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Fringe Survival Guide
July 7, 2011 | 9:00AM

PHOTOS BY: Franz Mahr and Sarah Gormley

In case you’ve been living under a rock, let us remind you: The Capital Fringe Festival is starting its 6th annual run today, July 7th and runs through July 24th.
The FRINGE FESTIVAL is often the first opportunity for emerging artists based in Washington and beyond to present their work (with a focus on theater, dance, puppetry, spoken word, but may include film and visual arts) , allowing them a formalized framework in which grow. The main aim is to train and educate the artists in our fringe to create a stronger self-producing, non censored community.

And while this is pretty much the most noble of operations DC sees every year, it also involves (are you ready?)

more than 600+ individual performances involving over 200 companies in a bunch of venues, located all around the District (but mainly around Fort Fringe).

I wrote that in major letters on purpose.

So, no matter how hard you are gung ho about supporting the alternative theatre/performance and art scene in DC (we certainly are) there IS NO WAY you can do it in 15 minutes (or days) like Artomatic and cover all the bases . Hell, JUST RESEARCHING IT takes forever.(I most certainly could barely read through all (or half) the press releases that the artists involved sent us).
The process is frustrating enough to make even the most sane person react like this:

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Thankfully, other people have done the footwork for you (and for us).


So, here is a handy series of links, tips and advice to make you survive through it all:

  • Before you do anything: GET THE BUTTON. “Buttons are REQUIRED for entrance into all Fringe Venues. One button per person, one time purchase. Proceeds from the sale of the will be shared equally will all Fringe run venue participants. Support the artists and BUTTON UP!”
  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT
  • Then, print the official festival guide. Click here to do that.. Peruse. Notice that green is for daytime shows, and red is for nighttime shows. Eliminate things you actually cannot attend due to: work, relationships, half-birthdays etc. This will make everything a little more manageable.
  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT
  • YES-WE WILL BE DOING WEEKLY GUIDES. So-you’ll always have that.
  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT
  • Realize that the main problem with tackling Fringe festival is this: EVERYTHING SOUNDS COOL. Or at least: everything sounds offbeat and different and since most of these people have only their event’s title to grab your attention, they will use this weapon wisely. So….how do you pick between: F#@KING UP EVERYTHING, An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein, Hotel Fuck or Squirrel, or The Origin of a Species (actual titles, random selection, full list, as we mentioned, is here)
  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT
  • Get yourself acquainted with the delightful Baldacchino Gypsy tent outside of FORT FRINGE which not only features prosecco on tap, craft beers and delicious food but also serves as a hang-out for free music and happy hour events and is a great place to meet the actors, directors and other people who may know what they’re doing a little more than you.

  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT
  • ACTUALLY deciding what to see! You have the following options:
    A. Eliminate things you think you know you’ll hate (ie. for some of us: creepy musicals, feminist monologues, improv comedy and for others: anything involving clowns, anything involving corny racial jokes, anything involving ….well, you know, you know what you know you’ll hate.
  • B. Then, you can either decide to see something someone you know is in, and lets face it, with 600 plays, EVERYONE KNOWS SOMEONE WHO IS IN SOMETHING IN CAP FRINGE. Your friends are great, and they worked really hard, but in this case, the WHOLE CITY IS IN A PLAY
  • C. Taking the other road, you can try and go see some of the more established events at Fringe
  • D. Decide that seeing something “sort of established already” defies the whole purpose of Fringe and go with one of those things you never thought you would see or like.
  • E. Just check out a bunch of dance events as, lets face it, they stand the highest chance of, at least, being very beautiful. Or something involving glowsticks and martial arts.

  • OPEN THE CALENDAR AND GO DEEP. HERE’S WHAT LOOKS GOOD TO US:

Last year, the Fringe Festival Director’s Award went to GoHorses, the absurd, hilarious duo behind “Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite.” and now they’re back with this journey “through the magic of creative activity! Go ahead, bring your stage fright! Low-Cost to you! Perfect for Father’s Day gifts.

  • Gallantry: a Soap Opera in One Act @ Warehouse – What will Naughty Nurse Lola do when Dr. Gregg propositions her?  Will she stay true to her husband, the patient? Or will she give into her primal lust?  Gallantry is a soap opera complete with dancers, nudity, and advertisements.

  • An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein @ Studio Theatre. Please leave the kids at home! The beloved children’s author shows a different side in these twisted, darkly comic exposes of our human frailties that will make you laugh, even as they make you squirm. Seriously, don’t bring the kids.

  • F#@KING UP EVERYTHING @ Woolly Mammoth -Can Christian Mohammed Schwartzelberg stay true to himself and still get the girl? Or will he lose her to the guy in leather pants? Set in Brooklyn’s indie music scene, it’s a rock musical comedy with heart. And ironic t-shirts.

you get the picture

  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT

Alternatively, other media that actually had time to research this properly (it being their actual jobs and all) so here are some online resources for survival:

and while I am sure everyone and your best friend’s blog (especially if they are in something at the festival) will bust out their guides soon, but for now, this is what you have to go on.

The main thing to remember is:

It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC, It is terrific we have this kind of a thing happening annually in DC, it is terrific we have this kind of thing happening annually in DC….

  • TAKE DEEP BREATHS. HYDRATE. TRY NOT TO OVERWHELM YOURSELF. REPEAT

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AND TELL US IN THE COMMENTS WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING TO SEE (AND WHY)

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