Apr 2, 2014

DSF in TheaterJones.com

Dallas Solo Fest Lineup Announced

Audacity Theatre Lab will bring in performers from across the country, plus some of our homegrown talent, for the first Solo Fest.

 | TheaterJones.com | published Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alexandra Tatarsky in Beast of Feastive Skin

Dallas — Exciting news for North Texas and the festival scene: The lineup for the first Dallas Solo Fest has been announced. The brainchild of Dallas solo performer and producer Brad McEntire, the event will run May 15-25 at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park presented by Audacity Theatre Lab. The festival includes eight solo performances from across the country, including works from New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Austin, plus shows from Dallas performers Elaine Liner, John Michael and Danny O'Connor.

The inaugural Dallas Solo Fest line-up includes Deanna Fleysher’s Butt Kapinski, Veronica Russell’s A Different Woman, John Michael’s Crossing Your I’s, Zeb L. West’s Innocent When You Dream, David Mogolov’s Eating My Garbage, Alexandra Tatasky’s Beast of Festive Skin, Elaine Liner’s Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love and Danny O’Connor’s Bouncing Ugly. According to the news release, "collectively, these performers represent a wide variety of solo performance styles from storytelling, puppetry and improvisational clown pieces to pieces that defy easy explanation."

Here is more about the shows and performance times:

A Different Woman: A True Story of a Texas Childhood by Veronica Russell (New Orleans), adapted the book My First Thirty Years by Gertrude Beasley. This solo show presents an unvarnished, unapologetic and cynical tale of a rural Texas childhood told by a woman who pulled herself out of the cycle of poverty and abuse in which she found herself. A Different Womanis a darkly humorous stage adaptation of Ms. Beasley's controversial banned memoir.
  • Thursday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 23, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 24, 10:30 p.m.
Zeb L. West in Innocent When You Dream
Beast of Festive Skin by Alexandra Tatarsky (New York City) is an absurdist vaudeville about alchemists, rappers and other creative visionaries stuck in Hell. These deranged darlings of the underworld tell their tales of woe with a truly fiery need to get by. The horror of existence! The agony of creation! The one-woman show people are dying to see!
  • Friday, May 16, 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 18, 5 p.m.
Bouncing Ugly by Danny O’Connor (Dallas) recounts his experience as a bouncer at the Coyote Ugly Saloon in NYC. He has stories, oh yes, he has stories.
  • Thursday, May 15, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 17, 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 18, 8:30 p.m.
Butt Kapinski by Deanna Fleysher (Los Angeles) stars as Private Eye Butt Kapinski. The audience is invited to co-star in an improvisational film noir fantasy. This funny, filthy, fully-interactive ride is riddled with sex, sin, shadows and subterfuge.
  • Thursday, May 22, 10:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 24, 9 p.m.
Crossing Your I’s by John Michael (Dallas) concerns John’s experiences learning from and working with dementia patients. This World Premiere solo show about intergenerational understanding and the messiness of human connections is filtered through John Michael’s uniquely kinetic and hilarious perspective.
  • Thursday, May 15, 10:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 18, 9 p.m.
  • Friday, May 23, 10:30 p.m.
Eating My Garbage by David Mogolov (Boston). Dumbfounded by a call from a political pollster, David searches himself for a reason to believe the nation isn't utterly doomed. When he can't quite think of one, he turns to irrational reasons. That's when his search gets more promising.
  • Friday, May 16, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 17, 10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Innocent When You Dream by Zeb L. West (Austin) takes place in the belly of a whale. A heartbroken castaway, swallowed and driven mad has only two books to read - Don Quixote and Moby Dick.  He acts out the books using puppets and masks fashioned from flotsam. This solo adventure uses physical comedy and sea shanties to smash two literary epics into an hour of shameless antics!
  • Thursday, May 22, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 24, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 25, 3:30 p.m.

Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love by Elaine Liner (Dallas) was a 5-star hit at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Bring your knitting (or crocheting) and stitch along as Dallas writer-performer Elaine Liner shares her obsessions with great literature, old movies and the romantic entanglements of knitting sweaters for significant others.
  • Thursday, May 15, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 18, 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 25, 5 p.m. 
Danny O'Connor in Bouncing Ugly
Here's more about the event from the press release:

The purpose of the Dallas Solo Fest is to celebrate extraordinary solo theatre as well as increase awareness and appreciation for the form in the north Texas area.

The Dallas Solo Fest will be produced by Audacity Theatre Lab and will play at the Margo Jones Theatre. Located at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park at 1121 First Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210, the Margo Jones Theatre features ample free, well-lit parking, access to the DART Rail, and a handy BYOB policy!

Single tickets and Festival Passes for all shows go on sale April 23.  Festival Passes, now on sale, include one admission to each festival show and are $55.  Individual ticket prices for each show are $12. Reservations can be made at the Dallas Solo Fest website or by calling (214) 888-6650. Details about the shows, artists bios, the full schedule and ticket information at www.DallasSoloFest.com 
Original post HERE

Mar 28, 2014

2014 Dallas Big Sexy Weekend of Improv

I spent the afternoon creating a poster design for the 2014 Dallas Big Sexy Weekend of Improv, which will happen July 10-12. My small theatre Audacity is helping co-produce it along with the Alternative Comedy Theater this year and we'll have it at the Margo Jones Theatre down in Fair Park.

I like doing these little hand-drawn (and touched up in Photoshop) designs. Here's a glimpse of the sketching process...

Mar 25, 2014

Hearts Not Eyeballs

Show Your Work!
[via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deathtogutenberg/ ]
Earlier this week I finished Austin Kleon's new book SHOW YOUR WORK! It is an excellent collection of many of the ideas he has previously discussed on his blog and tumblr. It is filled chock-a-block full of ideas large and small about getting your work out into the world.

One of the headings caught my attention right away. 

Last year, I posted about how a friend of mine gave me unsolicited advice about courting press in order to increase the butts-in-seats ratio at all costs. This led to a heated discussion where I tried my best to explain my long-term outlook on not growing an audience, but nurturing a community of supporters and patrons.

I was delighted to get to the part in Kleon's book shown above. He starts off by writing...
"Stop worrying about how many people follow you online and start worrying about the quality of people who follow you."

I'm mentioning it here because it totally reaffirms my quality over quantity approach to evolving a network of patronage. Kleon is referring to people following online, but the sentiment is similar. And it doesn't just apply to patrons. In includes colleagues, poterntial employers, and a myriad of other supporters. 

Hearts not eyeballs, indeed.

If you are creative person who produces some sort of art, then the book is totally work taking a look at.

Mar 24, 2014

DSF Kickstarter success!

With deep gratitude, I am super-pleased to announce that the 2014 Dallas Solo Fest Kickstarter Campaign has been a success! The goal was to reach $1,200 in 20 days. With the help of 34 backers, supporting at a variety of levels, the campaign ended well over the goal amount, bringing in a total of $1,325.

It may not seem like a lot, but as a small-batch operation, we can stretch those dollars like you wouldn't believe. This money will go towards artists stipends, venue costs, marketing, printing, tech support, and other production costs. It means Audacity Theatre Lab will not lose money on the venture going in and with that worry assuaged can, in fact, make the festival even better.

Most importantly, the Kickstarter has raised awareness, drawing several articles in the press - like here and here - and insuring some awesome audience members already (one of the rewards to supporters was a festival pass to the productions).

I'm super-excited about the upcoming Dallas Solo Fest. Mark your calendars for May 15-25, 2014. It is going to be a wonderful, crazy ride!

SIDE NOTE: If you missed the Kickstarter and would still like to donate to Audacity, head HERE.

Mar 23, 2014

4th Annual Monologue Jam

Hosting the 4th Monologue Jam
Yesterday, I hosted the 4th Annual Monologue Jam for the Alternative Comedy Theatre. The event was held at the delightfully intimate Cafe Bohemia in Plano, TX. I performed a demonstrative monologue and there were four other monologuists. Shea Smith won the official Monologue Jam jam. 

