Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm
barondave

Responding to the RNC: A Libertarian Rage

Phillip Low
Phillip Low, writer
All Right's Reserved: A Libertarian Rage
Center for Independent Artists, 8/29/08

Leading up to the RNC, I've talked to Democrats, Republicans, Independence Party, elected officials, candidates, dancing tweens and MoveOn.org members. Perhaps I was prepared to talk to Liberertarians libertarians. Phillip Low remounted his Fringe show All Rights Reserved: A Libertarian Rage, back in it's hour-and-a-half original format. It was part of two shows loosely built around the theme Rolling Out the Welcome Mat: Artists Respond to the Republican National Convention. More on that in a bit.

I was a libertarian, briefly, early on in the Reagan administration. For a while libertarians were conservative about the military and economic issues and liberal about social values and the environment. Then the small-l-libertarians got hijacked by the Survivalists to become the capital-L-Libertarians which were mainly tax-dodging gun nuts. I can safely ignore (and make fun of) Libertarians but my libertarian leanings come out now and again.

Phillip Low, excuse me, phillip andrew bennett low, has crafted a show tries to offend everyone and probably won't offend anyone who hasn't already been put off by the title of the show. "Is it too early to make fun of ____?" asks the opening song, with subjects ranging from 9/11 to global warming. "Bleep no!" is the work safe answer.

Low is concerned that someone might try to shut him up, and the rage is set in three acts: Language and Politics, Language and Art and Language and Religion. (The latter section was mostly cut out for the Fringe.) He doesn't really care what you say but he'll defend to your death the right to say it. The acting is sharp, the songs are nicely sung and the politics are nicely slung. Everyone plays multiple parts, wandering around in underwear or going to peace rallies or waving guns.

One of the best sketches is the most heavy handed: The Mayor of Zombietown. Two unctuous zombies are running for mayor, and the only human in the race is nearly shut out. The two major party candidates smoothly thank the moderator and the organizers of the event as they explain their plans to most efficiently eat people. The third party candidate, aghast that no one is standing up to the zombies, interrupts and rages and produces pie charts. The outcome of the election is... well, you'll have to see that yourself.

Courtney McLean
Courney McLean, in both shows
against some unused murals, Center for Independent Artists 8/29/08

The audience was small, but the cast gave it their all anyway. They'll be playing two more nights at the Center for Independent Artists, the mural-laden building at 42nd and Bloomington. If you liked the Fringe, you should go. If you want a dash of inoculation for the RNC, this will sit well.

The second show of the evening was The Rockstar Storytellers. They are a group of 12 excellent performers rotating their rants/songs for a different show every time. Tonight had Low telling a ghost story, Courtney McLean (above), who was in the Libertarian Rage, in a monologue, and two of my favorite political musicians, The Prince Myshkins of The Nonsense Company, doing songs old and new. Loads of fun. Again, recommended.

The Nonsense Company will be reprising last year's Fringe show Great Hymn of Thanksgiving/Conversation Storm which is amazing and has to be seen. It will be at the Bedlam Theater, which had served as Fringe Central for the 2008 MN Fringe, at various times Aug. 31-Sept. 6. Check their site for times.

The Bedlam Theater will be hosting other performances as well. One of the few acts that might pull me away from being at the RNC would be Roy Zimmerman and the Prince Myshkins. Roy is one of the great political songwriters of our time, and is always on target. He's a fast and facile writer who will have things to say about events that haven't happened yet but will have by Monday.

More pictures when I post the podcast of the last couple of days worth of interviews, probably later today.
Tags: fringe festival
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