The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is time tripping to the ’70s with ‘Fringed and Confused!’, August 14-24, 2014.
This year’s Fringe is currently rolling into its sixth day, but for whatever odd circumstance of scheduling my first volunteer shift was not until today. It starts sometime later this afternoon; after I finish my lunch break, after I find my way back to my car, and after I make my way to the grounds.
I haven’t told many people this (with the small exception of those people who actually need to know) but after this, my eighth year of volunteering for the multimedia team, I’m hanging up my photographer’s pass and moving on. What starts later today (for me) and ends sometime on Sunday evening is my last year volunteering with this organization… at least for a while.
As with all these types of transitions, I’ll try my best to be politik and avoid some of the specifics, frustrations and temptations to fling mud that always — invariably, inevitabally, unwaveringly — follows eight years of entrenchment in any position. Instead, I’ll suggest that as I always have tried and succeeded at coping with this kind of drama in years past, and I would have again this year… next year… and the years after that as well, there were some other more positive reasons to bow out gracefully at the end of this season.
As we were reminded while attending Claire’s kindergarten orientation last night, my daughter starts school in two weeks from today. Summer and childhood, it would seem, are in transition, and subsequently Augusts — this, next, and for the next twelve years — just got a lot more precious. Giving up August and rare chunks of holiday time up to various meetings and shifts and… well, it just got old real quickly.
Karin and I were married in August of 2003. Next August is our tenth anniversary. Next August, as tradition might suggest, something special is in order. Begging the night off once again to wander around Whyte Avenue in anticipation of a fancy dinner is great for anniversaries three through nine… but ten? Ten might require some more planning.
And so on.
In a couple hours I’ll be on site once again, revving up for the first (of my last) shift(s) and gleefully snapping photos, chatting with dozens of familiar peoples, and basking in the standard Fringe fare that’s become so routine for so many years. Then in a few more days… and then it will be done. And I will be on to something else, peppered with scattered regrets, pluck full of memories, and most certainly back to watch some shows as the years press on.
The (un)project plods ever-onward, though my motivation continues to ooze like so much… well, I forget exactly where I was going with that simile.
Alas, the Fringe Festival wound to a close for another year this past weekend, and though I spent most of that weekend locked in a dark, curtained room sorting other people’s photos on a computer, I did manage to sneak out once or twice to grab a few shots of my own. I won’t claim that this year’s pics are among my better works. Most were trying too hard. You know how that goes, right? You try to do something funky, and it bites. It’s that Gap question again, though. Filling The Gap with creative fodder. Every bad picture is a good learning experience. I mean, there are some that are kinda artsy and interesting, like this one of the Slush Puppies machine at some unnamed food vendor booth. But there are lots that are less interesting. It’s always a challenge to shoot the Fringe, and that challenge increases when you’re limited to twenty minute intervals between shift changes. Sigh. Next year. Next year.
I opted for something a little more basic on Sunday evening. I mean, it was a beautiful day. It was the warmest day (literally) we’ve had since May 2010. The sun was shining. There was a bit of a breeze. It was awesome. But instead of going out on a photo expedition, Karin and I went furniture shopping. True, it was furniture shopping in air conditioned comfort. We got to wander around dimly lit caverns of upholstered newness, being called sir by desperate salesmen on sunny summer Sunday afternoon that was probably the worst day of the decade to be trying to sell a couch. So that wasn’t too bad. And it wasn’t a waste, because we made some buys… so less shopping in the future, right? But I left my camera at home, and was forced to reserve my photography for later that evening when Claire was freshly home from a weekend adventure with her grandparents. I caught her blowing bubbles on the deck. It was very tricky getting her to cooperate. I’d count to three and take a photo. But she’d start blowing on one. You’d think I’d have figured that out a little quicker.
Last night it was too hot for anything. My arm was sore for some reason. I burnt my kneecap with the laptop computer. “How hot was it?” I was sweating profusely, and the sky was that mangled dark and foreboding sort of sky that is threatening something, but even it was too hot to be bothered figuring out what it was threatening. I sneaked away to the relative cool of the basement and tried to set up my 25 cent light-box once again. It’s not a real light-box. It’s some printer paper curled up against the leg of a chair, the chair holding an Ikea lamp at various angles to light the scene, and me with my macro lens a few inches away trying to grab something interesting without too much effort. It’s more of an experiment in three things: (a) lighting, (b) white balance, and (c) shadows… all of which are three sides of the same coin, I know. (I wanted a three-pointed list. You caught me!) But in the end, I dug out some of my old smurf figurines and they got to be the models. It had mixed results. The 25 cent light-box is reaching its limits of what it can teach me. Maybe. A couple more shoots and we’ll see what emerges, I guess.
