Rogue Festival Reviews 2020!

Mar 7, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Rebecca Potts, Rogue Festival

by Rebecca Potts,
Mallory Moad, Lorie Lewis Ham
& Terrance McArthur

The Rogue Festival is here! You can find all of our Rogue Festival articles, and our upcoming show reviews in our Rogue Festival section! And you can find more Rogue info on KRL’s Rogue Festival event page. Be sure to keep coming back! You can also learn more on the Rogue Festival website. We will be posting reviews throughout the festival-The Miss American Dream Show, Original Jazz and Blues—The Spencer Morris Group, Gobsmacked, The Magician So Amazing He Amazes Himself!, Merely a Player, Casey’s Story, Silenced, Late Nite Covfefe, Name-Tag Blues, Songs & Stories, The Magic of Eric, Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, Majestic Creatures Enclosed, Blood Harmony, For the Love of Magic, Touching Junk, The Jewish Wife, Debuts at 50, Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage, The Return of the Last Pioneer, One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift, Let’s Prank Call Each Other, Hello, Boar – You Must Be Hungry, Fight For 52 Cents, Rosegold, Victorian Séance Revisited, Man Cave: A One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy, Inhibitionist(!), The Excursions—Celebrating One-Hit Wonders, Les Kurkendaal-Barrett—Climbing My Family Tree, and The Story of a Nice White Lady. Be sure to keep coming back! If you get KRL in your email you won’t get notifications every time we add a review so check back directly on KRL often!

The Miss American Dream Show
Review by Terrance McArthur

What fuels our drive for the American Dream? Money.

What makes today’s mass shootings possible? The AK-47.

What do Americans worship more than God? The images on the little screens they carry with them.
Where will you see these subjects lampooned at the Fresno Rogue Festival? The Miss American Dream Show at the VISTA Theatre, 1296 N. Wishon Ave.

Rogue festival

Sierra Camille

Sierra Camille bounces, high kicks, shimmies, and wiggles around the stage as Blanca Fiberton, a white-bread Charo–a send-up of beauty queens, infomercials, televangelism, phone-driven narcissism, and our obsession with sex. She initiates the audience into the Church of All Screens, portrays helpless femininity (while flexing toned arms), and simulates courting rituals uncomfortably.

Whether she is cocooning a man using plastic wrap for “protection,” or standing like a Statue of Liberty with a torch spraying popcorn, she points out the unrealistic expectations of America. If she doesn’t punch at least one of your buttons, you may be dead.

The Miss American Dream Show’s last performance is:

Saturday March 14, at 8 p.m.

Original Jazz and Blues—The Spencer Morris Group
Review by Terrance McArthur

When I started going to the Rogue Festival, one of the first shows I saw was The Spencer Morris Group. They were intriguing, goofy, and the songs were about places, people, and events that were familiar. This is the 13th Rogue for David Spencer and Randy Morris. You can’t stop these guys! This year, Original Jazz and Blues plays at the Veni Vidi Vici patio, 1116 N. Fulton Street (as usual).

Spencer Morris

Spencer writes the songs, sings, and plays the guitar. Morris recites poems and introductions for the songs, and he plays a wailing saxophone (and provides percussion and other sound effects).

The wild-and-crazy part of Spencer Morris is the variety and subjects of the songs. You might hear a reminiscence on discovering the writings of Ayn Rand (because girls liked it, and he wanted to meet girls), the consequences of shoplifting (it was a friend who did it. Honest!), memories of the perils of junior high (to the tune of “Camptown Races”), an admission that the side of your pants is a good substitute for a hand towel or a hankie (punctuated by party noise makers blown by Randy), or “Oh, Boy!” replacing the handclaps in a news-based version of “Mexican Hat Dance” (Allan Sherman did something similar in the 1960s).

It’s always interesting, and it’s always worth a listen.

The remaining show is:

March 14, 4:15 p.m.

Review by Terrance McArthur

Tim Mannix is a stage magician who is so good that he plays shows at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He is a quick-witted comedian who leaves his audiences Gobsmacked, and that’s the name of his Rogue Festival show at Hart’s Haven, 950 N. Van Ness Ave.

Although the humor is whip-fast, he comes off like a laid-back version of the late Rip Taylor. He doesn’t laugh at his own jokes, but they do make him smile.

His magical apparatus is often things anyone might own—a rope, matchbooks, a placemat, playing cards, a spoon, a license plate, paper and marker, a basket—but what he does with them is what makes his show magic. Cards are revealed, numbers are found where they shouldn’t be, cards are restored, ropes pass through one another, objects appear from places they couldn’t have been, things change shape before your eyes, and minds are read.

The laughs aren’t mean, and they are gently naughty at their darkest, but they do have more of an edge when it’s an adults-only audience than when children are present. The thing I’m trying to say is that Tim Mannix is a professional; he knows what he’s doing, and he knows what to say and do for any audience he faces, and what to avoid. For a good time, call Tim Mannix.

Remaining performances are:
March 13, 8:30 p.m.
March 14, 3:30 p.m.

The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself!
Review by Terrance McArthur

They call him The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself! That pretty much describes Bryan Patrick. There’s a look of permanent surprise on his face that says, “Yeah, that worked.” You might not want to buy a used car from him, but you can put yourself in his magical hands, and know you’ll be safe.

