Almost exactly a year ago, Em Piro, an actress, trapeze artist and social worker, decided St. Louis would have its own fringe festival in the summer of 2012. Never mind that she had no money or resources, that she had never before organized anything on such a grand scale or that most St. Louisans had no idea what a fringe festival was. St. Lou Fringe, a four-day unjuried performing-arts festival featuring 30 local and national acts, would open June 21 in the Locust Business District, come hell or high water. Hell and high water didn't actually come. But there were dramatic last-minute scrambles for venues and funds, a rotating assembly of performers who dropped out and needed to be replaced and the thousands of other small irritations that come with planning any sort of event. Through it all, Piro and cohorts Billy Croghan and Tara Daniels never lost their cool or stopped speaking kindly to one another. The show went on. Owing to an unfortunate scheduling conflict with PrideFest, it was perhaps not as populated as Piro would have hoped, but by all other measures, it was a success: The audiences, while small, were appreciative, the event came in under budget, and Piro had such a good time that she can't wait to do it again. Watch out, y'all, here comes St. Lou Fringe 2013.
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