Fringe 2013 Preview Night / JCM
Fireworks, swamp weather, the crack of baseball bats. Summer’s in full swing, which means Capital Fringe Festival is back!
This massive theater festival celebrates its 8th year with all that you love and hate about indie work in July. Drama, comedy, romance, music, burlesque, puppetry, clowns – it’s all here, and you only have 18 days to see it all.
The Fringe Festival elicits thoughts of experimentation, a sense of summer fun at every corner, the taste of cold beer under the tent way past dark, and a lineup of eyebrow-raising shows that surprise in magical, transcendent displays.
Sure, it also brings with it muggy heat and those few shows that don’t rub you the way you’d hoped (WARNING: some may involve actual rubbing); but in our humble opinion, the good far outweighs the bad.
courtesy of a digital cure
For anyone interested in an adventure, the Capital Fringe Festival is back with over 130 productions in 15 venues across downtown DC, ranging from highly experimental performance art to staged clown shows for the kids. The frenzy opens this Thursday and runs July 12-29, 2012.
Love it or hate it (and you’ll probably do some of both), the Capital Fringe Festival is where DC’s indie companies and performers come to experiment and test their skills. An incubator for young shows, the festival encourages innovation and self-production. It also encourages the rest of us to go out on a limb and experience theater of all varieties – the good, the bad, and the bizarre. Some performances will leave us thinking, while others will leave us thinking “what the #^$% was that?”
‘Federal Center SW Metro Stop’
courtesy of ‘KrS-NrY’
If you caught last night’s episode of Fringe, you might’ve noticed that it was set in DC. But, like much of 24, it wasn’t actually here. They had the station interior supposed to be more like that of Union Station, with train announcements and track assignments. So, Fringe Producers, in case you were curious: This is what the inside of Federal Center SW’s Metro actually looks like. See how it’s dark and foreboding, sort of like your show? And not exactly like a train station in any way shape or form?
I was, at least, pleased to see that they got some of the details of the metro system right, with signs referring to Blue line trains, and that one of the signs in the background seemed to resemble one of the System Advisory notes, so I’ll give you a pass, but please, come check out DC, you won’t regret it.
courtesy of ‘LaTur’
I know some of our readers are regular and devoted Fringe-goers (as well as some performers). Those of you who are have no doubt already dug through the marginally painful Fringe Festival online database of shows, read every description, plotted out what you want to see and when you can see it, and come up with a schedule allowing you to fit in as many of your desired shows as possible.
This is not for you.
This is my reaching out to those of you who are sitting between “well, I’d kinda like to see what this is all about but I’m not sure…” and “huh?”
If you’re on the fence or not normally someone who takes in live performances I say this to you: Go. Take a shot. Live performance – whether it be theater, dance, or music – has a quality all its own and when it works it’s better than anything you can get recorded. The nice thing about Fringe is that, for the most part, even when it blows it’s still usually different and interesting. The fact that attending helps us keep a more vibrant local arts culture is icing on the cake.
I’ll do my best to point you at the resources to let you pick something that’s not a stinker. Let’s take a look, shall we?
I skipped it last year, but two years ago I had the pleasure of seeing the Gilbert and Sullivan Youth Company perform at Fringe. They’re back again this year and I have no doubt they’ll be just as enjoyable. You’ve only got a couple of hours to get to the Mt Vernon Place United Methodist Church if you want to hit their 5:30p show today but they’ll be there tomorrow at 2:45p and Sunday at 6:45p. It’s a good show and helps support and encourage some talented youngsters – the 2007 show featured players as young as 12.
courtesy of ‘NikolasCo’
I know you’re all coming to the We Love DC 1st Anniversary Party tonight, but once that’s over, you’ll need some other entertainment to distract you from humidity, hordes of tourists, Metro problems, dognappers, and all the other stuff that goes along with the height of summer in DC. So here’s what’s happening in comedy:
Erin Jackson is headlining the Improv Thursday and Friday this week. Jackson is a particular success story for DC Comedy, as she took the first-ever DC Improv Comedy School standup class, and went on to appear on Last Comic Standing, and now she’s returning to the Improv as a headliner.
Last week I mentioned 3 Chord Comedy at the Velvet Lounge on Friday, July 10th. I still think you should check that out, as it’s a pretty outstanding lineup for a mere $2.
On Saturday, July 11th (and several dates thereafter), SpeakeasyDC will be putting on The Sin Show as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. The performers will tell stories themed around the seven deadly sins. Speakeasy specializes in storytelling rather than standup, but this show in particular caught my eye as it features Seaton Smith, who is certainly one of the most artistically versatile comics in the area. You can hear a sample of his (still very funny) storytelling stylings in SpeakeasyDC’s StoryCast.