by Terrance Mc Arthur
It’s time for Rogue Festival reviews! Instead of one post for each review, as we review the various shows we will add their review here so keep coming back for more! So far we have reviews of Moonlight and Love Songs (Mostly) with Scats On The Sly, Boxcar Figaro, Never Own Anything You Have To Paint Or Feed, Ne Me Quitte Pas, Loon, Psyche Savage & All My Ghosts, Pipe On The Hob, Gary Has A Date, Answers!!! (or Something Similar), Magical Mystery Detour, If I Could Tell Me, The Secret Adventures of Fat Woman and Remedial Girl, Christmas In Bakersfield, The Chaser, More Power To Your Knitting, Cathedral City, Circus Emporium Roadshow with Circus Et Cetera!, Songs 4 Pints, 2000 to 2010, The Road To High Street, and Dancing With Demons. Also at the end of this post is a fun little poem by the marathon reviewer himself Terrance Mc Arthur!
Dancing With Demons: A Comedy of Sorts
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham
The second show I saw at Rogue was Dancing With Demons: A Comedy of Sorts with Shana Cordon. While it has its more serious moments, it was definitely on the lighter side compared to If I Could Tell Me.
The program states the premise of the show as thus: Heroes and villains, innocents and vixens, battle on stage and in the mind of the writer to tell their timeless tale. Basically, “the writer” comes out on stage dressed all in black and sits at her typewriter, and begins to tell a story that we hear narrated with music over a speaker and then Shana begins acting out each role. Things take an interesting turn when the villain in the story is unhappy with how the story is going and escapes the story and takes over from the writer.
Shana brings this story literally to life on stage through dance, acting, humor, very interesting facial expressions and various voices. She brings so much energy to this show that you are tired for her by the end of the journey.
You can learn more about the premise of the show, Shana, and how this show came together in the KRL preview article.
I recommend Dancing With Demons as an interesting and fun show. It is at the Tower Lounge at the Painted Table, 1211 N. Wishon.
Remaining Performances Are: Friday, March 8, 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 9, 2:30 p.m.
Video Interview With Shana:
Songs 4 Pints (PC 404.6) I Swear To Drunk I’m Not God
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
Songs 4 Pints: For eight Rogue Festivals, Russell Noland and Deric McQueen have talked people into providing them beer and ale in exchange for Irish songs. The Songs 4 Pints franchise is about to be retired, and the boys have decided to go out in rousing fashion.
(PC 404.6) I Swear to Drunk I’m Not God is the title of their swan song show, and they have enlisted some powerful help. Jeanette Ione lends her operatic voice to the vocals, and Niall and Patrick of The Roving Blades provide flute and fiddle (For the first time, Russell can pursue three-sectioned melodies in their proper form). Of course, there is audience participation (some of it unasked-for), and some members of the audience get beverages for themselves, as well as for the band.
The music is lively and lovingly treated, from “The Minstrel Boy” to “A Song for Ireland.” The Pogues are represented, along with comments about Shane McGowan’s teeth. There is a scandalous version of “Seven Nights Drunk” (often sanitized to “Five Nights Drunk,” and even “Three Nights Drunk”), and be prepared for some musical detours (Lady Gaga, anyone?).
It’s like inviting a group of rowdy friends over for the evening to talk and play and sing, but the singing and the playing is a lot better.
Remaining Performance: Saturday, March 9, 2:30 pm, at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 N. Fulton Ave. Tickets are $5 in Rogue Bucks.
2000 to 2010: Spencer/Morris Duo
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
David Spencer is a guitarist with an eye for history and an ear for Republican hypocrisy. Randy Morris is a teddy bear of a man who could beat Bill Clinton into the ground with a sax. Together, they are the Spencer/Morris Duo, purveyors of music and satirical mirth.
Each year, Spencer writes humorous lyrics about characters and events from one decade. They have torn through the 20th century, and now they take aim at “2000 to 2010,” and there are lots of targets for the shooting.
