So, tonight there’s this new thing at the Bryant Lake Bowl: Big Fun Radio Funtime! It’s the first of several new shows pouring out of the new Fearless Comedy Productions folks, whereupon local comedy people make an old-timey radio show in front of your eyes and ears. I am told that there will be live foley. LIVE FOLEY RULES.
Though I am not directly involved in the show, I wanted to announce it because a) I’m pretty sure it will be awesome given the people involved, and b) I designed their logo! Yay! (Though I still have to convince them to let me add a little color to their logo. Hmm…)
Anyway, the show rolls onstage at 10:00pm tonight, with doors opening at 9:30pm. Since it’s at the Bryant Lake Bowl, you can eat good food and drink good beer in the theater. And it’s only $8 at the door! Show up and be entertained!
At CONvergence 2012, a few friends of mine hatched a strange plan: they wanted to create tiny little theatrical productions, which would be enacted outside elevator doors of the convention hotel. The plays would last from when the elevator doors opened to when they would close.
This process, of course, would include alcohol consumption.
Sometime around 2 AM on one of the convention nights, I received a call to action via a text message. I was to bring my camera to one of the middle floors of the hotel’s 22-floor tower. Sauced though I was, I managed to get a couple minutes of documentary footage.
One of the great hidden gems of the Twin Cities is a weekly improv comedy show called Improv-a-Go-Go. The original concept of the show was that four improv teams would each get a 20 minute segment of the show to do whatever the hell they want. Since experimenting was encouraged, and since the creators of the show wanted to encourage new performers and new audience members alike, tickets to attend were a mere $1. For many years, the show lived on Sunday nights in the Brave New Workshop, the oldest continually operating satirical theater in the United States.
It was originally a proving ground for less-experienced performers. Eventually, it turned into the place where some of the best comedy in the Twin Cities — and some of the most amazing improv in the country — sprang into audiences hearts.
Eventually, the folks behind IAGG got their own venue: the fantastic, non-profit, all-volunteer HUGE Theater. Improv-a-Go-Go still plays on Sunday nights at HUGE. Tickets are now $5, but you have to admit, that’s still one hell of a bargain. (EDIT 8/16/12: Butch Roy has informed me that tickets are now Pay What You Can for Improv-a-Go-Go!)
On May 20th, 2012, Improv-a-Go-Go hit its 10 year anniversary. Four of my very favorite improv teams (The Minneapples, Five Man Job, Ferrari McSpeedy, and Gay Straight Alliance) hit the stage. Butch Roy, founder of Improv-a-Go-Go and one of the directors of HUGE, let me shoot some photos of the event.
I love HUGE, I love Improv-a-Go-Go. I hope they’re both around for decades to come.
The Minnesota Fringe Festival is the largest non-juried Fringe Festival in the US. That means you can see just about any kind of theater show pop up at the MN Fringe, with any kind of quality. Pros and first-timers alike show up on stage. Shows might be musicals or harrowing dramas or dance exhibitions or stand-up comedy or completely improvised. Selections range from ordinary to downright weird. The only requirement is that the show fits in a one-hour timeslot.
The MN Fringe runs from August 2nd to August 12th this year. Tickets are generally $12 per show, but you can buy in bulk to maximize your purchasing power. (I am a fan of the 10-show punch cards.) You can easily crank through a half-dozen shows in a day, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the full slate of the festival. This last Saturday, for instance, the festival ran 105 completely different shows. That’s just that one day.
I love the MN Fringe because I know a lot of theater nerds, and this is exactly the sort of thing they do well. Every Fringe Festival, I get to watch my friends become firehoses of creativity. I get to wander from stage to stage to see whatever awesome new thing they’ve come up with this year. In addition to that, I often stumble across other performers I’d never seen before. I can easily burn through 20 Fringe tickets every year.
I spent almost this entire previous weekend at the Fringe Festival. What did I see? Well…