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Side Dishes: Projects that didn't win Salt City DISHES funding are still being realized in Syracuse, with two launching this weekend

By design, only one of the nine projects presented at the inaugural Salt City DISHES dinner in January was awarded the $1,000 mini-grant that night.

But the remaining eight non-winners weren't exactly left to wallow over what could have been - at least five of those projects are being brought to life anyway.

Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival

For many of the projects, the idea came first but DISHES supplied the motivation.

"I think what Salt City DISHES did for us was give an impetus to say, 'well let's just get this done, let's really put together a plan and do it,'" said Mike Intaglietta, one of the co-organizers of this weekend's Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival .

"We're going to do this whether or not we win the grant, so let's get a plan together and set a date," Intaglietta remembers. He co-organized the proposal and eventual festival with Ken Keech, Vanessa Rose and Joe Blum.

When at the end of the night the improv idea hadn't secured the DISHES funding, the group still had a hard plan for an event, so they went for it.

This weekend, their hard work will pay off when 15 different improv troupes converge at the St. Clare Theater on the North Side for two days of improv games and workshops, performances and community-building.

Troupes are traveling from Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Geneseo and Rochester, to join Syracuse-based troupes for the event, Intaglietta said.

Without the DISHES funding, the organizers' motto became, "if not free, then cheap," Intaglietta said. The event was primarily funded through donations.

The festival runs from 5:30 p.m. Friday April 8 to midnight Saturday April 9 at the St. Clare Theater, 1119 N. Townsend St. Doors open to the public for shows at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Most workshops are only for registered troupes, but for the novice interested in giving improv comedy a shot, an "Intro to Improv" workshop is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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