Speaking of shooting, imagine the story of Vice President Cheney’s duck-hunting accident sung to the tune of Sonny and Cher’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down.” Tommy Roe’s “Sweet Pea” becomes a jab at the Tea Party Movement. The calypso classic “Jamaica Farewell,” popularized by Harry Belafonte, is the bedrock built upon for a dissertation on the fortunes made (and lost) on the Internet in the decade. Paparazzi chasing Britney, Lindsay, and Paris are skewered to the melody of Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs’ “Wooly Bully.” Not all the songs are parodies, but those are the ones that have the most punch because of their familiarity, such as “Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini,” used as the background for a discussion of how young people have adorned themselves with permanent tattoos that they may live to regret.
But wait! There’s more! Scott Peterson is there, the contested election of George W. Bush, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Swift Boat veterans, Tom Delay, and the Governator, too!
A double-sided lyric sheet details almost all Spencer’s words that are sung, but the words and tunes are not the whole show here. Morris’ impassioned saxophone flavors each number, bringing tinges of reggae, bubble-gum, and Clarence Clemmons into the mix.
Agree with the politics or not, 2000 to 2010 is a fun ride down Memory Lane before the lights have become too dim.
Remaining Performance: Saturday, March 9, 7:30 pm, at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 N. Fulton St. Tickets are $5 in Rogue Bucks.
The Road to High Street
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
Buskers—street performers—are a special breed. While other performers collect their money up front, tickets sold to the play or concert, street acts have to deliver entertainment to get paid; their success or failure is measured by the money in the hat when it is passed.
Andrew Potter was a juggler-unicyclist-musician for 20 years, half of The High Street Circus. They started in Rhode Island and settled in San Francisco, but their performing took them as far as Italy and Japan. His journey as an artist is the basis for The Road to High Street, a Rogue show at Full Circle Brewing Co., 620 F Street.
They lived in a windowless beer vat in a closed brewery. They won contests in languages they did not know by writing translated cue cards on their bodies. It took Andrew years to understand why his father never tried to stop him from following his dreams, even though the man disapproved.
Andrew is now a video producer, and he has put together a multi-media presentation that is truly interactive. He opens virtual curtains and plays music for a two-man quintet (See it and you’ll understand.). There is old footage of the good old days on Pier 39, PowerPoint gone mad, and a video greeting card dedicated to Andrew’s college-graduating daughter.
This show needs to be seen. It’s about persistence, ingenuity, patience, and dreams. It’s a master class on how to get the maximum amount of performance out of the minimum amount of talent, and how to achieve your dreams. If you are human, it’s about you.
Remaining performances: Friday-Saturday, March 8-9, 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10 in cash or Rogue Bucks.
Circus Emporium Roadshow with Circus Et Cetera!
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
I know sideshows. My 7’3” brother has been performing in them for 20 years. I have seen some of the best in the business. Circus Emporium Roadshow with Circus Et Cetera is…….pretty darn good, and lots of fun, but not for the whole family. Do NOT bring the kiddies. It may say “Circus,” but this isn’t Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey! What you will see is raw, visceral, and seriously twisted…..which is just right for Fresno.
Shea Freelove combines his troupe with Fresno’s own Circus Et Cetera to present a traditional sideshow ten-in-one, featuring hallowed acts like the Bed of Nails, Blockhead, and Fire-Eating. The lovely Lydia belly-dances while balancing a crown of curved swords on her head. Micah the Mime (who repeatedly proclaims that he is “not a mime”…but he looks like one) holds objects, collects money, and plays a tinkly toy piano and a two-octave, breath-powered organ. Margarita Mercedes performs amazing feats of strength, and manages to perform a strip tease while playing the accordion, which could be considered another death-defying act.
There is a deliciously romantic interlude of mixed-doubles fire-eating, where Derek and Miss Ember feed on each other’s flames. A Blade Box is used as an extra-money feature, where the audience pays an extra dollar to see how a lovely lady has threaded her body through a maze of killing-sharp blades, a prop provided by veteran showman Bobby Reynolds, who is scheduled to appear Friday, March 8.
