this year?
My reason for wanting to be in the Fringe is simple: I love the arts. I have been going to Fringe events for years and seeing some of the best local talent this city had to offer only made me believe that my work belonged within this forum as well.

Why did you pick the Philadelphia Art Alliance as your venue?
Picking the Philadelphia Art Alliance was a dream come true. Meeting Eva, the marketing and event curator of the facility, and her opening the space up to our event was perfect. I mean it’s Rittenhouse Square: a mecca of places to go and people to see all in one area so having an artistic event in a place that prides itself on art made since to me.

What is it about the everyday that you find compelling?
What’s not compelling about the everyday? Riding trains, buses, and cars, all you see is stories around you.

Does everybody really have a story worth telling?
I believe so. How many homeless people get on the train and ask for money and tell you they have no place just lost their job and are just trying to get a meal? Those lines alone contain a story that you or myself can relate to. After all, many of us are working just to pay the bills, right? So to see that type of picture possibly happening to you or someone you may know isn’t far from your mind. Now is that a story you may know or understand or even want to hear? I believe so.

Underground Episodes
September 12 at 8:00 pm
September 13 at 1:00 pm
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 S. 18th Street

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Pics: Last Scratch Night

Posted August 29th, 2014

BodyLautrec

See what you missed on Monday, and get a flavor of five Neighborhood Fringe productions via Kevin Monko’s awesome pics on Facebook of the last Scratch Night of August.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo by Kevin Monko

Tonight: Neighborhood Fringe Scratch Night Spotlight, the Fourth

Posted August 25th, 2014

Is it already the last Monday in August? What happened to summertime? Rehearsals, plannings, plottings, I guess. Anyway, today’s arrival means the arrival of the last Neighborhood Fringe preview Scratch Night, featuring:

bodylautrecOne of the Neighborhood Fringe shows I’m personally most excited about, because I love the painter: The Body Lautrec from Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen. And those two are pretty good too.

Ombelico Mask Ensemble, who returns to the Fringe with Flim Flam Phantom Sham at NoLibs’s Liberty Lands Park.

Anna K, which you can find from Chris Davis this year in rowhouse on Wharton Street.

Underbite Theatre Company delves into the Westboro Baptist Church protests of military funerals with Snyder v. Phelps, an original musical.

And Katie Horton et al. runs us through the four seasons of emotions.

Free! RSVP here.
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
August 25 at 7 pm

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Twelve Years of Jersey Politics Later: Interview with Joey Novick

Posted August 20th, 2014

joeynovickMeet Joey Novick, the Political Comedian. For this year’s Neighborhood Fringe Festival show, Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey, Joey has decided to tell stories of his twelve years as councilman of Flemington, New Jersey. To learn more about Joey Novick and his comedic journey through politics, read on.

FringeArts: What was your inspiration for the show?

Joey Novick: In 1994, I was elected to the Borough Council in Flemington, New Jersey. At that time I was doing standup comedy with observational material—standard characters and such. So there are two sides of me—the political side and the comedic side. But I decided to do the show after discovering the area of storytelling. The Moth, The Liar Show, Stories from the Back Room, all storytelling nights that I began to do on a regular basis. The stories I was telling were all my political life as an elected councilman. Eventually, I discovered I had enough stories for a full hour and a half show.

FringeArts: What have you gained from performing?

Joey Novick: Money, notoriety, fame. Just kidding.

Actually I much enjoy performing my one-person show. It gives me an opportunity to share my values that I use every day as an elected person in Flemington. It is my understanding that one of the best ways to communicate to people is using real stories laced with a bit of humor. It’s a great way to get things done. Each year I conduct a panel for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities talking about how humor benefits people who govern. No matter what party you are in, you can communicate effectively using a bit of self-reflective humor. Kennedy, Clinton, Reagan all used humor to their benefit. Presidents like Nixon and Ford did not. George Will said, “On a throne at the center of the sense of humor sits the capacity for irony, all which rests on a cheerful awareness of life’s incongruities.” It is a genuine awareness, and no politician without it should be allowed near power.

FringeArts: Who are your role models and why?

Joey Novick: In comedy my role models are Abbott and Costello, George Carlin, Del Close (my improv teacher), Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby, and too many others to name. All strong performers with a strong voice in the world of performing for their audiences.

