Let’s cut to the chase. If you read Amsterdam Alternative, you probably already know how it goes. Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam is one of those low on budget, big on creative freedom events that used to spontaneously erupt all over Amsterdam in squatted venues and public spaces. There has been a palpable change and the joie de vivre seems somewhat diminished, but the scene is still there, more concentrated, more focused, more determined. If you don’t know already, here’s the skinny: Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam is a shadow festival to Nederlands Theaterfestival, which runs at the same time, 7 – 17 September. Lofty stuff indeed. Meanwhile, at the grass roots, 2017 is the 6th year that Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam has run 10 days of new, traditional, underground, autonomous events: plays, dance performances, all kinds of music, art, film, video games, animation, readings, exhibitions & entertainments, in several city centre venues, all for free. If you like numbers, that means there have been 60 days and 60 nights of Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam so far.
And FREE doesn’t, in this case, mean ‘crap’. Read on to see what this year has in store:
FAY’S FILM FESTIVAL 2017, 5th Anniversary
This is Fay’s Film Festival’s 5th year and it promises to be the biggest yet with screenings in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul and our beloved home base, Amsterdam. As well as cutting-edge cartoons and films from Japan, Australia, America, China & Europe, we will premiere OTAKU BOI, a groundbreaking 4D performance by Future Cartoons. The artists use a meld of projections, animation, props and live performance, to create on stage the tiny 1-room apartment of Otaku Boi, where he plays video-games and battles his inner demons.
Other highlights at Fay’s Film Festival include Sawako Kabuki, Japan’s most perverted animator. Having previously screened her films Anal Juke, Master Blaster and Don’t tell mom at Fay’s Film Festival she now returns triumphant with her newest film, Summer’s puke is winter}s delight, which has just won the Jury Prize at Annecy! We also have some bizarre creepy groovy 3D from Faiyaz Jafri and Ryuyo Eto, sexy stop-motion by Kirsten Lepore and banana shenanigans from Australian Julian Frost. Further, there will be some pearls from Japan by the students of Tama Art University, one of the world’s top schools which nurtures ball-breaking independent animators.
Fay’s Film Festival is at 19:30, Saturday 9 September at Vondelbunker.
Also, screening courtesy of Fay’s Film Festival, for the first time outside Japan, is Guy Pearce’s Difficulty Breathing, shot in the slums of deep Osaka (at SICK Art Exhibition 13:00, Saturday 16 September, Vondelbunker).
Warp Zone Video Game Art Show invades Amsterdam!
Warp Zone showcases all forms of art that pay tribute to the wonderful world of video games. Celebrate video game culture in an afternoon of art, chip tunes, performances, games, good company and beer! Previous years showcased artists from Tokyo, Amsterdam, New York and Australia. This year includes music from Carf Darko, The Pixel-Art Gallery, Magic Card paint-overs, interactive 2D art and all sorts of playable games old and new.
In the Vondeltent outside will be the chill zone - enter and prepare for audio bliss! gHST RADIO will captivate your mind, body and soul with ambient beat remixes and droned out delays of legendary street performer gHSTS & gUITARS broadcasting live. Bring your battery operated radio, phone or headphones that can pick up a FM radio signal or avail of those provided, to be part of the sound experience. The celebrations continue in the evening at Vondelbunker with Fay”s film festival at 19:30 and Warp zone after party from 21:00, with acts, stand-up comedy from Neville Raven and music galore with Horizon tide, Cloudy daze, Wondertrees & Innocent youth (DJ/VJ). All proceeds raised at the bar contribute to keeping the Vondelbunker’s doors open. So you can get drunk AND feel good about yourself for keeping such a fab location running. ;)
Doors open 13:00, Saturday 9 September, Vondelbunker.
SICK Art Exhibition
SICK is a group exhibition of artworks united in their power to fascinate and disturb the viewer. These works deliberately or unconsciously transgress the bounds of propriety. They utilize scatological subjects, express innately subversive qualities or take an outsider stance. Some present other ways of seeing and experiencing, some deal directly with ‘sickness’ as a subject and some are just plain sick.
SICK is part of a ‘dirty’ weekend at Vondelbunker on September 16th. In the afternoon there will be installation, video, live-art, underground films & paintings.
From 21:00. on we have SICK music night with Forgotten matters (film-performance), Kim Dealer & Mylo Cywitz (IT/DE electronic garage opera), Grandpa death Experience, The skanky Crack whores, Black tarantula, Monica & the explosion and Donkey kung-fu.
Art exhibition from 13:00
Saturday 16 September, Vondelbunker.
