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Go Deeper GET TO KNOW THE 2023 FRINGE FESTIVAL ARTISTS: Edition #2

GET TO KNOW THE 2023 FRINGE FESTIVAL ARTISTS: Edition #2

Posted September 14th, 2023

The 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival is upon us, and we know you’re gearing up to see some amazing shows, but do you know the minds behind them? Get to know some of this year’s participating artists below– who knows, maybe you’ll end up adding a couple more shows to your roster!

 

Humble Materials

Humble Materials

FringeArts: Break the ice! Imagine we’re in the awkward first ten minutes of a date. What’s your name, where are you from, where are you now, how’d you end up in Philly, etc., etc.

FA: Humble Materials is a Philly-based theatre collective in residence at PACK garage in South Philly. We produce femme-centric theatre.

 

FringeArts: Which show are you presenting? Give us the details!

FA: The Yellow Wallpaper 💛 our original adaptation of Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s short story. We’re in collaboration with body-painter and muralist Natalie Fletcher. Natalie and Humble Materials co-founder Jessica Noel are sisters. This is their second time creating a dance-theatre-paint project for Fringe. For Yellow Wallpaper, Natalie is camouflaging five ensemble members into a custom wallpaper backdrop. Our unreliable narrator “Jane” (Yasmin Roberti) attempts to cure her mental illness, despite the exhausting Wallpaper. Monica Flory is directing. Featured puppets by production designer Kat Caro. Choreography and Ensemble performances by Carolyn Breyer, Amy Henderson, Jessica Noel, Chachi Perez and Lisa Vaccarelli.

 

FringeArts: If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why? (Not what you would be IDEALLY, but what you’d be REALISTICALLY. Be honest with yourself.)

FA: Humble Materials would be honey bees because we love you sweetly AND we sting the patriarchy. Also, we’re a hive mind.

 

FringeArts: What made you decide to get into the arts, if it was even a conscious decision?

FA: Getting into the arts is not a conscious decision, but more like a compulsion. Humble Materials has many things to stay about America’s current political and social climate, and we find theatre projects are the healthiest way to express ourselves. We’re less likely to commit murder if we’re making art (kidding, sort of). Also, inviting our community into PACK garage for the performances, then hearing audience feedback about the show’s impact is simply the best!

 

FringeArts: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

FA: Georgia O’Keeffe, Sasha Waltz, Sylvia Plath, Michelle Obama…can it be a dinner party??

(FringeArts note: Yes, but only if I’m invited.)

 

FringeArts: Give us a random cool/interesting fact about yourself.

FA: Our Yellow Wallpaper script was created by eight Humble Materials members. It went through about ten drafts of different versions until we finally landed on the one we’re using in the show.

 

FringeArts: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far and why? (Take this as seriously or non-seriously as you wish.)

FA: The camaraderie within the ensemble makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it. We love each other! And the friendship comes out in the performances…it’s palpable onstage.

 

FringeArts: Which other show are you looking forward to seeing most in the 2023 Fringe Festival?

FA: Aleeza Garcia’s LA PULGA PUTA

 

FringeArts: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

FA: This year marks our 9th Fringe production at PACK!

Lily & Kali of Kissing Friends

Lily & Kali of Kissing Friends

FringeArts: Break the ice! Imagine we’re in the awkward first ten minutes of a date. What’s your name, where are you from, where are you now, how’d you end up in Philly, etc., etc.

Lily: I’m Lily. I’m from Allentown, Pennsylvania and I moved to Philly in 2016 to study dance at The University of the Arts.

Kali: Hi! I’m Kali. I’m from Toms River, New Jersey and also an alum of the University of the Arts School of Dance. I moved here 8 years ago.

 

FringeArts: Which show are you presenting? Give us the details!

