Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Song For Vanya 1


Lights are on again. Back to The Fringe.

One of the festival's major works is a new play with music, A Song For Vanya,  based on Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. It was directed by none other than Matthew Kerns, the Fringe's head guy (like he needs something else to do). 

You can read a plot summary by clicking the link. It is bleak, with flashes of humor. The songs, accompanied by a keyboard, cello and woodwinds, add to the ennui. Like Snow White, the show was performed in the newly remodeled Grandel Theater, a 650-seat gem. The lighting is fabulous, perfect for photography. It made my job a lot easier.     




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Eclipse

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Fringe programming for the following special report:

The weather forecast was dicey: partly cloudy, a chance of showers. Some friends who have a country house between St. Clair and Sullivan hosted a big viewing party. It was an ideal location. Clouds started to pass by before the eclipse began, creating anxiety. Then it cleared, leaving nearly perfect conditions. The experience was mystical.

The pink-purple spots at about 1 and 4 o'clock in the first photo are Bailey beads, sunlight refracted around mountains and valleys at the moon's edge. The color shows the presence of helium when run through a spectrograph and proved the existence of that element in the sun.

We heard that you could use a kitchen colander like a multi-eyed pinhole camera. It works.








Monday, August 21, 2017

On The Exhale


Elizabeth Ann Townsend was the sensation of the 2016 Fringe in her one-woman play, Count Time. She is back this year in On The Exhale, playing the role of the mother of a second grader murdered in a Sandy Hook-type massacre. In her grief, she is drawn to the awful weapon that killed her son and actually buys one. The semi-automatic weapon, which has a fierce recoil, is best fired on the exhale. She comes to suspect that when it comes to gun violence, we're all part of the problem. Powerful stuff.              



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Snow White


I took pictures at four shows yesterday plus the outdoor family day activities and kinda went overboard. The big event was ERA Theatre's Snow White, which was quite a spin on the Disney and Brothers Grimm versions. Snow White herself dresses in passionate red. There is an evil stepsister who doesn't have a good bone in her body and a bubble-blowing prince charming. Oh, and seven very tall dwarves. And a gigantic fruit salad. And a plot twist at the end.

It was a visual candy store. So many more good shots I could edit. But it's back to work at the festival for me shortly.        









Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday Night At The Fringe


First night of shows at the St. Lou Fringe Festival. I have so much to edit. I'm going to try to post one photo from each show ASAP and then go back for other good ones when  time permits.

Top: Matthew Marcum in a one man show that explores the artistic technique of Jackson Pollock through a collage of personal quotes, extended vocal techniques and pulsating music. Film clips of Pollock painting were shown on the wall behind him. It blew me away.

Center: a one act musical comedy called Liberals vs Zombies vs Conservatives. The stereotypes are easy to spot. In the end, both sides unite in the face of global apocalypse. Make you think of any other situation?

Bottom: Brittanie Gunn performs a very unusual monologue called Hot For TREX. She portrays a writer of what is called dino-erotica, with novels including Hung Like A Dinosaur, The Flirtatious Period and Getting Dino-Sore. (I'll leave the rest to your imagination.) She tracks down people who have written blistering online reviews of her work and tears into them without mercy.  

Five shows to shoot today plus an outdoor family day. Oy.          



Friday, August 18, 2017

The Fringe Is Back! The Fringe Is Back!


The St. Lou Fringe had its opening ceremony last night. Honors to those who should be honored, announcements and samples of some of the major acts. I hustled over to Grand Center after work to get some shots. Too many people, too many names I didn't write down, but it's obviously gonna be a fabulous season.

Locals: GO, or never darken my doorway again. Schedule, map and tickets here.       




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vandeventer Place Gates


St. Louis has had many grand private streets where the homes of the rich were or are located. Some, in neighborhoods that became undesirable (mostly closer to the Mississippi) are gone. Many from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, mostly west of Kingshighway, survive. One of the most opulent was Vandeventer Place. (Some history here.) Now the area is, well, not so great. The mansions were razed and the development destroyed.

All of these private streets had elaborate entrance gates. For some odd reason, the entrance to Vandeventer Place was preserved and plopped down in an open area of Forest Park in 1950. It's near the Jewel Box and the Korean War Memorial seen a couple of days ago. Now it is an entrance to nowhere.