If you’re looking for a unique experience this weekend, something to mix up your routine and invigorate your visual senses, then we may have the answer. An innovative show featuring art, rock and roll, audience participation, and even life-size puppets is coming to Venice Performing Arts Center this weekend. It is called Artrageous, and we think it sounds outrageously fun.
Artrageous hails from the deserts of New Mexico and is a combination of 12 singers, artists, and musicians. As guests arrive to the shows, they are given a prop, such as a finger-light ring or bubble wrap, with instructions to have it handy for later in the show. Enthusiastic participants are pulled aside and given impromptu singing and dancing lessons by costumed actors and artists. Throughout the show a soundtrack keeps the beat as large screens flash clues to the audience so they may guest what the live artists are painting in front of them. In the end, huge canvases featuring stunning murals are auctioned off and money is raised for local causes. Sounds fun, doesn’t it!
We had the pleasure of speaking with Lauri Francis, who is the Artreach Coordinator and is also in charge of show design on what Venice audience members can expect this weekend.
SP: Lauri, please tell us about this show in which humor, art, rock, interactive dancing, and puppeteering all come into play. Whose brainchild is this?
Artrageous: This is a long story, but I will try to just give the highlights. We have been together as a Theatre Arts Community since the 80’s. We started out as street performers in Vancouver, British Columbia, doing things like clowning and juggling and a form of life-sized puppetry called Bunraku. We ended up in New Mexico and built our theatre in New Mexico from the ground up. Unfortunately, one Christmas day as we were getting ready for a performance with all of our life-sized puppets laid out, our building burnt to the ground. Fortunately, everyone made it out ok, but all of our puppets and props were gone. On that day, we decided to become a band even though only one person played an instrument. Through perseverance and a lot of hard work we formed The Pink Flamingos (the flame colored bird rising from the ashes.) The Pink Flamingos went on to become a huge success in the corporate entertainment world for many years. The emphasis and trade mark of our entertainment since the beginning has always been audience involvement. We are always trying to learn new things and improve on what we have, which is where the artistic element came in. So, long story short, Artrageous is a culmination of all of our artistic endeavors on one stage, live art, live music, singing, dancing, life-sized puppetry, audience interaction… it’s a feast for the eyes, ears and heart.
SP: How long have you been on the road, and what shows are in the pipeline?
Artrageous: Artrageous has been on tour for 4 years. We do get to go home for some down time every few months to work on the show. We will be spending the months of January and February touring SE Florida. March, April and May we will be all the way from Arizona, to the Midwest and North and South Carolina. We’re definitely seeing the country and putting some miles on our tour bus.
SP: For the Venice show, the painting will be auctioned off afterwards. Can you tell us about that?
Artrageous: We do donate our paintings to venues that we perform at if they are interested. We love that we can add an extra value and hopefully help raise some money for some really great causes! And in this case, we art so delighted to be able to help our friends in the arts at Venice Institute for Performing Arts 501(c)(3) and the Venice Art Center.
Artrageous will be at Venice Performing Arts Center on January 18th at 7:00 P.M. If you would like more information on Artrageous and to purchase tickets for the Venice performance, please visit their FB page here.
Photos courtesy of Artrageous Facebook page.