To Fail, Divine

Boulder dancer/choreographer Laura Ann Samuelson is excited about, but also terrified of, what her Failure Festival will bring, and she’s really not sure yet what it all means. But that’s no reason to dismiss the idea of the three-day multidisciplinary event, which invites local actors, writers, filmmakers, multimedia artists, dancers and other random performers to try things out, see what flies and, Samuelson hopes, learn something about themselves in the process. She’s also hoping for a reciprocal response between artists and audiences that explores the outer reaches of failure from every point of view — but, again, that’s an unknown.

What is it about the theme of failure that makes it so compelling to artists right now? “I think for most self-producing artists, there’s a certain requirement in terms of how we market ourselves to make people trust us enough to come see us,” Samuelson says. “Right now, we’re in a time when a lot is failing for us: My university education set me up for a career in the ’90s, and the support structure now is just not the same. There’s a feeling that the measuring sticks we’ve inherited are not adding up to what’s actually going on in the present.”

Samuelson calls it a big experiment, but it will take an audience to come to a conclusion; be a part of it at a series of changing performances beginning tonight at 7 p.m. and continuing at the same time nightly through Sunday at Madelife, 2000 21st Street in Boulder. Admission is $15 nightly or $30 for a three-show festival pass; investing in an open mind would help, too. Go to for details and reservations.
Nov. 7-9, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd