Open Letter to Edinburgh Fringe CEO regarding exclusion at World Fringe Congress

October 31st, 2016

Dear Ms. Shona McCarthy,

Firstly, my congratulations on your recent appointment as the CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. I wish you all the best in your role and hope we can work together to resolve some longstanding issues at the Fringe.

My name is Donovan King and I am a professional actor, cultural worker and a school teacher from Montreal.

I attended the World Fringe Congresses in Edinburgh in 2012 and 2014 after being invited as a representative of the infringement festivals. Infringement festivals are Fringe festivals that have been threatened with legal action by people claiming to hold a Fringe trademark, so have used the name infringement to avoid being sued. The word “infringement” simultaneously questions the trademarking of the Fringe, a grassroots festival that was created by artists for artists as a protest against exclusion during the original Edinburgh Fringe of 1947.

I am writing you today in regards to some serious problems with the third World Fringe Congress, being held in my home city of Montreal. I would like to explain why I feel you should intervene as the CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. The story is a bit complicated, so I have tried to make it as clear as possible.

Backstory: Fringe politics and trademark issues in Montreal and Buffalo

Fringe politics is a very common topic among artists in Montreal due to the trademarking of the word and subsequent exclusion of artists, which has resulted in a major cultural battle for over 15 years now. In a nutshell, artists who are unhappy with the trademarked St. Ambroise Fringe have been challenging it artistically through culture-jamming, whereas the St. Ambroise Fringe has responded with the exclusion of activist artists, including calling the police on them whenever they protest (despite the fact that in Canada our right to protest is protected by our Constitution). Instead of engaging in dialogue with critical artists to resolve thorny issues, the St. Ambroise Fringe has consistently attempted to exclude them and paint them as dangerous.

The infringement festival was created in 2004 in Montreal after the St. Ambroise Fringe kicked artists out of the festival in 2001, allegedly on orders of then corporate sponsor Can-West Global, a media company that produced newspapers such as the Montreal Gazette. When the Gazette’s theatre critic was offended by a critique of her behaviour (she had demanded a free ticket to the experimental play Car Stories), she stopped reviewing the entire festival until the offending artists were ejected.

This corporate sponsor was in a clear conflict-of-interest as both a media outlet reporting on the festival and a corporation financing it. To make matters worse, the St. Ambroise Fringe refused to pay artists their ticket sales after a sold out week or reimburse the hefty registration fee they charged to be associated with the Fringe trademark.

The infringement festival spread to Buffalo the following year after local artists there were threatened with legal action from the NYC Fringe, who claimed to hold a Fringe trademark. According to Dr. Xela Batchelder, the world’s leading academic on Fringe theatre, this was a falsehood – the NYC Fringe has never held a Fringe trademark.

Furthermore, the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) also threatens legal action against students and independent artists who attempt to use the word “Fringe” without their permission.

As I hope you will agree, the idea of a Fringe trademark is the very antithesis of the original Fringe. It results in the exclusion of Fringe artists and students from participating in a form of populist arts and forces them to rename the festival if they want to carry on with their artistic activities. A trademark on the word “Fringe” is extremely problematic and damages the festival by compromising its authenticity and preventing artists from performing – all in the name of corporate interests. It is an issue that needs to be urgently debated, in my opinion.

Issue: Exclusion at third World Fringe Congress

Getting back to the World Fringe Congress, I had the pleasure to attend in Edinburgh in 2012 and 2014 after being invited by the founder, Holly Payton-Lombardo. My work at the Congress included writing a critical analysis about problems facing the Fringe internationally in 2012, followed by a workshop in 2014 called “A World Fringe Philosophy” where I outlined some of the more problematic issues for Fringe Managers. I even did a show at the Edinburgh Fringe called Critical Report from the World Fringe Congress, which has also played in other cities in the U.K., Ireland, the U.S.A. and Canada.

I was very excited at the prospect of attending the 2016 Congress to continue the conversation in my home city and to try and finally resolve some of the issues, such as the Fringe trademark in Canada that prevents artists from participating or the fact that ticket sales still have not been paid, 15 years later.

For the third Wold Fringe Congress, I had also intended to propose inviting a workshop on strategies to ensure safe(r) festivals after incidents of sexual assault and discrimination against people with disabilities at CAFF Fringe festivals came to light recently. The fact that people feel unsafe at Canadian Fringe festivals needs to be addressed, in my opinion, with the goal of creating policies to ensure the safety of all participants.

