Joe Frank produces the long-running program Work in Progress, which features improvised monologues and dramatic conversations about his fears and insecurities. Recently, Frank has been drawing inspiration from in-depth interview with his friends.
Artist Chris Burden. He gained fame as a conceptual artist in 1971 when he had a friend shoot him in the arm as part of a performance piece at a Santa Ana gallery. Burden's concern with realism (one critic calls it his greatest strength and greatest weakness) is reflected in a touring retrospective of his works, which include sculpture, and also artifacts of his conceptual pieces.
Rock critic Ken Tucker review the new albums from Janet Jackson and Laurie Anderson. Ken says the two performers are seemingly miles apart...Jackson's the sister of Michael Jackson and her albums are huge urban contemporary hits, and Anderson's a product of the New York performance scene...but there is common ground. Both albums (Jackson's is called "Rhythm Nation 1814" and Anderson's is titled "Strange Angels") have unifying themes and draw heavily on the latest technology.
Actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin. For years she's been doing her impressions of such characters as Ernestine, the nasal telephone operator on "Laugh-In." Now she's doing a whole cast of characters in the revival of her one-woman show, "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe."
Critic Laurie Stone reviews British performer and clown Geoff Hoyle. In his solo piece, "Feast of Fools," Hoyke uses physical and verbal comedy to portray a series of caricatures. Though Hoyle has training in classical theatre and mime, STONE says his performance is anything but refined. Hoyle is performing "Feast of Fools," in New York.
Since 1987, Maya has been performing his one-man show at clubs and performance spaces, mostly around New York. His style of observational humor focuses on his suburbia, current events, and gay politics. Maya came out publicly this year; he believes its important to emphasize his identity in his act to boost representation of gay people in popular culture.
Gray has a new piece called Monster in a Box, about the wending process of writing an as-yet unpublished, 1600 page novel, titled Impossible Vacations. He says that his autobiographical writing distances him from his real life, including his experience of pleasure.
Magnuson starred in the movies, "Making Mister Right," and "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon," and on the TV series, "Anything But Love." She's had numerous one woman monologue shows in Manhattan. She joins Fresh Air for an interview, and shares an excerpt of one of her life performances, about groupies following Doors' frontman Jim Morrison.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a recent album by singer Shelly Hirsch and keyboardist David Weinstein. Their music draws from a diverse array of styles and traditions. Kevin says Hirsch is one of the most amazing singers in any genre.
Actor and writer Eric Bogosian. Bogosian's one man, multi-character performances highlight the pressures of modern life and explore the underside of the American Dream. Bogosian's latest show, "Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll" has been released in book form (by Harper Collins) and as a movie. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Actress Claire Bloom. After a long and illustrious career playing opposite the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Richard Burton, and Sir John Gielgud, Bloom is now performing a one woman show, called "Women Observed." In it, she reads roles from Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, The Turn of the Screw, and A Room of One's Own. (The performance runs Thursday through Sunday at New York's Symphony Space). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Actor John Leguizamo (pronounced "Leh-gwee-zamo"). Leguizamo created and stars in the hit one-man show "Mambo Mouth," based on his experiences as a Latino growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens. "Mambo Mouth" premieres on television this Saturday, on HBO's Comedy Hour.
B.D. Wong won a Tony award for his performance in the title role of "M. Butterfly." He played a man posing as a woman. Now, he's taking on another challenge: in the new one-man musical "Herringbone," which opened last week at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia, he plays eleven characters, including a eight-year-old boy, his parents, his grandmother, his dance teacher, and a tap-dancing midget nicknamed Lou the Frog. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)