Off the Fringe

Around this time last year I was burning my double sided candle. My apartment looked like a tornado went through it, I had several stacks of paperwork on my desk at work that needed my immediate attention, I was drinking Red Bulls to survive my work nights at the restaurant, my friends haven’t heard from me in over a month, my relationships were crumbling and/or nonexistent, I was living on a diet of yogurt, grapefruit juice, peanuts and vodka, I was sore on places of my body that I didn’t even know existed, and I was averaging 4 hours of sleep. God I miss those days.

The best part about life during the Fringe Festival in Philadelphia is that you are thrown into this dark tunnel of the unknown that leads to a bright new season of the arts in the city. You spent the summer preparing for the best and the worst of yourself, trying to find a venue, trying to find performers, trying to find a production crew, trying to find a rehearsal space, trying to find the right music, trying to make the perfect costumes, trying to figure out how you will pay for it all…and though the finished project is never finished, in the end, the birth of this child is a far cry from immaculate. And you’ve never looked thinner.

Last year with “Man Bites Dog”, it was a big leap for me. I just came off the well attended “Viva Burlesque” at the GLBT Arts Festival on The Avenue of the Arts, a show that could have used some polishing but demonstrated my strengths in playwriting and burlesque. With “Man Bites Dog”, it was not only a sequel to the satirical slant of “Human Error” (circa 2007 Fringe, a golden year for my professional development), but one of the first shows I produced that had a latent focus on developing my signature technique. With all the references to media and pop culture that is indicative of my work, I was really concentrating on those DeVo moves, not only stylizing this modern jazzy ballet that I utilize so much, but creating new concepts in movement vocabulary. You can see it in my broken arabesques and in my lateral static turns and in my unique isolations. This was a big step for me to really put all of my favorite moves together in one show and expound on the form.

This year I am over 3,000 miles from Philadelphia. Every time I do a Fringe show I say it will be the last one I do. The heartache and the drama is always worth it, and the inkling of yourself that you are left with at the end of the month resembles something that once could have been you. It is such a daunting and rewarding experience, and it is a great time to see everything Philly has to offer in the arts scene. I will miss it this year, though I am sure that if I was there I would only be an observer, not so much a participant. I miss my girls most of all, my muses that appreciated me for everything that I am and would eagerly accept all of my crazy ideas for routines. Perhaps again someday I will return to that important platform in Philadelphia where it all began some years ago.

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