Unfortunately, the CAFF-hosted World Fringe Congress has rejected all local Montreal infringement delegates from attending without providing much reason.

rejection-from-world-fringe-congress

This, despite the fact I helped set up the original Fringe Festival here (before it was trademarked), and then established the infringement festival to try and challenge the perceived co-opting of our Fringe by corporate interests. To be excluded in my own city is really hurtful, to be honest, especially after I invested all that time and money going to Edinburgh in 2012 and 2014 to be included in the important discussions.

I didn’t realize that the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe’s exclusion of artists would extend to the World Fringe Congress.

fringe-managers-censored

Furthermore, to make matters worse, everyone who applied from the Buffalo infringement festival was also rejected. I find it really unfortunate that my colleagues in Buffalo are being rejected simply for being associated with me.

It is important to remember that these artists simply wanted to do Fringe theatre until they were threatened by the Fringe in NYC, who claimed to control a Fringe trademark. Instead, they started an infringement festival, just like we did because of the Canadian trademark that prevented us from doing a populist form of arts we have been doing since we helped found the Fringe in Montreal. We are about as Fringe as it gets – if people won’t let us play in their “official” festival, we are going to do it ourselves, just like the artists who invented the Fringe Festival in the first place.

Ironically, this is the exact same thing that happened in Edinburgh in 1947, but now the Fringe is cast in the role of the Edinburgh International Festival that it had originally protested against.

The American artists from Buffalo didn’t do anything objectionable and don’t deserve to be excluded. I find their treatment by the St. Ambroise Fringe and CAFF to be extremely disturbing, to be honest. These artists have never even attended a Canadian Fringe Festival, let alone culture-jammed one. Why are they being banned from participating?

Issue: Purpose of World Fringe Congress is being compromised

It is important to remember that founder of the World Fringe Congress, Holly Payton-Lombardo, stated in 2012 the purpose of her creation:  “…the Congress will recognize that there are many models of Fringe and many different ideas within it, without recognizing any one model, concept or Fringe as more valid than another.” Furthermore, Holly stated that the Congress was designed “to create a lasting network and a real sense of how Fringes can work together to achieve all our aims.”

Far from working together to achieve our collective aims, the Congress is now banning artists who do not comply with a corporate model of Fringe. My fear is that the CAFF World Fringe Congress will focus mostly on persuading other festivals to become more and more corporate now that they have silenced all the critical voices through exclusion. If nobody from infringement is allowed to speak to these issues, the legitimacy of the World Fringe Congress must be called into question.

The CAFF has arguably changed the purpose of the Congress to exclude models that are based on the real Fringe Festival of 1947 in favor of more corporate models, which effectively excludes Montreal and Buffalo artists who voice critical opinions. I find it sad and unfortunate that Holly’s creation has been compromised like this and I hope there will be some serious discussion in Edinburgh and pressure applied to restore it to its original purpose.

As the CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, presumably one of your responsibilities it to safeguard and oversee the Fringe’s brand. Many people feel that the Fringe brand is at risk internationally due to the trademarking issue, which has now resulted in the exclusion of some of the most dedicated Fringe artists on the planet. Their voices are being excluded from an important conversation about Fringe festivals and, on a larger scale, about culture itself.

Proposed resolution

The way I see it, if Fringe stakeholders don’t start tackling these issues now, things are only going to get worse and worse. The behavior of managers at both the NYC Fringe and CAFF is very exclusionary and is harming the Fringe’s brand on a global level. It is always the same thing: for financial reasons, the administrators want to have complete control of the Fringe, so they use disingenuous techniques, such as trademarking and legal threats, to try and charge artists hefty fees for participating. This type of behavior should have no place in the world of Fringe arts, where the artists traditionally came first because they invented the festival in the first place.

I hope that the Fringe community is mature enough to hold an adult discussion about the issues I have raised, with the goal of protecting the Fringe and its participants from the types of corporate manipulation and discrimination I have outlined.

Furthermore, it is illegal in Quebec to discriminate based on political convictions, including activism, and the government has strong Human Rights legislation in place to challenge exclusion of various sorts. That being said, I am hoping these issues can be resolved through dialogue.

As such, I am asking you to intervene and to overturn the decision to ban all Montreal and Buffalo infringement artists from the CAFF-hosted third World Fringe Congress. 

Lastly, like the original Fringe artists of 1947, we are challenging our own exclusion. We have decided to take matters into our own hands by creating parallel events.  I would like to invite you to the first-ever World Infringement Congress on Saturday, November 19, in Montreal.