Lily and Kali: We are the co-directors and choreographers of Kissing Friends. We are presenting and performing in this work with our dance theater company Sheer Spectacle. We have three shows in PhillyFringe/ Cannonball Festival at IceBox Project Space. September 4th @9:30pm, September 12th @8:00pm, September 17th @8:00pm, September 18th @5:00pm. Kissing Friends is an intimate theatrical experience of storybook narrations spoken/created in collaboration with the cast. The movement and dialogue fold in and out of reality and daydreams inside the overarching container of friendship in relation to intimacy. As the show continues to unfold the audience acts as the performers’ inner psyche, a mirror reflecting our dreams back at us. The viewers will experience these stories, along with flashy movements in unison that will signify a strong sense of togetherness. Rituals will crescendo into an uproar to sounds by Noel Harrison, Celine Dion and several others. The audience might begin to ask themselves what’s at stake for these friends? What is signified inside of an opening kiss? Singing, thrashing, yelling, slow-aborning affection, tensions running high and eruptive meltdowns take us to a place far from reality that may or may not be a dreamland.

 

FringeArts: If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why? (Not what you would be IDEALLY, but what you’d be REALISTICALLY. Be honest with yourself.)

Lily: Ok, so I’m going to answer for Kali and she is going to answer for me. Kali is a swan for multiple reasons; she has incredible posture and swans also sit so gracefully upright with their long necks; swans are gorgeous and dazzling creatures. They look expensive and Kali is the most fabulous woman. Swans are quiet but deadly– Kali may seem laid back but when she needs to fight or protect she will.

Kali: I would say Lily would have to be a lion for multiple reasons. Aside from Lily being a Leo astrologically, she has a majestic, powerful, and wild aura about her. With hair that holds volume like a mane, she always tends to those closest to her, her “pride” almost. She is one of the most loyal people I have ever met.

 

FringeArts: What made you decide to get into the arts, if it was even a conscious decision?

Lily:Being an artist has always been a part of my identity. I started dance training when I was 3 years old and doing theater soon after. I remember making shows with my neighbors and brothers in my backyard when I was a kid. I’d write the songs, make up the dances and draw tickets for all the parents. I was the oldest and really bossy.

Kali: So not much has changed?

Lily: Yeah pretty much.

Kali: I also started dance at a really young age. During my undergrad years, I found myself feeling even more liberated exploring movement that was less about form and more about conceptual product. With that Lily and I’s research in “Drama as Action” aligned and making art has never felt greater.

 

FringeArts: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Lily & Kali: Each other!!! We haven’t been on a date in months, this show has completely taken over our lives lol.

 

FringeArts: Give us a random cool/interesting fact about yourself.

Lily: I used to sell candy on the bus when I was in 4th grade. I called my business Mel’s Merchandise because my nickname was Meldog. I had a theme song and a poster and everything until it got banned.

Kali: My first concert was LMFAO and Kesha. It was for my friends birthday and we took a bright pink hummer limo to the concert. I thought I was the hottest shit.

 

FringeArts: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far and why? (Take this as seriously or non-seriously as you wish.)

Kali: I think our greatest accomplishment thus far would have to be self producing our first ever show together. The evening length work, “Ripped Tights, Stoned Heart” (2022), was an amalgamation of dreams Lily and I had over 3 years, and being able to present that was incredibly rewarding. It felt like such a huge feat to embark on our co-choreography journey all on our own. We’re really lucky that we had the support of our closest friends to push us to start the work. Without their generosity and immense talent, I’m not sure what the work would have turned into. The community created during RTSH is something that we still build upon with our Sheer Spectacle family to this day.

 

FringeArts: Which other show are you looking forward to seeing most in the 2023 Fringe Festival?

Lily & Kali: Heartshakes by Shannon Murphy and La Pulga Puta by Aleeza Garcia

 

FringeArts: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Lily & Kali: You can check us out on instagram @sheerspectacle and if you’d like to make a donation towards our company for future projects and festivals please check out our crowdfunding site https://gofund.me/76b8a95d.

