Can a marathon be a sprint? Instead of 26-plus miles straight on, attending the popular San Diego International Fringe Festival can resemble wanting to run in five directions at once. That’s because for 11 days — from June 23 through July 3 — the festival hosts artists from San Diego, across the country, and around the world.
Each day, from 11:30 a.m. through 11:30 p.m., five events happen at the same time-slot.
These range from theater, cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, poetry and spoken word, puppetry, visual art, design, improv (scripted and unscripted), plus hybrids that combine several and “any other type of artsyness not listed.” Each event performs five times, so one can catch them, aided by comfortable shoes, word of mouth reviews, and enhanced by triple Rudesheimer Kaffee’s.
On average, 50% of the events are local; 25% are from around the country; and 25% are international.
The events are chosen: 50% first come, first served; then 50% by lottery.
They pay a registration fee that guarantees them five performances in a pre-selected venue (based on the size of their piece). One hundred percent of ticket sales go to the artists.
A performance runs between 30 and 60 minutes.
The events are “unjuried.” “There is NO censorship,” says Kevin Charles Patterson, head of the festival. “Artists are free to perform what they want in a setting unconstrained by censorship, judgement, or status quo.”
Tickets range from $10 to free. The latter includes buskers (most at Seaport Village) and street theater.
Part of the fun and the frustration: which events to catch?
Frogs must be kissed. At times seeing a mediocre show feels like being locked in one universe and knowing four parallel universes’re just down the way.
A key is getting the word out ASA-possible. If you see a show you liked/adored/must take home to cuddle, let people know.
Another method: On Tuesday, June 21, the Fringe offers “Fringe Festival Previews” at Spreckels Theatre, 923 First Avenue, downtown.
Between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., participating “artists have two minutes to share their stuff. This is your one chance to see multiple snippets of productions.” You can even comment.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 2295 Kettner Blvd. San Diego
Central Library, Shiley Special Event Suite, 330 Park Boulevard #2, East Village. City Heights Performance Annex, 3795 Fairmount Avenue, City Heights
Diversionary Theatre & Blackbox, 4545 Park Boulevard, University Heights
Estacion Teatro and La Caja Fuerte, Av. Revolución/Constitución, between Third and Fourth streets, Tijuana, Mexico
The Geoffrey Off Broadway, 923 First Avenue, downtown
Lyceum Theatre & Space, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown
Spreckels Theatre – Fringe Off Broadway, 923 First Avenue, downtown
Rosewood Five, 1150 Seventh Avenue (basement), downtown
Seaport Village, 849 West Harbor Drive, downtown
Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 Tenth Avenue, downtown
Visual Fringe/Visitors Center, 969 First Avenue, downtown