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Monday, August 08, 2011

Re-Seduced: Minnesota Fringe Festival, Day 1

So, I used to do theatre, right? And then, quite a while ago, I broke up with it. Mostly. I mean, sure, I have been doing reviews, but that's safe, right? I mean, it's not like I'd go crazy and see 7 plays in two days and then desperately miss doing theatre, right? RIGHT?

Insert insane cackle here.

So I went to Minneapolis for my bunny-faced friend's birthday, and this just so happens to coincide with the first weekend of the Minnesota Fringe Festival: 168 plays, each no more than 1 hour long, running in rotation at 18 different venues. Um . . . ok, when I write that out, I don't sound like someone committed to recovery and breaking with my codependent ways . . .


We were set up with a 10-show pass and 3 buttons initially, and on Saturday, we were headed to Intermedia Arts for I'm Making This Up as I Go on Saturday afternoon. It was not the most auspicious beginning. The crowd was small and the sets were . . . of uneven quality . . . however, the last comedian, Mike Lester, was bizarre and quite funny.

Next, we were off to the Minneapolis Theatre Garage for Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Brazen Theatre. I'm pretty sure I saw this show in Chicago more than a dozen years ago, but couldn't remember much about it. Having refreshed my memory, that's not surprising—it's a funny concept with a lot of potential, but the show itself is a bit ho-hum. As for the production: Its wigs were truly magnificent and Mark Hooker/Margo Caprice was fantastic as one of the titular sinners. In fact, he was so fantastic, I nearly failed to suppress my fan-girl-itude when we saw him 112 Eatery later that night. (Fear not, my pathological introversion raced to the rescue once again, and he and his companion were left in peace.)

The highlight of Saturday was definitely Brain Fighters by Joking Envelope on the Thrust stage (aka STOLL!) at the Rarig Center on the U of M's campus. As you can see from the linked photo, this building was forged in the bowels of architectural hell.

When we arrived, there was a line out the door for securing tickets (the system for multi-show pass holders was to hand over the pass for the appropriate number of punches in exchange for tickets), and then we had to trudge through the belly of the beast to wait in a second line into the theater. With no real sense of how big the venue was, we were worried—so worried that we did not get ice cream from the ice cream truck, despite my having loudly yelled "ICE CREAM TRUCK!" upon seeing it. I had tweeted a couple of pictures of the lines and made public my fear of missing the show, but the lovely Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw responded to say that we should not fear, as the theater was large.

And it was! Despite the building being ugly and having nothing resembling a plan for flow of actual people, the space was great and the show was greater. It's a three-person, all-ages show written by Joseph Scrimshaw, whom you may remember from such awesome cruises as JoCoCruise Crazy. (Can someone please tell me why Joseph Scrimshaw is not superextradoublefudgey famous?)

The script was funny and wonderfully paced. The three actors (JS himself, Randy Reyes [whom we'd have the pleasure of seeing in another great show on Sunday], and Mo Perry) worked flawlessly together and nailed the physical requirements of the story (ok, that sounds weird unless you know the plot, which involves being able to turn yourself into anything you can convincingly imagine). Oh, just go see it if you possibly can.

We'd initially had a dinner reservation that would have conflicted with Brain Fighters, but we rearranged our schedule to support our local Sea Monkey. This left us with a 9:30 reservation at the aforementioned 112 Eatery (and I would like to note once again that I DID NOT fangirl all over anyone there) and time to kill in between. We'd intended to go to Moto-I on Friday night, but we were seduced by champagne cocktails, chocolate chip cookies, yoga pants, and Ike, who thinks he is a lap dog.

The downtime between theater and dinner on Saturday gave us, as a group, time for sake and snacks at Moto-I, and me, as an individual, time to contemplate breaking and entering so that I could pet Casper the Great Pyrenees, who IS SO FLUFFY! Really enjoyed the sake flight at Moto-I (Junmai Nama Genshu was the best!), and the many yummy snacks we had that are lost to the mists of the sake flight and the Ginger Mistress.

Fear not, puppy lovers, I did eventually get to cuddle Casper (who, as previously mentioned, IS SO FLUFFY!), however briefly, before we headed to 112.
A word about 112 itself before getting to the good parts: Loud loud loud loud loud. LOUD. I wish that it weren't so loud.

We shared a bottle of a Turley Old Vines Zinfandel and continued our communist ways all through the meal. We had truly amazing scallops with oyster mushrooms, frog legs that are very nearly as good as those at Brigtsen's (I do not say this lightly), the 112 steak tartare (which kind of buried the lede, if one assumes the steak is the lede—it was weirdly chicken salad–like, and we wished we'd gotten it "unprepared"), and fried Shishito peppers (we liked Moto-I's version better). For our mains, we shared the prociutto ahi tuna (amazing), the stringozzi w/ lamb sugo (amazing fresh pasta, but the lamb didn't shine through), and the nori encrusted sirloin w/ ponzu (good . . . not great, though).

For dessert, the butterscotch budino (I don't like butterscotch at all, but this was relatively tasty), the lemon cheesecake, and . . . this is not good: I cannot for the life of me remember what I had. It was good. It was probably chocolate based. it is not on the menu they have up online. Olive oil chocolate cake! (Thank you, bunny-faced one!)

Ok, this is already a bit long, so I'll do Day 2 later on.

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Blogger Bunnyface said...

Olive oil chocolate cake.

9:04 PM  

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