Warning! some people may take offence at the artworks on show.
Quentin Threadbare’s Free Fringe Theatre Roundup
Six years ago whilst taking a stroll through the bushes in beautiful Vondelpark I stumbled upon Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam. In that first year it was a good deal smaller than it is now. But there, beneath a bridge in the underground venue of the Vondelbunker I saw a show that has remained with me. It was a play about two tramps of Amsterdam – or ‘nietsnutten’ as they are known, a musical comedy that had me pissing myself with laughter. And as the years have passed and the festival has grown what has sprouted forth in subsequent editions has been delightful. And it’s all for free! That’s another thing. Without the product placement and heavy corporate presence of official, heavily funded events, FFFA is free from the shackles of corporate middle of the road mediocrity! And every year since then, when September starts to turn the summer to Autumn, I prepare to discover what wonders will be mine at this year’s FFFA.
Unable as I am to bi-locate, I must decide on which events I’ll attend. So, my gallant reader, bear in mind the variety of shows and events. This year caters for a wide spectrum of interest. Do peruse the website (freefringefetivalamsterdam.com) for the calendar of events and details of the gems on offer. Being a man of the theatre that is my first port of call.
The Grouch, translated by Vincent Rosivach and adapted by Zbigniew Maciak, is on at Microtheatro in Warmoestraat. It is based on Menander’s Dyskolos (“The Difficult One”). First produced in Athens in 316 B.C., this Ancient Greek comedy gives a portrait of a mean, troublesome man, who hates literally all humanity and is forced to embark on a deeply spiritual journey. Hank Botwinik presents traditional white face mime at Mike’s Badhuistheater during The Boerhaaveplein Festival. Sin Sin Collective are also at Badhuistheater with The Hellfire Club featuring animation, live music & theatre. Sin Sin Collective’s One Day We Will All Be Free takes the checkered history of De Vondelbunker as its subject. Find out what happened that infamous night when Nico & Mick Jagger dropped by. AstaroTeatro & Alli Mana Group are doing Themis and Lombroso by Turkish playwright Bilgesu Erenus, a dialogue between the Themis, Goddess of Justice & criminologist Lombroso, inventor of innate criminal theory. Experimental Theatre includes SHE SMOKES by teatro*L I L A at SICK Art Exhibition & Het Duister by Marthe van Bronkhorst, both at Vondelbunker.
(written by Quentin Threadbare)
Book Launch: an excerpt from Zoo Drawings by Molly Heady-Carroll
“Look! That man is drawing!”
Most weeks, when I visit Artis to draw, somebody will make this statement to their child. Personally, I do not mind which pronoun people use when referring to me. I would rather they do not realize their mistake and get embarrassed than correct them. But it does make one wonder why on earth this happens every week. My observations after visiting Artis so frequently is that parents often narrate their children’s visit and try to keep them moving along from one interesting thing to another, hoping perhaps to eventually make it to a playground where the parents can have a coffee. Many a time I have seen a parent secretly glimpse the information board (so as to not break the illusion to their children that their parents know everything) and confidently tell their child that the animal they are looking at is a Squirrel Monkey (when in actual fact it is a Hyax). To them, I am perhaps just another interesting thing they can point out to their child and do not find it necessary to observe exactly what it is they are looking at. It is so frequent that I am referred to as a man, I began experimenting with different clothing to see what pronoun people refer to me with. Despite wearing various combinations of big earrings and low cut tank tops, I was still referred to as a man. Eventually I did discover that dresses finally make people refer to me as a woman. Perhaps my focused energy while drawing is sometimes not associated with women. Perhaps my build and dark hair is too different compared to the typical slim and blond build of Dutch women. Who knows…But it’s interesting to think about while drawing at Artis!
(written by Molly Heady-Carroll and reproduced with permission of the author)
Festive Festival Opening + Exhibition/Book Launch of Zoo Drawings’by Molly Heady-Carroll is on Thursday September 7th, 8PM, Astarotheatro (Sint Jansstraat 37, Amsterdam)
Free means free
Now in its sixth year, this unstoppable annual event remains a free & accessible podium for artists and audiences alike, an extraordinary celebration of all the arts: new, traditional, underground, weird & wonderful.
Love goes out to everyone, the artists, the audiences, techs, venues, toilet cleaners, all at De Vondelbunker for their dedication & integrity.
Thanks to Peter for the tent, Roberto at AstaroTheatro for being a rock & all who have donated time and effort purely for the fun or for love of what they do.
If you have any queries about Free Fringe Festival Amsterdam, feel free to contact email@example.com
Remember: One Day We Will All Be Free
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