2016 Fringe Reviews – Day 3
I had a big weekend what with all three of my shows opening on the same day.
Now I know what you’re thinking – three shows? What the hell Tim, are you some kind of attention whore?
Um…yeah. I mean I’m a writer and a performer. I can’t get around the fact that I like to put things in front of an audience. Sometimes those things include myself. I like it when people pay attention to that stuff. And while I didn’t set out to be involved in three shows, when the opportunity presented itself, there was no way I could say no.
Every artist at the Fringe is, to some degree, looking for attention. They have talent and they want you to notice. They have ideas and they want you to listen. I love them for that. Because I love to notice talented people and I love to listen to interesting ideas. I love watching people trying new things. I love watching them succeed. I love watching them fail.
I’m totally OK with the fact these people want my attention. Because they deserve it.
Trump Count: 7
Fringe Festival – Day 4
Part of my Fringe tradition is to take a night off.
When I first began Fringing, I did it hard. If I didn’t have a show, I was at someone else’s show. I wouldn’t even take breaks before my performance because I had an artist’s pass and I was going to use it.
After a full day of shows, I would go to Fringe central and stay there until 1:00 AM or later.
By the end of the festival, I’d be a little burned out.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I could take a one night break about midway through the festival and it really helped restore my enthusiasm for the whole experience.
Tonight, I’ll be staying home. By making that choice, I know I’ll be missing my chance to see something fantastic. I’ll be missing out on the opportunity to socialize with some amazing people I see only once a year.
That’s the price I pay for my fringe tradition. I hope everyone else has a great night at the Fringe.
And now on to my reviews from Sunday!
What I Learned – Just Dance
I’m writing a blog series about what I learned in 2014. The year had highs and lows – as any year does – but I learned a lot.
I’ve never been a very good dancer. I’m stiff and not very flexible and I’m generally more interested in singing along to a song than dancing to the song so I end up doing this sing-y danc-y thing with a lot of unnecessary clapping.
If I wasn’t keenly aware of my skills as a dancer already, there are plenty of people who are present to remind me. Hell, The Dregs have made a running bit out of my dancing skills. I usually try to dance even worse than I already dance just to help punctuate the joke.
Lots of people are bad dancers and I’m good at a great many other things so my self-esteem doesn’t take too hard a hit when people tease me about my inability to cut an impressive rug.
2014, though, was the year where I agreed to dance in front of everyone. And not as a joke.
During the after part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2013, Windy Bowlsby and I were watching a bunch of our friends on the dance floor. They were actors, comedians, writers and even dancers.
And I said to her that it would be interesting to see a dance show where all the dancers were people who didn’t dance. I specifically talked about writers but the basic thought was that it would be fun to see a good choreographer (Windy) take people who weren’t known as dancers and get them to dance on stage in front of an audience. As a serious dance show.
The moment the suggestion passed my lips, I knew that if she liked the idea, she was going to ask me to be in the show.
My philosophy is to say “yes” to the performance ideas that scare me because I can’t grow if I keep doing the projects that are safe. So of course Windy asked me if I’d be in such and show and of course I said yes.
And such was the birth of “Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac.”
The show was the best kind of success. It didn’t succeed because we all suddenly became great dancers but because Windy found a way to bring out the best in all of us and she made the show about something other than “let’s all laugh at these awkward writers trying to dance.”
It became a celebration of potential and I had a lot of performers telling me how much that show touched them. It touched me too.
The classic phrase is we should learn to dance like no-one is watching. But someone is always watching. Even if we shut out everyone else, there is a little piece of ourselves that is keenly aware of our own body movements. And if you are me, you are aware of how dorky you probably look.
At the Fringe after party the last few years, I’ve watched a whole lot of awkward people dancing enough to know that they don’t care if anyone is watching. When dancing to “Firework,” most people aren’t concerned with dancing like a professional. They just want to dance.
Are people watching me and laughing at how awkward I am on the dance floor? Probably not because there is someone right next to me who is just as awkward. Being a bad dancer isn’t the exception. Most people are bad dancers.
And most people dance anyway because they just feel like dancing.
So what I learned in 2014 is to say “fuck it. I feel like dancing.”
Friend a Day – Windy Bowlsby
I’ve known Windy more than half my life, I think. We met at the Renaissance Festival, helped form CONvergence, and have recently done a lot of theatrical collaborations. She is brash and self confident and filled with nearly limitless energy.
Windy and I are very similar and that means we’ve had some epic arguments over the years. It is a testament to our friendship that we have consistently managed to remain friends in spite of those arguments. Because I’m not kidding – they have been epic.
She is someone who is tenacious and will fight with all her might to achieve that which she has set out to do. Be it teaching, roller derby, dancing, singing, costuming, or being a mom, she doesn’t do things halfway. She jumps in with both feet and dares the cosmos to make her fail.
If you know Windy, you know that the cosmos would run and cower in the corner rather than cross her.
Her passion for life and for the things she does are always fun to watch. She’ll drag others along by sheer force of will. I’ve seen her come up with some crazy ideas and my typical response is “if anyone can make this happen, Windy can.”
And you know what? She always makes it happen.
If she’s afraid of failure, she never lets it show. Instead, she will focus her considerable talents on figuring out a way to get it done. If she does fail, she will never fail the same way again.
She also does an amazing Captain Kirk impression. I’m pretty sure Shatner himself would be impressed.
I’m pleased to have been able to call Windy a friend for so many years.
Windy doesn’t have a blog but you should definitely follow her on Twitter and listen to her podcast, Xanadu Cinema Pleasure Dome.