Venue-by-Venue 08/03/2013 - 9:46am

I don't recall hanging around Intermedia much in previous fringes--I would arrive, see the show, and roll on out of there. My mode was set to "I HAVE TO GET TO THE NEXT THING." I've felt more inclined to hang around HUGE, Bryant Lake Bowl, the Theatre Garage (or the Jungle, in the one Fringe I've gone to in recent years that had it as a venue). Each of those spaces has a distinct vibe, a personality that's fixed. Intermedia Arts isn't. It's in flux, an intersection of arts and styles. That's it's jam, baby, and it's totally rad. When I looked and tried to get a sense of the venue (the artist line is outside, after entering the gallery is to the right and the bathrooms to the left, there's a non-active concessions), Intermedia had more space than I recalled from previous stops there. There's couches, there's a lobby, and it's where the Fringe info desk is. There is room. The space is ideal for audience members because they can sit and stand and talk. And if you don't want to stand in line or mingle with the greater fringe audience (because, like me, you often go through phases of sociability and recharge), you can just wander around the gallery and look at the art. I was in the space on the first day of Fringe, and I wished I'd known that the Uptown Art Fair was happening Aug. 2 - 4 and that I could have picked up some cool Art Fair swag. Oh well. I did spend some time hanging around looking at the materials on their Creative Citymaking project, wherein a team of artists work with the City of Minneapolis to help develop it into "a living work of art." YES. I love how this city embraces its artists! I couldn't have chosen a more different venue from Intermedia for my second day of fringing than Red Eye. First, we're out of Uptown and it's rather intimidating condo development and into Loring Park and it's trying parking environment. I could write about how I don't like parking in Uptown either, but when I'm in Loring Park, I can feel the strings of tension inside me get perceptible tighter. It's great if you can get a space in the Emerson School lot, not so great if every. Space. Is. Taken. Second and most important though is just the structure of the Red Eye. The lobby is inside, past the theatre proper. You enter the building and boom--box office and small waiting room. That personal space of 2 feet you were maintaining? Suddenly decreased down to three inches. This is a venue where the House Manager parked right in front of the theatre so she could sit in her car after her work was finished so the volunteers got a chance to sit inside and relax. And, rather oddly, when you're actually let into the theatre and have the option of going to the lobby, people don't. There's only 10 minutes before the show--they find their seat and only go toward the lobby because that's where the bathrooms also happen to be. Although the shows do store their sets and costumes there, so you get to wonder "What exactly are those large, inflatable balls for?" I make this sound like a detriment to the Red Eye as a fringe venue, but I really liked how different the feel was from a venue with a more accessible lobby. The space constriction forces everyone out onto the W 14th Street sidewalk, and you're more likely to interact with people as you stand there and everyone (some you know, some you don't) comes up to the box office. The interaction isn't only confined to fringe-goers; while I was waiting for her show to start, Rebecca Kling was handing out her show postcards to every passerby she could. She was there, they were there, so why not? Further, the Music Box is a block away. I walked over there a couple times and chatted with the artists in line. When you can claim that the open-aired world serves as your prime lobby, that's a good thing (and certainly very marketable). Recommendations From the Venue What, you may ask, were the best shows I saw in each venue? Intermedia: Candy Simmons began my Fringe experience with her one-woman piece, Expiration Date. A great start to my fringe, and I'd say more about it, but I'll leave that in the capable hands of our own Dawn Brodey. Red Eye: The aforementioned Rebecca Kling did fantastic storytelling in Get Ready for the Vagina Fairy, telling personal stories about her life as a trans-woman. If you go, questions will be encouraged, so bring them! Venue the Next: Theatre-in-the-Round
Headshot of Joshua Humphrey
Joshua Humphrey
Venue-by-Venue: Each Fringe day, a new Fringe venue. What shows will Joshua Humphrey see that he might otherwise skip? How does the audience ecology change from show-to-show? And where can a guy get a drink around this place?