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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

  • The first of our Lifestyle Playlists is now up!  Check out the Easy Listening Jams Playlist, linked from our Find-Browse Artists Page.  Great for while, you're at work, have friends over, or anytime you need good background music.
  • Send me the links to DC Artists Tiny Desk Videos, I'm putting together a youtube playlist of them!  Tag/share them with @dcmusicrocks or send us a note.

MUSIC

  1. Chasing (feat. Matt Beilis) - Tabi Bonney (Pop/Electronic)
  2. Hallelujah (feat. Birds of Chicago) - Domenic Cicala (Rock/Country)
  3. Arroyo (feat. Don Zientara) - Nina Heart (Indie/Slacker)
  4. Free Fall - Will Eastman (Techno)
  5. Impala - Near Northeast (Indie/Folk)
  6. Sweet and Sour - Janel and Anthony (Indie/Avant Jazz)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Julianne Brienza

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

Julianne is a passionate, inspiring, and unconventional arts leader and community builder. She is a founder of Capital Fringe, leading the award-winning organization since it's inception in 2005. For over a decade, Julianne has guided Capital Fringe’s vision, evolution, and growth, plus community development. In the process, she has grown the organization’s budget from $300,000 to $1.7 million and designed, shaped, and implemented programs that have engaged adventurous audiences, along with local, national, and international exploratory artists.

Under her leadership, Capital Fringe has won numerous awards, including two Mayor’s Awards and the Washington Business Journal’s “Non Profit of the Year.” Julianne is a recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership.

Prior to founding Capital Fringe, Julianne moved to Washington, DC., in December of 2003 in order to manage Cultural DC’s Flashpoint project. She programmed Flashpoint venues, managed their arts incubator program, recruited participants, and managed the facility. While at Cultural DC, Julianne started the Mead Theatre Lab Program, an intensive mentorship program for the performing arts that is still in existence.

Julianne came to Washington, DC., from Philadelphia, where she created and ran the Greenfield Elementary School artist-in-residency program for Mum Puppettheatre, which is still in existence. She also served as Managing Director of 1812 Productions, a non-profit theatre company, that focuses on comedy. Also, she worked with FringeArts for three years in various capacities from venue manager and box office, to performing in Festival productions. Previously, she was a Professional Apprentice with the Arden Theatre Company. Born and raised in Dillon, Montana, Julianne is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts-Theatre, and Minors in, Philosophy and Visual Arts, Magna Cum Laude, and The Sandglass Theatre’s Puppet Residency at Marlboro College.

 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Julianne Brienza is a passionate, inspiring, and unconventional arts leader in, and a community builder. She is a founder of Capital Fringe, and has been leading the award winning organization since it started in 2005. She's guided Capital Fringe's vision, its evolution, its growth, and its community development. Under her leadership Capital Fringe has won numerous awards including two Mayor's Awards and the Washington Business Journal's Nonprofit of the Year. Julianna herself is a recipient of the Mayor's Arts Award for Visionary Leadership.

                  She was born and raised in Dillon, Montana and is a graduate of Viterbo. Am I saying it right, Viterbo University?

Julianne:                It's Viterbo.

Brian:     Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She moved to DC in 2003 and prior to founding Capital Fringe she managed Cultural DC's flash point project. Also, while at Cultural DC, Julianne started the Mean Theatre Lab Program which is an intensive mentorship program for the performing arts that is still in existence today.

                  I came across Julianne at the Building the Music Capital Conference a few months back because Capital Fringe is doing amazing things with the music scene here in town. Listeners it is with great pleasure that I introduce Julianne Brienza.

Julianne:                Hello. All right. We're going to get to some of the DC artists that I've chosen to play. Is that right?

Brian:     I want you to share, but first I want to get to know you.

Julianne:                Oh I'm so sorry.

Brian:     Can we talk to you first? Is that okay.

Julianne:                I was listening to the second thing. I'm so sorry. I was so ready to play the music. Yes.

Brian:     That's cool. We're going to do it.

Julianne:                Yes. Let's talk it out.

Brian:     Talk about you first. Let's get to know you.

Julianne:                Okay.

Brian:     Now, you are, tell us about Capital Fringe and how did you get tied into that and tell us how that began.