It’s all not-so-innocent fun, and enthusiastically done. Remember, as my brother says, “It’s real. It’s dangerous. It’s real dangerous.”
Remaining Performances: Thursday-Saturday, March 7-9, 10 pm, at Full Circle Brewing Co., 620 F St. (The root beer is fantastic!). Tickets are $5 in cash or Rogue Bucks.
Review by Lorie Ham
I loved everything I saw at Rogue, so to pick a favorite would be impossible. However, I have to say that Cathedral City is pretty close to being my favorite. Kurt Fitzpatrick is just so clever and talented–I think perhaps I could watch him read a grocery list and it would be entertaining.
This one man show is a little hard to describe, but a lot of fun to watch. The Rogue Program gives this description: While Googling himself, Kurt Fitzpatrick discovers a website that says he will die in Cathedral City, and when he goes through a dire health crisis he discovers Cathedral City may exist beyond being a physical place.
Through a bunch of different characters and intertwining stories Kurt tells the story of his back injury, his time under anesthesia during back surgery and some crazy hallucinations, and Cathedral City. This show includes sex, death and the movie Creep Show by Stephen King. It is incredibly clever and makes you wonder how on earth Kurt came up with all of this. He brings to life a multitude of characters with great skill and hilarious comedy, yet the little bits he brings in of himself and his own story provide a nice touch of seriousness about his injury and his introverted personality–which you would never know watching him on stage! What energy and what talent! His shows will be ones I have to see whenever he comes to Rogue.
Don’t miss Cathedral City–you’ll laugh your head off and be amazed at the fun, clever story of this show, even if you can’t quite describe it.
Rated PG-13 for adult language and content
Remaining Performances Are: March 7 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 8:30 p.m.
Christmas in Bakersfield
One of the joys of the Rogue Festival is trying a show you normally wouldn’t consider seeing, and being blown away. Last year, for me, it was Poe and Mathews. This year, it’s Christmas in Bakersfield.
I’ve lived in Bakersfield. Why should I re-live the experience? I’m a political conservative; not as far right as Atilla the Hun, but right of center, and this is a show by and about a gay African-American. I had no reason to see it, but it’s the Rogue, and you don’t need a reason to do things.
It was the funniest 55 minutes I have ever spent in public! Les Kurkendaal, struggling actor, tells of the year he went to Bakersfield over the holidays to meet his boyfriend’s family. They knew he was gay, but the boyfriend hadn’t told them that Les is Black!
The family is extremely well off, and some of the people are extremely, well…off. The dad makes Freudian slips, the mother makes assumptions and doesn’t get some things, and everybody is afraid of what Grandma’s reaction is going to be. As I listened, there were things that made me think “I must be wrong” and “It couldn’t be!” By the time the show was over, I knew—I was related to this family by marriage!
I could believe those people said and did those things. I knew them!
This was so funny. People were laughing so hard that the Broken Leg venue really should get seat belts to keep people from falling off their chairs. If I hadn’t already paid for a trip this weekend, I would be in the audience for both Saturday performances, even if he wasn’t family.
Come back to the Rogue, Les Kurkendaal. We want more of Les.
Remaining Performances: Saturday, March 9, 12:30pm and 5pm, at Broken Leg Stage, 1470 N. Van Ness Ave. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
The Chaser, a one-man vaudeville musical
It’s the last night of the last theatre in vaudeville. Gone are the singers, the dancers, the comedians, the trained seals, the acrobats, and Swain’s Cats and Rats. Tomorrow, the place will become a movie theatre. Murgatroyd is the chaser, the last act of the last show, a position reserved for a has-been performer who is so bad he’ll chase the audience out of the seats. But, what if…what if the chaser doesn’t want to go along with the plan, wants to go out with a bang?
That’s the story of The Chaser, a one-man vaudeville musical, at Starline, 833 E. Fern Ave, featuring the talents of Bremner Duthie, who shares the stage with Melanie Gall in another Rogue show, Ne Me Quitte Pas: Piaf and Brel, the Impossible Concert, (scroll down and you will find our review of this show as well) which is at Neighborhood Thrift.