Eight more days of (un)project. And just a reminder, I’m open to some ideas.
…because I’m gonna be here ALL DAY…
If you’re just stumbling on this post, you might want to start at the bottom. It was my meager attempt at a live blog for my last day at this year’s Edmonton Fringe Festival… and it is in reverse chronological order. Enjoy.
Another awesome performance of DieNasty over, and we’re back in the car on our way home. Another Fringe done… for me at least. Sigh… and now back to reality.
In. A pile of licorice on Karin’s lap. Settlers game still unresolved. Lady Gaga blaring from the speakers. This is likely my last update until after the show. A full house tonight tho.
Line is getting lots longer. Some guy just stood up on a light post and begged someone to sell him their tickets to the show… something about being in town for only one night, aspiring actor, son never having see it before… I think someone gave up their tix. Couldn’t see from where we’re sitting on the ground here.
Less than an hour — but almost an hour — until show number two starts and were sitting on the ground, in line, playing pass-and-play Settlers of Catan on Karin’s iPhone. Now who’s hardcore? Still don’t know who’s winning the game yet, tho…
Less than fifteen minutes later we’re tucked away in the back corner of the beer garden. Karin is guzzling a Big Rock Honey Brown. I’ve got myself a grasshopper. Some of the actors for our upcoming show are sitting nearby. Funny, that.
Back on site and Karin is standing in line for a chocolate coconut bliss cupcake from the cupcake stand. People are already in line for DieNasty a few feet away from me. That’s hardcore.
Stopped for sushi at Maki Maki Japanese Restaurant and Lounge, ordering three tasty rolls to share: a rainbow roll, a maki-maki roll, and a spicy tuna roll. Yum. After we pay the bill it will be back to the Fringe site to kill a couple hours until show number two: DieNasty.
Play one done, and we file out of the theatre.
It was dark and fun, the kind of fourth-wall-breaking, determinism versus free will kinda drama that I have a soft spot for… generally speaking.
Now off for dinner somewhere.
Fourth row. Woot! But turn up the A/C! Arg. It’s a little on the warm side already, and we’ve not even started yet. Warm and sitting always makes me sleepy. And dozing off during a play is so old-man-ish. I don’t want to be old-man-ish. But, here we go… (lights dimz)
Line up is only fifty or so people long so far. Lots of people in white shirts with the show logo on front. I must have missed the memo, me in my five year old volunteer shirt. How retro.
We get to be the two nerds playing on our cellphones while sitting in the grass waiting for the doors to open. Neither of us can remember what this play is even about, and I forgot my program at home.
On my way to meet Karin for show number one. Someone is going to punch me, walking and blogging from my phone. What a jerk I am, almost tripped over a little kid just now… stopping now.
Officially I’m done for the day — and for the Festival. Weird. It’s over (for me) once again. But we have show tix for tonight, and I’m still waiting in VHQ for Dave to relieve me. I did download and upload my Fringe Dads Theme into my Gallery while I’m waiting. Thirteen pictures in total (or at least 13 I want to share) so overall a successful photo expedition.
After the team leader meeting I did slip off to Starbucks for a second round. Don’t know how I’ll survive the evening otherwise.
Meeting over. Time for another few minutes of wandering before more volunteers show up. Sure is warm out today. Shoulda wore shorts, I think.
Waiting in the basement of Orange Hall for the daily team leader meeting. How do I always wind up volunteering to attend meetings?
Ran out and scored some kettle corn to much whilst sorting more photos. Wondering why there isn’t a true medium sized bag. The choice were (my interpretation) teeny-tiny, big-ass bag, or really-big-ass bag. I just got the big-ass bag, but it’s still too much. Guess I’ll be eating popcorn all day long.
I think I’ve managed to sort out our top twenty-five pics from yesterday. The marketing folks should be by any time to pick them up. CD… burning.
Found my way out for a wander AND managed to score some lunch. The spicy italian sausage booth gave me a buck off a spicy italian sausage for being a volunteer — which was very cool and very yummers.
