Fringe Festival Roundup: Top Picks For Free Performances

During Le Grand Continental, pictured here, a giant, free dance performance presented at the Art Museum Plaza, more than 200 Philadelphians will dance in a 30-minute, outdoor contemporary live show. (Photo by Robert Etcheverry courtesy Live Arts/Fringe)

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe begins today, September 7.

To prepare you for the 16 days of artistic insanity, we’ve been posting guides to events, plus spotlights on some of our particular favorites.

First up was a roundup of shows in unusual locations, then participatory shows in wich the audience makes the performance. Yesterday we published our Top 10 Picks for dance shows.

You can also check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Fringe Festival.

Below, we present picks for free performances during Live Arts/Fringe, in order by date. You can browse the full list of free shows here.

• Le Grand Continental by Sylvain Émard DanseSeptember 8-9, Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Watch the world’s most glorious contemporary dancing event from the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Le Grand Continental is a festive, free, 30-minute outdoor adventure that has assembled nearly 200 local dancers of all ages and backgrounds to show off the talent, charisma and personality of Philadelphians. First created for Montréal’s renowned Festival TransAmériques, the Philadelphia version promises to be one of the largest presentations of its kind in the world.

What Nurtures Us by Linda Dubin Garfield/Susan Dipronio: September 9-20, The Book Trader, 7 N. 2nd Street. At these interactive mixed media workshops you get to create an image, tell your story, and be part of the installation. Art materials supplied. It’s part of ARTISTS Against Hunger to benefit The Food Trust.

Paint the American Eagle by One Shot Productions: September 10-12, Central Library, 1901 Vine Street. In 1842, Charles Dickens insisted that his wife Catherine accompany him on a six-month journey to America. He recorded his observations and impressions of the new republic, not altogether flattering. Catherine didn’t speak publicly about her experience — until now. This is a staged reading.

The 2012 Rocky Awards: September 10, Festival Bar: Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street. The Rocky Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the Greater Philadelphia dance community. Watch wild and wonderful dances by anonymous bodies, Flamenco Pasion y Arte, Anna Drozdowski and other choreo-superstars. Stand up and get down in full-on audience-interactive dances. The awards are hosted this year by Christina Zani and Dito van Reigersberg.

Notes on the Emptying of a City by Ashley Hunt: September 11, Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad Street. In a performance acting as a dismantled film, a narrator pieces together the sounds, images and voiceover of a documentary before a live audience. Seated at a desk with a text and a laptop computer, artist and activist Ashley Hunt, in partnership with Mural Arts and muraLAB, weaves video-testimonies of survivors together with his own personal recollections as a documentarian and organizer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

• Open AirSeptember 20-October 14, Project Headquarters – 24th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.This spectacular, world premiere public art installation involves 24 powerful robotic searchlights placed along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway combining to create enormous 3-D light formations that will be visible in the night sky from as far as 10 miles away. The passersby, or anyone with Internet access, are the controllers of the searchlights, as you program your own message into an app or web portal after which it is automatically queued to be displayed in the sky in visual interpretation form. Open Air is affiliated with both Live Arts/Fringe and DesignPhiladelphia.


Fringe Festival Roundup: Our Picks For The Top 10 Dance Shows

Fringe Festival Roundup: Top Picks For Participatory Shows In Which The Audience Makes The Performance

Fringe Festival Roundup: Top Picks For Performances At Unusual Sites, From A Pub To A Yoga Studio To A Museum Gallery To A Skate Park

A Beginner’s Guide To The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival And Philly Fringe, Returning September 7-22 With Almost 700 Theater, Dance, Music, Comedy And Spoken Word Performances


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