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Posts Tagged ‘2012 Philly Fringe’

The Weekender: What You’re Doing and Why

Posted August 24th, 2012

Rest up and recharge, boys and girls, because we’re only two weeks out from opening weekend of the festivals, holy crap! Here are a few things to get up to this weekend:

>>>All weekend: Explore Edgar Allen Poe, his death, and production documentation at the new most excellent tumblr for Red-eye to Havre de Grace, which opens September 7 at the Live Arts Festival.

>>>All weekend: More exploring. Next week, you’ll read intrepid blog contributor Julius Ferraro’s report on Museum Without Walls, a new way to explore the remarkable collection of 51 sculptures along Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Kelly Drive. Go this weekend, and compare notes with Julius on Monday.

>>>Saturday: The first of two must-do Saturday shows, Megan Mazarick presents DBDP, AKA the David Bowie Dance Project, an informal showing of work set to David Bowie songs at the Mascher Space Cooperative. Dancers include Bethany Formica, David Konyk, Beau Hancock, Lindsay Browning, and others. 8:00 pm. (And don’t forget to check out Megan’s Philly Fringe show, Mining the Mine of the Mind for Minderals.)

>>>Saturday: After DBDP, bust down Frankford Avenue to Johnny Brenda’s. Martha Graham Cracker turns seven, yikes, she’s old stately and handsome. What a dame! Dame Martha. Pre-Martha performances include a special pre-festival performance from the dames of Bang!, who, according to JB’s website, “promise a naked karaoke keytar extravaganza.” Sets start at 9:00 pm.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

An Unlikely Playwright

Posted August 24th, 2012

Reuben Wade strikes one as an unlikely playwright. For years, he worked in building design and remodeling in Providence, R.I., before moving on to get an engineering degree at the University of Kansas. He moved to Philadelphia in 1998, and now works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, primarily on Superfund sites and ground water treatment.

“I refer to myself in my office at the Core of Engineers as an infiltrator. I hung out with artists most of my life. I employed RISD students, for example. I self-trained to the building trade from a creative point of view; we were designing most of our projects. I always had to have a project and didn’t know how to live without one. Writing is much cheaper as long as I don’t produce plays,” he jokes. Well, half-jokes. But more seriously:

“It seems completely natural to go from creating spatial environments to creating a story,” Reuben says. “I’ve never had more fun.”

That fun, for the 2012 Philly Fringe, takes the form of a staged reading of his play Paint the American Eagle, the story of Charles Dickens’ insights into life in the United States.

After the jump: learning fiction, investigating the Charles Dickens family, and moving on to Einstein.

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This Is a Photo of Ricky Lake Jackson Flirting with My Daughter

Posted August 23rd, 2012

Much as I like this job, once in a while, it has a creepy pitfalls. Luckily, Ricky Lake is not Wee Zee’s type. Ricky Lake is stranded here in Philly with his band Jawbone Junction, and you can help send him back whence he came at the 2012 Philly Fringe.

Jawbone Junction: Live at the Twisted Tail runs September 9, 16, and 23 at the Twisted Tail, 509 S. 2nd Street, Society Hill. Two shows each night, 10:00 pm and midnight; $10.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Good Sex, Better Conversation

Posted August 22nd, 2012

Festival Blog contributor Richard Bon lives in Northern Liberties with his wife and daughter. He posts original flash fiction of his own or by a guest writer every other Monday on his blog, liminalfiction.com.

Random sex happens. In David Ireland‘s The End of Hope, The End of Desire, co-produced for 2012 Philly Fringe by Tiny Dynamite and Extreme Measures, it happens just before the play’s opening lines. Characters played by Corinna Burns and Jared Delaney are introduced during detumescence and, after conveying their mutual satisfaction, engage in a conversation that takes them to unexpected places.

While their characters in End of Hope met via a web site dedicated to sex between consenting strangers, Corinna and Jared met in real life ten years ago when they both were cast in a collaborative play called The Artist’s Workshop. “We were both very opinionated and always seemed to disagree,” Corinna tells me, “but eventually we came to respect each other and became good friends.” Though they’ve rarely acted together since, their friendship has grown, as has their mutual respect. When Emma Gibson, producing artistic director for Tiny Dynamite, asked them to star in End of Hope’s Philadelphia debut as part of her “a Play, a Pie, and a Pint” program in October 2011, they jumped at the chance.

