Bloggus Infinitus, Day 149: Larissa on the Fringe

February 25th, 2011

We have a guest blogger today, someone you’ve all met over in the Comments section.

Larissa Uredi lives in Kansas, and she’s here to talk about something exciting that’s being done in that amazingly friendly state, which I first visited last year, and which I loved. Here’s Larissa:

First off, I have to say a huge THANK YOU to Tim for letting me hop up on my soapbox for today’s blog post. (c: So, now that I’m settled and acclimated, here goes — my plug for supporting creative living.

I’m sparking a revolution! (hang with me here.) Empowerment through Art. Community through Art. Communication, through, well, Art!

I work with the Kansas City Fringe Festival as the Visual Arts Coordinator. As such, I wrangle up all of the edgy, off the wall, unspoken visual artists in Kansas City and the surrounding region and make sure that we have the means, and resources to express our artistry and passion.

Wait, the what festival? The Fringe Festival! It’s this little thing that was founded back in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland. It came about by accident when the stuffy leftovers of Post WWII era Europe decided to host a “crème de la crème” arts festival. The artists who found themselves left out decided to show up and set up their stages anyway-just on the fringes!

Much to the black-suit’s chagrin and delight of our seat-of-their-pants pantsers, the “fringe” performances were a huge success. So much, in fact, that the troupes decided to come back the next year. And the year after that. It finally got so intense that in 1959 an actual “Fringe Festival Committee” was formed. Their values and goals were extremely simple: anyone who could find a venue and an audience could participate. Period.

What does this have to do with me and Kansas City? Well, even though KC has run its own Fringe Festival since 2004, the Visual Arts faction has never been a priority. Until now!

I told you I’m trying to spark a revolution. I want KC Fringe Festival’s Visual Arts to be downright amazing! Imagine taking a figure drawing class run by Burlesque dancers, or being able to walk up and paint a “live canvas” right in the middle of the street! How ‘bout playing a huge game of live Scrabble or participating in a massive “Wall-o-High-Fives”? Ever heard of the Night Markets being run out of the back of box trucks in big cities like NYC and San Francisco? ( in case you haven’t)I intend to bring that energy to Kansas City!

I’ve launched an all-or-nothing style fundraiser on Kickstarter (here’s a link to how they work: to bring all of these ideas to life. So, go tell your friends.  Tell your neighbors.  Tell your friend’s neighbors and your neighbor’s friends.  Go make some new friends so you can tell them about this crazy little shindig going on in the middle of Kansas City. Help get us off the ground!

Here’s the link:

Go check it out! If nothing else, throw me a suggestion or two on how I can make it better!


18 Responses to “Bloggus Infinitus, Day 149: Larissa on the Fringe”

  1. EverettK Says:

    Kansas is one of the many states to which I’ve never made the trek, and who knows if I ever will? But if I lived a little closer, it sounds like the KC Fringe Festival is something that could draw me in! Best wishes with it, Larissa!!!

    (See, Tim, I can be nice… to nice people.)

  2. Laren Bright Says:

    Sounds totally awesome. Go Larissa!

    This looks like one of Tim’s fringely creative ways of getting a blog done without actually having to write it.

  3. EverettK Says:

    Any day that Tim getth 3000 wordth knocked out on the new Poke novel, I’m perfectly okay with hith cheating on the blog a little. Otherwithe, crack the whip!

    Damn. I theem to have picked up a lithp thomewhere.

  4. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Larissa-this sounds so great, and I wish you a lot of luck with it. I think that people might respond really well to something like this; an uplifting time when there are so many downs. Where anyone can be included. I’ve only flown over your state, but I follow baseball, and the announcers raved about Kansas City and how beautiful (the fountains) and, yes, how friendly the people were.

  5. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Everett, Kansas was a delightful surprise to me — one of several on the 9,000-mile tour. I’ll go again in a minute when the next Poke comes out. And your lithp ith very botherthome — A written lithp is alwayth confuthing.

    Laren, ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHT. So let’s discard eight of them for Everett’s stories, Riss, and one or two other guests, and thats 140. At an average of 400 words each, that 56,000 words. Add an additionan 200 words per day in responses, and that’s 28,000 words. Put them together, and that’s 84,000 words, or the length of a shortish novel. And I’ve also written an ACTUAL ahortish novel, PULPED, during this time. AND am almost 10,000 words into the next Poke, THE GROWING YOUNGER MAN, although most of them are probably the wrong words. As James Brown used to say, I’m the hardest-working man in show business. I get no respect.

    Lil, I’m with you, as I so frequently seem to be. I only wish I could go to the Fringe Festival. I could get up and read from my experimental Dadaist poetry for several hours. Maybe someone will invite me.

  6. Suzanna Says:

    Congratulations Riss for introducing visual arts “fringe” to the heartland, and for introducing me to the Night Market concept. Little did I know they were happening right here in my own backyard.

  7. micael hallinan Says:

    Larissa, good for you. We have had a strong tradion of seasonal art shows in Laguna Beach and I have been fortunate to exhibit in both of them. The one I still show in started as a rejected artists show and soon became better attended than the original. So I think you are on the right track. The only advice I can give you is to make your show not only an art show but an event. We did it with live music and free classes that are taught by participating artists. If that sounds too mainstream invite the public to participate in some outragious large scale work. We did one with broken pottery that guests were invited to work on as long as they wanted. Ask their kids to help too; it works great and its always good press. I have a long history of these shows and if I can be of any help fell free to call me or email me at

  8. Debbi Says:

    Wow, Larissa. As one who’s previously organized a fundraiser (see, I know something about the work you must have put into this. And I’m seriously impressed.

    Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas, anymore. 🙂

  9. Debbi Says:

    Sorry. Let’s try that link again. 🙂

  10. Larissa Says:

    Sorry for my short hiatus-running around crazy and no internet at the house. (c:

    First off, Thank you all for taking the time read through all of that. All of your comments have been not just heartening to see but helpful.

    Michael-I will definitely be in touch. I love what I’ve seen of your work both through this blog and on your site and I’ve got some questions that I’m sure you can help me with. (c: Thank you for the offer to help. (c:

    Debbi-I will be clicking on that newly minted link as soon as I’m done commenting. It’s a lot of work for sure! I’ve never done any type of fundraiser before and this is really the only chance at a budget we get for the Visual Arts so I’ve got my fingers seriously crossed that we hit our goal. It’s not much when you put it in context of the whole festival but it seems like a lot to me.

    Everett-Awww. You called me nice. Thank you. 😀 And we’re happy to have you any time in KC. Just let me know if you’re coming through town!

    Tim-again, Thank You and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re cheating-you do more writing in a day than I do in a year. And most of it’s good! (c:

    Suzanna-I’m trying and you’re welcome. Go check them out sometime, they’re amazing and fun and raunchy and awesome. I really am hoping to bring that sort of edge to KC-it’s the Fringe Festival after all! We bill ourselves as being raw and edgy but we have that funny Kansas aftertaste always-so hopefully this year we can shake things up a bit and get goin’!

    Lil-don’t listen to all those terrible things they say about our crappy baseball team hehe. They aren’t exactly lies but they don’t do a thing for how much fun going to a Royals game can be. I used to work at Kaufman Stadium and even though we were almost always losing the crowds were upbeat and fun and everyone was basically just enjoying the act of being at a baseball game. If not exactly thrilled that we lost. Again. But ya know, it’s perspective. And we do have some cool fountains-though there are more interesting parts of KC, in my humble opinion. (c:

    And yes, Toto’s taken on more of the slapdash “haute coutour” look as opposed to the little-runt-that-could look for these here Kansas days.

    Thank you everyone for all of your support and suggestions. I hope to send you all a good news cheer when we fund!

  11. Larissa Says:

    And in case ya’ll weren’t sick of me just yet–

    Debbi-talk about a lot of work! Egads! I’d never heard of Dystonia but now that I’ve read that site, I have someone I think might be interested in knowing more. Crazy. Did you ever get rid of all your t-shirts? (c:

  12. Jaden Says:

    Sounds like a great event, Larissa. I help organize the Killer Nashville conference (, so I know what a big job something like this would be. Kudos to you.

  13. Larissa Says:

    Hi Jaden-Thanks. (c: So from you peeps who have done this sort of thing before-aside from Facebook and word-o-mouth and awesome friend’s with awesome blogs, is there another super obvious way to get the word out that I”m missing? I know generally that things don’t heat up with fundraisers ’til the end (telethon mentality) but I’m trying to make sure I have lots of build up for when it gets down to the wire. (c:

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, all, and thanks for keeping this conversation hopping (Wumsy’s word) along without me. Maybe I should turn this blog into The Question of the Day and then just get out of the way.

    Riss, I join with everyone in hoping this year’s Fringe is the best yet, and you really should get in touch with my brother, who doesn’t make offers lightly. And Jaden, I want to go to Killer Nashville, but I need to figure the whole thing out. When is it this year?

    I’ve never raised funds except for me to spend, so I’m no expert here. Seems to me you might think of prizes — donated works of art, tickets to the events, etc. — and offer them to donors on a raffle basis. That’s about as creative as I can be at the moment.

  15. Suzanna Says:

    Hi, Riss

    I’ve raised money twice and frankly it’s a heck of a lot of work but if you target the right groups of people you’d be surprised how many will come forward in support of your cause.

    Since you won’t have a lot of time to try to apply for a grant of some kind here are some quick fundraiser activities that will only cost you your time.

    Tim’s right, one really attractive item or package to raffle can help you raise a lot of money.

    Are there community art organizations, cooperatives, museums, foundries, galleries, art stores, workshops that might lend you a hand in selling raffle tickets? If they have a newsletter of some kind maybe they could post your fundraiser plea for you?

    Facebook of course is a really good way to get the word out. See if you can get your friends to post a plea on their facebook status.

    I noticed on your website that you are willing to donate some of your work in exchange for as little as five bucks. Now that’s the spirit!

    Is there someone high on the visual art food chain in your area who you think might be willing to host a private studio visit for a few people? Or some kind of demonstration of their work process? Then see if a local restaurant will throw in dinner for the artist and the group?

    Just a few ideas that might help you out. Very best of luck. Remember there are people out there who want to help you just have to find them.

    You are doing something so special I wish you all the best!

  16. Larissa Says:

    Tim-Great idea. (c: And yes, thanks to everyone for continuing to humor me! (c:

    The Kickstarter fundraiser comes with shiny cool prizes attached to it so you actually get something for your money. I think holding an actual raffle, live and in person, would be a great companion idea though. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it….

    I will most definitely be getting in touch with your brother-emailing him made it on to my To Do list! Up near the top even! (c:

  17. Larissa Says:

    Suzanna-Awesome suggestions. I’m looking into some cool raffle-y ideas ever since yesterday. I’m taking notes for sure. (c: Without hoarding more of Tim’s blog space for all of this, would you mind if I sent you an email to further bounce some ideas around? (c:


  18. Suzanna Says:

    Hi, Riss

    Really happy the suggestions helped. I’d be glad to bounce some ideas around.

    You can reach me via e mail at

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