Countdown to Fringe…


by Kate Hoff • July 22, 2008 • I have one of the beautiful printed Fringe schedules in front of me. Pick up one of your very own at your local public library, or wait for it to appear in the City Pages next week. It’s also on the Fringe website, but it’s harder to write on the electronic version.

I’m mapping out my plan and thinking about my Top Ten list for 2008. Everyone has a different strategy for choosing Fringe shows: Fringe blog veteran Chris Kidder constructs a matrix and decides his fate with the roll of a 20-sided gaming die (or at least that’s what he’s done in past years. I hear he’s blogging for the City Pages this year; d20 or not, he’s an excellent source of information. Check him out!).

Full Frontal Fringe is the blog of Kate Hoff, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.

These are categories I consider as I mark up my program:
— shows by people I know (this doesn’t guarantee that I’ll see them).
— out-of-towners. I have this perception that people who tour Fringe shows have invested in them, and have likely performed in front of other audiences and worked out the kinks. I also like to support these performers who, by definition, don’t have local networks of friends, family and colleagues obligated to see their shows.
— shows that looked interesting based on a preview performance (check the Fringe Festival website for more showcase opportunities).
— shows that look interesting based on their promo photo, postcard, or written description.
— shows recommended by other bloggers. If you find yourself incessantly reading every Fringe-related blog post on the Internet, you’ll quickly get an idea of whose opinion you trust.

Once shows open, my list is constantly being revised based on audience reviews, gossip and direct interaction with artists at Fringe Central.

Postscript: From Monday night’s Fringe-for-All showcase at the Ritz: Catfight! wasn’t kidding about the “adult language” warning, tossing in the queen mother of all four-letter words at the end of their three-minute preview. Can’t be avoided, really, in a show “dedicated to Michele Bachmann, Ted Haggard and Larry Craig…”

Kate Hoff is a fundraiser, printmaker, and alternative-theater denizen. Her prints were included in the Visible Fringe show in 2004—also the year she began blogging about the festival. A few years, countless blog entries, and a hundred-some Fringe shows later, Kate joined the Fringe board in early 2008. The views expressed here are hers alone and do not represent the official position of the Fringe (unless noted).