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Seattle to Fresno Fringe Festival

IN THE August 19 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andJoshua Ryan Taylor,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Joshua Taylor

The Rogue Festival, one of the Central Valley’s most important and fascinating cultural events, happens early each year. But for those craving another fix of the fringe festival circuit without wanting to wait until February, here is your chance.

Rogue veteran Jayne Day, and Minion Productions producer Grant Knutson, have teamed up for their second annual Seattle to Fresno Fringe Festival.

It’s a much smaller event than Rogue; there is but one performance arena, and there are only five acts. Day and Knutson refer to it less as a festival and more as a “best of” highlight reel of sorts. They have brought together (they use the word ‘curated’) five acts, two from Fresno, two from Seattle, and one variety show which combines local and out-of-town artists.theatre

All performances will take place at the Mia Cuppa Cafe in Tower later this month. During the Rogue, Mia Cuppa serves almost as a headquarters for the festival, so bringing all of the acts to the cafe (which has one of the best caramel lattes you’ll ever drink) is a fun homage to the Rogue, which is sponsoring the festival.

The five acts represent the diverse array of performances that one generally finds at a fringe festival. From dance to comedy to magic to theatre to storytelling, these five artists are some of the best in their respective fields, and serve as a wonderful sampler for the many art forms that flourish in the fringe community.

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Brad McEntire in CYRANO A-GO-GO

First up from Seattle is Brad McEntire, with his piece Cyrano A-Go-Go. A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story centered around Edmond Rostand’s landmark play, the piece won the “Best of Fest” award earlier this year at the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival in Addison, Texas.

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Les in DIRTY MESSY LOVE

Next is Rogue favorite Les Kurkendaal, whom you may remember from his One Way Ticket to Crazy Town from this year’s Rogue. He returns to Fresno with Dirty Messy Love, a one-man storytelling piece about returning home for the holidays and introducing his mother to his new boyfriend. But little does he know that his mom has been dating someone too…

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DAMN FINE MAGIC

Combining local and foreign artists, The Baggy Pants comes to town with their new magic show Damn Fine Magic. The Baggy Pants was started by Christopher Bange (Breaking Bange, More Bange for Your Buck), who combines physical comedy, magic, and more to create an exhilarating and hilarious variety show.

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LIFE AS A HOUSE PLANT

Also in the lineup is Fresno’s leading contemporary dance company, The FresNO Dance COllective, or NOCO for short. They are premiering a new piece titled Life as a House Plant, choreographed by Rehearsal Director Zach Garcia (he is also the head of the Contemporary Dance Department at California Arts Academy.) The piece explores themes of simplicity and growth through the lens of life as experienced by a potted house plant.
ROGUE

EXISTENTIALISM IN B MINOR

Finally, a new face to the fringe circuit: me. I know it’s a little awkward for me to be writing this, seeing as I’m one of the acts in the festival, but bear with me. After all, if an artist can’t heap praise upon himself, upon whom can he? The new piece, Existentialism in B Minor, is a one-man show taking place in the final hour before a death row inmate is executed. It attempts to wrestle with the most important questions in life: What happens after we die? Is a life lived alone a life worth living? Has Steve Buscemi performed fellatio?

The festival runs August 27-29, with each performer performing three times. For more information and tickets, visit www.minionproductions.org/seattle-to-fresno/4585918697.

Joshua Ryan Taylor is a Fresno actor and writer. He is also on the Artistic Advisory for the Woodward Shakespeare Festival.

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