Festivals host 145 live shows across city

A cultural playground rich in history and the arts, Philadelphia is becoming a performing arts destination, as evident by the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.

Start the semester right with a celebration of that culture during the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, happening Sept. 7 to 22. It’s a perfect way to explore the city of Philadelphia, especially for those who are hoping to become more familiar.

Live Arts is a festival of invited artists showcasing unique and high-quality performances. It’s an opportunity to highlight Philadelphia as a unique performing arts destination, inviting the region to see shows often only seen internationally. Philly Fringe is an unfiltered festival providing a platform for new and established artists to present their work to the public uncensored. It’s sort of like a huge open-mic, allowing everyone to express themselves however they’d like.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” said Craig Peterson, director of Live Arts Brewery and Philly Fringe.

Peterson would like the show to reach about 250 performances by next year, he said. This year there will be 145 shows and the highest ever seen so far has been just less than 200.

Artists have full control of everything from costumes to dates to venues.

“Most are not looking for the typical venue,” Peterson said.

Some shows are occurring in graveyards, parking lots and basements.

“It’s up to the artist’s vision,” Peterson said.

Live Arts and Philly Fringe are special in that they eliminate any artistic barriers, allowing all work to be shown to an audience, regardless of the medium, topic, theme or performers. Both festivals create a cityscape filled with incredible theater, dance, music and arts performances.

“Philly Fringe is about taking chances,” Peterson said. “[The performances] can open your eyes in a different way.”

Best of all, the performances are super affordable on a student budget. All Live Arts shows are $18 for students and can range from $25 to $60 for non-students, so students can take advantage of their Owl Cards. Most Philly Fringe performances range from $12 to $30.

“It’s the perfect thing to leave campus for,” Peterson said, describing the festivals as young, fun and full of energy.

As far as which shows Peterson recommends, he said it really depends on what people respond to and how.

“You’ll just have to wait until the curtain goes up,” he said.

Some must-see shows:

Live Arts

This Town is a Mystery

A great way to become acquainted with Philly and its residents, this show turns five Philly living rooms into full stages. Bring a dish for the pot luck dinner afterward.

Locations are revealed one week after tickets are purchased. $18 students, $35 others.

Dates throughout September.

Sequence 8

A human circus, up close and personal.

Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St. $18 students, $20 to $55 others.

Sept. 18, 20-23, times vary.

Food Court

The show follows a near death experience in a suburban mall food court transitioning into a nightmarish forest, pieced together by incredible technical stage work.

Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center
300 S. Broad St. $18 students, $30 others.

Sept. 20-23, 8 p.m.

Open Air

A seriously cool art exhibit that relies solely on public participation, occurring in the Philadelphia sky. You have to see it to believe it.

Sept. 20 – Oct. 14

Philly Fringe

Comedy and Improv:
Awesome Alliteration: The Magical Musical

Mayor Miller’s girlfriend chokes on a “verbose” love letter and dies, prompting him to remove all uses of literary devices from the school system, until 10 years later when a new teacher resolves to bring them back.

SkyBox at the Adrienne
2030 Sansom St. $20

Weekends in September

Bye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play

Mixing drinking themed sketch comedy with interactive games like “Name that Tune” and “Would You Rather…”

Urban Saloon
2120 Fairmount Ave. $15

Sept. 15 and 22, 8 p.m.

Dance:
Conversations: A Dialogue in Movement

“Conversations” puts our daily life into dance.

Mount Vernon Dance Space
1730 Mount Vernon St. $15

Sept. 8, 8p.m. and Sept. 9, 2:30 p.m.

Sticks and Stones

An interesting look at family ties, putting relationships to music.

Mascher Space Co-op
155 Cecil B. Moore Ave. $15

Sept. 7, 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 8, 4 and 7:30 p.m.

Music:
Iron Composer: An Evening of Speed Composing

Improvised composing where the audience chooses the theme and instruments and the musician composes on the spot.

Ruba Club
414 Green St. $20

Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Philly Song Shuffle

Real life iPod shuffle, Philly style. 55 artists shuffle their songs, with record-speed set breakdowns and flawless transitions.

World Café Live
3025 Walnut St. $25

Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Theater:
Electric Jungle

Electronic, computer-generated music mixed with imagery, text and song.

Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St. $15

Dates throughout September.

The Edge of Our Bodies

An intimate portrayal of the vulnerable transition from a teenage girl to a woman.

Studio X
1340 S. 13th St. $20

Dates throughout September.

Barbie Blended: A Pop Rockin’ Musical

A look at what it’s like to grow up in a world full of Twitter, celebrity, text messages, pop music and pornography.

Gershman Y Blackbox Theater
401 S. Broad St. $15

Sept. 6-9, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

 

Nichole Baldino can be reached at nichole.baldino@temple.edu.

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