image from baba’s myspace.com site
The prodigal son of the Fringe has returned home, to Edinburgh that is. I'm writing from a packed café on the rainy official first day of the largest and greatest arts festival in the world. I turned my back on the Fringe last year, opting instead to record my "Lit-Hop" album and stay in B.C. for the summer. But the Fringe is a forgiving family, and it looks like they're taking me back, and it's a great place to be.
I had my first preview show on Friday, and it was pretty nearly a disaster, with the redeeming factor that no one in the audience seemed to be aware of everything that was going precipitously wrong, or if they were aware they laughed it off due to my ad-libbing through it. The reason for the cock-up was the recent addition of animated visuals to my performance. We are now projecting Erik's illustrations from the book onto a screen on stage while I perform the show, and the technical logistics of mixing the lighting with the visuals and sound has been challenging, but yesterday's show was much improved for fluidity (and I had about fifty people in), and tonight the show ran like a well oiled Olympian.
If you want to see an example of the new animated tales, you can watch one of them on YouTube here.
The other action at the Fringe this year is the rise of Aaron Ross, Vancouver's next folk music hero (mark my words). Today he performed his world debut show to a healthy crowd of forty-five or so, and one hour later he had forty-five appreciative fans. We sold a pile of Aaron's CDs afterwards, and he had a reviewer in as well, so we'll see what the critics think of him next. But really it hardly matters, because the crowds are loving him, and he will be performing nearly every day for the rest of the month, seven days in a massive cathedral on George IV Bridge, four days in my venue next to Edinburgh Castle, and multiple performances at live music venues around town. On Friday Aaron opened for a rock band at The Ark (a popular bar in the centre of town), and he was so well received that they invited him back to play every week for the rest of the month. He also has spots coming up on Festival FM radio and is getting a great response from everyone who has heard his album tracks online.
Click here to see why. I have also posted additional tracks on my Lit Fuse Records site, and advance copies of Butterfly Man are now available for mail order through PayPal. Soon he will be availably digitally as well as globally, but first we have this ancient city to infiltrate.
Here's the Lit Fuse link: As for me, I'm just getting ramped up, as I perform at the Fringe every night at 8:45 pm from now until August 26th, and then fly to Australia shortly after. It's surreal to be back here exactly three years after my first foray into the Fringe, but that first time I was wide-eyed and untutored in the guerilla arts. This time I have an arsenal of reviews, albums, books, and a team of new talent to showcase (four of us from Vancouver are sharing a flat here, including my brother and Geordie, who plays bass with Aaron). Many charges have been set to blow, but a lit fuse does not make an explosion on its own, so there are no guarantees. I'll keep you updated as events unfold here at the festival, and try to stay abreast of correspondence.
All the best from the powder keg,
PS - Here's a link to Aaron's press release if you want to see how we're pitching him. And a link to my press release if you want to know how we're pitching me. And here's a link to a recent story about my flat-mate Ryan, who is the Neo-Shakespeare to my Neo-Chaucer.