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San Diego Fringe 2018 Wraps Up With Awards Show

List of winners and highlights from 28 shows

San Diego Fringe Awards Ceremony

UPDATED: July 11, 2018

In honor of World Fringe Day, here is the video of the 6th Annual San Diego International Fringe Festival Awards. Celebrate World Fringe Day by seeing what was the best of this year's San Diego Fringe.

UPDATED: 7:00 a.m. July 1, 2018

San Diego International Fringe Festival ended last night with an awards show at the Spreckels Theatre. I managed to see 37 of the 61 shows in 11 days of theater bliss. This year's fest was slightly smaller in terms of the number of artists performing and attendance seemed down, but the quality of shows was equally as high and as diverse as in previous years.

Photo caption:

Photo by Beth Accomando

Gianmarco Busetto accepting the award for Outstanding Drama from San Diego International Fringe executive director Kevin Charles Patterson at the Spreckels Theater. July 1, 2018.

I was happy to see that the show I thought was the best of Fringe this year, "9841/Rukeli," won Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Actor in a Drama for Gianmarco Busetto. It was an inspired production; simple and elegant in execution but every creative choice was designed to intensify the emotional impact. This show was theater of the highest caliber.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Margarito G. Perez

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando presented her own award, a blood splattered cake, to Megan and Sophie the "final girls" of "Cinebra: A History of Horror" after their final show at the Lyceum Space. July 1, 2018.

For me, the show that best epitomized the spirit of Fringe and served up the most fun was "Cinebra: A History of Horror." It was a hilarious musical valentine to the horror genre and ended with an exorcism ritual that involved everyone singing along to a Julie Andrews video called Exorcise with Julie. The show was wacky and wild and probably couldn’t find a home anywhere outside a Fringe festival. It did not win any of the official awards last night, but when the votes for the Artists Pick were tallied after the awards ceremony last night, Cinebra took that honor home.

It was exciting to see Austin Dean Ashford who was performing at his first Fringe ever win Outstanding Solo Performance for his one-man show "(I)sland T(rap)," and then also take home the Best of Fest award, which includes a trip to the New Zealand Fringe Festival as part of a cultural exchange program.

And from San Diego, the Turning Tydes Theatre Company won outstanding musical ensemble for their pop culture mash-up "Wicked Wizards: A Potter Parody." And the good news is that people will have a second chance to catch the show and in an extended format at the Lyceum Theater during Comic-Con.

Here is a complete list of winners and if you scroll down you can see clips from many of the winning productions.

Outstanding Solo Performance

—“(I)Sland T(Rap)”

Austin Dean Ashford

Audience Favorite

—“The Magic In This Soul”

Blindspot Collective

Outstanding Comedy

—“How I Learned To Hug”

Jon Bennett

Outstanding Actor-Comedy

—“The Eulogy”

Michael Burgos

Outstanding Drama

—“9841/ Rukeli”

Farmacia Zoo:È

Outstanding Actor In A Drama

—“9841/ Rukeli”

Gianmarco Busetto

Outstanding Musical

—“Apron Goldswift's Alien Cabaret”

Ellipsoid Players

Outstanding Ensemble

—“Fatu Na Totō”

Le Moana Limited

Outstanding Dance Performance



Outstanding Site-Specific

—“I’m Smiling Because I’m Uncomfortable”

Unattended Baggage

Outstanding Physical Arts

—“Terms And Conditions”

Bossy Flyer

Outstanding Music Ensemble

—“Wicked Wizards: A Potter Parody”

Turning Tydes

Outstanding World Premiere

—“The Jap Box”

David Hirata

Outstanding Magic Or Mentalist Performance

—“Mark Toland – Mind Reader”

Mark Toland

Outstanding Multidisciplinary Production

—“Let’s Prank Call Each Other”

Zach Dorn


—“The Gay Uncle Explains It All To You”

Jeffrey Robert

Outstanding Performance

—“The Eulogy”

