The first San Diego Fringe Festival was such a hit last summer, this year’s has doubled in size. It now runs eleven days, and offers over 80 entrants. Most will give five performances instead of three.
Based on the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, San Diego’s combines local with international artists. They perform every genre imaginable — theater, dance, circus, buskers, music, visual arts, spoken word, cabaret, puppetry, comedy — and mixed genres you cannot pin down.
Owing to the popularity of last year’s festival, almost twice as many acts have come from around the world, ergo the addition of “International” in the title.
Kevin Charles Patterson, indefatigable Executive Producer/Director of the Fringe, has scheduled several new, festival-related events. One difference maker: throughout the day and evening, artists will perform “street theater snippets” at Horton Plaza’s Broadway Circle, and elsewhere. The brief scenes will preview their upcoming shows.
“One of the most heartwarming elements,” says Patterson, “is the addition of the Spreckels Theatre. It’s such a treasure, there’s no way we could afford to rent that gem. However, Geoffrey Shlaes, the Executive Director, has donated the theater! He’s a big reason why we can provide so much activity for the artists.”
In many ways, the Fringe is an update on the international arts scene. Subjects and themes are in-the-moment, and the performing styles often unique.
For participants, the 2013 festival was learn-as-you-go. From the late morning to deep in the evening, multiple venues staged performances at the same time, half an hour in between — which sometimes meant exiting, say, the Tenth Avenue Theatre, and dashing to a space on 15th street.
Part of the fun: Along the way, if you saw total strangers wearing Fringe badges, you ask “what’s good?” Word of mouth on the move.
This year, the additions of the Spreckels and Lyceum Theatres make venues more centrally located.
“The most exciting element of all,” says Patterson, “has been the inspiration and feedback we’ve been getting from festival organizers and artists abroad. It’s becoming more and more clear that we have the potential of having a festival of the arts that’s the equivalent of Comic-Con in San Diego!”
Prior to July 3:
- Friday, June 27 (at 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, June 29 (at 2:00 p.m.): Haste Theatre reprises its Oyster Boy at the Ocean Beach Playhouse — one of last year’s biggest hits.
- Wednesday, July 2: Public Previews. Spreckels Theatre, 7:00 p.m. “snippet” samplings from a variety of Fringe entrants.
- Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 10th Avenue, downtown.
- Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.
- Ocean Beach Playhouse, 4944 Newport Avenue, O.B.
- RAW Space Off Broadway, 923 First Avenue, #1, downtown.
- Red Spade Theatre, 2539 Congress Street, Old Town.
- 5th Floor Arts Incubator at Spreckels, 121 Broadway #501, downtown.
- AASD Studios, 5120-C Baltimore Drive, La Mesa.
- Bread & Salt at Art Pulse, 1955 Julian Avenue, Barrio Logan.
- Central Library, Auditorium and Shiley Special Event Suite, 330 Park Boulevard, #2, East Village.
- Fringe City at Horton Plaza, 808 Broadway Circle, downtown.
- Fringe City, Horton Plaza #2, 759 First Avenue, downtown.
- hART Lounge, 734 Park Boulevard, downtown.
- Les Girls Theater, 3790 Riley Road, Midway.
For a schedule of shows, days, and times: sdfringe.org. The San Diego Reader’s theater guide has (I hope) a complete list as well.