Shrinking the Big Top for the Small Screen: The Problem with Fringe Arts on America’s Got Talent

Truth #1 – The first time I saw a Cirque du Soleil performance, I hated it. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. In retrospect, the issue was not with Cirque du Soleil at all. It was with the way it was presented to me. I was called into the living room of my grandparents’ house to join the program already in progress on their big screen TV. It was the middle of the afternoon and my family talked through it. The acrobats, contortionists, clowns, dancers, and storytellers became background noise to the small family dramas occurring in the room; and, for that reason, they felt small. This epic, mind-blowing spectacle had been reduced (despite the ludicrous size of the TV screen) to something distant, small, and inconsequential.

Truth #2 – I love (some) reality TV. I love the costumes and pageantry of Dancing with the Stars. I love the manufactured drama and crazy challenges of The Amazing Race. There’s very little I don’t love about RuPaul’s Drag Race. And – until a couple of weeks ago – I would have put America’s Got Talent pretty high on my list of summer guilty pleasures.

The thing I loved most about AGT was that it – theoretically – provides an avenue for “non-traditional” performers to showcase their craft on a national, televised stage. There are a multitude of shows for singers, several for dancers, quite a few for athletes of various stripes, a handful for comedians, and a few that cater to more specific performance arts like RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, nowhere else on television could a ventriloquist or an acrobat or a contortionist showcase what they do.

It was reported that “Season 1 winner, eleven year old singer Bianca Ryan “almost left without [auditioning] when she looked at the other contestants and saw a lady with a beard “probably about, like, two feet long,” juggling torches.”1 American Idol certainly wouldn’t have an anecdote like that on the books.

So, despite the controversies over fixed results, exploitation of performers, and misrepresented prizes (“Headlining a show on the Las Vegas Strip” has – in some years – meant that the America’s Got Talent tour made a single roadhouse stop at a casino during its journey), I still believed that exposing the viewing public to the Fringe and circus arts (which often overlap) was a good thing.

Now I’m less sure.

America’s Got Talent premiered in 2006 and has aired 11 and half seasons (we’re in the middle of season 12). In that time, the winners have included 6 singers, 2 ventriloquists, and 1 each of performance art/dance, animal act (dog), and magician.

Act Type Winner Runner-Up Third Place Total
Singer 6 6 2 14
Video Dance 1 1 2 4
Magic 1 1 2 4
Musicians 0 0 3 3
Comedian 0 3 0 3
Ventriloquist 2 0 0 2
Animal Act 1 0 0 1
Acrobats 0 0 1 1

It could be argued that America simply prefers the singers overwhelmingly to any other type of act. However, for those who don’t know, the show is structured so that auditions and “judges’ cuts” determine the three dozen or so (it varies by season) contestants who vie for the audience votes.

The show has just completed judges’ cuts portion for Season 12 and the 33-act quarterfinalist roster2 competing for public affection includes

  • 15 singers (or singing groups)3
  • 7 dance groups (ranging from dance crews to ballroom pairs to hip-hop soloists)
  • 3 magicians (one escape artist, one mentalist, and one close-up prestidigitator)
  • 2 dog tricks acts
  • 1 stand-up comedian
  • 1 ventriloquist
  • 1 acrobatic act
  • 1 roller-skating, daredevil brother/sister team
  • And, 2 acts I will categorize, charitably, as “other” because they are not good, but gimmicky nonsense taking spots from much more talented acts.

What this reveals is that the shows stacks the deck significantly in the favor of musical acts. Singers represent 45% of what the judges have deemed “worthy” of audience attention.4

And, about those judges – in the history of AGT the judges panel has included celebrities and personalities from the music, fashion, television, and comedy industries, but no regular judges from the worlds of circus or fringe.

Often, they react to the fringe acts with mixed feelings at best. European-style clowning and Commedia acts are met with bafflement (with the charming exception of Heidi Klum, whose enthusiasm for them is always delightful to watch). Burlesque is met with something akin to contempt (or, in the case of older or heavier performers, smirking patronization). Acrobats and contortionists fare better, but there’s a thin film of the sideshow gawp in judge’s response. Those acts are treated as naturally occurring “freaks” rather than the product of years of dedication, work, and practice.

