Two days ago I was walking by the Egyptian Theater and I noticed a small gathering of people. It included a man playing a small African drum and a woman standing on raised block of wood. Despite my enormous fatigue, I crossed the street to investigate. Thank goodness I did so! Did you realize that we are four days into the first Hollywood Fringe Festival (2010). Luckily I was able to snatch up a playbill from a table that was teeming with 4×6 cards that advertised various events. To quote the director of the Festival, Ben Hill “Outside the mainstream, a kaleidoscope of alternative art waits to emerge.” This festival is in the spirit of the “celebrated Edinburgh Festival.” Well, I can’t think of a finer spirit to emulate and I can’t think of a finer place to celebrate it than Hollywood.
There are a few perceptions of Hollywood. The most common is Big Studio Hollywood with Steven Spielberg, et al. Twenty-first Century Fox, Dreamworks, Sony, and the rest. The second perception is Big Squalor Hollywood with homeless crackheads panhandling and ranting through the streets. Then there is Big Tourist Hollywood with tour busses conveying camera-toting Japanese from one cheesy photo op to another. Lost in all this hustle and bustle is Big Art Hollywood. From the celebrated Stella Adler Theater to some rock band dive bar, Hollywood is teeming with creative souls. Some just want to be the next Julia Roberts or Jake Gyllenhaal, while others just want to express their talent to an audience. I’m not just talking about actors, even though they take up the lion’s share of aspiring artists. I also speak of the painters, sculptors, and other tactile artists. I speak of the digital artists, trying to plough through a new frontier of expression that is riddled with amateurish, it’s so easy to look good wannabes. I speak of the writers, directors, producers, set designers, stage hands – all the struggling artists who want to participate in the emerging culture of this new Century. Hollywood is an exciting place to live if you are an artist, or just someone who appreciates art. In this tiny space, there are so many theaters and creative venues that it’s hard to conceptualize.
So here’s the the first Hollywood Fringe Festival! I’m sorry I’m a bit late in announcing it to my readership, but I worry about overloading my posts to the point where my readership will see an email and just hit delete without even thinking twice. I’m so glad that today is my wedding anniversary and tomorrow is my birthday! What a great surprise to revel in.