Thin, dressed in black, and ready to make things happen, he uses mechanical optical illusions to set the scene, inviting the audience into a Twilight Zone where the rules of nature cease to exist (Don’t worry. He sends the crowd back to the real world at the end of the show, but do they really want to go there?).

Bryan magically multiplies silk scarves, cleverly conjures with cards, and you should think twice if he asks to borrow your coat. Naturally, everything works out in the end, because…he’s an illusionist, and problems never happen in a magical world.

Bryan performs at Dianna’s Studio of Magic, 826 N. Fulton St. His final shows are:

March 13, 10 p.m.
March 14, 5 p.m.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He is a librarian with Fresno County Public Library.

Merely a Player
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Local actor Marc Gonzalez has not only been performing on stage for several years, he has a blog where he reviews shows, including Rogue shows. This year he has written a Rogue show of his own, Merely a Player.

In this play there are five monologues, all of which show various stages of Marc’s life through the years. He starts off as the “Bro”, becomes the “Book Nerd”, then the “Son in mourning”, a “Theatre Geek” and finally a “Groom.” You see the things that changed and shaped him, and made him into who he is now. You see the struggles caused by losing his father when he was young, and his struggles with faith. You see his joys as an actor, and him falling in love.Rogue

“Experiences—those which we choose to have and those which are thrust upon us—shape and mold us, dent us and lift us up, resulting in our day-to-day life,” shared Marc in his Rogue preview article for KRL. “This play shows those triumphs and dents.”

Merely a Player will make you think, smile, laugh, and maybe even cry a little. It is beautiful, fun, and even inspiring. And you get to see Marc tap dance, which he does very well! My favorite line in the show was during his book nerd stage, “A book won’t give you herpes.”

Merely a Player is a must see show—you don’t need to know Marc to appreciate and enjoy it. It is wonderful!

Remaining performances are at The Revue, 620 East Olive Ave. on Friday, March 13 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 at 3:30 p.m.

Casey’s Story
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

In Casey’s Story, his sister Wendy Berry shares about her brother Casey who went missing on February 14, 2007. She shares stories of their childhood and of the trouble that Casey got into when he was younger, and how he found his way to a life in Colorado after time on the road where he found peace and a good life.

Then after many years of being away, Casey came home for Christmas and brought with him his wife and child. That was the last time they saw him. For the last thirteen years, Wendy and her family have dealt with the devastation of having a family member missing and possibly murdered. Inspired by friends, Wendy decided to turn this story into a Rogue show with the help of Blake Jones. Interspersed with her stories, Blake and Scott Hatfield sing original songs that tie into the story with lyrics about life, loss, and looking at the world in a way her brother would have appreciated.

“Losing a family member like this, you never get over,” shared Wendy in her Rogue preview article for KRL. “But you do find ways to cope, and art has been a pretty cool way for me. I hope I can inspire someone else to find peace in art as I have.”

Casey’s Story is sad, but Wendy shares it beautifully.

Remaining performances are at Studio 74, 1274 N. Van Ness Ave. on Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m., and Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m.

Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Silenced is a work in progress, in pieces, according to performer Beth McLaughlin. Beth lost her voice, permanently, so the story is told just above a whisper. In Silenced, she shares stories of life since losing her voice and stories from her life before. She also shares stories about her and her friends when she was young—especially her school days. She won’t be going to her high school reunion, because she wouldn’t know what to wear, but also how hard it would be in all that noise when no one would hear her.

Despite not having a voice, Beth manages to share her stories in ways that make you smile, and laugh, and think. She says it’s hard to show sarcasm without a voice, and yet somehow she manages it.

If you have any hearing issues, be sure to sit up front, because you won’t want to miss a whisper of her story.

Remaining performances are at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 East Olive Ave. The remaining performances are Thursday, March 12 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 at 4:15 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

Late Nite Covfefe
Review by Terrance McArthur

Hate him or despise him, people love to make fun of Donald Trump. Why should the Fresno Rogue Festival be any different? And so, we have Late Nite Covfefe at The Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave.

Imagine one night at a TV talk show. There is the typical host, the usual celebrities promoting their books, movies, and recordings, and an uninvited guest, in living orange…..THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! He arrives to insult the celebs, who insult him. They all sink to the lowest level, but…that’s entertainment!

P.M. Balekian wrote it, and a passel of talented people perform it. Noel Adams is the genial talk-show host, somewhere between Dick Cavett and David Frost. Karan Johnson is a Shelley-Winters-ish actress who can’t stand the president. Janice Noga is a brittle British star who just wants people to behave. A popular singer is played by the impressive Tony Sanders, whose vocal performance is one of the few non-political highlights. Julie Alexanian Show is a Trump supporter, sexily dressed as she promotes her Florence Nightengale biopic, who is scorned by the other stars. The Trump impersonator of the night is Michael Peterson, blustering and angry, with Secret Service protection provided by Jennifer Hurd-Peterson.

Of course, it’s political. Of course, both sides are offensive. Of course, it’s funny.

Remaining performances are:
March 13, 7 p. m.
March 14, 5 p. m.

Name-Tag Blues
Review by Terrance McArthur

Shane “Scurvy” Spears is loud, rapid-fire, crazed, offensive, and insightful. Over the years, I have left his shows in shock, shuddering, and thinking. His current show, Name-Tag Blues at the Tent of Tales, may be the best thing I’ve ever seen him do.

He looks at the world of the often-fired, often-abused, minimum-wage worker, and he makes you laugh, all the while your brain is saying “No, no, no!”

He swings back into his days at a mall photography studio, with an entitled woman who will not be satisfied with anything Shane does, and he knows the job is impossible, so he tells her some home truths. He recounts his call to rally his fellow-workers to revolt. He tells how he found himself in a series of jobs that would end in termination. He even juggles knives, which I suppose is a metaphor for the workaday world.

I don’t know if his language would make a sailor blush, but it made me blush; it also made me laugh…..a lot. It’s a combination of shock & awe. The things that happen to him are so outrageous, but they unlock our own memories. There is a shock of recognition and the awe of realizing that you understand, because you have your own experiences and feelings that aren’t that far from his. You have the Name-Tag Blues, too.

Scurvy’s remaining shows are:
March 13, 7 p.m.
March 14, 8:30 p.m.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He is a librarian with Fresno County Public Library.

Majestic Creatures Enclosed—Aerial Arts Fresno
Review by Sarah Peterson-Camacho

A menagerie of magical creatures, kept under lock and key in a mysterious Nevada zoo, are presided over by a wisecracking, insanely mustached zookeeper, just itching for a chance to escape.

And thus the stage is set (quite literally) for Majestic Creatures Enclosed by Aerial Arts Fresno, a rollicking, immersive aerial dance show boasting stunning choreography, colorful humor and costumes, and a soundtrack that truly rocks. rogue

The throbbing synth of Sevdaliza suffuses the hypnotic, liquid movements of the sea serpents, bathed in moody blue light that saturates the turquoise shimmer of their scales.

The unicorns bop and groove to funky Prince, brandishing cigarettes and berry-dark lips, in a truly infectious aerial performance, while the mermaids pull off some truly astonishing aerial moves from the skin-tight confines of their rainbow-hued tails.

The zany zookeeper presides over the interludes with spot-on political commentary and subtle drug references, as a peppy tourist helps the creatures plot their escape.

The dragons get their goth on in black with spiky purple and silver wings to the riffs of Led Zeppelin, with charming nods to Harry Potter and Dungeons & Dragons, as the fairies get high on intoxicating flower nectar in a flurry of glittery white tulle and peachy-pink light.

A dragon-fairy love match ensues to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” and the elves, in pointy ears and forest velour, exude grace and mystery as they effortlessly swing from the rafters to the “Wicked Winds” of Mazde.

And in the rousing finale, set to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” all of the creatures finally break loose in a true aerial extravaganza as the dismayed zookeeper looks on in bewilderment.

Majestic Creatures Enclosed is simply not to be missed, as it is the very best of Rogue 2020.

Remaining performances are at:

California Arts Academy – Severence Theater
1401 N. Wishon Ave.
3/12/20 8:30pm
3/14/20 6:30pm

Blood Harmony—The Murray Girls
Review by Sarah Peterson-Camacho

Their voices blend together sweet as honey, first lilting, then throaty, but always matched in melody—the Murray Girls are at it again, but this time they’ve switched tunes up a bit.

Also known as Blood Harmony (a term for how insanely in sync familial voices sound when blended in song), the mother-daughter quartet are in their 15th year of performing together, and are still keeping Rogue audiences rapt with their alternately saucy and heartfelt mix of Celtic melodies, folk murder ballads, and slightly naughty pub shanties.

Only the Murray Girls can serve up a colorful smattering of Bob Dylan (“Flora, the Lily of the West”), Dolly Parton (“Jolene,” “When Love is New”), and a haunting rendition of the mournful Irish ballad “Danny Boy,” with equal parts sass and heart.

Remaining performances are at:

Veni Vidi Vici
1116 North Fulton Street
3/12/20 6:00pm
3/13/20 8:30pm
3/14/20 5:30pm

Sarah A. Peterson-Camachois a library assistant with Fresno County Library, with a Bachelor’s in English and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Fresno. In her free time, she makes soap and jewelry that she sells at Fresno-area craft fairs. She has written for The Clovis Roundup and the Central California Paranormal Investigators (CCPI) Newsletter.

For the Love of Magic
Review by Rebecca Potts

Magic of Elder is back at the Rogue Festival with another jaw-dropping performance in For the Love of Magic, a truly unbelievable magic show that excites and amazes adults and children alike. Elder is a truly extraordinary performer who will have you convinced that there is true magic in the world by the end of his show.

Highly interactive and perfect for families, the performance includes floating objects, mind reading, disappearing items, a very adorable chicken, and even a cockatoo! The audience participates in nearly every illusion, and if you’re lucky, Elder will even give you a souvenir to take home with you. Go back in time, call a stranger, and make them part of the show, make magic out of memories, and end the show with an enchanted dance never seen before on the Rogue Stage! With its fantastical illusions and astonishing magic tricks, For the Love of Magic is an absolute must-see at this year’s Festival.

Elder has been doing magic for more than 25 years and has earned himself a membership at Magic Castle Hollywood – an exclusive, private club for accomplished Magicians. Find out more about his magical career here and catch his show at the Vista Theater, 1296 North Wishon Ave at the following times:

Thursday, March 12 at 8:30 PM
Saturday, March 14 at 5:00 PM

Rebecca Potts is a blogger and Academic Coordinator for a Career Coaching Academy. In her spare time, she likes to act, sing, and write whatever comes to mind. She’s been a mental health advocate for years and has shared her story everywhere from California to Australia to help stop stigma. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her fiance and two cats, Spyro and Crash.

