Go Deeper

Volunteer Spotlight: Jen Cleary and Omar Telan (and You!)

Posted September 18th, 2009

Hey volunteers! The Festival isn’t over, and we still need your help! Below, you can learn more about the pretty awesome (and, perhaps, pretty strange) people you’ll work with as you help us end the Festival with a bang. Find out what shifts are available (and what kind of vouchers or swag you can get)—email volunteers[at]livearts-fringe[dot]org or call 215-413-1270.

You’ll get to wrok with Jen Cleary and Omar Telan, who are not your typical volunteers. While they look to be in their mere twenties, apparently they are well over 100 years old. Volunteering since 1908, “during the construction of the Great Fourth Wall,” they share a unique style and commitment to the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe, also known as “The Great Work.” Jen is also a wondrous photographer, as evidenced by the pics above!

What has been your favorite show in the Festival?
How can we pick a favorite from the Great Work? If we must, we suppose our mutual favorite is a Hard-Boiled Wanderland as performed by a lovely dancer named Alice-Nichole and her expert team of movement specialists.

What volunteer roles have you taken on?

We have watched and waited for tongues of fire to appear only to be disappointed. We have provided guidance to those who lack the vision to find proper resting spots. We have parceled and torn asunder small pieces of paper that our society has granted monetary value. We have approached strangers and bequeathed booklets describing the Great Work. We have bore witness to a modern day Gutenberg machine which manufactures resilient placards.

What has been your most “Fringe” moment?
We once saw a woman perform a great injustice upon herself using an empty bottle and a toy train. It was horrifying. If our constitution were any less firm, we surely would have lost our sanity as if peering into the incomprehensible city of R’lyeh.

What do you do with your time when you aren’t “Fringe-ing”?
Jen: In the City of Brotherly Love, I capture light with a fantastical machine. In the City of Angels, I project light from modernized torches of Prometheus. In other regions, I leave my domicile and become an adventurer.

Omar: For money, I resolve technology-related crisis for a French owned chemical company. For my sanity, I write and perform artistic endeavors of a performative nature.

–Karina Kacala

Photographs by Jen Cleary.