The Illustrious Blacks: HYPERBOLIC!
Thursday, September 7 at Joe’s Pub, 9 pm: $15 advance, $20 doors
The Illustrious Blacks is a duo comprised of musician Manchildblack and performance artist Monstah Black. The mythos behind the Afro-futurist group goes like this: each man was the ruler of his own planet and known throughout the cosmos for his own unique artistic offerings. One day, the two planets collided, resulting in a colorful explosion that was not disastrous, but instead created a perfect union of art, music, fashion, dance, and theater. I have to say, this whole origin story somehow reminds me of the King Of All Cosmos from the Katamari video games, which is a game in which you play a little creature who rolls up big spheres of stuff to be turned into planets to please a big king. I’m sure that isn’t a very relevant comparison to what The Illustrious Blacks’s show will be like, but it’s still kind of fun to think about.
I’m Smiling Because I’m Uncomfortable
September 8-17 at Secret Kitchen Location, various times: $15
Site-specific theater typically calls to mind performances set in places like parks, not because they have anything to do with the show’s concept but because it’s a free place to do a show. Or maybe they’re set in hotel rooms because we’re all visitors in this big thing called life or something. This new site-specific piece created by Emma Howard takes place in actual kitchens throughout the city, providing an intimate performance experience that’s staged there for a reason. I’m Smiling Because I’m Uncomfortable is an autobiographical show that explores anxiety, eating disorders, body image, queerness, and the very act of eating. The setting of a real kitchen adds an extra layer onto the endeavor, as the performer is recounting experiences brought on by kitchens and what is made in them in the very space these experiences might have originated.
Tell 36: Past Lives
Saturday, September 9 at Bureau of General Services – Queer Division, 7 pm: $10 suggested donation
There have been many attempts in the entertainment industry to fictionally portray the queer and/or trans experience, many of which unfortunately involve people not belonging to these communities feeling like they somehow are the right person to tell their stories. Lately these kind of endeavors have been given less of a pass, and things like authentic casting have becoming more and more prevalent. But even if you have the casting or the consultants, sometimes it’s better to hear queer stories from the actual mouths of the people who lived them. Luckily, the Tell storytelling series is here to do just that. Hosted by actor and comedian Drae Campbell, this installment of the show features Dusty Childers, Shannon Matesky, Reilly Owens, and F. Squire.
Sunday Service: Alexis Convento Presents
Sunday, September 10 at Knockdown Center, 7 pm: FREE
Sunday Service is a monthly free performance series with a new curator each month. Every show features performances in different disciplines, all centered around a theme. This month’s is curated by performance producer Alexis Convento, and spotlights Filipinx artists from all walks of life. The lineup includes artists Carlo Antonio Villanueva, Eli Tamondong, Goldie Poblador, Jana Lynne Umipig, and Sugar Vendil. Decolonizing and reclaiming culture and identity in performance is a big focus here, with importance placed on telling one’s own story rather than allowing someone else to do so.