The Minnesota Fringe Festival kind of snuck up on me this year.
This is partly because of the day job - the full-time one that survived the pandemic, that is. Normally, they would be doing events in the spring, but we didn't quite have the vaccine out in the general public quite yet at that point, and so all those events got pushed back to, you guessed it, August. One will take place in the middle of the Fringe, one will take place just after the Fringe, and the last one a week after that. So I'm going to be doing half days at work during the festival just to help do my part to keep things on track.
This is partly because of the other day job - the part-time one that didn't survive the pandemic. It was in the box office at the Guthrie Theater and after three months of stay at home pay because they got one of those government payroll loans, and another four months of unpaid layoff, they knew they wouldn't be reopening any time soon, so they eliminated the positions of all the low level front line staff. However, they're now reopening a year and a half after shutting down, and they needed some part time help processing season ticket renewal orders, so that's been evenings and weekends the past two weeks, now stretching into an unexpected third. They're also rehiring. Fingers crossed, hopefully the fact that they don't have to train me from scratch and I was there for 16 years will count in my favor.
This is partly due to transportation issues. Someone ran a stop sign a month and a half ago and totaled my car (no human injuries, thank God) and I've been dealing with car insurance paperwork and hunting the inventory of used car dealerships ever since. Closing in on the endgame on this one but still doing a lot of walking (for instance, the Guthrie is a little over a mile from my house). So my stamina, and my legs, are improving. I'll actually almost miss that. But I'll be grateful for wheels again because it makes logistics a lot simpler.
This is partly due to the fact that my stalwart Fringe companion of many years, my mother Beverlee, is no longer with us. Just passed the two year mark since she died on July 1st. Normally, I'd be sorting through show listings and concocting a schedule that would allow her to see the maximum amount of shows with a minimal amount of running around. That's somewhat simplified by the fact that nearly everything is online again this year. There's everything from old reliables who've been around for years, to new favorites I just learned about in last year's virtual Fringe, to the wide assortment of complete unknowns who could become my new artistic best friends. But it's easier to keep yourself focused on the task at hand if you're doing it for someone other than just yourself, if you're trying to craft a schedule that would be fun for a guest you want to enjoy it with. But I can be my own curator, too. Just feels a little weird. Still getting used to it.
So I finally did sit down this weekend and dig through all the show listings to start conjuring up a schedule. The following posts are my suggestions, take them for what you will...
It's nice to be back, even if things are quite totally normal just yet.
Stay safe and be well, Fringe friends.