Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guest Review: Montreal Fringe

Guest Review:
Montreal Fringe Festival
By Guest Reviewer:
Sophie Nimmannit

Guest Festival Ranking: 5 out of 5 bow ties (for fun and kinda frenchy)

Mr. Fringy's Description: The Captain Beefheart/Jenna Jameson Express.

The Sunny-side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe is the bomb)
1. 13th Hour – awesome nightly variety show that lets audience and artists join the party, and gives good publicity opportunities

2. Audience attendance

3. Some stellar, professional venues.

The Flip Side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe sucks or what makes it difficult)
This fringe did not suck. Difficulties included
1. Billeting. One of our performers was there last year, had a problematic billet and found his own place to stay on Two of us were able to return there this year. Our number three didn't have a billet until the day we arrived, and switched midway through.

2. Not having an artist pass. Sure, the password system encourages us to meet each other, maybe or earn a few extra bucks, but there's so little time! I have plenty of strategizing to do for my show. Putting energy into figuring out what shows I have passwords to during the times I'm free just makes me sad. And other shows aren't going to make money on me. I'm on a budget. Without the password, I won't go to the show. I was so excited to see all the French language shows at this fringe, but being an out-of-towner, I missed their showcases, so I didn't know who to approach to get passwords, and I didn't have time to do detective work, so I missed most of them. When I have an artist pass, I see everything I can, and I get so excited about being an artist. It's a 2 week utopia.

3. Managing sleep cycles: the nightly party starts at 1am, get home around 4am. Sometimes I had to miss out on the party to feel sane.

Your Money Sock: How big of a money sock do you need here, based on food prices, and other expenses? (Choose one: A tiny sock, a men's tube sock, a full blown
stocking) How much money did you spend on this one when all was said and

A men's tube sock. Food was a little more than I'm used to, (I'm spoiled by NYC cheap eats),but beer was a little less! Taxes were higher, so at the register things cost a bit more than on the price tag. And beware, iced coffee is expensive, and they kept serving it to me with half a cup of milk already in it – once with assorted fruits skewered on my straw. The following is in USD.

Travel: about $120/person round-trip NYC-Montreal driving, gas & tolls
Festival Fee: about $620
Food/Personal Budget: $200/person for the festival

How to Fill Your Seats: What's the best way to fill your seats here marketing-wise?
Do a show about anal sex with full-frontal nudity and walk around town wearing a glittery dildo under your tutu. Or: Get the paper buzz-forms, hand them out right after your show. Flyer, perform in promotional events, etc.

Is there a fringe central?
Yes. And it serves beer, has bands and shows and an art market to keep attracting the passers-by.

Ticket Prices: Do you get 100% of door? If not, how much.
Yes, minus 15% tax. You can apply to be exempt from the tax. Our application was rejected by the Canadian government.

What's the ticket range price?

Do performers see other shows for free?
No. Boo. See above.

Payment: Do you get paid each night? If not how? Were you paid on time if the money was sent to you?
We could choose to get cash the day after, at the end in cash, or at the end by check. We took cash the day after each show, and a check for the last night because we left town. The check arrived promptly! My bank charged me a fee for depositing a Canadian check.

Showcase: Is there a showcase for out of town performers?
Yes! We all got a minute at the kickoff party after the parade. It was big and fun and had talented MCs.

Venue Location: Can you walk to all the venues? If not how did you get around?
You're asking the wrong person. We brought our bicycles and I didn't walk anywhere until the 4th day. That might have been the only time. Venues are walkable, though sometimes I guess it would be half an hour. (the schedule has half an hour between shows).

Now, Montreal is AWESOME for bikes. They have great routes and lanes. On bike I could zip from venue to venue in a chill, breezy 10 minutes. Such a joy, and the rest of the city is out on their bikes too. They don't wear helmets. Occasionally stuck in traffic, had to circle the block occasionally to find parking.

Travel-in: What city do you fly into and how did you get to your destination?
We drove from NYC. We looked up swimming holes on the internet and jumped in one on the way. It should have taken 8 hours, but then one of the bridges into Montreal was closed because a storm had blown a truck over. We spent 2 hours waiting to get over the other bridge.

I heard the train was also a reasonable option. We might try it when we go back up for the Harvest Festival with our other show FLUID (Harvest/Recolte is the LGBT theater festival,

Billeting: Did you use fringe fest lodging? If so, how was the lodging? If not, who did you stay with?
I listed this as a Flip Side difficulty. Last year, one of us had to leave a fringe billet and found a great place on Two of us stayed there. Our other person was got a message about her billet as we drove up, but could only stay in that place for 4 days, and had to switch.

Fringe Specs:
Age in Fringe Years: A 17 year old who was raised by a porn star and Frank Zappa.
Festival Dates: June 7-17, 2008

And: 90 companies from 8 different countries, 5 provinces, and 5 states.700 performances in 10 main Venues and 6 OFF Venues, an outdoor site and Fringe Club.
Application Deadline: October 31, 2008
Festival Cost: $660

About Mr. Fringey's Guest Reviewer: Sophie Nimmannit
Mr. Fringey's tag: Like going back to school and getting that really sexy education you always thought you were missing in your prerequisites.

Check her out at:, (and they have a facebook group)

What categories does your show fall under? (IE, comedy, women, religious, etc).
Burlesque sex-ed. Kinda queer.

How long have you been fringing?
I first fringed in 2005. My co-performer started in 2003.

How many fringes do you do each year?
1-2. Limited by travel costs.

What has been your favorite fringe?
Minnesota. (I've been to Victoria, Vancouver, Boulder, Minnesota and Montreal.)

What has been your biggest money making fringe?

What fringe did you make your most important contact?

Ha! Well, I think I have to say Boulder. That's where I met my co-collaborator on Peg-Ass-Us, John Leo. We made out at party there, and we started dating, and we started making a show. (Slash was in Boulder too, but I met him in Minneapolis.)

Otherwise, Minnesota has given us a pile of contacts – it's a very social fringe.

In one word, why do you fringe?

What's the name of the show (s) you are fringing this year?
Peg-Ass-Us, FLUID. We have one more stop: San Francisco. We're in a non-traditional venue, the Center for Sex and Culture!.

Do you use your own tech person at your shows? If so, how much do you pay them?
We use fringe techs. We bring along a competent stage manager.

Any fringes to avoid?
Not yet.

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