Day 74 – Best of Fest – Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Jesus In Montana won “Best of Fest” in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, meaning I get an extra show on Sunday, and I get to write “Best of Fest” on stuff from now on. Not that I haven’t been already, but now I can do it without guilt…

A review from the Winnipeg Sun:

Jesus is back! Or so Barry Smith thought. One day after surviving a few too
many acid trips, the Colorado dishwasher — who renounced his fundamentalist
upbringing as a kid — heard Jesus was coming to Montana, and hitchhiked over to
see if it was true. Indeed it was — except Jesus was a pedophile who preferred
to be called Doc and didn’t have the cool surfer hair Smith hoped. Using a
multi-media show of home video, photos and audio from his past, Smith’s true
story of how he fell into and eventually escaped early ’90s cult life is creepy
and moving. Fueled by his newfound faith, his determination to warn the world —
or anyone who would listen — about the impending Apocalypse got to the point
where he could think of nothing else. Smith has captured his journey in a
written work that translates well to stage. His delivery is engaging — almost
like a preacher. Wonder where he learned that.

Sun Rating: 4 out of 5

— Lindsey Ward

And some photos of some stuff…

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People lining up to listen to me talk about Jesus. Amen…

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Day 73 – Winnipeg Reviews

The reviews came out last week, but, well, I was distracted (see earlier post) so I’m just now posting them:
From the Winnipeg Free Press

Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult

5 STARS!

“Did I really hitchhike up to Montana and accept an 80-year-old pedophile as my lord and saviour?”

Did he ever.

But Colorado humourist Barry Smith has a perfectly good explanation of how that, and his three-year stint in a Doomsday cult, came to be backed up by graphs, numerology, biblical passages, and photographs of the alleged Messiah in Missoula. How he manages to cover his surreal spiritual journey from budding Southern Baptist to pot-smoking college drop-out who decided” God is kind of a jerk,” to “certified guru-aholic” in 60 minutes is a miracle in itself. (He has a little help from a divinely funny Power Point presentation).

Smith is such a skilled and passionate storyteller that he could have crafted a riveting one-man show out of his boyhood on the Mississippi Delta alone.

Instead, we’re blessed with a gutsy, gut-busting and brilliantly told account of misguided devotion that is hugely entertaining and gently thought-provoking. It may, however, leave you with two burning questions:

What am I committed to with my whole being? And, is Paul McCartney dead?
— Carolin Vesely

And from the CBC

4 STARS!

Reasonable doubt can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes, for example, it sets murderers/pro-football players free. And sometimes, it makes you believe that Jesus has returned in the form of an 80-year-old ex-con living in Montana. That’s the true story Barry Smith relates in this sort of disturbing, but mostly very funny, monologue. Barry tells us how a rather selective interpretation of Biblical prophecy led him to spend three years in a religious cult (but he’s much better now). It’s a bizarre, hilarious, and strangely relatable tale.

Smith’s delivery is fantastic – he’s quick, dryly comical, and most importantly, authentic. Standing at a microphone for most of the hour, he makes great use of projected graphics (like a fancy PowerPoint show) and film to help us follow the potentially-complicated plot. It’s a bit of a slow burn, and some parts (like his hitchhiking stories) seem to run a bit long. Still, it’s a funny and riveting hour. Can Barry Smith get an “amen?” Yes he can.

—–

I’ll admit I was tempted to remove the part from the CBC review about how parts of my show seem to run a bit long, but I thought I’d leave it intact. Because I’m authentic. What’s so bad about a slow burn, anyway?

And here, for no reason, is a picture of my venue in Winnipeg.

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Playhouse Studio, seats 110, air conditioned. Ahhhhh…

Day 72 – Distracted

I know, I know…I’m way behind on the blog. But it’s because here in Winnipeg, on the Fringe Circuit, I find that all the things that distract me the most are constantly available.

1. Fame

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Me on the cover of the Winnipeg Free Press – big hand, tiny head, just like in real life…

 

2. Women

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Me and the girls from Caberlesque.

