Back in 2003, the folks at the Minnesota Fringe Festival said, "Hey, would you like to write a blog for us?"
I said, "Sure. What's a blog?"
And that's how it started. I'd nursed a growing Fringe addiction for the past several years, and the prospect of being to see as many shows as I wanted, for free, all in exchange for some typing, seemed too good to be true.
I was supposed to give the blog a name, and being horrible when cornered about titles, I settled on "Single White Fringe Geek."
That same year, my mom's annual pilgrimage from the east to the midwest had her landing in town just as the Fringe was heading into its final weekend. Mom's a big theater buff, too. She'd never been to the Fringe. So I saved some of the shows I was most looking forward to, in order to share them with her. She took to the Fringe enthusiastically, and became something of a guest reviewer on the blog. Now she specifically arranges her visit to come at Fringe time, to catch the opening weekend.
And the blog morphed into "Single White Fringe Geek (and Mom)"
So, essentially, Mom is my gimmick. Often, people don't care whether I'm coming or not. They want to make sure Mom is attending.
2004, the blog was not my only tie to the Fringe. A cycle of short scripts I'd written, under the title of "Dandelion Snow" was being produced, at the same time I was helping as a co-producer on a two-part Fringe showcase of short scripts by other writers called "Fast Fringe." There is such a thing as too much multi-tasking.
So in 2005, I was back to spectating full-time with Mom. The other writing that year, for Thirst Theater, was un-Fringe related.
2006, I was writing a new script that went into rehearsal right after the Fringe out at Allegheny College, "But Not For Love."
And last year, the first part of my year was consumed by a workshop of another new script, funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, "Love's Prick" - a modern day riff on Shakespeare's romantic comedy "As You Like It." By the time the Fringe arrived in 2007, watching other people's art for a while was a welcome relief (bridge collapse or no bridge collapse)
Now, here we are again.
Something I invented to help me wrap my arms around the Fringe in my first year blogging was a little exercise I like to call...
If You Put A Gun To My Head...
or, if I could only see 10 Fringe shows, what would they be and why?
After all, I can't write about all 150-plus shows in the Festival, much as I often try.
Each year, I clear the slate and choose a different set of ten.
That of course has expanded into a second tier of ten as well (If You Removed That Gun From My Head... ), giving the last couple of years a list of shows 11 to 20.
And with five years of Fringe blogging behind me, and a penchant for many artists to return year after year - as long as the ping pong balls are kind, that means I've got a growing list of things that are worth your time which I'll toss out as options. Newbies and returning favorites.
That should keep me scribbling for a while.
Oh, and contrary to rumor, I do not like everything. Really.
This blog can now also be found on Twin Cities Daily Planet