by Terrance Mc Arthur
Rogue Festival is here! Check out all of the Rogue Festival performer preview articles in our A & E section. We also have an article about this year’s Rogue Festival Muse, and watch for reviews and video interviews. For more information on the Festival itself check out their website and keep an eye on KRL’s Rogue Festival Event Page.
It’s Rogue Time in Fresno! Go Rogue! See local performers! See acts from the far reaches of reality—and beyond!
The Rogue Festival is Fresno’s different kind of March Madness—ten locations, lots of shows, through March 10. You can see stand-up comedy, belly dancing, puppetry, magic (lots of magic, this year), plays, music, and things that defy description.
A Fringe-type festival, all the ticket sales go to the performers. A $3 wristband helps raise funds to support the festival.
Thursday, March 1, was the Rogue Teaser show at the Tower Theatre. Dozens of performers presented 2-minute snippets of their shows. Sometimes, you’ll say “I hadn’t heard about that show. It sounds interesting. I might put that on my Rogue Schedule of things to see,” or you might say “Doesn’t sound like my cup of axle grease. I think I’ll pass.”
Here’s what I saw at the Teaser in some categories, followed by other shows in that genre that you might consider going to see:
Magic—There are more magic shows than ever at the Rogue this year. Illusionist Bryan Patrick has some new tricks up his sleeve; Kyle Elder has an assistant with feathers; Keith Brown is Hotter Than Potter (This show has nothing to do with J. K. Rowling). Other magic acts: Tim Mannix is great for kids (and the grownups like him, too); Street Magic Live features a different roster of tricksters each weekend.
Music—There’s something for many tastes. Sample something that’s new to you. Strangely (that’s what they call him) returns with a new set, the Accordion Fight Show. This week, the Stargazer’s Lounge venue is rained out, so the shows will go on at The Painted Table-formerly the Daily Planet; Suite 121 (replacing Tir Na N’Og) is sultry jazz with echoes of Jessica Rabbit; traditional string music from Lark will have you toe-tapping and Mad for Trad. Other musical shows: Sinatra and Sax wails with Robert Hofman Jr.; The Murray Girls and their Blood Harmony show how family relationships can create chords that fill the air; Two for the Road (half of Pipe on the Hob) throw Celtic and bluegrass and Western into the mixer and pour out a smoothie; Spencer and Morris bring guitar, sax, and narration into Jazz & Blues.
Dance— From modern to ancient, the rhythms move the human spirit at the Rogue. The Fresno Dance Collective stretches, bends, and fascinates; School of Fish melds movement with the spoken word; the Belly Dance Collective’s Magical Menagerie captivates.
This Is What Happened to Me/Us–Some performers turn real life into Rogue shows. She traded one of her kidneys to get a new one for him as Aileen & Tony Imperatrice explain why chili cheese dogs and kidney surgery don’t mix in That Kidney Show; Babe in the Hollywood left the Teaser audience seriously teased—after getting a Rockstar hairdo, what job did she get?; Nat Vickers gets a BikeFace pedaling across Canada; Les Kurkendaal makes light of his international racial discomfort in Walking in Moscow While Black; Donna Kay Yarborough (half of The Fabulous Haydell Sisters and Shenatra) tells about her job as a live practice dummy for doctors in training in Standardize This; Ryan Adam Wells brings The 500 List, the road-trip sequel to his popular Beers About Songs.
The Play’s the Thing— Productions from comedy to tragedy are acted out on several Rogue Stages this year. The Sibyl of Mars is more of L. Nicol Cabe’s (last year’s Tidal Surge) science fiction storytelling; Babel crosses political lines in a prison, I think; S’Will deliberately puts a drunken actor onstage at each performance.
Present Laughter— Put a little comedy in your life with one of these shows. Jane Day and Renee Newlove share texting nightmares in Frankly Autocorrect, I’m Tired of Your Shirt; Jaguar Bennet does a little Mansplaining about why men do the stupid things they do.Send in the Clowns— These are the good kind, not the scary ones. Claire Patton returns to the Rogue, this time as a masked garden lady in Meddle to the Petal; living furniture, acrobatics, mime, and stage-bending illusions turn Figmentally Yours into a wonderfully disorienting experience; Hi. Entering Burn Area presents a shy clown in an unfeeling world; Paranormal Pair mixes Ghostbusters, The X Files, and bizarre magic tricks.
I’m Not Sure What That Was, But I Think I Like It— Some shows don’t fit neatly into a category, but they definitely fit into the Rogue. Gale Force’s Burning It All to Light My Darkest Hour mixes silk suspension, dance, stilts, poetry, and costume changes; Blake Jones stages a talk show with special guests—writers, performers, and artists—as he ponders the question Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff?; I have no idea what it’s like, but Naked Zombie includes brief nudity, and the people passing around the flyers looked disturbing; Fringe Factor returns for a third edition, where Rogue performers compete in challenges to earn points and become champion.
Look, it’s after 1:30 in the morning, there’s still a fourth of the festival to tell you about, and I need to sleep. Gemma Wilcox is always interesting in her one-person, multiple-character performances. Martin Dockery visits the afterlife during the second weekend of the festival. The Odd Ticket will be, and there’s ukulele featured the first weekend.
So….Go to the Rogue Festival. See the shows. At worst, you won’t get it. At best, you will. Get more information at Fresno Rogue Festival website. I’m going to bed.
Watch for Rogue Festival reviews and a few video interviews all through the week!
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.