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

By Heather Cherone | September 2, 2015 6:10am
 The extravaganza kicks off Wednesday and will feature 200 performances at five neighborhood locations.
Chicago Fringe Festival Sept. 3-13
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JEFFERSON PARK — If all goes as planned this week, Jefferson Park will feel at least a little bit strange.

The Chicago Fringe Festival will do its best to amp up the weirdness Thursday at this summer's sixth-annual fiesta of avant garde and do-it-yourself performance art.

Scheduled acts include the tale of an elephant killing in 1916, a dangerous modern circus and a one-man accordion rock opera.

But before the first act takes the stage at one of five venues near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues, festival organizers will hold a free preview party at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fischman's Liquors, 4780 N. Milwaukee Ave., which will serve as the festival's headquarters — Fringe Central — during its nine-day run.

Selected artists will perform three-minute previews of their performances at the party, organizers said.

Three acts will be part of the Kids Fringe pilot program, designed to make the festival more family friendly, executive director Anne Cauley said.

From noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Sept. 12 and 13, children's activities will take place at Fringe Central, including games, crafts and workshops led by performers, Cauley said.

Those shows will include performances of "That's Weird, Grandma" by Barrel of Monkeys, which is made up of third- through fifth-grade students from Chicago Public Schools.

In addition, festival organizers will hold a town hall meeting as part of a five-year planning process designed to shape the next five years of the Fringe Fest, Cauley said. The meeting will take place at 11 a.m. Sept. 12 at the Jefferson Park Masonic Temple, 5418 W. Gale St.

The third annual Chicago Fringe Benefit will take place Sept. 11 at Magnolia Restaurant and Banquet Hall, 4751 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets are $25, and include drinks and dinner as well as a show by Fool Size Theatre, Cauley said.

The complete list of performances and times, company and performance descriptions and venues are available online.

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 festival will take place at five venues:

• Congregational Church of Jefferson Park gym, 5320 W. Giddings Ave.

• Congregational Church of Jefferson Park meeting hall, 5320 W. Giddings Ave.

• Jefferson Playhouse, Home of Windy City Music Theatre, 5340 W. Lawrence Ave

• Windy City Music Theatre Black Box Studio, 5340 W. Lawrence Ave.

• The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.

All of the festival's venues 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.

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