"It (Fringe festivals) all started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as an alternative festival that played concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival. In 1948, Robert Kemp, a local journalist, gave it the name Fringe: "Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before..."
Back from the San Diego International Fringe festival for two weeks. I find myself heading out again this evening driving all night to beat the heat. I'm headed to the Great Salt Lake fringe festival to do four performances of our new show Songs of Uncreation with my Theatre Dojo cohort Algernon D'Ammassa. We won "Pick of the Fringe" in Salt Lake last year with no expectations. Songs is another original piece and again our only expectations are to present really good work and be inspired by the other acts. I'll be on the road for over five weeks touring on what I'm calling my 40th Parallel North Tour as I'm straddling mostly above the 40th latitude.
I'm again honored to perform at the World of Faeries Festival in South Elgin, IL at Vasa Park along the Fox River, teaching and performing Flute Quest on Puget Sound near Tacoma, House Concerts in Omaha, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, a lovely historic building in Lawrence, KS called the White Schoolhouse. It's a lot of driving, details, organization and tons of cd's, merch etc. I'm doing this on my own and could always use your support. In the tradition of being Patron of the Arts I've set up a page on , a site that connects supporters with artists by pledges of support. Go to https://www.patreon.com/RandyGranger to learn more about how to make it happen. Thank You.
Thoughts on Fringe, art and healing:
The final day of the SDFF I was sitting with a group of folks for lunch. We had the awards ceremony that evening and were all exhausted and punch drunk from lack of sleep. I asked everyone what their best experience had been. Many said friendships, connection, good shows. I think I said something like being inspired by artists from all over the world bringing what they do and then sitting together afterwards in the Fringe Lounge no strings to prop us up. Us just being us. The level of mutual respect and admiration was something I wish I could experience everywhere. When you aren't working on your own show you try to take in as many other shows as possible. I saw around 19 shows and Algernon around 23 shows. Some strong, powerful acts and shows and others not quite hitting the mark yet. But, that is what fringe is about--working out your shows in a real festival with feedback, warts, goofs and all. Some cried after their shows for opposite reasons. Some beamed with pride from doing good work.
We were sitting with our new talented British friends from The Royal Kungfoolery the night Brexit was approved. It was interesting to watch their reactions in real time. One was asking us if we as Americans weren't just pissed off every morning? We looked at each other and without hesitation said, "no, not really." We explained that we artists who take an above, inside, upside down, in and out view of things. Further, we said, that they, being artists have the privilige and duty to transform the personal into the universal and offer only questions through our work. Create an environment where the audience can trust you to be open in all ways and guide them in the way philosophers like Socrates, Shakespeare and too many others to mention have. He paused and you could see a shift realizing the power and responsibility we all have. For some reason people like our work quite a bit and seem to tag us as the Yodas or elder sages. Probably just cause we are decades their senior. I don't know. Egos don't really play into anything we do I don't believe. How could it? That would just get in the way of the work. However, we did garner an award for "Best Storytelling" for Killing Buddha. We were honored.
Randy Granger, Algernon D'Ammassa, Kevin Peterson, Exc. Director SD Fringe Fest
Watching the troupes from New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Cuba, Latin America, Canada and from all over the US something struck me deeply. I found myself overcome by feelings of humility and pride for them all. Watching the La Moana troupe tell the story the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic that killed 1/3rd of the Samoa population my heart exploded with compassion. Even now writing this my eyes are welling up. It connected to my own Native American ancestry devastated mostly knowing how many we lost to disease we had no immunity for, stds the Europeans brought and the US government's infecting gift blankets with smallpox for Natives. But, it was the way they told their story through acting, music, movement, and recorded newscasts that just floored me. That art is that powerful is the reminder I needed for myself and my work. It spotlights and heals It "IS" our responsibility because art, music and theater bypasses the thinking brain and goes direct to the emotional centers where openness can take place. Powerful stuff. It was the way I feel when I'm at the Gathering of Nations powwow in Albuquerque and the thousands of dances descend for the grand entry.
Seeing the Latinas of Seven Mujeres powerful dancing, especially with the live Cubano musicians, was just as moving. The white British actor in Bin Laden a One-Man Show was riveting storytelling at it's truest. Incredible. So many others like Qaddafi's Cook about a Mexican cook and the General from Mexico. My take away is that this planet looks a whole lot more like these folks than what Americans think. The ancestral pride clearly resonates through these performer's beings. In America where we are experiencing more racial division than ever and people get pulled over, stopped, arrested and killed only for the color of their skin or perceived race, you learn to downplay your indigenous culture. Not so here and i felt a swelling pride and responsibility to highlight even more my own ancestry in powerful and honest ways.
I've made a short slide-show of my trip. Not nearly long enough but the song is my song "Shaman's Dancing" from Desert Dreaming by Lone Granger. Here is my tour poster. You can find my tour info on the calendar page of my website. Hope to see you soon and be sure and say hello.
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