Duthie appears in stained, dirty, mis-buttoned clothes, literally carrying the baggage of his life. He sings old songs like “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You,” “Smile, Darn Ya, Smile” and St. James Infirmary” with maniacal energy. He talks to a rubber chicken. He breaks apart in metaphorical pieces on the stage, a stream-of-consciousness form of comedy similar to the style of the late Dick Shawn. It’s harrowing. It’s mesmerizing. You will be exhausted by the emotional carnage. It’s a wonder that Duthie can make it through a performance. Oh, the horror!
Remaining Performances: Saturday, March 9, 2:30pm and 8:30pm. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
More Power to Your Knitting, Nell
I am crazy about Melanie Gall. I love her operatic voice. I love the way she wanders around other Rogue venues, disguised as a normal person until she steps onto a stage and becomes Magnet Girl, drawing every eye and ear to her.
Last year, she shone in The Sparrow and the Mouse, a musical biography of French chanteuse Edith Piaf through the eyes of her half-sister, Simone. This year, she does double duty, singing in Ne Me Quitte Pas: Piaf and Brel, the Impossible Concert with Bremner Duthie, and on her own in More Power to Your Knitting, Nell.
“Nell” follows the story of a wannabe performer who gets her big break with a radio show to encourage women to knit socks, caps, and scarves for servicemen during World War II…..but she hates knitting! Nevertheless, she begins to find respect for the girlfriends, wives, and mothers she is supposed to inspire, and she manages to discover some romance for herself.
“More Power” is a framework to showcase a collection of songs about knitting, most of which were written during the First World War. They range from patriotic (a march for knitters) to sentimental (a mother claiming “every stitch is a thought of you,” numerous battlefield casualty allusions) to cheerfully silly (a soldier given a pair of hand-knitted—but oversized—socks, a boy trying to “pitch some woo” to a girl who does nothing but “knit, knit, knit”). On their own, the songs would be charming. With the talents of Ms. Gall behind them, they become transcendent. She does manage to sneak in a tune from Edith Piaf (We needed at least one dose of French, anyway.) and the WWII classic, “We’ll Meet Again.”
After the show, pick up one (or two) of her CDs. That way, you can keep her with you.
Now, where did I put those old knitting needles of mine?
Remaining Performances: Friday, March 8, 8:30pm, and Saturday, March 9, 7pm, at Starline, 833 E. Fern Ave.
The Secret Adventures of Fat Woman and Remedial Girl
Review by Terrance McArthur
Sarah J. Lau is unsettlingly thin. She spins, leaps, and twists into misshapen psyches, she bends her sweetly wistful face into contortions that belong in a horror movie, and she is one of the easiest-to-listen-to people I have ever met. She took her 70,000-word, non-grammatical e-novel and turned 15% of it into a one-hour explosion of awkward vitality, The Secret Adventures of Fat Woman and Remedial Girl at The Tower Lounge at the Painted Table, 1211 N. Wishon Ave.
Louise is an 11-year old Chinese-American who has to share a room with her college-age sister on the weekends, and then…Grandma moves in, and Louise is certain the old woman is trying to kill her. The two girls discover the fine line between Death and Incontinence. There is free-form martial art action. There is passive-aggressive friendship where opposites attract (and repel).
Lau has boundless energy, but the audience is exhausted by the end of the show. Most one-person shows like this are the autobiographical purging of repressed emotion. This is the what-ifs of the soul turned into action and words.
Remaining Performances: Wednesday, March 6, 8:30 pm; Thursday, March 7, 5:30 pm, and Saturday, March 9, 5:30 pm. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
If I Could Tell Me by Jump Right In Productions
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham
Video interviews with cast and writer/director at the end of this review.
This has been my first Rogue Festival and it has been great! I only wish I had time to see more shows. If I Could Tell Me was the first show I saw and a great start to my first Festival experience. This show is produced by Jump Right In Productions.
