Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest Review: Frigid Fest (New York City)

By Guest Reviewer: Chris Harcum

Guest Festival Ranking: 5 out of 5

Mr. Fringey's Description: A wing and a prayer and a staple gun filled with frozen gummy bears.


The Sunny-side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe is the bomb)

1. It's contained. 30 shows in 3 venues with over 150 performances in 12 days on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. 2 venues are in the same building. The other venue is a short, easy walk so you can catch almost any performance back to back to back.

2. It's connected. Horse Trade and EXIT Theatre/San Francisco Fringe Festival + Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals = a truly fringe-tastic experience.

3. It's a smooth ride. The Horse Trade people really care and help you.

The Flip-side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe sucks or what makes it difficult)

1. It's in its third year. It's getting a good reputation. It hasn't made household names yet but it's becoming tough to jump in there. It's not going to get bigger so you have to pounce on the entry. The online entries are 1/3 of the number of participants. That registration filled up in under 2 minutes this year. The next 1/3 are Canadian participants. The final 1/3 are drawn from a hat at midnight on Halloween. That's how I got in when I was in it in '08.

2. It's still a fringe. You need to have your game together. Your show needs to be at a performance level, your marketing plan needs to be in place, your tech needs to collapse or expand at a moment's notice and you have to hustle. Some people are good fringe citizens and some are self-involved jerks. From my experience, Frigid has more of the former. Actually, last year's Frigid only had 2 groups I did my best to avoid.

3. Canadian fringe people have a frisky tradition of handing out postcards and busking at other people's shows to generate audience. New Yorkers have a caustic tradition of hating this because of the guys hawking specials for strip clubs in Times Square. You can always tell the Canadian participants by this. I know it works elsewhere but in NYC it's like watching your kids lose a soccer match.

Potential to Make Money:

Do you get 100% of door? If not, how much. 100%

Do performers see other shows for free? Yes if they are available.

Do you get paid each night? If not how? Were you paid on time if the money was sent to you? Yes.

Fringe Specs:
Age in Fringe Years: 3
Festival Dates: Feb 25 – March 8
Application Deadline: October 31
And: “Our audience numbers were up more than 20% from last year, almost a 50% increase from our first festival only three years ago, this is amazing.”
Applying: $35: On-line at
Festival Cost: The Kraine Theater $850, The Red Room $550, UNDER
St. Marks $675

Ticket Prices: $15 and under.

Navigation of the City

What city do you fly into and how did you get to your destination? Laguardia, JFK or Newark International. Public transportation from any of these airports can get you to midtown. The F, V and 6 subway trains are close.

About Mr. Fringey Guest Reviewer:

Name: Chris Harcum

Show Name: American Badass (or 12 Characters in Search of a National Identity).

Check him out:

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