MONDAY 8 AUGUST 2016 THREEWEEKSEDINBURGH.COM
JONNY & THE BAPTISTS: A BIT OF POLITICS AND PING PONG
Rock solid ThreeWeeks favourites Jonny & The Baptists return to the Fringe once again with a brand new show about inequality and the wealth gap.

Which might sound a little serious, though this musical comedy duo have demonstrated before that they can take on political issues while keeping us well and truly entertained.

Which is to say, there'll be plenty of funny songs while they subtly feed your brain with facts and arguments. We caught up with both Jonny Donahoe and Paddy Gervers to get the lowdown. Read the interview here.

Jonny And The Baptists perform 'Eat The Poor' at Roundabout @ Summerhall until 28 Aug.



BOB SLAYER: A HEROES PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLVING COMEDY FRINGE
Debate about the commercialisation of the Edinburgh Fringe is nothing new, though that discussion evolves, and in recent years, the relationship between the free show strands and the paid-for venues has been a big talking point.

In amongst all that Bob Slayer has been building his network of Heroes venues which reinvented 'free' as 'pay what you want', while also seeking new ways to champion the independent comedy community, and the innovative and alternative comedy acts – veteran and new – who reside there.

As his 2016 season gets under way, Bob reviews the comedy Fringe landscape as he sees it. Read his exclusive column here.

Bob Slayer is performing 24 different shows at this years' Fringe with 'Bob Slayer: 24 Hours' on the Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus until 29 Aug.

He is also producing 'Iraq Out & Loud: Reading The Chilcot Report In Full', which is set to be a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous 'show' ever performed!
Today's speedy news round up...

EDINBURGH COMEDY AWARDS
A chunk of the comedy fraternity amassed for Sunday lunch yesterday with the traditional Fringe kick-off gathering organised by the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and paid for, presumably, by its nice new sponsor Lastminute.com. And if you are wondering who, exactly, is judging all that this year, well, it's the BBC's Sam Michell, Channel 4's Laura Riseam, ITV's Saskia Schuster, The Scotsman's Claire Smith, The Times's Dominic Maxwell, i's Alice Jones, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Susan Provan and comedy fans Niki Di Palma, Jim Johnson and Sam Haslam.

WILL FRANKEN'S ALTERNATIVE COMEDY AWARD
Talking of awards, character comedian Will Franken has announced his intention to launch his own award this year, the Defining The Norm Awards. In a nod to the Fringe's 'defying the norm' slogan this year, as well as contributing to the customary debate about the over commercialisation of the comedy Fringe – and the role the big awards have in that process – Franken says his will be the one truly honest awards programme, “celebrating the safety, sameness and sycophancy so integral to the world's largest and most expensive comedy festival”. Hmm, I wonder who he'll pick to win.

THE THREEWEEKS EDITORS' AWARDS
Talking of Will Franken and awards, we gave him one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards a couple of years back, which are very much anti-bland we reckon. And they, by the way, will return at the end of this year's Festival once again. We have no categories, no precise remits, no particular agenda, other than celebrating shows and performers who we think are bloody brilliant. Watch this space for more info.

TW:TALKS LIVE
Did we mention that this is our 21st year covering the Edinburgh Festival? To celebrate we are staging five live podcast recordings at theSpace @ Symposium Hall next week, in which we will interview five former ThreeWeeks cover stars: Mark Thomas, Susan Calman, Brendon Burns, Lucy Porter and (current cover star) Mark Watson. You can come along, listen in and ask your own questions. Book yourself some free tickets at thisweektalks.com

BOOK FESTIVAL INCOMING
Don't forget that alongside all the madness of the Fringe and the International Festival that is already occurring in this here festival city (and let's not forget the Tattoo and Art Festival), the Edinburgh International Book Festival kicks off next weekend. Says director Nick Barley of his programme this year: “You could say that the theme of this year's festival is 'Project No Fear'. It's about encouraging and celebrating the sort of courageous, positive, creative thinking that we desperately need in order to make the world a better place for everyone, rather than just for a privileged few”.

BOOK FESTIVAL TIPS
Don't forget Caro's Three To See tips for the Book Festival: Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab, Aarathi Prasad and the 'The Write To Read – Discussing Dyslexia' event. Oh, and Malcolm Harvey (pictured) and Michael Keating discussing the renewed debate over the possibility of Scottish Independence. Even though that's four tipped events.

THREES TO SEE
Talking of the Threes To See – don't forget we will be tipping three shows to see everyday of the Festival in the TW Daily email from tomorrow. A daily helping of reviews will also be appearing from tomorrow as well. Tell your friends and colleagues to get signed up!
PREVIEW ISSUE OF THE THREEWEEKS MAGAZINE IS OUT NOW - DOWNLOAD OR PICK UP YOUR COPY

The preview edition of the ThreeWeeks magazine is out now! Pick up your copy from a Fringe venue of your choice.