The play starts off with a teenaged girl and another young woman sitting in a school gym after a bomb threat. The teenager Kay, played by Taylor Mosher, is nervous and very talkative. The other woman Tina, played by Jessica Knotts, seems more distracted, and slow to respond to Kay’s energy. Kay begins talking about this boy and is very excited about going to winter formal with him. Tina listens and tries to offer Kay some advice about boys, that of course Kay isn’t interested in hearing. A little bit into the show, another woman named Kristina, played by Katie Lewis, comes into the gym and joins in their conversation saying that she is a school psychologist on site because of the incident. She too tries to convince Kay to be more careful.
The real story begins to slowly unfold as you watch this one act dramatic play that has just a touch of the supernatural. Because part of the enjoyment of watching this show is the discovery of what is really going on, I don’t want to give away any more about the actual plot. I will tell you that this is a very serious, thought provoking, emotionally intense show dealing with difficult subjects such as date rape, abortion, suicide and sex education, and it definitely moved me.
Heather Karsevar wrote and directed this show and my hat goes off to her for how she wove this story together and handled these difficult subjects in such a moving and thoughtful way. The acting in this show was superb and each actor portrayed the intense emotions their character brought to the story perfectly–if you see this show and it doesn’t move you, you can’t be moved.
I highly recommend seeing If I Could Tell Me. It is rated PG-13 for language and adult situations and you will find it at the Broken Leg Stage, 1470 N. Van Ness.
Remaining Performances are: March 6 & 8 at 6:30 p.m.
If I Could Tell Me video interviews:
Answers!!! (or Something Similar)
A wide-eyed, computer-savvy puppet collects questions for his human dad to answer. That sounds cute and sweet, and a perfect entertainment for little children. Right?
We’re not in Sesame Street anymore, Toto. Haven’t you heard of Avenue Q?
Answers!!! (or Something Similar) livens up the Neighborhood Thrift venue of the 12th annual Rogue Festival with foul-mouthed frivolity. Isaiah Crowson is Dr. Icarus Gearhart, the man with all the answers to all the questions, improvising with a wit as quick as the drop of a rollercoaster. His curly, twirly moustache (which probably needs a dressing room of its own,) and his bombastic manner are 19th-century throwbacks, so he needs his son, Icarus Jr. (The boy prefers “Icky”), to work the laptop. He has some secrets in his past, including: why is his son a hand-and-rod puppet?
The show answers questions submitted by the audience (“How should Congress balance the budget?” “Scales”), and explains why Icky has a young woman (Cassie Townsend) to stand with her arm up his…spine (A government grant program). It’s funny, and it’s strange, and unashamedly rude. Icky drops F-bombs all over the audience and his dad, and there is serious kinkiness in some of the backstory (Something I first heard about on “CSI”), which is another way of saying “Don’t bring the kids!”
Remaining Performances: Wednesday, March 6, 7 pm; Thursday, March 7, 7 pm, Saturday, March 9, 1 pm, and Saturday, March 9, 7 pm at Neighborhood Thrift, 353 East Olive Avenue. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
Magical Mystery Detour
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
Check out our video interview with Gemma Wilcox below
Gemma Wilcox has this nasty habit of sneaking into the Rogue Festival from London, England and Boulder, Colorado, and blowing everybody else out of the water. In Magical Mystery Detour, at the Severance Building (1401 N. Wishon Ave,), she fills 60 minutes with 25 different characters and captures life and death and all kinds of love in one show.
Some things take a little getting used to, like how she portrays two people in the same car, and how she uses the wrong hand to shift gears (Oh! I get it! [he thought after two minutes of frustration and annoyance] She’s driving in England!). Her characters are human, animal, plant, and non-living. The boyfriend is an idiot, the dog is ADHD-gifted, the Scottish-built car dourly offers advice that nobody takes, the owl has mastered the art of the slow take, and Mom is dead, but sends her daughter to Land’s End for a solar event.
