iO West Joins the Fringe

We are most pleased to welcome the funny folks at Hollywood’s iO West to the Fringe Festival!

iO West (formally Improv Olympic West) is a legendary player in the national comedy scene. It has nurtured some of the biggest names in comedy today: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Andy Dick, Chris Farley, Mike Meyers, and Tim Meadows. For many of us working on Fringe, iO West (and its bar) has been a home away from home.

Learn more about iO West at

Here’s some more information on the theatre, the school, and the mission (stolen directly from their website):


In 1997 Paul Vaillancourt opened , iO WEST, in Los Angeles, as a companion theater to the original iO in Chicago. Today it is managed by James Grace.

In addition to presenting improv and sketch comedy shows every night, the iO West has improv training classes and is the home for the Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival. iO West, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2007 and has been performing in it’s Hollywood location since October 2001.

The iO, or iO Chicago, (formerly known as “ImprovOlympic”) is a theater located at 3541 N. Clark St., in Chicago, Illinois. The theater both has performances of, and teaches improvisational comedy. It was founded in the 1980s by Del Close and Charna Halpern. iO concentrates on “long-form” improvisational structures, in contrast to the “short-form” or “improv game” format of Theatresports or the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The iO’s signature piece is the “Harold”.

Who would have ever thought that learning the finer points of improvisation could be such fun? The “Harold,” an innovative improvisational tool, helped Saturday Night Live’s Mike Myers and Chris Farley, George Wendt (Norm on “Cheers”) and many other actors on the road to TV and film stardom. Now it is described fully in this new book for the benefit of other would-be actors and comics. The “Harold” is a form of competitive improv involving six or seven players. They take a theme suggestion from the audience and free-associate on the theme, creating a series of rapid-fire one-liners that build into totally unpredictable skits with hilarious results. The teams compete with scoring based on applause. The “Harold” is a fun way to “loosen up” and learn to think quickly, build continuity, develop characterizations and sharpen humor.

Sponsoring the Fringe

Fringe Festivals wouldn’t exist without generous sponsors aligning their brands with the awesome arts extravaganza that is Fringe.

Interested? Make sure to check out our sponsorship packet here.

We are seeking sponsors for our inaugural 2010 Festival in Los Angeles. Here’s a sampling of the many ways your business or organization can get involved in the Fringe:

  • Are you a media outlet? Become a sponsor by providing discounted advertising space to the Fringe and our participating artists and venues
  • Are you a local business? Become a sponsor by providing Fringe-goers and participants discounts at your place of business
  • Are you a services organization? Become a sponsor by providing Fringe with much-needed services (see the packet for details).
  • Are you a granting/giving organization? Become a sponsor by providing Fringe with the needed funds to launch the festival
  • Do you have a space to house performances or exhibitions? Become a sponsor by temporarily donating that space to the Fringe.
  • Interested in the golden goose of sponsorship? Become a sponsor by funding our printed Fringe Guide and promote your brand to the entire Fringe universe.

The many benefits of sponsorship along with more details can be found in our sponsorship packet.

Questions? Make sure to contact us at [email protected].


Fringe Venue Registration

Fringe project registration is right around the corner and we are announcing a firm date shortly. Also on its way is a formal announcement of our model, defining how the Fringe works.

Without giving too much away, we operate in a manner similar to Edinburgh Festival Fringe. To participate in Hollywood Fringe, artists and others need only find a venue to host their performances, exhibition, event, or workshop. To assist Fringe participants, we will launch our inaugural festival registration with several venues interested in hosting works. This list will expand (significantly) in the months and years to come.

For our first year, we seek venues centered in the Hollywood area including those in North and East Hollywood. If you own, operate, or partner with a venue in one of these areas, please contact us directly at [email protected] Any space that can host art is welcome – including traditional theatres, art galleries, music clubs, and found spaces. Restaurants and bars interested in hosting talent are also welcome.

We have compiled a packet answering many of the frequently asked questions venues may have. Check it out here:

…as always, let us know your questions and feedback.


Idea File: The Traveling Fringe Show

From time to time, we will post articles from our “idea file”. These are for initiatives that have not been given the green light, as they say; its purpose is to to throw out big ideas and start kicking them around.

Have your own idea? Email us at [email protected]

Here’s our first idea from the file:


Los Angeles is a big, big place which poses a problem for a festival such as ours. We have decided to make the Fringe as compact as possible our first year – centering the action in Hollywood and branching out from there (NoHo, East Hollywood, etc). This isn’t at all based on Hollywood-centricity, it’s based on general practicality.

Here’s our reasoning:

  • We’d like to place the bulk of the festival venues within walking/easy-public-transport from one another. The beauty of the Metro Red Line, the general walkability of Hollywood, and a few trams added for good measure may make this a reality.
  • There are natural concentrations of theatres, galleries, and potential found spaces in Central Hollywood, NoHo, and East Hollywood – very good for Fringes.
  • Hollywood is a major tourist center – we will do whatever possible to pull those on vacation into the Fringe.
  • Hollywood is a world-known brand name and a powerful attraction to artists beyond the city’s borders
  • The general area is about as “Central” as you can get in the sprawl that is LA, making traveling here generally more convenient to most.

…all pretty good reasons to center the Festival around a small subset of LA neighborhoods. At the same time, we don’t want to leave anyone out of the fun; quite the opposite: We want to include as much of the community as possible.

Time for some abstract thinking and it was our newest board member John Mitchell who had this brainstorm: Center the Fringe in Hollywood, as planned with two weeks of fun, madness, and art. As a gift to venues outside of Hollywood (and all the people that live there), take the Fringe on the road for a third week – presenting “Best of Fringe” performances in venues located our LA – potentially including Santa Monica, Beverley Hills, Downtown, and beyond.

A potential negative, I suppose: People in those places won’t attend the Fringe proper, thus diminishing ticket sales – this will be something that will require some sensitivity, for sure.

Not sure if this is a “first year” thing, it’s certainly an idea worth considering.

Keep the ideas coming…


The Paul G. Gleason Theatre joins the Fringe

A hearty welcome to the Paul G. Gleason Theatre on Hollywood blvd., our newest addition as an official Hollywood Fringe venue. We are quite proud to have this wonderful space right in the heart of central Hollywood open its doors to the Fringe.

Here’s some information on the theatre’s namesake, Mr. Paul Gleason:

Paul G. Gleason is one of the most brilliant acting coaches in Los Angeles.
First generation in Alexander technique, Mr. Gleason directed and coached half of the Hollywood talent. He has had a long history on different sides of the entertainment business. Mr. Gleason runs the Paul G. Gleason Theatre in Hollywood and was artistic director of the American Center for Music and Theatre for over twenty years; he has privately coached actors such as Richard Chamberlain, Mary Tyler Moore, and Ed Asner. To add to his illustrious career, Mr. Gleason has also taught master classes in theatre, opera, musical theatre, and dance at many schools around the world.

Learn more about the theatre at


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