Also managed to find a few more pics for my theme: Fringe Dads, celebrating the hard-working dads who spend the day at the Fringe with their kids, toting them around on their shoulders to experience some local culture. Very cool. If you’re wondering what I mean by my “theme” you need to read back a few posts and know that (a) I’ve been doing a ‘photo-a-day’ for all of August, each day on a theme and (b) as a team leader here for the multimedia team I don’t have a specific photo assignment, and am mostly here to manage other photographers, organize photos, and fill in the gaps. I pick a theme for each shift and try and find some photos to fill that. That’s all.
Two more volunteers have just checked in! And one of those was early. So it looks like I’m on a temporary reprieve and go grab some lunch and more pics — probably in that order.
On a quasi-interesting note, some random girl I’d never met just stopped by to drop off her friend’s pics. The girl was NOT a volunteer, but the friend is… one of our photographers The girl had just come from having her hair done up because — apparently — she’s getting married today. Nice friend, sending the bride to drop off your pictures to your volunteer gig! *smirk*
1) I decided on my theme for the day. I’m going to go for “Fringe Dads” which will largely encompass fathers carting their toddlers around on their shoulders, or hoisting their kids into the air to see performers. I have lots of fodder today: warm weather, mid-day on Saturday, lots of people. Ready… set…
2) I realized I forgot my spare battery plugged into the wall recharging at home. $#*%! And the only reason that is a problem is that the indicator on my camera started blinking low battery. That means I have about a hundred pics left… but that also means I ONLY have about a hundred pics left. Crap.
Duty calls. Just spent the last half hour locating a piece of OSX freeware to pull an accidentally deleted file from a volunteer’s 8 GB memory card. (It’s still scanning!) Don’t know if the photo is worth it yet. He says it is. I guess that’s the consequence of asking folks to cull their own photos before they check in — occasionally they delete something they shouldn’t. Sigh. All part of the job, I guess.
Loaned him my spare and sent him out again.
Ok, NOW I’m going out. Really. I need some lunch.
Technically I’m not supposed to have an opinion on such matters. As a volunteer I must caveat this quasi-endorsement by telling you that “all shows at the Fringe are worth watching” …to someone. But I gotta say, we caught performances of “Giant Invisible Robot” and “Boygroove” last night, and both were worth it. Awesome, both. Perfectly Fringey (is that a word yet?)
“Giant Invisible Robot” is held-over, by the way, for those who didn’t get their tix already. I think both are sold out for their current Fringe runs, tho.
Distracted by free donuts. Sigh. May as well wait, now.
By the way, if you do comment, reference the time-stamp you are replying to. It’s going to get confusing otherwise. Do something like @1146AM… it might help me keep track.
Photgrapher Numero Uno is out the door. I guess that gives me a few minutes to check out the weather before the second one shows up. Kerri staggered the scheduling this year so there isn’t a wave of people coming and or going at the same time, but it sure does make for a hectic day for me, running back and forth to check people in and out, download their pics, etc. Ah well.
I also wanted to say that I opted for the LARGE coffee this morning — woohoo Second Cup “Colombian Dark Roast” — but something tells me it might not be enough. It’s been a long week.
Sitting here at the Fringe in the VHQ waiting for my volunteers to arrive, and trying to think of something to write. I had the idea of maybe a live blog for today… especially since I’m going to be here for the next twelve hours, have access to a couple ways of updating, and I’m running low on photographic inspiration. So… WORDS!
Expect sporadic updates over the day. I’ll try for at least one per hour (to this post specifically) but that’s just a guess… not a promise. Comment to play along. Or come visit.
Another bunch of days shooting photos and another set of images to explain: the photo-per-day (un)project continues… and it’s getting really hard coming up with something new everyday to shoot.
If you paid any attention to the theme of this blog (as it currently looks, here, now in August 2011) you might have noticed that I have a think for silhouette these days. Yes, you can create them in PhotoShop, but occasionally I get an opportunity like this, the crisp clear shaddow of something recognizable against the backdrop of the setting sun. Pushing my image settings way up to maximum contrast and down to minimum saturation, my pics on the 11th popped right out of the camera just as you see them. These are unedited.
And now I just need to figure out some more ideas for the same. The problem is that you really do need a strong light source in the background — like the sun — and something absolutely recognizable by it’s silhouetted shape. I’m going to get bored of trees really fast, if you know what I mean.
a few days later, after spending my first couple days tramping around the Fringe, Claire was showing a particular curiosity about me taking so many photos — and wondering why I wasn’t taking her along with me to the Festival. She, after all, does have a camera, right? So, instead we went out for a walk with our cameras in our park. She stopped every few feet to take a picture of something silly — usually her feet. And overall, though she was incredibly awesome at playing along at being just like dad she unfortunately seems to delete most of her pics before I can ever look at them.
