First San Diego Fringe Festival set for July 1 – 7
By Manny Lopez |GSD Reporter
When the first ever San Diego Fringe Festival comes to town July 1 – 7, a smorgasbord of theatrical visions by a delegation of 50 different avant-garde theater and performance companies from around the world will be exhibited at eight diverse venues.
The event kicks off at Seaport Village in Downtown with street performers known as “Buskers” performing acts of strength, acrobatics, sword swallowing, escapology, comedy, fire breathing, magic and extreme stunt pogo by a Guinness World Record holder.
Presented in the spirit of the outlandish Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, organizers described the San Diego Fringe as a low-cost, unjuried and uncensored showcase of live performances by new and emerging talent in the fields of theater, comedy, music, dance, puppetry and poetry.
“It’s called a Fringe festival because it’s on the outside and not mainstream,” said Kevin Charles Patterson, executive producer and director of the San Diego festival. “We put the call out and wound up with imaginative and cutting-edge submissions that would probably otherwise not be seen by the general public.”
Patterson said the Fringe platform presents a rare opportunity for artists and theaters to take risks and dare to push new ideas to the forefront. With a large pool of talented artists hungry to get on stage, he also said the festival could help take the careers of writers and performers to a whole new level.
“I knew immediately that this would be a solid and fruitful partnership,” said choreographer Michael Mizerany, whose mature-themed dance piece “INFAMOUS” plays on the main stage at the 10th Avenue Theatre July 5 – 7. Mizerany, the resident choreographer for Visionary Dance Theater, described “INFAMOUS” as six dances inspired by notorious couples, incorporating rousing leaps, moments of male nudity and heavy breathing, which culminate in a violent, sexual acquisition and acquiescence.
“I love the idea of a week-long festival where patrons can walk around and experience a myriad of artists presenting their work in new and unique ways,” he said.
Of particular interest to the LGBT community is “TEXAS LOVES LYLA!,” a solo musical comedy about a talk-radio queen from Cootersville, Texas, who tackles ignorance, adult bullies and gay teen suicide via the web from her backyard. Written and directed by Jeffrey Wylie, the piece took the Best Solo Show honors at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2012.
In “Dear Harvey,” playwright Patricia Loughrey pays tribute to the life of Harvey Milk through interviews conducted with people that either knew Milk or were inspired by him, including former Sen. Christine Kehoe and Nicole Murray Ramirez. Originally commissioned by Diversionary Theatre in 2009, the Fringe production is staged by Breakthrough Workshop Theatre.
“Diapers, Dishes, and Dreams,” written, directed and starring Mark C. Reis, is a one-man comedy set in Los Angeles about an aging Broadway dancer and father, whose wish to return to the stage must be balanced with his life as a parent and partner.
“Secrets of a Gay Mormon Felon,” also a one-man show, features 19 vignettes about the colorful life of Seattle playwright and actor Kimble Allen and his search for absolution. Allen chronicles his childhood in a puritanical Mormon society, his teenage gay awakening and drug abuse, ending with his arrest and trial for embezzlement.
Patterson said the inaugural event has garnered strong support from the local arts community and businesses, with a mutual desire to produce a high-quality event. Venues for the week’s performances are the 10th Avenue Theatre and Arts Center, Space 4 Art, Seaport Village, Searsucker bar and NewSchool of Architecture + Design in Downtown, and the Whistle Stop bar in South Park.
The roof of the 10th Avenue Theater has also been deemed “Fringe Central,” with a series of parties, free entertainment and open mics each day of the festival. The theater is located at 930 10th Ave.
General admission tickets for all performances are $10 plus a processing fee if purchased online. Discounted multiple show tickets are also available. For the complete schedule and tickets, visit sdfringe.org.