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Hey Boulder Fringe Festival lovers: the deadline to apply is Monday

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If you've always wanted to be part of the two week riot of performance that constitutes the Boulder Fringe Festival, you need to get your application in before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, January 30. The festival -- organized in the anarchic spirit of Fringe Festivals all over the world -- isn't juried. Which means audiences are as likely to find themselves watching the luminous and highly professional Gemma Wilcox as a couple of dazed teenagers stumbling round the stage, not exactly sure how they got there.

Director David Ortolano, who teaches at Naropa, says the Festival helps artists define their work and find their audiences in a cheap, creative, and supportive environment, without having to deal with juries or other middlemen. He describes a magician who came one year and found his show universally panned: "But he was still excited to be here and learn that lesson. He signed up the next year and did much better."

Another performer created a "fantastic show" combining music, theater and clowning -- but there were only two or three people in the audience to see it. Over time, this woman learned how to get the word out about her work. "The process is educational. It shows artists how to produce work by trial and error," Ortolano says.

The Festival, which runs from August 15 to 26, attracts around 15,000 attendees every year, and artists keep all the money they earn; administrative costs are covered by sponsorships, donations, and grants.

The first 25 percent of applications will be automatically accepted. All others will be placed in a lottery, and winners drawn February 6. For more information and to apply, log on to the Boulder International Fringe Festival website.

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