Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Principle of the Thing

So it's been interesting lately. I've been contacted by an individual who has started work on a similar thing - looks like we may be joining forces down the line. At first it was a little bit shocking, but now I honestly just feel like it's awesome. The spirit of Fringe is not about me asserting my will onto everything, it's about community. This was a way to help me chip away at my mounting ego. Thanks Luke! Can't wait to start working with you.

Also, I had a great meeting with Jonathon (I'll leave out last names to protect the innocent). Jonathon works with the Chicago Improv Festival. I was excited to meet with someone who has experience in these types of endeavors. It was frankly amazing. J was blowing my mind with his insight and perception into what was going on both with the notion of Fringe, and what was going on with me emotionally. It was enlightening, and set me spinning into the areas of thinking which I had not before ventured into. Some questions that have surfaced, and are on their way to being resolved :

1. Can Chicago support this festival?
2. Does Chicago need this festival?
3. Why?
4. Am I the right person for this?
5. Will I feel unfulfilled if I cast aside everything else to produce this festival?
6. Was my previous idea of starting huge just ridiculous and not possible? Should I just start sooner, and smaller?
7. Isn't Lakeview a cop-out? Shouldn't I be looking into actual Fringe communities, such as Pilsen or Logan Square? Rogers Park?

I'm starting to feel sure about 2 and 3. Yes, Chicago needs this festival. Why? DIVERSITY, COMMUNITY. As I know it, the Chicago theatre community is largely composed of white people from 20-40. Granted, lots of those people are "immigrants" from around the country, but I haven't seen that it's enough to engender grand shifts in point of view. This is not to say that there is not seriously kick ass work in town from African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and GLBT communities - I'm just saying that it all seems rather segregated. There are notable efforts going on - there is currently a collaboration between American Theatre Company and Congo Square. However, there can certainly be more. More community, more diversity, more de-segregation. Lots of this seems geographical. Chicago is startlingly segregated geographically. I might be extending a little wide here, but with the focus of the nation on Obama and Chicago, shouldn't the theatre community respond to that call?

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Thoughts

It's official - I have enough board members to incorporate. That is a blessing. With something as amorphous as this, it's not an easy sell. We should be having our first meeting this month. Things haven't been moving quite as fast as they did in the beginning, but I'm ok with it. I think I (we) needed time to let everything settle in a little bit. I've already had occasion to defend the whole idea to a naysayer or two. Goals for the present are getting the NFP paperwork going, and lots and lots of coffee meetings. I've been trying to contact people who have had practical experience in this sort of thing. It seems a waste to learn everything from square one when I know that there are plenty people around at square three and four.

I would love to run into someone who was involved in the PAC festival - please pass recommendations my way!