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A new must for Summer in San Diego

Tymisha Harris

A new must for Summer in San Diego

By Rebecca Romani

For some reason, Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again,” keeps running through my head, but with a new…cough, cough…twist if you will.

It’s Summer 2016, and the San Diego Fringe Festival is back in style, suggesting maybe we should fringe again, like we did last summer…

If you didn’t make it to the Fringe last year, here’s your chance to make it right at a vamped up, tightened up, and hopped up festival with fun and craziness coming out its ears, from June 23 – July 3, 2016.

The San Diego International Fringe Festival, now in its fourth year, is an offshoot of the original Fringe, which set up shop in the off-stage spaces around the more staid Edinburgh International Show in Scotland in 1947.  Since then, more than 200 Fringe festivals have sprung up world-wide, showcasing everything from the sublime to the so-so, unconstrained by censorship or judgment, giving acts from around the world a chance to strut their stuff.

San Diego’s Fringe is a relative newcomer and yet, already it’s doing big things.

For example, this is the second year the SD Fringe hooks up with spaces due south to create the only Bi-National Fringe of the lot.  The Pasaje Rodriguez will play host to various Fringe acts, June 24-25. In addition, this year’s Fringe has expanded by bringing the popular Nations of San Diego Dance Festival into the fold with performances throughout the run at the Lyceum.

True to the method in its madness, the SD Fringe is sharing the fun between a number of venues centered around the Spreckels Theatre and extending north to Diversionary Theatre in University Heights, to the Buskers of Seaport Village. Festival goers can choose from a dizzying array of fun to fabulous to funky acts over the 11 day run.

Some of the highlights to check out are “Josephine,” in a nod to San Diego’s own time as Harlem West, a burlesque show (NC-17), the incredibly charming and kid friendly Garden Girl (cute vegetables! Who knew?), as well as some very sharp dance performances by somebodies dance theater and the Concrete Collective.

In addition, there are fun magic and theatre pieces such as “Mysterium- A Magic Show,” and the fantastically funny duo from Oregon, A Little Bit Off, are back with their Edwardian-themed comedic servants in “Bella Culpa.”

If provocative is your thing, The SD Fringe hasn’t forgotten you, either. From meditations on border issues to cooking with Qaddafi (based on a TRUE story, complete with mole), controversy is king in some of these shows. Miss high school? Yeah, me, neither, but playwright Tim Baran noticed that this year’s presidential campaigns are a LOT like junior year… and “The Secret Life of the American Candidate” should hold you until November, no matter what your clique, I mean party, is.

The SD Fringe is not unaware that from little Fringers big Fringers grow. This year, the Family Fringe Venue is in City Heights at the City Heights Performance Annex on July 2, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Live performances and hands-on activities give little Fringers a chance to try puppetry, dance and theatre. It’s free to all, thanks to generous grants and sponsorships.

Like all good festivals, the SD Fringe believes it’s never too early to try out the stage and the Emerging Fringe, Sunday, July 3, will showcase competing acts from local schools, grades 7-12. Some of the past acts have even gone on to appear in festivals. This year’s line-up looks especially good and the audience gets to vote on the winners.

Fringing is surprisingly affordable at about $10 a ticket to free for some shows. It’s even cheaper with passes, and the Fringe tag carries some fringe benefits such as local merchant discounts and Club Fringe at the Spreckels and the Diversionary, where you can hang out with some of the more than 500 artists in the festival.

So if you’re into cool, or just want to get out of the heat, the Fringe flings open the doors, starting Thursday, June 23.

Please see www.sdfringe.org for more information on tickets, venues, and acts.

IMAGE: Tymisha Harris

Vanguard Culture

Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.

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