Luckily I saved a few of my own pics (of course) that, I think, adequately demonstrate her cuteness.
I was feeling like there wasn’t much hope for our standard bunch of shots, so — feeling all experimental — I tossed on my Cokin twinkle filter, the one I usually reserve for twinkly-belighted holiday photos, and wandered around in the raining, misty evening light. Something tells me that most of this is unusable for the Fringe itself (though one can never tell where their whims take them) but I thought the effort was worth the effort in the end, and out of about three hundred pics (mostly blurry because of the combination of low light and slow glass) a dozen or so I thought captured a bit of something.
I’ll leave it to personal taste to decide if the twinkle adds or detracts from the overall quality, but I kind of like them.
The dirty side of taking so many photos for a whole month is that those files need some TLC. But looking at the hard drive last night it was more of a WTF. There were fourteen gigabytes of images from August alone. Yes, 1-4: fourteen.
Guess what I spent three hours doing? One, backing up those thousands of photos across the wireless network onto my media server. Two, redundantly backing up my media server to my photo drive. And three, sitting in front of my computer babysitting the process, camera in hand, and snapping pics of my monitor, keyboard, et cetera.
It could be argued that I didn’t NEED to sit in front of the computer babaysitting a fourteen gigabyte network transfer, and that arguement would have a strong case in it’s favour. But then, I’d never really done computer screen or hardware macros before — or it’s beena while, anyhow — and I got kinda into it for about an hour. You can see the results for yourself.
With about ten or a dozen days left to go in August, it’s looking to be a busy couple of weeks. It’s my Friday off and I’m off to the Fringe again in less than an hour, maybe as soon as I hit publish on this post. And then same thing tomorrow. But then the subject matter dries up again — or at least falls back to the limits of my tiring imagination.
Let me know if there is something you want to see in images — either at the Fringe the next couple days, or in the coming weeks. I do like a challenge… or (un)challenge, as it were.
First day back after a nine day break. You’d have thought I would have written more given that I was off, but it’s funny how the opposite is often true. Exacerbate that fact with the lack of useful Internet connections whilst hanging about the Fringe and it slowly becomes more obvious why I’ve been mostly quiet.
The rundown goes as such…
Last Sunday morning I pried myself out of bed quite early and made my way downtown for the much-anticipated half marathon. I ran. I prevailed. I didn’t set any speed records, particularly since my knee gave me grief around the nineteen kilometer mark, but I finished within a few minutes of my goal time. Had I not hobbled my way over the last two klicks I might have done better than 2:26, but then again, it should be a fair goal to beat for next time.
I spent the bulk of the week at the Fringe. It was that time again. Six shifts spread across a full week went surprisingly fast. And given the complex blend of seeming mundaneness mixed among the quirky atmosphere of the place, the end result was nothing short of a much needed mental whitewash away from the office. There are thousands of photos, numerous stories, and other improbabilities that will linger in the mind as a result. But alas, it is over for another year save for a small collection of wrap-up meets to be attended over the coming weeks.
While over at the University on Friday evening, attending to some business involving people and ideas and audio things, I lingered long enough to snap some photos for my aforementioned Photo-Folio project. I opted to spend the month of August locating groovy images that matched my monthly theme of “images of windows”, and having passed my goal pic-count of a meager five, I’m sharing the link now. I haven’t quite settled on September’s theme, but I’m thinking “images of two-tones” just to mix things up bit. Check them out. Comment. Whatever.
This past weekend was the ole family reunion. We tried out our brand-spanking-new tent. Claire enjoyed her new sleeping bag. And we did all the sorts of things one would expect to do at a family reunion. I’ll be posting some candid shots in the coming days (in the usual place) but for those of my readers who (a) are related and (b) care, I’ve got the quasi-formals up that link I passed around. I’d post it here, but the last thing I need is my bandwidth limit getting pounded because a three-hundred megabyte zip file gets indexed.
Yes, it’s that time again. The Edmonton Fringe Festival is upon us and I, with a mere day and a half of work to go, have the whole of the week off to spend my forty-odd odd-odd hours wandering the grounds and snapping photos.
