HODGE PODGE



On August 4th, 2019, I performed the last performance of five for HODGE PODGE as part of the Minnesota Family Fringe Festival. The audience stood up. Not to leave but to give a standing ovation! What a show!

Before we go any further in this, I need to thank a few people:

Afton Benson - Manager and Artist Patron extraordinaire
Tori Ruh - Partner and Tech-Savvy Human of endless intuition
Dave Rannow - Partner of Afton and Jump-Right-In crew member with a large heart

These three fearless, precise, and supportive people in my life helped make HODGE PODGE run successfully from set-up, to tear down, and all the logistical nightmares in-between. (Lets set this up in 10 minutes and take it down, too!)

Full Set of Hodge Podge

On with the review!



I set out to work on HODGE PODGE without really knowing I was going to do it! I applied for the Hinge Artists Residency in Fergus Falls, MN through Springboard for the Arts with the notion of, "I want to have an introductory work to show the world how I have grown." (A direct quote from my application.)

With the amazing support of Naomi Schliesman (who had the honor, or privilege, errr, task of taking care of a clown for three weeks,) I used this amazing opportunity to create!

Or so I wanted but ended up having the dreaded ARTIST EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. For two weeks I wondered, "Am I really an artist?"

And after two weeks of a completly crazy collection of experiences in this lovely town: I said, "Yes. Yes, I am."

Then, it was like a doorway opened and everything started falling into place!

But three weeks were up! I had to leave with barely a set created.

Old Set of Hodge Podge

Freezing Incubation!


Then I was gifted an opportunity to live in New York Mills, MN for two weeks and continue work. Through the Cultural Center headed by Betsy Buerkle Roder, I was able to find peace and solitude and time to create. Along with an expectation there would be a performance at the end for the community.

(Pro Artist Tip: Force a deadline to enforce creative practices! - Afton Benson)

This community showed up in the negative freezing temperatures of a Minnesota February and laughed, played, and helped breath life into the show.

New York Mills Set of Hodge Podge


Then a break.



I applied for the Family Fringe because I felt the show would fit in well with what I believed MN Fringe was setting out to accomplish: Presenting worthwhile works of theatrical fringe experiences in an inclusive way. Many productions geared towards children talk down to their audience. Or leave themes and attitudes necessary for growth at the way side in search of keeping them engaged and entertained.

But the magic of a story is strong enough to keep a child (and adults) engaged. There is so much entertainment, we can barely turn our heads without being entertained by something. This was an opportunity to put a work from my heart in front of the most critical of audiences.

HODGE PODGE as a piece of art:



Is it? I do not think I can answer that. I made it with the intention of showing how I have grown. But, added into the mix the hope of sharing wonderfully great things about the world I have found. I wanted to give a bit of magic back to people curious enough to look for it. Looking back over the past seven years (I started performing in 2012) I remember all the people that took a moment to share their hearts with me. Sometimes I took it for granted. Other times I took too much. I learned about receiving and I learned the profound ability to share those gifts, again, through what I can do. (Something for the next Artistic Statement, perhaps.)

Bubble Storm Shadows

The audiences that attended HODGE PODGE, I hope, felt and received a bit of that magic that exists. I was lucky enough to receive comments directly from people as well as reviews on the Fringe show page. And while all of them live within me, here are a few that encapsulate what I define as success:

My super logical, skeptical child who doesn't even believe in the tooth fairy came up to me and said "well, I guess magic is real after all!"

Benjamin has crafted a heartwarming collection of bits and moments that stimulate the senses in such a warm and nourishing way.

His show was joyful and clear: a delightful romp through our collective urge to play and connect with one another. . .it asks everyone in the room to come together to believe in a single simple beautiful thing, even if just for a moment.

This was an odd and gentle show that my 3 year old called beautiful.

Hodge Podge presents an amazing assortment of ideas, engagingly transformed in an inclusive, loving, world where audience participation powers their growth and helps each idea reach its full potential.

You will be taken on a journey that will ease your soul.

Promotional Side Note:


I was at a loss for what to use as my promotional image. A lot of producers go out and get fancy photographs that perfectly define their show, usually taken in a studio or in a rehearsal. Since HODGE PODGE relies on the audience, I had no idea! (Not to discredit the work of Bob Alberti, whose amazing photography was on the back of the postcard and all the Family Fringe promo materials!)

But then, local Minnesota artist Heidi Jeub posted this phenomenal painting of hers:

Benjamins Brain by Heidi Jeub

And my brain FIRED OFF into a frenzy. I told her, "This painting is like my brain!" And she replied, "It is untitled. But not anymore. I am calling it Benjamin’s Brain." (Note: This is paraphrased...)

I concocted an idea to have her let me use the image for HODGE PODGE and I would sell prints. (A limited run of 13 prints of the painting were made and signed by Heidi Jeub. There are only a few left if you would like to purchase one and help this phenomenal artist, send me a message!)

Benjamin with Promo Card

In the end, people keep asking me, "How do you feel the show went?"

I keep telling them they have to ask the audience. There is no real way to explain how I feel. HODGE PODGE is unfinished. There are ideas and moments that need more exploration and discovery. HODGE PODGE shows the world a piece of me: the magic deep inside that keeps me growing and curious to wake up and live. And, hopefully, that resonates to the magic deep within all of us.

