Fringe felicitations: Best of winners, encores announced

The cast of “Best of Fringe” Award-winning Lost and Found in the Mission includes (from left) Rowena Richie, Susie Hara, Carol Landes, Joan D. Saunders, Peter Griggs and Jocelyn Truitt. The play won the “best ensemble” award and will receive an encore performance on Friday, Sept. 26. Photo by Borys Prozak


They came, they fringed, they conquered.

The 17thannual San Francisco Fringe Festival closed its 12-day marathon run Sept. 14, and the 20 “Best of the Fringe” award-winners are basking in their glory after having been chosen from 46 participating shows. Here are the winners, and you’ll find at the bottom of the list, an opportunity for you to partake in some of the cream of the fringe crop.

Best of the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival

  • Best Musical: “EXIT Sign: A Rock Opera,” Supersonic Theatre, San Francisco
  • Best Female Solo, “The Punchline,” Alicia Dattner, San Francisco
  • Best Solo Male Comedy and Techie’s Choice Award: “On Second Thought,” Paul Hutcheson, Toronto, Ont.
  • Best Performance: “True Theatre Critic,” Omar Sangare, Warsaw, Poland
  • Best Poet: “Monkey Poet: Big Brown Number Two,” Matt Panesh, Manchester, UK
  • Best Site Specific Show: “Theatre That Moves,” Hugi the Great, San Francisco
  • Best Cameo Performance: Jane Entwhistle in “The Nanny,” The Ukulady’s Ponyshow, Los Angeles
  • Best Sketch Comedy & Best Box Office: “Exotic Messages,” OPM, Los Angeles
  • Best Dance Performance: “Identity Crisis,” inFluxdance, Charlottesville, VA
  • Best Comedy: “Peg-Ass-Us,” Pack of Others, Brooklyn, NY
  • Best Performance Art: “The Iron Muffin/Glass Jungle II,” Sha Sha Higby, Bolinas, CA
  • Best Showcase: “Open Season: A Queer Performance Showcase,” The Garage & The Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco
  • Best Clown Ensemble: “After-Party,” Pi: The Physical Comedy Troupe, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Best Ensemble Performance: “Lost and Found in the Mission,” Boathouse & Co. Performance, San Francisco
  • Best Play & Overall Production: “Knuckleball,” End Times Productions, New York, NY
  • Best Local Production: “Loving Fathers,” J.B. Enterprises, San Francisco
  • Best Literary Staging: “Late Night with the Boys: Confessions of a Leather Bar Chanteuse,” Alex Bond, Ridgefield Park, NJ
  • Best Postcard: “Along the Path of Larks and Swallows,” Chaotic Heart/Mia Paschal, San Francisco

Encore performances of four of the “best” shows will be staged Sept. 26 and 27 at EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy St., San Francisco. Tickets for each show are $20, and all proceeds go to support the 2009 San Francisco Fringe Festival scheduled for next September.

On Friday Sept. 26th: 7:00 p.m. – “EXIT Sign: A Rock Opera”; 8:30 p.m. – “Lost and Found in the Mission”

On Saturday Sept. 27th: 6:30 p.m. – “Loving Fathers”; 8:30 p.m. – “The Punchline”

Call the fringe hotline at 415-673-3847. Visit

Fringe Fest frenzy flares

Thessaly Lerner stars in The Ukulady’s Pony Show, part of the 17th annual San Francisco Fringe Festival. Photo by Lennon


And here Edinburgh, Scotland thinks it’s got a great fringe festival. Ha!

Back for a 17th season is the San Francisco Fringe Festival, beginning today (Sept. 3) and running through Sept. 14 at a dozen downtown San Francisco venues.

There are 48 shows in all, most not more than an hour and here’s the best deal of all: tickets are $5 to $9. That’s right: real, live theater with actual human beings for less than what it costs to sit through The House Bunny.

Most of the shows are at the EXIT Theatreplex (156 Eddy St. and 277 Taylor St.), but a few are scattered in other venues including Grace Cathedral, The Center for Sex and Culture, Off-Market Theatre, Phoenix Theatre and Boxcar Theatre.

With 48 shows from which to choose – by performers from the Bay Area, across the country, Canada, Poland and England – it’s hard to know which shows to recommend. But with prices so affordable, you might as well go see at least five shows. That way you’ll probably end up loving two, liking two and wishing you had skipped that other one. Those are good entertainment odds.

Here are a few shows that emerged as intriguing from amid the avalanche of Fringe Festival press releases:

Exit Sign – A Rock Opera (pictured above) – Americans, or so we’re told by the Supersonic Theater, have a hard time with death. That’s the basis for this rock ‘n’ roll musical adventure about a father and daughter as they travel through experiences of time, mortality, death and love. Sept. 6, 11, 13, 14 at the EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor St.

Along the Path of Larks and SwallowsMia Paschal and chaotic heart offer a dark comic valentine of love, heartbreak and passion. Here’s the catchy tagline: “If only you could break up with somebody right at the beginning it would take a lot of the guesswork out of it, wouldn’t it?” Sept. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason St.

Late Nights with the Boys: confessions of a leather bar chanteuseAlex Bond and David L. Carson read selected chapters from Ms. Bond’s novel, which comes from her late-’70s days in the Dallas gay leather bars. Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 at the EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor St.

To Kill ForVertigo 50 presents a play about Alfred Hitchcock, who, in the afterlife, misses his wife, Alma Reville. While he waits for her to appear, he is talked into remaking his film “Vertigo.” Alma will arrive, but not before Hitch has had visits from Kim Novak, James Stewart and Tippi Hedren. Sept. 5, 8 and 9 at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St.

True Theatre Critic – Polish solo performer Omar Sangare, a professor at Williams College, presents his show about a defeated man who, through his sorrow and anger, finds sweet revenge in criticizing those who have rejected him time and again. Sept. 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, EXIT Theatre Stage Left, 156 Eddy St.

The Ukulady’s PonyshowThessaly Lerner (aka The Ukulady) and her Russian nanny (played by Jayne Entwistle) bring their long-running variety extravaganza to the Fringe with guests including the Neosurrealists, Sam Shaw, Gerri Lawlor, Susan McCollom, The Whistleaires, OPM, Don Seaver & Moresies. Sept. 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13 and 14 at the EXIT Theater, 156 Eddy St.

Madge’s Box: The truth about women, vaginas and AmericaHarvey Rabbit presents this self-explanatory show about a housewife who has everything – husband, kids, TiVo – but her vagina. Mixing clown, burlesque, monologue and song, Rabbit goes deep into the dullness of the American Dream. Sept. 4, 6, 10 and 12 at EXIT Stage Left, 156 Eddy St.

My Camino – Canadian Sue Kenney (above, photo by Johnny Lam) walks two miles on a treadmill as she relates the story of her trek covering 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The show is adapted from Kenney’s book “My Camino,” which will soon be a feature film. Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 at the EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor St.

For a complete schedule, artist bios, audience reviews, photos and videos, visit Call 415-673-3847.