St. Lou Fringe
Today I went to the St. Lou Fringe Festival, and watched two performances: St Louis Osuwa Taiko, and The Goddessey Project. I tried taking pics with my cell phone, and these were the few that turned out. I squeezed in a lot of journaling about the festival in general and about my experience.
What is the St. Lou Fringe Festival? According to their website, fringes are low-key, casual festivals focused on performing arts - music, dance, theater, spoken word, puppetry, and circus acts. Fringe festivals were first established in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and have been held in cities around the world. 2012 was the inaugural year for a fringe festival here in St. Louis.
I first heard about Fringe when I saw it advertised by St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. Since I like seeing the group perform as often as I can, I researched the Fringe and tried to figure out how I could attend. The more I read about this festival, the more curious and interested I became. For 4 days, dozens of artists from St. Louis and beyond would convene in the Locust Business District for a series of performances. In addition to the scheduled performances, the fringe also featured street performers and artistical workshops. Several local businesses also offered special discounts to patrons sporting their fringe admission buttons! What a deal!
On Saturday, I hopped on the bus and rode to the Fringe. My first stop was Fringeland, a vacant storefront that was completely transformed into the headquarters of the festival, where I purchased my funky fringe button and show tickets. From there, I walked down the street to the Nash Motor Company for the 2:30pm taiko show.
Outside the Nash Motor Company, I ran into Susan, a fellow taiko classmate. We went into the building, handed in our tickets (made from old casino playing cards), and took a seat. The space only held about 60 seats, and there was little space between the audience and the taiko drums. I could almost play from my chair! As always, St. Louis Osuwa Taiko put on an awesome performance.
Their lineup included Hiryuu San-dan Gaeshi, Drive, Kokoro no Koe, Kaifuu, Omiyage, Sumo in St. Louis, Suwa-Ko, and Tenchi. It was a nice mix of traditional Japanese taiko pieces and SLOT originals. During their performance, I forced myself to relax and enjoy the music, rather than try to analyze the beat, movements, and technical aspects as I would in class. It was a quick 50-minute song set. After the performance, Susan and I spent a little time chatting with Rosemary & Michelle at the merchandise table. We also made sure Andrew saw us; it’s always important to have the teacher see you at shows outside of class!
I convinced Susan to join me for the 4pm performance at the Nash Motor Company. Singer/Songwriter Karlyn Alderson and her band, The Goddessey Project, would be performing a theatrical rendition of their new album, Emergence See, about a woman searching for and transforming into her true identity. I read about this group on the Fringe website. Their blurb promised deep lyrics, powerful vocals, catchy melodies, and a mix of acoustic and electronica music; their performance did not disappoint! Karlyn had a very strong voice, although at times she was overpowered by the instruments due to the sound system in the building. Part of her performance also featured four talented dancers from the Ashleyliane Dance Company, another Fringe artist. They were fantastic! As a souvenir of the festival, I purchased the Emergence See CD, so I can better hear the lyrics and understand their deeper meanings.
My first fringe experience was a success! I look forward to attending future St. Lou Fringes Festivals!!