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Rogue Performer Preview: The Story of a Nice White Lady

IN THE February 15 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andRogue Festival
SECTIONS

by Houston Robertson

It is almost time for Rogue Festival again–it will be taking place March 6-14 in the Tower District of Fresno. Throughout the month of February we will be publishing many Rogue Festival performer preview articles. This year we have added a special category where you will be able to find all of our Rogue Festival articles. During Rogue we will be reviewing shows as usual, and we also have a Rogue Festival event page with more information!

I call myself The Octobabe, which, in ordinary language, means I’m a sassy, sexy 83-year-old woman. I’m living long and loving it!

I’ve wanted to be on stage ever since I was in my high school senior class play, in 1954. But good girls did not go into Theater in 1954. So when I was 47, I quit my job and became Ribbons the Clown on the streets of San Francisco—my first solo experience. I’m now onstage with my second one-woman show: The Story of a Nice White Lady. The Rogue Festival also hosted my first solo show, Victory for the Recycled Virgin, in 2015. I bring to my solo work my experience as Ribbons, and as a writer and motivational speaker.

Houston Robertson

The Story of a Nice White Lady is a hilarious and confessional parody of the clueless racism and homophobia of nice white ladies. From churches to jazz clubs, from women’s marches to the White House, I burst the bubble of good intentions, and remind you that “nice” is a four-letter word. Catch the show at Dianna’s Studio of Dance.

I like to challenge people to celebrate Aging as Renaissance—a phrase I coined to describe my developmental view of aging. Most of us are well-versed in the developmental tasks of childhood through mid-life, but we seldom wonder about the developmental opportunities for us as we become older. I believe a wonderful thing happens to us after midlife: ourselves. Living long gives us the chance to midwife the re-birth of the real us. I invite people to explore the freedoms accompanying aging: the freedoms to reclaim our playful spirits, redeem our self-worth, and recover unselfish community values. We then become the presence of wisdom in the world. My personal motto is: Model your life after the oak tree; its most productive years begin at age fifty. Although not a cookie-baking grandmother, my grandchildren often thank me for my freshly baked ideas.

I have been called a “gutsy storyteller” and “an insanely expressive and inspiring spirit,” qualities that inform my memoir, Paper Chain Confessions, which is available through Amazon.com. I am a member of the Storyteller’s Association of California, and I use storytelling from folk traditions, fiction, and biography to trigger reflection and conversation in my motivational Talks and Tales for the Renaissance Years. I have keynoted several conferences on aging and have always been a force in my community. I have received the Solano County (CA) Living Legacy Award for Community Service.

The Story of a Nice White Lady was developed with actor, writer, and director Don Reed, a lead in the show Bartlett on Amazon Prime, and with Mark Kenward, a Bay Area icon of solo performance. Kenward also directs the show. Show times are Friday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, March 7 at 6:30 pm, Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 pm, Friday, March 13 at 8:30 pm, and Saturday, March 14 at 3:30 pm. Tickets are $10.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.

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