Posts Tagged ‘BRAT Productions’

Fringe at 20 Profile: Jess Conda

Posted August 10th, 2016
Above Photo: Conda with Red 40 and the Last Groovement (photo by Chris K Photography)


Media Fine Imaging Eternal Glamnation

Conda in BRAT’s Eternal Glamnation (photo by Media Fine Imaging)

Name: Jess Conda

Type of Artist: actor, cabaret singer

Company: freelance, free love art maker; I get down a little bit with everyone

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
The Lazy Activist, BRAT Productions, 2003 – ensemble performer/creator
Pay Up, Pig Iron, 2005/2013 – ensemble performer/creator
Eye 95 Re-Tarred, BRAT Productions, 2006 – ensemble performer/creator
Armageddon at the Mushroom Village, Tribe of Fools, 2009 – ensemble performer/creator
Water Bears in Space, Transmissions Theatre, 2011 – ensemble performer/creator
Heavy Metal Dance Fag, Tribe of Fools, 2011 – ensemble performer/creator
Festival Bar, RUBA Club, 2011 – programming director
Eternal Glamnation, BRAT Productions, 2012 – ensemble performer/creator
99 Breakups, Pig Iron, 2014 – ensemble performer/creator
Purgatory, Gunnar Montana, 2015 – performer
The Lid, BRAT Productions, 2015 – ensemble performer/creator

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: Performing back vox and raps with Red 40 and the Last Groovement opening night of the Festival

First Fringe I attended: 2003. Highlight was was walking to rehearsal and seeing all of this ACTION, in the box office, postcards flying around everywhere, Greg Giovanni performing Noh theater in the street in a kimono, artists all a flutter with this Olde City Fringe hub bub that made me giddy to be a part of this weird and amazing new art life.

First Fringe I participated in: Ranch-O Trivio show was a game show about George W Bush that BRAT played in the street. It was memorable to see how little regular folks knew about their politicians. Some things never change…


Conda as Babydoll in Eye 95 Re-Tarred (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I was pretty proud of programming the Festival Bar in 2011, even though every day was 16 hours of hard, down and dirty work: rehearsing other shows, booking everyone for the bar, and working with the technicians to get the Festival Bar space physically ready. On Opening Night of the Festival I was sweaty, covered in saw dust, wearing electrical tape around my wrists and my phone was in my bra ringing and glowing away. I had brought this whole gown and heels ensemble to wear to host that night but I was so tired I was like, “Fuck it, this is how I’m going on stage.” I riffed about how this is what Art Warriors REALLY look like and it was one of the most connected times on stage I’ve ever experienced.

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WEEKENDER: Tropical Storm Fest 6/7-6/9

Posted June 7th, 2013
Photo courtesy of Ladyfest Philadelphia

Courtesy of Ladyfest Philadelphia

Nothing says ideal June weekend like torrential downpours, flash flood warnings, and a buttload of festivals. LadyFest Philadelphia kicks off this Friday, June 7th, and rocks into the wee hours of Sunday June 9. The weekend-long feminist soiree, inspired by Sleater Kinney’s 2000 Ladyfest in Olympia, Washingston, reignites after a 10 year hiatus. Enjoy live music, interactive workshops, lively discussion groups, and more spread across three West Philly locations: The Rotunda,Locust Moon Comics & Movies, and Airspace Gallery. It also snagged the cover story of this week’s Philadelphia City Paper, here. (SCHED + TIX)

Scott Adsit, Photo by Nicole Rivelli/NBC

Scott Adsit, Photo by Nicole Rivelli/NBC

The fourth year of Duofest, the only improv festival in the world for comedic duos, will be presented by the Philly Improv Theater, 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 700 from June 6th to 9th. The festival will be stocked with 30+ of the best improv duos from around the country and the world, worshops with Asaf Ronen and Mark Chalfant, and parties. Look out for big hitters like 30 Rock star Scott Adsit. (SCHED + TIX)

America’s oldest residential street Elfreth’s Alley will open its doors for Fete Day, this Saturday from 12pm to 5pm. For $10 (students) to $55 (families), sample authentic colonial cookery, original plays, colonial games, scavenger hunts, and historic characters. (TIX)

The largest African American festival in the country,  ODUNDE, is on Sunday, June 9, from 10am to 8pm on 23rd and South Streets. Observe one of the original models for African American festivals with up to 500,000 attendees, over 100 arts & craft and food vendors, and two stages for live music over the expanse of 12-city blocks. (SCHED)

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The Beat on Brat

Posted September 14th, 2012

Madi, in situ

“I lost the best actress award to Lynn Redgrave, which is awesome!” says Madi Distefano, of her 2004 Barrymore Award nomination for Popsicle’s Departure, 1989. That show was also nominated for outstanding new play at that year’s Barrymores, but got even greater plaudits when it moved to the Edinburgh Fringe: best solo show.