 

3. Alcohol

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4. Punk Rock/Comedy

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Die Roten Punkte (The Red Dots) – punk parody goodness

 

5. Jesus

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Day 65 – Drove West

So, I drive from Toronto to Winnipeg, alone, in my van. I don’t want to imply that the drive was boring, but I did only take these pictures…

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The Giant Goose in Wawa.

I got closer so you could see that it is giant. Though it would have been nice to have a person, or, even better, a normal-sized goose, standing next to it for scale. But nothing presented itself, and I had some miles to cover.

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This is the thing people told me that I must stop and see along the way. It’s the only thing anyone mentioned. So I did. They were right. It was the only thing.

A Flush Sign with strange graffitti…

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An elaborate sign instead of a Wash Hands sign…

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My van, broken down on the side of the road, temporarily…

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And a close up of my eye after 27 hours of driving.

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I showed up at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival press conference looking like this. People – from newspapers – stood really close to my face and took pictures of me. It was unsettling . And also kinda fun.

Now I’m in Winnipeg. I’ll tell you about that soon. It’s very good.

Day 61 – Driving West…Soon…

New dates have been added for both “Jesus” and “American Squatter!” More on that later.

Four of the 7 of my Toronto “Jesus In Montana” shows sold out! The last 2 shows sold out within 10 minutes of them going on sale at the door! This is a line of people waiting to buy tickets – an hour before the show!

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Holy shit! Things are going well! Now I have to drive for 2 days – to the Winnipeg Fringe – except that I was going to leave at 8 this morning, and it’s now 11, and I’m still not quite ready to go.

Hooray!

Day 59 – Toronto, still…

I have to be honest – things could not be going any better for me at the moment. I got amazing reviews in the two Toronto Weeklies, my show is selling out, I have a show in two hours that will most likely be really well attended if not sold out, I feel good, I’m well rested, I’m hanging out with cool people, etc…

So why, you may ask, am I so glum?

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Well, because I have spent the past 4 days with a massive zit on my face. Massive. Like a twin is emerging from my cheek. It is truly hideous. In this picture I actually have it covered with some foundation that I usually wear on stage so my head doesn’t look quite so shiny, my nose not quite so pointy, eyes not so baggy, etc…the list goes on, and it is a depressing one already. But if you look closely, which you shouldn’t, you can see that the makeup doesn’t quite cover Mount Face-suvius.

It’s getting better though. I never assumed there would be a down side to daily falafel.

—–

I saw a great T-shirt today. It was being worn by a young girl, very early 20s, I’d say, maybe younger. I stopped her on the street to tell her I love her shirt. I wanted to take a picture of it, but sensed that she was not too comfortable with a guy (with a big zit) talking to her, let alone taking a picture of her chest. So I made a good decision and moved on.

The shirt said:

 

MEAT IS MURDER
Tasty, tasty murder.

 

Now then, on to the toilet signs.

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This  (above) one’s OK. I like the hand made quality, is all. Thought I’d include it.

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This has nothing to do with washing hands, I know, but it kinda grows on you. If you’re 14. Like I am.

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Here’s the urinal bank (deposits only, please) at the Fringe Club. All the posters are of Fringe shows. Cool, huh?

And, my second most favorite activity, next to toilet sign photography, is getting cute girls to put their heads next to mine while I take a picture of it.

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This is also a good example of the zit sans makeup. I know, I know…it feels like you’re wearing 3D glasses, doesn’t it?

OK, off to do a show.

Day 57

Second Toronto show sold out! Third show almost did. Fourth show, Monday at Noon, not so much. But there were a hell of a lot of people there for lunchtime on Monday. I was pleased. I’m off to do show #5 in about an hour. So why am I here writing this? To tell you that I just found out that I’ll also be performing at the Victoria Fringe Fest – something I just learned a few minutes ago. I’ll be doing “American Squatter” there. But for now…a show…