Thursday, September 5, 2013

Artists Unite… and Tear Each Other Apart = part 2

Tonight is the opening of the Amsterdam Fringe. 

I just got back from the Edinburgh Fringe, and I’m eager to join in the buzz. I wonder if I should go hand out flyers for my show? (absolutely not)

The Edinburgh Fringe apparently had more shows than ever this year. And it was pretty crowded as far as I could tell. Yet I’ve never noticed the level of cutthroat turf battles I saw this year. 

- Int’l vs Fringe. Of course, it should be mentioned that the Fringe is itself a split-off from the International Festival. Now it’s much bigger than the Int’l Festival. But they’re cool.

- The Fringe vs. the Free Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is such a mecca for comedians that it’s largely become a comedy festival. By now there is a conglomerate of venues, known as The Big 4 – aka ‘The Commercial Fringe.’ The Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, Assembly and Underbelly are all gathered around the Univ. of Edinburgh’s Bristo Square.
BUT – as an alternative to the Commercial Fringe – there’s the Free Fringe. It’s a collective of venues who agree to pass the hat instead of charging admission. They’re now at least 10 years old and have more venues and shows than ever. Recently, they’re also racking up something new: awards. (see previous blog 25 august) 

- SO maybe it's not financially impossible to put on a show in Edinburgh...

- AND maybe the Free Fringe will bring balance and harmony? NOT QUITE. Now there are TWO free fringes: The PBH Free Fringe and the Laughing Horse Free Fringe. Why? Because PBH = Peter Buckley Hill, and he had a falling out with the other guy, who stole his idea and started the split-off. Enough bad blood? Not even close!

- The biggest, most awkward rift is the Assembly situation. The Assembly Rooms closed down a few years ago for renovations. The organizers relocated the Assembly to be part of the Big 4 – temporarily. Meanwhile, you may ask, aren’t there any resident comedy clubs in Edinburgh? Don’t they take part in the Fringe? Why, yes – there’s The Stand. By Edinburgh, for Edinburgh.
The Stand run the Assembly ROOMS. The Brits run the Assembly FESTIVAL (as well as the others in the Big 4)

And – quicker than you can say ‘Scottish nationalism’ – somehow The Stand moved into the renovated Assembly Rooms instead of the original Assembly. The British owner of the Assembly name took his Eton-educated haughtiness straight to the Edinburgh city council and was reportedly laughed out of the building. Keeping his stiff, properly British upper lip, the Assembly changed its name to the Assembly Festival – with their own guide - and the Assembly Rooms also have their own guide.
The Assembly Festival has its traditional Spiegel Tent. The Assembly Rooms have recreated their old Spiegel Tent – known as the ‘Famous Spiegel Tent.’ The result of all this bitter rivalry is a lot of pissed-off punters showing up at the wrong place and wasting thousands of Pounds, giving the entire festival a bad name.

Hopefully, the Amsterdam Fringe will never succumb to such petty in-fighting. BUT – I just found out the show where I agreed to perform tonight is not part of the Fringe, but part of the Amsterdam Free Fringe… 

I brought this to the attention of the Fringe director Anneke, and she said ‘the more the merrier! Tell them next time to answer their emails, and we’ll include them in the listings!’
I’ll tell them.

Artists Unite… and Tear Each Other Apart = part 1

Artists Unite… and Tear Each Other Apart = part 1

I love the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam. It’s Free Preview Weekend to kick off the theater season… and a chance for artists to elbow each other. 

I performed at Sugar Factory and brought flyers for my 3 different projects. A new record! But I also had the audacity to hand out flyers in public. At the festival. Where people go around collecting flyers. I was quickly reminded by Uitmarkt staff that this was not allowed. I asked why? Apparently my flyers were not allowed in that specific area (the high-budget productions).

Luckliy, there was also the Uitmarkt Book Festival, and I also had flyers for my book. Here, I was also told flyering was not allowed. This year for the first time, the Uitmarkt Book Festival is merging with Manuscripta – the annual festival to open the literary season. Publishers taking part in Manuscripta pay to get in. So I was basically mooching. I felt bad, since the current theme in Dutch publishing is crisis & cutbacks. I did take a moment to shout out loud – ‘Of course you’re not selling anything – YOU’RE PUBLISHING IN DUTCH!’ Other than being the 37th biggest language in the world, it’s just awful to listen to. I love the Dutch people – they’re the ones who legalized euthanasia. So why not let the Dutch language die already?

Meanwhile, the AmsterdamFringe is back in town, and there’s plenty of English / LNP (Language No Problem). Kickoff is tonight – see you there.