The 2019 Rogue Festival features 250 performances by 53 performing groups in 11 Tower District venues in Fresno’s largest, craziest and most courageous performing arts festival.
The Rogue Festival, Fresno’s completely uncensored theater and performing arts festival, will return to the Tower District March 1-9. This year’s 18th annual Rogue Festival will present over 250 separate performances of theater, music, dance, comedy, spoken word, and magic from 53 performing groups in 11 different venues.
But the most important thing about the Rogue isn’t its size or variety, but it’s freedom for both performers and audience, says Rogue Festival’s new executive director, Amber Strid.
The Rogue Festival is built on a principle that there should be no censor, no curator, no selection committee standing between the artist and the audience. The Festival does not choose who can or cannot participate. There are no restrictions on what performers can say or do, outside of safety codes and legal matters. For the audience, this is the one event in the San Joaquin Valley where they can see the raw, uncensored, unmediated performance — and only the audience gets to say what’s good or what’s bad by leaving reviews and spreading word-of-mouth.
While previous Rogue Festivals accepted all applications on a first-come, first-serve basis, this is the now holds a lottery to allocate performing slots randomly and fairly.
Returning to the Rogue this year is the “Artists’ Underground” program, which allows performers who didn’t make it through the lottery to create their own venues in commercial spaces, local businesses and backyards. Five performers took advantage of last year’s Artist Underground. This year that number has expanded to twelve. “We’re very excited that the Artist Underground program is being taken advantage of by artists who are willing to take risks and put up their own shows. That was Marcel Nunis’ original vision for the festival when he founded it in 2002. We glad to see more artists embodying that DIY, punk aesthetic and doing it for themselves,” says Strid.
Nunis is not just the founder of the festival, he is also this year’s Muse. Strid and co-director Vince Warner opted to honor Nunis by making him the face of this year’s festival. The Muse is the image used as the poster and program cover and is chosen each year by the director of the Festival to represent the spirit of creativity throughout our community. Nunis also has a show in this year’s festival called “Lies My Father Told Me.”
In its 18th year, the Rogue Festival is now one of the oldest festivals of its kind in the United States and has built a nationwide reputation for Fresno as a city that celebrates the arts.
Dates to Remember—Rogue Festival 2019:
Rogue Festival Teaser Show at the Tower Theater
Thursday, February 28th. Lobby and Lounge open at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $10 at roguefestival.ticketleap.com. Tower Theater, Fresno.
The Rogue Festival Teaser Show presents a sneak peek at upcoming shows in the 2019 Festival, plus a chance to meet and mingle with Rogue performers. Also features a silent auction to benefit the Festival.
Rogue Festival Performances in Fresno’s Tower District
March 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Full program and information will be available online approximately three weeks prior to the Festival: http://fresnoroguefestival.com/
Beatdown Poetry Slam: Rogue Festival v. InnerEar Poets
Monday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. The Revue Backroom. 620 E Olive Ave, Fresno. kets $12 at the door. This is 9th annual Battle Royale, featuring Fresno’s finest wordsmiths facing the talented performers from Rogue, in a war of words. Hosted by Fresno’s Poet Laureate, Bryan Medina.
A Selection of Noteworthy Shows at the 2019 Rogue Festival
Klondike Kate’s Sourdough Reunion Show –It’s 1931. The Klondike gold rush is long over. But don’t worry! Legendary Klondike Kate’s old-timey reunion cabaret will sing you sourdoughs back to the good ole days. Is it everything you remembered? (Theater)
Dammit, Jim! I’m a Comedienne, Not a Doctor! Star Trek and AA and Vegas … OH MY! How delving into Gene Rodenberry’s universe for the first time boldly changed one comedienne’s journey as a recovering alcoholic. (Solo spoken word/comedy)
Fictional Love – On her return to Rogue Festival, award-winning Seattle folk musician Sarah Shay brings a new show of story and song, wryly exploring the relationships in her favorite movies, books, comics, and shows, and the ways they’ve affected her real-life romantic entanglements — for better and for worse! (Music/spoken word)
Adventures While Black in Great Britain
After promising himself to never write shows about anyone he’s dating again, Les meets a guy from England. When this new guy brings Les home to English countryside to meet his family, Les finds himself to be the only black person for miles. (Spoken word/comedy)
You Belong Here –A comically neurotic true story about The Forbidden City that’s about everything but The Forbidden City. (Storytelling)
Effing Robots: How I Taught the AI to Stop Worry and Love Humans Artificial Intelligence is on the way, and it will be powerful. What happens to us when it arrives? How will it perceive humanity? Can it learn … to love? After getting hit on by a chatbot, one horny science fiction nerd is on a quest to make it with a new AI overlord.