To my eyes, this represents a disconnect between how physical acts are treated versus singing acts. A child with a preternaturally good singing voice is a wonder (one which will fade as the child develops to match the voice, like mine did). An adult with a preternaturally flexible body is a freak. Because the act doesn’t fit into a box the judges understand, they react as if it sprung fully formed into existence.

Maliciously and intentionally or not, the judges feed a bias to the audience from the very beginning, further tipping the scales in favor of the singing acts.

(Tangent: I don’t want to undercut the talent, dedication, and tenacity of any of these performers, regardless of discipline. They’re putting themselves out there, doing what they love, and sharing their passion with the world. It’s a wonderful thing, no matter how you slice it.)

“Once music ceases to be ephemeral – always disappearing – and becomes instead material… it leaves the condition of traditional music and enters the condition of painting. It becomes a painting, existing as material in space, not immaterial in time.” – Brian Eno

But, why would they do that? Simple. Producers can record and package singers for sale in a way that other acts can’t match. The work in the recording studio can reach millions of people (read, millions of wallets). Combine that with the face of a cherubic young girl, and the AGT producers might as well start printing their own money.

And, from a business perspective, it’s hard to argue with their logic. So, they sell a convoluted misdirection about headlining a show in Vegas, the openness of the audition process for all types of acts, the inclusiveness for performers of all ages, etc. etc. And, it’s all partially true, but at the core is a show looking to find the next talent that can be which shines in the marketplace.

Can It Be “Fixed”?

If the producers wanted to do so, I would argue that it can to a certain extent. A combination of adding a regular judge and guest judges who come from the burlesque, vaudeville, circus, cirque, and fringe scenes would make a difference. Also, pitting like against like in the judges’ cuts rounds could make a difference. Have 20 singers compete for 7 slots, then 20 stage acts (comedians, magicians, ventriloquists), then 20 dancers, then 20 circus and danger acts. There would be gray area, of course, but it would at least allow the viewing and voting audience a [more] level suite of competitors to vote from, and give more variety to the variety show.

Does It Need to Be “Fixed”?

So, back to Truth #1 – Cirque du Soleil had tried (and for some, I imagine, succeeded) in packaging their work for a wider audience through VHS souvenir tapes. And, my grandparents wanted to share their enjoyment of the show they had seen live with us from the comfort of their living room. Splendid from both Cirque’s and my grandparents’ perspectives. But, it didn’t work. Because it shrunk an experience into a deliverable.

Most people differentiate between seeing a movie in the theater or at home. It’s a product intended for viewing on a screen, but the experience of going to the theater is part and parcel of your enjoyment of it, and many of us make the choice whether a movie is “worth” seeing in the theater.

It’s a matter of translation. Plays work as movies better when they are fully “translated” into the form. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet was a fully staged play that I saw through the lens of a screen, but the producers never let you forget that you were watching a play. The movie opened with shots of the audience filing in and the 15 minute intermission returned the movie audience to the theater’s auditorium, as if to say, “See, you’re here, in the theater, with us.” Which we most certainly were not.

Adaptations like Doubt and RENT, take the playscripts as jumping off points for the screenplay, and – while they are faithful to their source material – the films are horses of a different color from the plays on which they’re based, almost as much so as film adaptations of novels.

“So I think I’ll say the obvious thing: theater is ephemeral. When a production is done, it’s gone forever. You can take pictures of it. You can make a film of it. But it’s not the production. It’s not the same thing.” – Tony Kushner

The issue returns again to that very dramatic concept – ephemerality. Theatre is ephemeral. The script is the instruction manual to the thing, and not the thing itself (apologies to Wallace Stevens). But, often those ephemeral things are produced in Theaters, venerable brick-and-mortar institutions where one can expect to have a very specific type of experience.

Circus and fringe arts performances often appear from nowhere or in unexpected places (like parks and bars). Part of the mystique of the circus, in fact, is its itinerant nature. Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and many other novels use the circus’s existence in liminal space – here today and gone tomorrow – as its source of power, of magic.

How can the circus arrive every Tuesday night on NBC at 8pm/7c?

When I finally saw a Cirque du Soleil show live (right around this time last year), it was everything I had hoped it would be. Breathtaking, overwhelming, emotional, and exciting. From seeing the striped tent from my car window to smelling the popcorn to ogling the souvenirs, the show began from the moment you entered their world.

