Beyond the Fringe – Buffalo’s Infringement Raises the Bar

By Erin Hancock

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(Floyd from Nova Scotia doing some original songs in East Coast style – folk, storytelling)

If you have followed the history of the Finge Festival, you understand the roots are a sort of “take back the arts scene and DIY”. However, as the Fringe Festival has become more and more corporate and exclusive, some great community organizaters have initiated what is known as the Infringement Festival. It is truly DIY, everybody can participate and the community is going to be rocked by the talent and treasures presented during the fest. Montreal, Buffalo, Brooklyn and Hamilton are currently cities that hold annual events but others are welcome to borrow the model and make it their own. Read how here: www.infringementfestival.com/

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Even I got in on the festival with my first slam poem and a couple covers.

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(Open mic at Wondermoth, Nickel City Housing Co-op)

Since this past summer’s Buffalo Infringement Festival (July 28-August 7, 2016) was my first, I’m going to share some highlights. That said, I’m timing my post to fall before the Montreal Infringement coming right up on November 15-20 in case you get jazzed about what you see and want to book your travel to Montreal to take it in for yourself. Of course, you’ll get the local flare (i.e. not a replica of what you see below), but quality, diversity, and sheer enjoyment is darn near guaranteed.

The highlights…

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“Buffalo Car Plays” was a lively story performed in 4 scenes, each taking place in a different car in a parking lot. The actors sat up front and the passengers watched from behind. The story fit together, no matter which car you started in and those who attended were left debating about the mystery (whodunnit).

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David Adamczyk not only committed hundreds of hours to making the festival take off, but he plays a mad violin and could be seen in parks, churches, cafes and everywhere in between.

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“Tuesdays and Sundays” was a stunning 2-person performance with the gorgeous backdrop of Kleinhan’s Music Hall.Sundown Theatre and Space in Point did a phenomenal job putting on this play. I cried!

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Donovan King, the person responsible for bringing this incredible festival to Buffalo, offered a fun and incredibly informative session called “WTF?! What the Fringe” which gave the history of the Infringement Festival movement. Donovan is heavily involved in making the Montreal festival tick too.

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Shakespeare in the Parking Lot?! Oh yes. Costumes galore and a “die off” competition took over Allentown one evening. Anyone could participate.

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Paul Kozlowski under the name Yorgi George’s Honey Pot Players offered some of Buffalo’s best street performances. Between the accordion, mini piano, Spanish guitar stylings and a brilliant little hand-wound music box (he hand-punched the tunes himself – original creations), we were all captivated.

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I caught more than a few fire spinning shows. It’s hard to capture this properly in photo form, but this truly lit up our week. Ooh…ahhh…that was on a loop the whole time. Majestic.

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Kerry Fey with her spicy messages and folk tune flirtations is always entertaining to witness. Big smiles, bold lyrics and lots to think about. Plus wings.

If you haven’t penciled the next Infringement Festival into your calendar, do it now. Turn off the world and turn on the infringement. You won’t regret it. And get the details on Montreal’s events November 15-20 here.