You’re never alone at Fringe time

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by Matthew A. Everett • July 3, 2008 • At least, you don’t have to be.

For those of you who look at the Fringe website with its wealth of information on over 155 shows and wonder, how the heck do you get a handle on this festival…?

(Well, first of all, be grateful you’re not in Edinburgh…)

And then, the Fringe has some handy suggestions for you. Don’t want to go it alone? Hire someone to be your guide. The Fringe has a Sherpa program. No, seriously. It’s there on the site…

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.

Need a personal guide?

Check out our new Sherpa program – your personal guide through the Fringe wilderness.

It’s a great way for first-time Fringers to connect with an experienced “Sherpa” guide.

Participants purchase a 5-show punch card and a button to take part;

they’ll be assigned a guide who will select shows for them to see and arrange a social dinner outing.

Contact Allegra Lingo (allegra@fringefestival.org) for more details.”

They tested this program last year and it seemed to go over really well. I met some people out being sherpa’d and they were having a great time.

Even if you do go it alone, the community includes not only the artists, but the audience as well…

Tell people what you thought

Don’t be shy about talking to people in the lobbies – everyone wants to know what’s good and what’s not. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends!

(Blogger note – Fringe shows live and die on buzz, and buzz comes from the audience getting the word out, for better or worse. Mouth off. They encourage it. And for those more written than oral…)

Audience reviews:

After you’ve seen a show, write an online review to help guide fellow audience members.

Anyone can write a review, with a couple of exceptions – we ask that people not review shows they’re involved with, and reviews that contain personal attacks will not be posted – you certainly don’t have to like everything, but gratuitous meanness is not the Fringe way.

(Blogger’s note – they do screen every review before it’s posted, but apart from those exceptions, it’s open season. Again, the audience creates the best gauge of what’s working and what’s not. If you like, or dislike, something, put your opinion out there. The artists appreciate it, and so do fellow audience members looking for guidance.

You just have to sign up with the site, and it’s a spam-free zone, so it’s completely safe. I’ve been signed on for years now and never had a single problem or unwanted email.)

And the Fringe staff is always happy to get your feedback. You’ll find the staff in green Fringe t-shirts, or you can contact the Fringe office at 612-872-1212 or info@fringefestival.org.”

Want to hang out and chat into the wee hours? The Fringe encourages still further mingling between artists and audience…

Come be social!

Minnesota Fringe almost spontaneously creates its own community. Half of the Fringe experience is talking about what you’ve seen. Don’t be shy! Join the conversation online, in the lobbies, at Fringe parties and at our official hangout, Fringe Central.

Fringe Central:

Bedlam Theatre (1501 South 6th Street on the West Bank in Minneapolis), located in the center of our Fringe world, is where the community starts – and ends – every day.

Fringers of all stripes meet, greet, bring their families, talk about the shows they’ve seen and make merry into the small hours.

Fringe Central, sponsored by Summit Brewing Company is open starting at 4 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on weekends, and features a lineup of Summit beer, organic wine and Polish fusion food.

Easily accessible by car, bike, or light rail, you and yours will want to make this a frequent stop on your Fringe journey.

Opening party:

Saturday August 2, 10pm:

Happy birthday, Minnesota Fringe!

We’re celebrating our 15th birthday, quinceanera style at Fringe Central – Bedlam Theatre.

Join a multitude of Fringers for birthday cake, a pinata, party favors and (if you ask real nice) a spanking.

(Blogger’s note – spanking optional)

Closing party:

Sunday August 10, 9pm.

Come downtown to First Avenue (701 First Avenue North in Minneapolis) to hang out with all those cools artists, volunteers and audience members you met along the way.

Come for one last blast of summer.

And remember – it doesn’t really count as a work night if you call in sick the next day.

18+ event.”

It’s like summer camp, only you don’t have to sleep in a tent. Come join us. We’re very friendly, I promise.

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.