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Hollywood Fringe Postmortem

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I’m a little late with this, but after the experience of the Hollywood Fringe, I pretty much didn’t want to think about it for the two week break I had before getting back on the road.

So, now that I’m back on the road and bored, it seems like a good time to finally report on what was an extraordinarily underwhelming experience. So, here goes…

Orange County…

I actually arrived in Southern California a few days before I was scheduled to do anything at the festival. My reason? Seeing one of my best friends Jeff and his wife and two kids down in Orange County. That part was fun. I hadn’t seen Jeff in years, and I’d never met his kids. They’re freaking adorable. I read them bedtime stories at night. And, Jeff and his wife Jessica are great, even if they do watch a bit too much reality TV for my taste 😉

The one thing I will say about Orange County, though, is that it’s exactly as cutoff from the rest of the world as you’ve been led to believe. Extraordinarily rich and white, the OC struck me as a very self-centered place. I could give a laundry list of things I saw that appalled me, but I’ll save whatever bile I can muster in this article for the festival.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in the OC.

Hollywood…

I booked a small efficiency apartment about a half mile from my theater through AirBNB. The very first thing that stood out, and would prove to be a constant annoyance, was there wasn’t any dedicated parking for tenets. It was all heavily regulated and monitored street parking. I managed two parking tickets in the first few hours I was there. After that, I had to keep myself on a tight meter-feeding schedule. Parking easily ended up costing me over $20 unbudgeted dollars a day. Just my first taste of how expensive that city is.

The apartment was on Lexington Ave. The nearest big intersection was Santa Monica and Highland. That sounds like a pretty good location for people who only hear these street names in songs and movies. In reality, though, Hollywood is actually not that great. Sure, there are pockets of well-developed, nice ares. But, generally it doesn’t live up to its romanticized image.

Having been to Hollywood before (albeit 20 years ago), I knew this. And still, I was more than a little disappointed to see that the particular stretch of Santa Monica Blvd. my theater was on was definitely not one of the nice areas. Not that it was terrible. It was just shabby. Next door was a convenience store decked out with barred windows and safety glass in front of the cashier. Though, I never felt unsafe. I’ll give it that.

My venue was perfectly nice. I performed in the East Theatre, which is part of a group of theaters called The Complex. My experience with the Complex and with my tech director Rebecca was great. I have absolutely no complaints there. They were wonderful.

The fest itself, however, is incredibly underwhelming.

So, here’s the deal. Hollywood Fringe is a BYOV fringe. Bring Your Own Venue. That means instead of booking directly with the fringe, the artists book with the venues who then tell the fringe who is performing.

This is how several of the really big, established festivals (like Edinburgh) do it because they have huge built in audiences and they’ve gotten too big to manage all the venues themselves.

Hollywood Fringe is big, but it doesn’t have a built in audience. The only shows I went to with decent crowds were locals, and the audience was made up of a bunch of their friends, not festival goers.

Of course, the other big problem Hollywood has in this regard is no pass system. With a performance festival of any sort, you really want the ability to buy some sort of all inclusive pass. This saves you from having to shell out full price for each individual show. Even with the discount button they sell (which gets you a total of $1 off), the onus is still on the audience member to seek out each individual show and get their tickets. It’s tedious and not cost effective.

Every festival should have a festival pass. One price, get into any show you want.

Also, at this point, these festivals should invest in app development. Or at least a very mobile friendly website, so people can reserve on the go. Hollywood actually does this, though the app does still have some flaws.

For artists, this BYOV system puts all the pressure to build an audience on them.

Look, it’s already expected at a festival that the artists do A LOT of advertising. But, with Hollywood, it was in overdrive because there were precious few audience members to get.

Granted, I didn’t do everything I could have to drum up more audience members. I could have done more. I didn’t send out press releases and try to get reviewed. I didn’t perform at the Fringe Central cabaret. I didn’t make a lot of posters, relying instead mostly on quarter page flyers. Etc.

Look, I realized after Dallas that I didn’t have the next Swimming to Cambodia or Sleepwalk With Me on my hands, so I’m now treating this tour as a learning experience. And it’s working. The show gets better with every performance. Last night (July 11) was my best show yet, and I’ll write about that soon.

