July 20 2015 05:29 PM

Our top three picks of things to do in San Diego this week

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Slideshow Fairytales: William the Snowman, a one-man show by Catfish Baruni

FREEDOM TO FRINGE

The cool—and simultaneously not so cool—thing about the San Diego International Fringe Festival is that anything goes. Seriously, one of the rules of the annual fest includes no judgment or curation from the organizers. None. At all.

"Someone could just poop in a box and still be in a festival," laughs Kevin Charles Patterson, executive director and founder of the Fringe Festival. "I'm not kidding; I actually saw that in Amsterdam once."

For the record, no one's defecating in a box at the upcoming 11-day festival happening Thursday, July 23, through Sunday, Aug. 2. Instead, San Diego's creative community has been given the license to unleash its unfettered creativity. There'll be dance (lots of dance, actually), circus (plenty of that, too), performance art, monologues, cabaret, physical theater and more experimental performances happening at a smattering of downtown venues, plus a few happening in strange and unexpected places around town.

"There was a bring-your-own-venue option for performers," Patterson says. "So, for example, there's a BYOV at the natural history museum on the roof. There's a BYOV at a hostel downtown. There's even a BYOV at Les Girls, the adult dance club."

Scanning through all the Fringe shows listed on the website is overwhelming. There's the funny-sounding My Mother's in the Audience, a dark comedy about the insanity of stage mothers by 17-year-old Jacob Surovsky; a hip-hop dance performance by bkSOUL; a theatrical variety show by Circus Mafia; and much more. Patterson says the best way to approach the jam-packed schedule is to keep an open mind and just try things that sound compelling.

"I hope San Diego audiences do take risks and see what's being created by their own neighbors," he says. "And I would also encourage people to see the national and international artists who are traveling here for the festival. But basically, if you're into the arts at all you have to go to experience things you normally wouldn't." 

Photo by Katya Khaskin

DINNER AND A CIRCUS

East Village isn't the first neighborhood you'd call to mind for a night of dinner theater. But imagine the theater aspect being circus performers, some on aerial rigs, telling an interactive story with the audience. That's the rough sketch of "Symposium," a pop-up art production from a new local troupe called Cirko Teleskóptico. For dinner, the gig is catered by gourmet food truck, God Save The Cuisine. Symposium takes place at Silo in Makers Quarter (753 15th St.), the perfect outdoor, urban location for this phantasmagoric offering. The two-and-a-half-hour, multi-media shows happen at 8 p.m. Friday, July 24, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Tickets (which include a four-course dinner) start at $60.    


Walking sticks from the Hill Collection
Photo by Jesse Hill

WALK THIS WAY

If you've ever been hiking, you might've picked up a fallen tree branch as a temporary walking aid. Serious hikers probably own official hiking sticks with souvenir badges nailed to the handle. But there's more to a walking stick than function. On Saturday, July 25, Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park opens Carved and Whittled Sculpture, an exhibition celebrating the cultural influences and personalities in more than 100 American-made walking sticks. Featuring hand-carved and painted sticks created in 29 states during the 1800s and 1900s, the exhibit will be on view through January 2016 as part of Mingei's American Icons series. Admission is $10 for adults.  

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