Songs & Stories—Amelia Ryan
Review by Terrance McArthur

Some people are better at some things than we are. Some people have lived life more fully than we have. Amelia Ryan is the “more” in both those categories. She brings her abilities and life to the Rogue Festival with Songs & Stories at the VISTA Theatre, 1296 N. Wishon Ave.

Amelia Ryan

Ryan presents her songs and stories in three different programs. Two of those programs are focused on her “musical life,” presented chronologically—childhood, opera, folk singing, singing waitress, musical theatre, acting (She played a lot of nuns.). She recounts her exploits with love and gusto, and she sings marvelously, with the aid of Terry Lewis on keyboard and backing vocals (It would be wonderful to go through life with Terry as an accompanist.). There are songs you know, songs you ought to know, and songs you wish you knew once you hear Amelia sing them.
The remaining program focuses on Irish songs, and it will feature the harp of Kathryn Johnson (one-fourth of Pipe on the Hob, and one-half of Rose Arbor). That will be tasty.

Remaining performances are:
March 12, 7 p.m.—A Musical Life, Part 1
March 13, 8:30 p.m.—Irish Songs
March 14, 2 p.m.—A Musical Life, Part 2

The Magic of Eric

Review by Terrance McArthur

For magicians, there is a kind of routine called “Magician in Trouble.” The idea is that the magician builds up to the climax…and the trick doesn’t work, but do not panic! The magician suddenly reveals the signed, chosen card in an unexpected way, and he smiles knowingly as the crowd goes wild. The Magic of Eric at the Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., has that kind of moments.rogue

Eric Hiett is a magician. For two years, he toured with Andre Kole, a Christian illusionist. He performed in many countries, but now he lives in the Valley.

Every magician has favorite types of magic, and Eric is very good with card magic, but he loves to do tricks with water. He may put water in containers that are far too small to contain that much, but it fits! He may hold a glass upside down with nothing under it, but the water doesn’t fall!

There is one more chance to see The Magic of Eric:
March 12, 7:15 p.m.

Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
Review by Terrance McArthur

An atheistic Jew teaches in Arkansas and goes to Pentecostal churches. He develops a show that emulates and exaggerates what he saw and heard. What do you have? Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, at the patio behind Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicatessen, 1279 N. Wishon Avenue.

It’s patterned after a tent revival, so it, appropriately, is staged in a tent. Noam Osband is Brother Love: slick, mildly predatory, and dangerously subversive as he sings to urge the congregation to “Sin Just a Little Bit,” so they’ll have something to repent about. He exhorts his flock to strike the head pin—Satan—when “Bowling for Jesus.” He sermonizes about his concept of the Savior as a “Hippie Headed, Hot Bod Jesus.” There are amens and hallelujahs galore, healings, and the ever-important collection plates…which fill with Monopoly money. The humor is broad, the language is salty, and everything is memorable, with shades of televangelists, Marjoe Gortner (look him up), and Robin Williams.

Might you call it irreverent? Definitely. Might you call it blasphemous? Maybe. Might you call it entertaining? Absolutely!

Brother Love’s last show is:
March 14, 3 p.m.

Touching Junk
Review by Terrance McArthur

Art is taking raw materials and making something amazing. Puppetry is taking raw materials and making them come to life. Junk is what’s left when materials are used. Junk Puppetry is taking used materials and bringing them to life. Touching Junk at the Tent of Tales, 416 E. Brown Ave., is turning used materials into art, and turning art into life.
Marcel Nunis, the Roguefather (who organized the first festival in 2002) assembled a small group to turn cloth, cardboard, and found objects into living stories. Mallory Moad, Dorian Fallansbee, John Masier, and musician/conductor Tony Imperatrice make visual magic happen before your eyes, often while clothed in black and hooded.

A scrap of cloth and a tennis ball turn into the spirit of a lost love for a grieving woman to give her one last memory of happiness (If you’ve ever had a major loss in your life, bring your tissues and hankies for that one). Underwear sings classical music (Yes, that’s what I said.). Cardboard boxes portray a tale of immigration and pollution. After seeing this show, you’ll give extra thought to the contents of your trash can—there could be actors in your garbage!

Dress warmly for the Tent of Tales. Remaining shows are:

March 11, 8:30 p.m.
March 12, 7 p.m.
March 13, 8:30 p.m.

The Jewish Wife
Review by Terrance McArthur

Back in the 70s at Fresno State, the plays of Bertolt Brecht were all the rage. One that I saw was a short play, The Jewish Wife, part of The Private Life of the Master Race (also known as Fear and Misery of the Third Reich). It was a monologue for a woman, although a man was on the stage with her. The Roust Theatre performed the piece in 2006 in New York City. Now, it has been brought to Fresno and the Rogue.

Brecht was a political writer, and this one-act deals with the Germany of his day. A Jewish woman packs to leave her husband, who could lose his position as a doctor in a clinic because he is married to someone of whom the Nazi government does not approve. She tries to arrange for the doctor to be watched over by their friends and his family. All of them are pretending that she’ll only be gone for a few weeks, but they know—oh, they know.

Tracy Hostmyer is powerful, angry, helpless, disgusted, mad at a society that denies her worth, furious at a husband who will not stand up for her (but she knows she has to make her sacrifice to protect him). The piles of suitcases that make up the setting reinforce her running away. In this translation, the husband speaks, but he merely echoes what his wife knew he would say.

This is searing theatre, with language not used in earlier English translations. It takes place in the 1930s, but the racism, the prejudice, and the hatred still exist. See this play…and talk about it.

