August 10, 2010

KC Fringe Festival – Kansas City, MO

Back when I was in high school, I got my first taste of the Fringe Festival – the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to be precise. The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland began in 1947. Eight groups not invited to perform in the Edinburgh Festival of the Arts decided to perform anyway. They created makeshift theaters on the fringe (Get it? On the “fringe”?) of the festival. Over the years, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival would grow until it surpassed even the Edinburgh Festival of the Arts. Today, the Fringe continues in Scotland and draws acts from around Europe and the world.

In 2004, I was an actor in an American high school theater troupe brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to perform “The Day They Shot John Lennon.” It was amazing! I had been going to the theater my whole life and even seen performances on Broadway in New York City, but nothing could prepare me for the explosion of art, theater, music, and culture that is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I would help promote the show by performing monologues on the street next to jugglers, magicians, living statutes, musicians, and any number of talented individuals beckoning the crowds to come and see their shows. Though I am a writer by nature and prefer to be behind the scenes rather than on the stage, I can genuinely say it was the most thrilling and fulfilling experience I have ever had in my brief time as an actor.
It was this uncensored artistic expression that inspired numerous “fringe” festivals around the world, including Kansas City. The KC Fringe Festival follows the guiding principles of the Edinburgh Fringe – to create an opportunity for all artists to express themselves in any way they choose and to make that art available and accessible to all members of the community. The KC Fringe Festival is about art for everyone.

The KC Fringe Festival 2010 had events throughout the city from July 23rd to August 1st, featuring 120 participants in 79 performing and film arts. With my busy schedule, I didn’t make it to Kansas City until the last couple days. But I was relieved to see that the KC Fringe Festival took the “affordable” part of the fringe philosophy seriously. A ticket to an event is only $5 - $10, which is split between artists and their venues. I was also happy to see an incredible variety of events. There were performance artists from theater, cabaret, comedy, music, dance, and even burlesque. There were fashion designers showing their creations; there were visual artists displaying their latest works.

It is impossible for me to describe everything available at the KC Fringe Festival because it is impossible for me to even see it all. I did particularly enjoy the Create Your Own Reality event at Arts Tech.

CYOR is a monthly arts and crafts networking group I heard about from May Evans, who you might know as the brilliant and talented blogger of May’s Machete. I’m an artistic person but law school hasn’t left me a lot of time for my more creative proclivities beyond knitting. So I was excited to have an evening where I could experience the KC Fringe Festival and let out a little bit of my pent up creative energies. We spent a few hours making “freak flags” with the boxes upon boxes of art supplies brought by the dedicated women of CYOR and Arts Mafia. Everything from paints to fabric to markers was there – the only limitations were what you could create in that time.

I let loose my meager artistic talents and created my own freak flag to fly with pride. It may not be the greatest work of art, but it is a piece worthy of the fringe – it is accessible, affordable, and a whole lot of fun!

Total Time Traveled: 2 hours
Total Distance Traveled: 100 miles
Soundtrack: “The Dresden Dolls” and “Yes, Virginia” Dresden Dolls



  1. Great post! Thank you for the shout out :D It was great to see you there!

  2. The KC Fringe is glad to see you had a great experience. We hope to see you in 2011. Keep a look out for our Mardi Gras Party.