This evening at its Jackson Street headquarters in Over-the-Rhine, Know Theatre of Cincinnati revealed the lineup for the 11th annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival to a crowd of nearly 100 enthusiastic supporters and performers. The two-week festival begins Tuesday, May 27, with the CityBeat Fringe Kick-Off Party; it winds up 12 days later on Saturday, June 7, having presented 32 productions — 17 plays, two musicals, seven solo performers, and six dance presentations. In addition, there will be four FringeNext productions (selected from 11 applicants — a record number), featuring original material produced and performed by local students from the School for Creative and Performing Arts, Newport Central Catholic High School, St. Xavier High School and Highlands High School.
Performance Gallery is kind of the alpha and omega of the Cincinnati Fringe: They’ve been in all 11 festivals, including the 2008 hit show fricative. Producer Eric Vosmeier calls them the inspiration for much of what the Fringe is about: They were doing “fringe-like” work before the festival began, and they’ve returned annually with work that pushes the envelope. This time they’ll offer Heist, about three crooks of questionable ability. Vosmeier also cited Pones Inc., the dance-based company that returns for the seventh time with Traffick, a piece of audience engagement that explores issues of human trafficking. Vosmeier says, “This is the kind of work the Fringe was built to exhibit.”
“We had a great mix of new producers and returning favorites in the applicant pool,” Vosmeier says. “The word continues to spread about our Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which has a national reputation for being the most artist-friendly festival. We’ve worked very hard on this over the years, and I believe that we’ve created something special for our artists and for our region.”
The Cincinnati Fringe differs from festivals elsewhere in that productions are screened and handpicked by a committee of local theater artists. Drawing from a large pool of applicants, comparable to last year’s record-breaking number, this yielded a balanced mix of local vs. out-of-town producers: 15 from Greater Cincinnati and 18 from beyond. The latter number includes three international shows, the most ever for the festival: Around Dark Matter, a Holocaust memory piece by Mica Dvir, is from Tel Aviv, Israel; A Brief History of Beer by Wish Experience from London, a company that has performed at festivals from Edinburgh to Adelaide; and Prefer Not to Say, an interactive piece by blueDragonfly Productions, another U.K. group, the presenter of And All the Rest is Junk Mail a year ago.
For Wednesday evening’s announcement event, members of the Fringe staff mentioned the shows they were most looking forward to. They named:
· An Unauthorized Autobiography of Benny Hill by Four Humors Theater (Minneapolis), the creative minds behind such past Festival favorites as Lolita: A Three Man Show, Bombus and Berylline and Harold. This will be their sixth consecutive Cincinnati Fringe appearance.
· Blogging Behind Bars by Unity Productions, creators of two past Fringe hits, The Wave and Nothing. This time it’s a true story about a young, nonviolent criminal who wrote a blog while incarcerated in a maximum-security prison.
· Papa Squat’s Store of Sorts by solo artist Paul Strickland from Indianapolis, whose Ain’t True and Uncle False was a “Pick of the Fringe” last year. His new show is a music-filled memorial for a guy who “once filled the emptiness in Big-Fib Cul-de-sac with his insightful songs.”
· Something Something New Vagina by Rebecca Kling, a transgender artist and educator from Chicago with a follow-up show to her 2012 production, Beneath Her Skin.
· The Ultimate Stimulus by Felipe Ossa, a Brooklyn-based playwright and a new artist to the Cincy Fringe, is presented in the form of a TED Talk that argues for concubinage as a way to address the problem of income inequality.
The festival is also a chance for Cincinnati’s local theater companies to show off. Clifton Performance Theatre will present Sarge, a piece by Kevin Crowley about the wife of discredited Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Untethered Theatre has prepared Where Edward Went, a new play by Ben Dudley and Adam Sievering about a screenwriter’s effort to make a documentary about Edward, the late fiancé of Elyse, a painter. They don’t quite agree about the portrait. New Edgecliff Theatre will offer TRAGEDY: a tragedy, described as “one of the funniest apocalypses of our time.” And Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s intern company always offers a fine showcase of young talent. This year it’s two one-act plays: Sheila Callaghan’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) and Itamar Moses’s Authorial Intent.
In addition to the productions offered nightly, artists, audience members, staff and volunteers flock nightly at Know Theatre’s Underground and headquarters for the Fringe Bar Series, with a reasonably priced bar, some free food inside and offerings for purchase from food wagons on Jackson Street. Each evening after the Channel Fringe Hard Hitting Action News Update, everyone has a chance to be a performer with activities such as the Fringe Olympics, Fringe-A-Oke, Fringe Prom, Segway Night and the Night Without Technology. This year the Bar Series night adds Fringetoberfest, an evening of German-inspired food and brews from local craft beer creators.
