Fringe Festival Picks Plays

Not to gloat, but we told you so. The Stranger predicted that shifting the Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival to September and changing the pay structure would encourage the theater groups that tour the Canadian fringe festival circuit to come here--and lo and behold, two of the three Artistic Picks from this year's festival (selected by secret jury) are out-of-towners who came trailing glowing press from Canada: Trick Boxing by Sossy Productions and Sabotage: in fine form by Burning Cities New Works Company were joined by local troupe Throwing Bones' Anaphylaxis for two more encore performances after the festival's close.

The Stranger also predicted that competition from elsewhere would improve the overall quality of Seattle's festival, which has in the past been dominated by beginners who use the festival-provided production support to mount their first show (which is not a bad thing in itself, but may cloud the view of theatergoers who see several clumsy efforts in a row). While there hasn't been any rigorous survey, I saw around 20 shows this year--around half local, half from out of town--that, while not all bursts of brilliance, were worth seeing. Yes, there's still plenty of crap--as there is at most festival events, especially anything unjuried--but there were also several shows recommended highly to me that I couldn't manage to see. Even 20 out of 90 or so shows is a promising percentage; I actually look forward to next year's festival. BRET FETZER


Underpaid Editor Chows Down at an Elegant Event

It seems amazing that anything in Seattle has been around longer than a year or two or six, but the Greg Kucera Gallery celebrated its 20th anniversary last week at a very nice grown-up party, one of the few nice grown-up parties that some of us have been invited to in a while. (It's extra nice to find, though, in among the shrimp puffs and other sophisticated hors d'oeuvres, the grilled cheese sandwiches that I've embarrassed myself with before at Kucera's parties.)

With or without finger food, it was a lovely evening, with a very sweet toast from Kucera's mom, as well as lots of affectionate additions from collectors, artists, and hangers-on. Stop in and wish him a happy anniversary, why dontcha. EMILY HALL


Those Other Geniuses

That other institution announced its own genius awards this week. Among the new MacArthur Fellows, who get $500,000 over the next five years, are excellent writer Lydia Davis and excellent sculptor Sarah Sze. None of the winners are from Seattle; all the more reason to come celebrate with us on October 10 at ConWorks (see Stranger Suggests, pg. 39). EMILY HALL