Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A letter to the editor of HOUR

This is in response to the letter to the editor by Michael Black, published in HOUR Magazine and here on his blog.

Dear Editor,

I was touched to see Michael Black taking us on a trip down memeory lane in his recent letter ("You Might Enjoy Our Fringe Coverage Pages 29-31, page 5, HOUR June 9"). Of the current "dysfunctional family" Fringe program, Black laments that "I don't see things that jump out at me, unlike a decade ago where a family from the West Island did a show about Dr. Seuss."

As the director and co-author of "Who Ran Off With Dr. Seuss" presented by the Wahoo Family Theatre Company at the 1994 Fringe, I cannot agree more that the nature of the festival is nothing like it was when dedicated artists, myself included, did everything in our power to create and maintain the Fringe as a fertile ground for artists and their wild imaginations.

After the word "Fringe" was trademaked in Toronto (1998), the festival quickly declined into a pale shadow of its former cultural glory.

Luckily now there is the infringement festival, a place that is sure to delight Mr. Black. With over 65 acts from Montreal and beyond that capture the spirit and creativity of the bygone Fringe era, Mr. Black may well come to realize that the arts aren't dead yet in Montreal. Not only does the infringement have an air-conditioned central location with cheap beer, free pool, and live music from Noon - 6 every day at BARFLY (4062 St. Laurent), but it also showcases artists of all stripes who would support the 21st Century concepts of arts democracy, non-hierarchal organization, critical performance, celebration of otherness, and the end of pay-to-play for artists as we know it.

Most of all it is a strong family of dedicated artists and activists - just like it was at the original (pre-trademarked) Montreal Fringe. Critics and journalists should take note too - the infringement festival deserves coverage and support - especially with so many critical acts such as "You'll Never Piss in This Town Again" by transgendered Bostonian performer S. Bear Bergman.

I certainly hope to see better coverage in HOUR, who apparently forgot to mention the festival at all in its theatre column last week. For more information please visit:

Donovan King, Artistic Facilitator
Optative Theatrical Laboratories

Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." - Bertolt Brecht


Post a Comment

<< Home