On the northern side of Sara D. Roosevelt Park sits a large brick structure. Once a youth center, the Stanton Building was shut down during a time of high crime in the Lower East Side and is now used only for storage by the Parks Department. Since the late ’90s, there’s been talk of returning it to community use, but that has yet to happen. So, Wednesday afternoon, a group of local activists gathered outside of the building in what was the first of three events intended to stimulate collective planning about its future.
Posts by Cassidy Dawn Graves:
Snippets From Sparkleberry
At The Annoyance, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 8:30pm. $10. More info here.
A ragtag gang of particularly zany folk come together to present this supposedly long-awaited public showing of some of the citizens of Sparkleberry’s theatrical creations, a town full of kindred spirits who also happen to be incredibly dumb. Needless to say, such a combination will probably make for some engaging material. The production features Eliza Hurwitz (who has also created a show that is dedicated to her love of Duane Reade), Steven DeSiena (the Music Man in recurring cartoon/puppet/sketch show Cartoon Monsoon), and Bardia Salimi (who I meant to see in a backyard comedy show in May but he spent too long getting an ice cream.) With a team like that, what could go wrong?
Musicals are often full of emotion, especially during moments of song. When a woman sings of wanting the people who irk her “slain,” it’s usually not a threat to be taken literally. But in Ambition: The Female American Serial Killer Musical, now playing as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity in the East Village, such musical stylings do indeed foreshadow death.
Ambition is written by Asian-American playwright and performer Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, who is also the co-creator of a web series called 2 Girls 1 Asian and helps produce and curate a bimonthly performance series called Undiscovered Countries, which is how we met. Since then, we’ve performed in each other’s respective variety shows and I’ve generally kept tabs on her work. When I heard about this project I knew I had to check it out, as I am the type who spent many childhood years up late combing through the Wikipedia pages of people who have done awful things. People, but largely men.
Erin Markey: Humping A Gatorade Bottle
At The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, West Village. 9:30pm. $15 plus a two drink minimum. More info here.
Performance artist/comedian/writer/singer/actress/my friend Erin Markey is always a pleasure to watch onstage. Her cabaret shows at The Duplex and Joe’s Pub are full of strange and compelling life stories, odd characters, impressive voice work, jokes you might not realize are hilarious until five seconds after they’re told, and some very nice singing. This show, with the truly memorable subtitle of Humping a Gatorade Bottle, is sure to be no less wonderful and intriguing, in addition to being a “heartwarming crossfit program.” Now that’s what I call one-stop shopping.
Circus Revue: Love, Trust, and Partnerships
House of Yes, 2 Wyckoff Ave, Bushwick. 7pm doors, 8pm show. Also on Friday. Tickets are $15. More info here.
In a special edition of House of Yes’s recurring circus revue, this show is totally devoted to the magic number two. Yes, each act in this high-flying variety show will be a partnered one, so instead of the singular dazzling aerial, burlesque, dance, and circus acts you’re used to this glitzy venue delivering, you’ll be seeing double. In the spirit of deux, this show will be going on for two nights instead of its usual one, so there’s no excuse not to check it out. Plus, there’s a free dance party afterward, where you can probably unsuccessfully attempt some of the moves you saw.
At La MaMa, 66 E 4th Street, East Village. 8pm. Free. More info here.
I can’t say I know a ton about Watoku Ueno’s one-night-only piece at La MaMa, but maybe they’re staying true to their name and keeping all the juicy details a secret… What I do know is that it’s based off Japanese folklore, specifically a story known as “Crane Wife,” where a man marries a woman who is really a crane in disguise and makes money by weaving her own feathers into silk brocade and leaves once her husband finds out she’s really a crane. That is true independence and craftiness, if I do say so myself. Secret includes not only dance and live music but also some glorious shadow puppetry that will bring this odd little tale to life.
At Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village. Free. More info here.
Typically, when we go see a performance of any sort, the material we’re watching has been written, rewritten, and carefully narrowed down from a presumable slew of ideas. Dead Darlings, a monthly show curated by performer and female drag queen Amanda Duarte, seeks to assemble a group of artists to show work that didn’t make the final cut or has not yet found a home. This time is “book club edition,” so there’ll be a gaggle of authors reading their work: Dave Hill (Inside Amy Schumer), Michael Schulman (Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep), Rebecca Traister (All The Single Ladies), and Cintra Wilson (Fear And Clothing).
Whether in a club, basement, or bar, most comedy shows are indoors. And that’s fine. But what kind of stuff could happen at a comedy show in a backyard, free from oppressive building structures and rules? If your guess was “a lot of messy stuff,” then you should win some prize from someone other than me, because I don’t have any prizes. However, comedian Andrew Benedict and his sketch group SOAP (also featuring Erin Coughlin, Ben Hosley, and Joel Straley) may very well have created a gem with their “messy backyard show” this Saturday, which promises “all the bits too messy to do indoors.”
Circus of Dreams
At Bizarre Bushwick, 12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick. 10pm. $7 suggested donation. More info here.
This monthly performance art variety show has been going on for a couple years now and still never fails to surprise me. Though it’s impossible to predict or even properly describe what shenanigans will occur, there will be gender-blurred burlesque, shocking circus stunts, a senior citizen contortionist who has had several hip surgeries and is still going strong, dominatrix performance art, and zany audience participation. And that’s just a sampling. This month is glam-themed, so I’m sure there will be sparkles and over-the-top outfits everywhere the eye can see. Get there early to beat the inevitable crowd, it’ll make getting a drink in a timely manner much more feasible and you can see some nice preshow go-go dancing.
THURSDAYDTF Presents: Mandatory Seminar
Continues weekly through June 2 at The Annoyance Theater, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 9pm. Tickets are $10. More info here.
Have you ever been a part of an office wellness seminar? I personally have not, but they sound truly absurd. Get a taste of one too outrageous for words tonight and next week in the hallowed halls of The Annoyance, where The Dingleberry Theater Foundation tries their very best to stage their own wellness seminar featuring a cast of characters who don’t seem at all suited for that sort of workplace, much less any workplace. Will there be meditative breathing exercises and miniature bottles of water or will there only be disaster? Only one way to find out.
Ike At Night
Now through June 4, Wednesday through Saturday at The Bushwick Starr: $18.
Acclaimed comic performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu hosts a talk show of his own creation at the Bushwick Starr. Each night is different, featuring a new selection of handpicked artistic guests each time, including B+B fave M Lamar, theatre director Richard Maxwell, performance group Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, The Dance Cartel choreographer Ani Taj, and more. Keep Reading »
Any show that begins in full blackout long enough for the elderly patron next to me to start murmuring and glancing at the program with the light of his phone screen is one that is going to pique my interest.
Evening – 1910, a new musical written by Randy Sharp and Paul Carbonara (a former guitarist and music director for Blondie), has many interest-piquing factors. Indeed, it began in the pitch dark. It’s an entirely sung-through musical in a quaint and intimate space (the Axis Theater in the West Village) with a live band. It follows immigrants who arrive in the city in 1910. Some are showgirls at a failing variety show theater on the Bowery who dream of finding more fulfilling work, one is a man who enjoys using his camera. Their lives are interrupted by a rich man who intends to transform the theater into a cinema.