Fringe Festival Cometh!

First things first (as they usually are): How about this new website, eh? Pretty darn spiffy! Kudos to Shawn Mummert and Alexandra Kesman for busting their tails to get this sucker up and running. It’s a beaut’.

Now, thirdly (I decided to skip “second,” just because): ITS LES THN 30 DAIS TIL 2012 CINCINNATI FRINGE FESTIVAL!!!!1! Woah. Sorry. I was briefly inhabited by a 12-year old YouTube commenter.

Now, look around you. Is there perhaps a stapler or some other inanimate object that you could easily hold in your hand? Good. Pick it up. Go ahead. Don’t be afraid. Now, introduce yourself to that object. Give it a name. Talk to it for a minute. See how its day has been, what kind of music it likes to listen to… Did you do it? I can wait.

*waiting*

*waiting*

*sandwich*

*waiting*

All done? Oh, sorry…I didn’t mean to interrupt. You can set it down now. Congratulations, you’ve just done something utterly weird! Unless you usually talk to inanimate objects, in which case you’ve done something commonplace and probably fit right in during Fringe. Or you just need a friend.

Fringe is a glorious time of year. All the frustrations and concerns of everyday life seem to fall away when it’s Fringe time. It’s a magical experience for all those involved and, in the opinion of many, is probably the most exciting theatrical occurrence Cincinnati has to offer. When else do you get a chance to catch over 30 unique and incredibly varied acts of theatrical performance with artists not only from all over Cincinnati but also from all over the world in a nifty 12 day span? You don’t. And that’s why we love what we do. It’s a time of creative exploration, a time to make new friends, become revitalized, and just plain ol’ have a good time. And drink…we do drink quite a bit.

I’ve spent the past 5 years as a performer/producer/writer/director for Fringe shows, almost exclusively with my posse, Artemis Exchange (creators of critical and audience darlings A Perfectly Wonderful Evening, Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I, andPeyote Business Lunch) but this year marked a bittersweet change for me. I was asked by Know Theatre/Cincy Fringe Producing Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier to associate produce the Festival as a whole. This meant taking a hiatus from creating a show for the Festival as it’s an insane thing to try and do both (just ask Me from a year ago now when I was just a staff member at Know with a show in Festival…I was a stressed out Susan.) But enough about that! I couldn’t be happier to take a break from the rigors of self-producing in order to help run what I feel is one of the best damn Fringes in all of the world. We may not be the biggest, we may not have the largest budget, but we are proud of what we get to do every year and how many lives we’ve changed. I can stand as testament to that. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today nor stand where I do if it weren’t for Cincy Fringe. I wholeheartedly owe it my life.

Wednesday, April 18th marked the Official Line-up Announcement Party and if you weren’t there you certainly missed out. We don’t do these often as the regular production schedule at Know Theatre tends to be more of a priority at this time of year, but this year’s hugely successful event might set in stone a regular, yearly appearance of the party. It’s a chance for everyone to essentially pre-game for Fringe a month in advance, meet some of the local artists who’ll be in the Festival, and catch a show from Fringe past. This year we were lucky to already have in town (for numerous shows at Know this season) a Fringe veteran from the past, Torie Wiggins, who gave us an electrified and moving performance of her 2008 show, Your Negro Tour Guide. What was created was a microcosm of Fringe itself. There was Channel Fringe Hard-Hitting Action News Update (Cincy Fringe’s nightly, tongue-in-cheek daily recap and information provider) starring our very own Sadie Bowman “on assignment,” a brand-new, all-digital line-up announcement format courtesy of the wonderfully free Prezi software, the aforementioned performance, and – of course – quite a bit of drinking. It certainly was “Fringe For a Night” and has got all of us amped up for the 12 glorious days ahead of us.

Whether you’re a Fringe regular or just happen to be stumbling upon this blog post having never attended a show before, I strongly urge you to spend as much time at this year’s Festival as possible. Giving yourself over to it fully is a recommendation I couldn’t make any stronger. While you can’t buy our Full Frontal Pass (all-inclusive access to every show, every thing Fringe) at the early bird price of $175 anymore, the regular $200 price is still worth it’s weight in gold if you use it to your full extent. The 6-show Voyeur Pass is also a great option. Any which way you can spend your time at Fringe is worth it. Just come on down and give it a shot. See some shows and then come out to the Bar Series at Know Theatre for the nightly newscast as well as a whole slew of other events, parties, and shindigs. You’ll love Fringe and we’ll love you for loving Fringe.

See you May 29th!

Chris Wesselman – Associate Producer

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