Go Deeper

Volunteer Spotlight: Ross Hoffman

Posted August 14th, 2009

Ross Hoffman, aka DJ Ross of Love, can often be found in his West Philly neighborhood, checking out some cool new show or DJing at his monthly dance party, Feet Active. Ross packs his festival schedule with as many shows as possible, sometimes seeing four or five in a day. He’s even been known to don a sombrero for tips as a bartender at the opening night bar.

He is also the second featured volunteer to refer to volunteering as addictive. Is this something I should be concerned about? Hmmm . . . I think I’ll just enable.

When did you start volunteering?
According to my records (er, my blog) it was only 2006, though somehow it seems longer ago than that. What was I doing living in Philly for two full years without cramming my Septembers as full as possible with weirdo performance art?

Why did you start volunteering?
I’m always up for getting free stuff (and particularly free culture) in exchange for a bit of pleasantly-spent time and energy. Also, I was unemployed and bored.

What has been your favorite show in the Festival?
Gatz [Elevator Repair Service’s eight-hour real-time staged reading of The Great Gatsby] almost takes the cake, and was certainly an unforgettable theater experience, but that same year’s No Dice by Nature Theater of Oklahoma just nudges it out for its even more compelling execution of a similarly simple-yet-illogical premise, sustained over an only slightly less exhaustive running time: three and a half hours, with a break for ham sandwiches. You really needed that long just to acclimate to its bizarreness. It was one of the most utterly unique, thought-provoking and perversely entertaining pieces of art I’ve ever seen. Gotta give a shout-out to Jo Strømgren’s Convent, as well.

Why do you keep coming back as a volunteer?
It’s just addictive, really. What’s not to love – fun people, weird shows, a certain infectious dizzy energy, biking around lovely Philadelphia in the late-summer/early fall. It gives you that back-to-school feeling.

What has been your most “Fringe” moment?
There was the weirdness of getting a package of “successful napkins” in the mail a few weeks after the festival last year, a purchase from Matsune and Subal’s Store [not to be confused with kate watson-wallace/anonymous bodies’s STORE this year].

What are you most excited about in this year’s festival?
I never go in knowing what’s gonna be the most exciting thing; when I do I’m usually wrong. I just see as much as I can and find what moves me. So that’s what I’m looking forward to: an unexpected discovery of something truly intriguing. That said, Chunky Move looks freaking amazing.

What do you do with your time when you aren’t “Fringe-ing”?
I live in West Philly, which can be a pretty time-intensive (and infinitely rewarding) activity in itself. I’m a writer, primarily for and City Paper (watch out for my Fringe previews this year); I’m a DJ; I do yoga, make ice cream, dance, volunteer a bit, and generally try to enjoy myself.

–Karina Kacala