And, that’s the thing – They didn’t come into my living room, I entered the world of Cirque and was transported. And, can a transportative experience like that really be packaged as a program, as a product?

So, here’s the crux of it. And, it’s a bunch of questions without an answer in sight –

  • Is it better NOT to have the circus and fringe arts appear in a distant, other-side-of-the-screen version of itself through a program like AGT?
  • Is it better not try to compare apples and oranges, if oranges keep coming up wanting in the format in which they’re presented (who wants orangesauce?)?
  • Will people stop believing in the value of the circus and fringe arts if a television program continually tells them that singing is a “better” talent?
  • Will young performers stop pursuing the circus arts if they’re devalued in this way?
  • And, if the answer to the first four questions is “yes,” then is there a place in modern, screen-based entertainment for circus and fringe artists to showcase their skills, dedication, and talent?

I don’t have any answers, but I’d love to have a debate about it. In person, of course. So, we can share the experience.

– Christina Scott Sayer

FOOTNOTES:
1. Staff. “Philly 11-Year-Old Wows Judges”. nbc10.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
2. For the full breakdown of how we got here, check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America%27s_Got_Talent_(season_12)
3. I include Puddles Pity Party here because he is a singer first and uses the clown persona to set him apart. He does not perform a “clown act” in the traditional sense.

The Weekly Fringe: June 19-25

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of Knoxville events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Wicked Wonderland
Saturday, June 24, 9pm at Modern Studio

This Alice in Wonderland-themed show is presented by Marble City Performance Company. You don’t want to be late for this very important date! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the event page.


Knox Fringe June Meetup
Monday, June 19, 6:30pm at Barley’s

Calling all fringe arts performers, producers, and fans! Join us for our 6th get together to discuss the local Fringe Arts scene and continue efforts for collaboration, cross promotion, and community. June’s meeting will be hosted by Caitlin Corbitt, local thespian, director, and burlesque performer in the upstairs banquet room of Downtown Grill and Brewery! For more information, visit knoxfringe.com.


Words: A Writer’s Night
Wednesday, June 21, 6pm at Saw Works

Open to anyone who loves to write or share their works, and wants the extra addition of some fun, albeit loose structure and creative inspiration. FREE to everyone, and parental guidance is suggested. For more information, visit the event page.


Also This Week

Einstein Simplified
Monday, June 19, 8pm at Scruffy City Hall

Full Disclosure Comedy Show
Tuesday, June 20, 8pm at Modern Studio

Knoxville Poetry Slam
Tuesday, June 20, 8pm at Open Chord

Sugar High Comedy
Thursday, June 22, 8:30pm at Sugar Mama’s

Secret City Cyphers 3-Year Anniversary
Sunday, June 25, 9:30pm at Tennessee Riverboat


COMING UP

Shipwrecked! A Burlesque Tribute to Gilligan’s Island
Saturday, July 1, 8pm at Modern Studio

The Ooh Ooh Revue First Friday Show
Friday, July 7, 10pm at Modern Studio

Pint Sized Opera
Thursday, July 13, 7pm at Saw Works

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: June 12-18

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of Knoxville events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Knox PrideFest 2017
Saturday, June 17, 11am, Knoxville Civic Coliseum Lawn

Knox PrideFest 2017 is an open celebration of music, entertainment and speakers focused on promoting Equality and Inclusion of ALL people. Come interact with the community to promote inclusion and equality for the LGBTQ citizens of Knoxville and surrounding areas! The Pride Parade begins at 11am on Jackson Ave and continuing to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum Lawn. For more information, visit knoxvillepridefest.org.


Salomé Cabaret: Taste the Rainbow
Saturday, June 17, 8pm at Scruffy City Hall

Do you have a sweet tooth? Curb your sugar cravings with a candy-inspired burlesque tribute to the sweet treat of diversity. Come see Salomé Cabaret in a rare Market Square, early evening performance as part of Knox PrideFest! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit salomecabaret.com.


Waiting for Godot
Thursday-Sunday, June 15-18 at Modern Studio

All Campus Theatre presents Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot, back by popular demand! A comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, Godot is a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite page.


