The freaks come out September. The end of summer signifies the beginning of the Fringe Fest which takes place throughout September. The Philadelphia Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of grass roots creative and performing arts. The 2 week festival features dance, theatre, visual arts, musical and spoken word performances in various venues from tradition stages to street corners, galleries, warehouse spaces, cabarets and restaurants. The Fringe Fest is an open-minded embrace of the arts, where no performance is too unconventional or controversial. The word fringe means a decorative adornment, but it also means, outsider, edgy, or radical, and the Fringe Fest has a strong "freaky element." In a city as diverse as Philadelphia, the Fringe Fest is the perfect encapsulation of our culture. In conjunction with the Fringe Fest which welcomes any and all submissions, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival features performances by acclaimed artists who are welcomed to the festival by invitation. Together the festivals draw thousands of people to the area, and allows us to celebrate the end of summer in a creative and free fashion.
The tradition of the Fringe Fest began in 1997. A few Philadelphia artist banded together to create an outlet for experimental and contemporary performers to exhibit their talents. They were inspired by the Fringe Fest that takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Scottish Fest was founded in 1947 and is the worlds largest arts festival. The Philly Fringe started small as five-day event and has grown into a month long festival of quality, innovative performances that epitomizes Philadelphia in September. The festival exists to support artists and to "challenge, stimulate, entertain and educate the diverse audiences."
The Fringe is an unfiltered festival which welcomes any and all submissions. This means that there is wide variety of professionalism and quality to the shows. Check the Fringe's official website for show listings and venues. The performances are often sexy, the Fringe Fest is not for the faint-of-heart, full frontal nudity is not uncommon. The 2012 Festival features the Untitled Feminist Show byYoung Jean Lee's theatre company. The show will have women of shapes and sizes performing in the nude.The Pink Hair Affair are seconded Fringe Fest Performers who modern dance shows are always titillating. Sequence 8 by 7 Fingers is a hypnotic circus arts performance from Montreal. Private Places by idiosynCrazy productions is experimental dance performance. In addition to these ample dance pieces, there will be comedy, theatre, visual arts and spoken word.
The Festival Bar
One of the highlights of the Fringe Fest is the Festival Bar. Whether you're into performing arts or not, you're sure to have a good time here. The pop-up club takes place in different locations from year to year. The Festival bar serves as a place for fringe-goers and performers to convene and enjoy post-show libations and entertainment. The bar will host late-night cabaret performances, live music and some of Philadelphia's best deejays. The Festival Bar is often a wild scene. It's not uncommon to see drag queens and performed donning elaborate customer. The Festival Bar is also the final destination of the Philly Naked Bike Ride. A 10-mile ride around Philadelphia that features cyclist in various states of undress and body paint which is a demonstration to promote positive body images, conscious fuel consumption and cyclist rights.