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Fringe Without Borders

The Chicago Fringe Fest hosts troupes from as far away as France, Korea, and Highland Park



Some think of Chicago's theater scene as one big, ongoing fringe fest. But in 2010 Sarah Mikayla Brown and Vinnie Lacey went ahead and founded the Chicago Fringe Festival anyway. This year's 11-day extravaganza presents 48 shows at a variety of Pilsen venues. Here's a little of what looks intriguing to us.

First, the locals: A Fringe Fest regular, transgender performer Rebecca Kling returns with Storms Under Her Skin, a one-person show about the "equations of sex" (Thu 8/30, 10 PM, Sat 9/1, 7 PM, Sun 9/2, 1 PM, Mon 9/3, 5:30 PM, Thu 9/6, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/8, 4 PM, Sun 9/9, 7 PM, Both Sides Art Gallery, 1838 S. Halsted). White Elephant's dance-theater piece Pink Milk looks at the life of odd, gay computer genius Alan Turing (Fri 8/31, 7 PM, Sat 9/1, 2:30 PM, Sun 9/2, 4 PM, Mon 9/3, 8:30 PM, Fri 9/7, 10 PM, Sat 9/8, 1 PM, Sun 9/9, 5:30 PM, Americana Stage, 600 W. Cermak). The Island deploys surrealism, Dada, and poker to dramatize 20th-century mayhem in The War to End War (Thu 8/30, 10 PM, Sun 9/2, 2:30 and 5:30 PM, Mon 9/3, 8:30 PM, Fri 9/7, 7 PM, Sat 9/8, 1 PM, Sun 9/9, 4 PM, Chicago Art Department, 1932 S. Halsted). And Small Fish Radio Theatre and Thespinarium wants you there when they record a podcast, The Adventures of a Skater Girl, bringing together contributions from playwrights, storytellers, and a poet (Mon 9/3, 8:30 PM, Thu 9/6, 10 PM, Sat 9/8, 5:30 PM, Black Cloud Gallery, 1909 S. Halsted).

Among the out-of-towners is Coloradan Doug Vincent, whose solo work A Day for Grace features music by former BoDean Sam Llanas (Fri 8/31, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/1, 5:30 PM, Sun 9/2, 10 PM, Both Sides Art Gallery). A "young and so likeable [sic] team" from France, la Petite Famille, offers Demain L'Aurore, a musical about adolescence (Fri 8/31, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/1, 4 PM, Sun 9/2, 2:30 PM, Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th). The Interpreters come all the way from Seoul with Moksori/Voice, a physical-theater piece portraying the Korean comfort women of World War II (Thu 8/30, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/1, 4 PM, Sun 9/2, 5:30 PM, Both Sides Art Gallery). Finally, Georgia's George Contini chronicles the life and art of enigmatic female impersonator Julian Eltinge in Put It in the Scrapbook (Thu 8/30, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/1, 5:30 PM, Sun 9/2, 1 PM, Thu 9/6, 7 PM, Fri 9/7, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/8, 2:30 PM, Sun 9/9, 4 PM, Dream Theatre).

The fest kicks off with a free reception at Fringe Central (Thu 8/30, 6 PM, 600 W. Cermak). There are also a VIP party (Sat 9/1, 7 PM, nondonors pay $50) and a meet-the-artists brunch (Sat 9/8, 11:30 AM, $25) at the same location.

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