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september 2016 | Volume 147


“Ze”: Queer as Fuck!
My Stroke of Luck
Zeppelin Was a Cover Band
Various venues
Sept. 8-18


Fringe Review #1

Three solo shows about transformation, all on bare stages – the performers directly address the audience:

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 Ze”: Queer as Fuck! Michelle Ryan

“Ze”: Queer as Fuck!
Written and performed by Michelle Lunicke; directed by Peter Larsen
Performance Works
Remaining shows: Sept 15, 6:45; Sept 17, 4:10; Sept 18, 2:15

“Michelle/Ryan is my presenter name. I am both of these people and also something in-between (Ren). I go by pronouns ze/zir …” Zir show starts awkwardly but picks up steam as ze tells zir story. Ze dated lesbians despite zir religious parents who took zir to a Pray-the-Gay-Away conference. Ze married a woman but then suffered “the dreaded LBD: lesbian bed death” as the sex faded. Ze decided, “I wanna fuck a guy in the ass—all these gay guys, they seem pretty smug about whatever it is they’re doing.” Ze does, in a terrific scene, but as a result is rejected by the lesbian community, becoming a “has-bian.” Ze is smart, and once ze drops the “hey, are we all having fun” routine, zir show becomes a compelling call for a universal polymorphously perverse sexuality and completely fluid gender identity. If that’s your thing, see this show.

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 My Stroke of Luck. Diane Barnes

My Stroke of Luck
Written and performed by Diane Barnes; directed by David Ford
Studio 1398
Remaining shows: Sept 14, 5:00; Sept 15, 10:15; Sept 16, 6:45; Sept 18, 1:00

An African American doctor and single mother of two sons, Diane Barnes is riding a horse one day when she’s struck with a severe headache and disorientation. Turns out to be an aneurism and a stroke. What follows is a series of object lessons in what NOT to do if you think you’ve had a stroke. Nevertheless, after many difficult struggles, Barnes makes a miraculous recovery as her performance itself attests: you would never know that this was a stroke victim. Her story, though, is about what she lost and what she gained, how her stroke made her a different person and in many ways a better person—certainly a better mother. Her older son’s journey is as central to the story as her own. This is pretty much unadorned storytelling. If you’re interested in life-changing transformations, see this show.

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 Zeppelin Was a Cover Band LOUIS LONGPRE´

Zeppelin Was a Cover Band
Written by Stéfan Cédilot and Ben Kalman; performed by Stéfan Cédilot
Studio 1398
Remaining Shows: Sept 13, 9:30; Sept 16, 10:25; Sept 18, 6:30

Cédilot tells the Led Zeppelin story: how the band members got together; the hard, loud, brain-crushing music Jimmy Page was going for; and in particular their transformation (or adaptation or theft) of old blues and folk songs into a new heavy metal sound. This is really a musically illustrated lecture. The music is recorded but the lecture is live, and made lively by Cédilot’s energy and wry delivery. The music is great—Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and of course Zeppelin. And towards the end Cédilot gives us some spectacular air guitar. If you’re a Zeppelin fan or a blues fan, definitely see this show.

Jerry Wasserman



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