By Debra Miller
Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent
Brat Productions is keeping the Philly Fringe on the fringe with RockPile, a double-header about the rock-music scene and the American youth culture of the 1970s and ‘80s. Featuring Popsicle’s Departure, 1989 by Madi Distefano and Eternal Glamnation by Jess Conda, the high-energy shows are filled with funny and compelling gender-bending scenes of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, and with the company’s signature experimentation, power, and audacity.
Popsicle’s Departure, 1989, is a post-modern love story in which Distefano plays the roles of both Dido and Jeremy, a punk-rock couple at the end of their toxic relationship. She brings wit and poignancy to her roles, and an in-your-face attitude that won her awards in the Fringe Festivals of both Edinburgh and New York in 2007. This original tour-de-force performance by one of Philadelphia’s most enthralling artists is one you shouldn’t miss.
Eternal Glamnation, part of Conda’s Rock & Awe series, was developed during her 2011-12 artist’s residency with Brat. It’s a camp and glittery cabaret spectacle combining live music with theater, inspired by the glam-rock heroes and drag icons of the ‘70s. Performed by the outrageous, and outrageously talented, ensemble of Conda, Erik Ransom, Kevin Jordan, Frances Distefano, and Bobby Fabulous, and accompanied by Ben Diamond, Peter Gaffney, and Andrew Nelson on drums, keyboard, and guitar, Eternal Glamnation will take you back to the era of platform shoes and space-age fashions–and it will keep you rocking!
For information and tickets, visit www.bratproductions.org, or log on to the Fringe website at http://livearts-fringe.ticketleap.com/brat-rockpile-popsicles-departure-1989–eternal-glamnation/#view=calendar. RockPile runs through September 26 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., Philadelphia. Underground Arts is also the site of this year’s Festival Bar, so plan to stay late and to meet the artists.