Julianne:                Okay. Well, I moved here in December of 2003 to work for Cultural DC and it was really dead. It was a lot of gray suits. I wondered where the young people were with keys on their belt. I had lived in Philadelphia for three years before I came here and they had a fringe festival and it was really a great time where everybody got together, very unofficially to just be a community and know each other. I thought that was what was missing and so a group of us sort of got together and muscles the first Capital Fringe festival in 2006.

Brian:     When you say muscled, what does that mean?

Julianne:                I mean using physical muscles

Brian:     You forced this to happen. You were carrying the load on your back?

Julianne:                It was a pretty big undertaking for all of us that were involved at that time. I mean, right when we started, it takes a lot of money. You have to have money to do this. None of us were really independently wealthy so I think within our first year, our budget was about 300,000 and that was getting grants for something that had not existed before, kind of on a hope and a prayer and making it happen. Then the first year we had 96 groups in the festival.

Brian:     Holy smokes.

Julianne:                You know, we thought it would be awesome if we had 50.

Brian:     Now, this is a film festival, right?

Julianne:                No, no, no. It's a live performance, performing arts festival.

Brian:     Live performing arts, okay.

Julianne:                It's dance. It's puppetry. It's theater. Then really when we got into 2009 is when we really started inserting music through it.

Brian:     How has the music become part of Capital Fringe?

Julianne:                We first started just doing it during the summer festival, the fringe festival in July. We had a tent that we put up at the time and so we'd really just offer free concerts. It was just awesome. It was so great. We'd have the old theater guys being like, "I've never seen anything like this before." I'd be like, "No, because you're not going to the Velvet Lounge or DC9 at midnight on a Tuesday or something." Then it's just really since 2009 we've just continued to sort of increase how we present DC musicians. We really do try to focus on DC musicians. A lot of it is that we pay them or we set up a revenue model that isn't just about bar sales and all of that which is typical in the industry.

Brian:     Wow. How do you guys find, if there's musicians listening or something. How do you find the talent and how does the music side of Capital Fringe work?

Julianne:                It's ever evolving as we continue to sort of flail out into what we will eventually be and then keep evolving. A lot of the way that we do it is we have curators that do a lot of the curating for us. Jim Thompson who's a founding member of Gwar, he does other things too. It was a long time ago, but he's a great guy. He does a lot of music programming for us and Luke Stewart who's also in a lot of different bands does a lot of music curating for us as well.

Brian:     Curating meaning they decide who's going to come and play the venue?

Julianne:                Yeah we kind of do it as a collaborative effort because it can't be something where Capital Fringe just has to eat it. The curator is a paid position and then typically we'll either do tickets and then we'll do some sort of revenue share, or we pay the band a certain amount and it can also be we pay a band a certain amount and it's totally free, or we pay the band a certain amount and we do a ticket and we get to a certain point. If we sold tickets then we go into a revenue sharing there.

Brian:     Got it. Now, for listeners who've never been to Capital Fringe, tell us about the venue. Where is it? What is it like?

Julianne:                We purchased a building at the end of 2014. It was a really big deal, still a big deal. It's the Logan Fringe Art Space. It's at 1358 Florida Avenue North East. We're just one block off H Street. If you've been to the Atlas Performing Arts Center, just come on over one more block.

Brian:     Nice.

Julianne:                We have a little theater. It's called the Trinidad Theater. You can fit in about 200 people in there. We do a variety of things. We got a full service bar that's open and you can drink.

Brian:     Wow. How many nights a week in the music there is?

Julianne:                We have done a lot of different things since we first opened. Right now we're really just kind of an event space. We are going to be doing a big renovation in October. We're going to be closing for a year and doing a huge renovation that will actually get us a really awesome music venue and theater venue and full restaurant kitchen when we're done. Right now, we're really, when we first opened we were open all the time, but we got to build up ourselves a little bit more until we can do that and have proper equipment and all that stuff. We're on the track.

Brian:     Sure.

Julianne:                We're on the track to get there.

Brian:     Now, with everything going on with Capital Fringe, you've got a lot going on, clearly. When yo do get some free time, tell us about that side of Julianne. What do you do with yourself when you're off?

