Catch the SW Fringe

The tenth annual Minnesota Fringe Festival, Aug. 1-10, features over 160 live shows -- theater, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, dance and visual arts -- at 20 venues, including several in Southwest. Most shows are limited to an hour, but you'll have five chances to catch them.

According to Leah Cooper, executive director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the fringe concept started in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1946 where a juried international theater festival was being held. Artists who were excluded held a rival, simultaneous festival. The upstart thespians performed avant-garde work on loading docks, street corners and in storefronts on the outskirts of town. A journalist wrote, so the story goes, "the real festival was on the fringe." The name stuck. Now, Edinburgh Fringe Festival progeny dot the nation.

The Minnesota Fringe is non-juried, applications for inclusion are accepted based on the order in which they are received or by lottery. Most of the box office revenue is returned to the artist. Similar festivals are held in Orlando, San Francisco and Seattle.

The Minnesota Fringe's reputation has grown to such an extent that troupes come from as far away as New York City; Vancouver; San Francisco; Melbourne, Australia and Manchester, England to perform.

Southwest Fringe Calendar

Acadia Cafe, 1931 Nicollet Ave. S.

'A Comment from the Peanut Gallery'

Los Angeles-based actor Les Kurkendaal pokes fun at stereotypes.

S 8/2, 2:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 8:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 7 p.m.; Th 8/7, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 2:30 p.m.

'Apologetic Killer'

A woman reflects on her participation as a juror in a death penalty case.

F 8/1, 10 p.m.; S 8/2, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/3, 2:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 7 p.m.; F 8/8, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 8:30 p.m.

'Beauty/Beast'

A deconstruction of a classic marked by improvisation, humor, and emotional intensity in a dynamic performance by Megan Wells/Loren Niemi.

F 8/1, 7 p.m.; S 8/2, 7 p.m.; Th 8/7, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 7 p.m.; S 8/10, 1 p.m.

'Getting It Wrong'

Hilarious-but-true misadventures of a Jewish farm girl, her obscure immigrant father, a boyfriend and the cows that tried to save her.

S 8/2, 4 p.m.; S 8/3, 5:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 1 p.m.; S 8/9, 4 p.m.; S 8/9, 10 p.m.; S 8/10, 5:30 p.m.

'Out of the Rat Race, Into the Sandbox'

Bring that child still inside you (and your imaginary friends) to hear Joybubbles -- blind storyteller and former grownup.

F 8/1, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/2, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 8:30 p.m.

'Shruggers'

New York City, summer 1955 -- Two famous women become momentary friends as they discuss men and life.

S 8/3, 1 p.m.; M 8/4, 7 p.m.; T 8/5, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 7 p.m.

'The Invisible People'

A journey into adulthood and the lessons about self-acceptance learned along the way.

F 8/1, 8:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 8:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 5:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 2:30 p.m.

'The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet'

A hilarious blend of two of history's most celebrated authors, Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss.

S 8/3, 8:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 7 p.m.; W 8/6, 4 p.m.; F 8/8, 4 p.m.; F 8/8, 7 p.m.; S 8/9, 1 p.m.

'When the Wit Hits the Fan'

Two-man sketch comedy so fresh,

so original, it'll pop a cap in morass!

S 8/2, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/3, 4 p.m.; M 8/4, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/10,

4 p.m.

'Wind-Up Toys'

Want an hour of offbeat humor? Join these Gustavus alumni for an entertaining evening of original comedy.

S 8/2, 1 p.m.; S 8/3, 7 p.m.; M 8/4, 5:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 10 p.m.; S 8/9,

5:30 p.m.

Brave New Workshop Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave. S.

'Bette, My Fraudulent Welfare Queen: A Comic Bluegrass Opera in One Act'

A musical love story of child protection officer Gaucho Gar who falls for Bette, a woman he's been sent out to investigate and ends up arresting.

S 8/2, 10 p.m.; T 8/5, 5:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 2:30 p.m.

'Corporate Karaoke!'

Can corporations, revolution, and actual karaoke combine to deconstruct our modern world?

S 8/3, 4 p.m.; W 8/6, 8:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 4 p.m.; S 8/9, 4 p.m.; S 8/10, 1 p.m.

'Does This Monologue Make Me Look Fat?'

Amy Salloway presents a wardrobe full of stories both horrible and hilarious: orthodontic angst, surreal women's conferences, petulant intestines and non-dairy creamer.

