Brienza is executive director of the Capital Fringe Festival, which is in its fifth year and running at several venues around the District until July 28. Many festival events require paid entry, but some are free.
How would you describe the Fringe movement?
The Fringe originated in Edinborough, Scotland in 1947, when the locals were not allowed to participate in a large performing arts festival. They put their on their own shows wherever they could, like in parking lots. One journalist wrote that the locals were fringing the larger festival. It's basically a way for artists to perform, unjuried, uncensored. In this town, a lot of festivals are curated and juried, and people are basically told what's good. The performers get, on average, seventy percent back from ticket sales. It's low-tech and low production cost, and the emphasis is on the story.
Why did you start Capital Fringe?
There wasn't an outlet that was allowing people to perform and produce their shows in an unjuried manner. The Fringe Festival is a time when it's really up to the people to decide what's going to be on stage and what's going to be the top selling show.
In what media do Fringe performers deal?
It's live music, puppet shows, drama, comedy, dance, improv. It's anything performed on stage.
What are some of the free activities?
There are a lot of free events under the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent [in the parking lot of Fort Fringe in Chinatown]. We have variety shows, like old-time vaudeville shows, where people take turns performing. That ranges from sword-swallowers [to] magicians. We also have musical experiments, where musicians perform unrehearsed music with different kinds of instruments.
How are artists chosen to perform?
It's a first-come, first-serve basis. We take applications in the beginning of October, and the application process runs through Dec. 31. - Joey Flechas