Woodstock’s dozens of literary exhibitors and more than 100 participating authors shine a spotlight on contemporary American fiction and raise funds to benefit public-school writing programs. Sidescroll through aisles to encounter such text-wielding exhibitors as Hellboy publisher Dark Horse Comics and the literary journal McSweeney’s or head to a workshop on essential story structure (Sunday, 3 p.m.) to deconstruct fiction-making basics, hone sharper stories, and construct more elaborate, satirical Twitters.
Returning after a successful stint on Broadway, the critically acclaimed Imago Theatre brings dramatic dexterity through animated storytelling appropriate for all ages inhabiting Portland. Its current production, ZooZoo, instills the officiousness of humans into a gaggle of creatures, ranging from mammal to amphibian. With only music and movement, ZooZoo immerses audiences in a surreal theatrical world filled with insects performing gymnastics, penguins playing musical chairs, and anteaters serving meals at a restaurant.
The chain of Helium Comedy Clubs releases giggle gas from famed headliners and tomorrow's brightest stars at its Philadelphia, Portland, and Buffalo locations. In front of a tabled showroom that allows audiences a clear sightline and maximizes guffaw acoustics, a bustling calendar of familiar comic talent fills most of the week with levity, and open mic nights and standup workshops put aspiring jokesmiths higher up the comedy rung. Although the club holds guests to a two-item minimum, the menu inspires curiosity regarding maximum orders, with tempting savories such as shrimp cocktail, pulled-pork sliders, avocado and chicken paninis, and spicy potato bites with ranch dressing.
With 58 schools in 23 states, the inspiring and performance-driven School of Rock enthusiastically infuses fledgling tunesmiths across the nation with the rhythm, skill, and confidence required to rock 'n' roll. Each instructor at the school is a professional musician, and fully equipped with the know-how to catapult instrumentalists to the crest of Mount Rockmore.
Going on a quarter-century in business, Triangle Productions forges into the future under the leadership of founder and executive producer Don Horn. The Sanctuary, meanwhile, lends its spacious, 200-seat auditorium as the troupe's home venue. Outside, an ample parking lot ensures attendees won't have trouble finding a space in which to reenact their favorite scenes after the show.
The comedic theater duo Big Plastic Heroes comprises Slash Coleman, best known for PBS special and off-Broadway show The Neon Man and Me, and auGi (aka SexyNurd), who has appeared on Comedy Central and E!. Their show, made up of two one-man features peppered with rotating guest performances, explores the humor in idolizing superheroes and daredevils, similar to the way football games explore the inherent humor of supersized shoulders. auGi’s autobiographical work Teenage Commando traces the real fallout after he and his friends form a fantasy commando squad, whereas Coleman’s Last American Gladiator Part 3 tells the true story of his fixation on Evel Knievel and his third grade teacher with crushing circumstances. Like a river through outer space, beer and wine flow freely at The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, the site of the performances, situated within walking distance of palate-pleasing restaurants.