They Stand Alone

For seven years in the 1990s, the Solo Mio Festival presented work by the best theatrical performers from the Bay Area and beyond. The 1996 event, for instance, featured the likes of Margaret Cho and David Sedaris alongside locals such as Anne Galjour and Geoff Hoyle. Picking up where Solo Mio left off, the San Francisco Solo Festival brings together new and established artists, from stand-ups and storytellers to improvisers and cartoonists, for a two-week performance binge.

Besides showcasing the work of people who like to go it alone on stage, the only thing the festival's offerings have in common is their eclecticism. Fresh from her success at this summer's Edinburgh Fringe Festival (where she won a Critics Choice Award), 72-year-old Lynn Ruth Miller performs Farewell to the Tooth Fairy, a show culled from columns she originally penned for the Pacifica Tribune. Fellow Edinburgh alumnus, MAD Magazine contributor, stand-up, and cartoonist Michael Capozzola presents I, Mascot, telling the tale of a four-month road trip in a dot-com mascot costume, while producer and playwright Lisa Marie Rollins explores transracial adoption in Ungrateful Daughter.

Covering such memories as building an atomic bomb shelter in his granny's backyard and finding a gun, Ron Jones explains what it was like growing up in the Sunset District in Sunset Blues. "Offbeat" is one word that could be used to describe the work of improvisation doyenne Nina Wise, who makes up her unnamed show on the spot, combining movement with poetic riffs on the state of the planet (she's garnered seven Bay Area Critics Circle Awards and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships). Meanwhile, Tonight Show With Jay Leno comedian and former Roseanne Show writer Betsy Salkind presents an evening of new material inspired by her Bay Area years.

With Bay Area talents like Brian Copeland, Will Franken, and Marga Gomez earning national acclaim for their solo work — not to mention San Francisco hosting heavyweights like Billy Crystal and Martin Short — this new celebration of single-star shows couldn't be more timely.

Tonight's performances start at 7 with Katie Rubin's Insides Out!
Sept. 14-Oct. 8

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