Fringe: Weird and always wondrous

Having grown into a makes-my-heart-glad-celebration of theater, art and music, Fringe presents hundreds of theater works.

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  • | 1:22 p.m. May 16, 2012
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Now through May 28 – “You’ve got a Fringe …”

Steadfast in its non-juried wackiness, often weird and always wondrous, the 21st Annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is the oldest, non-juried festival in the United States. Having grown into a makes-my-heart-glad-celebration of theater, art and music, Fringe presents hundreds of theater works, Visual Fringe, outdoor concerts and Kids Fringe. Events are held at various venues, and true to Fringe’s founding ethos, all acts remain uncensored, with performances ranging from traditional ‘nerdiness’ to adults-only ‘nudiness.’ Admission is $5 to $11 per show with all proceeds going to the performers. Visit or call 407-648-0077.

Parents – Do not miss …

Kids Fringe is a special part of the Festival just for kids and families. Located in the sculpture gardens of the Mennello Museum of American Art, Kids Fringe offers performances, classes, art activities and more. Do your best Tigger in the bounce house, meet a creature, dress up in a costume, play a drum and take funny pictures. Kids Fringe is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, and May 26 and 27. Find the giant Fringezilla at the entrance of the park and follow his footsteps to the fun. Visit

May 17 – Third Thursday Art Stroll

Every Third Thursday, the galleries in Downtown Orlando open with their new exhibits, making the evening one great art party of meeting, looking, networking and buying art. Thursday, May 17, at the City Arts Factory, a group of eight artists – Holly Tharp, Chad Pollpeter, Cameron Moore, Chad Kendall, Johanna O’Donnell, Shawn Rinehart, Plinio Pinto and Rachel Wronowski – will present new work and create new pieces for a community wall. The City Arts Factory is at the corner of Orange and Pine in downtown Orlando. Call 407-648-7060 or visit

May 18 – The Art of Basketball

The Art of Basketball (Wave 3), opening on May 18 from 6 to 9 p.m., is a preview of a unique collection of NBA licensed artworks by leading graffiti/street artists who re-imagined the official NBA backboard and All Star court. The ‘notoriously harmonious’ artist/curator Billi Kid, from New York, will be on-hand to “share the vision behind the art exhibit.” With each piece of art designed for interior spaces, Art of Basketball will be at Church Street Exchange at 101 S. Garland Ave., in Orlando, through June 15. Proceeds benefit the Downtown Arts District, and can be purchased at or by calling 407-648-7060. The exhibit is available for private viewings (and for purchase) by contacting Bill Fickett at [email protected]

May 19 – United Way’s 20th Annual Chef’s Gala

There are some big food and wine events in Central Florida, but none are as truly fabulous as the Annual Chef’s Gala that benefits Heart of Florida United Way. Festivities begin Saturday, May 19, at 6:45 p.m. as the sparkling wine flows (along with a silent auction) at Epcot at Walt Disney World. The evening features fine cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s top chefs and restaurants. Most importantly, proceeds benefit programs that provide food, shelter and vital services to Central Floridians in need. Sponsored by Walt Disney World for the past 19 years, this event is true to its slogan. The Chef’s Gala is a “Tasteful Way to Make a Difference.” Call 407-429-2161 or visit

May 20 – Free museum day

The Orlando Museum of Art ( will lead the way among our many Florida museums by offering free admission on May 20 as part of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ (AAMD) Art Museum Day. This international event spotlights the value of the arts while providing new opportunities for audiences to participate in museum programs. OMA will encourage visitors to share their museum experiences on a special printed form as part of a collective public response. A special presentation is also free to OMA visitors of all ages on May 20 at 2 p.m. when storytellers will bring history to life with stories and songs about Florida and its people. Visit

Josh Garrick is a writer, photographer, educator, and fine art curator. He is a member of the Curatorial Council for the Museum of Florida Art. Garrick can be reached at [email protected] or 407-522-3906.


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