It's Rogue Festival time! This is the 8th year of the festival and we're here to tell you how it's gonna be. Well, we're here to tell you how it's gonna be for the two of us. This issue of the Undercurrent comes with a special packet of salt just for our column. The next issue will have information on where to direct complaints regarding missing packets of salt...maybe.
Adam: I've perused the schedule of events and there are two things poking out at me that have piqued my curiosity. The first is Bipolarity of Life: How to Enjoy Life Without Medication put on by Travis Sheridan. Having read his blog and watched him at Pecha Kucha, I look forward to another dose of his wit and wisdom. The other show that has me curious is Hooray for Speech Therapy performed by Kurt Fitzpatrick. I honestly know nothing about him or his show, but the summary on the Rogue's website was enough to make me want to drop $7 just to see. What about you Ed? Have you heard about or seen anything that makes you scratch your chin and go, "Hmmmm"?
Ed: well, I'll be blatant: my show. This is my third year as a Rogue visual artist, and we're the bastard step-children of what is largely a performing arts festival. We're the stuff hanging on the walls behind or next to you as you see some crazy performance. Well, this year Rogue planners decided to let us actually speak by having some "premium" artist spots. Basically, that means I paid a little more application fee and so now you get to hear me talk about the work that's shown and probably whatever else I feel like on three different occasions. There are four other premium artists: Aileen Imperatrice, Rattananan K. Moerdyk, Erynn Richardson, and Sandy Schulte-Day. We mix it up over 5 different shows, each getting three times. Outside of that, I'm pretty sure I'll take in the music of Abigail Nolte, the Blake and Baba show, and Confessions of a Karaoke DJ sounds interesting. Thinking back to last year, Ryan Paulson's Pentecostal Wisconsin was amazingly funny, so I'll have to check out his I'm Uncomfortable.
Adam: Hey thanks for the opening. Allow me to complain about being a bastard step-child, as well. Not only is my work visual art, it's three-dimensional visual art, therefore, not eligible to show. And their reason is fine in that I understand the logic of the claim: they don't have a space available to show art that can't be on the wall. Of course, it makes me angry that the only visual art they can offer viewers is the kind that isn't obtrusive; interfering with the performance acts. I've aired my complaints to the organizers and now I'm airing them here. If any of you dear readers hold sway, make a complaint for us 3-D visual artists. Let's have a spot where artists whose work needs to be walked around can exhibit. The reality of this is that furniture arts, sculptures (metal, ceramic, glass, etc), and other mixed media are excluded from this fantastic arts festival.
Ed: Hey, quit your whining. Just kidding, I know you're not whining. But, take heart, I'm sure that next year it will be bigger, better, and maybe have a 3D art venue. It seems from past experience that every year it gets even bigger and better. I swear there are more performers and venues than I can remember. Now, that may not be factually correct, but I'll stand by it. And. I haven't even factored in the Bring Your Own Venues and other randomness to come along. Even though the Rogue isn't perfect, I'm still glad that Fresno has it. I get sick of hearing about "cool artsy" places like Portland and San Francisco. I'm not bashing them, I'm just saying that Fresno is often thought of as some cultural wasteland. Festivals like this help to smash that false claim. And, each year the Rogue fingerprint gets bigger and deeper through the festival and the Rogue Year Around events. We're drawing people from all over the world to come here and perform and I hope that Fresno realizes and treasures what we've got going. And goes to my show.
Adam: Definitely. I complain because I want change. And that's the beauty of what we've got going on with the Rogue. It's not juried, and with the wide reach of the internet, we can all participate in a dialogue that will serve to improve it year after year. So, go. Look and listen. And then, give the all important feedback than all artists crave. Tell them, the organizers, and the people you go with what you liked and what you didn't. The Rogue is a community effort that can only make Fresno better.