On Stage

Escape to Alger

Sh’Bang! and beyond

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The last time I was at the Lookout Arts Quarry was a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, and I—like scores of my fellow American citizens—was concerned about the possible outcome.

Spending an evening watching an immersive spaghetti western at the creative collective’s outdoor saloon turned out to be a great way to unplug from the nail-biting news cycle and instead focus my attention on the talented humans making all kinds of memorable magic in the 50 acres of forests and wetlands just up the road from Alger.

Fast forward almost two years, and the daily headlines are such that the amount of time required to disconnect from the ongoing onslaught of bad news has expanded exponentially. Luckily, the powers that be at the Lookout Arts Quarry will provide plenty of delightful diversions from reality in coming days.

While it’s probably too late to sign up for the Circus Campout taking place Aug. 23-26 at the space, it’s still possible to get in on the action. A “Circus on the Water” performance taking place at 8pm Sat., Aug. 25 is open to the public, who are invited to see what happens when an international gathering of professional and hobby circus artists gather together for three days to work on their crafts—whether it’s dance trapeze, juggling, fire breathing, knife throwing or loud whistling. If that sounds enticing, consider that you’ll be watching from shore on terraced seating while the performers do their thing on a floating dock in the quarry or suspended above the reflecting lake. Tickets are $12-$15, and can be procured at http://www.circusonthewater.com.

Come Tues., Aug. 28, Dara Silverman and Jaren Feeley of Agile Rascal Bicycle Touring Theatre will share the original play they’ve been workshopping at Lookout Arts Quarry, Resonance, MT. The full-length children’s musical tells the story of a small mining town that extracts from the earth the fundamental material needed to make sound. But what happens when that resource starts to run out? Slap down a suggested $10 donation, and find out.

The 11th annual “Sh’Bang!” is still more than two weeks away, but it’s not too soon to begin thinking about the three-day “festival of ideas” taking place Sept. 7-9 at the former rock quarry. Volunteer shifts are filling up fast, and early bird pricing is only available until Aug. 24, so the sooner you secure your tickets, the better.

In addition to the off-road Daredevil Soapbox Derby the event is famous for, the self-described “multi-sensory playground of the arts” will once again feature five stages, dozens of live bands, a circus extravaganza, mermaids, zip-lining, dancing, a giant aerial pinata, a sunrise floating-dock dance party, shadow art, parades, workshops, art installations, burlesque, kid-focused performances and activities, and so much more—plus a few surprises.

After perusing the eclectic lineup of performers from near and far, go ahead and plan your escape to Alger—where disconnecting has never been so delightful.

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