Pistachios Tech Rehearsal

HUGE theaterOn Sunday we descended from the pine trees to walk upright amongst men in the urban jungle. Tech week for Minnesota Fringe Festival has begun, and our slot was August 31 at 2pm. We found our venue, HUGE theater in Uptown, and we love it.

Of course, we had seen pictures and schematics, so we already had an idea of what the space was like. The opportunity to run the show on the stage, however, gave a true taste of how intimate this show will be. The audience for Pistachios will be right at our feet, forced to wipe our diction off their faces as we shake their tears off our feet.

We first met our tech, Aaron, and got a tour of the space. Then we proceeded with a cue-to-cue to define the different acting areas and light settings. We went through the script to indicate where the lighting cues would change, and then we ran the show. All-in-all it went smoothly and we are excited to open on Saturday at 10pm! Reserve your seat here. #PistachiosPlay #MNFringe

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A Christian and an Atheist Walk Into a Bar

13418753_625309517627551_3136932056967622599_nA Christian and an atheist walk into a bar… they order a pitcher of beer, rehearse a play, and enjoy some live jazz thereafter.

One of the great things about a small, two-man show? You can do just that. Rehearse anywhere at anytime, provided both actor/directors are available.

The beauty of the situation was amplified by the stage directions in the script that require eating and drinking. The popcorn and IPA before the actors served well.

And thus begins the rehearsing of ‘Pistachios’ which will premier early August at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Whether you’re Christian, atheist, or just a lover of theatre, it’s a show anyone can empathize and everyone can enjoy!

Porters & Poetry (& Politics!)

Given the tumultuous election season we’ve all been forced to endure, we thought it might be a good idea to give people a platform to voice their frustrations. And since we were planning on having another Porters & Poetry in April, it appeared as if the stars aligned perfectly for the Uncommon Loons to host a poetry slam!

Porters & Poetry & Politics

Well, it’s not a proper poetry slam in that it isn’t a competition, but we’re looking for people to bring their best slam poems in order to share the heat of populist spoken word in the face of a political system that, let’s be honest, looks to be turning its face away from us unless we become rich. Regardless of whether the ranks of the political establishment want to, we wanna hear what you have to say!

So what is slam poetry? In brief, it’s somewhat an extension of the hip-hop poetry movement, though with direct roots to the Beat Generation of poets, largely characterized by the rant fashion in which the author/performer talks about social and political topics.

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, check out poet Shane Koyczan giving a TED Talk that effortlessly evolves into his poem “To This Day”:

Here’s another example from the 2014 National Poetry Slam Finals (sorry the audio isn’t the best):

And, what the heck, one more!

Given the politics of division that have been happening in spades this year, we want everyone to come together for Porters & Poetry (& Politics), because we’re convinced the arts are a uniting force. We invite the whole of the community to come and do everything from burning Donald Trump to even trumping Bernie Sanders! Let us know about the injustice under the cover of mass media coverage! What’s the personal affront to dignity that has yet to be made public? We all want to laugh and jeer and maybe even cry, so if you have a voice and an opinion, and a rhythm from which to share it, we want the people to hear it.

And as always, though the theme is slam, we welcome all styles of poetry. So please bring out your best haikus and sonnets too! Join us at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids on Friday, April 22, starting at 7 p.m.

Across the threshold, on to the fringe

 

For the past few years, we’ve put in an application to get into the Minnesota Fringe Festival. And for the past few years, we’ve seen our lottery number drawn somewhere in the ridiculously high range on the wait list; somewhere that essentially guarantees that we’re not going to make a trip to Minneapolis to produce a show. This year, same as usual, we found ourselves on the wait list. The only difference, though – and it’s an important difference – is that we were fourth on the list this time, which is a placement that essentially guarantees that we’ll get an offer to make that coveted trip.

And just this past Thursday, we received our official invitation to be a Fringe Fest producer! You may congratulate us.