Full Disclosure Comedy Improv Workshop
Sunday, June 18, 7pm at Modern Studio

Full Disclosure Comedy is proud to announce a second workshop at Modern Studio. Learn how to improvise with Knoxville’s only long-form improv troupe! No experience is required and all are welcome – unless you only want to heckle us, in which case, just come to the June 20th show instead. For more information, visit the event page.


COMING UP

Words: A Writer’s Night
Wednesday, June 21, 6pm at Saw Works Brewing Company

Wicked Wonderland
Saturday, June 24, 9pm at Modern Studio

Shipwrecked! A Burlesque Tribute to Gilligan’s Island
Saturday, July 1, 8 pm at Modern Studio

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: June 5-11

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of Knoxville events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Salomé Cabaret’s Burlesque Tribute to Grease & Grease 2
Saturday, June 10, 11pm at Edge Knox

Calling all T-Birds and Pink Ladies! Join the guys and gals of Salomé Cabaret for a burlesque tribute to everyone’s favorite mid-century rock n’ roll musical (and the less popular movie sequel)! Joining the cast for this return to Rydell High are special guests Dee Flowered of Athens, GA and Johnny Pine of Atlanta, GA! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit salomecabaret.com.


Pint Sized Opera
Thursday, June 10, 7pm at Saw Works Brewing

Every second Thursday of the month, the Marble City Opera performs LIVE from the Saw Works Brewing Company tasting room! Look for specials on delicious craft beer and opportunities for you to support Marble City Opera! For more information, visit the Facebook event page


Full Disclosure Comedy Show
Tuesday, June 6, 8pm at Modern Studio

Full Disclosure Comedy presents the first long-form improv show at Modern Studio! Come on out, grab a drink, and help FDC get comfortable in their new home (housewarming gifts encouraged!) Full Disclosure Comedy is Knoxville’s only long-form improv troupe and performs based on the teachings of Del Close and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Manual. For more information, visit their Facebook page.


Also This Week

Friendlytown
Monday, June 5, 7:30 pm at The Pilot Light

Open Door Comedy
Wednesday, June 7, 8 pm at Scruffy City Hall

Electric Pheasant Open Mic Poetry
Thursday, June 8, 8 pm at Scruffy City Hall


COMING UP

Waiting for Godot
Thursday-Sunday, June 15-18 at Modern Studio

Knox PrideFest 2017
Saturday, June 17, Knoxville Coliseum Lawn

Marble City Performance Company’s Wicked Wonderland
Saturday, June 24, 9 pm at Modern Studio

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: May 29-June 4

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of Knoxville events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


The Ooh Ooh Revue presents Film Buffs
Friday, June 2, 9pm at Modern Studio

The Ooh Ooh Revue plays around with some iconic movie moments & songs and brings all new material never before seen on their First Friday stage. Will you see your favorite movie represented? Come see! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.oohx2.com.


OUTSpoken Revue
Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 7pm
at Clarence Brown Lab Theatre

OUTSpoken is a fourth-year program from the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA). Through a series of workshops culminating in a staged reading, OUTSpoken hopes to foster a dialogue between the LGBTQ+ community and others. Part of this process includes showcasing those poems, narratives, performances, and creative works of a wide range of individuals, including those whose experiences demonstrate intersectional issues. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


Full Disclosure Comedy Improv Workshop
Sunday, June 4, 7pm at Modern Studio

Full Disclosure Comedy is proud to present their first ever workshop at Modern Studio! Come on out and learn about the basics of improv comedy. Everyone is welcome – no matter how much improv experience you have (or don’t have). You can learn how to get more laughs, meet some new people, and maybe even become a more convincing liar! For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


Also This Week

Friendlytown
Monday, May 29, 7:30 pm at The Pilot Light

Open Door Comedy
Wednesday, May 31, 8 pm at Scruffy City Hall

First Friday Comedy
Friday, June 2, 7 pm at Saw Works Brewing Company


COMING UP

Pint Sized Opera
Thursday, June 8, 7pm at Saw Works Brewing Company

Salomé Cabaret’s Burlesque Tribute to Grease & Grease 2
Saturday, June 10, 11pm at Edge Knox

Waiting for Godot
Thursday-Sunday, June 15-18 at Modern Studio

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: May 22-28

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of Knoxville events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Knox Fringe May Meetup
Tuesday, May 23, 7pm at Pho 99