Kyle Bradford performing in the Monologue Jam to a packed house...

Mar 19, 2014

Dallas Solo Fest on 'Art And Seek'

Local arts journalist and dancer extraordinaire of DGDG, Danielle Georgiou, was kind enough to interview me about the Dallas Solo Fest. She posted it today. My gratitude to her for the interest and coverage.

First Ever Dallas Solo Fest Coming Soon
Art & Seek | Danielle Georgiou | March 19, 2014

Brad McEntire
Brad McEntire is one funny man. Maybe you’ve seen him on stage as an automated, silver-tongued robot holding a press conference with a dinosaur, or swimming alongside his best friend, a pet goldfish. He’s probably put a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart, because whatever McEntire is doing, he is loving every single minute of it. The passion just flows out of him, and all he wants to do is share it with all of us.

This summer, he is planning on doing just that with the first ever Dallas Solo Fest. Running May 15-18 and 22-25 at the Margo Jones Theatre at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park, the Dallas Solo Fest will showcase eight distinct and dynamic one-person productions. Over the eight-day schedule, McEntire has curated a wide range of performances—from raw and hard-hitting to hilariously outrageous—from some of the best local/regional solo artists, as well as outstanding performers from around the county. The artists included are Veronica Russell (New Orleans), Alexandra Tatarsky (New York City), Deanna Fleysher (Los Angeles), David Mogolov (Massachusetts), Zeb L. West (Austin), and Dallas solo performers Elaine LinerJohn Micheal, and Danny O’Connor.

He is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to raise much needed funding for the festival. Because putting on a festival to the magnitude that he is, takes some money. All the funds raised via this campaign will go toward: venue rental, artists’ stipends, front of house expenses, technical support, marketing costs, website maintenance, program and printing costs, and posters and postcards.

But if anyone can successfully get this production off the ground, it’s McEntire. He is just the man for the job as he is a critically acclaimed solo artist himself. Most recently, his latest work, ROBERTS’ ETERNAL GOLDFISH, was selected as Best of the Loop at the 2014 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival held this past weekend at WaterTower Theatre in Addison. He is also the Acting Artistic Director of Audacity Theatre Lab, a company whose mission is to reflect a sense of exploration and discovery. Originally called Audacity Productions, the small theatre company set up roots in the Dallas area in 1999. They were focused solely on fringe-like, experimental works. For nearly, seven years, they produced works that pushed them all as artists; yet, the group dissolved in 2006. But only for a couple of years. They came back refreshed and ready to work again, under a new name, and with a new mission. Now, the group works as a collective of several idiosyncratic theatre artists who use the Audacity banner to make their own kinds of theatre. No house aesthetic beyond being small and nimble. Each artist is responsible for their own work from idea all the way through to production.

The Dallas Solo Fest is McEntire’s latest project.

Through a series of email conversations, as McEntire and I were both performing this weekend, we discussed what the Dallas Solo Fest means to McEntire and what it could mean for Dallas, Audacity’s partnership with the Margo Jones Theatre, and the Kickstarter campaign currently running for the project (about a week remains for donations).

Danielle Georgiou: What prompted you to create the Dallas Solo Fest?

Brad McEntire: Several things kind of converged to allow the Dallas Solo Festival to happen. Over the past few years I have been personally drawn to solo performance. As I have traveled to venues and festivals around the country I’ve met a number of other great solo performers. The conversation usually turned to “What’s the theatre scene like where you’re from?” Although Dallas has a really vibrant, diverse, and ample local scene, until recently, we weren’t exporting many shows of the small, personal kind; at least, not in comparison to other cities of similar size. Dallas hasn’t had the underground of strong “fringe” performers eager to take their shows out to other audiences in other places. Fortunately, this is changing.

Also, when I would say I was from Texas people instantly asked if I was from Austin. I like Austin a lot, but I’m super proud to be from Dallas. I figured it was time for Dallas to have it’s own festival around small, idiosyncratic solo shows.

DG: Why did you decide to have the festival at the Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park? What about this location drew you in?

