Friday, March 18, 2011

Eating Out the Rogue Hangover

Post Rogue salutations dear Fresnans!  It's taken almost 5 days before I could finally get a full nights sleep.  Full night meaning almost 12 hours and waking up to a storm blowing into town.  I'm glad that it decided to hold off showing up so everybody had good weather to draw in their crowds.

So to wrap up our Rogue coverage, we stopped in to see Airplayne Jayne's, An Accident Waiting To Happen at the lovely City Arts Gallery.  What a touching show!  I really loved her narrative and it totally drags you into her perspective throught the story's interweaved plots of youth, adventure and facing death.  All I can say is Plain Jayne In Pain is insane!  She pulls this off with style and all while tearing her hair out to keep the Rogue Festival as a whole on the tracks.  She shines under pressure thats for sure.

And of course we had the final two installments of Cap'n Scurvy's Ragnarok Hootenanny Jamboree.  Dear jeebus we had too much show this year.  Not counting musical instruments, we had an entire pickup load of props and costuming.  And with limited Tower parking, load in and load out were frenzied Keystone Cop affairs.  But we pulled her off with something I'd like to call aplomb.  The finale at Diana's Dance Studio was an absolute dream.  We had never worked with them before, but they nailed every light and sound cue, didn't freak out when we covered their nice dance floor in gore and were absolutely awesome about the fact that we turned out an hour and a half show.  The last audience got the full and final iteration of the show and in my opinion the best.  3 months and 3 performances went a long way to putting the final polish on the gags and the blocking.  All of the audiences were great and the last one was standing room only!  Thanks for attending as we pushed the old girl off in her burning viking longship for burial on the seas on comedy.

And big thanks need to go out to everyone who puts on the Rogue Festival!  Without folks like them, small theater companies and hesitant Fresnan artists wouldn't have an affordable way to shake their art-butts.  From the first opening to the final wrap party at Starline, they're working their butts off for free.  And speaking of the wrap party...well honestly it's a bit fuzzy.

See, like any good cast of nutjobs, as soon as we finished the show, we dashed back to the lair to demolish a bottle of Tomintoul 16 year old and a bottle of Hendricks Gin, both direct from the shores of Scotland.  And I'm here to say that it's true, the stuff sent for export is noticeably different.  Not awfully so, but domestic Hendrick's is a wee bit smoother.  And the Tomintoul was hands down the best whiskey I've ever had.  Not just because it represented victoriously finishing a very complex production, but because it was goddamn good!  Smooth, just a tiny hint of smoke, fine flavor of peat lightly drifting through the nose.  I'm ruined for scotch for life.  But it's a mighty fine peak to have reached.

So it's a sloppy stagger towards the wrap party.  On the way, it occurs to me that I've only had a salad all day, so we duck into Livingstone's for a quick bite.  I know, I know, I'm beating the Stone's drum.  But I've been quite curious to be proven wrong on my like for the place.  So we hopped into a booth some friends were already eating at.  We gabbed for about 5 or so minutes before deciding to eat.  About 2 minutes their waitress stops by to check on us, takes our orders immediately, has waters at the table and gets us silverware.  Pretty damn pro considering how faux pas our tripling of her table is.  Our burgers arrive promptly and hot, but oh dear!  My beef nachos has the dreaded pico de gallo I specifically asked not be there!  I politely point out the mistake and she politely apologized and dashed back to the kitchen and brought out a freshly made plate.  Quick too, but then again nachos are a quick dish.  Incidently, they were so awful that I wolfed down near the entire plate.  And I'm digging their salsa.  Not very spicy, but it has a great flavor.

Either way I've got to conclude that Stone's is still a great place for drinks and dinner.  It's not fancy schmancy dining.  It's a nice middleground where shorts aren't a problem, but you can still get a nice piece of fish.  Mistakes will happen, but it's how quickly and pleasantly that they are fixed that resonates with me.  They don't claim perfection, but they will do their best to make the diner happy.

Speaking of happy, wasn't there a wrap party next door?  A raging one given how well I can hear it next door.  So we dash in for our last real chance to rub shoulders with all of the new and old friends who've been insane enough to dance and sing and joke and act for the happy Fresno peoples.  One thing I noticed, performers are horrible audience members!  High off our performances and respective successes, we collectively were out-talking the band's amps.  But it was all a vibe of comraderie and friendship.  Grasping those last moments of fellowship before we have to revert back to our Clark Kentish identities and board the various modes of transport to homes all over the map and Selma.  Awards were given out, though what they were I never heard.  Toasts were made, hugs were spread around and compliments flowed like they came from a busted beer spigot. 

Finally it was time to wrap the wrap.  A final slow trundle through Fresno's art district, following the spoor of some poor drunk who apparently vomited his way home along our very route.  Love you Fresno.  To a final cocktail with the director while gazing at the charred remains of our original script.  It was a  helluva festival.  We saw some great shows, put our own brand of creativity on stage, met and chilled with some fascinating artists.  And it happens every year!  I wonder what next year will bring.