The most important takeaway from Fringe

And so the Minnesota Fringe Festival has completed its run. We have tucked it under the covers and turned out the lights. Goodnight, Fringies, it’s time for bed.

Thank you to everyone who came to “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks),” the show with the longest title in all of Fringe. I had set goals for my first year at the Fringe based on what other seasoned performers told me to expect, and we exceeded every one of those goals. Thank you for making it happen!

We had excellent reviews, all four- or five-kitty reviews, nothing less: “This lady is one of the best storytellers I have seen at Fringe,” “funny, smart, conversational, unaffected,” “a must-see show,” and “her homespun charm and dry wit is thought-provoking, hilarious, and emotionally resonant all at once, creating a show that both honors and pokes fun at the South, religion, and family.” The most wonderful compliment of all was a comparison to the great Nancy Donoval.

If you enjoyed the show, there are two options: Patrick and I would love to perform this at other places that appreciate our approach to “unconventional reverence.” (Unitarian-Universalist churches, maybe?) Or you can wait for the novel which I will be working on this fall with the characters of Father Robertson, Brother John, Sister Candace, Beverly, and Candy Cornbread.

But one particular takeaway from the show is more valuable than all the ticket sales or all the reviews in all the world: I made new friends. Thank you for connecting with me, for approaching me after the show, for bonding with me over a few stories about unconventional reverence.

Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Review of Fringe Festival Preview

The Twin Cities Daily Planet printed a flattering write-up about my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show in the Twin Cities Daily Planet. The reviewer, phillip andrew bennett low, attended the showcase last Wednesday at Kieran’s. Thank you!

Phillip has his own Fringe show coming up–Camelot is Crumbling–which I have seen before and highly recommend.

If you missed the showcase, you can see another preview Monday, July 18, at 7:30 at the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis. “Camelot is Crumbling” will be previewed in the same showcase.

You can view my show information for “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine” at the Fringe website, and also make a list of all the shows you want to see–over 160 shows!–and purchase advance tickets online.

Hmmm … Stories of the Pod?

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If you are a fan of The Moth, then you understand why I’m so excited about a possible new project: Podcasting stories of the Northstar Storytelling League, the Twin Cites-based group from the land famous for storytellers, the group that features legends such as Loren Niemi and Joan Calof, Allega Lingo and Joseph Scrimshaw. The group has native Midwesterners such as slam-mistress Allison Broeren or transplants like myself (from the south) and others from Los Angeles or New York. (Only with the storytellers’ permission and coöperation, of course. We’re not into piracy.)

This idea grew out of the planning for Northstar’s 2011 Tellabration! event in November. (If you’re making Thanksgiving travel plans, be sure to get back to the cities by Friday night for the evening concert.) I am organizing the open mics. A regular podcast could fit in quite nicely with the Tellabration! open mics. Maybe the open mic performances themselves could be podcast?

What do you think?

As either a Northstar member or any other storyteller and performer, or as a potential audience member, do you see value in having a, say, monthly storytelling podcast? If so:

  • Do you prefer audio or video?
  • How or when would you listen? (While exercising? At work? Instead of broadcast TV?)
  • What devices do you use? iPod? PC? MP3 player? Android?
  • How long should episodes run? One story under 10 minutes per episode? Or an hour-long monthly format?

Keep in mind that this is simply an early discussion item that I brought up at yesterday’s planning meeting. It might or might not happen, and if it comes out it will be far better than anything I can envision today, because your comments will mold it into something better than any of us could do on our own.

Twin Cities Storytelling: Redneck Vampire Nun Stories? Oh, My! July 7

Anodyne Coffee HouseHey, y’all need to go to this! The first Thursday in July, at Anodyne Coffee House in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis. Come listen to my story, “How Candy Cornbread Survived the Rapture,” and help me decide whether to include this story in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks).”

Email me at christy@christymariekent.com for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.

Twin Cities Storytelling: “When Life Hands You Lemons …,” June 7, SlamMN!

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The first Tuesday in June, at Kieran’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis, is the next installment in the SlamMN! story slam series. Come listen to my story, “How Candy Cornbread Survived the Rapture,” and help me decide whether to include this story in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks).”

Email me at christy@christymariekent.com for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.

He Had a Good Wife (#3 of 100 Interesting People)

“Jack” had just finished reciting some of his lyrical poetry. I was pleasantly surprised to hear poetry from someone who was obviously a construction worker or manufacturing employee because of his physical size, his large hands, his pitted, weathered face, and his rough clothes. I knew it shouldn’t have surprised me that a manual laborer writes poetry. When will I learn not to judge people based on their appearances?

After my performance, Jack asked me, “Can I tell you a story of my own?”

“I would love to hear it!” I said.

“It was years ago, when I was studying for the bar exam.”

“Wait, what?” I asked. “You’re a lawyer?” If the man whom I had judged a construction worker that wrote poetry was instead a lawyer who wrote poetry, what other surprises did this man have? How many other things had I misjudged?

He said he had been working a temp job while he waited for the results of the bar exam. On the day the university published the results, Jack had to go to the university after work, find his secret number on the list, and get his pass/fail score. He told his secret number to his wife, saying, “Please don’t do anything with it. I know I didn’t do well, so I’ll have to take it again, but I’ll go over there after work and check it anyway. I’d like to go out after that. I’ll need to drown my sorrows.”

While he was at work, she went to the university, checked his exam results, called him at the office and said, “You passed! You passed!”

As his coworkers and his manager congratulated him, he said, “Yeah, but still, she didn’t do what I wanted her to do. What if I had failed?”

Taking his hand in both of hers, his manager said, “Jack, she was a good wife. Instead of doing what you wanted her to do, she did what was good for you!”

* * *

That’s good advice for husbands and wives both. I suspect I’ll be using that line on my husband whenever I do what he doesn’t want me to do.

And if I ever need a lawyer, I’ll call Jack. Quick judgments based on first impressions are rarely accurate, but I misjudged him more badly than usual. What if I had blown him off? What if I had rushed out of the coffee shop and not taken the time to listen to his story?

I would have missed out on meeting another interesting person.

Twin Cities Storytelling: May 5

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The first Thursday in May, at Anodyne Coffee House on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, I’ll be telling the story of “The Summer that Grandmother Got Her Shine Back.” Come listen and help me decide whether to include this in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show.

Email me at christy@christymariekent.com for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.

Twin Cities Storytelling: “Stories of Growth,” May 3, SlamMN!

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The first Tuesday in May, at Kieran’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis, is the next installment in the SlamMN! story slam series. Come listen to my story, “The Unorthodox Habits of Brother John,” and help me decide whether to include this story in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks).”

Email me at christy@christymariekent.com for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.