by Matthew A. Everett • July 4, 2008 • That “New to Fringe?” page on the Minnesota Fringe Festival website is mighty handy. For instance…
“This is our fifteenth year presenting some of the best, boldest and bravest performing arts in Minnesota.
With 155+ shows, there’s something for everyone – no matter your style.
Single White Fringe Geek (and Mom) is the blog of Matthew A. Everett, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.
And here’s your navigation guide.
1. Pick a show
2. Get to the show
3. Buy a ticket
4. Fringe’s Rules of Order
We’ve got two primary tools to guide you in show selection – the print program and this website. You’ve obviously found the website;
look for the print program in every copy of the July 30 City Pages, or at any of our Fringe venues.
(Blogger’s note – the program is a combination bible and lifeline during the first week in August. Invaluable, portable, and free. Can’t beat it.)
Use fringefestival.org to get late-breaking information and search for shows by date, company, venue or genre.
(Blogger’s note – Seriously, just since I’ve been poking around, one group has changed the info on the show they’re doing, and another just popped onto the schedule, so we must have had another drop out. Hmmm…)
You can create your own show schedule, write reviews of the shows you’ve seen, and check out pictures from the wide world of Fringe.
Minnesota Fringe’s 18 venues are grouped together in three Minneapolis neighborhoods: Uptown, the West Bank and North Loop-Northeast.
Getting between each neighborhood’s venues (in the time available between shows) is easy on foot, by bike, by car or via Metro Transit – we’ve suggested some good routes including parking suggestions on our website venue pages.
Our recommendation is to pick a block of shows in one neighborhood and spend the day exploring the Fringe-and our host neighborhoods.
Incredible food, parks, shops and bars are never far from any venue.
(Blogger’s note – Mom and I plan to follow this very strategy, to maximize our theater gluttony.
Bryant Lake Bowl and Intermedia Arts are right around the corner from each other in Uptown.
Red Eye and the Minneapolis Theater Garage aren’t that far away from each other, or the Uptown grouping.
The U of M’s Rarig Center on the West Bank has four theaters in one spot – extremely handy, and not far away from the Southern, or Mixed Blood, plus Fringe Central at Bedlam Theatre. Also, the playwrights center is just over the hill and around the bend, so you can lump that in there, too.
Interact Center and Jeune Lune are right near one another, plus the Lab Theater is also nearby, all in the warehouse district.
I really like going out to the Ritz for things, even though it’s a bit further off, but not that far away from that warehouse grouping. Nice little ride, worth the trip. Some good stuff out there this year, just like last year. You can do a dry run by attending Fringe For All (part 1) on Monday.
Then of course there’s the randoms where the BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) acts are housed – the old reliable Soap Factory, and a couple of pubs (Kieran’s and McMahon’s) and the Black Forest Inn. (Red Eye’s technically a BYOV, too, but it’s a bit more central).
Always an adventure, tooling around town by whatever means you have at your disposal.)
Before seeing a Fringe show, everyone 12 years old and above must purchase a $3 admission button.
The button is good for the length of the festival and gets you discounts to local merchants-and tons of local theater-year round.
(Blogger’s note – I’ve already expounded on the bonuses of the button and its year-round artsy discounts. I’m a fan.)
Plus, you’ll look cool wearing it.
$12 for adults,
$10 for seniors, students and MPR members (I.D./membership card required),
$5 for kids under 12.
(Kids under 5 aren’t admitted to shows outside Kids Fringe)
Buy in bulk!
For $150, get an Ultra Pass, which allows you to see as many shows as you want for one low price.
(Blogger’s note – even at the senior rate of $10 a ticket, Mom always sees enough shows to more than pay for that. 15 shows? Pah! Mom clears that easily. And this year, due to a scheduling challenge, she’ll be arriving just the day before the fest and staying through the seventh day of the run. Unheard of. She’ll get her money’s worth twice over. I just ordered it for her.)
$90 gets you a brand-new Ten-Show Punch Card, or
$50 gets you a Five-Show Punch Card.
Ultra Passes are not transferrable;
punch cards are, so you can use them for yourself or with a group.
(Blogger’s note – That’s a handy tip. If you and some friends aren’t planning to do a lot of shows individually, but collectively you’re going to hit a bunch, or just want to attend in a bunch, having a five or ten show punch card to pass around can save you all some dough. Once you all have your own button (that, you can’t pass off, you each need one), you could conceivably all line up for the same performance of a show and pass the punch card down the line. I’m not kidding – the Fringe uses the same example. It’s the Fringey version of a group discount.)
Call Uptown Tix at (651) 209-6799 or visit them online at www.uptowntix.com for advance ticket sales as well as reservations for Ultra Pass and Punch Card holders.
Buy tickets online by following the ticket link from any show page.
Or you can buy tickets in person at the ticket kiosk located at Fringe Central – Bedlam Theatre.
Each advance sale and reservation is charged a $2.50 handling fee.
(Blogger’s note – I know some people say reservations are for pussies, but with the dashing about that Mom and I do, there’s little margin for error. It’s nice to know there’s a seat waiting for us when we get there (particularly for the really popular shows). The peace of mind is worth the $2.50. Plus, I look at it as supporting Uptown Tix, which is a really helpful organization during my Fringe fugue state every year.)
At the door:
Box office opens 30 minutes before show time and seating starts 10 minutes before show time.
All seating is general admission.
(less formal than that Robert guy, but equally important!)
Shows start on time.
Because this is such a huge festival, if one thing starts late, everything starts late – so we can’t dawdle.
Don’t be late!
No photography during performances.
(Blogger’s note – Oh lordy, thanks for putting that up front. We don’t want to instigate another one of these incidents or its embarrassing aftermath
Instead, check out our daily slide shows
(which they have space waiting right on the front page).
Turn off cell phones and pagers,
(Blogger’s note – now that my family gave me one of those things, I live in fear of it going off at inopportune moments. I may just leave it at home. After all, Mom’s already going to be with me. If she needs to reach me, she can poke me in the shoulder.)
and don’t talk during performances unless the artists talk to you first.
(Blogger’s note – Don’t worry, they normally warn you about audience participation. It’ll be really clear.)
Keep the scent to a minimum.
We ask all patrons to curb their use of perfume, cologne and other scented products for everyone’s comfort, especially folks with chemical sensitivities.
(Blogger’s note – I know someone who suffers from this malady. It’s making her life very challenging right now.
Plus, it’s August in Minnesota. We expect to be able to smell you coming anyway – naturally. No need to try covering it up. We’re all friends here after all.)”
Entering his sixth year of blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival (and bringing Mom along for the ride as a guest reviewer), Matthew A. Everett is also a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.