Ricky Rainbow Beard is a bit naive. He loves playful moments and he’s not afraid to be awkward and vulnerable at the same time. He’s interested in patience over perfection, and helping people explore and express emotions is what he’s all about.
This character, created by local artist and performer Ricky Katowicz, ladies and gentlemen, is your MC for this year’s Foo Fest. His goal as host? “I’m trying to create an intimate space among a giant crowd,” he said. In addition to performing the 45-minute Ricky Rainbow Beard Show, which appears regularly at AS220’s Black Box Theatre, Katowicz will host the event and encourage attendees to fully experience the festival and get involved in one of the many creative activities taking place throughout the day. “I’ll be announcing, and doing interstitial moments in between. I’ll be connecting to the types of things Keri King is doing throughout the day. I’m working on something with the wrestling squad. And I’m doing something called polite trash talking, where you say nice things aggressively.”
Each show starts with a short dance video and a discussion of the show’s theme — the theme for his performance at Foo Fest is Food Feast, of course. There’s lots of audience involvement and costume changes, many of the Foo Fest performers will be special guests on his show, and there are rumors that Space Fool and Catso will appear. “If you’re asking, ‘Why is he doing any of this? It’s really weird,’ then you’re in the right frame of mind.”
Every show ends with a one-minute dance party because according to Katowicz, “there’s scientific proof that if you dance for a minute every day, you dance for a minute a day.”
Katowicz says that performing for kids is a singular and precious experience. “I want to treat this like a big classroom that’s centered on being curious because that’s where learning happens. I want kids to feel like they can just walk up to the stage if they’re curious and want to look around. Curiosity can also get you in trouble, but I still like to promote it. I just think more informed people can make for a stronger world.”
Other children’s performers at Foo include AS220 Youth’s performance group, Zukrewe, who will be performing on the outdoor stage at 7pm, and RI favorite Keith Munslow will be performing a short set with his drummer, Johnny C. Munslow said about his performance, “Foo is such an amazing event, and I’m excited to expose my music for kids to a new audience!”