Performance Picks

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Performance Picks: Conspiracy Puppets, Thomas Paine, Synth Improv

THURSDAY

(image via Paul Pinto / Facebook)

Thomas Paine In Violence
Now through November 18 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $25

While Paul Pinto may be known by some for his work as a performer in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, he is also a highly interesting composer in his own right. In collaboration with director Rick Burkhardt, he has whipped up an electro-acoustic opera centering around founding father Thomas Paine and a surreal, dreamlike radio station from another planet. Paine, played by vocalist Joan La Barbara, is attempting to deliver various messages on economic justice while a raucous chorus of sound unfolds around him. The show in particular concerns Paine’s 1797 pamphlet Agrarian Justice, considered a precursor of basic income theory and planted seeds for ideas such as Social Security and taxing those who owned land in order to provide for those who did not.

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Performance Picks: Comedic Compliments, Native Satire, All the Feels

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Center for the Humanities)

This Isn’t Funny!: I, An Moron
Wednesday, November 8 at CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery, 7 pm: FREE

Comedy is a strange thing. Many write it off as merely jokes with little meaning, but comedy is one of our biggest and most pervasive cultural forces. So, be careful what you joke about, because hey, jokes do matter and it’s extremely easy to be very funny without tearing down marginalized groups. I see it happen literally all the time. Anyway, tonight you can see performance artist Dynasty Handbag perform their new work that riffs on “white activism” (#resist by buying this shirt about feminism!) and solo shows made by privileged heterosexual women with little self-awareness, which I also see happen all the time. After the performance concludes, the artist will be joined by Morgan Bassichis, Dominique Nisperos, Keisha Zollar, and moderator Bess Rowen for a discussion about the role of comedy in times of political unrest, and how one can utilize the genre to productively take on the establishment.

THURSDAY

(flyer via Union Hall)

Boast Rattle
Thursday, November 9 at Union Hall, 10 pm: $10 advance, $12 day of

Ah, roasts. No, I don’t mean cookouts or that ceremony where you put the whole pig in the ground and take it out after a while. I am talking about the weird comedic ritual of hurling insults in a way some take as complimentary, ultimately. In my opinion, it is too easy to resort to cheap shots in a roast. Unless maybe you are roasting a white man who does not have many redeeming qualities. In any case, at this show you needn’t worry about expecting to laugh at any cruel or dumb retorts. In fact, Boast Rattle is a night of fierce compliments. So, you can sit back and watch Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Mike Drucker, Adam Conover, Shalewa Sharpe, and even Bizzy The Dog cook up their best words of praise to each other. Plus, this edition of the show is part of the New York Comedy Festival, so maybe you will feel fancier in the audience.

FRIDAY

(flyer via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt
Friday, November 10 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

When it comes to feelings, composer and musician Ellen Winter has many of them. So many, in fact, that she’s written an entire show to expose them all to you. Her one-night-only show at Ars Nova (where she also interned several years back) not only has a hefty dose of emotions all along the spectrum (and probably more than one or two tears), it also serves as a showcase of songs she’s written over the years, from renditions of punk songs past to new material from her upcoming solo album. With some rare actual good news coming from the most recent local elections and the inevitable advent of chillier weather and seasonal depression, I have also been feeling many types of feelings. It can always be a treat to experience them with a roomful of others, set to a handful of songs.

SATURDAY

(photo: Theo Cote)

Don’t Feed The Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant
Now through November 19 at La MaMa, 7 pm (Sundays at 2 pm): $25, $20 students/seniors

One (and certainly not the only) group who has faced hundreds of years of oppression that still continues today is Native Americans. Though their land and livelihood is still largely disregarded today, illuminated by movements like that of Standing Rock and more, the struggles they face are not always splashed on the (virtual) front pages of the news. And when Native or Indigenous people are portrayed in fictional media, it’s equally uncommon that they themselves are the ones telling the stories or even playing the roles. That all gets turned on its head at Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective’s “greatest sideshow of Indigenous people you’ll ever see.”

Created by Murielle Borst-Tarrant of Spiderwoman Theater with music direction by Kevin Tarrant, Don’t Feed The Indians takes common Native stereotypes and subverts them in a satirical, musical night performed by actual Native artists. May the future only bring more and more work like this.