As part of the Montreal Infringement Festival, running from November 15 – 20, the happening will explore important issues likely being excluded from the CAFF World Fringe Congress. In attendance will be some of the world’s leading Fringe artists and academics, local arts activists and community leaders. You are most welcome to attend to be a part of the conversation, as are all the other Fringe Managers. Unlike the CAFF World Fringe Congress, we believe in diversity, inclusion and critical thinking.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

Donovan King, B.F.A., B.Ed., M.F.A.

 

The response:

 

Dear Donovan

Thank you for your email regarding the Fringe World Congress.

As you know, the Fringe World Congress is an Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society event which has twice taken place in Edinburgh.  The purpose of the event is to bring Fringe organisers of the world together to discuss and learn from each other, from an operational, artistic and philosophical perspective.  Although the Edinburgh model – open access, non-curated – is the original Fringe model, it is by no means the only model and that is the essence of the conference.  We ourselves have multiple models within the Fringe which coexist to the benefit of both participants and audiences, and we welcome open discussion and debate without prejudice on the benefits and flaws of differing models and how to manage them operationally.

In terms of the 2016 Congress, which will take place in Montreal, hosted by the Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montreal, contractually the running of the event is the responsibility of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals and Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montreal which includes the decision on delegate attendance.  As a result, we can certainly voice an opinion on decisions made but ultimately it is a decision for the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals and Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montreal to make.

With kind regards

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Burchell

Head of Marketing & Sponsorship

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Sent from my iPhone

 

An invitation to World Fringe Congress delegates to the Montreal infringement festival & World Infringement Congress!

October 31st, 2016

Dear friends and colleagues who are members of the World Fringe Congress,

Firstly, I am writing to inform you that unfortunately all infringement delegates from both Montreal and Buffalo were rejected when applying to the 3rd World Fringe Congress, despite being represented in Edinburgh in 2012 and 2014.

rejection-from-world-fringe-congress

An open letter of complaint has been issued to CEO Shona McCarthy of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, asking her to overturn this unfortunate decision, which excludes members who have critical opinions and object to corporate manipulation at Fringe Festivals.

fringe-managers-censored

Ironically, it would appear that the history of the Fringe is repeating itself. The artists who were snubbed by the CAFF-hosted World Fringe Congress are now setting up shop on the fringe of the exclusionary event. The exact same thing happened in Edinburgh in 1947 when artists played on the fringe of the Edinburgh International Festival after being rejected by bureaucrats there.

We would like to invite you to extend your stay because Montreal artists will be hosting the 13th annual infringement festival from November 15 – 20, offering you unadulterated, independent infringement arts that are not tainted in any way by corporate interference.

infringement-logo

We promise no restrictive trademarks, cross-branding, visual pollution, lotteries, unfair deals for artists and audiences, censorship, etc. typically found at other Canadian festivals. Based on the original Edinburgh Fringe of 1947, the infringement festival aims to put the power back into the hands of the artists and spectators and to curb damaging corporate practices!

We will also be hosting the first-ever World Infringement Congress, whereby festival administrators are invited to conduct and/or attend progressive lectures and workshops in a more formal setting. Scheduled on Saturday, November 19, the day after the World Fringe Congress ends, this is an opportunity to step outside the “Fringe manager” bubble and to meet leading academics on the topic of infringement arts and to explore some of the corporate problems that are compromising other festivals in Canada and across the globe.

There will also be a free performance of WTF?! (What the Fr*nge?!) on Thursday, November 17 at 8 p.m. for those who cannot attend the World Infringement Congress. This performance-lecture analyzes various problems, often corporate, that are compromising Fringe Festivals across the planet and invites Fringe managers to reflect on their own approaches to running a Fringe Festival. The performance will be held at the Rusty Shuttle Gallery (3655 Saint Laurent Boulevard) and all Fringe managers are welcome, including the members of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) who excluded all infringement artists from the 3rd World Fringe Congress.

Montreal is a world-class city and the city’s independent artists plan to give you a world-class welcome, despite the exclusion being propagated by the CAFF.

montreal1

To confirm your attendance at the first World Infringement Congress, please email me at optatif@gmail.com. Some financial aid will be available to festival managers in need who demonstrate a commitment to protecting Fringe festivals, artists and spectators from corporate abuse and interference. Please explain your needs in the email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Montreal infringement festival has always prided itself on being an inclusive space and the infringement movement is also very welcoming. While Fringe managers may disagree sometimes with the infringement philosophy, their opinions are still welcome. The overall goal is to seek ways to improve festivals for artists, spectators and communities at large. Here’s hoping to see you in attendance!

