Arts Spotlight: 422

By John Townsend July 28, 2011

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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The 17th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival is packed with Bad Boys, Busty Pirates, and Sex Ed. Gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan leads the pack with
My Dinner with Andrew from actor/writer Robert John Ford. The FBI investigation regarding Cunanan’s 1997 killing spree figures deeply into the conversations dramatized. That’s because Ford had frequent encounters with the man who would ultimately murder fashion designer Gianni Versace in broad daylight. As the playwright puts it, he hopes “to exorcise the memories that have weighed heavily on me for 14 years.” Cunanan’s first three murders occurred in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Social networking’s dark side is portrayed in Status Update by Laurel Schwarz inspired by Rutgers student Tyler Clementi’s suicidal jump off a bridge last year. A male-male sex experience he engaged in was released via internet without his permission. Schwarz addresses youth issues, as well as charged privacy issues in our high tech era.

Tony-nominee Melissa Hart directs YARRRH! The Lusty Busty Pirate Musical by Daniel Pinkerton who calls it “the female Irma Vep. It’s the lost Marx Brothers Pirate movie. I guarantee outrageous pansexual humor.”

Director Paul von Stoetzel, acclaimed for his macabre productions, stages his first musical, Nightmare Man by Nathan Schulz. Derek Meyer as Thomas becomes a literal figure in other people’s nightmares. The sharply observant Mike Price, of fitness model fame, also examines mental illness in his solo work No Change of Address.

Writer/performer Johanna Nutter’s My Pregnant Brother reflects her relationship with her transgender brother who identifies as a man but hasn’t had female to male (FTM) surgery. Male actor Jared Zeigler plays a Countess who becomes aware of her lesbian identity in the utopian Primadonnas by Margret Williams. The play’s prison setting recalls the homoerotic and crossgender underworld of Jean Genet.

Top-notch choreographers, Christopher Watson and Jeffrey Peterson, present How Do You See it? Male-male relationships are romanticized and the pursuit of a woman by a rivalrous man and woman are among situations performed.

Inspired by Lady Gaga, Roseanne Barr, and Margaret Cho, performer Anna Charlotte’s Meat My Package addresses our inability to talk about our bodies, taboo sexual desires, and hostility toward sex education. Brazen Theatre remounts Charles Busch’s camp classic, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Mark Hooker stars.

The Tales From The Twisted Cities play bill includes The Art Project, wherein playwright Reginald Edmund creates what he calls an eternal love story about gay love, longing, and loss. Levi Morris’s “Son of A _!” is about an artist’s upbringing and coming out as what he describes as “a queer artist.”

Recovery
concerns two leukemia patients who, as openly gay playwright Mark Jason Williams says “are more concerned with finding new beginnings than facing the end.”

Minnesota Fringe Festival
Aug. 4-14
Various Venues in Mpls-St. Paul
(866) 811-4111
www.fringefestival.org

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