Friday, August 31, 2018

Perennial Growth

Sorry for no post yesterday. &%^$@* work got in the way of my photo editing. 

Anyway, the next show up is Perennial Growth, one of the most interesting at the festival. No words, just dance and gesture set to an original score. It was hard for me to get the meaning but then, as usual, I was paying attention to images. Apparently scientists create a super-plant, which proceeds, with its kin, to quash humanity and take over the world. The goal might be to save the planet. Or something like that. It was quite beautiful. I'm more concerned, though, with artificial intelligence systems gaining the ability to learn and recursively self-improve. If that happens it will be, as they say, a whole new ball game. 

I edited way too many pictures for a single blog post. All of them will be on FB shortly.     

Wednesday, August 29, 2018



Tony Marr, Jr., presented hard story that needed telling. A young black man finishes school but can't find more than a low-paying entry level position. He is unable to provide for his girlfriend, sick with advanced kidney disease, and their child. His mother won't help him and her boyfriend is threatening. He turns to crime, which ends in disaster. The burden is unbearable.

This show was really tough for my camera. The lighting was all blue and dark. I wasn't happy with the results in the color shots but sometimes you can convert to B&W and get good images. It works well with the somber themes.

There are many more of these photos, too many for a blog post. I'll but them all on Facebook.         

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Couple More

I have to double up on some of the smaller scale productions or I'll never get through all of them. The first of these is titled Now Playing Third Base For The St. Louis Cardinals...Bond, James Bond. It features veteran St. Louis actor Joe Hanrahan telling stories and musing. The program description summarizes it well:

*A Fringe Award Winner - Lifetime Achievement* It's a play about theatre. And baseball. In St. Louis. So it's about race. And the weather. And it's about James Bond. And The Beatles. And WWII. And killing a President. But mostly, it's about theatre. A new play by and starring Joe Hanrahan, directed by Shane Signorino with video projections by Michael Perkins.
Scroll down for another show.         

Next we have The Countdown. I didn't get the name of the actor. The program describes it like this:

After losing his family in a tragic car accident, a man wakes up to see timers hovering over peoples heads that count down to their death. After coming to terms with the fact that he can’t beat death, he finds his own timer over his head. Locking himself in a hotel room, the man recounts his cursed tale while trying to figure out how to survive the dreaded countdown. In this production, we find Cameron Cooper sitting on a bed in his hotel room as he recounts losing his family and the curse that followed. Through the 45 minute play, Cameron goes through every possible stage of death while he comes to terms with his own impending death. The audience will bear witness to the raw emotions of a man that’s completely broken from the pains of his past and the possible absence of a future. 

I found this a bit odd (not that the whole Fringe isn't). The premise was a bit of a stretch for me. In the end, the narrator's countdown clock reaches zero. Cut lights to black. Maybe I was paying too much attention to my viewfinder.


Monday, August 27, 2018

OMG It's Over

Hit the finish line and collapse. I shot maybe twenty shows, including the opening and closing events. Even Fringe friend DDare Bionic can't believe we got through it. Now more of the long slog of editing. 

This was a challenge for an old guy. I learned more about theatrical photography and what my Fujifilm X-T2 camera can and cannot do. I'm not the best theater photographer around but my virtue is that I show up. It's what I want to do.

The Fringe big shots asked me to skip ahead to the closing ceremony for their press releases. We'll get to some of that in time. Back to the individual shows in the days to come.        

Sunday, August 26, 2018


Actress Bea Love gave a moving performance that explored the lives of the working homeless. The Fringe program explains:

A new one act play by JM Chambers, “Intervals” features the lives of three people dealing with the effects of working homelessness. All three characters in the play will be performed by one actress, Bre Love. The story explores the challenges of working while homeless, delves into the emotions felt by people who have this challenge and hopefully is a call for understanding and action.           
The show was difficult to watch but taught an important lesson about our neighbors who are almost invisible, Americans who go to work every day yet cannot afford a place to live.   

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Aphrodite's Refugees

One of the more interesting shows I've seen at the Fringe. It follows four refugees during the Cypriot civil war, pitting Greek against Turkish residents of the island. Some of it is heartbreaking. An artist paints flowing scenes in watercolor to illustrate the story. At times the actress, Monica Dionysiou, retreats to a corner. There she describes a card game between Aphrodite, the Greek god of love, and Ares, the god of war. Everybody cheats and the outcome trickles down to the mortals below.          