Michael Burgos

Outstanding Production

—“Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries”

Mojalet Dance Collective

Artists’ Pick

—“A History Of Horror”


Best Of Fest

—“(I)Sland T(Rap)”

Austin Dean Ashford

Cultural Exchange Award Winner To Present In New Zealand Fringe

—Austin Dean Ashford

Cultural Exchange Award Winner To Present At Sydney Fringe (Australia)

—Tyler West

Special Achievement Scholarship Award

—Veronica Tang

Family Fringe Award Winners

—Jam Fusion (Youth Rock Band)

UPDATED June 30, 2018

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'Taptastic'

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'The Jap Box'

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'Bad Habits'

Penultimate day of Fringe! Check out the daily videos I have been posting to help you decide what to see on the final two days. There are shows featuring dance, burlesque, magic, music, social commentary, and so much more.

UPDATED, June 29, 2018

SD Fringe Show Highlight: ‘Let’s Prank Call Each Other’

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'On All Fours'

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'The Magic in This Soul'

Heading into the home stretch for Fringe. It's your last chance to catch some great shows.

Tonight you can enjoy Turning Tydes' latest pop culture mash-up "Wicked Wizards: A Potter Parody." They have scored hits in previous years with "Les Midge," "The Phantom of the Empire," and "Into the Walker Woods." "Wicked Wizards" will also be performed in a longer two-act version during Comic-Con.

You can find dance shows tonight ranging from the provocative exploration of female sexuality in Krista Kaye's "On All Fours" to the multi-cultural "Nations of San Diego" to BAD Dance Collective's "Till Death."

And if you want something totally wacky that embodies the Fringe personality of not fitting neatly into any genre, check out Zach Dorn's "Let's Prank Call Each Other." And if you are really daring, check out the Fringe Midnight Cabaret where artist perform two-minutes bits not from their own shows and everyone needs to bring a flashlight because the tech crew won't be on hand!

The BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) shows also have diversity with dance in "Taptastic" (at Tap Fever Studio) and social commentary on display in "The Quote" and "How Are You Being?" (Writers Ink).

UPDATED, June 28, 2018

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'Intrusion'

SD Fringe Recommended: 'Eleanor's Story: Home is the Stranger'

SD Fringe Show Highlight: 'Absquatulate Memories'

Fringe has passed the halfway mark and it is your last chance to catch some of the great shows.

In 2016, Le Moana from New Zealand floored audiences with its moving dance piece "1918." The group is back this year with another dance narrative that explores a migration story with equal beauty and compassion as well as exhilarating dance.

Women shine in two one-woman shows "Intrusion" about rape and "Eleanor's Story: Home is the Stranger," a sequel to last year's "Eleanor's Story," a memoir of an American girl growing up in Hitler's Germany.

Provocative dance is featured in "Absquatulate Memories" (companies should keep in mind that at a Fringe fest where word of mouth is key if people can't pronounce the name of your show it makes it harder to recommend it). A couple of the dances especially a dark circus themed one are compelling.

The Italian deliver another visually dynamic show as Grand Guignol de Milan presents "Italian Horror Stories." The piece features three pantomime stories connected by a devilish host. The Pantomimes -- involving the woman in black tale, vampires, and Frankenstein -- are stylishly rendered but the English narration could be a little tighter.

UPDATED, June 27, 2018

SD Fringe Show Highlight: '9841/Rukeli'

SD Fringe Top Pick: 'Blueprint'

You can catch the high energy hip hop dance piece "Blueprint" today at 4:00 pm or over the weekend. The show comes from NZ Fringe and features artists Toa Paranihi and Connor Masseurs.

Plus I am posting a full scene from "9841/Rukeli." That show still haunts me with its emotions and imagery. The scene I selected is from early in the play and depicts one fight that Rukeli had where he faced an Aryan opponent. The scene highlights the charisma of the one man show's star Gianmarco Busetto. But the show also boasts some inspired visual design elements that you need to experience in the theater. There is a show today at 6pm as well as shows this weekend. If you only see one Fringe show, make it "Rukeli." But I hope you don't limit yourself to just one when Fringe offers so much.

