The 12th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival is over. So sad – it’s like summer camp has come to an end and we have to say goodbye to all of our new best friends and go back to school. There are many dear people that I only see once a year now, and it’s the Fringe that brings us together every time - we always know that we can pick up where we left off with no regrets or resentment over lost time…kind of like chosen family, really. It was also a blast to hang out again with some of the wonderful people I met in Montreal when I performed in their 2004 Fringe – Foster, Cooper, and I bugged them enough to get them down to the states this year, and it was a joy to have them here with their excellent, excellent shows. At the closing party, Geoff (the Montreal Fringe Managing Director) hollered “Tag!, you’re it!” So, I guess it’s my turn to go back to Montreal in June. Oh, okaaaaay.
The Scrimshaw Show appearance went off without a hitch – and luckily there were enough other guests that night to keep me from being singled out for harassment. The brothers had their high-school creative writing teachers on as guests – snarky old men with tall, empty to-go cups of coffee (they reminded me of my favorite director and teacher from college, George Poletes, whom I was convinced was older than dust because he directed my father in shows at the University of St. Thomas circa 1962). Anyway, the evening’s guests were the aforementioned fellows along with former Look Ma, No Pants cast members Tim Uren and Dan Hetzel, in addition to myself. We all saddled up to bar stools on stage, were offered drinks, and then answered audience questions…one of which was about my “favorite farm animal” – um, what? – I gracefully handed that one off to the brilliantly funny Mr. Hetzel.
Favorite Experience at this Year’s Fringe: Picture this: Closing night party, roughly 400 people, Leah Cooper onstage at Fringeville (the Suburban World Theater) announcing all of the staff members and having them come up on stage for a little recognition. Amy Lewis, Andrew Cleveland and I were brought up to be recognized for our work as the Out-of-Town Artist Coordinators and we were met, like everyone else, with polite applause. We stood there amongst the others as more and more staff were introduced. Then the moment: Cooper brought up stats about the podcast and then went on to introduce The Voice of the Fringe with an elaborate and highly complimentary preface including the words “The. Sexiest. Voice.” – when she finally announced my name, the audience erupted in applause and hoots and cheers. It was so thrilling I could hardly contain my joy and shock (and embarrassment at the joy and shock). It’s funny how sometimes goofy grins give away the secret that humility has lost the battle of the moment.
So the podcast stats? It turns out that the first four podcasts were downloaded from the Fringe website more than 2,000 times - that’s not even counting the ones downloaded from iTunes! And there’s one more being released today! And I was all freaked out about no-one listening (that entry was one I never posted here because I thought it sounded too needy). Way cool, way, way cool. I think this calls for an…you guessed it! - HORTON HAPPY DANCE!!!
Favorite line of the Fringe (courtesy Allegra Lingo, House Manager extraordinaire): a woman, with a small child in tow, was attempting to gain entry into a sold-out performance of “Nibblers: A Musical With Sharks” – a kid’s show, mind you – and became so angered by the sold-out status that she burst out, “Goddamn the arts! They pull you in and then they f*** you over!”
I hope somebody works that into a show next year.