FringeArts Festival continues to roll on this month with a number of new shows and exhibitions from returning Fringe performers.
The festival runs through Sept 24.
Fringe favorite Brian Sanders’ JUNK is back with the premiere of “Carried Away,” a provocative acrobatic dance performance set in a New York-style loft. Clad in denim and leather, the dancers wind their way through underground scenes based on Sanders’ experiences as a younger man.
Sanders said his works always have a personal edge to them but “Carried Away” is more overt about it than his previous shows.
“The difference with this show and the personal-ness is that I’m really connecting the personal-ness,” Sanders said. “Everything I make is very personal but I never really set out to let the audience know about the personal-ness of it. I let it sort of reside in the archetypical realm. With this piece I’m really telling a story that’s very true to me, but before that, I’m letting the audience know that this is my story.”
To set the appropriate mood for the show, “Carried Away” features music from Sanders’ youth as the soundtrack and the erotic art of Tom of Finland and Robert Mapplethorpe as a backdrop.
Sanders said those artists’ work inspired him to tell his story.
“I started with Mapplethorpe and Tom of Finland and I’m like, ‘Why is this work so strangely beautiful and erotic and also pornographic and vulgar at the same time? How is that possible?’” Sanders said. “But then the pornographic, beautiful and vulgar story of my life came to mind. So I started telling that story on top of it. That imagery provokes a fantastic happiness. Both artists have an idyllic sense of beauty and gay romance.”
While the show explores Sanders’ past, it also is meant to paint a present picture of living with HIV/AIDS.
“There’s still this sense of shame and conflict and difficulty. There’s still conflict in acceptance. There’s still a layer of shame on top of all this beauty. The music is all stuff that tells a nostalgic and poetic story of my first 20 years of living with HIV. It’s all music that is poignant for one reason or another. So much of the piece now is very much about somehow I survived the last 30 years and why am I as an artist still here and all the Mapplethorpes and Sylvesters and these other artists not here and what do I do with that.”
Another Fringe favorite brings together intense physicality with personal storytelling. Through an acrobatic duet between two women, Tangle Movement Arts’ new show, “Surface Tension,” tells the story of a Tinder date that turns into a rocky relationship.
Tangle founder and producer Lauren Rile Smith said the aerial circus-theater company is trying to add more narrative elements to its shows.
“We have a really tight cast this year, a crew that I’m really excited about working with,” Smith said. “We decided to take an opportunity to try to tell our circus-theater storytelling in a way that emphasized more explicit storylines with theatrical monologues and use techniques from spoken word and non-traditional theater. That’s something that’s new for the Fringe Festival and I’m really excited to share it with the audience.”
Another change for Tangle includes a new locations for its show, which brings its spectacle closer to the city.
“Our venue is in Old City this year instead of Kensington. We’ve loved our time in the northern part of the city but we also think that being so central to the festival is exciting.”
Using Fringe to make its debut is “Wicked Gay Ways,” a new queer-erotic arts and literature online journal founded and curated by David Acosta and Susan DiPronio.
Acosta said their premiere exhibition at CRUXSPACE will feature the works of photographers and artists from around the world.
“The majority of the work is photography,” he said. “There are some artists working in collage and mixed media. Some of them have contributed literary pieces, so there will be some poetry.”
Acosta said he wants the journal to be a forum for a diverse constituency of voices, but that it’s been somewhat difficult to find artists to reach that goal.
“I really made a concerted effort to reach out to female artists and trans artists but I didn’t get a great response from those specific communities,” he said. “It is my hope that after the magazine launches and people read and see it, the word will get out and we’ll get a more diverse body of work in terms of representation of the many queer communities. But with that said, 90 percent of all of the artists featured are artists of color.”
Brian Sanders’ JUNK presents “Carried Away” through Sept. 24 at 2040 Christian St. For more information, visit http://briansandersjunk.com.
Tangle Movement Arts presents “Surface Tension” through Sept. 17 at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St. For more information, visit http://tangle-arts.com.
For more information on “Wicked Gay Ways,” visit www.wickedgayways.com.
For tickets and more information on FringeArts Festival, visit http://fringearts.com.