-----8.6.2019-----

HODGE PODGE



On August 4th, 2019, I performed the last performance of five for HODGE PODGE as part of the Minnesota Family Fringe Festival. The audience stood up. Not to leave but to give a standing ovation! What a show!

Before we go any further in this, I need to thank a few people:

Afton Benson - Manager and Artist Patron extraordinaire
Tori Ruh - Partner and Tech-Savvy Human of endless intuition
Dave Rannow - Partner of Afton and Jump-Right-In crew member with a large heart

These three fearless, precise, and supportive people in my life helped make HODGE PODGE run successfully from set-up, to tear down, and all the logistical nightmares in-between. (Lets set this up in 10 minutes and take it down, too!)

Full Set of Hodge Podge

On with the review!



I set out to work on HODGE PODGE without really knowing I was going to do it! I applied for the Hinge Artists Residency in Fergus Falls, MN through Springboard for the Arts with the notion of, "I want to have an introductory work to show the world how I have grown." (A direct quote from my application.)

With the amazing support of Naomi Schliesman (who had the honor, or privilege, errr, task of taking care of a clown for three weeks,) I used this amazing opportunity to create!

Or so I wanted but ended up having the dreaded ARTIST EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. For two weeks I wondered, "Am I really an artist?"

And after two weeks of a completly crazy collection of experiences in this lovely town: I said, "Yes. Yes, I am."

Then, it was like a doorway opened and everything started falling into place!

But three weeks were up! I had to leave with barely a set created.

Old Set of Hodge Podge

Freezing Incubation!


Then I was gifted an opportunity to live in New York Mills, MN for two weeks and continue work. Through the Cultural Center headed by Betsy Buerkle Roder, I was able to find peace and solitude and time to create. Along with an expectation there would be a performance at the end for the community.

(Pro Artist Tip: Force a deadline to enforce creative practices! - Afton Benson)

This community showed up in the negative freezing temperatures of a Minnesota February and laughed, played, and helped breath life into the show.

New York Mills Set of Hodge Podge


Then a break.



I applied for the Family Fringe because I felt the show would fit in well with what I believed MN Fringe was setting out to accomplish: Presenting worthwhile works of theatrical fringe experiences in an inclusive way. Many productions geared towards children talk down to their audience. Or leave themes and attitudes necessary for growth at the way side in search of keeping them engaged and entertained.

But the magic of a story is strong enough to keep a child (and adults) engaged. There is so much entertainment, we can barely turn our heads without being entertained by something. This was an opportunity to put a work from my heart in front of the most critical of audiences.

HODGE PODGE as a piece of art:



Is it? I do not think I can answer that. I made it with the intention of showing how I have grown. But, added into the mix the hope of sharing wonderfully great things about the world I have found. I wanted to give a bit of magic back to people curious enough to look for it. Looking back over the past seven years (I started performing in 2012) I remember all the people that took a moment to share their hearts with me. Sometimes I took it for granted. Other times I took too much. I learned about receiving and I learned the profound ability to share those gifts, again, through what I can do. (Something for the next Artistic Statement, perhaps.)

Bubble Storm Shadows

The audiences that attended HODGE PODGE, I hope, felt and received a bit of that magic that exists. I was lucky enough to receive comments directly from people as well as reviews on the Fringe show page. And while all of them live within me, here are a few that encapsulate what I define as success:

My super logical, skeptical child who doesn't even believe in the tooth fairy came up to me and said "well, I guess magic is real after all!"

Benjamin has crafted a heartwarming collection of bits and moments that stimulate the senses in such a warm and nourishing way.

His show was joyful and clear: a delightful romp through our collective urge to play and connect with one another. . .it asks everyone in the room to come together to believe in a single simple beautiful thing, even if just for a moment.

This was an odd and gentle show that my 3 year old called beautiful.

Hodge Podge presents an amazing assortment of ideas, engagingly transformed in an inclusive, loving, world where audience participation powers their growth and helps each idea reach its full potential.

You will be taken on a journey that will ease your soul.

Promotional Side Note:


I was at a loss for what to use as my promotional image. A lot of producers go out and get fancy photographs that perfectly define their show, usually taken in a studio or in a rehearsal. Since HODGE PODGE relies on the audience, I had no idea! (Not to discredit the work of Bob Alberti, whose amazing photography was on the back of the postcard and all the Family Fringe promo materials!)

But then, local Minnesota artist Heidi Jeub posted this phenomenal painting of hers:

Benjamins Brain by Heidi Jeub

And my brain FIRED OFF into a frenzy. I told her, "This painting is like my brain!" And she replied, "It is untitled. But not anymore. I am calling it Benjamin’s Brain." (Note: This is paraphrased...)

I concocted an idea to have her let me use the image for HODGE PODGE and I would sell prints. (A limited run of 13 prints of the painting were made and signed by Heidi Jeub. There are only a few left if you would like to purchase one and help this phenomenal artist, send me a message!)

Benjamin with Promo Card

In the end, people keep asking me, "How do you feel the show went?"

I keep telling them they have to ask the audience. There is no real way to explain how I feel. HODGE PODGE is unfinished. There are ideas and moments that need more exploration and discovery. HODGE PODGE shows the world a piece of me: the magic deep inside that keeps me growing and curious to wake up and live. And, hopefully, that resonates to the magic deep within all of us.

-----8.6.2019-----