Mentally Prepare for the DNC with Political Theater

Russ Widdall is Robert Kennedy in New City Stage Company's Roseburg. Photo by Alex Lowy

Russ Widdall is Robert Kennedy in New City Stage Company’s Roseburg. Photo by Alex Lowy

The Trump Card @ FringeArts | Thursday, July 21
Mike Daisey, called “the master storyteller” by the New York Times, performs his monologue about the embarrassment that is Donald Trump for the second time at FringeArts. Unlike Melania’s convention speech, Daisey’s words aren’t cribbed. Read more »

BalletX Leaps into the Surreal

Dancers Gary W. Jeter II, Edgar Anido and Daniel Mayo rehearse for BalletX’s Summer Series. Photo by Bill Hebert

Dancers Gary W. Jeter II, Edgar Anido and Daniel Mayo rehearse for BalletX’s Summer Series. Photo by Bill Hebert

BalletX Summer Series @ The Wilma Theater | July 6-17
Choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and BalletX co-founder Matthew Neenan team up with “experiential art shop” Klip Collective for two world premiere ballets backed by video projections. Ochoa’s work is inspired by surrealist painter Rene Magritte (he did the apple-face man in the bowler hat, like in the photo above); Neenan’s is in honor of the late writer Toni Hamilton. Read more »

Paging Donald Trump’s Lawyers: Controversial NYC Playwright Bringing New Trump Play to Philly

Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey

New York-based author Mike Daisey has published more than two dozen monologues, with subjects that have included everything from Burning Man to L. Ron Hubbard to Steve Jobs. His work is not without controversy. In 2012, the popular public radio show This American Life retracted and apologized for a story it ran about Daisey’s visit to the Apple factory in China, explaining that “many of Mike Daisey’s experiences in China were fabricated.”

Well, Daisey’s latest work will no doubt be controversial as well. In July, the “master storyteller,” as the New York Times labelled Daisey, will perform his brand new monologue The Trump Card at FringeArts — just in time for the Democratic National Convention. We got him on the phone to discuss. Read more »

TOP PICKS: The Best LGBTQ Events This Weekend

Stro Productionz is back with another installment of Beards N Queers this Friday night.

Stro Productionz is back with another installment of Beards N Queers this Friday night.

FRIDAY EVENTS

Beards N Queers Celebration
9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, 200 South 12th Street; over 21.

Stro Productionz returns with another all-inclusive event, hosted by Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca, that celebrates beard culture, fresh cuts, unique styles, fashion, and individuality in the Gayborhood. Don’t miss the giveaways and best beard contest. Please note that free entry will be given to anyone wearing Timberland boots, so no need to worry whether you’ll be able to get in. More details at stroproductionz.com. Read more »

Female Anti-Heroes Are Really In Right Now

New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3

New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3

Machinal @ Latvian Society of Philadelphia | April 20 to May 8
Feminism! Murder! American Expressionism! EgoPo Classic Theater is putting on the 1928 drama Machinal, inspired by the life of Ruth Snyder, who was executed at Sing Sing Prison for teaming up with her sidepiece to kill her husband. Here’s an unexpected photo of her being electrocuted. Philly theater staple Mary Tuomanen, who looks like an entirely different person in every play, takes on the female anti-hero role.

Mi Voca Su Voca @ SEI Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center | April 20-22
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is highlighting poetry with this one-man show from Edwin Torres, who developed it in part while in residency at the Kimmel’s SEI Innovation Studio. He’ll incorporate “themes ranging from growing up Puerto Rican in New York City to fatherhood to his Nuyo-Futurist evolution.”

Read more »

Employee of the Year Hires Kid Actors for a Very Adult Piece of Art.

A scene from "Employee of the Year."

A scene from Employee of the Year.

There’s a bunch of pre-teen female actors putting on a performance at FringeArts later this month, and, no, it isn’t Annie.