Vosmeier expects the festival to attract more than 8,000 visitors this year. If you’re someone who tries to see as much as possible, your best bet is a “Full Frontal” Fringe pass ($200) providing access to every event in the festival. Know also offers “Voyeur” passes ($60) good for six shows of your choice. If you can only make it once, a “One Night Stand” pass ($25) is available — admission to any two performances in an evening plus one drink at Know’s Underground bar. Single tickets to Fringe shows continue to be priced at $12; they’ll go on sale in mid-May.
There will be lots more — and the lineup can change. Hey, it’s the Fringe, so be ready for anything. You’ll find details on all these shows and more at cincyfringe.com.
The Contemporary Arts Center marks its 75th anniversary with the launch of its newly redesigned website, contemporaryartscenter.org.
By adding a timeline and a list of exhibits dating back to 1939, the updated site highlights some of the museum’s most notable attractions through videos and interactive learning. The historical timeline depicts an honest look at what Cincinnati was like in 1939 and displays the iconic artists that put the CAC on the map. In 1940, Picasso’s Guernica toured the Midwest for its first and only time and made a pit stop in Cincinnati. In 1963, the Pop art show An American Viewpoint was one of the first exhibitions of its kind. And in 1990, nearly 81,000 people visited the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition.
Along with the illustrated timeline and videos, the CAC site also offers lesson plans, exhibit brochures, audio files and slideshows about past exhibits. New features like online ticket admission and family visitor information have been added. After 75 years and hundreds of amazing artists, the Contemporary Arts Center has proven it’s still the coolest place in Cincinnati to spark your creativity and become inspired.
FORM, a Cleveland-based creative services firm, designed the visual layout of the site.
Senior prom is a special
milestone for many American teens, but even traditions as old as school dances
change over time. Intimate one-on-one dates have given way to group dates and attending as friends. Flip-flops and cutout cocktail dresses replaced the overdone evening
look for many girls. And now a southern-fried specialty is getting in the prom
game. Kentucky Fried Chicken — What? Yes. — partnered with Louisville florists to create the chicken corsage. For $20, Louisville residents can purchase a corsage from Nanz and Kraft Florists that includes a $5 gift card to KFC, where folks can then go buy the perfect piece of chicken. It can only be assumed that after prom, girls will press the greasy chicken bone between their yearbook pages, just like their moms did with their corsages when they were young.
It’s confirmed: Stephen Colbert will take over the Late Show desk once David Letterman retires sometime in 2015. That’ll mean no more Colbert Report and, likely, the end of the host’s faux-servative character. Start the countdown to the announcement of a new reality show following Letterman, Leno (and, let’s just be honest — Craig Ferguson and Conan O’Brien) around Ex-Host Island. Move over, old people! Slightly younger people are takin' yer jerbs!
In the contemporary classic Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady describes Halloween as, “the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Well, Coachella must be kind of like Halloween for celebrities, except instead of wearing lingerie and some form of animal ears, they throw on the most jumbled assortment of terrible fashion fads. Not sure about the new cream-colored designer jumpsuit you purchased? Try it out in the middle of the desert! Want to channel Woodstock without ever having been to, read about or seen a photo of Woodstock? Grab a Native American headdress and wear that shit to Coachella. The fest is HQ for floral head wreaths, jorts and combat boots (often all worn at once), and for some reason I cannot pull myself away from the celeb photos of this mess. It’s like someone made a slot machine with various teenagers’ style blogs on Tumblr and everyone going to Coachella must take a spin to determine their outfit.
“Ooh, I got a bindi, a latex bra, a crocheted duster and gladiator sandals!” Just look at these famous attendees, capped off with Koachella Kweenz Kylie and Kendall Jenner.
But seriously, you need to see this video that’s (probably) of Leonardo DiCaprio Coachin’ it up (people say that, right?) at an MGMT performance, which makes me feel weird and old.
And since I brought up Lindsay, the supposedly sober starlet was supposedly washing down all that Coachella dust and glitter with vodka this weekend. The reports come days after the latest episode of her Oprah docu-series, in which she admits to drinking alcohol after her latest stint in rehab. Also, there were a lot of emo scenes of Lindsay filming herself crying. Get it together, girl. OPRAH WILL CUSS AT YOU AGAIN. And everyone knows if Oprah has to cuss at you twice, you will spontaneously burst into flames.
