Pandagraphics Design Studio


Below is a review of Experience Long Island, the first Long Island Fringe Festival 2009. We would like to thank Mr. Fringey for both his kind comments and his sincere criticism.


        Long Island Fringe: Why First Year Fringes Fail
As you know Mr. Fringey announced the birth of the Long Island fringe during the summer and so from Sept 25-27, Mr. Fringey packed his show and headed to the LI Fringe to participate.
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, itís extremely hard to get people to see your shows and unless you have a motive other than money and applause, itís 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. Long Island though fell into the same category as the New Orleans fringe for me. I went because I wanted to check out a really cool place. And it is that. Even though itís miles away from itís big brother, NYC, the towns on Long Island, are heavily influenced by that unique NYC pulse, but a have a unique back woods beach vibe.
If I was doing a traditional fringe review Iíd have to describe the LI fringe as ďyour best friends little brother who has autism and seems really cool when he flaps his hands like a seal and counts clouds.Ē
On the plus side:
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 Iíve 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 youíd 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. Most of the performers were from Long Island or NYC which means most of them have received most of their artistic influence from NYC. Because of this, many of the performers were top notch. Not what youíd usually find at a fringe. I saw some of the best performances ever at this fringe, performances I would have easily paid $60 a ticket to see elsewhere. The 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.
The cons:
From the beginning the LI fringe ran into problems. Early on, the New York Fringe sent the LI Fringe a ďcease and desist orderĒ telling the organizers they couldnít use the ďfringeĒ name. (This is why Frigid didnít use the ďFringeĒ name). And so, the LI Fringe ultimately became the ď2009 Experience Long Island Fr*^g* Festival. From a future marketing perspective itís 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. The fringe takes place on CW Post Long Island University campus. Itís beautiful, and has a really impressive performing arts program, but to be honest, connecting a fringe to a college with a large commuter population, (from a marketing perspective) is extremely tricky. Students donít see shows on campus on weekends. In fact, students arenít even a part of the fringe demographic. (Regular theater patrons arenít part of that demographic either). Even when a professor requires students attend an event, itís hard to get them there, especially when they have to pay. And so a campus environment can be somewhat isolated especially to arts patrons from the outside community.
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 donít like to perform in an empty venue. - Review by Mr Fringey on the Fringe or Die Blog


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