Remaining performances of The Jewish Wife are at:

California Arts Academy Severance
1401 N. Wishon Ave.
Wednesday, March 11 @ 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 @ 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 14 @ 4 p.m.

Debuts at 50
Review by Terrance McArthur

Mike Alexander has been singing and playing music around the Valley for ages, in groups like Acoustic Highway and Laurel Canyon, and has spent a goodly amount of time on Rogue stages. Finally, Mike has a solo show—Debuts at 50, at the patio behind Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicates, 1279 N. Wishon Avenue.

Give a listen. You might hear the songs of Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Split Enz, Crowded House, The Rembrandts, or…Mike Alexander. Mike is a talented songwriter, and an excellent instrumentalist. Guitar, 12-string guitar, mandolin—the music is soothing, exciting, and good for what ails you.

Between his work in bands and busking, he has plenty of experience. He’s easy-going, but cheerful, and he loves what he’s doing.

You’ll love it, too.

Final shows are:
March 13, 9:45 p.m.
March 14, 5:30 p.m.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He is a librarian with Fresno County Public Library.

Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage
Review by Mallory Moad

In his latest Rogue Festival production, Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage, comedian Jaguar Bennett is joined by his wife, actress Heather Parish. In the guise of marriage counselors doing business as America’s Perfect Couple, they dole out advice that is hilarious, thought provoking and brazenly politically incorrect.

Jaguar and Heather have a fiery stage chemistry as they take turns brutally destroying the mythologies of love, wedded bliss, and each other. It’s The Taming of The Shrew meets 1960s stand up comedy with a twenty-first century twist. Rogue

Having performed as a solo act for many years, having a sparring partner allows Jaguar to add more depth to his persona. He’s the bombastic businessman we’ve come to expect but this time he’s also a blatant sexist pig and henpecked husband.

Heather Parish has proven she’s as comfortable and skilled at performing stand up as she is Shakespeare. With her classy appearance and sly sideways glances, she’s a harpy in pearls. During a particularly heated exchange, I could practically see steam coming out of her ears.

In his performances, Jaguar’s point isn’t just to make the audience laugh. In that respect, Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage is no different. Of course, we laugh like hyenas, but it soon becomes clear there’s more here than jokes about body parts and spousal duties. Brief, but serious, comments about commitment, fidelity, and abuse are strategically scattered throughout the second half of the show.

The end to Jaguar’s shows is the key. Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage concludes in a way that is grounded in reality, powerful in its sincerity and a touch sweet. I was left believing they really are an imperfectly perfect couple.

The remaining performances are at:

Veni Vidi Vici
1116 North Fulton Stree
March 12 at 8:30 p.m.
March 14 at 6:45 p.m.

There has been an added show that will be taking place at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 East Olive on
Friday, March 13, 8:30 PM

The Return of the Last Pioneer
Review by Mallory Moad

Billie Murphy was Jeff Bowman’s superhero. She was also his grandmother. Billie also worked as a fire lookout for the US Forestry Service and in The Return of the Last Pioneer, Jeff recalls this remarkable woman and the summer they spent together in 1957.

Through stories and original songs, Jeff captures the adventure and wonder of that time spent in the mountains of the San Bernadino National Forest. The music, played by a hot four-piece band with Jeff on lead vocals, conjures up the mid-fifties with styles that reflect the music of the era: country, jazz, and western swing.rogue

Jeff is a charming storyteller with an easy-going style. Speaking with a relaxed cadence and a warm smile, the audience knows he’s here to spend time with us, not just put on a show. The stories themselves are beautifully written. His description of what he could see from the lookout tower at night is especially captivating. Illustrated by a jazzy swing tune, The Lights of Catalina, this was one of my favorite sequences in the show.

There are stories about listening to programs on short wave radio, which lead to fun recreations of commercials. Drummer John Shafer outdoes himself, playing percussion with Good-N-Plenty candy boxes while Jeff dons a goofy wig for a Bryl Cream ad.

As a singer, Jeff is unpretentious and sincere; his voice is a gem. If you took the sounds of Leon Redbone, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, and a touch of Lou Reed and put them in a blender, you’d have Jeff Bowman. It’s a sound that draws the listener in and makes you want to stay. The Last Pioneer Band (Dean MacDonald, Phil Wimer, Ray Haney and John Shafer) is solid as a rock. Skilled and charismatic, they are more than backing musicians. Their obvious camaraderie is a vital component of the show.

The Return of the Last Pioneer is a show with a lot of heart. Whether it’s Jeff’s relationship with Grandma Murphy, the respect he has for the band or his sharing of something precious with the audience, it’s the underlying theme that ties it all together.

The Return of the Last Pioneer is one of a handful of Rogue Festival productions that can be described as happy. It is also suitable for all ages. If you’re in the market for something that is comforting and uplifting as well as highly entertaining, this is the show for you.

The remaining performances are at:

Spectrum Art Gallery
608 East Olive Ave.
3/12/20 8:30pm
3/14/20 5:30pm

One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift
Review by Mallory Moad

In One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift, singer-songwriter-guitarist, Victor DesRoches shares a hilarious story about the aforementioned gentleman. However, this production is not centered on people with special needs or prosthetic body parts. Victor may be surprised to learn it is actually about love.

