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Funk Fringe Fest Returns to Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is a city dictated by its calendar. From when Congress is in session to its many annual traditions, this place likes to stay very well regulated.

Which is why it’s nice that each year, Capital Fringe Festival comes along to shake it up. Yes, the performing arts event follows a tradition yearly schedule, but that is about the only conventional part of Washington’s annual ode to the odd.


Now in its eighth year, Capital Fringe Festival is a city-wide arts festival, with a strong focus on performance, that specializes in both the local and the weird. The Festival is the premier of event of Capital Fringe, a non-profit whose mission is to support artists from the area who help stimulate the community they live in.

With that goal, the festival is almost an invitation to the avant-garde, hosting shows that stretch the standard definitions of stage, space and art.

The event is actually already underway, having kicked off its 17-day run on July 11th. The schedule of events goes all the way until July 28th, but the length of Capital Fringe Festival isn’t the only thing about it that’s large.

Capital Fringe Festival takes place on a massive scale, with numbers that are truly astounding. In the slightly over two-week run, Fringe packs more than 700 performances from 130 shows into venues all across the city. The main stages of the festival are located at Fringe’s headquarters, several spots at the intersection of 6th and L Street and New York Avenue in Northwest. But to catch a show at Fringe, you may have to head to the GALA Theatre in Columbia Heights, the Goethe-Institut in Chinatown or the Source on U Street.


What shows can you expect to see in the remaining week-and-a-half of Capital Fringe Festival?

Playing four more times at the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent bar is 1814! The War of 1812 Rock Opera. It’s the history of the only time the United States was invaded, the War of 1812. Except this solemn time is reinvented as an uproarious rock opera. Think Spinal Tap meets the Revolutionary War.

While that show will stimulate your ears, Fringe Festival events also strive to entertain your mind. The show 21 King at the Goethe-Institut takes a look at the biblical story of Jezebel, the powerful woman behind one of the kings of Israel. It’s set though, in 1980s Charleston, with Jezebel as the daughter of a real estate tycoon. 21 King has two more shows, on Thursday July 25th and Sunday, July 28th.

Keeping with the local hilt of the Festival, & Afterwards is a comedic, true story about a country boy who arrives in Dupont Circle in 1993 and is taken in by locals. They, in turn, shape him into a real city dweller. The show takes its name from the famous café the performer, Kevin Boggs, worked at in Dupont Circle, Kramerbooks & Afterwords. & Afterwards takes place at the Warehouse on New York Avenue. There are two more shows of the one-man play, on Thursday the 25 and Saturday the 27th.

A big part of Fringe Fest is breaking down the wall between artist and audience, and the improv group dog & pony dc does just that in A Killing Game. In the show, a deathly plague starts killing off the world’s citizens. The performance incorporates the audience as citizens, as well as the use of social media, so it may be the one show where guests are encouraged to use their cell phone. A Killing Game runs almost every day from now until the end of Capital Fringe Festival, taking place at the Woolly Mammoth Theater at 7th and D Streets NW.

While Washington, D.C. has a tremendous amount of traditional art, Capital Fringe Festival is one of the best ways to really experience all the unconventional ways artists here are plying their craft.

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