Picks for this year's Fringe Festival

The BSR Weekly Arts and Cultural Roundup, September 7-13, 2022

4 minute read
A collage featuring images of Prince, Star Trek, family photos, and buildings. Flowers populate the image
Shavon Norris's 'Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard' is one of the performances at this year's Miniball. (Image courtesy of Shavon Norris.)

The 2022 Fringe Festival is here! And for this week's roundup, I'm making my picks of what I'm excited and curious to see. I hope you discover something here, and let us know what your picks are for this year's festival in the comments.

high noon
September 5-18
Crane Arts Icebox Project Space, 1400 North American Street, Philadelphia

What’s with all the (toxic) hype for the lone ranger? high noon from Ninth Planet looks to figure that out with live music, archival video, dance, and poetry, creating “a new vision for the cowboy.”

Fair Trade
September 9-25
The MAAS Building Garden, 1325 North Randolph Street, Philadelphia

My show of the year in 2019’s Fringe Festival was undoubtedly Jessica Creane’s Know Thyself. Anytime Creane puts on a show, I go to great lengths to catch it, and this year will be no different. Fair Trade asks the questions, “Is Trust given freely, or earned over time? Is Fairness judged on a geological timescale or in the span of a second? How much can you get in exchange for that birthday present you got from your least favorite aunt?” All of these are very important questions, and this thought experiment wants you to bring three possible offerings to not only negotiate a trade with a stranger, but to explore how you come to (or do not come to) trust the people you meet in life. The words “immersive” and “interactive” can get thrown around a lot these days, but I can certainly trust that this show knows how to execute on those terms, not just force-feed them into the synopsis.

Shameless plug here: I had the pleasure of interviewing Creane on my podcast last year. Give it a listen if you don’t trust my judgment!

Song Bridge
September 11-25
The MAAS Building Studio, 1325 North Randolph Street, Philadelphia

Something that’s been prevalent during this pandemic for me is an assertive effort to remember. Much of that effort is spent remembering the child I was and how that child is still with me today. Song Bridge looks to do the same (but only in 60 minutes instead of two and a half years) with a strong sense of compassionate urgency: “without looking at the past and forgiving little you, there’s no way future you can get past the past.” The performance follows Matthew Armstead as they perform through poetry, movement, and song learning to sing again.

Me and Jesus and Prince and Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a One Bedroom Apartment in the Bronx
September 23-25
The MAAS Building Studio, 1325 North Randolph Street, Philadelphia

Shavon Norris is poised to sing, dance, chant, talk, “art,” and “medicine” all things about herself, Jesus, Prince, Jean-Luc Picard, and the Bronx in this solo performance. Pulling from her experiences growing up in a Black sci-fi Christian home—which included time travel, recovering from the apocalypse, marathons of The Twilight Zone, zombies, Bronx English, Caribbean, and West Indian accents—Norris is here to explore “the sounds, words, languages, doctrines, people(s), places, and objects that flooded her developing mind, body, and spirit.”

and you will know it’s done when the oil stops bubbling
September 23-October 2
Kensington Corridor Trust Community Garden, 3236 Kensington Avenue, Philadelphia

Artist Mike Durkin, Mural Arts, and Kensington-area community groups come together to cook up a recipe book with their audience. Using story-sharing circles, rituals, and various “artful responses” through video, writing, audio, photography, and performance, the project looks to capture the diversity of community members and their stories and recipes in the Kensington area.

Sunday, September 25, 6pm
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Nothing like a series of twisted folktales to get you ready for the Halloween season—which has started already for me, if I’m being honest. Storyteller Denise McCormack shares early versions of the folktales, diving into the subversive words that have been hidden between the lines because, well, they’re just too scary for TV.

Walk Around Philadelphia
Various dates and locations

The 10th edition of Walk Around Philadelphia returns for Fringe this year, celebrating over 1,000 miles around the city. Small groups gather over the course of 10 days, exploring locations including Cobbs Creek, the Wissahickon, Chestnut Hill, Somerton, Pier 68, and many other parts of the city. You can also take any of the guided walks on your own. Either way, you’ll be sure to discover lots of unfamiliar and hidden gems throughout the walking tours, even in places you already know well. If you want more context, BSR has covered JJ Tiziou’s walks before, so be sure to read up before you walk about!

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