Victor’s Rogue Festival offerings are never just musical performances. There’s always a twist, and this year he has invited four local guitarists to join him on four separate dates. At the performance I saw, the guest musician was Ron “Doc” Morse. Others include Vince Warner, Tom Walzem, and Richie Blue. They were not told ahead of time what songs would be performed (with one exception, all songs in the show were written by Victor) and there were no rehearsals. Each guitarist was given lyrics and chords for each song when they arrived to play. The concept of incorporating the unknown elevated what could have been just a guy-singer with-guitar show to Rogue Festival material.rogue

One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift is a combination of charming, low-key comedy (no blue language or potty jokes here), storytelling (true, or mostly) and music. With his relaxed style, endearing personality, and James Taylor-Willie Nelson-ish voice, Victor performed a series of original Americana-infused songs about, or dedicated to, various women in his life (his wife, ex-girlfriend, first wife, and mother). Each tune was introduced with a light-hearted story that made Victor’s affection and respect for these ladies clear. I dare anyone to tell me the show isn’t about love.

Ron Morse’s style is country and blues, the perfect compliment to Victor’s voice and compositions. His playing gave the song, “Chocolate and Love” a distinct Bob Dylan sound. After sharing a story about the relationship between bands and friendship, Ron channeled Brian Setzer with a blues/jazz improvisation, “Jumpin’ With Ronnie.”

One-Legged Man Drives a Stick Shift is one of the more gentle productions in the Rogue Festival, something I often appreciate. Taking place in a comfortable outdoor venue makes it a good place to take a break from other, more aggressive shows without sacrificing the entertainment value.

Remaining performances are at:

Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen
1279 North Wishon Ave.
3/12/30 8:30pm
3/14/20 4:15pm

Let’s Prank Call Each Other
Review by Mallory Moad

The stage is a mess. There are upended trunks, boxes, pieces of cardboard and extension cords everywhere. In the middle of all this junk, a young man with a mop of curly hair frantically scrambles around in stocking feet, checking cameras, connections and moving, moving, moving. Little did I know that during the next hour, all of this chaos would be assembled into one of the most original, clever and entertaining performances to hit the Rogue Festival in years.

The show is Let’s Prank Call Each Other and the guy with the crazy hair and shoeless feet is Zach Dorn, performance artist extraordinaire.

The show almost defies description. It’s a combination of story telling, puppetry, art installation, and hanging out with someone who’s over-caffeinated and just so darned likable. Using delightful cardboard dioramas that look like something right out of a seventh grade art class and a pint-sized digital video camera, Zach takes us on a series of adventures that are projected on a screen in real time.

The combination is high tech, no tech and absolutely captivating. At times, phones and tablets are used in conjunction with the cardboard constructions. At other times, paper cutout shadow puppets and drawings on the pages of a notebook illustrate the goings-on in Zach’s latte-fueled imagination.

Not everything that transpires is over-the-top. With impeccable timing, Zach knows just when to slow down the mayhem and when to resume Loony Tunes speed. He uses a video game and audience participation in touching segment about his dog; shortly thereafter, he’s giving out his phone number so we can send him a prank call (which I did). The sense of disorganization is just a ruse. What seems like a runaway train is actually a well-oiled machine. The show is carefully planned and tight in spite of its loose-limbed feel.

Let’s Prank Call Each Other is an hour long E-ticket ride that is side-splitting, insane, moving, and well worth your time.

Remaining performances are at:

Dianna’s Studio of Dance
826 North Fulton Street
3/13/20 7:00pm
3/14/20 8:00pm

Hello, Boar – You Must Be Hungry
Review by Mallory Moad

Let me make this clear: Hello, Boar – You Must Be Hungry isn’t about a wild pig. Although this character holds a place of importance, it is but one of many metaphors in Sarah Matsui’s deeply personal one-woman show.

On a stage devoid of props or furniture, Sarah takes the audience on the journey of the life of a Taiwanese/Japanese American woman. Although she may be solitary, she is far from alone. With her engaging personality and energetic presentation, she brings to life the people who have influenced, inspired and infuriated her.

The show consists of two parts. The first concentrates primarily on her relationship with her father, affectionately described as a Japanese Hagrid because of his love for animals. The second part of the show deals with Sarah’s mother, a relationship that is as harrowing as it is loving. We were also treated to an excerpt from a third part, which is still in development.

Sarah’s style is genuine, warm, and confident. There is no invented stage persona – what you get is the real Sarah Matsui. She tells her stories with a certain innocence and portrays the people in her life (father, mother, brother, aunt) with affection, even when recalling difficult times. Although there is plenty of joy and humor in the show, Sarah does not shy away from including heavy subject matter. But she recounts those tough times with the same openness and clarity as those filled with happiness, without self-pity or judgment.

Her descriptions of people and events are vivid and precise. I could see the colors of the sea life and feel the cold water as she was diving with her father, sense the awkwardness of a little girl learning to throw a spear twice her size and feel her anxiety and disappointment over a phone call from an aunt, delivering bad news that wasn’t totally unexpected.

Hello Boar – You Must Be Hungry is not a “poor me” production. While it does cover some complicated family and cultural issues, there is an underlying story of strength and hope. Sarah’s radiant smile at the conclusion of the show lets us know that she accepts, and is grateful for, the experiences that have shaped her life; that she is, and will continue to be, OK.

Remaining performances are at:

ViSTA Theater
1296 North Wishon Ave
3/13/20 10:00pm
3/14/20 6:30pm

Fight For 52 Cents
Review by Mallory Moad

In his living history production, Fight For 52 Cents, Howard Petrick portrays union organizer Vincent Raymond Dunne. I chose to see this show because my knowledge of all things union is sadly lacking and while I expected to be educated, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertained I was.