Calling all fringe arts performers! Join us for our fifth get together to discuss the local fringe arts scene and continue efforts for collaboration, cross promotion, and community. May’s meeting will be hosted by The Satanic Mechanics Rocky Horror Shadow Cast at Pho 99! Invite your friends and bring your ideas. All disciplines are welcome! Magical things are happening and we want YOU to be involved! For more information, visit knoxfringe.com.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Friday-Sunday, May 26-28 at Various Locations

Seventy Thirty Creatives launches their inaugural full stage production with a city-wide, Memorial weekend tour of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. You can catch this enchanted comedy on Friday, May 26 in Market Square, Saturday, May 27 at Modern Studio, and Sunday, May 28 at Ijams Nature Center. For more information, visit Seventy Thirty Creatives on Facebook.


Friendlytown Goes to Court!
Monday, May 22, 7:30pm at The Pilot Light

The citizen-comics of Friendlytown will be standing as defendants on the most heinous misdemeanors and they will have to plead their cases. THEN, the audience/jury (aka YOU) gets to decide who goes free and who has to serve time or pay a fine. These punks are going to learn their lessons! Be there, tell your friends, decide the future of our citizens! For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


COMING UP

The Ooh Ooh Revue: Film Buffs
Friday, June 2, 9pm at Modern Studio

OUTSpoken Revue
Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 7pm at Clarence Brown Lab Theatre

Salomé Cabaret’s Burlesque Tribute to Grease & Grease 2
Saturday, June 10, 11pm at Edge Knox

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: May 15-21

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


the Stronger
Thursday & Friday, May 18-19, 8pm
at Holly’s Gourmets Market

Marble City Opera presents the Stronger by Hugo Weisgall, adapted from Stindberg’s one-act play the Stronger. Two actresses, Estelle and Lisa, meet by chance in a quiet uptown bar. It is revealed that the two women, once close friends, are now apparent romantic rivals. There will be a special dinner menu available for the occasion; dinner is not included in the ticket price. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit marblecityopera.com.


The Ooh Ooh Revue presents That’s What She Said
Friday, May 19, 8pm at The Red Piano Lounge

OOHx2 returns to The Red Piano Lounge for an ALL NEW show of live music cabaret and burlesque featuring Jeanine Fuller & Sam Adams. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit oohx2.com.


The 5th Woman Live
Saturday & Sunday, May 20-21, 7pm
at Modern Studio

The 5th Woman is a collective of spoken word artists who write to radicalize the souls of women in all of their diverse expressions of femininity. Don’t miss this live compilation of work that harmonizes the power of song with the presence of poetry. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit thefifthwoman.com.


Clam Slam: Fanta-She
Saturday, May 20, 11pm at Kristtophers

Spend a Saturday with the magical creatures of Clam Slam! Knoxville’s first female-centric drag experience is back for their second show, featuring a cast of drag kings, lady queens, and variations in between. Featuring male illusionist and gender bender Spikey Van Dykey! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit sirensantina.com.


The Appalachian Puppet Pageant
Sunday, May 21, 2pm, Magnolia Ave

Join the Cattywampus Puppet Council for Knoxville’s first ever giant puppet parade! The Appalachian Puppet Pageant will kick off this spring’s Open Streets in East Knoxville and parade the entire 1.2 mile route along Magnolia Ave, from N. Chestnut St to Randolph St. Free and open to all! For more information and to register, visit cattywampuspuppetcouncil.com.


Also This Week

Open Door Comedy
Wednesday, May 17, 8 pm at Scruffy City Hall

Casual Comedy
Thursday, May 18, 8 pm at The Casual Pint-Hardin Valley

Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus: We Are Family
Saturday, May 20, 8 pm at Bijou Theatre


COMING UP

Intro to Aerials Class
Begins Monday, May 22, 8pm at Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio

Knox Fringe May Meetup
Tuesday, May 23, 7pm at Pho 99

Seventy Thirty Creatives’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Friday-Sunday, May 26-28 at Various Locations

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: May 8-14

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Geekgasm 3 by Salomé Cabaret
Saturday, May 13, 11pm at Edge Knox

Join Salomé Cabaret for an annual tradition three years in the making as we celebrate your favorite fandom through the art of burlesque. It’s Geekgasm 3: Yet Another Nerdlesque Experience! This year’s special guest is Deb au Nare! Come see what ignites when the Blank Magazine’s two-time winners of the Knoxville’s Finest Readers Poll for “Best Burlesque” combine forces with one of the country’s brightest stars! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit salomecabaret.com.


Tiger Lily Theatre’s A Night of Shorts
May 11-14 at Modern Studio

Tiger Lily Theatre is proud to present their 2017 production of Night of Shorts! This one of a kind performance features several short scenes combined to make a full-length production. All works are original, and have never been produced. ONE WEEKEND ONLY! For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Facebook event page.


Every Brilliant Thing
May 11-21 at Emerald Academy

EVERY BRILLIANT THING is a charming, brave, and often hilarious look at life in the shadow of depression. Hoping to save his mother from her struggles, a 7-year-old boy begins a list of all the things in life worth sticking around for. Presented by River & Rail Theatre Company. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit riverandrailtheatre.com.


Vestival 2017
Saturday, May 13, 11am
at the Candoro Marble Building

It’s that time of year again for your favorite little festival in the South Knoxville neighborhood of Vestal! The 17th Annual VESTIVAL on the grounds of the historic Candoro Marble Building! RAIN OR SHINE! Featuring performances from Dragonfly Aerial Arts, Sandsation Dancers, and Cattywampus Puppet Council. Brought to you by Candoro Arts & Heritage Center. For more information, visit candoronarble.org.


The Flora and Fauna Staged Reading
Monday, May 8, 7:30am
at Clarence Brown Lab Theatre

Yellow Rose Productions presents a Staged Reading of “The Flora and Fauna”, a new play by Alyson Mead and 1st Place Winner of the 2016 Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women. The Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women was founded in 2015 by Yellow Rose Productions, with permission of Beth Henley, to encourage and recognize the new works of female playwrights. The Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women aims to give voice to the stories of this generation and to bring into the spotlight important works that have been crafted. For more information on the competition, visit yellowroseproductions.org.


Also This Week

Knoxville Poetry Slam
Tuesday, May 9, 8 pm at Open Chord

Rachele Ribera Workshops
May 10-12 at Sheer Inspiration Pole Fitness

Elephant Pheasant Open Mic Poetry
Thursday, May 11, 8 pm at Scruffy City Hall

Take a Seat: Basic Chair Dance
Saturday, May 13, 1 pm at Broadway Academy of Performing Arts


COMING UP

That’s What She Said: The Ooh Ooh Revue
Friday, May 19, 8pm at The Red Piano Lounge

Clam Slam: Fanta-She
Saturday, May 20, 11pm at Kristtophers

Seventy Thirty Creatives’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream
May 26-28 at Various Locations

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

The Weekly Fringe: May 1-7

There is always a bit of fringe happening in our scruffy little city and we want to make it easy for you to find the fringe in your community. Here is a curated list of events happening this week. For more events, visit knoxfringe.com.


Burlesque 101
Thursday, May 4, 7pm
at Broadway Academy of Performing Arts

Burlesque 101 is an eight-session series of classes designed for beginning burlesquers and starting strip-teasers. Whether your goal is public performance or private provocation, Burlesque 101 will arm you with the tools you need for devastating disrobing. The class series is co-taught by Salomé Cabaret cast members Kisa von Teasa, Siren Santina, Tiger Tangerine, and Delinda d’Rabbit. Class format varies by topic, and includes movement, lecture, and demonstration. For more information and to secure your spot, visit salomecabaret.com.


The Ooh Ooh Revue: 2nd Chances/1st Confessions
Friday, May 5, 9:30pm at Modern Studio

It’s the OOHX2 signature show…2ND CHANCES/1ST CONFESSIONS
Acts either Get Redemption or Acts force us to Confess our Guilty Pleasures for your Amusement…which will it be? For more information or to purchase tickets, visit oohx2.com.


Moonshine Staged Reading
May 1, 7:30pm at Modern Studio

Yellow Rose Productions will present a Staged Reading of “Moonshine”, a new play by Liz Appel and 2nd Place Winner of the 2016 Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women. The Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women was founded in 2015 by Yellow Rose Productions, with permission of Beth Henley, to encourage and recognize the new works of female playwrights. The Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women aims to give voice to the stories of this generation and to bring into the spotlight important works that have been crafted. For more information, visit yellowroseproductions.com.


