IF YOU WANT TO MOVE into D.C. and lobby from K Street, glad-hand on behalf of Rep. So-and-So from any given Springfield, or save the world one NGO at a time, get in line. If, however, you're looking to help grow the District's nascent counterculture theater scene, jump to the front.
''I was in Philadelphia, working in and out of theater, and I saw how important the Fringe Festival was to the community,'' says Julianne Brienza. ''I moved here and didn't know there was no Fringe Festival. But it just kind of snowballed and now we're in our second year.''
As festival director, Brienza is partially responsible for running this show, along with the executive director, Damian Sinclair. Their mission, in a non-profit nutshell, is to ''run multiple programs all designed to create outlets and exposure for Fringe artists in the area.''
In a city that can easily find droves wearing layers of professional gray in swamp-like heat, it's safe to say that the ''fringe'' needs fostering -- including the GLBT fringe.
''We're open to all. We have things that are attractive to a lot of people,'' says Brienza. ''One show that jumps to mind is called Faggot. [Presenter] Sheldon A. Scott is really great. This year, we have more work targeted to the gay community than last year.''
Below we offer a listing of Fringe Festival shows of particular interest to the GLBT community.
CHRISTMAS IN BAKERSFIELD
Les finally meets Mike, the man of his dreams. When Mike takes Les home to meet his conservative Caucasian family he realizes that he forgot to tell him one small detail -- Les is African American. At the Goethe Institut Mainstage, 812 7th St. NW. July 21 at 8 p.m., July 22 at 4 p.m., July 23 at 8:30 p.m, July 24 at 7 p.m. and July 26 at 9 p.m.
Running time: 60 minutes.
Two lesbian moms collide over custody of their only child in this bitter-spiked drama. A World Premiere by playwright Joan Bellsey. At the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Melton Rehearsal Hall, 641 D St. NW. July 21 at 7:45 p.m., July 22 at noon, July 23 at 5 p.m. July 25 at 10 p.m. and July 26 at 7:30 p.m. NW. Running time: 45 minutes.
A solo performance by Sheldon A. Scott in which six characters, sex, therapy, comedy, dramatic conflict, and coming to terms with one's sexuality are explored. At the Goethe Institut Mainstage, 812 7th St. NW. July 21 at 6 p.m., July 24 at 9 p.m., July 25 at 8 p.m., July 28 at 9:30 p.m. and July 29 at 7 p.m. Running time: 60 minutes.
Two women disguise themselves as men to escape a virgin sacrifice. Wandering the woods, the ''young men'' fall in love. At the Museum of Contemporary Arts, 1054 31st St. NW. July 26 at 7 p.m., July 27 at 7 p.m., July 28 at 7 p.m. and July 29 at 2 p.m. Running Time: 90 minutes.
THE LESBIAN & THE FLYING PIG
What happens when right-winged fundamentalists run the U.S. government and born-again Christians spend Saturdays stoning gays in the name of Jesus? Find out in playwright Scot Walker's drama. Featuring Michael Sainte-Andress. At the Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab, 916 G St. NW. July 20 at 10:30 p.m., July 21 at noon, July 24 at 7:45 p.m., July 26 at 7 p.m. and July 28 at 5 p.m. Running time: 53 minutes.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
An all-female version of one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies, set during World War II. At the Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. July 26 at 9:30 p.m., July 28 at 9 p.m. and July 29 at 2:15 p.m. Running time: 105 minutes.
MY FRIEND HITLER
A one-woman show inspired by the Yukio Mishima play that explores the political and personal strategies that lead to Hitler's ascent. At the Warehouse Arts Next Door, 1021 7th St. NW. July 20 at 10 p.m., July 22 at 3 p.m., July 25 at 7 p.m., July 27 at 9:30 p.m., July 28 at noon. Running time: 70 minutes.
TAKE CARE, TED
His brother's a stranger, his boyfriend's a jerk, his brother's wife is unavailable. And he's got no idea how good he has it. At the Goethe Institut Gallery, 812 7th St. NW. July 20 at 4:30 p.m., July 21 at 6:30 p.m., July 22 at 2:30 p.m., July 28 at 7:30 p.m. and July 29 at 2 p.m. Running time: 60 minutes.
THE TROJAN WOMEN
Ellen McLaughlin's powerful contemporary adaptation of Euripedes' classic examines the complexities of the female identity and the triumph of the human spirit. . At the Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. July 26 at 7 p.m., July 27 at 5 p.m. and July 28 at 4:30 p.m. Running time: 60 minutes.
Tickets to all shows are $15 and available at the door one hour before showtime. To purchase in advance, call 866-811-4111 or visit www.capfringe.org. For a complete festival listing, visit www.capfringe.org.