The story takes place in 1969 at a ceremony commemorating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the 1934 Truck Drivers’ Strike in Minneapolis, a pivotal moment for the labor movement. Dunne is the featured speaker, the audience members the attendees of the event.

With gray hair and a sharp pin-striped suit, Petrick plays the 80-year-old Dunne not so much as an old man, but as a man who has seen, experienced and achieved much in his lifetime. In an easy-going style, he recounts stories of Dunne’s life, from his childhood living on the prairie in Minnesota to his first encounter with the Industrial Workers of the World and finally, his role in the Truck Drivers’ Strike.

Although the show is augmented with recorded sound effects and music, it is Petrick’s performance that really drives it. A skilled storyteller, he easily slips into a variety of characters using only his voice and posture. His vivid descriptions and dry sense of humor transform what could have been just a recounting of history into a suspenseful, exciting saga.

While The Fight For 52 Cents is based on events that occurred in the past, it contains messages that are pertinent to the present. “You don’t stick a label on people then write them off because they don’t agree with you,” Dunne tells us. Solidarity, greedy capitalists vs. working people and the creativity of the working class are recurrent themes.

I highly recommend Fight For 52 Cents, especially if you’re looking for a Rogue experience that is more gentle than chaotic. It’s definitely educational, but more than that, it’s enjoyable and inspirational. Power to the people? Right on!

Remaining performances are at:

Dianna’s Studio of Dance
826 North Fulton Street
3/13/20 5:30pm
3/14/20 6:30pm

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.

Donna Kay Yarborough—Rosegold
Review by Terrance McArthur

She’s been a country singer, a gender-flipped Frank Sinatra, a sample patient for future doctors, and an Appalachian healer-woman. What more can Donna Kay Yarborough be? Scary.

Rosegold starts at an AA meeting, where a woman stands up to tell how she got to that point, only it isn’t the ordinary story of growing dependency. It’s a trip to the woods with friends, a trip that ended with blood, burns, and bodies. It’s a trip into a world of horror, a world of They.Rogue

Donna is an amazing actress, and a real trouper; she recently suffered a concussion, but she’s bound and determined to get this show out to the world, so she’s doing it as a reading. She also is possessed of some of the most predatory-looking natural teeth I have ever seen. Her smile can be unsettling.

Possessed or possessor? That becomes a pivotal question of this low-key terror tale. It doesn’t give you all the answers. There are many blanks for you to fill in, and they may come to you in the middle of the night.
Dress warmly, because Rosegold is at the Tent of Tales, 416 E. Brown Ave., a way-off-Rogue location. Besides, this show is a real chiller!

Wed., March 11, 7 p.m.
Thurs., March 12, 8:30p.m.
Sat., March 14, 7 p.m.

Victorian Séance Revisited
Review by Terrance McArthur

Séances—they’re spooky stuff, right? Voices from beyond, cold touches on the back of your neck, magic trickery by charlatans claiming to contact the dead?

Victorian Séance Revisited at The Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave., reconstructs what a séance in the late 1890’s would be like. The stage is transformed into a genteel parlor, Christopher Alocern and his assistants are dressed in the clothing of the period, and modern colloquialisms are kept to a minimum.

After an introduction, the dapper Alocern conducts an experiment in psychometry, with boxed objects that he attempts to match to their owners. Some objects seem to cause a pendulum to react, others do not. Is it the object, the owner, or the medium that determines the result?

The evening goes on to a séance ceremony. Volunteers and the facilitators sit around a table, joining hands. When they blow out the candles, the room is plunged into total darkness. They chant, a bell rings, crashes, thumps, and chaos ensues. When the lights are brought up, what does the audience think? Was there contact? Some say yes. Some say no. Give this show a chance. Then you can make up your mind.

Remaining shows are:
March 12 8:30 p.m.
March 14 at 6:30 p.m.

You can learn more about this show in their preview article in KRL.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He is a librarian with Fresno County Public Library.

Man Cave: A One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy
Review by Rebecca Potts

Have you ever imagined what the world might look like after it becomes too hot to inhabit? Tim Mooney brings this concept to life with Man Cave: A One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy.

Set in an apocalyptic future after the effects of climate change have heated up the planet to unlivable temperatures, there may be only one man left. He shouts into the void via radio waves, begging to be heard by anyone left on the planet, ranting about the choices the human race has made that led us to this point and offering a new list of commandments going forward – if that’s even a possibility. Man Cave gives us a haunting and terrifying look into what might happen to the planet if we continue to take no action on climate change. And while there is much to laugh at throughout the performance, there is a feeling of dread underneath as you realize the damage being inflicted on Earth that we are not addressing.

Mooney is a veteran of the Rogue Festival, and this performance is a solid testament to why he keeps coming back. His energy can be felt throughout the room until the final line and his acting technique keeps you captivated throughout the show.

Mooney has an extensive portfolio of work that you can explore here. You can still see Man Cave: A One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy at The Revue at the following times:

Sunday, March 8th at 3:30 PM
Thursday, March 12th at 7:00 PM
Friday, March 13th at 8:30 PM
Saturday, March 14th at 2:00 PM

You can learn more about this show in the preview article they did for KRL.