“They are regular kids,” said Employee of the Year‘s co-creator Abby Browde, the New York-based artist who has worked with the cohort of children since 2014 as part of the performance group 600 Highwaymen. “None of them are industry kids.”

Yet, these girl actresses are given quite a daunting task in Employee of the Year: They tell the story of one woman’s life from start to finish through the use of movement, monologue, and song. At first, Browde and her artistic partner, Michael Silverstone, weren’t necessarily committed to using kids in the performance. Read more »

INTERVIEW: Mark McCloughan and Jaime Maseda of No Face Performance Group

Abbot Adam

They dress up as nuns at midnight, fall asleep, wake up every half-hour, and improvise.

That may sound really strange, and, heck, it sort of is, but it’s just a regular part of the creative process for Mark McCloughan and Jaime Maseda. The pair make up No Face Performance Group, and they’re exploring a series of acts that were inspired by artwork they discovered in The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The second in the series, titled Abbot Adam: None, comes to FringeArts this week. Both McCloughan and Maseda chatted with me about their work, their very interesting nighttime improvisation, and what audiences can expect from one of their shows. Read more »

Born Fat : When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

April Woodall, star of "Born Fat."

April Woodall, star of “Born Fat.”

There are some people that are so absurdly complex, so full of drama (of the literal kind), that you could easily see their lives as a stage play with a built-in human tragedy that Tennessee Williams or Eugene O’Neill would have died to have created.

That’s the case with one Ms. Elizabeth Petruccione. Chances are, the common person doesn’t know Ms. Petruccione, who, at the age of 62, launched her own rather zany health venture, “Losing Weight With Elizabeth.” Yes, there’s even a YouTube channel where you can watch Ms. Petruccione talk about food and dieting:

But underneath all of that life and zeal is a story about loss, and not just of physical weight: A series of awful marriages, a terrible and abusive childhood, and, perhaps most tragic, the death of a 20-year-old son who was killed when he was struck by lighting while riding a motorcycle (he survived a near fatal car accident when he was 16). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read more »

Belgian Dancer Pieter Ampe Gets Naked with Portuguese Co-Creator Guilherme Garrido at the FringeArts Festival

Still Standing

The FringeArts Festival has made a name for itself by taking audience members out of their comfort zone. Some may not know if they’re up for a two-man show with nudity that gives you scenes of male intimacy, friendship, and raw aggression. But, you may be surprised to see how audiences react to this show that’s toured extensively through Europe and parts of the U.S. FringeArts producing director Nick Stuccio describes the pair as “very smart, courageous, contemporary artists. But they’re also beer-drinking, bearded guys” who are “playful as hell in this physical romp. It’s tasteful and fun, even with the ball-tugging. No one will be bored.” We talked with Belgian artist and dancer Pieter Ampe by phone from his home in Brussels about Still Standing You, the 45-minute dance performance piece made with Portuguese artist and dancer Guilherme Garrido. Pieter, 33, and Gui, 32, perform Wednesday through Friday at the Painted Bride.

What was the process to create this piece? Gui and I met at a big festival a couple of years before we made the work and took a liking to each other. Both of us are playful and have high energy. Gui invited a group of us to meet him in Portugal where he lived to do some work. I arrived at his house with a lot of friends and we had fun. I took my next holiday from school in Porto to work on something with him. I knew it would be about celebrating our friendship, but we didn’t know where it was going. At a residency in France, we forced ourselves to stay in the studio and find what we wanted to make together. It took awhile. I was trying to be more intellectual than I am. The moment we stopped trying so hard, things started working. Read more »

PHOTOS: Queer Fringe Sneak Peek Party at Tabu

Last night, a selection of the FringeArts Festival‘s most intriguing queer and LGBT artists presented samples from their shows at a big old gay party via Tabu. Besides featured performances from Growing Into My Beard, Zanna Don’t!, and Me First, other queer favorites attended the evening of entertainment, followed by karaoke and socializing. Don’t forget to check out all of our LGBTQ FringeArts Festival coverage here.



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