Or if you want something lighter to watch tonight that will provide more of an escape from reality, checkout Ellipsoid Players' "Apron Goldswift's Alien Cabaret." The show's creator Jacob Surovsky has grown up at Fringe. He wrote a play at the age of 16 for his second year at Fringe and returns this year with a musical.

UPDATED: June 26, 2018

Today you can enjoy some physical theater at Fringe. You can choose from the physical comedy of A Little Bit Off in "Bad Habits," magic and acrobatics of "Bunny," the burlesque of "Circles and Curves," or multiple dance shows ("The Blame Game," "On All Fours," "Mesa Moves." Plus my pick for the most wickedly entertaining show of Fringe, Cinebra: A History of Horror." And those are just some of your choices for just tonight! So go fringing.

UPDATED: June 25, 2018

SD Fringe Top Pick: 'Tabled Manners'

Check out the new two-act play "Tabled Manners" that runs tonight at 9:00 pm. One of the plays, "Blind Spot," was written by Michael Mizerany who won the Outstanding achievement in writing award from the 2016 San Diego Fringe.

The Italians are winning Fringe this year, two of the best shows come from Italy: "Il Fetido Stagno" and "9841/Rukeli." "Il Fetido Stagno" has brilliant production design and sound work. It focuses on a man in an insane asylum and is lit with less than a dozen flashlights. The visual darkness reflects the themes and serves up a minimalist, intense journey.

It's only day five so I hesitate to say "Rukeli" is the best of Fringe since there is still so much to see but definitely put it on your must see list. It looks to a gypsy boxer named Rukeli who fought as Hitler was coming to power and ended up in a concentration camp. As with "Il Fetido Stagno," "Rukeli" boast a stunning theatrical sensibility that makes use of simple props and design elements that are put to impactful use.

UPDATED: June 24, 2018

SD Fringe Preview: '2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick'

Just added a preview video of "2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation" from Tim Motley. Motley was at San Diego Fringe last year with "6 Quick Dick Tricks" and his show was highly entertaining.

UPDATED: June 23, 2018

New videos posted today from "The Eulogy," "Cinebra: A History of Horror," "(I)sland (T)rap," "Xylem and Phloem" from San Diego Circus Collective and "Hookers Do It Standing Up" at the BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) location of Les Girls and featuring Lady Grew, a sex worker with a mission and a wicked skills as a singer and dancer.

SD Fringe Top Pick: 'The Eulogy'

SD Fringe Top Pick: 'Hookers Do It Standing Up'

SD Fringe Top Pick: '(I)sland (T)rap'

SD Fringe Top Pick: 'A History of Horror'

SD Fringe Preview: 'Xylem and Phloem'

UPDATED, June 22, 2018:

SD Fringe Preview: 'One Man Bond'

SD Fringe Preview: 'I'm Smiling Because I'm Uncomfortable'

Starting today I will be adding quick preview videos from the press preview night of San Diego International Fringe. I will also start posting some interviews. The goal is to get as many videos up of shows as possible so you can get an idea of which of the dozens of shows might be worth checking out. First up is a clip of the one man show all about 007, "One Man Bond," and a clip and artist interview from "I'm Smiling Because I'm Uncomfortable."

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Grand Guignol de Milan

The cast of Grand Guignol de Milan's "Italian Horror Stories" that is being performed at the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival.

