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Chicago Fringe Festival: 'Weird' Event Starts Nine-Day Run

  The extravaganza will feature 200 performances at five neighborhood locations.
Chicago Fringe Festival
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JEFFERSON PARK — If Jefferson Park seems a bit weirder this week, there's a good reason for it.

The Chicago Fringe Festival started amping up the weirdness Thursday at this summer's fifth-annual fiesta of avant garde and do-it-yourself performance art.

The festival will feature 50 shows and 200 performances in five venues throughout the neighborhood. Scheduled acts include a rap musical, a science-fiction radio play and a performance by drag entertainers from Utah.

Heather Cherone says JP officials wanted visitors to see a unique side of the neighborhood:

There is a $5 cover charge for the festival, and individual performances are $10. Tickets, as well as passes for multiple performances, are available on the group's website.

The most visible sign of the fest is the "yarn bombing" throughout Jefferson Park Business District by the artist Annaloux, who has wrapped lamp posts, bike racks, trees with brightly colored knitted, crocheted and macramed yarn along the festival's route in an effort to "add color and whimsy and make passersby smile," according to the artist.

The annual benefit for the festival is scheduled for Sunday. Tickets are $20 online, or $25 at the door. A silent auction and raffle will take place, and Captain Ambivalent will serenade the crowd with accordion tunes from 7-8 p.m.

Bands — and The Kiss Kiss Cabaret burlesque show — will play the festival's box office Fringe Central, also known as Fischman's Liquors, 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Friday and Sept. 5.

All of the festival's venues — which have been renamed to honor Chicago — are in the Jefferson Park Business District within walking distance of the Jefferson Park stop on the CTA Blue Line, as well as the bus lines that run along Milwaukee and Higgins avenues.

The festival will take place at five venues:

• The Stinking Onion Stage, Congregational Church of Jefferson Park gym, 5320 W. Giddings Ave.
• The Deep Dish Stage, Congregational Church of Jefferson Park meeting hall, 5320 W. Giddings Ave.
• The Ketchup-less Stage, The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.
• The Lake Effect Stage, Youth Company Chicago, 5340 W. Lawrence Ave.
• The Early & Often Stage, Magnolia Banquet Hall, 4751 N Milwaukee Ave.

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