A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 28, 2005
New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC)
The New York International Fringe Festival began in 1997, fifty years after Edinburgh, Scotland festival (where "fringe" was coined). It takes place in Manhattan's Lower East Side during summer.

Some shows have received critical raves and have been picked up for long engagements on Off-Broadway or even on Broadway. is the fringe success story that every fringe show wants to follow. It's a musical about - well, who can explain a fringe show?

When the Edinburgh International Festival began in August 1947, eight theatre groups - mostly local amateur productions - turned up uninvited to add their artistic efforts to the first Edinburgh Festival. They called themselves the Festival Adjuncts. It was with some relief that the following year the term 'the Fringe' was coined by playwright, Robert Kemp, in a preview article for the Edinburgh Evening News entitled "More that is Fresh in Drama" on 14 August, 1948. After describing the International Festival productions of plays by Bernard Shaw and Christopher Fry, he continued:

"Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before. The Makars present that amusing Bridie skit on the Brains Trust and marriage, " It Depends what you Mean" .. Glasgow Unity brings a new comedy by Robert MacLellan, suitably entitled, "The Floors o` Edinburgh". I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings!."

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with more than 200 companies from all over the world performing for 16 days in more than 20 venues - that's a total of more than 1300 performances! FringeNYC generates an atmosphere of extreme excitement, and our energy is contagious!

The dates for FringeNYC 2005 are Friday, August 12th through Sunday, August 28th, 2005. Performances are from 2pm to Midnight on weekdays, and Noon to Midnight on weekends.

FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company. But it takes more than 200 shows, 500 volunteers, 4,500 artists, and an audience of 60,000 to make it happen! If you'd like to get involved in making FringeNYC happen, you can be a volunteer, intern, donor, sponsor, advertiser, or staff person! The first step is to attend a Newbie Meeting.

8 August 1997, Back Stage, pg. 25:
NY Welcomes its lst Int'l Fringe Fest
by Simi Horowitz

When the curtain goes up, metaphorically speaking, on the Lower East Side's "Community Show," Aug. 13, at 6:00 pm, the first New York international Fringe Festival will be launched, and the 11 day event (Aug. 13-24) set in motion. The esthetic: a cross-breed of pop-cult and cutting edge.

Loosely inspired by Tennessee Williams' surrealist "Camino Real," the "Community Show," will bring together 35 performers, residents, and local businessmen in a high-camp theatrical song-and-dance extravaganza.

Set on Stanton Street, between Ludlow and Orchard, with its mix of fire-escape tenements, trendy new night spots and array of stores -- from bodegas to barber shops to fabric stalls for bargain-hunters -- the event is at once celebratory block party and environmental theatre.

"There will be musicians on rooftops, actors on fire escapes, and dancing gypsies intermingling with the crowd," says the show's director, Diane Paulus. "And painted across the stores' corrugated steel gates, we'll see the work of Lower East Side graffiti artist Andre Charles [his signature: giant babies]. The show's sensibility is fantastical and has its roots in diversity."

Diversity is the defining keynote of this festival, which hosts 171 productions. England, Canada, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, and the Netherlands are just a few of the countries represented.

11 August 1997, New York Times, "Now New York, Too, Has a Fring Festival" by Mel Gussow, pg. C9:
Which is more dramatic: ''a monstrous hellfire'' in ancient Scotland or a ''woman's desperate search for a livable New York apartment''? Theatergoers can make their choice at the first New York International Fringe Festival, or Fringe N.Y.C.

These are two of the wildly diverse subjects to be under scrutiny by the hundreds of theater artists gathering in Manhattan for an 11-day performance roller coaster. Starting Wednesday, the Lower East Side, streets as well as theaters, will be buzzing with buskers, clowns, puppeteers and interactive extravaganzas.

More than 170 shows are scheduled, almost half of them world premieres. As the host of what is expected to become an annual festival, New York follows many other cities beginning with Edinburgh, the first to have a fringe 50 years ago. By definition, a fringe festival is an open-ended series of sideshows, a less expensive, more expansive alternative to a main event like the Edinburgh Festival itself, which takes place every August. In this case, New York City is a main event itself, with its year-round string of performances, traditional and experimental, and a downtown filled with daily fringe.

Posted by Barry Popik
Holidays/Events/Parades • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 28, 2005 • Permalink