“Corinna’s unique quality as an actor,” says Jared, “is believability. It never seems like she’s acting, I never doubt her.” He can hardly finish the sentence before Corinna nods and declares that Jared has a similar “honesty and a grounded presence on stage.”

With only a few weeks to prepare for End of Hope last autumn, the duo relied heavily on their natural chemistry to make the show work. And work it did, selling out The Red Room of The Society Hill Playhouse, Fergie’s Pub in Center City, and MilkBoy in Ardmore.

After the jump: summing the whole of human existence (you read that right).

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Danny Kevin Ryan

Posted August 22nd, 2012

I was thinking that I’d get a maid, find a place nearby for her to stay. Just someone to keep my house clean, fix my meals, and go away. The last time I listened to those lines, I had been up for about 40 hours, because like a young Neil Young, I (apparently) have no idea how to keep my act together. And sadly, it was time spent writing about the death of newspapers, as I live for pleasure alone. I’m a vulture [sob]!

Anyway, sometimes a man, or a woman, needs more than merely one maid. In this case, you can thank Kicking Mule Theater, which is bringing Jean Genet’s The Maids to the opening weekend of the 2012 Philly Fringe. All is ruin! This guy on the right? He plays a maid. After the jump, meet Danny Kevin Ryan.

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The Photo That Launched A Thousand Ticket Sales

Posted August 21st, 2012

Gunnar…being straddled.

I am at a cafe because of an anointed brunette. I have driven across the city—Northern Liberties to the Italian market—and renegotiated time and place. She’s angelic, but she’s not churchly: in the photograph a trailing cord of electrical wire barely covers the nipples of her large breasts, and she holds a drill in front of a G-string whose color so closely mirrors her skin-tone I’m convinced she’s not wearing anything. Except her high-heeled patent leather boots.

I am at a cafe because of an anointed brunette. I wait. Gunnar Montana texts me: “I’m here a little early.” I’m here too I text back, and scan the cafe for the face behind this oiled woman—all at once, this is everyone. The low-talking, skinny young man behind the counter. The bleached blonde woman in the corner. But not Gunnar; he’s missed my text, walked in and out, and gone elsewhere to kill time: “Oh shit! / I just ordered a beer at the pope / Let me chug that real fast unless u wanna join me.”

I gulp my blackberry vegan yogurt smoothie. If I don’t drink it fast enough the dairy might grow back. Four minutes later he joins me, and folds himself into the blue-green cushion of the window seat. We share its body-length, facing off. His right arm he drapes over the windowsill, and crosses his left leg over his right; Gunnar, artistic co-director (along with Jazmin Zieroff) of 2012 Philly Fringe’s RUB, is young, confident, and at ease.

“Right now I have this,” he says, picking up from the floor a round metal object: a silver star, oiled and dirty, encircled with the same metal. Gunnar had carried it with him to the cafe, walking his bicycle (because of a flat tire) in the other hand. I had driven.

“Is that a hubcap?” I ask.

“I guess. I don’t know what it is,” he says, laughing. It doesn’t last for long; Gunnar’s chuckling never seems to fully inhabit his face. “I found it on the street.”

After the jump: dancing, gender, work, and, you know, dancing.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Tess Stumpf

Posted August 21st, 2012

Tess doing bad things to good people.

Infatuation Dance Company will show Tickle Me Gray at this year’s 2012 Philly Fringe. The company, made up of recent grads and current students, promises a performance that will elicit from the audience the emotions one experiences while being tickled–joy so physically pleasurable, and then pain and annoyance that must be stopped. My question is, will the dancers plan to tickle the audience so hard with their moves, that we beg them to quit? Artistic director Tess Stumpf didn’t answer this question, but she did go on a diatribe against processed food, after the jump.

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How Solos from Gdańsk, Burdag, and Warszawa Came To Be

Posted August 20th, 2012

Wislawa Szymborska, a Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, passed away in February of this year. I remember being introduced to her work in high school, after choosing at random a book of her poems from the town library. I read her, and forgot about her. But recently, thanks to the Poetry Foundation’s iPhone app, I began reading poets by chance: the app features a random poem finder; shake it, the screen whirls, and voila! You’ve been supplied your daily word fodder. Wislawa came up a few months ago.

