Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Closing Time

It’s here…the Festival is over, and now everything’s just wrapping up, as I site here watching So You Think You Can Dance.

I guess I’m going to finish this touching on two aspects of my internship, my internship in and of itself, and my internship with regards to (ultimately) my thesis for the Arts Management Program at AU.

With my internship, with regards to marketing partnerships through the Button Discount, I’ve got to line up several for September. As far as press, I’m putting together the archive of all the press from this year. There are several featured articles and reviews I have hard copies of, but for the most part I’m printing out the articles from online. In addition to that, I’m creating a spreadsheet with the names of the articles, the publications their from, the media they were distributed in, the kind of article they are, and a hyperlink to the web page.

And this actually kinda segues into my working thesis. In talking to our publicist, and tracking the press (tv, print, and online), it’s really interesting to see how members of various communities and demographics respond to the festival and relevant performances in it and how easy it’s becoming to keep track of that as more media make their content available online.

So I’m thinking about what about communities and the arts I can pull into a thesis. I have a feeling that one of the classes I’ll be taking in the fall will help clarify this; it’s called ‘Art, Community and Diversity’:

“Theoretical and practical examination of multicultural art forms and their implications for managers, including the theory and practice of community cultural development.”

We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, check out the Photos from the Closing Night Party on Facebook: Part 1 & Part 2.

That’s it for this blog. Hope you enjoyed joining me with my summer exploits.

Wanna contact me? Email me at That’s the number “0” and not the letter “O”.

Otherwise, see you next year at the 5th Annual Capital Fringe Festival,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh, we’re halfway there

Okay…so we’re more than halfway there. I guess, technically, the halfway point was this past Saturday.

The Capital Fringe is heading into the final week of its fourth year tonight. It’s been great, so far; hasn’t really sunk in that it’s over in about five days. There’s definitely been a lot and overall the consensus is that the Festival continues to get bigger and better.

I say consensus because there are some that don’t share the sentiment. The Button was one issue which certain individuals are still coping with. The Capital Fringe only started it last year, and met some…”resistance” from lack of a better word. Yet despite that, most Fringers see it as a simple way to boost revenue which goes to the Festival and ultimately the artists, without raising the cost of tickets.

Some people understandably say that this can suck for the one-time Fringer who’s only going to see their friend’s show, or because they’re only in town long enough to catch a single performance, but ultimately realize that there really isn’t any similar mechanism which would yield the same results.

Another issue has been the space, especially in terms of access. And, while this is certainly an issue that wouldn’t be a problem in an ideal world, organizations are ultimately made up of individuals which have to play the proverbial “hand” their dealt with. Hindsight’s 20/20, chalk it up to experience, etc.

What those people haven’t taken into account is that one of the major reasons the venues used this year were chosen were partially financial and mostly in response to last year’s main feed back in that performances spaces were too spread out.

This year all Fringe Venues are within a 2 block radius of 7th & New York Ave.

Which brings us to the vitality of the performing arts in DC. I’d like to start off by pointing out the fact that the DC Metropolitan area is now the 2nd largest theatre scene in the country, after New York City and right before Chicago.

I bring this up because, often, the uninitiated ask me when I’m going to move to NYC, when the find out I’m in the performing arts. The assumption underlying this question is one to be dealt with as for me, the implication that there is nothing worthwhile to stay for in DC is a scary one that I immediately try to shed light on.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind spending sometime in “The City”, but I’m way too busy here. And it’s always going to be home for me. Plus, you’ve got an arts scene that lives hand in hand with the politics and policy of the nation. If that’s not the place to be, I don’t know what is. But I guess that might be something unique to a minority of working artists, wanting to be aware of and involved in Arts Policy, especially with regards to education and funding. Or maybe it’s a generational thing, and as newer generations flex their political muscles, so will their artists take more advantage of using their voice not just on stage, but at a grass roots, grass tops, and a lobbying level.

And so this is why the Capital Fringe Festival is a part of that pulse, that dialogue. For artists to present work, unjuried, and take chances, to affect an audience, to give a chance for reflection or incite a reaction…I just can’t think of a better city to do that in.

Until next week,


Next Week: Closing time

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crazy Times!!

Wow…like I don’t even know where to begin. The past week has just been a…a…I’m trying to think of a word, but even to call it a whirlwind of activity would be putting it mildly.

I guess I might as well start with the opening night party. That was a blast, there were DJ’s and live bands, the cast from one of the two shows about women sword fighting in their birthday suits started doing a line-dance to the music playing, and that was just the beginning of the shindig, even before the sun went down.

I got to catch up with a number of friends which were involved in productions, and meet artists I’d been in communication with regarding images for the guide, web, and PR. Although the marketing portion of my internship has died down a bit, the press has kicked into full gear.

