By Thomas Gillen
Arts & Entertainment Editor
After a four-year absence, the Long Island Fringe Festival returns to the Tilles Center on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. “The purpose of the Long Island Fringe Festival is to honor traditional fringe and to provide a showcase for all forms of creativity,” according to Debra-Ann Kasimakis, one of the producers of the Long Island Fringe Festival. “We celebrate the arts in every form: dance, music, visual arts, film, poetry, and comedy. Being the Long Island Fringe, we concentrate on the many talented people who live on this island of ours.”
When asked about the background of the festival, Kasimakis said, “we are following in the footsteps of the original Fringe Festival which started after World War Two in Edinburgh, Scotland. They held a theater festival to lift the spirits of the people following the war. So many performers arrived that all the theaters were full. Performers set up everywhere around the fringe, hence, the name. It continues in Edinburgh and other places around the world to this day, and of course here on Long Island.” This year, the festival will be hosted by Stevie GB, and will feature performances by Fran Capo, the “World’s Fastest Talking Woman”; Frank The Bald Guy from the band “For the Kill”; poet and musician Jay Jii; and dance groups from the North and South Shores.
“I know Bob and Deb Goida [the coordinators of the festival] from a show I did five years ago about Groucho Marx, the iconic comedian,” Stevie GB said. “They loved my portrayal and asked me to be in their Fringe Festival in 2011. They have followed my stand up career over the years and asked if I would host this year. I graciously accepted.”
Stevie GB is also known as the “World’s Funniest Accountant” because he was an accountant before going into stand-up. “When I started doing stand-up comedy, I was looking for a catchy persona. A guy I worked with suggested ‘Long Island’s Funniest Accountant’…But I was reaching for greater heights and went with World’s Funniest Accountant,” he explained.
One of the performances at the festival will be a poetry set by Jay Jii, who will perform a “Poetic Cabaret.” “I like to deliver the poems in way that is very theatrical and includes music, masks, illusions, sound effects, and a few other surprises as well. For Fringe, I’ll be doing a mix of some of my own poems and a few classics,” she said. Jii has known the coordinators of the festival, Bob and Deb Goida, for many years and met them while they were putting on a show called “Artmosphere.” Since working on that show, Jii has partnered with the Goidas on several projects involving the Tilles Center, including this year’s festival.
Kasimakis explained why the Tilles Center was once again chosen to hold this year’s festival. “Tilles Center and the Post campus was the home of the Fringe Festival for the first three years. There are few places that can accommodate a three-day festival that needed multiple performance spaces. The campus welcomed us into the Little Theater, Recital Hall, Cinema, and the stage at Tilles to show off our local talent pool. This year we are happy to bring this back to the Tilles Center for a one night version,” Kasimakis said.
She added, “we will present two great Long Island comedians, Stevie GB, the ‘World’s Funniest Accountant’ and Fran Capo, the ‘World’s Fastest Talking Woman,’ a rare acoustic set by For The Kill’s lead guitarist Frank the Bald Guy, a new show by performance poet Jay Jii, Dance Visions NY will perform their work ‘Rejuvenation’ and we will have a tribute to the recently passed Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr., the first Poet Laureate of Nassau County.
Kasimakis said there will be pre-show events at 5 pm in the Tilles Atri- um “where you can view the Unlimited D8A art exhibit in the Patrons Lounge, enjoy music by Jeanne Marie Boes, pop up poetry readings, vendors with specialty spice blends by Sabba’s Spicery, handmade crayons, brain games, interact with local animal rescue groups and bring a food donation for RockCanRoll.”
Tickets for the Long Island Fringe Festival can be purchased at ticketmaster.com for $15 each and are free to all Post students.