Madi, the founder and artistic director of Brat Productions, described her one-woman show better than I ever could, when we spoke last week: ” Popsicle Departure 1989 is a tall tale shaggy dog monologue about a 19-year-old punk rock chick who lives in a warehouse and has a lame temp job and a crystal meth problem. Her boyfriend is a slacker guitarist South Boston boy. It goes back and forth between the two of them and they’re headed towards collision; she’s planning something, he’s planning something else, and a train wreck kind of thing ensues.”

“It’s beautiful,” says Jess Conda, who’s stage-managed numerous productions of the show. “I’ve done that show with Madi at least five or six times—all the Philly mounts, a run in New York City, the run in Edinburgh that won all the awards, and a run with her in Glascow. I probably have it memorized too.”

Jess, who is now the assistant artistic director of Brat, will be a bit distracted from Madi’s remount of Popsicle at this year’s Philly Fringe. Paired with Popsicle is Jess’s first original show, Eternal Glamnation, and together, they are known as Brat RockPile. Previews done, they take the stage in full RAWK mode tomorrow, and for he rest of Philly Fringe. Be forewarned: the RockPile description reads, “CAUTION: THESE SHOWS FEATURE SEX, DRUGS, FLESH, STROBE LIGHTS, LOUD ROCK, PROFANITY, AND ALIEN ABDUCTIONS.” And so it goes in the Eraserhood.

After the jump: two brats are better than one. And GWAR!!!

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Roundup Roundup

Posted August 31st, 2012

It’s that time in a young cowboy/cowgirl’s life where we round up the roundups, as the Festivals are about to begin. Here’s some press and press-sorting of shows to help guide your way through the next three weeks:

>>>The South Philly Review has a beautiful cover story on the Aryadareis, one of the families performing in Headlong’s This Town is a Mystery.

>>>Great story from WHYY’s Peter Crimmins on the same. Hey, ditto for the Chestnut Hill Local!

>>>WHYY’s “Arts Calendar” pulls out some pics for the festivals, including Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, Brat RockPile, Tourettes: A Dancing Disorder, and Return Return Departure.

>>>uwishunu offers up lists of top participatory shows and top bets for unusual sites.

>>>Rep Radio‘s kicked off its podcast coverage of Live Arts and Philly Fringe this week. So far: interviews with Eric Balchunas about Wawapalooza, Whit MacLaughlin about 27, and commander-in-chief Nick Stuccio about all things festivals. Listen over here.

>>>J. Cooper Robb writes in Philadelphia Weekly about what is sure to be a most amazing post-show talk on body politics in the arts (following the single performance of Arguendo), featuring John Collins of Elevator Repair Service, Charlotte Ford (of this year’s Bang), and playwright Young Jean Lee (UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW).

>>>Art Attack, the Daily News-Drexel U collab arts reporting project plugs Barbie Blended, this year’s first Philly Fringe offering (opens tomorrow, whoa!).

>>>Top ticket for Stage‘s Debra Miller? The Gate Reopened.

>>>The Montgomery News runs down the MontCo connections.

>>>Ditto for Mount Airy, via the Mount Airy Patch.

>>>Dispatch from central Jersey, who loves us. We love you too! Come on down!

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Lee Etzold And Her World Of Funny

Posted May 7th, 2012

Lee Etzold with Madi Distefano, co-artistic directors of BRAT Productions, going over finances.

When it comes to creating art, Lee Etzold is not afraid to work up a sweat.

“I’m not really a sit-down-at-a-computer playwright. I’m more of a get-in-a-big-space-and-jump-around playwright,” she explains.

A lifelong athlete, Etzold has always been a very physical person. She played sports in high school and believed she would play basketball or field hockey in college. Everything changed when she auditioned for a school play and turned her attention to the arts. As an actor and playwright today, she brings her athletic background to the stage.

“Because I was an athlete first, I always have a physical approach to theater. I have better muscle memory than any other kind of memory,” she says; in fact, she never learns her lines until she learns her blocking. [Ed note: hmmm, actors have an excuse for everything.]

After college, Etzold moved to Philadelphia to work with New Paradise Laboratories, the experimental theater company headed by director Whit MacLaughlin. It was Philadelphia that inadvertently sparked her imagination and led her to create her own work.

Etzold originally moved to Philadelphia during the Philly Fringe and saw the city rife with musicians and actors. After the shows, she felt lonely as the city went back to business as usual. “I felt like everyone I had just met had vanished into their other lives. I started writing songs—ridiculously depressing songs that made me laugh at myself.”

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