The 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival has come and gone. Well, not exactly gone since a passel of shows are currently being given encore presentations.

But you get the idea.

So congratulations to all the artists who brought their thing to stage over the past 3 weeks and to all the audiences who became part of the journey. Here are some random thoughts I’ve had while losing my Fringe virginity in darkened theaters all across Hollywood:

Website: The official Hollywood Fringe Festival site is pretty awesome; kudos to the team who put it together and kept it running. It’s flexible, loads fast, and has a clean design. It incorporates interesting video. Hell, it even easily handles ticket sales and personally begs you for a review by the time you exit the theater. Why can’t all LA theater websites provide an experience at this level?

Crowdsourced Reviewing #1:
Regarding reviews found on the website:

  • Pay attention to anonymous negative reviews.
  • Pay extra special attention to non-anonymous negative reviews.
  • Ignore positive reviews by those involved with the show.

Programs: I’m not expecting glossy programs at a Fringe Festival but consider the artists when writing them. Don’t make me guess which actor had which role in which scene. And include a bio for the artists involved. There’s no point in showcasing talent if I don’t know what talent I’m looking at or how I might be able to follow it. Solo shows? Well, okay. That casting I can figure out on my own. Except the bio bit. So do the bio in solo shows, too. Unless the bio is the point of the show. In which case, don’t give me any spoilers. I hate spoilers.

Crowdsourced Reviewing #2: Perhaps the editors of Bitter Lemons can hire someone from the Romney campaign to “unskew” the data on the Fringemeter.

Parking: According to the official Hollywood Fringe Festival website:

Parking in Hollywood can be difficult on evenings and weekends, so plan in advance.

Yes and the year-over-year sales of matzoh in Germany plummeted during 1938-1945. As the Hollywood Fringe Festival grows, so will this parking problem. It needs to be dealt with. Please don’t tell me about light rail or bicycles. This is Los Angeles and we are on auto pilot.

Lost in Translation: Some have opined that the Fringe Festival is all about artists jacking-off onstage. A Brazilian theater company apparently took this statement literally.

Hydration: Fresh draft beer tastes pretty damn good after a theater experience. Okay, fresh draft beer tastes pretty damn good, period. Hurrah for Bryan’s Bar.

Crowdsourced Reviewing #3: Ignore my reviews. In general, they anti-correlate with the collective audience wisdom. Apologies if I liked your show.

A Final Word: This pretty much sums up the yin and the yang of the Hollywood Fringe Festival vibe for me:

Art Critique

2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival reviews:
25 plays per hour
The Boneyard & Talisman
[title of show]

Originally published July 3, 2013 in Bitter Lemons.