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Today the Capital Fringe Festival enters its The Man with the Golden Gun phase. Sorry, there just aren’t many franchises that make it to installment No. 9. Below, a half-dozen offerings from the festival’s first evening to kickstart your Fringe-watching. Satisfaction not guaranteed, but of the 31 (!) shows opening this evening, these seem like reasonably good bets, for the reasons elucidated below.
Everybody Knows This Is Now Here (Goethe Institut: Gallery, 7:45 p.m.) — Not gonna lie. This one only made the list for its punning title, which alludes to a classic Neil Young & Crazy Horse album from 1969. You wanted a reference less antediluvian than the James Bond film franchise, and we have obliged. Everybody Knows… is a multimedia dance oriented work from the Mountain Empire Performance Collective that, per the press release, “explores physical and virtual distance through the lens of female friendship and the Great American Road Trip. Blending dance, film, personal story and song, the performers search for home in the digital age. Where do we land when we can be everywhere and nowhere at the same time?”
Love Song to Miss Kitty (Atlas Performing Arts Center: Lab II, 8 p.m.) — “It’s like a John Wayne movie, but with gay people,” promises LaGoDi Collective, the producers of 2010’s Miss Teen Jesus Pageant. Ward Bond in The Searchers always seemed gay to me, but whatever. The Duke’s heyday predates both James Bond and Neil Young. We’ve got our fingers on the pulse of the zeitgeist, here at Fringeworthy. Finger on the pulse.
Chesapeake (Fort Fringe: Bedroom, 8 p.m.) — From Edge of the Universe Players 2 comes playwright Lee Blessing‘s “magical-realist fable about an artist, a politician and the dog that unites their fates forever.” The solo show is performed by Dexter Hamlett, no relation to the fictional melancholy Dane.
Interrogation (Mountain, 8:30 p.m.) — Playwright John Feffer is billing his sixth play to debut at the Captial Fringe in six years as a dark comedy about America’s resignation to the fact of ubiquitous electronic surveillance. Our reviewer Sarah Kaplan was mixed on Feffer’s The Politician last year, but Erin Petty called him “a brilliant writer and performer” in her review of his 2010 Edible Rex. In any case, Feffer’s sardonic commentary on Beltway-insider culture (he works at the Institute for Policy Studies by day) has becoming a pleasantly familiar feature of the festival.
Stone Tape Party (Atlas Performing Arts Center: Sprenger, 8:30 p.m.) — Nu Sass Productions is another Fringe perennial. The sturdy, versatile company behind 2013’s 43 1/2: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies and 2012’s agitprop Tent of Dreams: An Occuplay, among others, now turns its attention to an original tale of sex, drugs, jazz, and ghosts by Danny Rovin.
Hey, Hey, LBJ! (Goethe Institut: Main Stage, 8:45 p.m.) — Vietnam veteran-turned San Francisco Chronicle journalist-turned-standup comic-turned-storyteller David Kleinberg‘s solo account of his experiences covering America’s most divisive 20th century war as an Army Combat Correspondent and then protesting it upon his return to the U.S. promises to be heartfelt and informed by hard-won experience.
There. That oughtta get you started, anyway. If you check out one of these half-dozen, or one of the other two-dozen-plus-one opening tonight, tweet us @fringeworthy and let us know what you thought.
Image from Lee Blessing’s play Chesapeake, which opens at The Bedroom tonight.