As the Fringe Festival opens today, none of its 457 events are sold out--a situation that executive director Aaron Paley takes in stride.
"I still expect us to break even," Paley said Wednesday, adding that one-quarter of the events are free and at least 20% are providing discounts to senior citizens, the unemployed and children. "Our $115,000 budget for 13 months will have been spent by October, with no surplus made. We've really done miracles with what we've got."
With the Fringe Festival featuring 500 performers in nearly as many events in 220 locations--from Laguna Beach to Granada Hills, from Claremont to Topanga--during the next four weeks, figuring out who's doing what when can be a challenge. Paley says the answers can be found in the Fringe catalogue, a 45-page directory with information on everything from venue addresses and phone numbers to admission and times of performances.
Only 25,000 people selected from various mailing lists received the Fringe catalogue; others can get it by calling (213) 931-1255.
The Fringe catalogue also lists more than 250 events that are handicap accessible. One theater, Company of Angels in Hollywood, is staging a play, "Talking With . . . ," in which sign language is being incorporated for the hard of hearing.
"Each individual group is handling its own ticket sales," Paley said. "Not everything has a ticket to sell--at least one-third don't, like those occurring on the airwaves (KCRW 89.9 FM, will provide a daily Fringe calendar, as well as Fringe shows) and some art exhibitions."
As for total ticket sales, Paley had no specific figures because each site is handling its own tickets, he said.
Although the presentation of so many arts events in a single month could be expected to contribute to traffic congestion, Paley remains confident that problems will be minimal.
"It's not like 5,000 artists have suddenly descended upon L.A.," Paley said. "Most of these groups function anyway at this time, but all of a sudden, more people are (aware) of them, so I don't foresee any difficulties. Things happen here all the time, movie shoots in the streets, telephone trucks on the road. This won't come as a disruption to the life of the city. It'll add life to it. It'll be a much more fun place to be during September."
Even with performers entertaining people from sidewalks (Audri Phillips and Diane Hayden will present "Melons on Melrose," a performance art piece in which about 40 artists will blend live painting, sculpting, opera, jazz and dance along Melrose Avenue, between Poinsettia and Martel streets) and beaches (Susan Suntree will present a performance art piece on Santa Monica Beach), Los Angeles Police Department Officer Fabian Lizarraga said the police don't expect many problems.
"Events such as that may attract the normal Lookie-loos, but right now we're not planning any special precautions," Lizarraga said. "We'll respond to things as needed."