So now the hard part begins: actually producing a show! Let’s be clear here, every single year that we apply to be a part of the festival, we don’t actually have anything prepared. This year is no different. So when we found out that we were likely going to get a chance, we began brainstorming a script right away. Within the first few hours, we had the gist of what the tone of our play would be. By the next morning, we had a proposed conflict for our supposed characters. Another two days later, there was an initial outline. And now, about two weeks later when everything became finalized with our participation in the festival, we’ve got the bulk of the first draft of the first act written. Progress continues to be made.

In brief, the two of us (John and Nathan) are using some of our own personal experiences dictate this story. As representatives of both atheist and Christian demographics, we thought it’d be great to produce a play that explores the differences between the world views as well as the means by which we can still coexist. The setting of the play involves two brothers who haven’t seen each other for years. One of them organizes a family reunion to get everyone back together again, though the other is hesitant about going because he renounced his faith and is suspect about how his extremely devout family will take the news – either that or how awkward it will be to keep this secret from all of them during his time back home. The cat, as they say, is let out of the bag, and the brothers have to figure out how, or if, they can reconcile this situation.

All of this is subject to change, of course. Like I said, we haven’t even finished the script yet, though the play will likely be some variation of what’s described above.

As the months go by between now and August, we’ll make sure to give little updates on our progress, so stay tuned. And we hope to see you at the Fringe Fest!

MN Fringe Lottery

Whoa! We’ve entered the Fringe Festival lottery before… but we never made the cut. The best we’ve done is like 116 (or some obscene number like that) on the waiting list. Well, folks, this year we made it to #4 on the wait list. Which means there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be making it into the Fringe Festival.

For those who don’t know, the MN Fringe Festival is an 11-day stretch of grass root performances. It’s a lottery to get in, so there isn’t any vetting process really: meaning you have no idea what you’re going to get when you get in. Independent companies write, direct, and produce shows that make up this performing arts extravaganza. Attendees can purchase a pass that lets them attend the shows.

So cross your fingers, folks… a couple of rural boys from the woods may be heading to the Big City to put on a lil’ show.

Porters and Poetry II

Our Porters and Poetry event in April was enjoyed by many, and we figured waiting until next year’s National Poetry Month was too long. So here we are a six-month mark, ready for another installment.

April Porters and Poetry had several featured poets punctuated opportunity for open mic. Our October 9th Porters and Poetry will mix it up again. We will again have choice beverages and open mic for any poetry, but we will punctuate it with a session of haiku and a session of limericks. Each poetic style will have a mild competition, as well, just to spice things up. These short, enjoyable poetic forms are such that you could even write them at the event itself (cocktail napkins and ballpoint pens will be standing by). For those who would like to participate but aren’t familiar with the forms, here’s a crash course…

Haiku: A Japanese form of poetry, traditionally an observation of the natural world, traditionally in three lines consisting of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables.

Limerick: Typically witty and tongue-in-cheeck, traditionally five lines of poetry with a rhyming scheme of AABBA.

For more details and instruction and examples– do a quick search online; but be careful– particularly when searching for examples of limericks. Sometimes they can be quite naughty.

See you at Porters and Poetry! 7:00 social, 8:00 poetry at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN. https://www.facebook.com/events/416370488566800/
porters and poetry

Thanks to our partners for making this event possible! Grand Rapids Players, MacRostie Art Center, 91.7 KAXE, and Zorbaz on Pokegama!

porters and poetry

Mark your calendars for an evening of classy quaffing- April 24 at MacRostie Art Center! An event of literary and libationary poetry (spoken word and beer drinking ). Featured poets will be punctuated by opportunities for open mic. Original poetry is encouraged but not required. Come to read your own words or just sit and sip on eloquence of the mouth and the malt. Social hours begins at at 7:00, poetry at 8:00. $10 for keepsake glassware and the first fill. $5 per additional pour of porter. (alternative beverages available for patrons of poetry but not porter.) #uncommonloons #portersandpoetry #onlyinMN

Our Facebook event page is here.

Porters and Poetry