Still, though, I averaged 4 audience members per performance. Granted, my summary in the guide may not have been awesome, but it’s not too different that what I wrote for the Capital Fringe guide and I’m getting plenty of people in DC.

Outside of the fringe itself, the thing I hadn’t planned on was the utter loneliness of being a solo performer on the road. I’ve heard comedians talk about it before. Two of my favorites, Louis CK and Patton Oswalt, have both done lonely road jokes. But, it’s totally real.

It’s very lonely when you’re on the road by yourself and don’t work until 9:00 at night. And, attempting to fill my days with something other than cabin fever led to spending more money than I should have, simply because I was fighting boredom and homesickness.

I can only think of one other time in my life when I got homesick, and that’s when I was a little kid. But, I got so homesick on this trip.

Overall, I had trouble meeting people at the fringe. I just really didn’t connect with the vibe. And, since even as a participant, I was gonna have to pay full price to see other shows, I usually didn’t. (All fringes should have free participant admission. How is this not a thing?)

Of course, I also had one of the best nights of my life when one of my best friends, James Kimbrell, drove down from Salinas to see the show. He brought some great beer from the Firestone Walker Brewery and we stayed up super late talking and catching up. It was the best time I had on the trip.

Especially considering that some of my other local friends didn’t come to the show, many not even RSVP’ing to my invitation. That was a bit of a gut punch.

In fact, there have been a few gut punches in getting this thing started, and it usually stems from expecting something from people who have given every indication that I can expect something, then giving nothing. But, that’s for the postmortem article that will encompass my entire fringe experience at the end of the summer.

But, James Kimbrell will always hold a special place in my heart, if not already for the previous 20 years of friendship, then definitely for that night. Thanks, James. You’re a truly great friend.

For all the disappointment I’ve already experienced with this endeavor, it’s even more important that I point out the friends who have my back. On this trip, James Kimbrell and Jeff Norwood were amazing. This trip would have been a million times harder than it already was if it weren’t for them.
That said, I did manage to make some new friends. And, I saw some cool shows. Not always at the fringe, though. I’m going to write another article detailing my adventures in the LA comedy world.

I doubt I’ll ever do Hollywood Fringe again, but for a first time on the road learning experience, I’d say it was an overall educational experience. Now, I’m at Capital Fringe. So far, it’s better. A little.

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2015 Dallas Solo Fest!!!

I am incredibly honored to announce that I’ll be performing at the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest, June 4-14

Where: Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, Dallas, TX

When: June 4-14, 2015

My Specific Shows:

Thursday, June 4 at 9:00 pm

Saturday, June 6 at 10:30 pm

Sunday, June 7 at 5:00 pm

Tickets: $12    http://www.dallassolofest.com/tickets.html

More Info: http://www.dallassolofest.com

This is a particularly exciting show for a couple of reasons. 

          First, it’ll be the World Premiere of …and then I woke up

          Second, it takes place in my hometown (sort of…I’m from Ft. Worth, but close enough!)

     Those that have known me for any amount of time know that the struggle to get to this point has been pretty tough at times. In fact, the show uses this for some good comedy. But, it was very real. When I made the decision that I was gonna go for it and really try and get my writing and performance career off the ground, it was at a time in my life when things really couldn’t have been any lower. 2008-2009 was devastating on several fronts. Like many people, the recession wiped me out. I’d finally (I thought) taken a step towards something good (my art gallery) when the economy went into the tank. I’d gone through a pretty terrible breakup. I’d had some issues at school that would end up delaying my graduation by years, and I’d endured several other (almost entirely by my own actions) personal struggles. It was bad.

     But, as I sat in the gallery one day, knowing that it was about to close, and knowing that I had little choice but to crawl back home with my tail between my legs, I made a decision. I decided that I was done working for other people (metaphorically, of course). From then on, everything I did would be in service to this very moment.

     And, it’s taken a very long time. And, it has rarely been smooth sailing. But, the moment is finally here. I’m premiering an original work at a performance festival in the place I live.

     I’m excited that Dallas is the first (followed, so far, by Hollywood, DC, and Chicago).

