Downtown Art

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August 2, 2004 // UPDATED 2:47 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

On the Visible Fringe

Besides offering theatergoers a plethora of performances, the Minnesota Fringe Festival is serving up visual delicacies with its "Visible Fringe" series of art exhibits at several Minneapolis locations, including works of art that challenge our perception, including our self-perception, at Inside Out Gallery in the Warehouse District.

Visible Fringe artist Greg Markstrom's photographs emerged from an identity crisis. Examining the competing forces that govern our sense of self, Markstrom's composite photos deal with reality, dreams and anxieties.

His pictures are ghostly, revealing psychological impressions that seem buried and close to the surface. Many of his photos are haunting, with faces whose features are distorted or blurred. His subjects, real and imagined, also appear to be trapped behind glass doors, windows or under water -- or by a wrinkle in time. Markstrom liquifies the placement of eyes, ears, mouths and noses -- people's seemingly fixed features mix like paint.

As Markstrom's work is ethereal, Visible Fringe artist Kate Hoff's brain scans are otherworldly. In her abstract self-portraits, Hoff visually exaggerates textures, scope and contrast. The final projections of this artist, who experienced a brain aneurysm in 2002, are often moody and seem to mock natural and landscape art. (This is Hoff's first show, to read about the thrill of being a newbie, or getting a hot bikini wax to support John Kerry, check out Hoff's Fringe Festival blog,

katesfringe.blogspot.com.)

Works by Josh Norton are also featured in Inside Out's Visible Fringe exhibit. Norton's art plays with the relationship between man and material. His paintings and linoleum prints -- "Splintering Cascade Woodcut," "Jazz Flowers," "New Texas" and "Sexuality of War Weapons" -- are both decorative and satirical.

Through Aug. 15, Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday noon-4 p.m. Inside Out Gallery, Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 212 3rd Ave. N. Ste. 140. Free.

'My Life As A Telephone Psychic'

In her Minnesota Fringe Festival piece, "My Life as a Telephone Psychic," local musician/actress Erin Muir portrays Arianna, a hard-pressed actress who takes a phone psychic job (she tells herself it's a good chance to stretch her acting skills) to "make it" in Los Angeles.

Trouble is, as she listens to people and answers questions about what to do with their personal lives, Arianna finds that she's drawing from more than her theater background. Now awakened to her psychic abilities, it's Arianna who needs some answers.

The struggling actress/psychic becomes involved with a caller who seems to know more than she does. Now her actions are altering her life and this strange caller's.

The Fringe is a place to catch rising stars, and Muir is certainly one of them. She regularly performs with Le Cirque Rouge de Gus, now based in Dinkytown, and costars in the local cable access sitcom hit, "The Josh and Sandi Show." "My Life as a Telephone Psychic" also features original music by Muir and local musicians Sean Cosgrove and Michael Quinn from Michael Quinn and the Virgin Suicides.

Aug. 7-14, Sunday and Tuesday 8:30 p.m., Wednesday 5:30 p.m., Saturday 2:30 and 7 p.m., respectively MCTC Whitney Studio, 1424 Yale Pl. $5-$12. 604-4466 or www.fringefestival.org.

'8/7 Central'

No Refunds Theatre Co. performs "8/7 Central" by Gabriel Llanas and Matt Dawson. This Fringe Festival satire on 1980s sitcoms turns the TV knob back to bad fashion and the half-hour worlds of such characters as Alex P. Keaton, Bill Cosby and the Olsen twins.

The play is divided into two half-hour family programs that come with built-in commercials. The first half/program, "It's Miller Time," features the Miller kids who're hunting for anniversary gifts for Mom and Dad. A little misguided, the Miller troupe winds up in the attic where they get stuck just long enough to muse over old times and admit to learning their lesson about responsibility.

Next, "Something New Everyday" pokes fun at '80s-sitcoms' domestic crises: Cody attends a party where drugs abound, Dori gives up her virginity, Paula goes into labor and Alan's job is endangered while Sarah proves how smart she is.

Aug. 8-15, Wednesday and Friday 5:30 p.m., Saturday 2:30 p.m., Sunday 8:30 and 5:30 p.m. Red Eye Theatre, 15 W. 14th St. $5-$12.

Anna Pratt can be reached at annapratt@artlover.com.