To critique the fringe really is a general critique of all first year fringes. As you know I highly recommend against signing up for first year fringes. Venues tend to be empty, it’s extremely hard to get people to see your shows and unless you have a motive other than money and applause, it’s somewhat of a losing investment. Although there are rare exceptions to this rule, I still recommend waiting until a fringe reaches its fifth birthday before participating.
If I was doing a traditional fringe review I’d have to describe the LI fringe as “your best friends little brother who has autism and seems really cool when he flaps his hands like a seal and counts clouds.”
On the + side:
a. The venue is one of the best on the entire fringe circuit. At the center of the venue hub is the Tilles center and the other fringe venues spoke out form the center within the same building. Walking from venue to venue is a breeze. The Tilles center is a beautiful state of the art performing arts facility (One of the nicest I’ve seen in the country) that seats about 3,000. It comes with a professional, extremely well-trained tech crew, ushers that wear the monkey outfits and a box office that you’d expect to find when buying tickets for the opera. Where most fringes feel like a bunch of hippies collecting money in envelopes and passing along moonlighting band sound guys to run your tech, this fringe makes you feel like a rock star.
b. Most of the performers were from
c. he events organizers Bob Goida and Deb Kasimakis treat you like royalty. Performers see all shows for free, you get 100% of the door, the participation fee was beans ($200) and they provided you with an opening night four star spread and meet and greet that kicks off the event in style.
d. This fringe actually had a mascot, which I thought was pretty darn cool.
On the - side:
a. From the beginning the LI fringe ran into problems. Early on, the New York Fringe sent the LI Fringe a “cease and desist order” telling the organizers they couldn’t use the “fringe” name. (This is why Frigid didn’t use the “Fringe” name). And so, the LI Fringe ultimately became the “2009 Experience Long Island Fr*^g* Festival. From a future marketing perspective it’s sure death. Names are everything and it makes the festival sound more like a cheesy outdoor local family art event. I anticipate that unless they find a better name, the festival will be hard pressed to become accepted by the fringe community.
b. The fringe takes place on CW Post
GO: If you want to make some connections in the city and get a chance to perform on one of the best stages in the country.
SKIP IT: If fringing for you is about recouping a monetary investment and you don’t like to perform in an empty venue.