August 6th, 2014

New Tilley Hat

2014 Fringe Festival -- my final four shows and other finery

I'll be out of town starting tomorrow (Thurs 8/7) and will have to miss much of the Fringe. Alas. And my last video is too big a project to do beforehand, so you'll have to make do with the information and promo video on the Fringe listing.

Dreams of The Rarebit Fiend
A stage show based on the surreal Windsor McCay comic strip from the early 1900s. More famous for "The Yellow Kid" and one of the first animated cartoons "Gerty the Dinosaur, McCay was a pioneer in the visual arts. Adapting it for the Fringe was only partially successful, I think. The show was odd and seemed aimed for a young audience; certainly the kids at the showing I saw liked it. But the sensibilities off 110 years ago were different, and the episodic action featured drunk people and suicides. A good attempt, and I'm glad that the Fringe allows for such experiments. Steve Schroer at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival. An edited version of this interview was aired on KFAI-FM

A Christmas Carol Seder.
I have the video they took at a run-through, and a longer version of the interview that aired on KFAI-FM, and will work on melding them when I get back.
The show itself is almost filk: A Passover Seder done (mostly) to the tunes of Christmas Carols. A worthy attempt to foster understanding between Jews and Christians. From "Abbie's Irish Rose" to Bridget Love Birney", love conquering religious differences has been mined for comedy. Still, if you're going to write parody, I've been spoiled by the great Luke Ski and the sepulveda of Dementia Musicians, in such filk as It's A Fanboy Christmas and X-Mas sequels. Perhaps that's why most of the reviewers on the Fringe site seemed to like it more than me.
They're trying to take this to synagogs and churches and other places. I think it needs tweaking before it goes on the road. Still, another victory for an unjuried Fringe.

The Tiger In the Room
As opposed to "the elephant". A nicely written and well-acted exploration of one woman coming to grips with her life. Not really my cup of tea, but Natalie Rae Wass is excellent and the script by Sharon deMark pulls many threads together for a poignant ending.

For Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe
Well, one per show, anyway, meaning five different improv riffs with guest stars. As with any improv, it can be hit or miss, but Four Humors hits a great deal of the time. I had loads of fun. Something about superheroes and Walmart and zeppelins.

A little blast from Fringes past: Scream Blue Murmur has a new EP out. When all the hoopla of #mnfringe abates, it's high on list. Music from the Upcoming Motion Picture "Ormeau" by Scream Blue Murmur

Oh... and the bit I was encouraged to write for Speakeasy didn't happen. But here it is, for your enjoyment. The show takes place at a Prohibition-era gin joint:
This is Hollywood reporter Irving Shmuel Zeitgeist bringing you the latest from Tinseltown USA. Your correspondent has seen motion pictures grow up from magic lantern shows to star-studded red carpet openings, but nothing -- nothing -- prepared me for Al Jolson… speaking. Yes folks, as hard as it may be to believe, sound has come to motion pictures, and I don't like it. I don't WANT to hear Charlie Chaplin because he wouldn't be as funny. I don't WANT to hear Clara Bow because she has more of "it" just from her eyes. If I want to hear Fred Astaire singing, I'll go to Broadway. If you want to hear voices, you'll listen me on to the radio. Hollywood is a major industry the way it is now. Cinemas have orchestras and even small theaters have piano players. We need our job creators. With Herbert Hoover as president and the stock market rising, the last thing we need is canned sound. This is a fad at best, as ephemeral as dance marathons or the crossword puzzle. I predict the Warner Brothers studio will burst faster messier than a frat boy eating one too many goldfish. What will they do next, transmit movies over telegraph wires? No, all good pictures are silent and always will be. This is Irving Schmuel Zeitgeist, signing off for today.

Continued from 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival - rehearsals and first day