Review by Rebecca Potts

Hope Lafferty traveled all the way from Texas to bring Inhibitionist(!) to the Rogue Festival, and we are lucky to have her. Inhibitionist(!) recounts Lafferty’s life from her unconventional birth to the havoc she has wreaked on herself since with educational nuggets about psychology peppered throughout. The show is uplifting, hysterical, and at times, heart wrenching. There are many tales of broken teeth, black eyes, and how humans, particularly women, put things in our own way. rogue

Lafferty is an expert performer, plowing through cell phone rings and car alarms and rolling with every interruption and distraction as though it was part of the show. As a performer myself, watching her fluidity and professionalism was extremely impressive. The show has the feel of a stand-up comedy routine, which puts everyone at ease while keeping them fully engaged. She makes the audience feel like her best friends by the end of the show and when it’s over, you’ll want to see more!

Lafferty is a performer, podcaster, educator, and much more. You can dive into her work here. Unfortunately, her shows for the final weekend were canceled, hopefully you can catch her show next year or at another event.

You can learn more about her show in her preview article she wrote for KRL.

Rebecca Potts is a blogger and Academic Coordinator for a Career Coaching Academy. In her spare time, she likes to act, sing, and write whatever comes to mind. She’s been a mental health advocate for years and has shared her story everywhere from California to Australia to help stop stigma. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her fiance and two cats, Spyro and Crash.

The Excursions—Celebrating One-Hit Wonders
Review by Terrance McArthur

You remember one-hit wonders: those songs you can’t forget by performers you never heard from, again? Songs like “Wipeout,” “96 Tears,” “Dizzy,” and “Electric Avenue?” You’ll hear more than 25 of those 15-minutes-of-fame-songs at the patio behind Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicates, 1279 N. Wishon Avenue, as The Excursions present a Celebration of One-Hit Wonders.

This power-septet throws themselves into the music, putting energy into “Pipeline” and “Mickey, “Spirit in the Sky” and “Black Is Black.” Do you think “San Francisco” is on the “Eve of Destruction?” Take “Just One Look,” and you’ll want to “Get Together” with this talented group.

Marc Wise on drums provides intriguing tidbits about the makers of the hits, such as how a Jewish songwriter topped the charts with a song about Jesus. This is one of the few Rogue shows that comes with a printed program, listing 38 one-hit wonders, and the program also includes matching, word search, and crossword puzzles to while away your time while waiting in line for other Rogue shows.

For Boomers, it’s a blast from the past. For younger audience members, it’s an education in musical appreciation.

The remaining performances are:
Friday March 13 – 7:15 p.m.
Sunday March 14 – 1:45 p.m.

Learn more about them in their preview article here.

Les Kurkendaal-Barrett—Climbing My Family Tree
Review by Terrance McArthur

Les Kurkendaal-Barrett delights and surprises Fresno audiences with his manically positive outlook on his life, wherever he goes—Russia, England, the high seas, Bakersfield. This time, he explores new territory: his DNA, in Climbing My Family Tree at Studio 74, 1274 N. Van Ness Avenue.rogue

He locates the grandfather he never knew in Louisiana, and learns a terrible secret. A DNA test he took to find where in Africa his ancestors originated surprises him with its results, but he sets off on a spree of Meet the Cousins. He explains why he changed the spelling of his name, how he is connected to arsenals of weapons in France, and how a relative filled a folder at the FBI. It’s strange, it’s wonderful, and it’s all filled with that loving joy of discovery and wide-eyed humor that is uniquely Les.

The remaining performances are:
Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Friday, March 13 at 8:30 p.m.

Learn more about the show in Les’ performer preview article here.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He is a librarian with Fresno County Public Library.

The Story of a Nice White Lady
Review by Rebecca Potts

Is there a Nice White Lady in your life who might need some …enlightenment? Houston Robertson brings a satirical, eye-opening and hilarious performance to the stage with her one-woman show, Story of a Nice White Lady: Nice is a Four-Letter Word. Complete with story time and sing alongs, Robertson highlights the clueless racism and homophobia that is all too common among Nice White Ladies and recounts her personal experiences living as the daughter of one – and even becoming one herself.

Houston Robertson

You’ll hear memories of growing up with segregation in the 1940s, the “Country Club Values” that took place of Christian ones in her church, and the harsh realities that revealed themselves as Robertson tried to become the perfect activist Nice White Lady. You’ll even get to hear the newest recipients of the “Becky Awards”!

And while you’ll laugh through almost all the performance, Robertson brings very real and current social problems to light and doesn’t shy away from topics not typically talked about today. The show is a must-see for any Nice White Lady who needs a jolt back to reality – or anyone who likes to laugh.

Robertson is an accomplished comedic performer, and you can find a list of her work here. You can still see Story of a Nice White Lady at Dianna’s Studio of Dance in the Tower District at the following times:

Saturday, March 7th at 6:30 PM
Sunday, March 8th at 3:30 PM
Friday, March 13th at 8:30 PM
Saturday, March 14th at 3:30 PM

You can find her Rogue Performer Preview article here.
Check out even more local theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors (some of whom you have seen on the Selma Arts Center stage). You can check the podcast out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, and also on podbean.

Rebecca Potts is a blogger and Academic Coordinator for a Career Coaching Academy. In her spare time, she likes to act, sing, and write whatever comes to mind. She’s been a mental health advocate for years and has shared her story everywhere from California to Australia to help stop stigma. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her fiance and two cats, Spyro and Crash.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.