Diva D’Luscious of Dildos and Body Parts

Diva D’Luscious of Dildos and Body Parts

FringeArts: Break the ice! Imagine we’re in the awkward first ten minutes of a date. What’s your name, where are you from, where are you now, how’d you end up in Philly, etc., etc.

FA: Hey, I’m Diva D’Luscious! I grew up singing and performing in Washington DC. I lived in Philadelphia and NYC as an opera singer before I moved to Berlin 7 years ago. Berlin is a great city to explore and let loose. After seeing a burlesque show in the city, I was inspired to try to combine opera singing with burlesque. Once I tried it I was in love and began performing all over Berlin. Through the years I expanded my burlesque journey to incorporate other types of music and comedy. Now I’m touring the world with my one woman cabaret show!

 

FringeArts: Which show are you presenting? Give us the details!

FA: Dildos and Body Parts– An Oral Herstory. Dating is hard—especially as a newly human, newly single mermaid. This original and irreverent modern day fairy-tale, straight from the clubs of Berlin, features six musical burlesque routines interwoven with comedic monologues and multimedia to tell a farcical and heart felt story of love and self discovery. A critically acclaimed and wildly funny solo show that combines the burlesque acts, dirty humor and stunning vocals of Diva D’Luscious.

 

FringeArts: If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why? (Not what you would be IDEALLY, but what you’d be REALISTICALLY. Be honest with yourself.)

FA: A sheep in wolf’s clothing.

 

FringeArts: What made you decide to get into the arts, if it was even a conscious decision?

FA: I was totally hooked at age 5 when I made my theatrical debut as a munchkin in the Wiz.

 

FringeArts: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

FA: Patrick Swayze.

 

FringeArts: Give us a random cool/interesting fact about yourself.

FA: I’m learning how to pole dance and I’ve created a musical polesque routine.

 

FringeArts: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far and why? (Take this as seriously or non-seriously as you wish.)

FA: Surviving breast cancer. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. I endured chemo therapy, surgery and radiation. Even though it was one of the hardest times in my life, I continued to perform and speak publicly about what I was going through. I’m thrilled to be NED for over a year.

 

FringeArts: Which other show are you looking forward to seeing most in the 2023 Fringe Festival?

FA: Birth, Sparkle, Death by Hannah Parke

Sarah Knittel of Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramovic

Sarah Knittel of Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramovic

FringeArts: Break the ice! Imagine we’re in the awkward first ten minutes of a date. What’s your name, where are you from, where are you now, how’d you end up in Philly, etc., etc.

FA: Sarah Knittel. Asbury Park, New Jersey. South Philly. Taurus Sun, Cancer Moon, Libra Rising. Vegan Gluten Free Soy Free. I ended up here almost ten years ago (gross!). I left New York to start working at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and everyone cool there was moving to Philly. Decided to take a chance on an unknown kid. I love reading trash romantasy, live music, the first cup of coffee in the morning, the beach at 4:30pm, and my cat, Tofu. I think my love language is strolling and chatting or curating playlists

 

FringeArts: Which show are you presenting? Give us the details!

FA: Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramovic. Deep End Studios 1313 S. 33rd St. Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Monday at 8:30 pm (9/14-9/18). Opened last Friday. It’s been selling out. It’s really just an excuse to force a huge crowd of people to look at my butt and midriff. BUT ACTUALLY it’s a sloppy, sexy clown autopsy about the agony of starting over… also maybe about love and ego death. You will be an empty skull one day so you should definitely check this out before that happens…

 

FringeArts: If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why? (Not what you would be IDEALLY, but what you’d be REALISTICALLY. Be honest with yourself.)

FA: Ohhh a cute little mammal that has made a piece for a fringe festival.

(FringeArts note: Man. She got me with that one.)

 

FringeArts: What made you decide to get into the arts, if it was even a conscious decision?

FA: I always loved performing, but I think I was mostly in the school plays for the hangs and make-outs. One day in high school, I realized one could do this for a living. Now, I’ve been cursed to walk the earth a spectre who can only be set free when people look at my silly titty fake penis shows.

