What happens when a festival organizer decides who to book by literally pulling names out of a hat?
The resulting schedule of everything from magic shows to physic storytellers is the Tucson Fringe Festival, taking place this weekend from Jan. 13-15. Though the 18 different performances take place at Tucson staples like Club Congress and The Screening Room, a Fringe Fest performance might be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
These experimental festivals allow artists, both local and touring, the chance to perform fully uncensored. Viewers get the rewards of cheap tickets and never quite knowing what they’re walking into.
There are several ways to enjoy the festival, with individual shows costing $10 each and a variety of passes available. Guests also need to purchase a $3 Fringe Festival button to access the shows.
This year’s festival will take place at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., ZUZI! in the Historic Y, 738 N. Fifth Ave., The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St. and The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St.
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For a complete schedule, description of shows or to purchase tickets and passes, visit tucsonfringe.org. Here are six shows to look for at this weekend’s offbeat paradise of performances.
Cuentos: Stories from the Living to the Dead
Los Angeles-based dance group Contemporary Arte in Movement will don the intricate skull makeup of Día de Los Muertos in this exploration of life and death through dance. The troupe uses a blend of dance styles and spoken word to share Mexican culture with audiences. The dancers take the stage at ZUZI! in the Historic Y, 738 N. Fifth Ave. Friday: 8:30 p.m., Saturday: 4:30 p.m., Sunday: 12:00 p.m.
See comedy, magic, juggling and maybe even some hypnosis all in one award-winning Vaudeville man. Variety performer Elias Caress takes a little bit of everything out of his magic hat for this stunt-filled performance at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Saturday: 3 p.m., Sunday: noon and 6 p.m.
Burning It All To Light My Darkest Hour
Love, pain, beauty and rebirth come to life through variety performer Gale Force’s story of transformation. The one-woman show takes place at ZUZI! in the Historic Y and will feature dance, poetry and acrobatics. Saturday: 7:30 p.m., Sunday: 1:30 p.m.
Jasper Louis is equal parts magic jazz musician and clown. Complete with white face paint and a trumpet, the New Orleans magician will perform some of his trademark sleight of hand magic tricks at ZUZI! in the Historic Y. Friday: 5:30 p.m., Saturday: 3 p.m., Sunday: 6 p.m.
The Love Song of Tonya Harding
What happed to figure skater Tonya Harding after her big 90s scandal? Clara Elser uses her theater chops to explore Harding’s life 20 years after the attack on Nancy Kerrigan in this one-woman comedy at The Flycatcher. This show is 21 and up. Friday: 6:30 p.m., Saturday: 2:00 p.m., Sunday: 3:30 p.m.
The Gay Uncle Explains it All to You!
The Gay Uncle, comedian Jeffrey Robert, talks through the trashy, campy and fabulous pop culture he identifies with most. Using some fun visual aids, Robert will bring pieces of his popular Seattle podcast and monthly show, “The Gay Uncle Time,” to the stage at Club Congress. Saturday: 5 p.m., Sunday: 2 p.m.