Refreshing Art Licks the Competition

August is fringe festival month. Throughout the month, about a million audience members and artists come together for wild, wacky, experimental, ground breaking, and sometimes just plain silly but fun, performances.

From Edinburgh to Darwin, from Saskatoon to Durban, fringe festivals are the best example of the world’s support and enjoyment for the variety and diversity of artistic expression.

So how does is this taste for a medley, this desire to experience something new, translate into other sources of gratification?

According to the International Ice Cream Association (IICA), the most popular flavor – by far – is vanilla. Even as more flavors have been introduced, along with more combinations, vanilla is still the first and main choice.

There is some mystery as to how the IICA arrived at this determination of humanity’s willfulness toward blandness. Unlike the Trilateral Commission, the names of the members of the Board of the IICA are available only via a secure website.

Let’s assume, then, IICA’s survey captured those that are too sedentary, too boring, and too television addicted to leave their homes. This is the vanilla crowd.

If the survey had been done with the fringe festival audiences and artists”¦ well, what flavor do you think would hit the top of the charts?

At least we know that there would be a lot more interesting and inspiring choices in the list of most popular ice creams.

It is a great sign for art that while some people are putting down their money to buy vanilla after vanilla, in the festival world a lot more money is being spent on what’s new, different, enlightening, and full of pure unexpected joy.

That is something truly refreshing!

- Bill Reichblum

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