     A very big thank you to Brad McEntire at Audacity Theatre Lab. He’s the man behind the Solo Fest. Over the years I covered him as a critic, we became friends. Or, as friendly as an artist and critic could be. It was a little easier considering how amazing his work consistently is. This opportunity is a direct result of his belief in my work. He saw my first public performance last year and immediately invited me to perform in the Audacity Solo Salon in December, and apply for the Solo Fest. I owe a lot to him, and hopefully I’ll justify his confidence with a solid set of performances in June.

     Another big thank you goes to Erin Singleton and the team at the Nouveau 47 Theatre. Erin gave me that first performance opportunity last year. And, she did it knowing I was a critic. There has been some pushback from the local theater community as a couple of us critics have crossed over into performing, but Erin gave me a shot. And, that went so well she gave me a chance to submit a short play to the Nouveau Holiday Show, which also went well. Just like with Brad, Erin, has been an early believer in my work. And I’m grateful. Especially since it is a considerable risk to give me a shot in this town. A lot of people still think of me as a critic. A critic who has ruffled some feathers at times. Erin saw past that, and I’m eternally grateful.

    There are so many people to thank. Really, I’ll try to list some, but if your name isn’t here, know that the list is very long. And if I see you, I’ll tell you in person, which is always better anyway.

     To my teachers over the years. Faye Youngblood, Suzanne Borski Robinson, Donna Matney, Donna Clevenger, Larry Wheeler, Amy Jackson, Kelly Taylor, Justin Trudeau, Jay Allison, Shaun Treat, Brian Lain, Karen Anderson Lain, Thomas Riccio, and Fred Curchack.

     To Kim Jackson, Robert Hart, Joe Lipscomb, Nathan Siegele, Lance Lusk, John Michael Colgin, Danielle Clemens, Melia McFarland, Jillian Jordan, Carrie Helms Tippen, Jay Tippen, Shelly Stearns, Matt Ducey, Jesse Jenkins, Mark Lowry, Elaine Liner, my cigar shop family, etc, etc, etc. I have a really great group of friends who have always supported me and I’ll never be able to thank you as much as I should. But, I’ll try.

     And to my family. My choices haven’t always made sense to you, I know. But, you’ve supported me nonetheless and that really does mean a lot. It’s more than most people get, and I’m very grateful.

Thank you again to everyone. This is a super exciting time and I’m glad I get to share it with all of you. See you at the Margo Jones Theatre in June!

BIG NEWS!!!! Mr. Noteboom goes to Washington!!!

“…and then I woke up.” is traveling to Capital Fringe in Washington D.C., July 2015!!!

That’s right, everyone! My shows has been accepted to the 2015 Capital Fringe festival in Washington D.C. I’m extremely excited. I love D.C. It’s such a great town. And the chance to perform and make new friends and connections is super awesome.

More news on performance dates and venue to come in April. Stay tuned!!!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! “…and then I woke up.” is in the 2015 Chicago Fringe Festival!!!

I don't need no freaking script! The thing on the music stand is my Zoom audio recorder. We filmed the performance.
I don’t need no freaking script! The thing on the music stand is my Zoom audio recorder. We filmed the performance.

I’m extremely excited to announce that my one man show, “…and then I woke up.” has been accepted to the 2015 Chicago Fringe Festival this coming September!!!

More details as I have them.

Great day! Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point so far. Especially Fred Curchack, Thomas Riccio, Brad McEntire and Audacity Theatre Lab, and Erin Singleton and everyone at Nouveau 47 Theatre!

This is the beginning of a great journey!

“…and then I woke up.” at the Audacity Solo Salon!

Monday night, December 8th, I performed a 20 minute selection from my solo show “…and then I woke up.” at the Audacity Solo Salon at the Margo Jones Theater in Fair Park, Dallas. The evening was hosted by Audacity Theatre Lab boss Brad McEntire, and featured performances by Brad and local writer/performer Adam A. Anderson.

I don't need no freaking script! The thing on the music stand is my Zoom audio recorder. We filmed the performance.
I don’t need no freaking script! The thing on the music stand is my Zoom audio recorder. We filmed the performance.