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Performance Picks: Immersive Witchcraft, FMK, Branded Comedy

THURSDAY

(flyer via Branded Content: A Corporate Variety Hour / Facebook)

Branded Content Presents: Whole Foods
Thursday, November 2 at Pine Box Rock Shop, 8 pm: FREE

Ah, it appears the brands are at it again, my friends. The brands are always at it again. In this case, the brands are going seasonal, as the weather is finally getting colder some of the days but other days it feels like summer still and the earth will surely burn to a crisp sooner than we know it. Anyway, while we still have time on this strange planet we call home, you might as well spend a Thursday night watching some free comedy at a show that is all about the perils and peculiarities of brands and their content. The evening is hosted by Simone Norman and Jackson Fisher, and features Jay Jurden, Jeremyah Schur, Mary Houlihan, Kate Dellis, Gianmarco Soresi, and Chanel Ali, with a little help from the biggest jokester of all, Whole Foods. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Stigma Unbound, Alaskan Journey, Moon Juice

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via The Juice / Facebook)

The Juice!
Wednesday, October 25 at Union Pool, 7:30 pm: $5 advance, $7 doors

What is The Juice? Is it pressed and does it cost $9 for some reason? I do not know about how pressing the situation is, but I do know that this juice costs $5 in advance and $7 at the door. It is also a comedy show hosted by Carmen Christopher, which seems more enjoyable than sipping some green and/or pulpy liquid through a straw, which we were recently reminded are bad. Tonight, the show welcomes stand-up from Liza Treyger, Casey James Salengo, Dan Licata, and Greta Titelman, and improv from John Reynolds, Zack Pearlman, Monique Moses, Meghan Strickland, Matt Barats, and Zach Cherry. If you’re already tired of all the spooky and Halloween-themed goings-on around, why not check out something loosely themed around uh, juice. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Nightcaps, Bars Become Barns, and Black Girl Magic

THURSDAY

Nightcap | by Ike
Thursday, October 19 at Joe’s Pub, 9:30 pm: $15

Sometimes you’ve had a long and hard week, and you just want to sit back in a comfortable chair and enjoy a nice nightcap. Whether this, to you, means a snug piece of headwear to pair with a matching set of PJs or a fine pour of neat whiskey, come Thursday night it means joining comedic performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu at Joe’s Pub for a night of special guests, gentle quips, live music, and more. As a host and performer, Ike has a demeanor and tone of voice that will simultaneously make you chuckle robustly and feel like a soft blanket is enveloping your very form. Joining him on this evening will be jazz singer Stephan Crump and singer-songwriter LOLO. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Chocolate, Non-Toxic Masculinity, Comedy for PR Relief

WEDNESDAY

(image via Chocolate Dances / Facebook)

Chocolate Dances’ Costume Party Tasting Performance
Wednesday, October 11 and Saturday, October 14 at Triskelion Arts, 8 pm: $30 advance, $35 doors

Sometimes, chocolate is paired with wine. Sometimes, ice cream. Sometimes, milk. Sometimes chocolate is eaten in groups, sometimes alone in a bedroom in large quantities in the dark of night. Less so is chocolate associated with dancing, but this show will almost certainly change that. Chocolate Dances is a company run by Megan Sipe, who is both a choreographer and a literal chocolatier. She has wisely combined these two things into a night that pairs dance performance with handmade chocolates, from decadent infused truffles to smatterings of cacao nibs. Plus, there will be colorful and fun costumes, and even some for the audience to try on, which might be a good idea in case you get chocolate on yourself, which is likely. I’ve seen Megan and her cohorts perform several times before, and tried her chocolates, and I must say you will be in for a treat. Literally and figuratively. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Lingerie, Cuddly Comedy, Trans Is Magick

WEDNESDAY

(image via Joe Rumrill / Facebook)

Little Garden Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Ducks and Rabbits
Wednesday, October 4 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5

Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher are back with their series of comedy shows that are restricted to two topics and two topics only. Past ventures have been themed for frogs and lizards, and bats and rats. Though the weather is cooling and fall is upon us, the duo has chosen a rather cute and spring-feeling pair of critters for tonight’s comedic fodder: ducks and rabbits. At Babycastles, you’ll see Eudora Peterson, Tony Zaret, Max Wittert, Ana Fabrega, Eliza Hurwitz, Joe Pera, and Becky Krause perform material exclusively about those aforementioned ducks and rabbits. While there’s no knowing what they’ll have prepared for you, one thing is certain: it will be about ducks and rabbits. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Circus, Shots, and A Radical Theater Festival

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Vital Joint / Facebook)

Ladies Who Ranch
Wednesday, September 27 at Vital Joint, 8:30 pm: $5-10 sliding scale

“Ranch” can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. For some, it may call to mind a country scene, replete with cattle and rope and maybe a tumbleweed. For others, it reminds them of that creamy white dressing you can put on salads or pizza or whatever. Personally I do not like ranch dressing so naturally the title of this show reminds me innately of it and it makes me cringe a little.

However, the Ladies Who Ranch is in fact not a salute to dressing or even cows, it is a night of comedy by a group of women. Specifically, Kelly Cooper, Rachel Kaly, Maya Sharma, Caitlin Dullea, Caroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker, all of whom were frequent performers at the now-closed Annoyance Theater. Plus, special guest Eliza Cossio of The Daily Show will also be gracing the ranch land with her presence. Tonight, you shall see stand-up, sketches, and multimedia performance, and after the sets have concluded there will be an open mic for you to try your hand at something weird and wacky. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Stonewall Recollections, Radical Burlesque, Renewable Energy

WEDNESDAY

(image courtesy of Alton PR)

Street Theater
September 20-October 4 at The Eagle Bar, 7 pm: $25

The “father of modern queer theater” is back, and fittingly doing a show inside a gay leather bar in Manhattan. Yes, the late playwright and Stonewall Uprising participant Doric Wilson, who recently received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to gay theater, is bringing his satirical Stonewall play Street Theater to Chelsea’s The Eagle.

Street Theater, which won an Innovative Theater award for a recent prior revival, was written in part to chronicle the events and people Wilson experienced personally at Stonewall in 1969. It’s produced by The Other Side of Silence (TSOS), one of the city’s first LGBT-centric theater companies, initially co-founded by Wilson and “resurrected” in 2002 by Wilson, Street Theater‘s director Mark Finley, and Barry Childs. Plus, after the show tonight, it’s “jockstrap night” at the bar. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Clowns, Baby Jessica, Outdoor Theater

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Glove / Facebook)

Clown Night
Wednesday, September 13 at The Glove, 8 pm: $7

Clowns have been a big news item recently. Recall last year, when there were stories about creepy clowns roaming the streets and congregating by way of Facebook. In the past few months, there have been Juggalos allying with leftists and the latest film version of Stephen King’s IT. If you’re not big on Faygo or horror films but still want to get down with the clown, tonight’s the night, my friends. It’s Clown Night at The Glove, and clowns of all shapes, sizes, and sensibilities will be coming out of the woodwork to show you what they can do. Expect burlesque dancer clowns, Bushwick clowns, clown-filled cinematography by Julie Orlick, clowns in cartoons and on canvas, and much more oddity-filled merriment. Keep Reading »

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Afro-Futurism, Theater in a Kitchen, And More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Illustrious Blacks / Facebook)

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.

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Performance Picks: Cavemen Presentations, Bodily Explorations, Socialist Talents

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Creative Independent / Facebook)

What Is A Body?
Wednesday, August 30 at 58 Kent Street, 7 pm: FREE

What is a body? Well, that’s a good question. For one, it’s a sack of flesh with some organs in it. But it’s also so much more. This performance and panel discussion delves into the inherent relationship that live performance has with bodies. If you make something and perform it yourself, the way your body exists, moves, and functions affects how that performance happens. Additionally, the societal constructs regarding bodies and how they should act and appear will affect the audience’s perception of the performance. Is there a way to prevent or subvert this? Performers Erin Markey, Neil Goldberg, and Jonathan Gonzalez will all show you some of their work, and then discuss what you’ve seen and how it relates to the big wide world of bodies. Keep Reading »