Sincerely,

Donovan King

Montreal Infringement Festival

Montreal Infringement Festival seeks collaborators and artists for November! Le festival Infringement cherche des collaborateurs et artistes pour novembre!

August 20th, 2016

[Français ci-dessous]

The Montreal Infringement is seeking collaborators and artists for a rare November festival!

infringement-logo

Running from November 15 – 20, 2016, this is an exciting opportunity to make a real impact by demanding protections for artists and spectators from some of the most influential arts administrators on the planet.

In Canada, a CBC analysis recently revealed that out-of-control arts administrators now “make up the 1%” in the arts world – at the expense of the artists producing the work and spectators in attendance. This problem of arts exploitation exists across the world and is only getting worse.

To challenge this problem, this year the Montreal Infringement Festival is moving from June to November to coincide with the third World Fringe Congress, a gathering of Fringe administrators from around the globe! These arts administrators and power-brokers will be in Montreal to discuss the business dynamics surrounding Fringe Festivals, such as trademarking the word “fringe”, how to secure powerful corporate sponsors, how many “extra fees” to add onto ticket sales, how much money to charge the artists to perform, etc.

Starting in 2004, the Montreal Infringement Festival has been held in June at the same time as the St. Ambroise “Fringe” to provide artists with a no-cost alternative and to demand positive changes that better protect artists and their spectators from corporate interference and overzealous arts administrators.

The infringement movement was born on June 19, 2001, when the trademarked St. Ambroise Fringe Festival booted the innovative show Car Stories from the festival, allegedly on orders of a corporate sponsor. When artists didn’t receive their ticket sales after paying hefty fees to participate in the now-trademarked “Fringe” Festival, they were outraged. This sparked off the creation of the infringement movement, an activist and do-it-yourself way of producing the arts based on the original Edinburgh Fringe of 1947.

Ottawa Citizen

The Infringement Festival has participated at the first two World Fringe Congresses in Edinburgh, Scotland. In an effort to persuade Fringe administrators to start putting artists first, in the tradition of the original Fringe of 1947, infringement artists have presented workshops and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the World Fringe Congress that are critical of excessive corporate manipulation at Fringe Festivals (e.g. “A World Fringe Philosophy?”).

The New York Times baptized the infringement an “opposition party” to the present, questionable way of doing business at Fringe Festivals.

The fact that the Congress is being held in Montreal, the birthplace of the infringement movement, is an exciting opportunity to showcase what can happen when artists are put in charge of a festival and corporations are blocked from transforming it into a marketing opportunity. Not only will there be an Infringement Festival to inspire them, but also a World Infringement Congress on Saturday, November 19, whereby infringers from around the world will join us in discussing these issues. Let’s hope the Fringe administrators come with an open mind. By taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity, they can learn how to better protect artists and find ways to prevent corporations from compromising what was once an authentic, grassroots, artist-driven festival.

Running from November 15 – 20, 2016, the Montreal Infringement Festival is currently seeking collaborators and artists for its 13th annual edition.

The Montreal infringement festival would not exist without a core of volunteer collaborators who help to organize the festival. Collaborators organize everything from promotion, artist recruitment and event-planning to venue-booking, media relations and festival production. “Bring what you would hope to find” is a popular infringement motto.

Collaborators are often artists, activists and culture-lovers and we meet online and usually in person around twice a month as the festival season approaches. It’s a great way to meet new people, empower artists and to be part of a community event that challenges the corporate takeover of culture.

Here are some examples of things you can do as a collaborator or artist:

1) Create an event or a show.
2) Be in charge of a day and curate some acts.
3) Book and be in charge of a venue.
4) Invite a critical artist to play and be in charge of helping them organize.
5) Be a music co-ordinator and book bands.
6) Hold a fundraiser.
7) Help other organizers with media, billeting, creating images, etc.
8) Collaborate with other infringers to make a group event.
9) Engage in activist events surrounding the World Fringe Congress
9) Participate in the World Infringement Congress (Saturday, November 19).

Details can be found on the Montreal Infringement Festival website. To participate as an artist or volunteer organizer, simply email optatif@gmail.com to request an admission form or explain how you would like to participate.

