by Terrance Mc Arthur
The Rogue Festival is here! You can find all of our Rogue Festival articles, and our upcoming show reviews in our Rogue Festival section! Be sure to keep coming back!
In zoology, it’s an elephant going against the herd and attacking man and animal alike. In politics, it means breaking party lines and going against the rules. In Fresno, it’s having a good time, going to a bunch of shows in the Tower District in March.
The 19th Rogue Festival (March 6 to March 14) kicked off with its Rogue Teaser, two-minute snippets of 33 of the 52 shows scheduled this year. This year, there is music, dance, plays, comedy, puppetry, and things that defy description. I’ll tell you about some of the shows I saw, some of the shows I’ve seen in the past, and some of the shows I’m not sure about, even if I saw a bit of it.
SHOWS/PERFORMERS I KNOW
2020 Rogue Muse
Howard Petrick premiered Fight for 52? a few years ago, but he’s worked on it, and he brought it back in its exploration of race, labor, and society. Bryan Patrick is still The Magician So Amazing He Amazes Himself. Flower Tome Companion is back as a Tower District version (but they call it the “Flower District”) of Prairie Home Companion with a big cast, music, and weird comedy. Kyle Elder does magic with a happy slant. The Excursions present a tribute to One-Hit Wonders, songs you remember by performers you never heard from again. Mike Alexander has Rogued in other bands, but this is his first solo show to show his singing, playing, and songwriting. Victor DesRoches wraps his songs in stories that are longer than the songs, including One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift. The Murray girls bring their Blood Harmony (the singing quality that family members have—think Bee Gees, Osmonds, Jacksons, and Everly Brothers) to Irish music and murder ballads. I know Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parish—they have performed at the Rogue, I’ve known them outside the Rogue, and they are both quite talented; now, they join to dispense side-splitting advice on couplehood in Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage. David Spencer and Randy Morris are the Spencer Morris Group with Original Jazz and Blues, which is always low-key fun. Tim Mannix is a comedy magician, and you will be Gobsmacked. Les Kurkendaal tells about Climbing My Family Tree and the surprises he found there…including murder. Shane “Scurvy” Spears gets the Name-Tag Blues over minimum-wage jobs. Donna Kay Yarborough delves into horror in the woods with her new show, Rosegold. At the first Rogue I attended, Marcel Nunes led a group of teens in found puppetry, making inanimate objects come to life; this year Touching Junk uses grown-ups, including some Rogue veterans. Miss Fitts returns with comedy and circus skills, but only March 12-14; it’s amazing!
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
—Some shows I loved in the past are not here, this year, and new faces have come to Fresno. Let’s Prank Call Each Other uses technology to create puppetry. Dangerous Curves comes from renfairs to amuse and abuse with public floggings. Late Nite Covfefe has local actors in a talk show crashed by a certain tweeting President. Man Cave has the last man on Earth broadcasting a warning on climate change. In Merely a Player, Marc A. Gonzalez is many characters…or are they all one? If you like your séances Victorian, Christopher Alocern has one for you (Sounds really interesting to me!). Sarah Matsui explores the link between a wild boar and her Japanese-American father in Hawaii. Sierra Camille skewers the American Dream and advertainment in The Miss American Dream Show.
Amelia Ryan has Rogued before, but I haven’t see’ her Songs & Stories shows that come in three varieties, from Irish to a life in musical theater. Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show is Noam Osband’s combination of rock and tent revival—sounded cool. Exhibitions of the Malcontent has Adam Burns of Mariposa making his own music and telling his own stories. Freeloader in the House of Love is strong stuff, but well told. Smiley G. answers “So, Why Did I Move to Fresno?” Eric Hiett does magic, and he does it smoothly. Dana Merwin is a weird, redneck roadie in The Skinny Show. Steve Budd talked to people, and tells you What They Said About Sex. Casey’s Story is about a missing person, told by his sister, with music. Hope Lafferty does strange things as an Inhibitionist(!). Faster is about sports, and bionic enhancements, and when is being the best without them not enough (and a current controversy is shoe technology that breaks records: timely). How to Really, Really? Really! Love a Woman—it’s not for kiddies. It’s Not ALL About You John Michael makes us all John Michaels at a convention. Rebel Without a Bra looks at burlesque as a form of female empowerment. Majestic Aerial Creatures lifts off from the sage on streaming cloth and rings. For belly dancing, see Cymbalic. Beth’s 40th Birthday Extravaganza gets Megill & Company dancing, leaping, tapping, and entertaining.
That’s not everything at the Rogue. Explore the Rogue Guide and the website, and you’ll find even more. It’s enough to make you go Rogue!
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.