Julianne:                Well, I will just be really honest. I don't really have a lot of free time, which is just, you know, the career things I've chosen to do. I often bite off more than I can chew. I really do love feeling inspired to see the performing arts and so I love going to the 9:30 Club. I love going to U Street Music Hall. I love seeing shows. Theater, I love doing that. I also really love to travel. Actually, I've found that with my current endeavors, it's often just I get out of town, just to really feel like I'm not in my zone of oh I've got to work this angle and this environment so I can get this thing to make something better. Yeah. I don't know. I really love live performance as a way that humans can communicate to each other in a way that you can't really do in any other way. I just really like to take that in. I do that personally and professionally.

Brian:     What about funniest moments in what you've been doing with Capital Fringe? What comes to mind? Funniest moments.

Julianne:                Funniest moments. One that may be funny right now. I guess it was like in May, I don't know. I was sort of stressed out so I dyed my hair. I dye my hair a lot but I totally went like white blond. I didn't really think much of it because I've had my hair that color before, but people really did not recognize me and it was awesome.

Brian:     Say more about that. It was awesome, because why? 

Julianne:                Sometimes when I'm in certain situations, I have to like talk to a lot of people and sometimes you might not want to. I did get in sort of the habit of wearing like sunglasses, but that didn't really work. The hair dye a lot, like even on Sunday night I was at arena stage seeing a show and a guy that I know walked right by me, did not recognize me at all. I was like, wow, this is still going ton.

Brian:     This has been how long now? How long has the hair been blonde? 

Julianne:                It's been since May and I don't know what I'm doing with my hair. It's not really. It's been really funny. I think it's probably for me, to chuckle about it and maybe some of my staff that I get to tell them stories about, oh my god that person just walked by me.

Brian:     What about a time that you tried and failed? What's an example of that one?

Julianne:                Like all the time. I really love failure, which is probably not a normal response. I actually think if you get failure it means that you're getting closer to actually getting to something real. I don't know. I fail all the time. I fail at using my computer. I've been having a lot of issues with my computer that has made my work a little bit slower recently. I apologize if you haven't heard from me. You know, I feel like I don't have a big, like I fell down and I failed but I really do fail all the time. What I'm doing right now, I'm trying to do this huge renovation on our building. It's a lot of money to do it. To do the renovation is going to be about 2.7 million and while I have good stats and all that stuff, and the trajectory seems logical and everything, but it could totally fail. I believe in the DC arts community so I don't think it will totally, but it might.

Brian:     Got it. Yeah. Then, and a time when you succeeded then? Big success moment? You're trying and maybe not trying and failing but so what about succeeding? What comes to mind?

Julianne:                I really feel success when people come to stuff at fringe and they're just hanging out, and it's not fancy. It's all different types of people and they get to talk to each other and they get to see things that they normally wouldn't see. The other night at the space we had, there was that concert at the 9:30 Club for the guy who died from the Urban Verbs. They all came over to the space afterwards to look at Bill Worrell has an art exhibit. Bill Worrell is the founder of DC Space and then a co-founder of the 9:30 Club. He's also a local artist and he has his first visual art show in our space. They all came over. It's a bunch of old dudes living it up, talking about the times and then we got loading in a birthday party for a local theater artist and just watching people kind of exchange looks and like, who are you? Well this is my space. Well what are you doing here now? Then the people coming together. That's a success to me. I like stuff like that.

Brian:     Awesome. I love stories like that too. It's amazing how arts can bring the community together. It really does. Now, what's one piece of advice that you would offer?

Julianne:                To who? About what?

Brian:     To the DC community in general. If you had one piece of, this is my favorite last question for the guest. What's one piece of advice you would offer?

Julianne:                I think you know what? A time where our nation is just really, it's crazy times right? I think it's really important to pay, and I think no matter where you're at, just pay attention to your neighbors. Be kind to your neighbors. Realize that you are in a community and you can make an impact in your community.

           I think to really start, to have that be your start position versus getting overly obsessed with everything that's national all the time. If we really just start working at stuff that we could touch, we could look at our neighbors in the eyes and say something nice to them, and invite them to do something, that's going to really create change. I would really, that's my advice.