It’s a small, intimate story, played out on a Cinemascope canvas. I’m fond of the car, the mythically-aware tree, the Queen who occasionally passes through the mental landscape with a royal waving of her hand, and the patently-disgusting fly who buzzes through scenes and encourages disgusting acts. It isn’t really aimed at children, but one little girl seemed to think this was the coolest thing since “My Little Pony,” to judge by her giggles.
Gemma Wilcox is a bi-national treasure.
Remaining Performances: Tuesday, March 5, 8 pm; Friday, March 8, 8:30 pm, and Saturday, March 9, 5:30 pm. Tickets are $10 In Rogue Bucks.
Pipe On The Hob
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
I love Celtic music, the sounds of Scotland and Ireland. I love Pipe on the Hob, a band that has been brightening the Valley for a long time. The music is sure and strong. The musicians are versatile. The audiences smile.
Carl Johnson makes the hammered dulcimer sound like the cast of Riverdance in a wire factory, and also plays recorder and several pennywhistles. Kathryn Johnson plucks heavenly tones out of a Celtic Harp (and also contributes some vocals and keyboards). Donn Beedle fiddles around (and violas around, too) until the rosin starts to smoke. Karana Hattersley-Drayton sings, plays keyboards, beats upon the bodhran, and snaps a pair of spoons upon many parts of her body…and any other bodies within range.
Irish jigs, Scottish strathspeys, murder ballads, and more pour from their fingers, lips, and throats. Next week, the band will record their shows, which is a chance for fans to be a part of their next album. This will be their last time at Rogue Festival so don’t miss it!
Thursday, March 7, Landmark Restaurant, 644 E Olive Ave, 6:15 pm; Saturday, March 9, Spectrum Gallery, 608 East Olive Avenue, 7:30pm. Tickets are $4 in Rogue Bucks.
Gary Has A Date
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
At last year’s Rogue Festival Emily Winder was a cadaverous and excitable Edgar Allen Poe in Poe and Mathews. This year, she transforms herself into a snaggle-toothed, socially inept loser on a quest for romance in Gary Has a Date at Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 816 North Fulton Street.
One theory of humor is “The Intransigence of Inanimate Objects,” how things being things that get in the way of human objectives are funny: a door that won’t open, a slice of toast that lands butter-down. Winder presents a master class that illustrates this with a chair, a telephone cord, and a notebook. Gary, a scholar of all things invertebrate, tries to prepare for a date while all the objects (and an unseen cat) around him conspire to make the evening a disaster. The sheer physical precision that makes this controlled chaos seem the natural consequence of living in a universe that is out to get us is astounding. Winder’s clowning extends to a handclap-operated lighting system that cannot differentiate between a desire for romantic lighting and a handslapping of romantic anticipation.
Thursday, March 7, 10pm; Friday, March 8, 8:30pm, and Saturday, March 9, 5:30pm. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
Psyche Savage & All My Ghosts by Kate McKnight
Review by Christine Autrand Mitchell
Yes, Rogue 2013 is officially underway. Performers walk Tower streets in costume and with props in hand. Lines form in front of venues. Strangers speak to one another. What do I like best about Rogue? That I can go see something unexpected!
Tonight I watched the premier of Kate McKnight’s show. She was away for a while, but she’s back! This autobiographical show is raw – and let me make it clear, it is visceral! One-woman shows, such as hers, have a certain expectation: they’re based largely in fact, they’re daring, but mostly they’re incredibly brave.
It’s clear this is a cathartic experience for Kate. We really do see her alter egos and her ghosts, as she states. She tells us about the strength and intelligence of the women in her family who have influenced her, even through time. She tells us about tragedies and disappointments, and not only hers. She reads her gut-wrenching poetry. What we learn is the amazing strength and acumens of Kate McKnight. However, if you don’t happen to know the back story, it may seem a bit abstract until all the pieces are put together.
Opening night had some hiccups, but we ultimately see the insights, vitality and vision her female relatives have passed on to her. Be ready for two acts that are quite different from one another. Be ready for music, which is a big part of Kate’s life, only glimpsed in this production. Prepare yourself for wonderfully dramatic lighting. And be prepared for some primal emotions in which to partake.
