by Lorie Lewis Ham

Mini-Rogue is back and we took a moment to chat with one of the producers of the event, Grant Knutson, to learn more about it. Grant is co-producer of the Mini-Rogue, along with former Rogue Festival producer Jayne Day and current Rogue board member Tina Jones.

KRL: What is Mini-Rogue?

Grant: The Mini-Rogue is a bite-size version of Fresno’s vaunted Rogue Festival, bringing you the same flavor of original & edgy performance pieces, but all in one compact weekend.

KRL: How and when did it first come to be?

Grant: The event started nine years ago. I spent the previous two years badgering former Rogue producer Jayne Day into the idea. And when she stepped down from that role, we finally pulled the trigger on the Mini-Rogue.

KRL: Why did you decide to do a Mini-Rogue?

Grant: The goal of this event is to remind people of the fabulous fierce, fringe-y art that Rogue Festival brings to Fresno crowds.

The Mini-Rogue is exactly half a year from the last Rogue and half a year until the next Rogue. So crowds that are missing that kind of entertainment get a taste to tide them over.

KRL: Is it all local shows?

Grant: Like the larger Rogue Festival, the Mini-Rogue is a mix of local artist & visiting artists from around the country (and occasionally the world)
Fresno crowds do love their visiting artists, and they are so generous to the performers that come into town. But there are so many amazingly talented local groups here as well.

KRL: How many shows will there be?

Grant: We have 4 shows in the Mini-Rogue this year. Plus a one-night-only live game show event that we’re doing to pay the rent for the venue, so that the ticket revenue can go straight to the artists.

KRL: Please tell us about the shows?

Grant: This year’s shows are:
“Chicana Legend”
By Fool’s Collaborative
— Young Lulu embarks on a video game, coming of age adventure to become a “Chicana Legend” – an inspiration and role model to her community. Thanks to the sacrifices of her ancestors, Lulu is armed with the fighting chance to win the game. Now it’s up to Lulu to make good choices, combat small town chisme, and defend her family’s reputation to make her ancestors proud. Press A to start! —
Performances on:
Fri. Sept 23rd @ 6pm
Sun. Sept 25th @ 7:30pm

“The Inner Ear Poetry Jam”
By Inner Ear Poetry Jam
— “Are you ready for the next poet?!”
Fresno’s favorite poetry collective is back, with a roster of local literati bringing you Spoken Word, Poetry & Prose.
Featuring Fresno Poet Laureate Megan Bohigian, Bryan Medina, Michael Jasso, Shane ‘Scurvy’ Spears, and Aideed Medina —
Performances on:
Sat. Sept 24th @ 6pm
Sun. Sept 25th @ 6pm

“Fire in the Meth Lab”
By Jon Bennett
— Renowned Australian storyteller Jon Bennett tells the amazingly sordid and bizarre story of his brother’s life. A sometimes shocking and chaotic tale, Bennett recounts his brother’s experiences with both charismatic hilarity and heart-warming, poignant reflection. —
Performances on:
Fri. Sept 23rd @ 9pm
Sat. Sept 24th @ 7:30pm

“Happy Little Suicide Banjo”
By Strangely
— What does one do when everything goes wrong? Recently returned from nautical travels in the high arctic, this magical storyteller’s “genre-busting” [TheWest] combination of music and magic infused storytelling is brought to bear on a year of triumph and disappointment. Join Strangely for tales of Arctic Sled Dogs, Scottish Mole Hunters, and a Kafkaesque Norwegian Email Server Nightmare. No matter what happens, this “charismatic and slightly deranged,” [outinperth] performer is sure to provide a “meeting with the unusual.” [KingsRiverLife] —
Performances on:
Fri Sept 23rd @ 7:30pm
Sun. Sept 25th @ 4:30pm

And a one-night special event!
“Fringe Factor: Rent Check Edition”
By Minion Productions
— The wildest game show ever is back, for one night only! All proceeds will go towards venue rental cost, so that ticket costs can go directly to our fabulous performers.
Watch our mini-rogue artists compete in high-energy party games for your amusement. Guided by host Grant Evan Knutson, badass sidekick Megan Gott, and house-band Strangely! —
*Only* on Sat. Sept 24th @9pm

KRL: Dates, location, times, and ticket info?

Grant: The Festival runs Sept. 23-25. Individual show times are under the show descriptions above.
All performances are at the Labyrinth Arts Collective (formerly Broken Leg Stage) at 1470 N Van Ness Ave.

Individual tickets are $12, or you can purchase an All-Show Pass for $45.
Tickets can be purchased at the door, but it’s an intimate venue. If you’d like to guarantee a seat, you can prebuy at:
minion-productions.ticketleap.com

KRL: Will there be any covid precautions?

Grant: Masks are optional at the shows. But we’ll be helping air flow and quality by keeping doors open and running an air purifier. And many of the staff and performers will be doing rapid tests throughout the event.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Grant: I’d just like to add that I’m so excited to bring this event back after a two year pandemic-related hiatus. I love the Fresno crowds and I’m eager to see everyone!

Editor’s Note: Applications are now being taken for the 2023 Rogue Festival. More info can be found on their website.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where we feature mystery stories read by local actors!

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. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!

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