1. Performance to the people
To appreciate the scope of the 2014 San Diego International Fringe Festival, go to sdfringe.org and find the schedule of performances. Then scroll. Take it all in. It's huge.
From Thursday, July 3, through Sunday, July 13, something like 70 acts will take the stage at a dozen venues around San Diego, performing everything from comedy and experimental theater to opera and burlesque.
Begun in Scotland in the 1940s, fringe festivals showcase unique, multidisciplinary, outside-the-box performances that you wouldn't likely see at established venues. This will be San Diego's second Fringe. The "international" in the title refers to the fact that several performers are coming from overseas—like Haste Theatre Company, whose members are from the U.K. and Italy, and Wales' Tin Shed Theatre. And, from Australia, Jon Bennett brings his comedy / storytelling show, "Pretending Things are a Cock."
Fringe Fest executive producer Kevin Charles Patterson can't recommend specific shows—"bad juju," he says—but he does recommend an approach.
"Audiences should be ready for a complete experience and just throw themselves into things that they normally wouldn't see," he says.
"Be ready to take risks," he adds later. "That's part of the fun."
The venues themselves are pretty exciting. The California Ballet will perform "Ballet 360" in the floor-to-ceiling-windowed Shiley Special Event Suite atop the new Central Library. Spreckels Theatre Executive Director Geoffrey Shlaes donated the use of all of Spreckels (the main stage will be converted into black-box theater), including a small side stage that's being reopened for the first time in more than a dozen years and 3,000 square feet of retail space that Fringe will turn into a visual-arts gallery. And that burlesque show? Head over to Les Girls Theatre for a little "Courtesan Café."
Admission to most shows is $10 (all proceeds go to the artists), or you can purchase multi-show passes. Some shows are free. Ticket purchase requires you to buy a $5 Fringe "tag" (it's how Fringe covers overhead costs), but with it you get steeply discounted parking at Horton Plaza and coupons for Downtown stores and restaurants.
2. Song of the geek
You know Comic-Con is coming around the corner when an announcement for something called Geeks! The Musical hits your inbox. Indeed, after runs in Los Angeles and New York, the play is coming to San Diego, the summertime mecca of geekdom, for a run from Saturday, July 5, through Aug. 16 (with $10 preview performances on Thursday and Friday, July 3 and July 4) at BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest (3704 Sixth Ave.). The story honors and satirizes the geeks who flock to Comic-Con, following a handful of them into the huge annual convention as they search for rare comics, become infatuated and debate the intricacies of Dr. Who, singing and dancing all the way. Admission is $25, $15 for students. Check geeksmusicalsd.com for showtimes.
3. For shore
Ever catch a sunset through the big glass windows overlooking the ocean at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla (700 Prospect St.)? From 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 3, you'll be given the chance when the museum launches its Shore Thing event series happening every Thursday evening through July and August. The museum stays open late with exhibition tours, music by The Roots Factory, pizza and cocktails. Romantics are invited to bring blankets and picnic food and enjoy the sunset while surrounded by art in the museum's sculpture garden. Exhibitions currently showing include Line Involvements, a collection of midcentury-modern prints exploring the ways in which simple line work can create interesting visual effects. It's free, but bring cash for cocktails and food. mcasd.org
Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email Kinsee Morlan.