I hadn’t thought about Poland again until last week when I spoke with Greg Holt, program associate at Dance/UP and former LAB fellow. With his help, this year’s Philly Fringe features Solos from Gdańsk, Burdag, and Warszawa, solo work from three Polish dancers: Magda Jędra, Marysia Stokłosa, and Iza Chlewińska (a version of Tralfamadoria, which you can preview below, will appear in the Fringe). The Fringe show is an addendum though; the main focus of the three’s trip to Philadelphia beginning the second week of September is cross-cultural and cross-artistic discussion. Accordingly, the exchange began with a conversation.

After the jump: Find out how Greg oiled the cross-cultural cogs and made it happen, and listen to a Wislawa poem in Polish.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: David Orlansky, Joshua Levin, and Zachary Kind (BetaMale Productions)

Posted August 20th, 2012

Betamales in their natural posture: the eager high five.

A betamale is an underdog of sorts. At least when it comes to women (or men): seducing them, dating them, and avoiding being rejected by them are all difficult tasks for the betamale to master, or manage to do one time. Luckily, a betamale has the arts (and computer science), and this is a field in which he can excel. At this year’s Philly Fringe, BetaMale Productions–composed of three, self-identified betamales–gives us their musical Awesome Alliteration: The Magical Musical. It’s the stuff of betamale dreams: nerdin’ out on literary devices in front of attractive and willing onlookers (in the case of very few most Philadelphia audiences). David, Joshua, and Zachary of BetaMale Productions answered our questions, and got sexist on us after the jump.

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Exquisite Corpses, Serious Theatre

Posted August 17th, 2012

“Destroying props—we call it making an offering to Dionysus. Anything you give me for a show, that shit is going to get destroyed as a sacrifice to the gods of theater,” says Lizz Leiser, director of the 2012 Philly Fringe show called The Apocalypse of John. What could be more appropriate, especially for plays that emerge from the planned chaos of New York’s Serious Theatre Collective?

For the raw material that became the Apocalypse of John, a group of seven playwrights were asked to generate high-stakes ideas, and all came up with stories of the apocalypse. Lizz turns to Jess Conda, who’s tending bar where we’re sitting upstairs at Fergie’s Pub, and asks, “Don’t you think that the apocalypse would happen in Philadelphia?” It’s a rhetorical question.

After the jump: a collaborative writing process that you can join.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Kristin Heckler

Posted August 17th, 2012

Director Kristin Heckler in a prideful city.

In light of crimes such as this one in Texas, Stop Kiss by American playwright Diana Son has remained markedly relevant since its 1998 debut.

Two young women become lovers, and the play focuses on the violence ignited by a kiss they share. Follow the 2012 Philly Fringe production of Stop Kiss on Twitter, and read director Kristin Heckler’s vitals after the jump.

 

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Berger

Posted August 16th, 2012

No one’s quite as dedicated to their roles as the artists of eXposed Theatre Company’s 2012 Philly Fringe version of HAIR: The American Tribal Rock-Love Musical; they submitted their Vital Stats in-character, proving that life is a performance and you don’t ever leave the stage. Check out the group’s Facebook page, and then go to their show in September.

After the jump: Berger goes all free love on us.

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Win Free Tix to Feastival!

Posted August 16th, 2012

Remember that party we throw that’s kind of the must-do-must-be-seen-at thing of the early fall? And where pretty much every chef in Philadelphia offers you deliciousness? Well, scamper over to philly.com, you little scamps, and enter to win free tickets to the 2012 Audi Feastival. And do check out their pics from last year’s Feastival, while you’re entering to win–which you can do until noon on August 31.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Jawbone Junction Needs Your Help!

Posted August 16th, 2012

Jawbone Junction definitely, definitely needs help.

Jawbone Junction: Live at the Twisted Tail runs September 9, 16, and 23 at the Twisted Tail, 509 S. 2nd Street, Society Hill.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

“Hackles” Rising

Posted August 15th, 2012

Festival Blog contributor Richard Bon lives in Northern Liberties with his wife and daughter. He posts original flash fiction of his own or by a guest writer every other Monday on his blog, liminalfiction.com.

