Welcome, Second City!


Venue discussions have been afoot all year – we just recently asked a select group of venues to officially commit to Festival 2010. Our friends at Second City Los Angeles Studio Theatre are the first to sign up, making them the first official Hollywood Fringe Venue. We are proud indeed to have this legendary company and wonderful Hollywood blvd. venue with us for our first year.

And in case you didn’t know, they do indeed offer classes there. Learn more on their website.

Here’s some more information on the company, the training center, and the theatre:
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The modern purveyors of sketch and improvisational comedy, including SNL, SCTV and MADTV all owe a debt to The Second City. After 45 years of being one of Chicago’s most enduring comedy institutions their members have grown up to be some of the top names in American Comedy: John Belushi, Bill Murray, Betty Thomas, Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Bonnie Hunt, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert just to name a few.

And if the training ground of Second City is in the “Ivy League of Comedy,” it’s graduates invariably leave Chicago, Toronto or Detroit and come to Hollywood, where they don’t just sit around, they get together and ply their art form. Alumni members of the Second City such as Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson), Larry Joe Campbell (Andy on “According to Jim”), and Keegan Michael Key (actor, Mad TV) often show up on our little stage to keep expanding the state of the art of improvisation with new forms and new ideas.

The Second City Los Angeles Studio Theatre provides an environment where both students and professionals can learn, explore, expand and showcase their talents applying the distinctive Second City style. Performances at the Studio Theater range from Second City alumni productions to Training Center Graduates Greenhouse shows to our training center performances. We also offer space for outside renters.


Community Letters: Aaron Kozak

Occasionally, we will be posting comments from members of our community. Interested in having your voice heard? Send your letter to [email protected]

This letter is from Aaron Kozak….

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To whom this may concern,

I am a four year resident of Hollywood with a great love for the community. It goes without saying that our town is haven for artists in all mediums, at all levels of success. However, it also harbors an outsider’s image of a city void of artistic integrity, which is unfortunate considering how many dedicated local artists spend time and money on classes, shows, and personal projects. There are so many acting studios, comedy clubs(U.C.B., I.O., Groundlings) all paying taxes, attracting a slue of people ready to entertain the masses. And while the Fringe Festival may not be a comedy event like the LA Improv Fest, those comedy students are not just comedians. Many of them are actors hoping to develop their comedy skills and their ability to improvise. It’s sad that we let many of these artists go to waste. A Fringe Festival will succeed here in execution because of the number of artists, and the number of willing patrons, as well as tourists who will surely take advantage of some of the programming…and probably have a meal before at some of our local restaurants.

If we could make our Fringe Festival the standard of art festivals, I think it would really soften our image in the minds of artistic communities in other cities, other states. It would also bring attention to the artists themselves, who’s financial gain in turn benefits the State of California.

I hope you will help make this festival something special.

Thanks!

Best,
Aaron Kozak


Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009

How does it feel to visit the largest arts festival on the planet? In a word, exhilarating.

I have been before, this is my first time as an organizer. Key on our agenda was a panel discussion hosted by the World Festival Network and its founder, Holly Payton. It was a pleasure to meet all the international artists who attended this event and the promoters’ breakfast the morning after. Many thanks to the staff at EdFringe for making us feel so welcome.

Edinburgh is a gorgeous town; lots of beautiful buildings wonderfully lit at night. I immediately noticed a distinct uptick in the local economy since my last Fringe visit in 2002. This must have something to do with the massive throngs of tourists the city’s many festivals bring each Summer. The city boasts over ten festivals including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Edinburgh Arts Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Mela Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is in every way a festival city.

It’s also a thoroughly walkable city which no-doubt contributes to the festival friendliness. Obviously this is something we need to work around in LA. Even though Hollywood is perhaps one of its walker-friendliest neighborhood, denizens of LA are not the biggest walkers in the world. Easy tram-based transport between venues and parking is a priority for us – on this we have already made some headway.

Their Fringe Central was a university building with three lecture halls – our panel discussion was in one of these. There were also printing, internet, and copying services for artists. There was a cafe and plenty of couches/tables for weary festival participants (and jet-lagged promoters). They had a separate facility on the Royal Mile for their box office, store, and information booth. In case you were curious: The Fringe staff weren’t allowed to suggest shows to patrons.

The outdoor event was right on the Royal Mile, the historic heart of Edinburgh. They had about four outdoor stages that artists could reserve to present a segment of their show. There were booths selling arts & crafts and artists promoting their projects everywhere. One of it’s keys to success (it was packed): Location, location, location. A short stroll up the road and you were standing in Edinburgh Castle – which is a pretty cool castle. They placed their outdoor event smack dab on the tourist drag from which all venues were walkable – so artists could actually say: “Come over to my venue in 10 minutes … [pointing] it’s right there.”

Our outdoor event is something we have been planning for a while now. No final word on its location or nature as of yet – we will be updating everyone as decisions are made. Currently, we are leaning towards a side street closure in central Hollywood open during the weekends.

We have devoted much time and thought into the creation of the Hollywood Fringe model – specifically, which model works best in a city like Los Angeles. Popular models include what I would call the North American Model with a strong and activist central Fringe organization and the Edinburgh model with a decentralized Fringe organization and empowered venues and presenters. For a while now, we have been drifting towards the Edinburgh side of the equation. Seeing the Edinburgh model in action with all its brilliant success (record attendance numbers this year) has further solidified our thinking in this direction.

