The Fringe, The Internet, & Democracy

With a limited number of venues available and demand expected to be high, how do we create a fair, unbiased process to select Fringe projects? This is a very sensitive issue as any “juried” selection process violates the underlying principles of Fringe. After all, the first fringe (1947 in Edinburgh) involved rebel artists setting up camp on the “fringes” of the much more effete and established Edinburgh International Festival.

Some Fringes navigate around this problem by establishing a “lottery” whereby Fringe projects are selected at random. Some approach it from a “first come, first serve” basis. Others utilize a selection committee staffed with press, artists, sponsors, et al. Almost all Fringes level applicants with a “fee” just to apply.

Amazing work has been produced using these paradigms, no doubt. We are trying something different.

Imagine this:

  • Artists log into our website and set up camp.
  • Each artist creates a MySpace/Facebook-like profile of their project.
  • To this profile they add text, links, video, pictures, music, blogs, podcasts anything to help articulate their artistic vision
  • The community at large votes on their favorite projects.
  • The projects with the most votes are entered into the Hollywood Fringe

To encourage participation from artists large and small, we will not be charging any fees to create a project profile on the website.


Community & The Fringe

At the Hollywood Fringe, our community is central to everything we do.

We are big fans of Hollywood. To the rest of the world, Hollywood is an idea. It is a capital of the world, a place of legend. It’s the spiritual core of the entertainment industry and a symbol of possibility and opportunity. People come here to “make it”. Dreams are big and ambition is high.

That’s Hollywood “the idea”. The Hollywood in which we live is a little different than the sum of the world’s imagination and ambitions. So much more than buildings and concrete, it is the fascinating array of personalities that provide its character. Personal style and expression are the norm. Conformity and conservatism are not.

When I moved here from Iowa (I was born and raised in DC), it was the vast array of personalities and styles that immediately caught my eye and imagination. In many places on this earth, communities rally around a style and vie to conform to it. Here it is just the opposite – style is an independent expression of individual personality, culture, and taste.

And then there is the theatre. In recent years, Hollywood has undergone a renaissance of the arts. You can barely skip out your door without landing yourself outside a potential venue. The expansive “Theatre Row” stretches across Santa Monica Ave with dozens of professional theatre venues and companies. Somewhat ironically, Hollywood is a theatre neighbourhood.

The counterculturism and natural expressiveness of this neighbourhood combined with the plethora of theatre venues and companies create a fantastic opportunity to host a world-class fringe festival. We hope to combine these divergent elements into a living, theatrical organism. Fringe is independent, expressive, bold, experimental. It is the pursuit of an idea because that idea seems worth doing. It provides a safe, supportive environment for artists to take risks.

As we plan Hollywood’s first Fringe, we are very aware that the community is the spiritual core from which this festival springs. Our inspiration, our ideas, and our support come from this place. As a result, the Hollywood Fringe will be unique. As atmosphere and water provide flavour to ageing whiskey, so to will Hollywood provide our festival’s flavour.

We are proud to develop a project that breathes this air and walks these streets every day. Ok, maybe not the air, but you get the idea…


What's Hollywood Fringe?

The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual event uniting local, national, and international theatre artists in a celebration of the performing arts.

It’s mission is to:

  • Host an environment for bold and experimental theatre
  • Vitalize the theatre industry in Los Angeles
  • Promote and enrich the Hollywood neighborhood
  • Champion underground art and artists

Our first festival will take place in the Summer of 2010 in Hollywood, California.

Interested? Here are some of our guiding ideas:

AN EXPANSIVE EVENT
We are thinking at least 20 official venues. The venues would be filled with performances of all types: Comedy, New Plays, Hip Hop, Dramas, Solo Artists, and more. To manage this monstrous event, we seek enthusiastic, inventive, and driven people as associate producers, volunteers, coordinators, marketers, grant writers, and idea people. For a few days, we want to turn this city on its head and we can’t do it alone.

ALL VARIETIES OF PERFORMANCE
Within the Fringe itself, there will be multiple programs to keep things interesting. For example, there may be two nights dedicated to 10-minute plays. Perhaps we will stage a new play festival to celebrate new works. We may stage an improv festival or one dedicated to sketch comedy. The nice thing about Fringe is that it is all-encompassing. We needn’t be hog-tied by a specific vision; all performance-based art is welcome.

STREET THEATRE
Up and down theatre row, everywhere you look there will be stuff to look at. Clowns, Mimes, Commedia, fire eaters, performance artists. Add to that food stands, merchandise sellers, information booths. We hope to create a real circus-like scene, making the the neighborhood a little crazy.

CENTRALIZED
Our current plans are to hold the event in the Hollywood, CA area. We want audience members to easily wander between theatres to check out new and interesting events. Hollywood is a wonderfully diverse neighborhood steeped in history and culture. It’s also a little rebellious, a little rock n’ roll. And, of course, there are tons of venues all within walking distance. The Fringe is a love letter to this place.

INTERNET-DRIVEN
We will be spending a lot of pain and effort making this a very tech-savvy event. We have several Internet aficionados on board with us, and plan to provide services to artists and audience to make this a truly wired event. To begin, we have launched this blog to connect with our community.

FOR THE COMMUNITY
if you are reading this, you are probably a direct or indirect member of the arts community. This event is for you! We welcome your participation, feedback, thoughts, complaints – all of it. We oblige every request; we will always be open minded. It is not our place (the festival producers) to make judgments on art, politics, religion, etc. On these points we are completely agnostic. We facilitate performances for passionate artists. If you have the passion, we are here to help you realize your vision.


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Advertising with the Hollywood Fringe Festival is an excellent way to promote your project, organization, brand, or cause. Buy an advertisement now on our website or printed guide.Advertising with the Hollywood Fringe Festival is an excellent way to promote your project, organization, brand, or cause. Buy an advertisement now on our website or printed guide.