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Devil's Passion

This was one of my favorite shows so far. It is the story of the last days of Christ as told by The Devil. It's brilliantly written and acted. As described in the program:

“…eloquent, compelling…”, “…at times darkly funny…” this unique retelling of “the greatest story ever told” challenges the comfortable complacency and insidiousness through which individuals and institutions have used that story to perpetrate some of the worst behaviors visited person upon person. A timely, whirlwind of a ride through the last days of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of the man who put it all together – Satan himself. The “greatest story” has been politically usurped and perhaps it is only the Devil himself who can make us see the truth.
I was a bit disappointed by the ending, though. Although very high-concept and articulate, it is conventional. Jesus wins, Satan loses. It might have been more interesting if there was some ambiguity or irony.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

#MeToo, Her Voice Must Be Heard

The Fringe is back in session tonight, tomorrow and Saturday. GO. And it's okay to tip the photographer.

This show is multiple art form meditation upon the many abuses women have suffered, only recently brought into the open. There were some very powerful voices and personalities. As the producers describe it:

The 2018 #VoicesUnleashedSTL Featured Show* #MeToo, Her Voice must be Heard is a project that highlights the stories of sexual abuse/assault/harassment survivors through poetry, monologues, dance, music and more. In the wake of recent stories coming to light in Hollywood and other industries, we wanted to give local women in the community, who are our sisters, girlfriends, co-workers, etc., the opportunity to have her voice heard in the community that otherwise may not get heard in Hollywood, on TV or any other famous arena.
 There is one more chance to catch this, Saturday night at 9:30.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Vicious Hillbilly, Or Dating in the Deep South

That's the name of Dawn Larsen's one-woman show. As described in the festival website:

It all began when Dawn was ordering songs on a CD released in March 2016. She realized the songs were literally a chronicle of her very pathetic love life through online dating since moving to the deep South. See, she figured out that the best way for her to work through obsessing over something(one) was to write a song about it and perform it. Thus, this show. Dawn has uncovered eleven valuable lessons, which she shares with you in this story of her discovery of who she is, what she wants, and that love is her divine right.
A middle-aged woman diving into online dating in the deep South? That could be sorrowful or hilarious. The show was both. Larsen wove together her songs with a series of stories about the experience. The stories each had an accompanying illustration (example above). One bad experience after another led to a conclusion: to thine own self be true.

You can find out more or even get a CD of her songs on her website

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Empathy On Sale

Krish Mohan is a stand up comedian, but not the usual type. Nothing raunchy. He demands attention and perceptiveness from the audience, which, IMHO, he got from from some parts and not from others. 

His family is from India, which gives him the ability to see American race issues acutely but not from the center of the conflict. So, um, Krish is not a nickname for Christopher and his last name is not Irish, even though it sounds like it. The act is certainly political and definitely from a gauche point of view, something our family is quite comfortable with.

Not sure what the title is about, unless it refers to the price of a ticket. 

Shooting one-person shows can be tough for a photographer. Not a lot of visual variety. It's like a long portrait session with an uncooperative subject.    

Monday, August 20, 2018

Madeleine Monday - Fifth Birthday

Time, indeed, marches on. My favorite moppet is five today. Since she just started kindergarten she doesn't have a lot of friends to invite to a party. Just the family this year. All of her presents were books, which delighted her. Well, mom got her a stuffed birthday bear a few days early, which was also a big hit. 

Phone cam shots but not too bad.   


I've taken more than 5,000 pix over the first four days of The Fringe, with next weekend still to go. Lots of them are junk, of course, but there some gold nuggets amidst the gravel. This was taken yesterday and is the one that sticks with me the most. The play is called Pain by Tony Marr, Jr. It is about the lives of young black men and the huge barriers that face them, try as they may to do the right thing.

This scene was a drug deal gone bad. Toy gun, of course. So much more to edit. The festival resumes Thursday night.   

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Drip Painting Explained

A favorite from last year's Fringe, Matthew Marcum, returned for another performance of Pollock: A Frequency Parable. It is hard to explain. The show starts with images and words from the painter Jackson Pollock. It proceeds with the energy of Pollock's painting technique through physical expression, singing that slips into ululation, ecstatic, seemingly out of control but leading to an emotional conclusion. Once again, I thought it was a knockout.