The Ottawa Fringe Festival held its annual lottery December 03 (2013) at the Arts Court (2 Daly Avenue) with more than 150 companies vying for one of the 37 available slots. The Fringe Festival structure is unique in that companies are not selected by juries, but by an impartial system, in this case, the roll of a bingo cage decides who gets into the local, national, international and youth slots.
Patrick Gauthier is enjoying his first year as festival director, having been involved with the Ottawa Fringe Festival since 2002, including performing in seven productions during that time. Before spinning the cage for the touring companies, Gauthier tells the audience that some of those touring slots have already been chosen at the national Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) lottery, which allows touring companies the opportunity to travel to five different festivals on the Fringe circuit.
“The fact that seven of the ten companies that won in the CAFF lottery chose Ottawa,” Gauthier tells me during the break, “speaks to our growing reputation on the larger Fringe Festival circuit. Artists know they can come to Ottawa and they’ll get great audiences, experiences and have a great time. It’s my first year as director and I’m really looking forward to building on the success of past years by making the festival even better.”
The 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival takes place in June, at various locations, and the lottery winners who will be participating include:
Book of Why
JH5 Promotions and Consulting
Little Green Hat
Loose Cannons Collective
Smoke and Ash Productions
Take a Jump in it Theatre
Ultra Mega Super Party Club
Underneath it All Theatre Co.
SNAFU Dance Theatre, Kelowna BC
Ryan Gladstone Productions, Vancouver BC
Devon More Music, Vancouver BC
Jessica Fitzpatrick, Toronto ON
Mark Shyzer, Toronto ON
Mind of a Snail Puppet Co., Vancouver BC
Nefarious Projects, Toronto ON
Squirrels At War, London ON
ssb productions, Halifax NS
The Old Folksinger,Gabriola BC
Big Word Performance Poetry,UK
Carolann Valentino Productions,USA
Trinity Pit Stop Theatre Co., Kanata ON
Youth Infringement Festival, Ottawa ON
To view the waiting list for each category, click here.
Brendan McNally has been involved in 6 different Ottawa Fringe Festival productions, as writer, producer, puppet wrangler and performer. His latest project is a guerrilla style, mini web travel series about walking along the coast of Wales.
Rock’n’roll hall of famer PATTI SMITH was a most genial host while launching the 2013 edition of the Ottawa Folk Festival last night…and a pretty decent scratch golfer to boot (more on that later). “We’re going to start with a benediction” (to bless the fest opening), she began as her band (the set was billed as ‘Patti Smith & Her Band’) launched into a smouldering “Ghost Dance”. Songs dedicated to festival volunteers and the city of Ottawa followed, generously, without pandering. Towards the end of her 1.5 hour set, a primal scream therapy session through the title track of her latest album ‘Banga’ collectively declared “the festival open”.
Throughout the set, an odd but humorous discourse on the greatness of golfer Tom Watson (it was his Birthday) and his many epic battles on the course over the years, served as a recurring theme of Patti’s between-song banter. She eventually elaborated that watching this kind of level of excellence for any activity is “an amazing thing.” Almost as amazing, for instance, as the band’s slow burning “Southern Cross”, that began hypnotic and acoustic before building towards a testifying secular sermon of a crescendo, stage and audience arms punching the sky, proclaiming freedom.
As a mid-meal palate cleanser, guitarist Lenny Kaye (who has been at Patti’s side since her beginnings in the ‘70s) led the band through a medley of ‘60s garage rock nuggets while Smith took a breather. Selections included The Music Machine’s “Talk Talk”, Nazz’s “Open My Eyes” & The Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction” – all appropriate given that Lenny was the original compiler of the first garage rock bible, ‘Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968’.
In golf parlance, Patti continued to fire birdie after birdie, most decisively sinking all her puts on the closing sequence of “Pissing in a River” (reviving the shamanistic power of “Southern Cross”), the aforementioned “Banga” (band and audience howling in unison) and a rousing “People Have the Power”, before intoning her famous line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine”, thus signalling that “Gloria” from her 1977 debut album ‘Horses’ would close out the proceedings.
Patti’s only mishit of the whole evening was an inexplicably perfunctory run through one of her best-known songs, the Bruce-Springsteen co-penned “Because the Night”. After dedicating the song to her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, one was primed for passion. ..instead, the delivery suffered from a serious lack of wattage and commitment.It was Patti’s only bogey of the night that kept the set from scoring a hole in one. Still, one shot short of perfection is an enviable scorecard to turn in by anyone’s standards…even Tom Watson’s.
Look for reviews, commentary & photos from throughout the Folkfest, Sept. 4 -8, at Roch Parisien’s Rocon Communications music chat page.
See the full Ottawa Folk Festival lineup at:http://ottawafolk.com/
(All photos by Roch Parisien, copyright Roch Photos)