Sunday, August 06, 2006

Let the Fringe Begin

The Fringe Festival is the world's largest arts festival. This being its 60th year, it now boasts 28,014 performances of 1,867 shows in 261 different venues dotted all over the city with a total of 16,990 performers. To see every show back to back, it is estimated that it would take 5 years, 11 months, and 16 days. There are 750 talent scouts, promoters, and producers registered for the event.

Again, we were clueless about the Fringe Festival, when we booked our airline tickets. It was only by accident when Ron was searching for things to do that he came upon it. Going to their website, did we discover what we had to look forward to benefit from. For the first two days of the festival, there are a number of shows selling tickets 2 for the price of 1. We bought tickets for five events for a total of $90.00 for both of us. Today were the first of our events.

As has become our routine, we had a quick breakfast that the B and B, but then raced to our coffee place for a cup of Joe, before moving on to the 11:00 am first presentation. We knew the event was a series of modern dances. What we did not know was that we were to enjoy was a series of eleven modern dance routines exquisitely performed by individuals, couples, and small groups. A different choreographer created each. The pleasant surprise was the one dancer who was in her senior years and danced in ‘comfortable’ shoes. By 12:30, we were visually, mentally, and emotionally high from the allure and charm. This was the 33rd International Choreographers’ Showcase. Their website is .

The second venue was at 1:00 pm, so we were a bit late to get to it. When booking the tickets, we had no idea how far it would be to get from one venue to another. Our second treat was an African dance and musical performance titled Thatha. This was held at the ‘Cow Barn’ on part of the University of Edinburgh campus. There were few seats left when we arrived and we were lucky to find two together. The music and movement continued to rocket our spirits even higher than they had already. This was a major hit of the 2005 festival and there was no doubt as to why. The dancers are from Zambia.

Walking across the campus, there are dozens upon dozens of people handing out cards, flyers, and even postcards advertising other forms of entertainment they want you to attend. I was politely taking anything handed to me as I had done on the Royal Mile for two days now. A young woman approached us and said she had free tickets for play for that afternoon. Would we take two of them? Ron was in the middle of saying we had a full agenda, but when I heard the title of the play, I stopped him.

As it turned out, it was in the middle of the afternoon, when we had nothing planned. The play “The Irish Curse, A Comedy about Men with Small Penises” was absolutely hysterical. The ‘support group’ took place in Brooklyn. It was a fantastic freebie.

With time on our hands until the next performance, we walked the streets and by great luck found Elephant and Bagels café. One of the things I miss most about living here is the lack of bagels. The variety of choices had me drooling like Pavlov’s dogs. Deciding on just one was torture, but I did it. This turned out to be the sister shop of The Elephant House, the café where JK Rowling sipped her coffee, tended to her daughter, and scribbled notes for the first Harry Potter book.

Our last performance for this evening was the Cesar Twins. Again, we knew nothing about them, but this review in the Scottish paper tells it all.

Caesar Twins And Friends 'To believe that there is one creature of such physical perfection in the world is difficult. To find Poland has produced two pushes back the very bounds of possibility. They are awesomely, breathstoppingly skilled, and have what seems to be superhuman strength. Were you to see their balances and lifts on a screen you would assume they were a special effect, and what they do in a goldfish bowl will leave you entirely unsatisfied with your guppies. Do whatever it takes to get a front row seat.' The Scotsman

Identical twins, Pablo and Pierre (really Polish sounding names) were beyond incredible. They were like two bodies with one mind, synching movements with perfection. If I could only do the same with my own two hands, I could play the piano. These men star in a book and calendars. The promotional notices at the festival were their command performance for HRH Elizabeth II. They are a must see if ever there is one.

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