The 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival is upon us, which means drama, stand-up, improv, music, socializing and lots and lots of one-person shows are headed to the area around Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine St.
Here are previews of 10 of the most intriguing-sounding shows on the festival's roster based on their descriptions. Check back here in a couple days for our critics' reviews of the actual shows they saw during previews this past week.
10. Philosophy in the Boudoir
It's a bunch of naked Brazilians from theater company Os Satyros performing disgusting, violent sex acts in complete nudity to honor the legacy of the Marquis de Sade's 1795 book. It should be horrific. Who wouldn't want to see this? Just make sure to keep the kids at home, and go on an empty stomach. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 962-1632, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1240.
9. Graham Bowlin's Rodeo Town
Rodeo Town looks quite promising: A yuppie dentist driving his Rover to San Diego breaks down in a small, dusty town, where the only residents are three lonesome, drunken cowboys waiting for their yearly hookers to show up and provide them with sexual pleasure. This year, however, only one lady shows up, and she seems…different. Sounds like scandal and tension is afoot, pard'ner. East Theatre at the Complex, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 455-4585, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1198.
8. Rob Florence's The Katrina Comedy Fest
Apparently, this production was inspired by mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin, when he proposed celebrating Hurricane Katrina's first anniversary with a fireworks display and comedy hour. The idea was canceled due to public outrage, but writer Rob Florence took the idea and ran with it, weaving together five New Orleans-style true and hilarious stories about riding out the storm. Props to anyone who can face their tragedy and laugh in its face. The Katrina Comedy Fest received “Best of the Festival” and “Overall Excellence in Production of a Play” honors in the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. The Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 469-9988, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1350.
7. Bill Ratner's Bobbywood: Whatever Happened to Bobby the Bellboy?
One of the many promising looking solo shows to rock the Fringe, Bill Ratner's new piece explores the fascination he has held with his uncle, comedian Bobby Jellison, since childhood. Jellison appeared thirteen times on I Love Lucy as Bobby the Bellboy, but mysteriously disappeared soon thereafter. Of course, any child would have a fascination with an uncle who not only appears on television but is also cast-off as a black sheep of the family. Ratner's parents called Jellison “too Hollywood” and didn't encourage their son to have a relationship with him. It's no wonder Ratner has decided to play detective on this interesting case. Fans of I Love Lucy will have to agree to wonder: what the hell did happen to Bobby the Bellboy? Complex Theatres, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 960-5774, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1191.
6. Harmon Leon's Ironic/Not Ironic
How great would it be to get a clear, concise explanation of what is ironic and what is not ironic from someone Jimmy Kimmel calls “one funny motherfucker”? Please. Thank you. Leon, an award-winning author, filmmaker, and performer, just finished his critically acclaimed show at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 962-1632, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1421.
5. Hot Cat
Theatre of NOTE and Theatre Movement Bazaar teamed up to create this interdisciplinary performance, inspired by the work of Tennessee Williams. Expect a mix of theater, dance, and comedy to create a unique and steamy live experience that explores unrequited desire, sibling rivalry, and morality in Tennessee Williams' flavor. Read our critic Steven Leigh Morris' review of Hot Cat, which actually began a few weeks ago. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., (323) 856-8611, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1355.
4. Ebony Cabaret
This production looks to offer a much needed respite after all the heavy hitters discussing survival in the age of Google and the effect that enhanced interrogation techniques have had on the American psyche. Enjoy a wonderful exhale of live music, soulful singing and general pleasure, filled with a love of all things Harlem Renaissance, 70s soul and blues stylings that will lift you up and let you down gently on a cloud of Mmmmm… Three Clubs, 1123 N. Vine St., (323) 462-6441, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1101.
3. Tiffany Phillips' I Never Met A Jerk I Didn't Like
Because we have to see a one-woman show about terrible exes. We have to. And this one looks pretty damn funny. Just check out its tagline: “She didn't make mistakes…She DATED them.” Phillips is a hilarious and accomplished performer and comedian that will definitely keep you entertained with cringe-worthy stories of patheticism and wasted sex hair. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 962-1632, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1321.
2. Gloria Rosen's Listen…Can You Hear Me Now?
Something sweet, soul-searching and family-friendly amongst all the nudity and adult themes we get on the regular, this autobiographical one-woman show is about growing up as the hearing child of two deaf parents. Rosen invites the audience into her childhood home, where telephones and doorbells were wired to flashing lights and watching television required precise and concentrated lip synching. Rosen was the connection her parents needed to the larger world, and her story promises to be a unique and life-changing one. Complex Theatres, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 960-5774, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1229.
1. Dayton Young's God Damn Tim Tebow!
Because, Holler Sports! That's why. This may be the only production in the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival that tackles the ridiculous, ubiquitous, melodramatic and outrageously-hyped world of American professional sports (shout-out in the comments section if there's another). And what a perfect candidate for scrutiny: The current king of over-hype, the American church's QB poster child, the currently unemployed Tim Tebow is about to get in a mess of trouble on the Fringe stage. The “hapless benchwarmer” goes from being hailed as the second coming of Jesus Christ to…well, something very different. You'll have to see the show to find out where he ends up. Actors Company, 916 N. Formosa Ave., (323) 463-4639, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1352.
For a complete listing of the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival line-up, visit hollywoodfringe.org.