Behind Every Great Mariska Hargitay Is A Great Kurt Fitzpatrick
Go on a journey with Rogue veteran Kurt as he reveals all the secrets of being a New York background actor, and he gets to do something he never gets to do on “Law & Order SVU”: Speak!
Fresno and San Joaquin Valley Performers
Art or Evidence: Tea Liturgy –Four artists celebrate simple pleasures, everyday rituals, and living the creative life using original music and spoken word. Collaborative endeavor from the theatrical, literary and musical perspective. Classical marimba meets romantic literature meets ukulele songwriter meets Earl Grey. (Music and spoken word)
Jaguar Saves America –American democracy is broken, and only one man can fix it … Jaguar Bennett. He’s loud. He’s obnoxious. He’s a white man who wears a suit. Of course he’s qualified. (Comedy)
Pop Culture Jihad –Rogue sell-out hit Shane “Scurvy” Spears (Wet-wired for Weird) returns with a new dark comedy/epic rant about the dumpster fire that unites all Americans, pop culture. “quick witted and acerbic, filled with verbose bravado” – Fresno Bee (Comedy)
Blood Harmony –The Murray Girls blend their voices in Blood Harmony: singing cheerfully macabre murder ballads, traditional tunes, Celtic songs, and pop. Wistful stories set to heartbreakingly beautiful melodies. (Music)
Boxcar- El Vagon
Set in Texas, BOXCAR/EL VAGON is based on a true story from the 1980’s. Looking for a life in the United States, FIVE Mexicans and a teen from El Salvador wait for someone, even the border patrol, to open their sealed boxcar in the insufferable heat. (Theater)
S’Will: Romeo and Juliet (Drunk Shakespeare)
S’Will is back and even S’willier! Join The Fools Collaborative for their second venture into acting (and drinking) their way through a “lovingly mangled” Shakespeare play. Yes, beer and wine will be available for purchase! (Theater . . .with a bar)
About the Rogue Festival
The Rogue Festival is one of the oldest and best respected Fringe Festivals in the western United States and part of a worldwide movement of Fringe theater festivals around the world, celebrating the independent artist rather than established arts institutions.
The Rogue is Fresno’s home for edgy, uncensored, avant-garde performances you won’t see anywhere else. Many of the acts in the Rogue are original works that are written and performed for the first time by the artists performing them, so Rogue audiences enjoy art they’ll never experience anywhere else.
Audiences at the Rogue Festival will have their pick of an incredible variety of entertainment, with shows happening simultaneously at eight different Tower District venues. Rogue Festival performances are presented in rapid rotation — no show is longer than one hour, and intermissions between shows are only a half-hour. Most Rogue shows cost $12 or less, so the ideal way to experience the Rogue is to see multiple shows during every day of the festival.
The mission of the Rogue Festival is to eliminate all barriers between the independent artist and the audience. The Rogue is a non-curated festival, meaning that Rogue Festival staff do not select the acts that perform at the Rogue. All applications to perform in the Rogue Festival are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. No one controls what’s in the Rogue, so it is a true First Amendment zone — you can see the greatest show ever, you can see the worst show ever, and you will definitely see shows that will challenge your comfort zone.
The Rogue Festival is also a non-juried festival, meaning that no prizes are given and there is no judging of content. The audience decides for itself what it likes and doesn’t like, so the Rogue Festival encourages word-of-mouth and online reviews from audience members.
The other mission of the Rogue Festival is to eliminate barriers between independent artists and their earnings. One hundred percent of all ticket sales goes directly to performers. The Rogue Festival, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, supports itself through sales of Festival wristbands, individual contributions, and sponsorships.
Tickets to Rogue Festival performances can be purchased online in advance or at the door starting 30 minutes before each performance.
The Rogue Festival draws 3,000 audience members into the Tower District, most of whom combine their Rogueing with dining, drinking and shopping at Tower District businesses, creating a sizable contribution to the local economy.