Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Early Wednesday Fringe Update: All Classical Music Explained by A Canadian Bartender at Butlin's!

Sabotage is Really Fucking Funny

So says correspondent Amy Hasinoff (a former culture editor at The McGill Daily):

I saw Sabotage: In Fine Form last night. It was the funniest thing ever. If you can think of anything more hilarious than a Sabotage show, I'll eat my helicopter...The show was even more polished and clever than the one I saw in Winnipeg last year. It was structured a bit like long-form imrov, but with much quicker pacing. The attentive audience member was well rewarded with subtle (and not-so-subtle) word play that was always original and hilarious. Their beautifully constructed characters and absurdist approach to humour were completely fabulous. Ahhhh. So wonderful.
So very, very, wonderful.

I've said it once, I'll say it again: Sabotage is one of my favourite comedy troupes. If one is to believe Amy, they remain funny. (I have always found her to be an excellent barometer of taste.)
Thanks for the review, Amy.

Nepotistic Review!

An individual, identifying himself as Andrew, sent me a glowing review of Uncle Jack.
But Andrew made one fatal mistake: his email header identifies his full name as "Andrew Katz". And the playwright/director of Uncle Jack is a certain Peter Katz.
Brothers? Father and Son? Uncle and nephew!?! The Katz is out of the bag!

Anyway, I'm still going to post it up because, hey, what the hell. But you have been forewarned: Caveat Emptor. (I've highlighted the passages that seem a little much, so you can skip over them if you want.)

Just to let you know about a truly great, both funny and poignant, refreshingly honest, bold Fringe show -- Uncle Jack, playing tonight (Tues), tomorrow (Wed), and Saturday. I saw it at its opening, last Saturday. The play explores the experience of a young woman, Summer, who finds herself at the point where all the fault lines of her life meet. On the cusp of adulthood, she doesn't really know who she is or what she wants, a confusion made worse by her parents' recent and sudden divorce, her boyfriend's unexpected and bewildering marriage proposal, and a generally impersonal, coporate-ladder-climbing culture.

Not knowing where to turn for answers, she holes herself up in her apartment for a confrontation with life, with herself. She also has a psychology presentation to prepare, with one-half of the presentation supposed to be about herself -- a subject she is still having trouble understanding.

This play has raw power, which comes from its honest, uninhibited portrayal of Summer's struggle. In a blitz of creativity -- from talking into a tape recorder named Max; to talking to Ani DiFranco in the poster on the wall; to making up Dr. Seuss-like rhymes; to putting together a gutsy, penetratingly insightful, surprising psychology presentation -- Summer grapples towards freedom, towards finding an honest sense of herself. She is not really neurotic -- just lost in confusion and trying every creative trick in the book to map her way out of the fog, to find bearings to her life.

The structure of the play is also excellent -- the scenes are dappled with interesting light changes, like sunlight through foliage, showing us the variations in Summer's emotional journey. Music and voice-overlays are used creatively and movingly. Phone calls from parents and from Summer's boyfriend come in, keeping Summer, as well as the audience, connected with the world outside her apartment. And the play keeps building in intensity, over 60 mintues, surprising you with where it goes right until the end.

This play will stay with you long after it's over, and may even have you wanting to see it again, and I will be doing this week. It's emotionally layered and textured, beautifully rendered, and strikes the balance between "dark" and "comedy". Summer is a real, breathing, living, complex character, who breaks your heart with her struggle and puts it back together with her balls-out courage. I think this is a play that really deserves to be seen, because of what is has to say, and because of how much I think many people will get out of it.

Dear Andrew, thanks for the review. However, your lighting design comments seem a little over-the-top. Fringe shows NEVER have lighting "like sunlight through foliage."
For another glowing review, though not written by someone whose last name is Katz, check out Isabelle from Pigeon-Hole's review on 6/16/2003.

A Blogger Responds: Quick Clarifications

Some people seem to be under the impression that this page is an "official" Fringe blog or something. Allow me to respond to a few of these allegations:

"I don't want to hear any more about Dovovan this or Donovan that... I can't believe the fringe blog is giving him press." - James

Dear James, thanks for posting. Alas, I am just "a" fringe blog, not "the" fringe blog. Unless you mean "the fringe blog", as in "the shit" or "the bomb".

