4 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

After only three years in Detroit, 25-year-old Emilio Gonzalez took it upon himself to create a new event celebrating his new home's underground theater scene.

"I am pretty much a doer, so when I have an idea, I do it," he said. "I don't wait."

Gonzalez is the producer of the weeklong Detroit Fringe Festival, which runs through Sunday at 1515 Broadway Café. It's not the first event of its kind in Detroit, but it is the first in a while; the last Detroit Fringe Festival was in 2008. This year's event is organized by an entirely different team, but it follows the approach laid out by its Detroit predecessor and numerous Fringe Festivals nationwide, from Chicago to Orlando.

"It gives people the opportunity to showcase artwork that is a little bit edgier, that's on the outside and that wouldn't normally get produced by local theater companies because it is a little bit risky and not as marketable," Gonzalez said.

One such work will be Julia Lynn Marsh's one-woman show "One Last Renovation." Marsh, a transgender woman from Oak Park, originally performed the show as a fundraiser for her gender reassignment surgery under the title "Please Give Me Your Money So I Can Buy a Vagina."The seriocomic show recounts Marsh's coming to terms with what it means to be a woman. She describes it as "a roller coaster."

"One minute you're laughing, the next minute you're crying," Marsh said. "It deals with a lot of heavy issues, like homelessness and hate crimes, but it does so in a very positive and humorous way. ... You're able to go to greater depths emotionally because the fear is taken away."

"One Last Renovation" will be featured as part of the festival's Saturday "Listen to Detroit" night, which spotlights LGBT voices. But that's only a small portion of what the festival has to offer. In seven different programs over six days, the event will present separate showcases for comedians, singers, emerging theater companies and more. Gonzalez said most of the performers are friends he's met through the local scene since moving from California's Inland Empire to Detroit in 2011, while on an assignment to teach high school English and drama with Teach for America.

"It was very intimidating getting into it and realizing my strengths and weaknesses as a producer, but thankfully I've had so many people excited about it," he says. "I've been fortunate to have a lot of people step up and help me."

Gonzalez said the festival is a way to exhibit the full, diverse range of creativity in Detroit.

"It's one thing to have ... people constantly performing, let's say, the works of Shakespeare and whatnot," Gonzalez said. "But it's a whole other level to see new work created from the people who live here and for the people who live here. ... We sort of expand upon the boundaries of what theater is through this festival and through the arts that we showcase."

Patrick Dunn is an Ann Arbor freelance writer.

Detroit Fringe Festival

7 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday,

3 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday

1515 Broadway Café

1515 Broadway, Detroit

Tickets: $5 Thursday and Saturday afternoon; all other shows $10; $40 Fringe Pass available to see all events

(313) 965-1515

Detroit Fringe Festival

7 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday

1515 Broadway Café

1515 Broadway, Detroit

Tickets: $5 Thursday and Saturday afternoon; all other shows $10; $40 Fringe Pass available to see all events

(313) 965-1515

4 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://detne.ws/1s6Z3a1