Monday, June 16, 2003

Oedipus Retch: The King is dead, long live the King?

So, it turns out Donovan King is back again this year, carrying on his one-man protest of the Fringe -- or FringeTM as he calls it. King is putting on Car Stories again: "Using the lost art of the traveling troupe, with no conflict-of-interest “bossman” to answer to or be censored by, it will emulate the Commedia dell’Arte of the centuries gone by." It's described here in his press release. (Thanks Stan for sending the link in.)

For those of you who don't know the story, the bald and abrasive King's show Car Stories, a neat concept wherein three spectators at a time are shuffled from car to car, was kicked out of the Montreal Fringe in 2001. Jeremy Hechtman, producer of the Fringe, said that it was because of noise complaints and inappropriate behaviour on the part of King and company. King went ballistic and blamed The Gazette, a Fringe sponsor, for pressuring the Fringe to drop the show, after he asked Pat Donnelly (then-theatre critic at The Gazoo) to pay when she came to review Car Stories.

My personal opinion is that King did act inappropriately in the 2001 Fringe -- most of the cast of Car Stories 2001 ended up abandoning him, everyone I spoke with at the time felt intimidated or annoyed by his conduct. King is a shit-disturber, which is fine and dandy, but shit-disturbers have to be prepared to suffer the consequences for their actions. The Gazette had nothing to do with the dropping of Car Stories, as the independent body le Conseil de Presse du Quebec determined: "Enfin, le Conseil n'a rien trouvé dans son analyse des faits qui permette de conclure à une conspiration ou à une collusion visant à exclure "Car Stories" et M. Donovan King du Festival Fringe."

Personally, I find it tremendously irritating that King -- who obviously has many intelligent ideas, artistic and otherwise -- has chosen to wage this stupid battle for three years. Of all the evil out there in the world that he could target, King has dedicated himself to bringing down the Fringe Festival. In my books, that's like kicking babies and torturing puppies.

This just in: It turns out the charges against King -- who was arrested during his protest of the 2001 Frankies -- were dropped. Read about it in this IndyMedia article (thanks Dimitri).
(By the way, this article is a perfect example of what is wrong with the IndyMedia movement. It presents unsubstantiated (and probably libellous) allegations against The Gazette. While purporting to challenged the corporate bias of the mainstream media, IndyMedia often presents even more one-sided journalism -- and badly written journalism at that.

Send your Fringe-related gossip and reviews to jkelly@cup.ca.

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