Also This Week

Good Hair: The Movie
Saturday, May 6, 9 pm at Modern Studio

Knox Generation Poetry Slam
Monday, May 1, 6:30 pm at Awaken Coffee

Friendlytown
Monday, May 1, 7:30 pm at The Pilot Light

Einstein Simplified
Tuesday, May 2, 8:15 pm at Scruffy City Hall

Pretentious Comedy: Fray Forde
Thursday, May 4, 8 pm at Pretentious Beer Co.


COMING UP

Tiger Lily Theatre’s A Night of Shorts
Thursday – Sunday, May 11-14 at Modern Studio

Geekgasm 3 by Salomé Cabaret
Saturday, May 13, 11pm at Edge Knox

The Appalachian Puppet Pageant
Sunday, May 21, 2 pm, Magnolia Avenue

Visit the Knox Fringe Event Calendar for more information.

Knox Fringe April Meet Up Recap

Boston McCown and Knox Comedy hosted this meeting at Barley’s on April 27, 2017. After a round of introductions from all attendees and the welcoming of newcomers, the discussion began with a list of upcoming comedy shows.

ITEMS OF DISCUSSION

Upcoming Shows & Events
  • Monthly Comedy Shows
    • First Thursday – Pretentious Beer
    • First Friday – Saw Works
    • First Saturday – Sevierville Casual Pint
  • Lip Sync Battle
    • April 29 at Kristtophers
  • The Ooh Ooh Revue
    • May 5 at Modern Studio – starts at 10:30
    • May 6 at Swifty’s in Oak Ridge, hosted by Danny Winston
    • May 13 at 5pm at Cycle Stop
    • May 13, 9pm – Benefit for Lance Adams at The Grove Theatre in Oak Ridge
    • May 18 at Cocoa Moon – Tickled
    • May 19 at Red Piano Lounge – That’s What She Said
  • Salomé Cabaret
    • Geekgasm 3, May 13 at Edge Knox
    • May 12 – Chair Dance class with Drag Show following
    • June 10 – Grease & Grease 2 show – need ladies for Girl of All Seasons
    • June 17 – Taste the Rainbow at Scruffy City Hall as part of PrideFest
  • Gay Men’s Chorus
    • May 20 at the Bijou
  • Clam Slam
    • May 20 at Kristtophers
  • Biscuit Festival
    • May 20 in downtown Knoxville
  • Dirty Dolls
    • May 19 at Edge Knox
  • Knox Fringe at Kentucky Splash
    • Memorial Day May 28
March Follow Up
  • Stitch and Bitch was a success!
    • Modern Studio willing to open the space to Knox Fringe on every 4th Sunday during the craft fair
    • Anne Atomic will gauge interest in a sewing class during next month’s Stitch & Bitch
    • Twila is willing to open her space to a class of less than 10
  • Officer Election Survey
    • Open until May 3
  • Second Bell Festival
  • Smoky Mountain Burlesque Festival
  • Appalachian Puppet Parade
    • May 21
    • Contact Cattywampus Puppet Council for info
    • Creature Seekers wants to make big puppet for the parade
  • Knox PrideFest
    • Salomé will be walking if anyone wants to join
    • Flyers will be sent out on May 18
  • Street Team
    • Headed by Pan d’Orable
    • Pop Up Performances, Sandwich board, etc.
New Business
  • Free rehearsal spaces?
    • Jeff at the Edge might be open
    • Emporium – Dance Studio & Community Room – contact Caitlin
    • BAPA is $20 an hour
    • Talk to John Camp about help negotiating spaces
    • Would like people to walk in the parade for Knox Fringe

ACTION/FOCUS ITEMS

At the end of the meeting, action and focus items were set for next month.

  • Pan d’Orable is putting together info about sport-based recreation. Flag football, softball, and kickball are available.He will gauge interest in the KFARTS group.
  • Fringe Arts Field Day – there are a few places to rent by many are booked for the next year. Perhaps we could book for next spring? Might be a 2018 activity.
  • Lock-in during the winter in Norris multipurpose space.
  • Officer Elections – voting is active until end of the month. Officers will be announced at May meeting

Our next meet-up is hosted by The Satanic Mechanics, May 16 at Pho 99.