***

L’Infringement de Montréal cherche des collaborateurs et artistes pour un rare festival en novembre !

infringement-logo

Se déroulant du 15 au 20 novembre 2016, c’est une opportunité excitante pour avoir un impact en demandant que les artistes et leurs spectateurs soient protégés contre les administrateurs des arts les plus influents du monde.

Au Canada, une analyse du CBC a récemment révélé que les administrateurs des arts composent 1% du monde artistique — aux dépends des artistes qui produisent et du public. Le problème de l’exploitation des arts existe partout dans le monde, et s’aggrave de plus en plus.

Pour défier le problème, cette année le festival Infringement de Montréal s’est prorogé jusqu’en novembre afin de coïncider avec le troisième Congrès mondial du Fringe, un rassemblement des administrateurs du Fringe du monde entier ! Ces administrateurs des arts et négociateurs influents seront à Montréal pour discuter des dynamiques d’affaires concernant les festivals Fringe, comme le marquetage du mot « fringe » ; comment se garantir l’appui des commanditaires ; combien de frais supplémentaires ajouter à la vente des billets ; quel montant exiger des artistes, etc.

Dès 2004, le festival Infringement de Montréal s’est déroulé en juin en même temps que le Festival « Fringe » St. Ambroise pour offrir aux artistes une plateforme sans frais afin qu’ils demandent un changement positif, autant pour eux que pour le public, leur donnant ainsi la protection contre l’ingérence des magnats de la finance et des administrateurs trop zélés.

Le mouvement Infringement est né le 19 juin 2001 quand le Festival Fringe de Saint-Ambroise, dont la marque fut déposée, bouta de ses planches « Car Stories », un spectacle novateur ; apparemment sur l’ordre d’une société commanditaire. Quand les artistes, après avoir payé des frais considérables pour y participer, n’avaient pas reçu le retour sur les ventes de billets, ils étaient furieux. Ceci déclencha la création du mouvement Infringement, une façon par-soi-même et activiste de produire les arts comme au Fringe originel de 1947 à Édimbourg.

Ottawa Citizen

Le festival Infringement a participé aux deux premiers Congrès mondiaux du Fringe à Édimbourg, en Écosse. Dans un effort pour persuader les administrateurs du Fringe de mettre les intérêts des artistes en premier — selon la tradition du Fringe originel de 1947, les artistes de l’Infringement ont présenté des spectacles et ateliers au Fringe d’Édimbourg et au Congrès mondial du Fringe qui se voulaient critiques de la manipulation excessive des sociétés commanditaires (ex. La philosophie du Fringe mondial ?).

Le New York Times a nommé l’Infringement un « parti d’opposition » devant la manière critiquable que le Fringe fait des affaires.

Le fait que le Congrès se tient à Montréal, où est né le mouvement infringement est une occasion excitante pour montrer ce qui peut arriver quand les artistes prennent en main un festival sans que les commanditaires le transforment en opportunité mercatique. Non seulement l’Infringement sera là pour les inspirer, mais il y aura aussi un Congrès mondial de l’Infringement (le 19 novembre), auquel se joindront les artistes d’infringement du monde entier pour discuter de ces problèmes. Espérons que les administrateurs du Fringe se pointeront avec une ouverture d’esprit. En prenant avantage de cette opportunité exceptionnelle, ils pourront apprendre comment mieux protéger les artistes et trouver des solutions pour empêcher les commanditaires de compromettre ce qui était autrefois un festival pour le peuple, par le peuple.

Se déroulant du 15 au 20 novembre 2016, le festival Infringement de Montréal est présentement à la recherche de collaborateurs et artistes pour sa 13e édition annuelle.

Le festival Infringement de Montréal n’existerait pas sans la poignée de collaborateurs bénévoles qui aident à son organisation. Ils mettent sur pieds tout ce qui est promotion, recrutement d’artistes, évènementiel, réservations, relations de presse et production du festival. « Apporte ce que tu voudrais y voir » est une devise populaire de l’Infringement.

Souvent artistes, activistes et férus de culture eux-mêmes, les collaborateurs se rencontrent en ligne et généralement en personne, d’une manière bi-mensuelle, à mesure que le festival approche. C’est une excellente façon de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes, donner le pouvoir aux artistes, et faire partie d’une communauté qui défie l’emprise des commanditaires sur la culture.

Voici quelques exemples de choses à faire comme artiste ou collaborateur :

1) Créez un évènement ou spectacle.

2) Soyez l’organisateur d’un jour, et supervisez des numéros.

