What the Fringe?

Eli Stillman, Editor in Chief

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Bright, elegant and mysterious.  The third annual Fringe Festival began on Monday with a culmination of colors, a selfie booth and even a flash mob in front of the Stevenson Union. The 50 plus dancers in matching outfits synced up to a music score played over Jefferson Public Radio and incorporated hip-hop dances, salsa moves and even hula hoops into the performance.

Fringe is a campus wide event focused on bringing together different art projects which students at Southern Oregon have spent hours rehearsing, painting and practicing in order to perfect. This year’s theme is  “Exploring new realities through artistic experiences” which plays off SOU’s yearly theme of “exploring reality.”

Muuqi Maxwell is the Lead Producer of Fringe and has been planning this week for the last nine months. He says the principle of the festival is to feature art strictly produced by the students. “The opportunities that we grant to students are immeasurably valuable—to have a line on a CV or résumé about being a part of a festival of this style and scope is a great accolade,” he said.

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Photo by Ryan Degan

Fringe festivals date back to the 1940’s in Scotland where they were considered “fringe” in that they weren’t the main attraction, but an offshoot or smaller than another festival.

Like the flash mob in the middle of campus, much of the festival is about making and presenting art in public spaces. Pop-up art tents and special presentations in the campus galleries will serve as other platforms for students to show their work this week.

“It’s a really awesome opportunity for all the arts to cross pollinate,” said flash mob dancer Hannah Bakken, following the performance. Bakken, a junior studying for a BFA in printmaking, will have her art displayed in some of the pop-up shows around campus.

Though stringed instruments like ukuleles and banjos might be common around the SOU campus, students should also be on the lookout for melodies being made by Tibetan singing bowls and various percussion groups.

Fringe has been adamant about making sure that their events are publicized, so there is no excuse for missing an awesome show.  Presentations of art in all forms will be held in different places across campus and can be found on the festival’s Facebook, as well as their events page.

Saturday night should serve as a pleasant wrap up for the week of creativity and madness, with a Light Night Out: Fringe Finale.  At 6:30 PM, the evening of blacklight face painting, light shows and music will begin.  

At the very end of the night, Rap Show Garage Sale will take the stage at 10pm, in the Deboer Sculpture Building and open for Slow Corpse. The local band which creates hypnotic and funky beats has been actively playing around the valley and throughout Oregon to claim a positive critical response.  Recent feats of strength also include: being featured on the internet radio website Pandora, as well as, providing the musical accompaniment for a Korean Sperry commercial.


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SOU has much to offer in terms of theatrics, arts and different forms of expression. This festival hopes to show all of these colorful aspects of the campus in its own weird fashion.  As Maxwell puts it, “Fringe is kind of hard to explain, but that’s the point.”

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