As the Rogue Festival comes to a close, here are some thoughts from a younger audience member. Could shorter performances be the wave of the future for more than just fringe festivals? Here’s a view from one of my students in the Fresno State journalism class I’m teaching. He originally wrote this piece for a class assignment:
By Nugesse Ghebrendrias
As a millennial, going to a two-hour movie or show just doesn’t appeal to me. I might be engaged to the halfway point, but by the time intermission or the end of the film rolls around, I’m already contemplating my hasty exit. I’m not saying long films or productions are bad. I sat through all of the “Lord of the Rings” films, which, by the way, average at least three hours.
Still, I’m 24. People my age prefer more options in a shorter amount of time. We need to be stimulated, but quickly. We need to be able to experience multiple avenues to see what we like.
Luckily, the Rogue Festival offers all those things, plus beer.
Fun stuff: I don’t work at The Bee anymore and can use ‘ASS’ in a headline
Once you’ve seen a show at Fresno’s Rogue Festival (which continues through Saturday, March 10), it’s become something of a tradition for audience members to offer their own quick reviews. The Rogue website makes it easy for you to do just that. There are a couple of hard-working websites that have already posted a number of their own reviews, too: Kings River Life and Marc Gonzalez’s “The Road to 1,000.”
The performer and concept: In this one-person show, Casey Ballard plays Coco, a free-spirited foodie (though the character loathes that term) who shares her remarkable story of traveling the world in search of the “perfect dish.” What follows is part travelogue, part culinary school history class and part bizarro gourmet episode of “Black Mirror.” All the while Ballard performs in writer/director Marcel Nunis’ backyard surrounded by a bounty of ingredients and kitchen implements. As she talks, she cooks, which is pretty cool.
In some communities such as San Francisco, there’s a divide between those who work their magic inside and those who do it on the street
By William Ramirez
Kyle Elder and Chase Martin have loved magic since they were children. Magic has always seemed to love them, too, but in very different ways.
The Rogue Festival this year is hosting five magic acts. Among those acts you’ll find magicians with different performance styles. Martin is a street magician who relies on people walking by for his audiences. Elder is more a traditional magician who offers ticketed shows inside established venues.
While their styles differ, both came to magic as a refuge. Martin found it to be a way to work for himself, something he desperately needed due to his fatigue and pain caused by his congenital myasthenic syndrome, a neuromuscular transmission disorder. Elder fell in love with the art when his grandfather, who was sick with cancer, bought him a simple coin trick from a magic shop in San Francisco.
They come from different magic worlds.
Martin mastered his craft in the magic community of San Francisco, which he said has a “divided” magic scene.
Lori Williams got hooked on Fresno’s Rogue Festival almost a decade ago, and every year she makes the most of the experience
By Paige Gibbs
Some people zip over to the beach for a rest. Others fancy a quaint cabin in the woods. For Lori Williams, attending the Rogue Festival in Fresno’s Tower District every year is her version of a vacation.
Williams, locally known by many as the Rogue Festival’s “Super Fan,” has attended for nine years.
Her first Rogue experience was to see her son, Jacob Williams, perform when he was in high school. Two years in a row, Jacob and a group of his classmates created an act.
“After a couple years of seeing shows, I did more and more and more,” Williams says. “And now I’m totally addicted. Rogue Festival for me is like two weeks in Hawaii. It’s fun. It’s lively. It’s alive. It’s different. You can run the gamut from heart-wrenching drama to hilarity to clowns.”
And that’s just one day.
Williams typically sees 34 or 35 shows during the run of the festival. Her record was 36 performances one year.
Alexandra Tiscareno, NOCO’s new resident choreographer and the creator and director of the new show, is well aware of the shoes she has to fill.
“When you hear the word NOCO in the Fresno dance scene, you immediately think of Amy,” Tiscareno said. “You think of her creative genius, her drive, and her passion … It is a lot of pressure.”
Tiscareno, 24, is from Fresno and never had any formal dance training growing up. She said it wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that she started taking dance classes at Fresno City College and Clovis Community College.
Editor’s note: Author Selina Falcon is a senior print journalism major at Fresno State. To celebrate the Rogue Festival, I’m excited on The Munro Review to include work from students in my advanced editing class at the university.
“That’s when I met Amy, and boy, did she not like me at first,” she said. “I think about it now and laugh, but back then, it was absolutely terrifying.”
Tiscareno was introduced to NOCO that spring when she took a class from Querin. She officially became involved with the company in 2015 when Querin needed help with NOCO’s aerial program.