3) Planifiez et coordonnez les évènements d’un site.

4) Invitez des artistes critiques à jouer, ou assistez-les dans l’organisation.

5) Soyez coordinateur de groupes musicaux et planifiez leurs spectacles.

6) Faites une levée de fonds.

7) Aidez les organisateurs avec les médias, la billetterie, le graphisme, etc.

8) Collaborez avec d’autres collaborateurs pour créer un évènement de groupe.

9) Engagez-vous comme activiste dans les évènements du Congrès mondial du Fringe.

10) Participez au Congrès mondial de l’infringement (le samedi 19 novembre).

Vous trouverez plus de détails sur le site du festival Infringement de Montréal.

Pour y participer comme artiste ou organisateur bénévole, veuillez contacter : optatif@gmail.com, et recevoir un formulaire d’admission, ou pour nous expliquer comment vous voudriez vous impliquer.

 

 

World Infringement Congress to welcome delegates to Montreal on November 19, 2016!

August 20th, 2016

 

The first-ever World Infringement Congress is being held in Montreal on Saturday, November 19, 2016 as part of the 13th annual Montreal Infringement Festival!

Set on the heels of the controversial and exclusive third World Fringe Congress, the Infringement Congress was created to tackle important issues in the arts that tend to get glossed over at the original event, which tends to focus a lot on business practices. Instead of discussing business strategies like trademarking, cross-branding and charging artists money to play at “Fringe” festivals, the World Infringement Congress will focus on how to empower artists and communities by challenging corporate interference in the arts.

infringement-logo

Set in an old bank that was reclaimed as an arts space, the World Infringement Congress will welcome academics, artists, activists and community stakeholders, as well as infringement festival organizers and “Fringe” managers. The purpose is to explore serious issues and themes in the arts and festivals with a view of finding ways to empower artists and communities. Here is the line up:

10:00 -10: 30 am – Breakfast & Introduction

10: 30 – 11:00 am – Trump, Globalization and Infringement (by Der Kosmonaut – Kasai Dear)

11:00 – 11:30 am – Arts in Point Saint Charles (by Fergus V. Keyes)

11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Buffalo Infringement presentation (by Cat McCarthy)

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm – Lunch Break

1:15 pm – 2:00  pm – Last Dance on the Main (Aristofanis Soulikias) & Save the Main (Velma Candyass)

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm – WTF?! (What the Fr*nge?!) by Donovan King

3:15 pm – 4 pm Fringe Trademark Debate Challenge: The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, who excluded infringement artists from attending the World Fringe Congress, has been invited to debate their trademark on the word “Fringe”, Canadian Parliamentary style!

Running from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, November 19, 2016, the World Infringement Congress will feature lectures, presentations and screenings related to the activist themes. Catering will be provided and there will be a bar onsite for guests. The venue is located at 1900 Wellington Street in the historic working class neighborhood of Point Saint Charles.

Bank Pic


Instructions for attending
:

If you would like to attend the World Infringement Congress, please email to Donovan King at optatif@gmail.com with the word “Congress” in the title. Apply early as space is limited!


Directions
:

Busses leave from the Charlevoix metro on the Green Line at around 9:40 am on Saturday mornings.

Bus 71 and Bus 57 will take you to the venue, located on the Corner of Wellington and Sainte-Madelaine Streets. A metro card can be used to transfer to the bus and costs $3.25.

You can also walk to the venue in about 15 minutes from the Charelovoix metro station.

directions-to-old-bank

 

 

 

CJAD Radio. “Dan Delmar Interviews Donovan King”. August 5, 2016.

August 9th, 2016

Listen to CJAD Radio’s Dan Delmar interview Donovan King about Haunted Montreal. August 5, 2016.

 

Montreal Infringement Festival moves to November to coincide with World Fringe Congress

June 19th, 2016

Exactly 16 years ago on this day (June 19), the St. Ambroise Fringe booted the innovative show “Car Stories” from the festival, allegedly on orders of a corporate sponsor. When artists didn’t receive their ticket sales after paying hefty fees to participate in the now-trademarked “Fringe” Festival, they were outraged. This sparked off the creation in Montreal of the infringement movement, an activist and do-it-yourself way of producing the arts based on the original Edinburgh Fringe of 1947.