In the Fishtown flat of Nick Gillette, the Groundswell Players are devising their 2012 Philly Fringe production, Hackles. Nick sits in the center of his large living room, emerged in an intense dramatic situation with Martha Stuckey and Alice Yorke while Scott Sheppard and director Mason Rosenthal flank me as the audience. Mid-scene, Mason directs Nick to “tell us a story,” and Nick responds in stride with an impromptu tale chock full of fictional memories convincing enough to have happened in real life. When Mason tells Nick to “go deeper,” Nick reveals a crushing secret from his and Martha’s characters’ shared pasts, the ad hoc revelation as eloquent as if he’d memorized the lines from a script.

As they craft this fully devised play, collaborators/actors Scott, Nick, Martha, and Alice along with director Mason reexamine the traditional ghost story. Comparing Hackles to earlier Groundswell performances, Scott says their new show will be more “finely orchestrated” and less “reliant on spontaneity.” He also says they aim to “manipulate what’s behind the suspense” surrounding scrutiny of the supernatural, with Martha adding that “incongruities will be highlighted between the fact of death and people’s enjoyment of ghost stories.”

The living world, generally treated in genre fiction as more stable than the dead world, contains its share of believers in visitations by lost friends, relatives, or anonymous entities from the other side. “Ghosts are often thought to haunt people in certain ways,” Scott tells me. “We’re asking: what does that curiosity do if redirected?”

After the jump: inspiration from pop culture, children as ghost hunters, and the physical representation of death.

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Call Me Crazy Dancers’ John Curtis On Music, Tap Dance, And Being Married To Your Co-Director

Posted August 15th, 2012

Director John Curtis and dancer Brittany Dunn tap it out.

“The creative process for our show begins with the music,” wrote singer, dancer, choreographer, and NYC resident John Curtis, when we exchanged e-mails this past week. John is co-directing Call Me Crazy Dancers’ 2012 Philly Fringe submit Day for a Dream; a version of the show (titled Daydreams) is coming off a run at the Capital Fringe, where the group garnered a nod from DC Metro Theater Arts. Joined by dancer Amy Smith and co-director Kara Curtis, John leads both the Call Me Crazy band and an eponymous company of dancers.

After the jump: John talks about involving student dancers in his work, and what it’s like to crush on your co-director.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Martine Pelletier of the Film Fringe Tour

Posted August 15th, 2012

Film Fringe Tour is in Scotland right now, strutting its reels at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Even fitted with international features that include Runaway, filmed in Bangladesh, and Viette, which explores the divide between a first-generation American and her Vietnamese parents, one real draw is local. The Prep School Negro is a feature-length film by André Robert Lee, and explores the consequences of elite education: as a 14-year-old growing up in a low-income Philly neighborhood, Lee receives a scholarship to attend Germantown Friends School. Soon he finds himself sharing classrooms with children of the city’s wealthiest (and whitest) families, while feeling increasingly ousted by his neighborhood allies. Watch a preview below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c14sWbuTw8&w=560&h=315]

After the jump: One of the tour’s producers Martine Pelletier Vital Stats’d us.

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Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Tina Brock

Posted August 14th, 2012

When we sent out the Vital Stats questionnaire, we asked Philly Fringe participants to answer both wacky and more-than-mild questions. In keeping with our ignorance of American taboo, we asked artists to provide their age, and it’s been rewarding to watch my inbox fill up with proof of inter-generational Fringe-ing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbvmKzf_wr4&w=420&h=315]

But dear Fringe artists, this is a cry for action: enough is enough. Many of you have forgone numerals, and instead have answered my question of age by writing “Older than you.” I’m tired of feeling like a wide-eyed joey! Sure, I now consider your childhood toys to be vintage and kitschy, and I use them to decorate my apartment. That abacus made a perfect paperweight! Or the spirograph that Tina Brock, director of 2012 Philly Fringe’s Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, noted as her favorite. I was at a loss; what was this wild plaything, and why is there not an iPhone app for it? Then I found the above commercial on YouTube; Tina you are the original hipster!

After the jump: Tina reveals her presidential blood.

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Press Preview: GPhilly

Posted August 14th, 2012

Natalie Hope McDonald weighs in early with her top picks for the 2012 Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe at Philadelphia Magazine‘s GPhilly. Too many shows to mention, so just click through to check it out. One thing’s for sure though: this year, a whole lot of us are getting naked.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

What are Fringe Wraiths?

Posted August 14th, 2012

Why don’t I let Iron Age explain its 2012 Fringe show, Fringe Wraiths, an adventurous, multimedia collaboration with nearly two dozen other Philly Fringe participants:

QR codes!

–Nicholas Gilewicz