There’s something truly incredible about an annual performance festival that one can attend and enjoy the company of hundreds of people one knows, amongst thousands of attendees, multiple times a day, every day, for 11 days straight. While in the audience of The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue at the U of M Rarig Center Thrust yesterday, I caught myself having the perfect Fringe moment: I was sitting directly in front of friends Leah Cooper and Dean Seal, both former MN Fringe Fest Executive Directors; sitting next to Matt Sciple, who I’ve never worked with but will be directing me in Wellstone! starting the day after Fringe closes; across the aisle from two gents who performed a fantastic Fringe show at Intermedia Arts in 2005, in town from Madison not to perform – just to see shows; and in the audience of The Cody Rivers Show, one of the tightest, most hilarious and impressive pieces of art I’ve seen in a long time. If “Fringe” can be used as a verb; this is why I Fringe.

Now, because I can’t throw a stone without hitting someone I know, I find myself in constant conversation about what we’ve seen and loved or loathed. Unfortunately, 13 shows in a weekend makes one’s brain liquefy a little, and I have a hard time remembering shows unless they’ve made some kind of very, very strong impression – so here’s the list of attendance (or attendance attempts) thus far:

Thursday, July 31: 8 pm – The Mistress Cycle @ the Bryant Lake Bowl (Sold out/turned away)

Friday, August 1: 5:30 pm – How Does a Drug Deal Become a Decent 3rd Date @ U of M Thrust 7 pm – An Inconvenient Squirrel @ U of M Thrust 8:30 pm – Boom @ U of M Arena

Saturday, August 2: 1 pm – Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead @ U of M Thrust 2:30 pm – The Pumpkin Pie Show @U of M Thrust 4 pm – One Night Only with Mike Mahoney @ U of M Thrust (Last-minute, unplanned addition to fill a blank spot) 5:30 pm – The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue @ U of M Thrust 7 pm – Leaving Normal @ U of M Xperimental 10 pm - Fringe Opening Party @ Bedlam (Went home to eat and freshen-up; went home, ate, and fell asleep, so missed entirely – oopies.)

As for shows I have seen and heartily, heartily recommend – Boom. For the love of all things sweet and wonderful, go see Boom. And The Cody Rivers Show – see it, see it, see it. And Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead. And The Pumpkin Pie Show. And An Inconvenient Squirrel. For the rest, Thumper’s Rule applies.  Well, in writing anyway.