The Public’s Under The Radar Festival
January 4-15 at The Public Theater and other venues, various times and prices.
It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.
A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more.
The Exponential Festival
January 4-31 at various venues, various prices.
If a 12-day festival is too jam-packed for you, venture to the more DIY realm and you’ll find The Exponential Festival, presenting a slew of shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn that generally dip into stranger territory. For the rest of the month, over 30 productions will show you what they have to offer. There’s Cristina Pitter and Starr Busby’s Decolonizing My Vagina, Hannah Kallenbach’s 2 Girls 1 Hotdog, James Monaco and Jerome Ellis’s transfixing multimedia storytelling, Buffalo Bailey’s ranch For Gay Horses, Troubled Teen Girls, And Other: A 90 Minute Time Share Presentation (which continues to be one of the best titles I have seen in many moons, even in this festival with many great show titles), He Hurt Himself In His Confusion (which is yes, a show about Pokemon), and many other shows. These festivals always have so many shows.
Literati: A Comedy Show About Books And The Idiots Who Write Them
Friday, January 5 at Caveat, 9 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors
Perhaps in school you were supposed to read a book for a class. You did not read the book, but you still find yourself having to complete an assignment about it, whether this be a book report presentation or an acrostic poem or whatever else the kids are doing in school these days. Whatever you had to do, you probably made it up. Comedy show Literati is kind of like that, but with much less dread and grades. An assortment of comedians read selections from books they allegedly wrote, and you will listen to them and potentially do some chuckling. Only this time, everything is made up on purpose, and not fueled by a fine blend of procrastination and stress. But then again, what isn’t fueled by that? Tonight, these aforementioned bookish words will be read by Matt Rogers, Priya Patel, Woody Fu, and Desi Domo, facilitated by hosts Colin O’Brien and Michael Wolf.
Saturday, January 6 at American Medium, 8 pm: $20
When we last checked in with gallery space American Medium, it was located in Bed-Stuy. Now, it’s moved into Manhattan on 20th Street, and has brought a new experimental performance series with it. This particular series is presented by queer community and nightlife space The Spectrum, and consists of six different nights of boundary-pushing performances from “a community of nocturnal artists.” Tonight, gage of the boone (who also co-founded The Spectrum) will present a piece entitled Future Tense 2 alongside Angelina Dreem’s saxophone-wielding performance moniker Paul, performing a piece entitled Presevero 27.
Sunday, January 7 at Starr Bar, 8 pm: FREE
Though it may be a new year, Ana Fabrega’s recurring Sundays With Ana series continues on as triumphantly and consistently as it did in 2017. As it’s the first show of 2018, it’s fittingly themed for “Resolutions.” Though this is a stand-up show, the themes really are taken seriously, typically through bits and anecdotes peppered in between each performer’s act. For this show, these performers happen to be Conner O’Malley, Patti Harrison, Marie Faustin, Max Wittert, Rob Haze, and Greta Titelman. “If you’re someone who feels lost at the beginning of a new year, then this show is for you,” the event description states. If this is you, you know where to go.
Update, January 8: The original version of this post was revised to reflect an updated show title.