F 8/1, 7 p.m.; T 8/5, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/10,

5:30 p.m.

'I Got a Republican Up My Ass'

Eskit's piano-pumping theatrical assault on guns, bigots and fetus worship.

S 8/3, 8:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 10 p.m.; S 8/10, 7 p.m.

'Is This Thing On?'

The Collective explores a warped world of stand-up in ways you've never seen and won't soon forget.

F 8/1, 10 p.m.; S 8/2, 1 p.m.; S 8/3, 7 p.m.; Th 8/7, 5:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 10 p.m.

'Park-n-Ride'

Laura Park (BNW Alumni) finds love in your yard, sneaks 'til she's invisible and drives you to a state of hilarity on a raucous road trip.

T 8/5, 8:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 8:30 p.m.;

F 8/8, 1 p.m.; S 8/9, 2:30 p.m.;

S 8/10, 4 p.m.

'Pull Yourself Up by Your Bra Straps Again'

Ramblings and observations on life as seen by this middle-aged, asthmatic, slightly irregular woman.

S 8/2, 7 p.m.; S 8/3, 5:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 5:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 7 p.m.; S 8/9, 7 p.m.

'Punk Rock Revisited'

Ferrari McSpeedy explores the complexity of friendship and what makes it worthwhile.

S 8/2, 4 p.m.; S 8/3, 1 p.m.; W 8/6, 7 p.m.; F 8/8, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 8:30 p.m.

'Seven Sketches About Love'

No-holds-barred sketch comedy that explores the horror and absurdity of love.

S 8/2, 8:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 7 p.m.; W 8/6, 4 p.m.; F 8/8, 7 p.m.; S 8/9, 1 p.m.

'Spiritual Enlightenment for Dummies'

One-time Twin Cities Funniest Person Lisa Sandino returns home (Scandinoovia) for normalcy and to tell all.

F 8/1, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/2, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/3, 2:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 8:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 7 p.m.

'Two Bohemians: Surging Hormones Show'

Experience speed-dating Jesus, Corporate Miss America, divorce therapy with Cinderella and learn the Vicoria's-Secret-Secret-Method.

F 8/1, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/2, 2:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 5:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 10 p.m.; S 8/9, 8:30 p.m.;

Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.

'Cubed'

In this original office comedy, a young, newly minted creative writing MFA collides with the funhouse of corporate culture.

F 8/1, 6 p.m.; S 8/2, 8 p.m.; S 8/3, 2 p.m.; W 8/6, 8 p.m.; F 8/8, 4 p.m.

'Dark Halo III'

A funny, quirky, upbeat look at the down and out life of a drinking man.

F 8/1, 8 p.m.; S 8/2, 4 p.m.; F 8/8, 10 p.m.; S 8/9, 12 p.m.; S 8/10, 2 p.m.

'Drinking & Writing'

What's the connection? The Chicago Neo-Futurists try to answer this question over a few drinks with you. In the bar. Free.

T 8/5, 3 p.m.

'Gilgamesh, Iowa'

Monkeys, a zombie prom, and more -- discover the imaginary world of Gilgamesh, Iowa, where two men realize their lives may have changed but their friendship hasn't.

S 8/3, 6 p.m.; W 8/6, 10 p.m.; Th 8/7, 8 p.m.; F 8/8, 2 p.m.; S 8/10, 4 p.m.

'One-man Hamlet'

Clayton Jevne magically combines techniques for this unique staging of a classic.

S 8/2, 2 p.m.; T 8/5, 8 p.m.; W 8/6, 6 p.m.; F 8/8, 8 p.m.; S 8/9, 8 p.m.

'Staggering Toward America'

Rik Reppe presents a rich tapestry of characters, ordinary citizens, searching for the meaning of America in a post-9/11 journey across the country.

S 8/2, 6 p.m.; S 8/3, 4 p.m.; F 8/8, 6 p.m.; S 8/9, 4 p.m.; S 8/10, 12 p.m.

'The Book of Names'

Ellen said yes to Jake, but she's hoping Les will say no. It's his forte, after all. He's been saying no to God for years.

S 8/2, 12 p.m.; S 8/3, 8 p.m.; M 8/4, 8 p.m.; S 8/9, 2 p.m.; S 8/10, 8 p.m.

'Ubu Roi'

Written by Alfred Jarry at 14 to make fun of his cruel and obnoxious physics teacher.

