Live Arts and Fringe

Kate Watson-Wallace's "Car"

WHAT: The Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival, now in its 11th year, features some of the most groundbreaking, provocative and hilarious dance, theater, puppetry and music you’ll ever get the chance to see.

WHEN: The festival got underway late last month and runs through Sept. 13.

WHERE: Venues across the city open their doors to performers of all stripes. In University City and West Philly, shows take place at 14 different locations, including the Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster Ave.), World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St.), the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall (3417 Spruce St.) and even one parking garage—located above the Fresh Grocer (40th and Walnut streets).

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices range from free to $25.

WHY LIVE ARTS AND FRINGE?: Live Arts features performances by dance and theater troupes both locally and internationally based, all of which are selected by the festival’s artistic director. The Philly Fringe is considered to be the “unfiltered” festival, where artists can present their own work without going through a selection process.

GO FOR A RIDE: Audiences may remember Kate Watson-Wallace’s site-based 2006 performance, “House,” in which dancers (in an actual campus house) performed tightly choreographed moves accompanied by sound recordings and video projections. This year, she invites the audience to a parking garage to experience “Car” (pictured), the second in her “American Spaces” series, which re-imagine everyday spaces. Remaining performances run every half-hour from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 2, 4-7, 9-11 and 12-13 and cost $25 per person. Come prepared to stand and walk.

CIRCLE THIS: The Leah Stein Dance Company joins the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia in the Penn-sponsored “Urban ECHO: Circle Told,” in which dancers and 100 singers perform an original score by Pauline Oliveros. Shows run Sept. 6 and 13 at 2 and 4 p.m. at The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.) and tickets cost $25 per person.

ON THE FRINGE: Be sure not to miss the Philly Song Shuffle ($20) on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at World Cafe Live, in which 50 artists on one stage make like an iPod and perform a live song shuffle. If you seek a music mash-up of a different sort, check out the hip-hop/multimedia/animation show, “Manic Swell” ($15), performed by the group Indigenous Pitch on Sept. 5 and 7 at 7 p.m., and Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. at Drexel’s Mandell Theater (3300 Chestnut St.). On Sept. 6, 12 and 13 at The Rotunda, Lili Bita and The Theatre Cooperative present “Women of Fire and Blood” ($15), in which actors reimagine great figures of classical myths as heroines for today.

MORE INFO: For tickets and info, visit the Live Arts and Fringe website: or call 215-413-1318.

Originally published on September 4, 2008