By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
The best satire is tinged with ambiguity, sometimes seeming wholly mysterious in its intent. A craftily constructed send-up might fool you, just as the most earnest disaster can pass for inspired parody. In my stack of Fringe Festival press releases is an item that I initially took for a great joke. The smarmy photo and breathless copy screamed "put-on," but then I wasn't so sure. I examined the picture and description for several minutes, looking for definitive proof of sincerity or irony. I settled on "my god, this is serious!", and thus won't disparage this potentially great and heartfelt show by revealing its title. You can't judge a book by its cover, after all--though of course you can.
In this spirit, what follows are 10 questions where we ask you to separate Fringe fact from fiction. Send your answers to email@example.com by Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. and we'll put our team of recently laid-off teachers to work grading your entries. If more than one super-student aces the exam, we'll draw a name from either a hat, or some other object shaped like a hat. The winner takes home an unlimited pass for the second and final weekend of the festival--suitable for framing or just cramming into your wallet. Please include your name and daytime phone number with your e-mail, and be ready to drop by the office to retrieve your valuable prize and our hearty congratulations. All judges' decisions will be final: You're not exactly going to win the Powerball here whatever should happen, so don't be a piker.
1) Which of the following press-release excerpts is phony?
A. "At times laugh-out-loud funny. At times, not so much."
B. "A wisecracking trip through recovery, taken one step at a time. Sobriety has never been so loaded--with laughs."
C. "See the empty space become a magical theatrical experience as audience-held flashlights and camera flash mix with a single pool of light illuminating the performer on her contagious ecstatic journey."
D. "They rekindle the fire of love when the Dean of Students arrives with her son, Buddy, whose [sic] been sent home with lice."
2) Yes, someone really is performing a Fringe encomium to:
A. Hank Ketchum
B. Uday Hussein
C. Tiny Tim
D. Bob Hope
3) Which one of the following sexy offerings is a real show?
A. Leather and Twinkies and Bears--Oh My!: Wilde Imagination Productions remounts its comedy about the gay dating scene.
B. 3 Way: Three friends compare notes after a barely remembered ménage à trois.
C. Overly Dressed Boys Dancing!: A group of friends show up in black tie--to an informal party!
D. Yes, They Are Real: Barbara Brandt self-examines the ups and downs of being buxom.
4) Three of the following married couples are performing together or separately at the Fringe. The other will likely be going to see American Wedding instead. Who won't be at the Fringe?
5) Which rock band or TV program has inspired a 2003 Fringe show?
6) Which one of the following quotes comes from an actual 2003 City Pages review of a Fringe show?
A. "Thomas's performance is a cauldron of intensity, and yet she telegraphs her anguish with the delicate precision of a master jeweler."
B. "I saw this with my two-year-old son, whose approval was perhaps infectious (his cold certainly was--sorry, folks)."
C. "The only thing keeping me from totally trashing this piece is my vaguely sexual relationship with the sound designer."
D. "If you only see one Fringe show this year, may it be something other than this."
7) Which portrayal of a famous psychologist can be seen this year at the Fringe?
8) Which of the following Fringe shows is a musical?
A. A searing look at one soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam.
B. A skewering of the legal world that doubles as a call for volunteerism.
C. The hilarious misadventures of a Jewish farm girl.
D. A tale of small-town friendship sent awry by a collision of monkeys, whores, and tiny houses.
9) Which of these metaphors was employed in Minnesota Fringe publicity material?
A. "A veritable Persian rug of poetry, prose, and yes, even musiC."
B. "An intricate tapestry of poetry, storytelling, and performance."
C. "A swirling kaleidoscope of spoken-word rants and raves."
D. "A monochromatic linoleum countertop of poetry, prose, and memoir."
10) Which of these passages is a quote from a 2003 Fringe show?
A. Man: "Hey, where's my pen?" Woman: "I'm not the fucking keeper of your pen."
B.Woman: "A pen has no past." Man: "You can't just sit there and say things like that."
C. Man: "For 10 years I've been rotting away in that stinking pen, baby, waiting for this moment." Woman: "Great, and do you want to super-size that?"
D. Woman: "The pen is mightier than the sword." Man: "Not this sword, toots."
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. sharp. The winner takes home an unlimited pass for the second and final weekend of the festival.