Every week for the next four weeks, I’ll be introducing you to each member of Art or Evidence?, the music/spoken word group I joined last fall to create a show for Rogue Festival. Our show is titled “Tea Liturgy” and is a “creative brew of tea, music, humor, and inspiration to spark ideas for our audience.” Each of us has a chance to share our particular form of art with the audience exploring the theme of everyday creativity in hopes they they, too, can recharge their batteries.
Victor DesRoches is the frontman for Americana folk group Boxcar Figaro and a noted area photographer. He put together Art or Evidence? in 2017 as a collaborative endeavor with Tracy Fulton, poet and visual artist (and his spouse), and Charis Calvert (a classical percussionist) and Rachel Witort (a songwriter and ukelele and piano player). I stepped in for Tracy this year as she stepped aside.
Here’s what Victor thinks about things:
In one word, describe your present condition.
In one sentence, what’s going on in your world?
I’m gearing up for Rogue Festival, which always adds to the already full schedule I usually keep.
With no restrictions on content or form, describe the present condition of your artistic outlook.
My artistic outlook is good right now. I’m enjoying working with new people, and that’s carrying over into the work I’m doing on my own.
What does Art or Evidence bring to your creative life that you don’t get anywhere else?
Art or Evidence is creatively collaborative for me, which is not the way I normally work. Most of the time, I create on my own, or do the bulk of the work alone and bring it to other people. Art or Evidence is very balanced with all four members having equal input. That’s a lot of fun (and less work).
How would you describe Art or Evidence: Tea Liturgy in its present state?
This will be my 16th Rogue Festival show, so I’m pretty familiar with the timing. We’re about where I expected we’d be, not where I hoped we be, but not too far off. And this is a great team, so I know everyone will pull it together and hit their marks when they need to.
What other creative or performance endeavors are you wrapped up in these days?
I’m still working at growing the audience for my band Boxcar Figaro. We’ve got 7 gigs coming up between now and April, and I have a solo gig as well. I’ll be attending a multi-day songwriting workshop soon. I’m looking forward to doing photography for the Rogue Festival. I am ever-so-slowly working on recording a third album with the band. And I’m trying to find time to finish building an acoustic guitar I started in the fall that’s only about 1/3 done.
What do you find exciting about the creative work you’re involved with right now?
I’m really excited to collaborate with other people, especially people with a different background or approach to my own. I’m a folk musician and a rambly story teller. Now I’m working with classically trained musicians and a theatre person. I’m trying to learn what I can from their approaches.
What makes a great audience for you?
I like an audience I can connect with. When I perform, I generally interact with the audience quite a bit. When that’s not there, it knocks me off my game.
What’s your vision for the next five years?
Keep building the audience for Boxcar Figaro. We generally get a good response from our audiences, and some people really like what we do. I’d like to broaden our geographic reach and play out of the area. I also want to do more solo singer/songwriter shows just to keep my chops up. I want to do more photography. I’ve moved a little away from that the past few years, and I miss it. And I’d like to see a new US President—one who’s not a con artist and a grifter. I hate con artists. Always have. They’re not real artists.
What’s one thing you hope to find or experience at Rogue Festival this year?
I’m looking forward seeing more shows. Last year I was a performer and venue manager and I didn’t get to see anything all the way through but the shows I was in. I’ve seen the program for this year, and there is a lot of very interesting stuff.
Art or Evidence?: Tea Liturgy runs during the Rogue Festival in Fresno’s Tower District.
Friday, March 1 — 8 pm, Sunday, March 3 — 3 pm, Friday, March 8 — 8:30 pm, Saturday, March 9 — 6:45 pm (Latecomers welcome. Runtime: 45 min)
Location: Fulton Street Art, 1118 N Fulton St, Fresno CA 93728 In the Tower District
Tickets: $7. Tickets online or at the door 30 minutes prior to showtime. www.roguefestival.ticketleap.com/tea-liturgy