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20 Years of Weird and Wonderful Art with the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival *Revised 1.15.2022*

Jennifer Bennett

from The Accidentals, 2019 Asheville Fringe Arts Festival

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January 9, 2022 - Asheville, NC:

This preview was contributed by Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. Revisions made on 1.15.2022 based on new COVID-19 protocols in Buncombe County.*

The Asheville Fringe Arts Festival is back, baby! Fringe art exists outside of the mainstream. It’s experimental, unusual, and one-of-a-kind. From music and theater to puppetry and dance, Asheville Fringe Arts Festival offers the best of the unexpected. During the January 27-30 shows, Asheville Fringe will be celebrating its 20th year. That’s the platinum anniversary, for anyone considering the perfect gift. However, your presence would make the best present - and here’s a taste of what the festival has in store for you!   

Stay home, see shows. Virtual film nights include two international collections as well as short films and dance-themed screenings.  Asheville Fringe offers its Fringe Binge pass for those who plan to watch from the comfort of their own couches ($60 for up to 19 livestreamed shows). Learn more and buy tickets at http://ashevillefringe.org

*Given the recommendations from the Buncombe County Health department and the rise in the COVID-19 positivity rate, the Asheville Fringe Festival will continue with its scheduled Online Live! and Online Films on the weekend of January 27-30, but postpone its in-person shows and events until March 24-27. This includes the kick-off party/benefit for Sly Grog, scheduled for Sunday, January 16th. The new date for the SlyGrog Benefit at LEAF Global Arts is March 6th.

Stay tuned for the new dates for the following in-person and live-streamed shows, including the following:

Award-Winning Performers & Performances

  • 50 Shades of Gay is an adult variety show filled with comedy, music, drag, costumes, and audience participation. It was written, produced, and stars New Jersey-based comedian Ike Avelli, who was the winner of the Get Out Magazine LGBT 2014 Comedian of the Year. 
  • Brian Feldman’s #txtshow (on the internet) - which he performed at the 2021 Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, won accolades such as the Audience Choice Award, Pittsburgh Virtual Fringe Festival (2021) and Experimental Production of the Year, The Young-Howze Theatre Awards (2021). He returns to Asheville this year with #txtshow (irl) - an in-person version of his crowd-sourced show.

Ground-Breaking Work

  • Performance duo Amanda Levesque and Tom Kilby return with Disableism, an hourlong piece of 1-10 minute vignettes. Topics include unwrapping ableism to goofy videos for people’s birthdays; delivered with compassion, love and Tom and Amanda’s wacky sense of humor.
  • Learn more about Skysail Theatre's debut show, Tithonia: A Lesbian Space Opera, in our preview article.

Spoken Word

  • Asheville locals BAD TIES blend a unique spin on beat poetry with mixed media performance art. In the Mouth of Urban Decay is a 30-minute presentation of film, music, and original spoken word surrounding themes of displacement, geography, and life’s little disappointments.
  • Justin Evans and Kristen Aldrich hold a memorial service for the late (and fictional) poet Martha Whythblath. “Her life and work re-established a classic and humane function of creative work, reinforcing emotional rationality, public communication, and the celebration of our intricately collaborative lives. She is not survived by any of us,” says the show description.