Anna's picks

Share this:
August 1, 2005 // UPDATED 1:56 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Prattt
Anna Prattt


I still sometimes have the impulse to push all of the buttons for every floor in a towering building with lots of floors. Maybe that's obsessive-compulsive behavior. Maybe I can't make choices, or I choose too many options. Or, I just like the idea of viewing every single floor.

OK, fine, it doesn't happen very often. I don't usually need to restrain myself in elevators. But I do think that Minnesota Fringe Festival performer Patrick Braucher taps into the childish impulse to push all of the buttons in an elevator in his one-woman (yes, woman) psychodrama, "The Sound of Muzak." Visiting different floors becomes a metaphor for choice and decision-making.

Braucher gives the audience the chance to be passengers in an elevator in your not-so-basic department store. On the lowest level are house wares and other domestic items that symbolize the old-fashioned edict that a woman's work is never finished.

Another floor is more masculine, with "drinkin'" and "cussin'," which you don't want to confuse with the love, hate and alimony floor. What other floors might you peer into?

• Aug. 4-13; Th Aug. 4, 8:30 p.m.; Sa Aug. 6, 1 p.m.; M Aug. 8, 10 p.m.; Th Aug. 11, 7 p.m. Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 4th St. S. $12. 651-209-6799,

Click here

Google is no longer just a search engine. It's a verb. For example, not only can you find information with the help of Google, but you can also "google it."

The concept of googling something has entered our common vocabulary. Sometimes Google locates exactly what we're looking for (T.G.F.G. or Thank God For Google!).

Other times, the results of a google become absurd. For example, I've googled myself (who hasn't?) and discovered a number of dead Anna Pratts. According to Google, it seems that most of my counterparts exist only in sepia tone.

But Google isn't the only thing that could be endlessly entertaining about the Internet. There are plenty of online forums wherein people share their enthusiasm for everything from city policy to knitting in blogs (short for "web logs"), bulletin boards, online diaries and more.

The sheer number of subcultures that exists within this vast electronic space is enough to inspire the Hamel Road Theater Project in this Fringe Festival production called "Blogologue."

The sketch comedy stitches together some terrible and wonderful online chats, journal entries, announcements, news, gossip - lots of references that'll speak to any virtual hitchhiker. Click!

• Aug. 4-12; Th Aug. 4, 7 p.m.; Sa Aug. 6, 10 p.m.; Su Aug. 7, 8:30 p.m.; Th Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m.; F Aug. 12, 5:30 p.m. Mixed Blood Theater, 1501 4th St. S. $12. 651-209-6799,

Big noise

Sometimes certain tunes have the ability to trigger a memory or just conjure something familiar. Like Loreena McKennitt's song that reminds me of my plane trip back from London after my study abroad was completed.

It was a sad journey. I'd left too early in the morning to say my goodbyes, lost my plane ticket home, broken part of my camera and been forced to "redistribute" the weight of my luggage into a cardboard box that I had to construct myself (giving me more luggage than I can carry). All while sweating profusely under the extra layers I was wearing. You know, since I wore all of the clothes that didn't fit inside my suitcase.

A half-hour before takeoff, I almost had to call my parents to wire money for the fees of reissuing the flight ticket and surpassing the 40 kilos we were allowed to tote. Luckily, there were just enough funds in my bank account ($250 to be exact).

I can't remember the title of the song that sparks that moment, but it's about passage and every time I hear it, it seems especially tuned to my harried travel.

This is the territory that Fringe performer Rik Reppe explores in his auditory montage, "Glorious Noise: Loss, Love and Life at the New Orleans Jazz Fest," part of the Fringe Festival.

Reppe is the incidental heir to some New Orleans Jazz Fest attendees' own moments of grief or love. He's well aware of how music preserves memories like an abstract archive.

During the jazz fest, Reppe gets an earful. He didn't expect to meet a murderer who has a penchant for Bob Dylan or a steroid junkie who loves music (and probably suffers some hearing loss from over-amplification). There are others whose meeting place is the music. Reppe tells these jazz patrons' stories, set to the music that drew them out.

• Aug. 5-14; F Aug. 5, 8:30 p.m.,; M Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; Th Aug. 11, 10 p.m.; Sa Aug. 13, 7 p.m.; Su Aug. 14, 2:30 p.m. Loring Playhouse, 1633 Hennepin Ave. S. $12. 651-209-6799,