Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fringe Benefits

Please take this week's poll.  Read the introductory post first, and please take your time!  The post is long, but it may give you some insight and it will explain a couple of the options.

Before I get to the main topic

A week or so ago, a man in a wedding dress ran onto the field during a Nationals game.  Picture to the right.

The main topic
Last weekend, we were in DC to see the Fringe Festival.

I did not know, until a friend from New York told me, that there are Fringe Festivals around the world.

For the uninitiated, the Fringe consists of a great many local shows.  Music, comedy, drama, dance, one person, troupe, offbeat stuff, you name it, it's there.  Here, there are shows with names like Tales of Courage and Poultry, Cecily and Gwendolyn's Fantastical Capital Balloon Ride, Who Killed Captain Kirk and Fat Men in Skirts.  You can sort shows by a small handful of categories, including Jewish and LGBT.

I dropped my son off near DC mid-afternoon and we went in, with time to see two or three shows.  Most are in the same area; most are between 60 and 90 minutes.

The first show was a one-man show.  He spoke about odd events in his life, and focussed a bit on agay black friend he had when going to college in the midwest.  Being either gay or black made him an oddity in this town and this school.  His friend invited him to a hidden, unlabelled club, told him if anyone wants to mess with him that he only dates black men, and then disappeared.  Yes, he reappeared in drag as the star of the show.

OK, the show wasn't very good.  But this was an odd coincidence.

The second show was an ensemble play, six or so characters including one tall young black man who showed up about half-way through.  In a dress and heels.  His claim was that he was protesting the treatment of women and would dress like this 24x7 until women were treated as equals in every way.

OK.  I'm two for two.  I'll be going back today or tomorrow.

The second show was a mile or so from the rest so we drove there and walked to a restaurant before the show.  Walking a bit, we saw what seemed to be shops, walked past a steakhouse to an Italian restaurant in Dupont Circle.

There were about a dozen people in the place, staff and guests, and most were watching the world cup final match.  He sat us at a table near the window.  My wife took a seat looking in, so I had a nice view of the street.  The waiter asked if we wanted to sit where we could see the game.  He put his hand on my back as he asked, which I thought was... noticeable.

As soon as the waiter walked away, my wife said "this is a gay place."  I hadn't noticed.  Those of you who know DC might have figured it out when I mentioned Dupont Circle.  I didn't know, but my wife informed me, that it is a very gay area of DC.  She was the only woman in the place until the end of the meal.  I spent the meal people-watching out the window.  Many women walked by.  Many of them were wearing dresses; I saw a fair number of LBDs.  The men mostly travelled in pairs.  After dinner I said "I want to walk," mostly because I like to walk and it wasn't unbearably hot outside.  More men in pairs.

I think this might be a good place for Meg to dine if she goes to DC in a couple of weeks.


  1. We have the Edinburgh Fringe in the UK and it attracts lots of acts. One of these days I might manage to drag myself to Scotland and go see some shows there. I've just scanned the programme for this year's festival and there are some interesting acts.

    I hope that Med does get a chance to go to the restaurant if she goes to DC in a few weeks.

  2. --A nice, quiet Italian dinner amongst accepting people does sound like a particularly good time to me. Never been to a fringe festival, but it sounds interesting.


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