Orientation was the other night and I guess they’ve been showing the video they put together for promotion this year. The seven minute show is worth a look on it’s own, but if you’d like to have a look at some of the stills we take I’m pretty sure that nearly every photo in the video (with the exception of a few of the performer shots near the beginning) are those taken by our team. And there are about a half dozen of mine, to boot. Not only that, but at about 5:09 in the clip is the now quasi-famous shot I took of Claire and Lola that has been used for everything from web promotion and beyond. They like that picture, I guess. Maybe I’ll be able to buy it on a t-shirt this year?
If anyone is thinking of coming down, let me know when you’ll be there and we can meet up. I’m scheduled for various times, but only on weekdays this year.
Just out of interest, if you check out the “Scrapbook” page of this year’s (2008) fringe festival, one of my pics of Claire and Lola made it into the website.
I have some other photos there as well, but you can view those as you see fit.
So you are aware… with my role at the Fringe wrapping, I thought I’d dive head first into yet another photography project. Yes, it’s that time again. With Claire’s eleven-month birthday just yesterday I began a new daily photo campaign that can be located in the cool confines of my gallery; click the image below to locate it directly.
As for the Fringe stuff? Well, you may recall that I don’t actually retain the copyright to those pictures (or — before you sticklers correct me — I have handed over my rights to those pics in good faith to Fringe Theater) so I won’t be posting those anywhere public. You can have a look if you want by visiting and peeking at the slide show on the laptop.
The race is on to see if I can write an entire blog post while riding the bus from the Fringe site to Southgate mall. As the bus putters through my old neighborhood I can’t help but wonder how odd it is to be so computationally mobile when only a few years ago, in University, we fought to merely have web access that didn’t involve squealing modems and a tied up phone line. I’m sure I could write something about the paradigm shift of my own experience with technology, but to be honest it has more to do with the willingness to pay for this than with the fact of its existence. I could have bus blogged ten years ago if I wasn’t so darned cheap. (About two thirds of the way there!) The question then becomes: how do I go backwards from this? How do I not have access everywhere and anywhere after those flood gates have been thrown wide? Oh well…
Brad says: Mmmm… Blackberry Spam.
In follow up to the Short Story Roundup from late last week… As FRINGE WEEK approaches and I split my time between a waft of insane volunteering and a smattering of R&R, I thought I’d toss out another self-mutilating challenge towards my novella project, particularly considering I’ve been lax the last couple weeks with updates. Thus, following at least one more episode before Friday and another before the weekend is out, next week Monday through Friday will offer another round of daily episodes for your reading enjoyment. And, as an extra incentive (for those who have been following along and others who have not) the story (as I’ve drafted out so far) really starts to pick up steam as we roll into the high teens. So, if you haven’t been reading, you might want to catch up before we hit episode fifteen (or thereabouts) so you can enjoy the emerging action.
By August 15th: Episode 012
By August 17th: Episode 013
By August 18th: Episode 014
By August 19th: Episode 015
By August 20th: Episode 016
By August 21th: Episode 017
By August 22th: Episode 018
And again, if you don’t care at all… whatever. Go watch your televisions or something.
I spent the day dealing with Audacity because a few months ago I threw the idea onto the table at work that we should make a podcast for the website. Someone liked it. Now I’m in the final stages of editing — mostly delayed as I try to figure out the nuances for the first round — just prior to releasing our first episode.
Of course, the idea spawned because I was (at the time, and still) listening to a few podcasts on the old iPod.
I’ve since subscribed to about forty, still trying to stay within the realm of things that actually interest me (if only at a fringe level) based on the concept of researching how everyone else is doing it. Problem is, I’ve never really made a podcast before. And while the technical aspects — recording, editing, publishing — are all mundane problems that can be solved with enough ‘stick-to-it-itiveness’ the actual ‘being a radio host’ part is something that I still have my doubts on.
That said, we recorded a whole thwack of audio over the last month, and as my final act before I go on a quasi-extended holiday leave, we’re recording the intro and tail-off tomorrow afternoon. Then it’s splice, smooth, and upload. And just like that I’m a podcast host.
Originally, when we were first tossing around the idea at work, I contemplated (as an exercise in how to do it for pay) making my own personal podcast. I mean, the technology is cheap-to-free. One just requires a topic, no? Then I couldn’t think of a topic. Then I thought of a topic. Then I realized that my topic both sucked and required more work than I was willing to put into it.
I still like the idea of making my own, but I don’t think I’d do it alone. Anybody? I mean, in a few days I’ll be (virtually) an online celebrity. Humph! Well, okay, maybe not a celebrity. But an experienced podcast host. All we need is an idea, I guess. A good one this time.