Starting in 2004, the Montreal infringement festival has been held at the same time as the “Fringe” to provide artists with a no-cost alternative and to demand positive changes that better protect artists and their spectators from corporate interference and overzealous arts administrators.

infringement-logo

This year, Montreal infringement festival is moving from June to November to coincide with the third World Fringe Congress, a gathering of Fringe administrators from around the planet! These arts administrators and power-brokers will be in Montreal to discuss the business dynamics surrounding Fringe Festivals, such as trademarking the word “fringe”, which corporate sponsors are the most profitable, “extra fees” to add onto ticket sales, how much money to charge the artists to perform, etc.

The infringement festival has participated at the first two World Fringe Congresses in Edinburgh, Scotland. In an effort to persuade Fringe administrators to start putting artists first, in the tradition of the original Fringe of 1947, infringement artists have presented workshops and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the World Fringe Congress that are critical of excessive corporate manipulation at Fringe Festivals. The New York Times baptized the infringement an “opposition party” to the present, questionable way of doing business at Fringe Festivals.

According to infringement founder Donovan King, “The fact that the Congress is being held in Montreal, the birthplace of the infringement movement, is an exciting opportunity to showcase what can happen when artists are put in charge of a festival and corporations are blocked from transforming it into a marketing opportunity. Let’s hope the Fringe administrators come with an open mind. By taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity, they can learn how to better protect artists and find ways to prevent corporations from compromising what was once an authentic, grassroots, artist-driven festival.”

Running from November 15 – 20, 2016, the Montreal infringement festival is currently courting collaborators and artists for its 13th annual edition. Details can be found on the Montreal Infringement Festival website.

 

 

 

Montréal Hanté annonce sa saison de Visites hantées – maintenant disponibles en anglais et en français!

May 17th, 2016

Montréal Hanté, une compagnie qui donne des Visites hantées et qui enquête sur l’activité paranormale à Montréal est ravie d’annoncer qu’elles sont offertes maintenant en anglais et en français !

Pour la saison Grand Public 2016, les Visites hantées seront en alternance au Mont-Royal et au Griffintown, les vendredis soirs du 3 juin au 7 octobre.

Haunted Mountain pic

‘‘Montréal hanté s’agrandit,’’ affirme le fondateur, Donovan King ; ‘‘pendant l’hiver, nous avons traduit les textes, et embauché des comédiens bilingues. Ce qui a commencé par une personne est devenu maintenant une compagnie à part entière. Montréal hanté se veut prêt pour le 375e anniversaire de la ville en 2017, ce qui signifie offrir nos visites hantées dans les deux langues grâce à des acteurs professionnels, maîtres du métier.’’

La compagnie produit aussi le blogue Montréal hanté, une publication qui poste une nouvelle histoire sur les fantômes de Montréal, dans les deux langues, le 13 de chaque mois. L’édition de mai explore l’activité rapportée au Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.

Selon King : ‘‘Montréal est la ville la plus hantée du Canada, et Montréal hanté vise à offrir une expérience exceptionnelle aux personnes intéressées par nos histoires de revenants, nos lieux de frissons et nos présumés mystères paranormaux.’’

McTavish Old Pic

Liens vers le site Web de  Montréal Hanté:

Acceuil

Circuits 2016

Griffintown hanté

Haunted Downtown FR

Le Mont hanté

Médias

Témoignages

Liens

Contact FR

Haunted Montreal announces season of Ghost Walks – now available in both English and French!

May 17th, 2016

Haunted Montreal, a company that conducts Ghost Walks and carries out research into Montreal hauntings, is pleased to announce that it now offers tours in both English and French!

For its 2016 public season, Ghost Walks will alternate between Griffintown and Mount Royal every Friday night, from June 3rd to October 7th.

Haunted Mountain pic

“Haunted Montreal is expanding,” said company founder Donovan King, adding: “Over the winter, we have been busy translating scripts and hiring bilingual actors. What started off as a one-person operation is now a full-fledged company. Haunted Montreal wants to be ready for the city’s 375th anniversary in 2017, and that means ensuring we can offer our ghost tours in both languages with professional actors who have mastered the craft.”

The company also produces the Haunted Montreal Blog, a publication that releases a new Montreal ghost story, in both languages, on the 13th of every month. The May edition looks at several reported hauntings inside the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.

“Montreal is Canada’s most haunted city,” according to King, “and Haunted Montreal aims to provide an exceptional experience for people interested in our city’s ghost stories, creepy locations, alleged hauntings and paranormal mysteries.”

McTavish Old Pic

Links to the Haunted Montreal website:

Home

2016 Tours

Haunted Griff

Haunted Downtown

Haunted Mountain

Media

Links

Testimonials

Contact

Montreal Irish Walking Tour is Back to Complement Annual Walk to the Stone!

