Update: The PHX:fringe performance of The Soul Justice Project's The Other Side of History, scheduled for Thursday, March 8, has been cancelled.
Having PHX:fringe begin on First Friday had its pros and cons, from what I could see. There were, as usual, a shit-ton of people running around, but they didn't tend to make it all the way into the Fringe venues to see the shows. Ideally, potential audience members had their FF fun and will be back to catch the performances that sounded intriguing.
In practice, intriguing these people during an art walk can be challenging. If they have to come all the way inside the venue to get info from Fringe staff, as is the case most of the time at Modified Arts, Warehouse 1005, and Phoenix Center for the Arts, for example, that's one obstacle.
Then there's how loud and drunky Film Bar is on a busy night (and that's after picking one's way through the beer garden to the entrance). During Friday's opening night, it was nearly impossible for the nice Fringe box-office lady to holler loud enough to explain the nature of the performances and that they would continue for several more days.
Nevertheless, lots of Fringe programs, artist flyers and postcards did fly off tables and racks and out of bathrooms, though, so our fingers are crossed. We saw (and will continue to see) a passel of shows, too, and we'll bring you reviews all week, including Saturday.
"Sule" Greg Wilson is a sweet, friendly, musically talented guy (or at least someone who fakes those qualities well) with a master's degree who shares world folklore and music in all kinds of places for all kinds of audiences. For PHX:fringe, he's working on the blue side with a compilation called Tales of Consensual Shenanigans: Erotic Folk Tales from Hither and Yon . . . and Some Dirty Blues, Too!.
Some Fringe artists didn't even spring for a printed quarter-sheet program to hand out at their performances. Wilson, on the other hand, has a bibliography -- he's not carrying it around, but he sent it to me, and he'd probably send it to you. It lets you know that he's a real scholar and also tells where you can find his source material, much of which is so venerable it's online, such as "The Story of King Shahryar and His Brother" and "The Story of Lydia and Pyrrhus."
In between these relatively racy stories from cultures around the globe, he plays several instruments and sings songs along similar lines, many of them contemporary and familiar, but also including this:
And, in a show that is by nature kind of relentlessly heteronormative (so, artists, where's the performance work based on a historic survey of queer folklore?), Wilson makes a token gesture to inclusion with "Fairy Story" from Jacquie Manning (formerly Queen of Tarts on the Ren Faire circuit)
It was a pleasant and informative set, and Wilson is just super-fun to experience. One audience member thanked him afterward even though he admitted he was too much of a "prude" to let loose and fully enjoy the show. Well, you run into all kinds on the mean streets.
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The rest of Film Bar's Fringe artists are also presenting one-person extravaganzas, and one bases her performance on the Arabian Nights tales of Scheherazade. If I were squatting at one venue and seeing a couple-few shows in a row (and I do), I'd prefer more programming diversity.
Tales of Consensual Shenanigans: Erotic Folk Tales from Hither and Yon . . . and Some Dirty Blues, Too! continues through Saturday, March 10, at Film Bar, 815 North Second Street. See the full PHX:fringe schedule here. Admission is $10 at the door, or call 602-254-2151 or click here for tickets in advance.