Flying in from Austin, Texas and taking over one of the Underbelly vaults this Fringe, 'The Christeene Machine' offers a "gender-blending booty-pounding perversion of punk dragged through a musical theatre gutter" courtesy of its star, Christeene, described by the internet as a "drag terrorist" and by the press blurb as "a human pissoir of foul hilarity and raw unabashed sexuality". Wow.

I must confess to feeling ever so slightly scared – all that talk of dragging through gutters – but I girded my loins and sent over a mixed bag of questions. Here is what I got back: Christeene, unedited. Click here to read the column.
Some have called the Greenside venue on the Royal Terrace behind Calton Hill one of the secret gems of the Edinburgh Fringe, though it's not an especially well kept secret, given that the operation has garnered a sizeable loyal following within the Festival community over the years.

But being situated away from both the Bristo Square hub of the Fringe and the recently resurgent George Street festival zone, Greenside isn't necessarily a place you'll stumble across by mistake while rushing from one central venue to another. Until now. Because the Greenside team are about to open for business at a second location for the first time, and it's on Nicolson Square right next to all that Bristo Square busy-ness. Which should introduce the set-up to a whole new audience, who may then also be tempted to the original Greenside venue back on Royal Terrace.

"We never wanted to rush into finding a new space", Greenside director Tara Kilbourne tells ThreeWeeks, "we knew that any new location had to be 'right'. The list of essentials when finding a new venue is never ending and we looked at countless spaces before finally coming across what was then a building site on Nicolson Square, a methodist church that was undergoing a million pound refurbishment. But even with the scaffolding, builders everywhere and a constant buzz of drills we knew we'd found the right space".

"We are so excited to finally be able to share with everyone this cracking new venue" says Kilbourne's co-Director, Darren Neale, of the space that will now be known during August as Greenside @ Nicolson Square. "Where to start. It's in an amazing location, right in the heart of the Festival just seconds away from BBC @ Potterow and Bristo Square. The refurbishment has recently been completed so the space is quite literally gleaming. Glass fronted elevators, the beautiful Well Cafe, outdoor seating areas and two outstanding performances spaces that, we think, makes this one of the most exciting new venues at the Festival".

Kilbourne and Neale have adopted the same programming approach to their new building as with the old, though with three stages now at their disposal they were able to include significantly more shows in the schedule. "We are proud to be an 'open programming' venue", Kilbourne says. "We think that's the way the Fringe was intended, so you will find everything at our venues from Fringe Virgins to Fringe Veterans, professionals, students groups and acts from all over the globe. We think our open programming philosophy helps create a diverse, eclectic and vibrant Fringe Programme".

Neither director wanted to be drawn into the messy task of picking out one or two shows from their 2014 programme for special tipping, with Neale instead insisting that the Greenside programme "covers every area". He concluded: "We really think we have the sort of programme which means you can start with us at 9am and leave at midnight seeing the best of Fringe talent under one roof".

More at
ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses is beyond excited about the programme for this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, and is frankly gutted that two of her favourites (Haruki Murakami and Maggie O'Farrell) have sold out already. But, there are loads of other really big names appearing, and many, many very promising events too. And here are three of them.

Susan Greenfield – Are Computers Bringing Out The Worst In Us?
Well, I feel pretty sure that social networking and discussion forums are responsible for some pretty nasty behaviour, but that's not exactly what this is all about... Susan Greenfield is one of the UK's best known neuroscientists and the author of 'Mind Change', a book which looks at what the rising use of technological devices may be doing to our brains, asking the question of whether we are making potentially damaging alterations to the way we think. Has too much screen time led to, for example, a decline in empathy?
Charlotte Square Gardens, 20 Aug. Tickets here.

Melissa Benn – It's Different For Girls
Melissa Benn is doing two events, but only one is sold out at the time of going to press, so fingers crossed there'll still be tickets left by the time you read this for 'It's Different For Girls', in which the author of 'What Should We Tell Our Daughters' presents a positive manifesto for mothers and daughters, at a time when young women are bombarded with airbrushed celebrities and casual media misogyny, and live in a world where it's fine to use the word 'girl' as an insult.
Charlotte Square Gardens, 17 Aug. Tickets here.

Philip Ardagh and Axel Scheffler (pictured)
These two are very popular at my house, because it's home to a small person who loves to read. When she was even smaller she delighted in the illustrations of Axel Scheffler, possibly best known for his collaborations with Julia Donaldson, and now that she's a bit older she's a big fan of Philip Ardagh because she's lately been enjoying his series of 'Short Cuts' books about different historical figures. Anyway, our approbation is reason enough for you to make your way to one of the two events they are doing. And if our approbation isn't enough, there's this: Philip Ardagh has a lovely, long and luxurious beard. Yes.
The Grunts With Philip Ardagh and Axel Scheffler, Charlotte Square Gardens, 11 Aug (for ages 6-9). Tickets here.
Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats With Philip Ardagh and Axel Scheffler, Charlotte Square Gardens, 12 Aug (families and 7+). Tickets here.
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