Help help, friends. I've decided to go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I'm going this year.
Why in god's name would you want to do that, clown?
Here are the twelve reasons.
1) I have great friends who are also going, and we are going to share a flat together. We all get the festival thing, to some extent or another, and know how to be cool. For my part, I will hopefully organize some group pilates and kale.
2) There are different artistic things going on among different peoples. Those of us on this side of the ocean are doing our thing. Those at that side of the ocean have a different thing. I seek cross-cultural ass-sniffing. As a word nerd, I look forward to speaking English with people who talk completely differently than I (No, you guys, I seriously think it's "I". I'm almost positive because that sentence would continue "than how I talk", so it would be logically shortened to just "I" the subject, not "me" the object. Grammmmmmmmmmmmar). I'm an American Jew from New York and LA, and these days the Pacific Northwest. On my way to Canada to roll around on the puppy green of Canada, where the festivals nurture you like ducklings in the nest. Then I'll be all among the English and the Scottish and the Australians, and that's just the native English speakers. Think of the internationality. That is fucking rad. That is worth the price of admission.
3) I am doing a free festival that is sort of a subset of the official Fringe, which means that the festival organizers together with the venues provide a venue to an artist for free, which is kind of amazing, and then at the end of the show I beg the audience for money like the beggar-whore that I am, which is less-amazing but definitely understandable. Is it the healthiest financial model for an artist? No, the entire free fringe model is really not set up to nurture you like ducklings in any sort of nest. Emails all year from the festival organizers convince you that you are absolute crap under everyone's shoes, and you should expect no more than 4 people per show, and that you're lucky to be alive, please don't bother them, after all, they're doing it for free. Despite all of this, I think if you're going to do Edinburgh, and do it for the first time, this free festival thing could be the best way to go.
4) I'll tell you one thing. Shaking the wizened hands of the rude men in charge of this free festival is something I'm really looking forward to. Those are some arts festival icons, for sure.
5) I took the money I would've spent on a venue, and hired a publicist. She's completely amazing. Everyone needs a PR person, right now. Of course, some of my colleagues are really good at being their own PR. I admire the fuck out of those people. I'm even decent at helping other people with their PR: decent enough, in fact, to realize that I needed to hire someone in PR, other than me, to sell my show.
6) To stay healthy! How healthy can I stay in a cesspool of unhealth? How many shows? In how many days? Around how much debauchery? What am I, a gazelle? Is kale possible? It will be mine O YES THAT KALE WILL BE MINE. THAT KALE AND THAT PILATES WILL BE MINE.
7) Zoe Coombs Marr. Have you heard of her? I just did, from that PR person of my dreams! That's the other thing I'm learning: you must have a PR person, but you cannot settle for anything less than an awesome PR person, who knows people and is liked by them. But the point is, there's this Australian doing a bad male standup comic, with hair glued to her neck. We were just featured together in this article: https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/72211-fringe-preview-butt-kapinski-and-dave/
And that's just someone I've heard of! What about all the other inspiring artists? And new friends?
8) Did I really say 12 reasons to go to Edinburgh? Oh fuck, you have to go once, right? I know, it's not what it used to be, but I think the free fringe model is probably the closest thing, and still, Edinburgh seems like a place where people who love performance go. It is a Mecca. It is something everyone has heard of, even people who don't understand anything else you are doing with your life, it may be a dream come true, your life, it may be the thing you were born for, but until you say "Edinburgh" to people they probably won't know what the eff you're doing. But it's okay.
So, I'm saying Edinburgh to people now.
9) I directed a show I was pretty proud of, and it was really well received there the past 2 years. And it definitely helps to have a foot in the door already, just to say, hey folks, you liked that. you might just like this too. No guarantees. Worth a shot. That's a cool way to go to this whore-beast of a beast-fest. BY THE WAY DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY SHOWS ARE THERE? THERE ARE OVER 3300 IN THE OFFICIAL FESTIVAL PROGRAM, AND THAT IS NOT COUNTING FREE SHOWS THAT ARE NOT IN THE PROGRAM, OR THE SHOWS THAT ARE IN THE STREET, OR HIDING UNDER HOTEL BEDS ALL OVER THE CITY. There are shows coming out of every possible pore of that city during the month of August. And I will be one more clogged pore. It is nice to be part of an invasion, right? An art virus. It's definitely weird. Already it feels like a blend of Hollywood and Burning Man directed by Terry Gilliam, and I'm not even there yet.
10) I like my show, dude. I like doing it. I feel real happy when I get to do it. Don't get me wrong, I want to do it mostly and sometimes I don't want to do it but it's a sacred thing and you do it anyway no matter what mood you're in beforehand, and it's always really fun and surprising and special. And it's beautiful, when it really works. It's the best.
11) Speaking of another thing I'm slightly freaking out: the performer-heaviness of the thing. When I'm teaching too, it feels great, because I get to feel useful goddammit. But when I'm performing, even though I love my show profoundly, there is of course that "performance" construct, which is, let us face it, a bit more about me. People have really good roles in my show; audience members do funny, fresh things. But teaching is really not about the teacher. Or maybe it is, and my particular strain of narcissism comes out this way, instead of that way. Who the fuck knows. I wish I were offering workshops. But I don't know how to do that and make sure I also do enough Pilates. The first Edinburgh. We'll see. I did volunteer to be a Venue Captain, which means, so far, that I get more emails.
12) I hope that I either have a blast and want to keep going and going. Or that I learn a fuck ton and get lifted up in some ways and humbled in others. To challenge myself. To learn things. To make and keep friends. To work, bitches. To work.
In the next 2 weeks I am accepting any and all donations of prayer. It's the big one, people. Pray for Butt Kapinski. Pray for Naked Comedy. More than anything, my friends and loved ones, pray for kale.