by Sandy McLeod
Get ready for four days of life on the fringe! The Asheville Fringe Fest occurs January 24-27, 2013 and is now in its 10th year. This is an arts extravaganza that attracts people from all over the world. With its eclectic variety of music, theatre, comedy, dance, poetry, puppetry, and other arts, the Fringe Fest has something for everybody.
Tickets for all four days of this dizzying array of performances are only $50.00, or $52.74 after service fees. Get your “Fringe Freak Pass” today at the BeBe Box Office Theatre at 20 Commerce Street, or purchase tickets online here.
The festival—the brainchild of Susan and Giles Conrad of the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre—has become a cherished Asheville tradition. The Fringe Fest has also been a launching event for many local artists—some have since gone on to be nationally recognized for their work. Acts are hosted in a wealth of iconic Asheville venues, like the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center, the BeBe Theatre, and the quirky mobile-venue called the LaZoom Comedy Tour Bus, known for its outlandishly funny tours of Asheville.
The LaZoom Comedy Bus is a sponsor of the Fringe Fest. La Zoom is instantly recognizable for its bright purple color and the bus is a great place to sit back and tour the town while Asheville’s spiritual history is narrated and performed. Guests are guaranteed to see a ghost, they say…so riders are encouraged to bring a camera. This rollicksome 60-minute tour is a good time waiting to happen, and is one of Asheville’s most popular attractions, even among the locals. The La Zoom crew is currently doing a Comedy Bus Tour that is funded by the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Asheville is nationally known for its brilliant performance artists, who work in a wide range of traditional and avant-garde forms, oftentimes fusing both. Experience puppetry like never before with the magical and innovative Red Herring Puppets, celebrated for their television and film work, as well as their history with the Jim Henson Company and Walt Disney Imagineering.
Another not-to-be-missed show is the wonderfully bizarre musical act Whimzik, an Asheville staple that involves life-size puppets. Performers often don masks in the spirit of Japanese Kabuki Theater, but with a twist. Whimzik is like “mountain” vaudeville crossed with magic-realism.
The BeBe Variety Show and “Fringe Feature” boasts acts like “Petroleum Sundaes for Everyone” and “Suites for the (Bitter)sweet,” while the ArTery Variety Show can show you what it’s like to get “Free Hugs at 12,000 Feet.” What’s this all about? Your guess is as good as anybody’s…go find out! With these kinds of cabinets of curiosities, you never know what you’re going to get—only that it will be great fun.
Attendees can also catch experimental performances by Asheville’s Toy Box Theatre, with a toy orchestra making an appearance. Or, see some traditional Japanese Butoh dance, with its incredible choreography and mind-blowing makeup and costumes. There will also be aerialists, tap dancers, and a great lineup of visual artists.
The festival takes place in some of Asheville’s most hip and artistic neighborhoods, like the River Arts District. In between acts, enjoy delicious international cuisine and street food, grab some local craft beer in one of Asheville’s many breweries, shop for handmade items, and meet some of the most colorful and creative people in the Western North Carolina region. This is an event that everyone—from longtime Asheville locals to tourists—looks forward to all year long. Come on out, and let your “fringe flag” fly!
Book a cabin close to downtown Asheville and have a weekend getaway in Asheville during Fringe Festival 2013.