Celebrispawn in the media is quite the hot topic as of late, particularly thanks to Dax Sheppard and Kristen Bell vs. Papz (this will definitely be a court case our children will study in history class). But what about fake famous babies — fair game? OK! Leslie Knope is pregnant! Pawnee's upcoming addition will be the Prince George of fictional TV comedy births. Which is to say, a very big deal. Parks and Rec's Leslie and Ben will be the best parents ever. I think I speak for fans everywhere by saying we can't wait for his or her first playdate with the world’s most attractive child, Ann and Chris’ little Oliver.
Sunday was an epic night for television with the final Mad Men premiere (sort of) and a crazy-ass episode of Game of Thrones. These two are great popular, critically-acclaimed dramas, but they’re on complete opposite ends of the style spectrum. Mad Men’s seventh season debut was gradual and calculated (as always), giving viewers a chance to fill in the blanks between Season Six and now, speculate on what’s to come and read into every little detail. And by detail, I mean Pete’s California Ken Doll look, which was #flawless. Ratings were way down Sunday — the lowest-rated premiere since the second season's in 2008. Some attribute the drop to a lackluster episode, but the truth is probably that everyone was too busy losing their shit over this week’s Game of Thrones to get into the cool Mad Men mood.
Without giving too much away (and because I spoiled “the incident” for myself since I can’t stay off the damn Internet — so I know it sucks), Thrones fans who hadn’t already read the books were treated to a truly righteous, bubbly, bloody scene this week that totally flips the script for many of our favorite characters. Can’t these people get through one wedding without having to immediately plan a funeral?
New movie trailers to hit
the Interwebz: bestseller-turned-likely blockbuster Gone Girl;
two red band previews for 22 Jump Street (The
starring Cameron Diaz and a manorexic Jason Segel, a comedy that’s exactly what
you think it’s about; and Jon Favreau’s take on the foodie world, Chef.
The first good sign that consistent warmth is on its way is the announcement of the lineup for this year’s MidPoint Indie Summer series at downtown’s Fountain Square. The concerts are part of the Square’s free PNC Summer Music Series, which showcases different types of music (played mostly by local acts) five days a week. (The lineups for the every-Thursday Salsa on the Square shows have also been announced; visit myfountainsquare.com for details.)
The eclectic, free Indie Summer shows take place every Friday throughout the summer. This year’s lineup is perhaps the series’ strongest yet, with some higher profile national touring acts and the usual array of top-notch local talent.
Here’s the full rundown of Indie Summer shows so far (a few slots are still to be announced):
• August 15: The Nightbeast (a co-headliner will be announced in July)
The Indie Summer series is sponsored by the MidPoint Music Festival, CityBeat’s popular annual music extravaganza, which returns to the clubs and venues of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine Sept. 25-27. (Though all MPMF-worthy, the acts are booked through Fountain Square, not by MidPoint.) There will be a MidPoint booth on Fountain Square every Friday where music fans can find the latest MPMF info and purchase tickets to the three-day festival.
A limited amount of discounted early-bird passes for this year’s MPMF are available now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Nail down your three-day tickets (or VIP Experience tickets) before the prices increase. And be sure to stay tuned to mpmf.com and the fest's various social media accounts for the latest updates.
“We had a great mix of new producers and returning favorites in the applicant pool,” says Producing Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier. “The word continues to spread about our Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which has a national reputation for being the most artist-friendly festival. We’ve worked very hard on this over the years, and I believe that we’ve created something special for our artists and for our region.”
The pool of applicants, comparable to last year’s record-breaking number, has yielded a mix of local vs. out-of-town producers: 15 from Greater Cincinnati, including the return of Performance Gallery for the 11th consecutive year (it’s the only group that’s been in every Fringe) with a new piece, Heist, about three crooks of questionable ability. There will be 18 productions from beyond Cincinnati, including three international shows.
Vosmeier expects the festival to attract more than 8,000 visitors for 2014. If you’re one of those people who tries to see as much as possible, your best bet is a “Full Frontal” Fringe pass ($200) that gives you access to every event in the festival. Know also offers “Voyeur” passes ($60) good for six shows of your choice. If you can be there for one evening, a “One Night Stand” pass ($25) is available, offering access to any two performances in an evening and one drink at Know Theatre’s Underground bar. Individual tickets to Fringe Festival shows continue to be priced at $12; they’ll go on sale in mid-May.
Look for more information at CityBeat.com after the 7 p.m. announcement tonight. More info: cincyfringe.com.