"Anyways, I won't be sticking around on this blog - it sounds to me like its run by the Fringe festival, hence the biased "reporting" and pointless rants." - Dimitri (aka Donovan King?)

Dear D., thanks for posting. I can assure you that I am just a young, exiled Montrealer who has too much time on my hands. Also, I would like to stenuously object to your use of the word "reporting"; it is all bias and pointless ranting here.

"Who cares if this blog & the festival are corporate? It makes for a better event." - Audra

Dear Audra, thanks for posting. My blog is so not corporate, it's amazing. However, if anyone would like to corporatize it, I will accept any and all sponsorship. Email your dirty tobacco money to jkelly@cup.ca. Only $25 for a glowing Fringe review!

"Well, the official "fringe" blog is certainly talking about [D. King and all that stupid shit]. Amazing how this so-called blog attacks Indymedia while defending CanWest-Global." -- Performance Anxiety (aka. D. King?) on a rabble.ca thread.

Dear P.A., thanks for increasing my hit count by linking to my blog on rabble.ca. I am a little confused, however, as to what on earth a "so-called blog" is.
Do you mean like My So-Called Life? I really dug that show.

"Now let's get on to the real stories of importance at the Fringe festival. I thought the one about the woman who may or may not have had an affair with a Fringe performer to be very good, although I'd like more background on the scandal. I'd like to see a little more Entertainment Tonight-style journalism to add depth and intelligence to a festival that is starting to feel a little stale and worn. I'd like to know what happened to those hottie wrestlers -- as they always say -inquiring minds want to know!" -- more from Audra.

Dear Audra, AMEN! Where are the Hottie Wrestlers? I understand that the Hottie Breakdancers are back again this year (swoon!), but where are the Hottie Wrestlers!?! WHERE ARE THE HOTTIE WRESTLERS!!?!?!?!?!?

J. Kelly's Blogging Ethics: Out the Window!

Okay, all of you of there in Internetland. I got an email from S----- (see last entry) today saying that she hadn’t expected that I would publish her letter on the blog.
I think I made an honest mistake; she didn’t say that it should not be published and it certainly looked like a letter that was meant to set the record straight. I assumed she wanted me to clear things up…

Now, if I were really ethical, I would take the thing down now. But – frankly – it’s too good of a story, so I just removed her name.

Besides -- in the name of good Entertainment Tonight-style journalism -- I must continue investigating Mr. Rainer Hersch’s attractiveness/non-attractiveness.

Therefore, I put the following questions out to the Fringing public:

1) Ladies and Gentlemen (particularly members of the Gay Samurai Revue), is Rainer Hersch (see nude photo here) hot or not? Please visit Hot or Not and vote. (I have gone first and rated him an 8 out of 10, though I had to try and forget his naked picture in order to do so.)

2) Is Hersch anywhere near as hot as the other black-curly-haired Fringe monologist T.J. Dawe? Inquiring minds want to know! Vote here re: T.J. (I gave T.J. an 8 as well.)

3) Finally - since I am posting people's picture on Hot or Not without their permission - I hereby agree submit myself to the horrible ego-crush that is Am I Hot or Not? as well. Vote as to how (un)hot this Fringe blogger is, here.

Warning: King to Attack tomorrow at Five

Okay, I promise not to give any more space to this Donovan King/Optative Theatrical Laboratory nonsense. However, I suggest you avoid the Beer Tent tomorrow at 5pm. Sources have informed me that King is planning a "political action" (sigh) there at that time to celebrate the anniversary of the Car Stories debacle -- and his birthday. (So when I say 'source', what I really mean is that I read it here.) Or -- if you are there enjoying a McAuslan -- you can just ignore him and/or pull down his pants.

Send your Entertainment-Tonight-style tips, hot or not critiques and cold or not cash to jkelly@cup.ca. Again, here is a picture of Rainer Hersch naked.

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