F 8/1, 10 p.m.; M 8/4, 6 p.m.; T 8/5, 6 p.m.; Th 8/7, 10 p.m.; S 8/9, 10 p.m.

'Weaverville Waltz'

Pipsqueak Romeo dreams of romancing the homecoming queen and rescuing Mom from his jealous hard-drinking stepfather.

S 8/2, 10 p.m.; S 8/3, 12 p.m.; Th 8/7, 6 p.m.; S 8/9, 6 p.m.; S 8/10, 6 p.m.

Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S.

'Alice in Wonderland'

'Beauty and the Beast'

Beauty and the Beast and Pygmalion collide in this urbanely surreal Ballet of the Dolls creation.

F 8/1, 5:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 8:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 5:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 8:30 p.m.

'Critters'

NuVoLe Dance Theatre's visual, acrobatic feast transcends language and transfixes all ages.

F 8/1, 10 p.m.; M 8/4, 5:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 8:30 p.m.

'Gumball Geezus'

A collision with the rebellious daughter of a wealthy tycoon sends a simple hero on a journey up the ladder of power in this comedy of war, words, and idolatry.

F 8/1, 7 p.m.; M 8/4, 10 p.m.; W 8/6, 4 p.m.; S 8/9, 1 p.m.; S 8/10, 4 p.m.

'Industrials'

Five agitprop educational films (known in the biz as "industrials") from the 1950s -- live and in color! Hyper-kitsch.

F 8/1, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/2, 2:30 p.m.;

T 8/5, 10 p.m.; F 8/8, 10 p.m.;

S 8/9, 10 p.m.

'Long Day's Journey Into David Sicherman'

New York-based writer-performer David Sicherman brings his unique blend of dark-roasted Colombian coffee to Minnesota. At times, laugh-out-loud funny. At times, not so much.

S 8/3, 4 p.m.; M 8/4, 8:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 7 p.m.; S 8/10, 2:30 p.m.

'Oil on Canvas'

Enter the cafes of turn-of-the-century Paris and the world beneath the canvas as young bohemian Amedeo Modigliani struggles to get to the top.

S 8/2, 4 p.m.; S 8/3, 8:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 5:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 5:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 7 p.m.

'On the Beaded Fringe: Explorations in Undulation'

Middle East meets Midwest in an urban ethnofusion dance and music experience.

S 8/2, 1 p.m.; S 8/3, 7 p.m.; W 8/6, 8:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 2:30 p.m.; S 8/10, 7 p.m.

'The Hanging of Pollyanna'

Performance poet Tom Cassidy tag-teams with his annoyed mother Inge to celebrate the positive aspects of hanging, addictions, paranoia and shopping at Target. No refunds without receipt, gift-wrap and concealed handgun.

S 8/3, 2:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 5:30 p.m.; W 8/6, 7 p.m.; Th 8/7, 7 p.m.; F 8/8, 8:30 p.m.

'Throwing Stones'

A multimedia production of 10 brutally honest vignettes about 10 exceptions to the Ten Commandments.

S 8/3, 5:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 7 p.m.; Th 8/7, 8:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 1 p.m.; S 8/9, 5:30 p.m.

Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S.

'Charlie Bethel's Beowulf'

The mother of all monster tales flashes with gore and subtext in a translation as musical as it is moving.

M 8/4, 4:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 9:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 6 p.m.; W 8/6, 1:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 1:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 4:30 p.m.

'Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Office'

It's 1963 in corporate America. A must-see to learn how to love your boss, de-fang your office enemies and be a fulfilled secretary.

F 8/1, 1:30 p.m.; S 8/2, 1:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 6 p.m.; T 8/5, 4:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 9:30 p.m.; Th 8/7, 4:30 p.m.

'Moby Dick by Herman Melville'

From NYC, Christopher Moore's one-actor one-hour adaptation of the classic story -- using only Herman Melville's words.

F 8/1, 4:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 1:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 1:30 p.m.; T 8/5, 8 p.m.; W 8/6, 4:30 p.m.; F 8/8, 4:30 p.m.

'The Captain and the Dog-faced Boy'

Two salty, sea-crafty adventurers have fallen on hard times. Join them as they struggle to start a new life on shore.

S 8/2, 4:30 p.m.; M 8/4, 8 p.m.; M 8/4, 11 p.m.; T 8/5, 11 p.m.; Th 8/7, 1:30 p.m.; S 8/9, 1:30 p.m.