Arts Agenda: For fans of offbeat theater, plenty of Fringe benefits


August is especially joyous, with festivals celebrating everything from fringe theater to flamenco dance to human tableaus of famed works of art. A busy month also features a varied palette of exhibits on design and architecture (including two devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright); rock music; and photography.


Baltimore -- The beloved host of a longtime childrens TV series is remembered at the Childrens Museum of Baltimore, where through Sept. 3, Mister Rogers Neighborhood: A Hands-on Exhibit, includes the house and trolley from the PBS show.

Political satire is the attraction at the Walters Art Museum through Sept. 3 in Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL, featuring more than 200 caricatures, sculptures and animated works by cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher, aka KAL.

Boise, Idaho -- More than 100 objects created by Frank Lloyd Wright, including furniture, textiles and architecture plans and renderings, are featured in Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful at the Boise Art Museum though Oct. 22. 

Chicago -- Several hundred events are featured in the citywide Silk Road Chicago summer celebration through Sept. 30, including dance, film, music and art exhibitions. Cellist Yo Yo Ma (founder and artistic director of the global Silk Road Project), the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have partnered with the City of Chicago and will continue to present events through April.  

Cleveland -- The Rock and Roll  Hall of Fame and Museum takes visitors back to the beginning of a chart-topping singer/songwriters career in Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: 30 Years of Rock and Roll. The exhibit, which includes original manuscripts, musical artifacts, clothing and Pettys acoustic guitar, runs at least through the beginning of next year.  

Indianapolis -- The Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival in the Massachusetts Avenue theater district from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 features 216 productions, each one hour long, with $10 admission to any show.

Irvine. Calif. -- The Barclay Theater hosts the New World Flamenco Festival through Aug. 13.

Laguna Beach, Calif. -- Treasured paintings come to life at the Laguna Festival of Arts annual Pageant of the Masters through Sept. 1 at Irvine Bowl Park. Tableaus with live performers re-create such paintings as The Last Supper in a 90-minute show with music.

Milwaukee -- The Milwaukee Irish Fest at Maier Festival Park bills itself as the worldss largest celebration of Irish music, culture and heritage. The event, from Aug. 17 to 29, is held on 16 stages and features several hundred performances.

Minneapolis -- From the land of 10,000 lakes comes a theater festival with 900 performances: The Minnesota Fringe Festival, through Aug. 13, is presented by 167 companies spread across eight neighborhoods.

New York -- The Big Apple has its fringe, as well. The 10th annual New York International Fringe Festival, Aug. 11 to 27, includes about 200 stage productions.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Whitney Museum of American Art is hosting Full House: Views of the Whitneys Collection at 75, a celebration of its permanent collection. The exhibition, which runs through Sept. 3, includes an entire floor devoted to the work of noted American artist Edward Hopper.

If you want fresh air along with your culture, head to Lincoln Center Plaza, where through Aug. 27 a plethora of free morning, afternoon and evening performances are featured as part of Lincoln Center out of Doors. Among the performances are those by the Martha Graham Dance Company (Aug. 16), R&B singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Percy Sledge (Aug. 19) and jazz icon Sonny Rollins (Aug. 27).

Two exhibits at the International Center of Photography through Aug. 27 have decidedly different approaches. Unknown Weegee looks at little-seen work by tabloid photographer Arthur Fellig. Atta Kim: On Air displays large-scale works by Kim, a leading South Korean photographer. 

Design and several of its key practitioners are the attractions at two New York museums. The High Style of Dorothy Draper, at the Museum of the City of New York through Sept. 10, looks at three decades of the decorators work. The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design, at the Museum of Arts & Design through Sept. 3, explores in detail, through drawings, ads and three-dimensional studies, the design, social history and cultural impact of the chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956.

For the youngsters, try Lizards and Snakes: Alive! at the American Museum of Natural History through Jan. 7.

Portland, Maine -- Works by some of the great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters, including Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Seurat and van Gogh, are featured in Paris and the Countryside: Modern Life in Late 19th Century France at the Portland Museum of Art through Oct. 15.

Santa Cruz, Calif. -- The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music at the Civic Auditorium and Mission San Juan Bautista through Aug. 13, includes three world premieres.

San Diego -- Through Sept. 3, the San Diego Museum of Art looks at Winslow Homer: American Illustrator, a survey of more than 50 of Homers wood engravings.

Southampton, N.Y. -- Works by distinguished American artists from the 18th century to the early-20th century are featured in Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings From the Corcoran Gallery of Art at the Parrish Art Museum through Sept. 12.          

Washington -- The National Building Museum pays tribute to an acclaimed work of American architecture in Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wrights Price Tower through Sept. 17. The exhibit features more than 100 photographs, drawings and furnishings from the tower built in Bartlesville, Okla., 50 years ago. 

Williamstown, Mass. -- A Beijing-based sculptor brings a miniature mountain city to life with pots, pans and eating utensils in the exhibition, Zhan Wang: Urban Landscape through Sept. 10 at the Williams College Museum of Art.


Amsterdam -- The celebration of Rembrandts 400th birthday continues at the Rijksmuseum with All the Drawings: Part One from Aug. 11 to Oct. 11.

Brussels -- An interesting exhibit, Family Affairs -- Brothers and Sisters in Art at the Palace of Fine Arts through Sept. 10, looks at sibling artists from the eighth to the 21st century, including such notables as Frans and Dirk Hals, Jan and Pieter Brueghel and Gustave and Ernst Klimt.

Edinburgh, Scotland -- When you say festival, Edinburgh comes to mind. The prestigious Edinburgh International Festival from Aug. 13 to Sept. 3, includes world-class artists in music, theater, opera and dance performing in six major theaters and concert halls.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which runs through Aug. 28, has been termed the largest arts festival in the world and the mother of all fringe festivals.   

Helsinki, Finland -- The Helsinki Festival, Finlands largest, from Aug. 18 to Sept. 3 at the Huvila Festival Tent, includes dance, theater, symphonic music and the visual arts.

London -- Irreverence is on display at the Museum of London through Sept. 3. Satirical London explores 300 years of prints and cartoons poking fun at the elite.

Monaco -- New York, New York: Fifty Years of Art, Architecture, Film, Music and Video at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco through July 14, explores New Yorks cultural scene from 1940 to 1990, with works by such artists as Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons featured. 

Montreal -- The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts focuses on Il Modo Italiano: Italian Design and Avant-Garde in the 20th Century through Aug. 27.  

Paris -- The Musee de la Mode et du Textile looks at 40 years of design by one of fashions most celebrated names in Balenciaga Paris through Jan. 28.

Venice -- This years edition of the Venice International Film Festival, first held in 1932, will be presented from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9 at the Lido di Venice.

Longtime arts and tourism writer Alvin H. Reiss is editor of Arts Management and author of eight books, including his latest, The ReissSource Directory of the Arts (AEB-Media, Chicago).

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