San Diego International Fringe Festival
  • San Diego International Fringe Festival
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There’s that eyeball-buster logo again!

The third annual San Diego International Fringe Festival begins Thursday, July 23 and runs through August 2. That’s eleven days. As fans of the first two found out, they go by fast.

They also learned to wear comfortable shoes and spread the word in a hurry with texts, tweets, emails, and word of mouth, even to passersby on the street with Fringe tags around their necks (part of the fun is asking “what’s good?” — and the conversation it can spark).

These updates are necessary because as many as five shows can run in the same time slot.

Fringe rules remain the same: “There is NO censorship. Artists are free to perform what they want in a setting unconstrained by censorship, judgement, or status quo.” Most shows run 45-60 minutes. Tickets range from $10 to free. And outdoor acts by Buskers and street theater are free.

The first festival of its kind began in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947. The city held an annual “main” festival for the traditional arts. But it banned anything that even smacked of non-traditional. Eight groups decided to organize their own gathering on the “fringe.” They staged shows in basements, storefronts, even gas stations. These days, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is maybe 50 times the size of the big one.

San Diego’s may be catching up. If you count every performance, this year the Fringe will host over 430 events (not including Buskers). They will take place at 18 venues all over town, which can turn any location, a la Edinburgh, into a performance space.

Fringe III now includes “Family Fringe, Emerging Fringe, Visual Fringe, Street Theatre, and the World’s First Bi-National Fringe.”

That’s right, bi-national. Several events be performed in Mexico, thus forging a palpable artistic link between the two countries – and it’s about time!

Among many other things, the Fringe functions as an update on what’s going on. Artists from around the world express their concerns about right this minute in non-traditional forms - and venues. Thanks to the Fringe and the La Jolla Playhouse’s popular Without Walls series – both Craig Noel Award Winners - San Diegans now step outside the box of a traditional theater/audience relationship. Sites become “sets.” The art isn’t encased. It can bust eyeballs anywhere!

Spreckels Theatre

121 Broadway, Downtown San Diego

San Diego Natural History Museum

1788 El Prado, Balboa Park

Horton Grand Theatre

444 Fourth Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center

3925 Ohio Street, North Park

Les Girls Theater

3790 Riley Street, Midway District

Swedenborg Hall

1531 Tyler Avenue, University Heights

(No longer in business.)

Lyceum Theatre

79 Horton Plaza, Downtown San Diego

Tenth Avenue Arts Center

930 Tenth Avenue, East Village

Venues for this year’s festival

4th and 5th Floor Arts Incubators at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown.

Central Library, 330 Park Boulevard, downtown.

Black Box Theatre at Cosa, 650 D Street, downtown.

El Mirador (rooftop of the Natural History Museum), 1788 El Prado, Balboa Park.

Fringe City, Horton Plaza #2, 759 First Avenue, downtown.

Estacion Teatro, Av Revolucion/Av Constitucion, between 3ra. And 4ta, 22000, Tijuana, Mexico.

Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Avenue, downtown.

Hosteling International, 521 Market Street, downtown.

Les Girls Theater, 3790 Riley Street, midtown.

Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.

Queen’s Arts & Cultural Center, 3925 Ohio Street, North Park.

RAW Space Off Broadway, 923 First Avenue, downtown.

San Diego City College, 1313 Park Boulevard, downtown.

Rosewood Five, 1150 Seventh Avenue (basement), downtown.

Spreckels Theatre Fringe Off Broadway, 923 First Avenue, downtown.

Swedenborg Hall, 4144 Campus Avenue, University Heights.

Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 Tenth Avenue, downtown.

Visual Fringe/Visitor Center, 969 First Avenue, downtown.

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