On the fringe

Don’t feel left out. Though it’s true that most of the shows in the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe (through Sept. 18) take place in Old City, this year several are taking up residence here in University City. So even if you don’t feel like trekking to the other side of town, here’s your chance to take in some cutting-edge performances right in Penn’s backyard.

Here’s a lineup of Fringe events taking place in the neighborhood. For tickets or a complete schedule, go to the festival’s web site: http://www.livearts-fringe.org or 215-413-1318.

Sept. 9

  • Carl Barone’s Grupo Amigos presents music influenced by African, Cuban and Brazilian rhythms and melodies. $5. 10 p.m. and midnight at Dahlak, 4708 Baltimore Ave.

Sept. 11

  • Jazz musician William Hooker, Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, turntablist DJ Olive and guitarist Alan Licht are The Text of Light Group, who will perform live to the avant-garde films of Stan Brakhage: “Ellipses” (1998) and “Star Garden” (1974). A series of short films precedes the performance. $10. 7 p.m. at International House, 3701 Chestnut St.

Sept. 12

  • Dancers and choreographers Elisha Clark and Anne Burnbrige turn the tables on who is watching whom in their show, “body-subject body-object.” $10. 4 p.m. at the Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Ave.

Sept. 14 and 26

  • The University of the Poor, School of Arts and Culture presents “Untold Stories: Fighting Poverty in a Land of Plenty.” The artists use performance, poetry, video and visual arts to show conditions of poverty in the U.S. and the movement to end these conditions. Sept. 14 from 4 to 5 p.m.; Sept. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St.

Sept. 17 and 18

  • Lili Bita directs a modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ Greek drama, “LYSISTRATA,” where women go on a “sex strike” until their men agree to end the violence of the Peloponnesian War. $10. 7:30 p.m. at The Rotunda.

Local talent

The Festival also offers an opportunity to admire the creativity and talent of Penn co-workers taking center stage. Alexis Simpson, who works as a lab technician in the Neuroscience Graduate Group, will perform with her improvisational comedy troupe, Rare Bird Show. Teaming up with a second group, The Gramercy Riffs, Simpson and her fellow Rare Birds will perform “longform” improv comedy under the name Yes and Robot Factory. You can see them at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, on Sept. 9 and 15 at 9 p.m. and on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m.

In case you were wondering, longform refers to a style where players take a suggestion from the audience and run with comedy sketches around that theme for 25 minutes. “When it goes well, you’re like, ‘that was 25 minutes?’” she says. “As long as you can kind of forget that people are watching you and have fun—it’s one of the best feelings that you can achieve.”

It’s Simpson’s first fringe fest, and she says she would encourage anyone to get involved in future festivals. “It’s a good way to learn all the things [about] how to produce a show,” she says. “It’s one of the really great things about this city.”

Originally published on September 9, 2004