San Francisco Fringe Festival Plays and Performances

fringe program cover 5.5x8.5

I went to a Fringe Festival play the first year that I lived here in San Francisco. I had met a potential date online, on Craigslist because it was used for it back then, and we met for a play. I recall that it was some kind of science fiction thing that also had to do with Elvis and that I didn’t like it at all. I recall even less about my date who I didn’t see again. But even though the date was a flop and the choice of play a miss, I loved living in a city with Fringe Fest. I remember that I took the cable car home from my date, because I lived in North Beach then, and I felt like there was nothing more romantic than wearing high heels, hanging off of the cable car, going back to the place where I lived with my best friend.

3d-glasses

2016, Fringe Fest

I hadn’t been back to Fringe Fest since, despite loving and attending many local theatre performances throughout the years. Sometimes I think Fringe Fest just passed without my noticing it. Other years there was just too much going on – school or petsitting or travel. Often, there were just other things on the calendar; San Francisco is filled with events through summer and fall and you can only do so many of them in a given year before your emotional and psychological well is too full and you need to rest your mind. So somehow ten years went by and I didn’t attend Fringe Festival again … until this year.

fringe-fest-mathematician

A Mathematician at Play

The first day of the festival was last weekend, and we went and checked out a performance at Exit Theater called A Mathematician at Play, in which magician / mathematician Greg Tobo shared some inside secrets about how math can seem magical … while also performing magical feats like multiplying huge numbers in his head and filling in a  soduko style puzzle at an advanced level in front of our eyes.

fringe fest

It Came From Fukushima, from Fringe Fest on Flickr

Last night we went and saw two more performances, back-to-back, at PianoFight. The first was It Came From Fukushima, a play inspired by Godzilla-style movies. It has the feel of old detective films with some martial arts and socio-political statements worked in. The program includes the old style of red/blue paper 3d glasses, and although they turn out not to be so necessary, it is fun to put them on. The play begins and ends with intensely beautiful live saxophone music. And it includes a monster. :)

kit-yan

Queer Heartache

Mathematician and Fukushima were both good enough performances. I didn’t think that they were outstanding but I didn’t dislike them either. I thought they were entertaining. I liked them. But I LOVED Queer Heartache, which was the third performance we saw. New York-based Kit Yan (formerly Laura from Hawaii) is a slam poet sharing his story through spoken word in one of those performances that touches on the political through being in touch with the personal.

queer heartache

Kit uses vignettes from different stages of his own life to reveal to the audience what it has been like to be moving along the gender spectrum, learning about self-identity, figuring out what that means in relationships from dating to family … particularly as a person of color. He shares snippets of life as a child growing up in poverty, as an older sibling trying to set an example for a young brother, as a straight man attending speed dating events, as a genderqueer man dealing with body hair and injury … as a human in various ages and stages approaching life with both seriousness and humor. Warning: this show has some graphic sexuality and even more graphic emotion oozing from between the lines. Raw and honest, sometimes funny, continually authentic, definitely a must-see in my book.

San Francisco Fringe Festival runs for another week. Queer Heartache has two more performances. There are also tons of other great things to see. The fabulous thing about Fringe Fest is that there is something for everyone. Each of the works are unique and different … and they are affordable enough that you can take a risk on a play that is out of your normal comfort zone. Support local theater.

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Found Poetry / Magazine Art

Lately I’ve been engaging in a fun creative practice. I receive magazines in the mail and what I do is take each one, deconstruct it by pulling out the images and words that call out to me and then re-assemble those into a piece of “found poetry” with images. Each piece comes from one magazine. A sort of deconstructed summary of what I was inspired by in that one piece at one point in time.

found poetry magazine art found poetry magazine art Continue reading

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3 More Pieces of Past Poetry

Yesterday I shared a poetry fragment from a found but forgotten notebook. Here are three more unedited, unnamed pieces from that same time:

purple collage art

Piece 1

Strawberry Crush

Half drunk by the bedside

As she begins to crush strawberries between her thighs

Orange cat insults master

Bringing natural actions into constructed domain

Music dances across the room

The creepy man had said to her,

“if that’s music tattooed on your leg your boyfriend could learn to play guitar across your thigh”

And though he’s not, her boyfriend that is,

the friendly boy’s guitar notes

skitter along her legs

And his apologies for the simplicity of his creation seem ludicrous for their complexity

He confesses that he no longer even wants her in his bed

And she laughs at this because now she no longer wants to fight being there

It’s all a game and the climax would be anti-climactic now

The build-up from the pressure of the chase and run is the point

Like playing Russian roulette,

Sitting for hours with the gun in your mouth,

thoughts teasing through your busy head and then blast!

And you’re still there

gun in hand in mouth

Realization of empty chamber seeping in

And now what? Nothingness.

Life continues to on

Never as intense as it was before the game’s outcome was learned

She doesn’t want to know how they end

So she runs from pursuit

Vanity drips down her spine

And she arches her back from the coolness of it

Alarm bell rings and she wants to tickle him into morning

Says instead, “it’s time to leave” with a groan

And his not yet sends her to the couch to write the sun up

She sits on wooden staircase to watch Venus rise in the East

She finds faces in the bluegrey clouds of early morning

Sitting behind her, he eyes the cloud she calls a lizard and censors her ideas

Rooster crows and rabbit runs away

This is their existence

Piece 2

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Poetry Fragments from the Past

Going through old papers I found this …

graffiti love

eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes

thinking that if I stared at you intensely enough,

I could see through me

Blue wraps its way around the night,

winding skin around skin around skin around kiss

moments magically touched by motion

desire devours days

and I stare at you, eyes closed

I watch you and can’t see me

except for those brief seconds when all I see in you is in me

Interconnection  interfaced around interlocked bodies

You sleep and I dream you into existence

When you close your eyes I watch you awaken

And when you wake I dream that you are sleeping inside of me

I dream every breath I take is your heartbeat

And every heartbeat I feel is you breathing

Emotions wrap their way around intentions

I wanted to detach until your detachment drew me in

Eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes stare at eyes

Are we seeing anything?

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Drew Dellinger: Poetry for Social Justice and Eco-Aware Cosmology

Drew Dellinger is a graduate of the school that I go to now, although he was in a different program that the one that I’m in. Earlier this semester I attended a talk and poetry reading that he gave there. I was impressed by the way he pulled together different theories in social justice and ecological issues. I was impressed by the number of scholars he was able to quote and reference. But mostly I really enjoyed the rhythmic beauty of his poetry and spoken word work.

A Sample of His Speaking

This isn’t the talk that I attended; it’s a 2011 talk called A Cosmology of Connection: Poetry, Justice and Nonduality … but it’s similar in content to some of the things that he talked about this year.

Love Letter to The Milky Way

This was the poetry book that Drew published and from which he was doing much of the reading at the performance I attended. The work is beautiful.

Spoken Word Example

Here’s a video of Drew sharing his Planetize The Movement:

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