The evening was awesome! Brad opened with a selection from his solo show Cyrano A-Go-Go, the story of his entry into the theatrical world through Edmond Rostand’s play about the man with the big nose.

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Adam then gave his spoken word performance The Creation of an Asshole. It was dazzling. Rhythmic, rhyming, and brilliant.

Left to right: Adam A. Anderson, Brad McEntire & me!
Left to right: Adam A. Anderson, Brad McEntire & me!

Finally, it was my turn. Unfortunately, I was in the process of losing my voice and had somehow neglected to take some water up on stage with me. Nonetheless, the performance went very well. There were plenty of laughs, and the notes I got were things that would be corrected in the context of the full show. In that, performing only 20 minutes of a 60 minute show means there are some references that don’t quite make sense unless you’ve seen the first part of the show. But, that part has been workshopped to the point of being finely tuned. This middle bit was getting its first real spin outside of a classroom. Had to see what it could do, and came away happy.

The full show should be on display soon! Watch this space.

BIG, BIG, BIG NEWS!!!! (coming soon)

Hello, everyone!

I got some very big news today concerning my show “…and the I woke up.”

I can’t share the details yet, but I will soon.

In short, though, you’ll all have an opportunity to see the show in the near future!

Until then, you can get a preview of what’s to come on Monday, December 8th at the Audacity Solo Salon!

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Check the link for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1732977533594481/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Hard at work, preparing for a week of performances…

Soon…

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RSVP here…

Audacity Solo Salon (12/8/14): https://www.facebook.com/events/1732977533594481/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

A Very Nouveau Holiday Show (12/11-12/21/14): https://www.facebook.com/events/375880529237000/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

A Very Nouveau Holiday Show! (Featuring me!)

Photo by Robert Hart www.roberthart.com
Photo by Robert Hart
http://www.roberthart.com

On December 11, 13, 18 & 20, I’ll be performing, alongside my good friend Lance Lusk, an original short play called “Playing Santa” at A Very Nouveau Holiday Show at the Margo Jones Theater in Fair Park.

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But, it’s not just Lance and me! Oh, no. It’s an entire evening of awesome short plays from some of the area best playwrights. We’re talking Brad McEntire and Ben Schroth up in here!

So, please go to the link below and RSVP. It should be a super fun show.

But note: I’m only performing on Thursdays and Saturdays. If you come on Friday or Sunday, I won’t be there. But, if that’s the only day you can go, you still should.

Ho, Ho, Ho, everyone!!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/409596222521296/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

“Playing Santa” by Kris Noteboom at A Very Nouveau Holiday Show!!

Photo by Robert Hart www.roberthart.com
Photo by Robert Hart
http://www.roberthart.com

I’ve had a play accepted to the 2nd Annual A Very Nouveau Holiday Show, at the Margo Jones Theater in Dallas’ Fair Park!

The piece is called ‘Playing Santa’ and takes the form of a Vaudevillian double act in the vein of Abbott Costello, with some Didi and Gogo thrown in for good existential measure.

Playing opposite me is the very talented Lance Lusk.

Watch us as we debate how best to audition for an play Santa, why we’re doing it, and what exactly it means. It’s a fun piece. And we wear Santa outfits!

Of course, this show is part of a larger evening of short plays by some of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area’s most talented writers. Come see pieces by Ben Schroth, Brad McEntire, and others.

The full run of the event is December 11th – 21st, with performances at 8:00 on Thursday through Saturday, and 2:15 on Sundays.

However, my show is only playing on Thursday and Friday nights. The 11th, 13th, 18th & 20th.

So, there are only four opportunities to see my show in particular.

Make your reservations early. It should be a fun evening.

Here’s the link to my Facebook Event page, which everyone should be able to RSVP to.

Facebook Event

Here is reservation info from Nouveau:

“Performances are at the historic Margo Jones Theater in the Magnolia Lounge at Fair Park (1121 1st Ave. Dallas, TX). Tickets are $15, and the box office for this event can be reached by email at n47holiday@gmail.com or by leaving a message at (469) 573-1747”

So, email n47holiday@gmail.com or call (469) 573-1747

Hope to see you all there!!

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