So said Y as we made a u-turn in crowded downtown Minneapolis on Friday night. We were on our way to see a play, but our friend who was already waiting in line informed us it had sold out. We decided to drink wine on our deck instead.
We were able to see the play -- called Shelly Bachberg Presents How Anne Frank and Helen Keller Freed the Slaves: The Musical -- Sunday afternoon, and I'm so glad we didn't miss it. It's the brainchild of Max Wojtanowicz, who is apparently constantly creating funny stuff. He's totally on my radar now. (I'm sure he's super flattered.)
It was the story of a "misguided" Republican Minnesota Congresswoman who frequently distorts history. Sound familiar?
The plot: Shelly Bachberg is promoting her new children's book, in which Helen Keller discovers Anne Frank living in her attic. Together, the dynamic duo travel to Washington DC to free Abraham Lincoln's slaves.
How could that not be amazing?
The play was part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, an eleven day festival of performance art taking place at several venues across the Twin Cities. People take off work the week of Fringe in order to see as many shows as possible. We're not that hardcore -- for the past two years I've waited until the second weekend and picked a show that sounded funny and got stellar reviews. (Last year's was a comedy about two guys who go back in time to the 90s.) It's over as of yesterday, so... sorry? But you should really clear your calendar for next August.
So here's a funny story: the first time I heard that Minneapolis had a Fringe Festival, my first thought was MALE GENITALIA!!!
Allow me to explain.
In 2005, I studied abroad in London and Edinburgh, home of the world's largest Fringe Festival, which also happens to be the world's largest arts festival. The festival took over what felt like the entire city, and my friends and I saw three shows:
+ a stand up show starring 4 people with disabilities who did extremely offensive, hilarious bits about... people with disabilities.
+ an improv comedian who based a sketch on my best friend's childhood imaginary friend... a pet chicken. I don't know if I've ever laughed so hard.
+ (avert your eyes, dad...) a little show recommended to us by our professor called Puppetry of the Penis (google at your own risk). I'm not really sure what our professor was thinking -- perhaps he was just trying to distract us from the fact that someone had tried to blow up the Tube while we were on it -- but, we went to the show. It was two Australian guys made shapes with their junk for an hour. It was... gross-larious?
Hence my associating Fringe Festival and... yeah.