JEFFERSON PARK — Artists eager to perform during the 2014 Chicago Fringe Festival have one last shot — a party Saturday will fill the 37 remaining slots through a lottery.
Organizers of the festival — which will return to Jefferson Park for the second year in a row — devoted to all things weird, off beat and avant garde will hold the annual lottery party at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fischman's Liquors and Tavern, 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Half of the remaining spots are earmarked for performers from outside Chicago and another quarter are set aside to ensure the festival's lineup "reflects a diversity of ethnicity ability and or age," according to the festival's website.
The first 13 performance slots were filled through an online first-come, first-served application process in December. All of the spots were snapped up in two minutes, said festival Executive Director Vinnie Lacey.
The festival is set to feature a performance of "Chicago Afterdark," a dramatic poem that follows a gay love triangle, by the Moody Artist Group; "Our Fair City," a live performance of a science fiction radio play by HartLife, NFP; a solo show by Mark Murray about a boy coming of age after growing up with two deaf parents; and Nobody's Sweetheart's retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Jeckyll and Hyde" - with a hip-hop twist.
The lottery party will feature food, music, trivia and "cool beer" from Fischman's selection of rare craft beers, Lacey said.
"It is going to have a good vibe," Lacey said.
About 100 artists applied to perform in the 5-year-old festival that will take place in several locations in Jefferson Park from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, Lacey said.
Festival organizers have not yet announced a theme for this year's festival.
"There are a lot of fun ideas being thrown around," Lacey said.
In addition, a contest will not be held to design the logo for the festival this year, as has been done in recent years, Lacey said.
Organizers want to market this year's festival with a more cohesive approach that will do a better job explaining what Fringe Fest is all about to people who have never heard of it before, Lacey said.
"We're the punk rock of theater festivals," Lacey said. "Everyone is guaranteed to find something that they like, whether they are into comedy, dance, drama or just weird stuff. It will be a great place to hang out and party."
Lacey said he was thrilled to be returning to Jefferson Park after the festival's first three years in Pilsen.
"It is 180 degress from Pilsen in a better way," Lacey said. "It really changes your outlook. We feel energized."