Beth's Fringe Recommendations

“2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation” (Tim Motley)

“9841/Rukeli” (Farmacia Zooe)

“A History of Horror” (Cinebra)

“Abeyance” (Tyler West)

“Apron Goldswift’s Alien Cabaret” (Ellipsod Players)

“Bad Habits” (A Little Bit Off)

“Blueprint” (NZ Fringe)

“Calluses” (Sakhisizwe Edutainment Productions)

“Circles and Curves” (The Vaudeville Vixens and Hoop Unit)

“Eleanor’s Story” (GLAM)

“Fatu Na Toto” (Le Moana Limited)

“Hookers Do It Standing Up” (Lady Grew)

“I’m Smiling Because I’m Uncomfortable” (Unattended Baggage)

“Il Fetido Stagno” (Teatro della Girandola/Compagnia Pagliacci Clandestini)

“Immersive Igloo” (Tom Montagliano)

“(I)sland (T)Rap: the Epic Remixology of the Odyssey” (Austin Dean Ashford)

“Italian Horror Stories” (Grand Guignol de Milan)

“Mesa Moves” (San Diego Mesa Dance)

“One Man Bond” (Lonesome Whistle Productions)

“Tabled Manners” (Compulsion Dance and Theatre)

“Taking Heat” (Tim X Lee)

“The Blame Game” (Shannon Mueller)

“The Eulogy” (Michael Burgos)

“The Magic in This Soul” (Blindspot Collective)

“There and Home Again: More Stories From the Sun Café” (Asian Story Theatre)

“Wicked Wizards: A Potter Parody” (Turning Tydes)

“Xylem and Phloem (San Diego Circus Collective)

Read original story.

San Diego International Fringe kicks off its sixth year of what it describes as “eyeball busting shows” running June 21 through July 1 at multiple locations.

Each year Fringe grows and adapts. This year one of the changes is a more concentrated official Fringe downtown, using the multiple venues of the Spreckels, Lyceum, and Bristol Hotel all within a couple blocks of each other. But that does not mean Fringe has a smaller footprint. It can still claim to be the only bi-national Fringe, with performances across the border in Tijuana. Plus this year there are multiple BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) locations, like Les Girls for "Hookers Do It Standing Up" and an Air BnB on Fifth, where the actress of "I'm Smiling Because I'm Uncomfortable" can talk about eating disorders while cooking in a real kitchen.

On Tuesday, Fringe held a preview for press where artists got to perform a two-minute scenes from their shows. That provided some insights into what shows might be great and which might be cringeworthy, because that is the rollercoaster ride of Fringe; it can be either extreme.

As I enter my sixth year of San Diego Fringe, I can say that I have seen far more good than bad, and some of the best theatrical experiences I have ever had have been here at San Diego Fringe.

The Fringe has its roots in Scotland. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was established in 1947 as an alternative to the city’s mainstream theater festival. The nearly month-long event is like sensory overload, with hundreds of actors staging thousands of performances at multiple venues. Fringe is distinguished by the fact that it is unjuried and uncensored, so it allows artists of all kinds, all levels of experience, and all types of performances to be on equal footing.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Turning Tydes

The cast of Turning Tydes Theatre Company's "Wicked Wizards: A Potter Parody" performing at San Diego International Fringe.

That means someone like Austin Dean Ashford, who is performing "(I)sland (T)rap," can enjoy his very first Fringe along side San Diego veteran (not in years of age but years at Fringe) performers like Jordan Hall Campbell, Summer Blinco, and Jacob Surovsky, who have been coming for years and have grown up in the festival before our eyes.

Fringe also welcomes performers from around the globe such as Nelson Mallè Ndoye from Italy, Toa Paranihi and Connor Masseurs from New Zealand, and Lady Grew from Scotland.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Cinebra

Sophie and Megan present "Cinebra: A History of Horror" a San Diego International Fringe.

Check back to this page for daily video highlights of shows and interviews with artists to help you decide what to see at Fringe this year. If you want to see all the videos from last years, including some from performers returning this year, go to the playlist at the KPBS YouTube Channel.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

San Diego International Fringe kicks off its sixth year of what it describes as “eyeball busting shows” running June 21 through July 1 at multiple locations.

San Diego International Fringe finished 11 days of "eyeball busting shows" last night with an awards ceremony at the Spreckels Theatre.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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