Two weeks ago Foster, Nathan, Craig, and I got together for a Ministry of Cultural Warfare photo shoot. The goal was to get some publicity images for our latest incarnation of The Unbearable Lightness of Being American, presented at Intermedia Arts as part of the 13th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival this August.
For this publicity shoot, we stationed ourselves at the figuratively shady corner of Franklin St. and Third Ave. So. My favorite record store, The Electric Fetus, was closed for the evening, so we were free to do what we chose without much disruption or fanfare. Or so we thought. Turns out that two weirdos standing alongside a freeway dressed as the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam attracts more attention from the surrounding state-assisted-mental-health neighborhood than we bargained for.
After several drive-bys that momentarily halted to near-stops for staring, and a few pedestrians slowing their gait to mere wanderings before resuming their initial purpose, the Minneapolis Police rolled up in a squad car. My three compatriots turned slightly away from the car - I don’t know if they were trying to hide their faces or pretend they didn’t see the cops or what, but I knew we couldn’t just ignore these officers that were now within ten feet of us - so I looked straight into the squad car and mustered up my cutest, “Hi!,” including my extra-dorky two-handed wave with hunched shoulders and a goofy smile. This is the kind of “hi” that’s the short way of saying all in one breath, “ohmygosh, we’re having so much fun and we’re totally innocent, but we think we might get in trouble, but you really shouldn’t worry about us because we’re plainly harmless and frankly adorable.”
The guys then turned around see the police’s reaction. We all stared at the cops. They stared back at us. They stared at us a little while longer. Then the cop in the driver’s seat broke out into a huge grin, punctuated it with two thumbs up, and drove away.
Shenanigans and panic aside, I hereby share some of the fruits of Our Labor for the Good of the People:
Photos copyright 2006: Craig VanDerSchaegen.
A quick note about The Fringe for the greenhorns: it is the largest non-juried Fringe Festival in the United States, and the third largest in North America; it’s 11 days of the most gritty, raw, clever performance with sloppy blocking that you will ever experience, all wrapped up in a killer Minneapolis atmospheric taco.
A quick note about the latest incarnation of TULoBA for the already-indoctrinated: this is a brand-spanking new version with a few of your favorites, plus several new monologues and two-person scenes and a second person (Nathan Surprenant) to go with them, and some singing. Leah Cooper directed the Montreal version, now Reid Knuttila is directing this one.
Do come see the show - America will be so proud.