May 11th, 2016

The Montreal Irish Walking Tour is back, just in time to complement this year’s annual “Walk to the Stone”!

Irish Walk 4

For over 150 years, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) has been leading this pilgrimage to the Irish Stone at the foot of the Victoria Bridge, the site of Montreal’s Irish Famine Cemetery where approximately 6,000 typhus victims were buried in mass graves in 1847.

Traditionally held on the last Sunday in May, the 2016 the “Walk to the Stone” will take place on May 29 at around noon, starting at St. Gabriel’s Church in Point Saint Charles (2157 Centre Street) following a special service. Everyone is welcome to attend and catering is being provided by Paul Quinn of the Irish Embassy Pub.

the-ancient-order-of-hibernians-participate-in-the-annual-wa

To add context to the annual pilgrimage, the Montreal Irish Walking Tour will be conducted one day before the traditional “Walk to the Stone”. Created by professional actor and historian Donovan King, the Montreal Irish Walking Tour sold out during the 2016 Blue Metropolis Festival, where it was done on behalf of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation and Montreal Bloomsday Festival.

The original tour was very popular and was even covered by the Irish Times. According to King, “There have been many requests to do it again and even to make it a permanent feature on Montreal’s tourist circuit. As such, we decided to do it again, especially for those who plan to participate in the Walk to the Stone on the following day.”

King is also a Director with the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating a cultural memorial park on the site of the Famine Cemetery, presently located in an unsightly industrial zone.

the-black-stone-1

The walking tour provides a history lesson into the Irish experience in Montreal over the centuries, and features famous Irish Montrealers such as Tec Aubry, Joe Beef, Bernard Devlin, Mary Gallagher, Brian Mulroney and current Mayor, Denis Coderre. It also focuses specifically on the plight of the Famine refugees who arrived in 1847, destitute and typhus-stricken, and how the city reacted to them.

Exploring what is perhaps the darkest chapter in Montreal’s history, the walking tour delves into some very disturbing facts about the impact of the Irish Famine in Montreal, but also highlights the compassion of the many Montrealers who put themselves at great risk to care for the sick and dying refugees. Mayor John Easton Mills might be the best example.

Mills

Mayor Mills personally cared for the refugees in the fever sheds, caught typhus and perished in the course of his duties.

Guests will walk in the footsteps of the Irish Famine refugees of 1847 and learn about their plight, resilience and subsequent remarkable accomplishments. All proceeds from the Montreal Irish Walking Tour go directly to the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

WHAT: Montreal Irish Walking Tour

WHEN: Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Meet in front of Pointe-à-Callière Museum (350 Place Royale, corner of de la Commune)

COST: $15 (email optatif@gmail.com to make a reservation)

Irish Walk 6

For more information about the Irish Famine’s impact in Montreal, please read this academic paper about the Montreal Irish community’s struggle to protect their cemetery.

 

WTF?! (What the Fr*nge?!) coming to Buffalo Infringement Festival

May 1st, 2016

WTF?! (What the Fr*nge?!) is a new performance being developed by Donovan King for the 2016 Buffalo Infringement Festival and beyond.

WTF?! (What the Fr*nge?!) is a probing, theatrical lecture that exposes how corporate pressure co-opts and harms grassroots culture. Highlighting the infringement philosophy within the increasingly corporate world, where even the word “Fringe” is trademarked, it is also a call to action to come to the Montreal Infringement Festival in November,  2016. Help give voice to the concerns of activist and grassroots artists at the World Fringe Congress!

WTF

This year, Montreal infringement festival is moving from June to November to coincide with the third World Fringe Congress, a gathering of Fringe administrators from around the globe! These arts administrators and power-brokers will be in Montreal to discuss business dynamics and other issues surrounding Fringe Festivals.

Running tentatively from Tuesday, November 15th to Sunday November 20th, the Montreal infringement festival will demand positive change in the arts! The website will be updated soon to welcome collaborators.

Hosted by the people who trademarked and restricted the word “Fringe” in Canada, the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, the World Fringe Congress is an opportunity for arts activists to dialogue with arts administrators about important issues that affect artists and communities.

The infringement festival challenges the corporatization of authentic culture, including the Fringe movement, through dialogue, advocacy and by hosting independent performances by artists and activists that are often critical in nature. Read a critical report about the World Fringe Congress here.