Remaining Performances are: 3/8 at 9 pm, 3/9 at 2:30 and 6:30 pm at Bloo Hookah Lounge, 1141 No Van Ness
If you wear a mask that covers your whole head, nobody can see your emotions, right?
Then explain how Kate Braidwood of Wonderheads (which ventured from Portland, Oregon for the Rogue Festival can put on a solidly stolid head mask and look depressed, wistful, resolute, and enraptured without altering the covering of papier mache.
Loon is the tale of a janitor (sorry: Custodial Engineer) mourning his mother and looking for love in all the wrong dating services. When he finds romance, it is a big love: the moon.
There is mime, puppetry, and a touch of magic in the lusciously scored narrative, where the only words come from a telephone and radios. The story is told in simple images and associations. It’s sad and funny, an uplifting downer where a string mop can become Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, where a non-handsome loser can fly, and where children can explain the story to their parents.
Sunday March 3, 2:30pm; Sunday March 3, 8:30pm; Wednesday March 6, 7pm; Saturday March 9, 8:30pm, at Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 816 North Fulton Street. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
Moonlight and Love Songs (Mostly) With Scats On The Sly
Mallory Moad knows a good song when she sees them, and she sees a lot of them in the 1920s and the 30s. That’s the focus of Scats on the Sly, the little combo that could, performing Moonlight and Love Songs (Mostly) at the Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave.
Mallory was a part of the Rogue Festival from the beginning as a performance artist. This time, Scats brings us songs of love—the good, the bad, and the good and ugly. Mallory sings, slim in her suit that looks like David Bowie as the White Duke in grey or Pee Wee Herman with shoulders and less make-up. Mike Newton’s nimble fingers coax complex counter-melodies out of his guitar. Martin Hansen is cool and unflappable on the bass. Sue Beevers is the strongest I’ve ever heard her on violin/jazz fiddle, very confident on most of the numbers.
The songs range from “As Time Goes By” (You remember, from “Casablanca”) to “Some of These Days (Sophie Tucker), from “Keepin’ Out of Business Now” (Fats Waller) to the not-so-passive-aggressive “That’s What You Think.” Because Mallory is a performance artist, she has harnessed technology and quick changes into the show with tributes to great hunks of manhood (Brad Pitt, Clark Gable, Harpo Marx?), famous couples (Bogie and Bacall, Olivier and Leigh, Shrek and Fiona?), Rudy Vallee, and Fats Waller, with a side trip for a Krazy Kat cartoon.
The music is mostly romantic, so bringing someone cuddlesome might be a good idea. The songs are cool, the musicians are hot, and a good time is had by all.
Remaining performances are: Saturday, March 2, 12pm; Thursday, March 7, 10pm, and Friday, March 8, 5:30pm. Tickets are $5 in Rogue Bucks.
This may seem silly to put into a show review, but I live on food, so…if you happen to feel hungry while you’re waiting for a show at the Spectrum Gallery, wander a half-block west and across Olive Avenue to Doughnuts 2 Go, where they have the largest beerocks I have ever encountered, filled with velvety cabbage, hearty onions, and chunky ground beef, for only $2.50.
Boxcar Figaro is folksy folk, with songs of working and love…and a potential to rock.
Sam Garner makes his lead guitar prowl and strut, Mike Witton lays down a solid bass, and Sam Nassar uses a wooden box as a percussion section…and a place to sit while delivering locomotive-power rhythmic accents. In front of them stands Victor DesRoches armed with a guitar and his benignly-warped sense of humor. Songs can be about the many ways to verbally use “nothing,” the city of Oakland, and pruning (in agriculture, business, and relationships). Victor’s between-song explanations may wander the Internet, but they reach a point that makes sense…usually. His “how did that literary image get into this song” lyrics and the walrus moustache under his trusty fedora evokes Jim Croce with shorter hair.
Boxcar Figaro plays at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 North Fulton Street
Remaining Performances: Thursday, March 7, 7:30pm; Friday, March 8, 5:30pm, and Saturday, March 9, 3:45pm. Tickets are $5 in Rogue Bucks.