Inside you will find interviews with Ball-Zee, Amée Smith, Sarah Hehir, Lucy Garland, Matt Winning, Helen Duff, Amelia Ryan, Tim Carlsen and Kid Carpet, plus columns from Stephen Greer, Jinx Yeo and Penny Ashton, and plenty of Three To See show recommendations.

CLICK HERE to check out the preview edition online
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ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses recommends shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival, in handy sets of three.

THREE ARTY THINGS >>

Art Late | various venues | 4, 11, 18 + 25 Aug
Edinburgh Art Festival offers a large range of events and exhibitions, but we can't recommend everything, so don't forget to have a look in their programme or on their website to view the full extent of what's on offer this year. But here's something to start you off. This specially programmed series of events comprising late openings, gallery tours, artist talks and performances through a number of venues sound fantastic, with each one a brilliant way to spend an evening at a very reasonable price.

Zimbabwe Sculptures | Assembly George Square Theatre | 3-29 Aug
If you are a die-hard Fringe central type who spends their Festival days heading from Pleasance to Underbelly, over to Gilded Balloon and then back to Assembly, here's an exhibition you can take in on the way, because it's at the George Square Theatre, no need to head out to the (almost, alright, not at all) countryside of the (totally marvellous) Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art. As the title suggests, these are some world-class stone sculptures, brought to you by the Vhukutiwa gallery of Zimbabwe.

Facing The World – Self Portraits From Rembrandt To Ai Weiwei | Scottish National Portrait Gallery | 16 Jul-16 Oct (pictured)
If, on the other hand, you are a more wide-ranging sort of fringe-goer, who takes in all the excellent venues outwith that central bubble, then this won't be out of the way. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is worth a visit any time of the year, but this exhibition of self portraits looks extra special, featuring over 150 portraits from more than one hundred artists, whose work spans six centuries. Proof that selfies aren't just a modern phenomenon.

THREE BOOKY THINGS >>

Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab | Charlotte Square Gardens | 18 Aug
There are eight million (OK, slight exaggeration) brilliant events happening as part of this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, and I can only recommend a few, which is sad. This was the first to catch my eye, though, as the above named pair – co-authors of 'Burning Country', a look at the Syrian opposition movement – take on the topic of 'How We're Failing Syria'. It's an issue that's been on my mind of late, and no doubt many other minds too.

The Write To Read – Discussing Dyslexia | Charlotte Square Gardens | 19 Aug
It's always worth remembering, as a lover of books, that some people's relationship with the written word can be a strained one, but that that is something that can be addressed. Appearing at this event about how to get younger readers reading is Vivian French, who overcame reading difficulties and became a successful writer, and who will discuss writing dyslexia-friendly books for young people. She's joined by one of my favourite children's authors, Cornelia Funke, and Barrington Stoke MD Mairi Kidd.

Aarathi Prasad | Charlotte Square Gardens | 26 Aug
Aarathi Prasad is the author of 'In The Bonesetter's Waiting Room – Travels Through Indian Medicine'. It's a unique survey of Indian medicine which takes in a wide range of subject matter – from Bollywood plastic surgeons to neuroscience in Delhi to a mental health initiative in a Mumbai slum. This discussion should make for a fascinating event.

THREE POLITICAL EVENTS >>

Barton Swaim – The Political Speechwriter | Scottish Parliament | 19 Aug
Speech-writing's been in the news of late, what with that there Melania Trump being accused of plagiarising the words of Michelle Obama. But it's a pretty interesting subject anytime, right? I mean, who are these speechwriters who put words into the mouths of other people? How do they master this art? Luckily for you, here's an event at the Festival Of Politics that will shed light on it all. Join Michael Russell MSP and former speechwriter Barton Swaim, author of a book on the subject.

Malcolm Harvey and Michael Keating | Charlotte Square Gardens | 23 Aug
This is a Book Festival event with a political theme that's surely on many minds at the moment, the renewed debate over the possibility of Scottish Independence, particularly since English and Welsh voters pushed the UK into Brexit, despite the European Referendum results in Scotland going the other way. Malcolm Harvey and Michael Keating, co-authors of 'Small Nations In A Big World', take a look at what lessons the country can learn from the experience of Nordic and Baltic states.

I Could Do That! – Art In The Public Space | Scottish Parliament | 20 Aug
There are loads of art exhibitions on in Edinburgh this month, of course, but they don't always attract huge audiences, no matter how much we plug them. Art that's out in the public space is another thing, however, viewed by anyone, and owned by everyone. This panel debate takes a look at what we should try to achieve with public art, and what makes a good space in which to place it, as discussed by two artists, an art teacher, and an art writer.
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