Under the Radar
Wednesday January 4 through Sunday January 15, various showtimes at The Public Theater and other spaces: $20 and up
Ah yes, it’s that time again, when the slew of January performance festivals sail in every winter to overwhelm you with a seemingly endless supply of shows. One of these is The Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival, which presents a wide variety of music, performance, and more from artists based across the U.S. and all over the world.
Highlights include site-specific German theatre pioneers Rimini Protokoll’s immersive piece exploring the Brooklyn Museum, performer Erin Markey’s Boner Killer, and Becca Blackwell’s solo show exploring a lifetime of identity epiphanies. There’s also a concert performed by the glitter-clad queer punk rockers of PWR BTTM, and Ryan Haddad’s comedic tales of being gay and sexually active with cerebral palsy.
Ok, still more– there’s Neal Medlyn opening for his own rap alter-ego Champagne Jerry, also The Bengson’s musical autobiographical love story, and Keith A. Wallace and Deborah Stein’s piece on “surviving while black in America.” And that’s just a brief sampling. Seriously.
Admittedly, I am partial to this festival because this year they’ve programmed a lot of friends of mine, teachers I’ve had, or artists I’ve seen before and enjoyed. Here’s to a 2017 where friends do more cool stuff.
Tuesday January 3 through Sunday January 22 at various venues: tickets priced between $10 and $20
Though PS122 isn’t quite ready to unveil their newly renovated space just yet, that has never stopped them from conducting their annual COIL Festival at spaces all over the city. This year is no different.
Get ready for a fest that includes, for one, a virtual-reality experience created by Emmy-winning director and “sex choreographer” Yehuda Duenyas. In Real Magic, a group from the UK called Forced Entertainment are attempting to create an endlessly-looping “impossible illusion.” It’s a dance-theatre reimagining of Euripedes’s Medea with elements of an Latin-disco-pop variety TV show, an assortment of dance pieces, and several others.
Thursday January 5 through Thursday January 12 at Abrons Arts Center:$20
Abrons Arts Center, a longtime fixture of the Lower East Side, is back again with its annual American Realness festival. The week-long affair places a particular focus on marginalized creators, in hopes of contributing to “the breakdown of white-supremacist hierarchies.” Realness also go heavy on the pop culture.
This year, they’re presenting works like a “multimedia ritual” from Mx. Oops. Will Rawls and Chris Kuklis will perform a Dane-song duet on Balkan folklore. And don’t miss out on a reprise of Half Straddle’s concert-play Ghost Rings. Among much more happenings, fresh-as-can-be newcomer, Big Dance Theater, will present their world premiere.
Failure! A Queer Workshop
Thursday January 5, 10 pm at Bizarre Bushwick: $10 (suggested donation)
Sometimes, failure can be a good thing. This monthly show hosted by Ragamuffin seeks to spotlight interdisciplinary queer artists through an evening of performance and “conversation.”
On-stage happenings will be cut with surprises, apparently, and possibly even failure (something every artist has to do now and then). Whatever the case, guests will be graced by many an effervescent presence.
These include boylesque performers such as Munroe Lilly (if you haven’t heard by now, boylesque has been heading toward HUGE for a while now), and drag performers like Hystée Lauder and Miz Jade. There will even be a poet on hand, La Llorona. As with pretty much any show that happens at Bizarre Bushwick, it certainly won’t be boring.
A Gay Show For All People
Saturday January 7, 9:30 pm at The Duplex: $8 in advance, $12 at the door
Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, comedians and creators of the twisted musical Fucking Identical Twins, host this recurring evening of (mostly queer) comedy and song at The Duplex. This time around, expect creations and compositions and anything that might fall in between.
The twinners will be accompanied by folks like Julio Torres–a cast member of B+B fave Lake Homo High who was recently hired on as a writer over at SNL– also, Cole Escola (Difficult People), Barrett Wilbert Weed (Heathers: The Musical, and many new musical theater composer’s cabaret showcases I listened to in early college…), Liza Treyger (Seth Meyers), and more. The West Village may be gentrifying, but it’s still got this gay show.
Deep Space Live
Sunday January 8, 6:30 pm at Muchmore’s: $5 suggested
If you’re tired of the typical talk show structure—that is, interviewing real people—then perhaps your palate will be cleaned with Deep Space Live. It’s a comedy show with a simple concept: an astronaut is lost in space and passes the time by interviewing people.The only thing is, they’re not actually there. They’re just in his head.
I mean, realistically it seems like a really big-budget endeavor to have a talk show where the host is in space and guests must also travel to space to do the show. So the imaginary thing might seem weird at first, but really it’s the most practical option, all things considered. And with imaginary guests like David Blaine, Regis Philbin, and Laura Dern’s Jurassic Park character, it’s sure to be an interesting extraterrestrial concoction. Plus, there’s a robot sidekick. Everyone likes those.
The Origen of Love
Monday, January 9, 7:30 pm at Dixon Place: $15 in advance, $18 at the door ($12 students/seniors)
Nowadays, we hear about Reddit, Facebook, and the Deep Web as places for the unsavory pockets of the internet to make their slimy home, but we mustn’t forget the early days of online misbehavior. Yes, back to a time when 4chan reigned supreme.
Playwright Anderson Cook’s new play The Origen of Love follows a man who lives with his grandfather and may or may not have done something terrible. He’s teaming up with a person called m00t, better known as the founder of 4chan, to make a new “image-based message board.” On the way, they discuss methods of picking up women (of course), ethics in game journalism (of course), and 5th-century ascetic priests (of…course?). Will this venture be their saving grace? Only one way to find out.