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On The Fringe 

by Mike Corrigan


Fringe Fest 2 is a multimedia happening that secures art by the people for the people. Fringe Fest 2 will feature the works of local filmmakers (including conSpiritcy by Spirit Skate Shop, Restricted by members of local band Half Inch Head, and animation by the EZ Cheese Brothers), a fashion show by Lo-Frequency Design and music from Seawolf, No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Half Inch Head and Right Turn, Danger. Fringe Fest 2 is a benefit for Thin Air Community Radio -- to help the station build that damn transmission tower! -- with all the show's proceeds going to Spokane's first and only community-run radio station. Fringe Fest 2 comes your way at the B-Side this Saturday night.


And Fringe Fest 2 is evolving -- even as we speak, according to organizer and animation artist Brian Myers.


"Anytime you do something like this that is submission-based, you could get flooded with stuff or get nothing," he laughs. "You could get two tapes. You could get no tapes."


Submit. While there's still time.


Myers began his animation career in 2000 cranking out sick, disgusting and just plain wrong bits of animation for the Web presence of B-movie powerhouse Troma Entertainment (The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'em High, Surf Nazis Must Die!).


"Yeah, it's pretty twisted stuff," he says of the cartoons he and Half Inch Head's bass player, Tater, produce under the moniker EZ Cheese Brothers. (Those with strong stomachs and a diminished sense of political correctness should check out the Brothers' work at www.sickandfreak.com.)


Myers put on his first Fringe Fest two years ago in Portland, he says, "as a goof."


"There's this small art house theatre in Portland whose owners I met through my work with Troma. We were gonna just do a showing of a little short film and it just kind of spiraled out from there."


Never having put together a film festival before, Myers received a crash education.


"It was successful but really disorganized," he says. "I wanted to do something different this time, something with music and something with more focus. And I like doing benefit shows. They're more fun when everyone has the same goal. It keeps people from getting into their own agendas and sort of focused on the fact that they're doing it for a cause, to make their scene better. While Fringe Fest probably won't get Thin Air as much money as some of their other benefit events, at least it's my contribution. Even if it's only $100, it's money that goes to them to help create a new option for people in Spokane."


Though Fringe Fest is more organized this second time around, Myers says the schedule and the entertainment offerings are still wide open.


"If someone wants to do something and has an act or anything they want to bring to the table -- hey, I'm all for it. It's meant to be kind of open."


Myers, who worked at a college radio station and booked live music shows in Seattle before moving to Spokane (for the first time) in 2000, says he's pleased with the way folks here embrace events like Fringe Fest.


"In Spokane, people are a bit more gracious about the fact that they have an event going on. In places like Portland and Seattle, there's this huge, established art and music scene, and people become accustomed to having events. There's nothing new and they don't really get excited about it unless it's something more well-known in their scene. Portland is a little more open because their scene didn't blow up like Seattle's did. But Seattle is horrendously in-crowd, clique-y and superficial. It's like 'oh, you're not wearing the right kind of horn-rimmed glasses or your corduroy pants aren't quite right or your shirt doesn't say "emo" somehow.' Here, people don't care about that and are a lot more hungry for something to do. It's just a matter of giving them the encouragement to go out there and do it."





Publication date: 08/21/03

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