BM: The Margo Jones Theatre is a great place for this sort of festival. It, of course has such wonderful history as the launching point of the professional regional theatre movment in the 1940s, but it is also great in some very practical ways. Free, lit parking. DART stop. Bars and restaurants within walking distance. Intimate performance space. BYOB policy. On top of all this, the contemporary Margo Jones Theatre is dedicated to new works and progressive theatre. In that way, I feel, it is keeping alive the spirit of Margo Jones herself. The Dallas Solo Fest fits this aim beautifully.

Danny O'Connor in BOUNCING UGLY: Photo credit: Jarrod Fresquez
Danny O’Connor in BOUNCING UGLY: Photo credit: Jarrod Fresquez
DG: And the company that you are the Artistic Director of, Audacity Theatre Lab, is a new partner at the Margo Jones Theatre, right?

BM: Yes, we became a partner group last summer. For years we had been urban nomads, floating from venue to venue around town (and then the country). Matt Tomlanovich invited us to put up our in-town productions there in Fair Park. He and the other partner groups have been super supportive. Having a venue for the festival, especially the Margo Jones Theatre, really made me finally think, “Why not?”

DG: What do you hope will be the outcome of the Dallas Solo Fest?

BM: The aim of the Dallas Solo Fest is to be a celebration of extraordinary solo theatre as well as increase awareness and appreciation for the form in the north Texas area. I am hoping the audiences in DFW enjoy the exposure to a diverse range of solo performance, with performers coming in from all over the country. I’m also hoping the out-of-towners who come here as artists have a really positive experience and become advocates for Dallas as they continue to take their work around the world.
Alexandra Tatarsky in BEAST OF FEASTIVE SKIN; photo credit: Tatarsky
Alexandra Tatarsky in BEAST OF FEASTIVE SKIN; Photo credit: Tatarsky

DG: This event is curated, which is different from other fringe festivals. Why did you decide to curate the event and the performers?

BM: I hand-picked the performers for this first festival. I wanted a really diverse cross-section of different kinds of solo performance. So, this first time out there is puppetry, storytellers, improvisational clown routines, historical memoirists, monologists, and a few that defy any sort of easy categorization. I also wanted to insure that there was a really high level of quality all around. I am really excited about the group of performers in the festival, national, and local alike. If the festival is successful and we can make it an annual or semi-annual thing, I’ll open it up for submissions in the future.

DG: You recently performed at the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival at the WaterTower Theatre in Addison, Texas. What was that experience like?

BM: It was a blast. I debuted my new solo show ROBERTS’ ETERNAL GOLDFISH in the Stone Cottage, such a wonderfully sized venue for solo theatre. Everyone at the Out of the Loop was friendly and hospitable. It is important to me to premiere my work here in DFW before I take it out into the world and the Loop has become a great place to make that happen.
David Mogolov in EATING MY GARBAGE; Photo credit: Mogolov
David Mogolov in EATING MY GARBAGE; Photo credit: Mogolov
DG: From all this experience you are gaining as a solo performer, what advice do you have for the performers coming to Dallas for the Solo Fest?

BM: Come ready to party! I follow the work hard/play hard motto, so I expect, and know, the performers will be sharing awesome shows and will be awesome to work with. Fortunately, all the performers I’ve chosen this first time out are self-instigators. They are experienced performers, yes, but also used to marketing their own work, meeting deadlines, being prepared, are easy to get along with and all that.

DG: Why did you decide to use a crowdfunding source website like Kickstarter to raise monies?

BM: I am a big supporter of other Kickstarter campaigns and I had a positive experience a few years ago raising funds to take my own solo show to the New York International Fringe Festival. The budget of the Dallas Solo Fest is not astronomically expensive, but I want to do everything as awesome as possible. I figured the Kickstarter would be a way to raise more money for artists’ stipends, marketing, printing, venue costs and such. It also raises awareness in a wonderful way…It’s not an argument of why the project is worthy or should be funded, so much as it’s like an invitation to a party.

If you are interested in donating to the Dallas Solo Fest, please visit the project’s campaign here.