High Ho! Your incredibly hungover blogger here! Ok shhhhh. My head is freaking killing me! I didn't even go out and get sloshed on Fat Tuesday! Being not-Catholic, I prefer to have a barbeque to really piss off everyone suffering under the arcane culinary laws of the Lentish season. Don't blame me, God made pork delicious for a reason.
So on to the Rogue! Sadly, on the food front, I've been running on liquor and hubris. So there haven't been any real culinary adventures, short of discovering how long a human can run on beer. The Egyptians seem to have known a thing or two, since I made it through the weekend.
Obviously I got to see two showings of Cap'n Scurvy's Ragnarok Hootenanny Jamboree! Lord, a matinee audience is a difficult one. And I'm proud to note that apparently a couple folks didn't read their programs, this ain't your Grandpappy's jamboree! Although all things told, I hear their respective Grandpappies were WAY cooler. And I'm told that they'll being showing up to the FINAL, FAREWELL, NEVER EVER EVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN, shows this weekend! Friday 7:00pm @ Million Club and Saturday 8:30pm
@ Diana's Dance Studio. Catch it before your girlfriend gives it to you!
On to Baba Brinkman, the thinking man's rapper with Rapconteur. Beyond that he's rhyming through a recently broken leg (who the hell goes snowboarding before Rogue??), he's also giving his audiences a primer in the epic sagas of yore. I know that my superlative use of suffixes may dazzle you, but you may be shocked to find out I have little foundation in the Classics. And even a slope browed yokel has to bray that Baba was able to make a couple semesters worth of English Lit goddamn entertaining and maintained a strong rhyme narrative throughout. If you're a fan of nerdcore hiphop or just enjoy books, this show will be right up your alley.
Next up on our evening was getting to see the updated version of a show we've already reviewed. Carolann Valentino's Burnt at the Steak-Prime Cuts. If you enjoyed the show last year, it's certainly worth a rewatch, just to enjoy the musical bits and keep an eye out for the added skits and characters. It's not totally reimagined, but she shows even more polish and comfort with her roles. For a fellow kitchen refugee, her show reminds me of every weeping server and belaguered front of house staffer I've ever worked with in some fashion. Though I find it fun trying to imagine my old head cook as a swaggering cat from New Jersey.
And last up for our still available Rogue performances and certainly the closest to my wicked heart. He's a Monk from the Motor City. Honorary Fresnan and frankly a bigger advocate for our town than the Chamber of Commerce, the only fan of Cooking With Pook, every week, Wendesdays 4-6pm on CentralValleyTalk.com, The Reverend Nuge!!! He's a huge Kid Rock fan, and we forgive him for that. Mostly because he chooses to emulate the rap-rocker in a most agreeable liquor-ish way that you must attend to show to see....hint hint. And there's also a pretty badass show to see. Well, badass is more the theme. He focuses on all the things that we look back on over time and wish we had the foresight to come up with that zinger or that deep comment, rather than whatever regretable comment escaped our jaws. It's a hellaciously fun show that can make you think some deep shit without hurting your brain too hard. The Jim Beam does alot to soften the blow. So go see all these fuckers!
The wrap up is circling about the most excellent night we got to have at the Iron Bird Cafe last night for the Beat Down vs Rogue Festival Poetry Slam. Again, missed out on food, but had a mocha that made me remember why I became a coffee snob. They do shit right there. But so apparently did the Slam, because the entire front of the place was wall to wall people. It's a good thing I was there to film, because I was shit outta luck for chair space. And that makes me feel a little more happy about Fresno. It's nice to see a good scene crowded with good people out to have some fun and rock some art.
And rock they did. DJ Smack Jilly was driving everyone fucking mad by picking some of the fattest grooves to intro the poets. They HAD to be good, because we all wanted more James Brown, Cypress Hill, LL Cool J (yeah, I said it) and every damn track! But throw down they did! On the Beatdown Team, Michael Domin'Q'ez layered out his hot saucy love for pizza, David Nixon got deep on bugs and growing up with adopted siblings, Rain owned her body and her mind, Christa Rose Unger sang soulfully of rhyme and Scurvy demanded that you kill your TV, overthrow your fatcat overlords and make a world where not reading books is a crime! Fresno brought some strength!
Now it's down to the out of towners, burnt and crispy from their weekend openings, sleeping in cages and being fed gruel by their terribad Fresno hosts! (I totally kid, all the Rogue performers have raved about their billets...under pain of DEATH!) And so, Barry Smith (edit: I'm wrong it was Kurt Fizpatrick) gives us an insight into a first date...where she tells him that she has a yeast infection...and whom she got it from. Baking bread my friends, baking bread. Next up is Tommy Nugent (The Rev) and he riffs on his them of "Wish I hads" and leads us on a tale of her border guard brother talking shit about being a performance artist and Nuge's fantastic rebuttal that we all should take note of for use against asshole relatives. And Baba....dear Baba Brinkman, who seriously brough the BEAT DOWN to the Slam. He had a soft open, but wrote his second piece as a roast, while observing all of the performers on the other team and just ripped into some ass. Celebrity judge Chuck Leonard wasn't even exempt from Baba's razor wire rhymes, comparing the Mayor of the Tower District to Oprah in a rather unflattering light. That wicked so-and-so even took at few shots at the Ragnarok Hootenanny Jamboree!
And took third, even with a fat goose egg from a certain interweb celebrity that shall remain infamous. Second went to David Nixon and First place was a throwdown tie between Katherine Glover (of Burning Brothels) and the aforementioned Carolann Valentino! Both opened up with pieces I'm familiar with. Kat with Penthouse Letters Read After Being Put Through A Paper Shredder. And Carolann with a rendtion of Big Fat Daddy, an homage to fat people who love large steaks (right up Fresno's alley). Second off Katherine has a great tale of feeling bi- in the midst of a preacher giving a breakdown of homosexuality and describing lesbians as never having sex but having extremely successful relationships and her joy at the idea of a never ending slumber party. Carolann firing back with a rendition of a panty-less British lady singing her well chosen reasons to let the pussycat come out to play. And it was tie-o-rama!
And so the tie breaker was thrown down! And I ran out of tape! And I have a hard time remembering much more about something scant hours ago! Needless to say, Katherine had another great piece prepared and read, Carolann did an improv riff on how disgusting high rollers act in restaurants and they bloody tied again! So, kindly enough the owner of the Starline offered to match the top prize and both ladies got to walk away winners, technically making the Rogue Festival double winners of the First Annual Beat Down vs Rogue Festival Poetry Slam. But props should be given all around. Every poet brought some awesome and entertaining shit, the crowd was as lovely as anyone could hope for and goddamn that mocha went down good.
Ending the night up at Fulton 55 for a beer and a chance to check out the Licorice Pimps just topped off the night. The club is AWESOME! You get a nice cozy cafe sized atmosphere downstairs and upstairs you've got the ultrachill louge of doom! Plenty of space to sit for a small show and plenty of room for fans for big ones. And the Pimps were a hella fun band to boot. Anyone who can cover Gnarles Barkley's Crazy, live on instruments with no canned effects deserves some respect. They kept us out way past bed time, which I should probably observe at this point.