In politics my role models are Pete Seeger, Thomas Jefferson, Saul Alinsky, Ralph Nader, the ACLU, Cesar Chavez, and anyone who’s ever organized people they did not know for a cause they believed in. No movement forward ever occurs without a good organizer and passionate storyteller—someone with a keen intelligence and good critical thinking skills.

Finally, the best storyteller I’ve ever seen—my dad, Bernie Novick. He taught me how to tell stories to connect with people with great wisdom, passion, sense of home, and courage. I use those skills every day in performing.

Thank you, Joey.

Get your tickets here!

Comedian Elected to Town Council in New Jersey
Comedy Cabaret
11580 Roosevelt Blvd
September 20 at 8pm
$20

—Devan Sims

Tonight: Neighborhood Fringe Scratch Night Spotlight, Vol. 3

Posted August 18th, 2014

Every Monday night in August, we’re offering free previews of the 2014 Fringe Festival–Neighborhood Fringe artists are serving up short excerpts of their work, and we’re serving up free beer. Tonight, Volume 3:

BENT_Truth-Be-Told-Productions

Truth Be Told Productions offers a taste of Martin Sherman’s play Bent, about one gay man’s life in Germany, from the 1930s through World War II. The play had a major role in widening consciousness about the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany, starting with its first production in London’s West End in 1979, starring Ian McKellen.

FleetwoodMacBrian Shapiro shares tales from the 1970s, as his family’s fortunes swelled and ebbed along with the band Fleetwood Mac–Brian’s father was their attorney through their rise to global fame. He’s offered the suggestive title: It Was All Downhill After Fleetwood Mac.

Oedipus The Musical will give you a taste of what to expect in their show. I’m not even going to try to top Van.Martin Productions’s own show description: “Oedipus The Musical takes place in Ancient Thebes. When a herpes plague spreads through the city, King Oedipus is forced to discover the incestuous roots of his dysfunctional family tree. Sophocles’s tragedy is retold in comedy through songs like ‘YOLO Apollo,’ ‘Hashtag Plague,’ and ‘Ballad of a Cougar.’

Tweaking a classic title, playwright Brandon Monokian serves up a “play about douchebags” called Peter Pan Is Dead. Preview below:

The-Disappearing-Quarterback_Plays-Players-copy-200x300And after a successful run at Plays & Players in January, former Eagles quarterback Mike Boryla (turned lawyer, turned investor, turned actor/writer) returns with his one-man-show, The Disappearing Quarterback.

Free! RSVP here.
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
August 18 at 7 pm

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Scratch Night and FEASTIVAL Patron Party Pics

Posted August 15th, 2014
Dan Hodge performs an excerpt from Philadelphia Artists' Collective "The Rape of Lucrece"

Dan Hodge performs an excerpt from Philadelphia Artists’ Collective “The Rape of Lucrece”

For more pics what you saw (or missed, for you lazy-boneses) at Scratch Night on Monday, click here for pics from Kevin Monko. And don’t forget we have another Scratch Night coming up this Monday night.

And early this week, FEASTIVAL had a preview tasting. Pics here, FEASTIVAL tix here.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo by Kevin Monko.

Tonight: Neighborhood Fringe Scratch Night Spotlight Part 2

Posted August 11th, 2014

Every Monday night in August, we’re offering free previews of the 2014 Fringe Festival–Neighborhood Fringe artists are serving up short excerpts of their work, and we’re serving up free beer. Tonight is round two:

Get a taste of Susan Chase’s Susan’s Undoing:

RealLivePeople‘s humanism will be on display with Would I lie to you?

DC Theatre Scene called the acting of RHolt Productions’s Sisters of Ellery Hollow by DC playwright Stephen Spotswood “exceptional” when it was in DC Fringe a couple years ago; actor Rachel Hold will reprise her role in the Neighborhood Fringe edition.

Philadelphia Artists’ Collective offer’s a one-man-performance take on Shakespeare’s poem The Rape of Lucrece.

And New Street Dance Group’s Another Word for Missing will be there too. Catch them in rehearsal:


Free! RSVP here.
FringeArts
140 N. Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
August 11 at 7 pm

–Nicholas Gilewicz