I had mentioned Google Alerts in a previous entry, but it is both a blessing and a curse. There is still a good amount of review I have to do through the articles that are sent to me because, especially with regards to economic stories, there are a large number of articles with the words “capital” and “fringe” which have NOTHING to do with the festival.

As the press intern, I’ve also tried to make sure I see as much as possible without shirking any duties. Part of this has to do with just wanting to have experienced the shows and know what the reviews are talking about, whether I agree or disagree with the critic’s response.

The other part has to do, again, with moving forward with whatever relationship I might’ve developed with the artists (both as an individual and as a representative of Capital Fringe) simply via being the point of contact for their web and guide images. I know everyone on staff has been in contact with them to some degree, but as Fringe is certainly about community, every time a producing artist is able to put a face to a name can’t do anything but help reinforce that community, on both ends, right?

To that end, I still can’t believe I managed to see 8 shows between Friday and Sunday. I won’t tell you what I saw, nor what I’d recommend or not as that is not the purpose of this blog. And yet, as I enjoy the space between weekends, I’m sure last week was only a warm-up for the upcoming ones.

Speaking of the space between, although there aren’t any shows which go on Monday & Tuesday (outside of the Find Your Own Venues), there are a series of workshops and roundtables which make up the Capital Fringe Training Factory.

Topics and skills range from learning how to beat box to discussing solo performance.

I think that’s about it for now…I feel like I’m still catching up from the weekend.

By the way, you’re more than welcome to check out more pics from the opening night party.

Until next week,


Next Week: The second week and what the Capital Fringe Festival means to me as a native Washingtonian…lemme guess: you’ve never met one? :-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Another Op’nin, Another [120 Something] Show[s]

The Box Office opened today!!

So we’re less than 48 hours from the opening party, and all hands are on deck tomorrow. This is the part that can get very exciting but also very frustrating for people. It’s like tech-week, but on a much bigger scale.

I actually have this great t-shirt, which I can’t find right now, and I really, REALLY wanted to wear tomorrow.

oh well…

But it’s the time when everything you might’ve expected to be responsible for has less to do with what needs to be done. Although my official title is Marketing/Press Intern, that didn’t keep me from coming in on that afternoon on the Fourth of July to hang some drops, move lumber, or drill holes in a steel base.

Tomorrow there’ll probably be much more of that. Part of it’s just the nature of the festival; part of it’s unique to the new spaces that are apart of this year’s venues. All of it requires clear and effective communication, because anything else is a waste of time and energy. It also necessitates the ability not to take things personally. Someone might be short just because they’re tired and in a rush, not because they don’t care. Another might respond forcefully when you try to talk to them, but that probably has more to do with the conversation they’re having on the phone than with you.

It’s not a time to get defensive; it’s not a time to vent. Like with any work on stage, it’s just one of those times when, more than ever, you need to leave your baggage at the proverbial “door”. Now I know it probably sounds like I’m preaching to the choir, for all you other theatre folk out there. This is more for those who haven’t been a part of that world. It’s just not the kind of time, as the festival gets ready to open, where “regular working hours” has any meaning.

Which is why tomorrow, I don’t even know how late I’m going to be there, but it’ll be something like a 10 out of 12…maybe more like an 11.5 out of 12, or maybe a 15 out of 12. Whatever it takes until I’ve done whatever I can, which will not be marketing or press related And, again more for those who don’t know, in most of the tech weeks for productions I’ve worked on and/or been in, the weekend before opening night which kicks-off tech week is usually comprised of two 10 out of 12 days; that means on Sat & Sun, 10 out of 12 hours are spent working, with performers usually given an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner…or sometimes no lunch and two hours for dinner.

I’ve gotta say, though…I like doing tech work. My freshman year, I actually never wanted to step foot on stage. Until our spring musical, my involvement in our theatre productions was comprised of hanging lights, building sets, and operating boards. It’s something that I think more performers could, and should, endeavor to do more often than usual. Which is another great thing about Fringe Festivals, and Capital Fringe in particular. In training artists and companies to be self-producing, it forces people to take themselves out of whatever “box” they might’ve put themselves in, and refocuses them on simply doing what needs to be done to get the show on its feet. Hopefully, by the end of it, everyone’s learned something new in addition to growing in their primary craft(s), whether it be on stage or off.

Anyway, I digress…

I suppose I should talk about the Meetup thang. So far, no measureable outcomes, i.e. no one came up to me at the Press/Preview night and said hi. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Oh well, we’ll see what happens with the opening night party.

Until next week,


Next Week: The Opening Night Party, the first weekend, and the Training Factory