Fringe Festivals are Weird in the Best Way

Brittani’s Team Pick:

Do you like theater, music, film, spoken word, and dance? Do you also like weird shit? Well guess what. The Fringe Festival takes those things and mashes them together like a really artsy and probably less delicious Cold Stone Creamery. The Fringe Festival focuses on original performance arts pieces. For those of you that haven’t had too many brushes with independent performance art, it usually makes you go WTF in a WTF way but sometimes it makes you go WTF in an awesome way. There are Fringe Fests all over the world. They began in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. The festivals aren’t nationally incorporated so their operations vary from city to city but the structure is reliant on providing an “open forum of expression that minimizes the financial risks for both artists and audiences.” That means it’s fairly easy to register as a performer and pretty cheap to see shows.

Recently I caught a couple of shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Maybe next year when I have a car (please sweet baby Jesus) and am generally less lazy (a girl can dream), I will go to more of them. However this is not the future and the two shows I saw were 30 Minute Musicals and How to Do Thangz with Words. Both of which I enjoyed immensely. Both shows I can’t imagine having seen anywhere else except maybe on a college campus because people aren’t given this kind of freedom when there’s money on the line. When there are other people to please and executives with expectations or theaters to keep afloat, creativity is at times stifled or cut down and stripped until it becomes “marketable.” I might be in the minority but at this point in my life, I’d never pay 15 bucks to see a blockbuster movie but I’d pay it to see a dude sing “Hold on to your butts.”

30 MINUTE MUSICALS debuts their first Double Feature at Fringe! 30MM’s hilarious musical theatre adaptations of SHOWGIRLS and JURASSIC PARK will leave you on the edge of your seat. These two fast and furious romps, featuring original songs and choreography, clock in at a breathtaking 30 minutes each.

Licki Ucroj “knowz” how to do thangz with wordz. Originally inspired by hip-hop icon Nicki Minaj, the rapper believes in the transformative power of language. She sings, speaks, and proselytizes: propagating a faith in words and their power to heal broken hearts. Wounds were made for licking.

The Hollywood run is over but there are upcoming festivals in New York, San Francisco, Boulder, Seattle, D.C., Chicago, Minnesota, Toronto, Calgary, New Orleans, and other cities all over the world. The Dublin, Vancouver, and Brighton city guides all mention their respective Fringes so it seems like they’re a great place to find the lady queers.

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. On of my favourite things about summer is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the largest arts festival in the world! Or so they say). I have definitely seen my fair share of weird and wonderful shows. You’ve gotta love fringe festivals- where else would you be able to see a musical about taxidermy and bonbons, a musical about Northern Ireland’s first gay friendly rugby team, and a queer feminist burlesque performance, all in one day?

  2. Yesss! The Fringe fest is my favourite festival each year. I’ve seen some awesome shows, some awful shows and everything in between.

    If you happen to be on the Canadian circuit, Peter ‘n Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel was the best comedy I’ve seen in a looong time. Fantastic physical comedy, breaking the fourth wall and well thought out running gags:

    nggrfg was the first fringe show I saw in 2009 and it’ll always be one of the most memorable. It was a one man show that delved into trying to find you way when all you have is hateful labels thrown at you. Berend managed to kickstart his way to Ediburgh!

  3. My friend’s show is headed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! It already ran in New York and was, so see it if you can in Scotland.

    Daughters of Lot
    Written by Alexis Roblan and directed by Rachel Kerry, DAUGHTERS OF LOT is a titillating, perplexing, and vexing exploration of the ways women are taught to be “women.”

  4. OH MY GOD BRITTANI I really can’t believe you wrote about Fringe. I work for the Capital Fringe Festival (Washington DC’s Fringe) and it’s like basically my entire life right now. It’s entirely non-profit, run by volunteers, and Capital Fringe is unjuried, meaning we don’t have a selection committee or a vetting process. If you bring us your shining, original, brilliant piece of work by the deadline, we’ll give you a venue and tons of other perks, like eager audiences. It’s beyond amazing. Capital Fringe is at 607 New York Avenue NW, from July 12-29th. We probably have the coolest outdoor bar in DC, also.

    We’ve selected all the shows for this year, BUT YOU SHOULD TOTALLY VOLUNTEER. Volunteers get to see shows for free, which is a really great deal. Sign up at and I’ll love you forever.

    seriously, i can’t. autostraddle and fringe. so happy right now. thank youuuu brittani! (oh ps this is shilpa btw)

  5. I love a good fringe festival, this year will be my 4th trip to the Edinburgh Fringe (in 4 years) and my second year working as a techie on a handful of shows. Super exciting!

  6. Brittani and other LA-dwellers, is there anywhere online that you go to find out about cool events in LA? Any email newsletters you subscribe to? I have been here for a year and still have few friends, much less friends who go out and do stuff (it is so easy to never do anything interesting in this city). I keep finding out about interesting events right after they happen.

  7. I’ll be working the Edinburgh Festival for the second time this year and could not recommend it enough ^~^ squeeee

  8. EDINBURGH FRINGE! Oh this makes me so happy and proud to be Scottish – I work there every year.
    Everyone should go at least once. There is so much theatre queerness I can’t even.

  9. i’m moving to edinburgh the week after fringe this year! uni fail. but there’s always next august. :)

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