To clear up all question on how the Hollywood Fringe is going to be run, we will soon publish the model for our 2010 Festival. Of course, we welcome any community feedback out there.

It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience in the hub of the international arts scene. The sheer scope made me think: “What sort of maniac masochists would actually choose to organize such a monster? Why would you put yourself through these trials?” Settling at our hotel that evening, the words of a former US President sprung into my head and delivered me into a restful slumber: “Not…because they are easy, but because they are hard”.

Ben


Fringe Update (July)

Greetings, Fringe Fans-

It has been an exciting several months in Fringe-land as we continue to build your 2010 Festival. Let it be known: This is a big and bold effort spearheaded by many creative and driven people. Our dreams are sometimes bigger than our means, but is anything great ever born from feeble dreams?

For those of you who need to be in-the-know on recent developments, we’ve assembled this little update. Have any questions? Feel free to email us and we will get right back to you.

Thanks for following us as we build this festival – there will be many, many ways for everyone in our community to jump on the team in just a few months.

Stay Fringey!

Ben Hill
Festival Director
The Hollywood Fringe Festival

DATES ANNOUNCED



We are less than one year away from the first, annual Hollywood Fringe Festival. The official dates are June 17 through June 27, 2010: 11 days of theatre, music, comedy, variety, and madness. Start getting geared up!

FACEBOOK PAGE HITS 1,000 FANS

We are most heartened by your enthusiastic response to the idea of a Fringe Festival in Los Angeles! A couple months ago, our facebook page reached 1000 fans shortly after being launched. Still not a fan? Join up to catch the latest developments.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Many of you have asked how you can help; you are all fantastic. The bulk of the help will be needed during the festival itself and the weeks leading up to it. Here’s where we need help right now:

  • Letters of support from our community – send them to [email protected]. We need these for grants so send them asap!
  • Leads on press outlets
  • Leads on theatrical, event, and nontraditional venues in Hollywood
  • Evangelize at (Fringe/Other) Festivals – we can send you postcards to distribute
  • $$$ – For now, you can give on our facebook cause or send a check to 6133 Fountain Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028 (we are tax exempt)
  • Interested directors for our board – responsible for overseeing the financial interests of the festival
  • Active involvement from community organizations and interested corporate sponsors

…with the launch of the new website, we are dedicating an entire section for volunteer contribution and sign up. We need your help!

THE WEBSITE

You have no doubt heard about the website we have been developing for the last two years. Borrowing from the success stories of social networking sites, we are leveraging the advancements of sites like Facebook and Twitter with the singular purpose of launching a community-based arts festival. Launching in just a few weeks, the official website of Festival 2010 will start accepting project submissions. Coming just a few months afterward, we begin online venue booking and festival registration.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the launch – there will be lots of fun little features to help you promote your Fringey ideas.

COMMUNITY UPDATE

This year we have established relationships with the pillars of our community, including The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the LA Stage Alliance, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Actors Equity Association Los Angeles, the Entertainment District BID, the Sunset & Vine BID, The Hollywood Media District BID, and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. We have also garnered the support of community leaders including LA Council President Eric Garcetti, Assemblymember Kevin de Leon, and Assemblymember Mike Feuer.

We are in the process of building up our board of advisers and directors. Exciting announcements on this front coming soon.

FRINGE, FRINGE EVERYWHERE

It’s the heat of the Summer and Fringe Festivals are afoot nationally and internationally. As you read this, the Capital Fringe in Washington DC is in full-force. Orlando launched the season with a splash. FringeNYC is right around the corner and Minnesota Fringe Festival is set to launch at the end of the month. And lest we forget, our sister Fringe in San Francisco hosts their festival in September.

Some of your own Hollywood Fringers will be making the long trek to the Fringe motherland in Edinburgh to talk on a panel of international Fringes this August. Learn more about the hosts of this panel at www.worldfestivalnet.com.

VENUES

Fringe Festivals span across many venues traditional and non – it’s part of what makes it such an exciting event, the whole community gets involved. We have been meeting with dozens of venues around Hollywood. We will start announcing official Fringe venues in the coming months. Have a venue in Hollywood and interested in participating? Contact us at [email protected]


One Year More

When we began planning this enterprise almost two years ago, we had little concept of what exactly we were getting ourselves into. Already, days are filled with artist communication, venue booking, community organization, fundraising opportunities, event preparation, and promotion. Not to mention the wild, intellectual challenge involved in modeling an event of this scope. With every person I meet expressing enthusiasm that LA is finally getting a Fringe Festival, I am further convinced this endeavor deserves every drop of sweat we’ve already invested.

Without further ado, I am proud to announce the dates of the first annual Hollywood Fringe Festival:

June 17 to June 27, 2010

…that’s eleven days of theatre, music, visual art, madness, chaos, parties, and the unexpected – all beginning one year from today.

I know many of you are excited to register. Fear not! Thy day cometh. Keep your eyes attached to this space – later this Summer we will open the floodgates on registration with the launch of the official festival website.

Thanks to everyone for your support thus far…it has only begun.

Ben


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Advertising with the Hollywood Fringe Festival is an excellent way to promote your project, organization, brand, or cause. Buy an advertisement now on our website or printed guide.Advertising with the Hollywood Fringe Festival is an excellent way to promote your project, organization, brand, or cause. Buy an advertisement now on our website or printed guide.