More Rogue Recommendations: “Adventures While Black,” “Dammit, Jim” and “Blood Harmony”

Y’all know I don’t review shows. . . but I DO recommend them!  I haven’t been able to get to as many shows as I had planned this Rogue Festival, but here are three I can solidly recommend if you’re looking for some entertaining shows on the final day of Rogue Festival.

And of course, I have my own shows running on the final day. See next post!

Adventures While Black in Great Britain by Les Kurkendaal

leskKurkendaal’s shows always have the personal touch and this one is definitely no stranger! The tale of his meeting his fiance’s family in the Cotswolds of England has that lovingly familiar feel that stories about American-British differences have. Like that one cousin you hang out with at holidays because they’re familiar enough to know your family bullshit but different enough from your siblings to be interesting.

Yeah, this show is that cousin. . . and thank goodness because how would we get through the family reunions without them?

This is a new show for Kurkendaal, so some of his delivery is still working out some kinks and there’s one visit with a gay farmer cousin I wish had been developed a bit more, but it still has the same charm and ease that makes Kurkendaal one of Rogue’s most popular returning acts. The story also has some timely elements that give the narrative a sense of urgency.  Will it work out for our pair of lovers, what with all the family dynamics at play on their adventure?

By the end, you certainly hope so!

The final performances of Adventures While Black in Great Britain are at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and at 8 p.m.  on Saturday 3/9 at the Revue Backroom.

Dammit, Jim! I’m a Comedienne not a Doctor! by Polly Esther.


Photo by Victor Trejo.

My alternative title: “or, A Fangirls Guide to Getting Your Life Back Together.”

I knew there would be a lot that resonated with me with this show from the get go. As someone who deals day-to-day with her overeating the way others deal with sobriety, certain elements of Polly Esther’s story are hauntingly familiar.

But I also live in a Star Trek household and so, there’s the double-clincher. At the point where she describes undergoing a two year trek of watching every episode of every Star Trek series (and more!) I nearly crawled out of my skin as that’s EXACTLY WHAT MY TREKKIE HUSBAND AND I ARE DOING RIGHT NOW!

But even if you’re not a Trekkie or tackling sobriety in AA, it doesn’t matter. I’d pitch this show to anyone who has ever been involved in a fandom for a tv show, book series, movie, anything. I’ve even found elements of Polly’s story among historical costumers and historical re-enactors.

Polly’s performance veers from anxious and highly strung to deeply emotional, and yet finds moments of peace and equilibrium – much like each of us do when trying to take life one challenge at a time.  “Dammit, Jim” does a terrific job of enveloping the audience in Polly’s own sense of awkward earnestness in discovering a world she can embrace: one full of adventure and friendship and strength of character. Anyone who has found their people in a fan community knows the joy of belonging to a community and becoming a better person for doing so.

Dammit, Jim! I’m a Comedienne not a Doctor! has one show Friday at 8:30pm and Saturday 3/9 at 2 p.m. at Vista Theater

The Murray Girls: Blood Harmony

murray girls

The Murray Girls is one of the few music acts I make sure not to miss each Rogue Festival. They offer terrific singing and instrumentation in the American-British-Irish traditional style.  This year’s set included a few modern songs arranged for their moody harmonies (see video snippets below).

Performing at the Veni Vidi Vici patio, Blood Harmony is a beautiful and relaxing respite in your Rogue going experience.

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