Never Own Anything You Have To Paint Or Feed
Last year, Howard Petrick’s Breaking Rank described how the Draft Board and the Army managed to create a social activist. Now, Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed has a solid start and room to grow. Howard revisits his 19-year-old self, his friends, and his job inspecting freight trains at night. From there, he may branch into several different places to explore.
It may be the cast-off hobos (“itinerant workers”) of the freight yards, hoping for a ride to the next temporary employment or telling tall tales. It might be a visit to the nearby bar where the lowly and lonely gathered. Wherever Howard goes, it will be with an insightful eye for detail and a novelist’s ability to place an image in your mind. It isn’t a story for children, but it is a story for the mind to study and ponder.
There are many finely-drawn characters, from a work-avoiding friend who extorts money with a misshapen animal balloon to knights of the road, to Howard himself, a young man who prefers being around the rejects of society to being alone.
There is union history, in-self-conscious singing, and light cast on today’s society with the lens of the past.
Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed plays at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 North Fulton Street.
Remaining Performances are: Sunday, March 3, 2:30pm; Thursday, March 7, 8:45pm, and Saturday, March 9, 8:30pm. Tickets are $6 in Rogue Bucks.
Ne Me Quitte Pas
There are several ways to enjoy Ne Me Quitte Pas – Piaf and Brel, the Impossible Concert at Neighborhood Thrift, 353 East Olive Avenue.
If you struggled through high school French, all you probably remember is the songs your teacher played, and you’ll love to hear them once more.
If you are a fan of the music of Jacques Brel or Edith Piaf, you’ll love to hear them sung in French and Flemish and—occasionally—in English.
If you never took French and you think I’m misspelling “pilaf” and this is a show about “Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat,” you would probably enjoy two talented singers creating metaphorical magic in any language.
Melanie Gall and Bremner Duthie are both possessed of talented lungs and larynxes and can fill the Neighborhood Thrift space with-or-without microphones. Melanie brought Piaf and her half-sister, Simone, to the Rogue in last year’s The Sparrow and the Mouse. She is also on another Rogue Stage in More Power to Your Knitting, Nell. Bremner has another show, too: The Chaser, a one-man vaudeville musical. Each is a magnificent singer with amazing credits. Together, they are something more amazing—they’re funny.
This is music they love, and that love is contagious. They have fun sharing their disease, delighting in wandering off the script, yet wanting to get to the next great song that they drag themselves back to where they are supposed to be.
And the great songs… “Pigalle,” “La Vie en Rose,” “Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away),” “La Mer (Beyond the Sea),” “Amsterdam,” and “Marieke.”
Whatever the reason you go, this is something you should do.
Ne Me Quitte Pas – Piaf and Brel, the Impossible Concert is at The Neighborhood Thrift Story. Remaining Performances are: Saturday, March 2, 4pm; Sunday, March 3, 1pm; Wednesday, March 6, 830pm; and Friday, March 8, 7pm. Tickets are $10 in Rogue Bucks.
LES REVIEWERS MISERABLES
By the Marathon Review Man himself, Terrance Mc Arthur
One show more!
Another day, another Rogue review.
How will I hope to tell them something new?
I’ll fill my essays on these Rogues
With references to the Pogues!
One show more!
Another belly-dancing troupe to see.
Another improv stab at comedy.
A childhood in bad circumstance.
The story of a failed romance.
One show more!
Will I write more reviews
Until we reach Rogue 24!
One more Rogue
One more show
One show more!
If you would like to know more about the history of the Rogue Festival check out this 2011 article here in KRL: Rogue Festival Celebrates 10th Year! and check out this article with tips on attending Rogue from 2011: Doing De Rogue: A Guide To The Rogue Festival Through Its Vocabulary. Also in KRL this year we had several Rogue Preview articles by this year’s performers all of which can be found in our A & E section, have another Rogue tips article coming next week & will be reviewing several of the shows at Rogue during the Festival. You can also see promo from several of this year’s performers on our Rogue Event page.