The Out of Towners Showcase is always high quality. If you're going to travel all the way to Mpls to perform in the low-rent district, you think you have something special. Local Fringers are usually good, but there's always a few who have more earnest enthusiasm than talent. Fringes are like the vaudeville circuit of old: A place to be bad, and a place to try out new acts on the road.
Last Night's Ootie Fest featured 19 of the 35 out of town companies. Most of the rest, it seemed, were at the Bedlam Theater as well. Photographer freeimprov and lsanderson were there to watch the shows and listen to the bartenders break glasses. The Bedlam Theater is going to be Fringe Central, staying open during the day until 2am. The Cedar/Riverside Light Rail stop is just a few feet away. It's tempting to go home after the Fringe shows end and take the bus/LRT to Fringe Central, hoist a few, and make it back on the same fare. But probably not. They have free parking.
But I digress.
Charlie Bethel as Gilgamesh
MN Fringe Ootie Fest 7/30/08
Of the 19 shows, several were already on my schedule. Tim Mooney, a friend who is on his third Fringe, is bringing his solo show Karaoke Knights: A One Man Rock Opera" to McMahon's pub, which is Bring Your Own Venue, meaning he can do more than five shows. He did one of his songs at the Ootie Fest, which was great (and not karaoke). I'm down for Sunday at 7. One of my favorite shows from last year is returning with a new act, The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue. Their excerpt confirmed that I need to see them, and I they're on the docket for Saturday at 5:30.
I'm a little suspicious of shows that change every night, since I always seem to go on the one night that everyone agrees was the weakest. Still, the five minutes of The Pumpkin Pie Show was extraordinary, as a man mugged his way through the remembrance of being in school and learning about "the vagina" for the first time in Sex Ed class from Miss Lovecraft. Scheduling is a bit of a crapshoot. I'm currently down for Tuesday at 8:30, but that's more of a placeholder for the web link. We'll see. Leaving Normal, a solo show about a runaway (at least that was the excerpt) was more fun than it sounds. With audience participation. Melissa was great. I've got it down for Thurs at 7, but again that's more of a placeholder.
The five minute stand-up of Fool For A Client was indeed reminiscent of Lewis Black at his most pissed-off. His show is at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, which means it's 75 minutes long... and within walking distance. I've got it scheduled for the last show I see on Saturday. That will be my fifth show that day, breaking my "no more than four a day" rule, so whether I make it is iffy. Still, there's a break between the previous show and this one, so my plan is to come back here, write up a few shows, then walk over to wind down the evening. We'll see.
I could go on about many of the shows, and they want me to (several are probably going to read this: Hello ooties!), but I have to look at all the pictures I took last night and do some phone interviews and maybe make a podcast, so the narrative will just have to continue. In the meantime, here is my schedule for tonight. I try to stick to adjoining shows in the same venue, and then nearby ones. Tonight is N Mpls. If anyone wants to join me, here is where I'll be (subject to change):
5:30 Le Jeune Lune The Spaceman Chronicles. I try to see the science fiction shows, but I'm mainly going to this one because it precedes:
7:00 Le Leune Lune Audish. An audition that goes awry? The kids were lots of fun in the Fringe-For-All, and I have hopes for the whole show.
8:30 The Lab Theater Great American Horror Movie Musical. Their excerpt was fun. I love shows that rip several genres to shreds simultaneously; it's the kind of stuff I write. We'll see if the hour can sustain the pace of the three minutes. I'm hoping to walk from Le Jeune Lune.
10:00 The Lab Theater War of Worlds: The Musical - A Tribute to Old-Time Radio. Yes, this is what I do, sometimes, on Shockwave Radio Theater. The excerpt wasn't as good as our 1982 Minicon Opening Ceremony performance of Warp of the Worlds. Still, Shockwave Radio is a very high standard (for me, anyway) and we'll see. We'll also see if I make it to four shows the first official day of the Fringe and my third day of Total Immersion Fringing.