Sex positivity is pretty much a given at House of Yes. But more than once, while watching Dirty Panties: the Musical, I had to ask myself, “Was that actual penetration happening in midair?” This raunchy dance-cum-burlesque-cum-neocircus psychedelic performance is about sex work– an issue that’s much more socially and politically charged than anything the venue has ever done. It’s also made possible by sex workers themselves. Anya Sapozhnikovad, the brains behind the production and one of the venue’s two founding mothers, considers it the first thing she’s made that’s “really, really personal.”
Even though the year is ending, most things will continue after the clock strikes 2017. But not all of them. The queer nightlife collective known as The Culture Whore is saying goodbye not only to 2016 with their New Year’s Eve space-rodeo rave, “Night Riders.” The blowout will be the group’s final party, as they are disbanding.
Tonight, a chasm of art opens up in East Williamsburg. More specifically, tonight marks the beginning of CHASM, a four-day late-night multimedia/nightlife/performance/music event, showcasing some of the most groundbreaking artists working in the Brooklyn scene today. The experience is curated by Julia Sinelnikova, a multimedia artist who often creates under the name The Oracle and is drawn to the usage and interactions of light in her work, whether it be through curation or creation. Keep Reading »
There’s no doubt Red Bull has staked its claim on the music industry (it just launched a web series, “Mavens,” dedicated to women in the industry), but how would you feel if we told you that things were going in the other direction, now that the music people are getting involved in the business of energized-drink making? It’s true: John Barclay of Bossa Nova Civic Club recently launched a yerba mate soda company called White Label. And the stuff ranks right up there with the energy-drink heavy hitters.
Burlesque has a storied history in New York City. It first appeared in the 1800s, mixed in with other vaudevillian entertainment, and it rose in popularity (and decreased in clothing) until Mayor La Guardia and moral outcry got to it in the 1940s. That’s when many Times Square burlesque theaters closed and attendees of Depression-era shows were reduced to “sex crazed perverts.” Later, many of these very buildings became home to peep shows and sex clubs in the seedier days of Times Square, which in turn suffered a similar fate during the Giuliani-led Disneyfication of the neighborhood in the ’90s. As this was happening, groups of artists in underground venues were bringing creative and often strange stripping back to the city, giving birth to what is now hailed as the neo-burlesque movement.
While we’re talking about fall here, don’t go reaching for the pumpkin spice. That’s not what this is about. But if you would like to spice up your Thursday night plans, keep reading. Queer nightlife collective and “global network of artsluts” The Culture Whore is having an event called Sequinox tonight at Bushwick’s Flowers For All Occasions, billed as “a celebration of queer music and the turning of the wheel.” It’s part of a new initiative the collective has started, with a focus on showcasing new queer music and underground artists.
The Internet has been quietly aflutter lately with a sort of drag debate: drag kings rallying for their place in the scene after RuPaul recently said kings and queens “don’t really mix”; “faux queens” or “bio-queens” asserting that their drag is as valid and subversive as other drag queens only to garner an entire response essay picking apart their argument. Though drag is indeed replete with layers and a multifaceted history, including its ongoing relationship with trans and gender non-conforming folk, Ru did classically say, “We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag.” However, one could look to the ever-growing medium of Internet Thinkpieces and get a sense that the scene is much more fragmented than that.
Admittedly, when I heard House of Yes was doing a show called Ketamine: The Musical, I wanted to roll my eyes. I imagined a glitzy spectacle full of drug jokes and little self-awareness, happily consumed by an audience of partiers. Or, like, an entire show where people sit there motionless? I don’t know. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way.
Now I have you with me, under my power. Our love grows stronger now with every hour. Look into my eyes, you’ll see who I am. My name is Lucifer, please take my hand. – Black Sabbath
Yesterday eve, a hoard of leather-jacket-clad girls with flowing manes and practiced scowl-pouts made their way to their assigned seats at Saint Vitus. The mood was heavy, everyone seemed to know that they faced the potential for both complete humiliation and romantic glory at the very first Speed Metal Dating. I was among the 74 people who showed up, a sacrificial lamb for stunt journalism.
What happened? Lemmy tell you…
It’s been a long time coming, and even though House of Yes officially opened on New Year’s Eve, the Bushwick performance collective’s brand new (and impressive) space is finally complete, with all the the licenses and permits it ever dreamed of, and it appears to be running on schedule, no less. Kae Burke– the co-founder of House of Yes along with Anya Sapozhnikova– played host last night and, strutting across the stage in impossible heels and sequined bikini number, reminded the audience, “This is our first variety show in two-and-a-half years.” Proof that even a fire, raids by the cops, and a colossal construction project couldn’t keep House of Yes down.
Bushwick’s gay scene is thriving by almost any measure. Happy Fun Hideaway is constantly packed to the gills. Bottoms is one of the hottest bands in New York. Rashaad Newsome, the artist bringing the fine art of vogue to the fine art world, has moved to the neighborhood. The annual drag fest Bushwig popped off for its fourth year in a row this fall, and drag king performances are seeing their biggest comeback in the city since the ’90s. And which Brooklyn neighborhood can claim its own glossy culture magazine dedicated to all things drag?
“It resonated with me, completely,” said Derek Marshall, owner of the underground queer bar The Club. He was recalling the first time he’d seen his friend Taylor di Pasquale perform as his “trash drag” persona, Olympia Bukkakis. “Here is this person who gets up there and is in a position of great power, but decides to empower people with collective weirdness– by telling your own, authentic story it normalizes the experience of everyone else who’s in the audience.” Keep Reading »