Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Picking Fringe Shows -- in Minneapolis

So here I am, gearing up to review 22 shows in this year's Fringe. Should be interesting, or at least a good reason to enjoy some pre- and post-show drinkies.

Meantime, I came across this great article on the Minneapolis Fringe. Here are two bits of it, I think of equal interest, despite the fact that this really was just an advance story:
The Fringe is a nonjuried festival. That means anyone can apply, and names are thrown into a lottery, held each February. Many shows left outside then ask to be included as "site-specific" shows -- in Fringe lingo, "Bring Your Own Venue." For example, one year a show was held in a pool.

However, [festival executive director Robin] Gillette worried that some shows were simply side-stepping the rules. She argues for the blind justice of the lottery. This is an issue that cuts several ways. Producers of critically lauded or hit shows have no guarantee of returning to the festival. An absolute dog might get in, but someone such as Kevin Kling might be on the outside. However, if you're nonjuried, then you're nonjuried, and that's the deal.

"It's weird, I'll give you that," Gillette said. "Does that mean that sometimes great artists wither on the wait-list? You bet, and they wither along with a bunch of folks you've never heard of, but who have equal potential to be genius."
And then there's:
Blogs carrying reviews of Fringe shows soon followed the launch of the website, at a time when any newspaper referring to a blog did so in quotes and had to explain the concept. Last year, 197,000 people visited the Fringe website, an increase of 70,000 from 2006, and the 10 bloggers logged in 30,737 hits.

The perceived power and influence of blogs has increased so rapidly that Fringe organizers decided not to host any this year. Instead, they have been off-loaded to the Twin Cities Daily Planet (, a separate and unaffiliated site.

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