[2013089] Festival Fishbowl

[2013089] Festival Fishbowl

Jason Chong and guests @ Rhino Room – Beer Garden

4:30pm, Mon 4 Mar 2013

Last year’s Festival Fishbowl experience exposed me to another quirky ensemble option, and so – on an otherwise quiet Monday – I wandered down to Rhino for a peek. It’s horribly humid, and the Beer Garden is uncomfortably sticky… and I’m the only punter there.

Other people are present, to be sure – besides host Jason Chong and his tech, Maz, their collection of guests meant that they weren’t just performing to the Internet and an empty room. Dave Warneke was first up, explaining his ensemble quiz show FACTY FACT – and showing off an obscenely gangly life-sized cardboard cutout of himself (which later graced the Tuxedo Cat).

Mark Trenwith and Chong chatted briefly about living together in Melbourne (and Trenwith’s deaf housemate), and Ben Mellor & Dan Steele (performers of the wonderful Anthropoetry) spoke about their travels to Kangaroo Island on their week off, and followed up with Head State. Finally, visual artist Janicke Johansen discussed her exhibition Waste-Land and showed off one of her pieces.

Throughout, Chong keeps energy levels high (a tough ask in the humidity), and engages each of the guests in short games. But maybe I should just stop typing – after all, I’ve still got another 67 shows to write up after this one – and give you a bunch of YouTube links to watch it yourself. Here y’go: Intro, Dave Warneke, Mark Trenwith, Anthropoetry, Janicke Johansen.

So – if you can watch the whole thing online, why will I persist in going to these Fishbowls (schedule and sleep permitting, of course)? Well, I get to fling a couple of dollars Chong’s way, of course – I like the fact that he produces a show like this amidst the hubbub of the Fringe. But it’s mainly to find the shows I might’ve otherwise missed, and to talk to more artists; not only did I get the chance to thank Mellor and Steel (once again) for their fantastic show, but my conversation with Warneke cemented my intention to see FACTY FACT, and I wound up seeing Johansen’s work during the last of my ArtWalks (I just snuck in before her work was packed up on March 30… does it surprise anyone that I have a list of all the Visual Art events I attended?). So in that regard, Festival Fishbowl works like a charm for me.

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