Fringe Festival announces 2014 lineup

Chef Peter Woolsey speaks about La Peg, a cabaret-brasserie still under construction at the Fringe Festival headquarters. "I guarantee we'll be open by Sept. 5," he says.
Chef Peter Woolsey speaks about La Peg, a cabaret-brasserie still under construction at the Fringe Festival headquarters. "I guarantee we'll be open by Sept. 5," he says. (VIVIANA PERNOT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 26, 2014

A half-dozen world premieres, a floating, self-contained eco-rowhouse, personalized theatrical walking tours, a demographically defined, wholly Philadelphia performance, and the opening of an unusual cabaret-brasserie at its new headquarters are just some of the highlights of the 2014 Fringe Festival, beginning in September.

At a news conference Thursday - held in the new theater of the festival's headquarters building at Race Street and Columbus Boulevard - Fringe cofounder and producing director Nick Stuccio rolled out the festival lineup, even as construction continued all around the building.

In particular, workers are furiously working to complete construction of the new brasserie, dubbed La Peg by restaurateur and chef Peter Woolsey.

Woolsey allowed there are "a lot of moving parts at this time."

"But," he said, "I guarantee we'll be open by Sept. 5."

The Fringe Festival runs from Sept. 5 to 21.

Stuccio spent most of his time touting the works that will be directly presented by Fringe Arts, the producing entity of the Fringe.

The festival building, a converted pump house, will serve as venue for several works, including What I Learned in Outer Space, a dance piece cocreated by the Pennsylvania Ballet and Curtis Institute of Music, and Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church (L), Trajal Harrell's award-winning dream of Harlem ball culture of the 1960s plunked down at the epicenter of early postmodern dance.

At La Peg, late-night cabaret will unwind with appearances by Martha Graham Cracker, Dennis Diamond, Champagne Jerry, and Christeene Machine, among others.

In addition to the performances presented directly by Fringe Arts, 130 shows around the city have attached themselves to the Fringe - the so-called Neighborhood Fringe - allowing tickets to be sold through the Fringe box office and providing some marketing oomph. On four Mondays in August, select Neighborhood Fringe groups will participate in free performances at the Fringe headquarters venue.

Stuccio said that aligning with the Fringe creates excitement in outlying neighborhoods. And while some how-to resources have been provided various groups, Fringe Arts financial help has not been forthcoming.

Finishing the headquarters building, which will eventually facilitate year-round Fringe activity, has taken precedence over greater support for neighborhoods at this point, Stuccio added.

Among the highlights of the festival will be a mysterious production from New York's Institute for Psychographic Adventure, Experiment #39 (Old City).

Audience members will arrive (at still-secret locations around Old City) and will be given maps and "personalized journeys" through the neighborhood, encountering performances and happenings as they go.

In 100% Philadelphia, created by the German artist collective Rimini Protokoll, a cast of 100 Philadelphians, selected via demographic criteria drawn from the 2010 census, will respond to scripted questions and scenarios (Who has held a gun? Who has dropped out of school?) that probe the private psyche.

Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company and New Paradise Laboratories also will have premieres presented by the Fringe.

Just underway is one of the more unusual Fringe "productions" of recent years - Wetland, a work conceived by New York-based photographer and installation artist Mary Mattingly. She is constructing an ecologically self-contained "rowhouse" moored at the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware River.

Converted from an old houseboat, the rowhouse will be part house and part farm, a complete habitat that looks toward a future of rising temperatures and sea levels.

From Aug. 15 through Sept. 21, Mattingly will host workshops, performances, and tours. She calls Wetland "an open, communal experience." It will be open continually, with Mattingly on board.

For complete Fringe Festival information, including times, dates, ticket prices, and venues, visit the festival website: http://fringearts.net/


ssalisbury@phillynews.com

215-854-5594 @SPSalisbury

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