Monthly Archives: August 2009

Fringe 2009: six plays, three days

On the first Friday night, I went to the Fringe with my friend Rob. We didn’t plan much ahead of time — just he sent a list of plays that people at VUE were saying good things about and I tried to figure out what was on and not sold out … so mostly we enjoyed the Fringe-site experience, eating green onion cakes and talking, running into people he knew, going to one off-site venue to discover it was sold out, hanging out in the beer tent, then going to “The Year of Magical Thinking“, a compelling one-woman show written by Joan Didion that reminded me of when my dad died. Rob was still up for more theatre after that, but I was overheated and sleepy, so I went home.

I told Rob about how last year I’d been to the Fringe by myself and thought about how in 2009, I could go with people I hadn’t met yet, or run into such people there. He liked that. It’s sure different, seeing that part of my neighbourhood closed to traffic and full of crowds and attractions, now that I have a picture of what “normal” is there, cutting across the empty courtyard to my library, etc.

Addition: An Unconventional Love Story: A young male-male couple has a threesome with a stranger, then fall in love unexpectedly. I was laughing and smiling-in-recognition and tearing up at different points from the rest of the audience.

Afternoon Delight: Six pieces of athletic and playful modern dance, company of four young  women. I really liked it.

Michael in Primetime: One-person show, intentionally disjointed, I didn’t like it.

Inviting Desire: Vignettes about women’s sexual fantasies. Not just comedic, and a bit more challenging than some of this genre, but could have been more queer-inclusive.

nggrfg Rob had told me on Friday that he liked it, and when he saw the actor/writer in the beer tent he told him it was the best thing he’d seen so far. One-person show, good use of minimal props, speaking directly to the audience at the start and finish about the two important words needed to talk about his life, which are words that can’t even be talked about. Also really good. Particularly interesting in the context of
So out of six plays, only one that I didn’t like. And a bunch more that I’m interested in seeing but couldn’t schedule are at the hold-overs next weekend, for $17 each. ( the all-female Importance of Being Earnest, Bashir Lazhar, 7 Lives of Louis Riel, or Cherry Cherry Lemon)

As for the rest of the festival experience, I ate a green onion cake, samosas and naan, a mango lassi, an elephant ear with chocolate sauce, and some assorted other stuff. And I tried a free sample Vitamin Water. I also fitted in some grocery shopping, and enjoyed sitting in the shade knitting and people-watching.

Folkfest 2009

Thursday night mainstage: Breabach (missed start), Kathleen Edwards, Steve Earle, Boz Skaggs (missed end) and some ‘tweeners.
Kathleen Edwards is one of those Ontario singers who has played the Grad Club and played with other artists I like, but I’d never seen her before.
Steve Earle is an older famous American guy. “Copperhead Road” is his song. Also, as an actor, he played Walon on The Wire, and in real life he’s been in jail.

Friday sessions:
David Francey and Dave Swarbrick, Alex Cuba, Chloe Albert, Joel Plaskett and his father Bill, a bunch of backing musicians. Alex Cuba is an impressive Cuban-style musician who now lives in BC. Chloe Albert is local and young. I already knew and loved David Francey and Joel Plaskett. David Francey was the host of the session. It was called Influences, and one amusing bit was a sort of mashup of Robbie Burns and Bob Marley.
Kathleen Edwards, Neko Case, Chuck Brodsky. All good, no memorable moments.

Friday mainstage: The Wailers (reggae), Neko Case, then I left. Neko Case is called alt-country, but also sings with New Pornographers. I don’t know why I didn’t buy anything of hers; I liked her.

Saturday sessions and small stage concerts:
Niamh Parsons, Old Man Luedecke, Ashley MacIsaac. Ashley MacIsaac didn’t appear to be as big a jerk as his reputation suggests. Niamh Parsons seems like a person I’d like to have a cup of tea or a beer with, but she didn’t sing all that much (I heard her later as a ‘tweener too). She was the session host. Old Man Luedecke was … well, he’d played the Grad Club and other Kingston folk/alt venues but I’d never seen him. See, I had him confused with Gentleman Jim who opened for Stars, whom I didn’t like at all. He’s a banjo-playing storytelling songwriter from Nova Scotia who actually reminded me a little bit of Stan Rogers. And in a later session he sang about him and his wife being infertile. (I am not entirely sure but it seemed like the song had a happy ending. It made me cry though.) Ashley MacIsaac had a very young guitarist with him, a boy who seemed impressive in jumping into other people’s songs and sounding good.
The Northern Cree Singers. I loved these guys. They are local, and since they’ve been on the road for a while they had no CDs left. They mostly “contemporized” their songs to be in English. I want to see them again.
Cara Dillon, John Mann, Eivor. I didn’t like John Mann. He had a good voice and I like his kind of music, but his lyrics and patter sounded annoying and sexist and kind of trite. Cara Dillon is young and from Northern Ireland, mostly singing in English, typical Celtic-ballad singing but not sean-nos. Eivor (must edit to put slash through o) is from the Faeroe Islands and looks like a … some kind of magical creature, with long straggly white hair. She has a high strong voice (much richer than Robyn) and sings in Faroese and English and plays guitar and a drum. I liked her but didn’t manage to see her again or buy anything of hers (must consult about which recordings).
Lynn Miles, Old Man Luedecke, Great Lake Swimmers. This was another good session. I had never heard of Lynn Miles but I loved her and the things she sang about. GLS, another Ontario indie band I hadn’t managed to see before but knew I would like, and I was right.
Chumbawumba Acoustic. These people were great too. Rob recommended them as being anarchist. They are from the UK, political and clever, with some timely songs and some old old English class/labour movement songs. I loved “Add Me” about creepy people wanting to be your friend on social networking sites. Unfortunately, no CDs available. Must find.

Saturday mainstage: Here is where we had the really great tarp placement.
Oysterband did the afternoon mainstage show. I don’t know how I’d missed knowing this band — they have been around a long time and I loved their show. They are from the UK, and they sing some political stuff and other melodic rock stuff. They are handsome charismatic middle-aged guys dressed in black — and two of them jumped in the audience and were singing one tarp away from us.
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit
Patty Griffin