 

FringeArts: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

FA: Jamiroquai.

 

FringeArts: Give us a random cool/interesting fact about yourself.

FA: I’m actually a certified dentist. My parents wouldn’t let me just be a drama major so I also went to dental school. I practiced for two years before deciding to be a clown.

 

FringeArts: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far and why? (Take this as seriously or non-seriously as you wish.)

FA: To be completely honest: my two girls. It’s beautiful to see life again through the eyes of child.

 

FringeArts: Which other show are you looking forward to seeing most in the 2023 Fringe Festival?

FA: I would see my own show because I do not get the opportunity to see it, and I heard it’s really funny.

Mae West of $7 Girl AND Cannonball

Mae West of $7 Girl AND Cannonball

FringeArts: Break the ice! Imagine we’re in the awkward first ten minutes of a date. What’s your name, where are you from, where are you now, how’d you end up in Philly, etc., etc.

FA: I’m Mae West (they/he), originally from Memphis, TN, now in North Philly. I moved here right around the start of the 2018 Fringe and have since fallen into a very sexy, long-term relationship-anarchist situationship with this city.

 

FringeArts: Which show are you presenting? Give us the details!

FA: $7 Girl by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre is my autobiographical solo show! The tagline is “TED Talk meets Strip Club meets Cirque Du Soleil.” I’m hoping audiences will emerge as “Radical Permissionists” by the end, with shifted perspectives on pleasure and sex. At its heart, the show is an advocacy piece for sex worker rights. The “meat” of it is quite heavily improvised, so there are plenty of surprises in store for both myself and the audience. Audience members that splurge on supporter (sugar daddy) level tickets get some extra special treatment, but I assure you that everyone will leave, in one way or another… satisfied 😘 So I hope to see people there Sept 21-24 at Icebox!

I’m also one of the founding producers of Cannonball, presenting over 150 other Fringe shows across our four venues. I feel a deep sense of love, care, and admiration for all of the artists and shows we’re producing (and tbh sometimes neglect my own show to turn as much of my attention as possible to the needs of other CB artists). We really pack it in, so whether you want an evening, weekend, or month of non-stop art, just pop by Cannonball and we will have something exciting for you.

 

FringeArts: If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why? (Not what you would be IDEALLY, but what you’d be REALISTICALLY. Be honest with yourself.)

FA: This is probably not very accurate, but I want to say a slug. I fucking love slugs. I saw a slug in the MAAS garden bar the other night and got four (4) other people to admire it. I feel connected to the slug “lifestyle” as a queer transmasculine person (if you know, you know).

 

FringeArts: What made you decide to get into the arts, if it was even a conscious decision?

FA: I’m a gymnast turned circus/theatre artist. I quite literally ran away with a circus company at 16 years old, which is also how I was first introduced to Fringe festivals. I started touring and never looked back.

 

FringeArts: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

FA: Honestly my life is so chaotic during Fringe, just having a **proper dinner**, at a reasonable dinner time, with anyone would be amazing right now.

 

FringeArts: Give us a random cool/interesting fact about yourself.

FA: One time, a penguin fell in love with me. Ask me the full story at the MAAS garden bar.

 

FringeArts: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far and why? (Take this as seriously or non-seriously as you wish.)

FA: Founding Cannonball. This is the most incredible and ambitious project I have ever taken on. I am so in love with this community and so grateful to see how we have grown in just three years.

 

FringeArts: Which other show are you looking forward to seeing most in the 2023 Fringe Festival?

FA: So hard to choose!! “ReFlection” by Toni Cannon, our inaugural CSAW Award winner, “Fix Me” by Ben Grinberg and Hazem Header (Almanac’s other show this year), and “The Other Gardeners” by Very Good Dance Theatre are my top three. Also, anything Rose Luardo is in. Also, EVERYTHING IN CANNONBALL!

Don’t forget to head to PhillyFringe.org to plan your 2023 Fringe Festival, September 7th-24th!

 

 

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