Performance Picks

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Let There Be Dark! at This Electricity-Free Theater Festival 

Butcher Holler Here We Come at DarkFest, with Adam Belvo on the right

Tonight, The Tank turns off its lights for four days, for its annual DarkFest. The midtown theater has invited five known and emerging acts to do whatever they want, as long as they steer clear of the power grid. In previous years, that has meant anonymous confessions in the pitch black, shows illuminated with nothing but glow tape, and a mining-disaster story lit only with hard-hat headlamps.

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Performance Picks: A Trap Musical, Butoh in the Park, Steven Tyler’s iPad

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Paperboy Prince / Facebook)

Trap Musical
Wednesday, July 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $7-15 suggested donation

I have to be honest, I find this event extremely baffling. The poster has Pepe and Shia LaBeouf on it, neither of which are particularly beloved images lately, yet the show is subtitled “#TheyWillNotDivideUs.” Are the divisive villains in this story Pepe and Shia LaBeouf? There doesn’t seem to be much indication, but in any case the idea of a “full-length trap and R&B musical production” being performed in a Bushwick bar that specializes in the wild and weird seems like a good enough selling point. Helmed by Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, the cast is massive and jam-packed with a bevy of local performance artists, musicians, dancers, rappers, and more.

If you’re itching to see what in tarnation this thing is but can’t attend tonight, the event indicates it is going to become a monthly affair on the fourth Wednesday of every month. It will become a late-night party after the performance concludes, where you can process what you just saw by dancing until the wee hours.

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Performance Picks: AI Theater, the ‘Courtney Love of Comedy,’ and More

THURSDAY

(flyer by Lorelei Ramirez)

Not Dead Yet
Thursday, July 20 at C’mon Everybody, 8:30 pm: $5 advance, $7 doors

This comedy show, hosted by the multi-talented and highly strange Lorelei Ramirez, really gets to the bottom of the human condition based on its title alone. Sure, we aren’t dead yet, but we will be soon. Whether it be from being cooked alive due to climate change, from inhumane health care policies (though that one seems a tiny bit less likely now), from an aggressive ghoul with a mustache that no one can see but you… Or maybe you’re just one of the lucky few to pass peacefully. Either way, you’re still here. So you might as well go to this comedy variety show.

The show itself (which is monthly) is packed to the brim with notable creatives serving up a whole bevy of funny n’ weird stuff across disciplines. There’ll be comedy by Becca Blackwell, Brett Davis, Sydnee Washington, and Katie Boyle; readings by poet Sasha Fletcher; videos by Lukey Walden and Alan Resnick, and even music by Drag Lomax and Tredici Bacci. As the teens say: what more could you want? Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: MTA Love Poems, Jeb Bush Meets Sam Shepard, and More

WEDNESDAY

(flyer by Alex Farr)

Holding: A Queer Black Love Story
Wednesday, July 12 at Secret Project Robot, 9 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

This performance is presented as part of queer, trans, POC-centric collective BUFU’s month of community programming, available in full on their website. Created and performed by Alex Farr and Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Holding explores the ways one can tell a queer black love story in 2017, particularly in these more precarious political times. Prioritizing the powerful nature of being soft and kind to others, the show states, “We name our tenderness as an act of resistance—intimate resistance that should be celebrated, protected, and cared for.”

After the performance, the artists will stick around for a talkback discussion, unlike a certain David Mamet who recently said he would fine artistic groups $25,000 if they dared to publicly discuss his work after a production of it.  Keep Reading »

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Surrealist Warehouse Festival, Fantastic Comedy, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Brian Fiddyment / Twitter)

Prayerz
Wednesday, June 28 at Vital Joint, 9 pm: $5-10 sliding scale

Regular old prayers are boring. Clasping your hands together and murmuring at the sky all polite-like? Come on. And don’t get me started on the kinds of prayers that just happen as a silent “conversation with God” in your head (i.e. the kinds I did as a child, I was no heathen). Let’s get some performative prayer up in here! And that’s just what comedian Brian Fiddyment will bring you in his monthly show at East Williamsburg space Vital Joint. Well, maybe. It’s a show and open mic focusing on multimedia-based and non-traditional comedy pieces are given priority. Perhaps that was the true Word of the Lord all along.

And if you want to double up on the #showz, get there early, because at 8 pm three groups of artists are performing new experimental works as part of ?!: New Works, deemed “the spiritual successor to the Exponential Festival.” Keep Reading »

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Pride-ful Shows, Political Theater, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Clubbed Thumb)

What The Constitution Means To Me
June 21-July 1 at The Wild Project, 8 pm: $25

With this piece by playwright and actor Heidi Schreck directed by Oliver Butler, Clubbed Thumb continues their annual Summerworks series of new plays. Fittingly, so far they have all dealt with sociopolitical or governmental issues in ways that have been a bit more overt than the typical downtown theater offering. Such is a sign of the times. Schreck’s What The Constitution Means To Me appears to be no exception.

The play is about someone also named Heidi who finds a unique way to make money in 1989, which is giving speeches about the Constitution. Only, she is told her orations are not personal enough, which leads to an exploration into the women of her past (who seem to have consistently attracted “violent men”) and how the Ninth Amendment may have had more of an impact than she thought on them. Keep Reading »

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Hookup App Etiquette, QueerCom, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(photo: Maria Baranova, via Abrons Arts Center)

Raw Bacon From Poland
Now through June 17 at Abrons Arts Center, 8 pm: $25 

I would say that most of us agree that war is bad. I would also say that most of us are able to state that opinion without having directly experienced the horrors of war ourselves. Guggenheim Fellow Christina Masciotti’s new play, currently running at Lower East Side’s Abrons Arts Center, revolves around a veteran who has been forever altered by a tour in Iraq. Through attempts to sedate his PTSD with pills, he finds himself sentenced to Brooklyn Treatment Court due to a domestic violence incident.

Theater is rarely free to attend, and often costs a pretty penny. So when the genre tells the stories of people typically cast aside by society, it can be difficult for these very people being portrayed to actually witness the work being staged. In an effort to make this play more accessible, the theater has set aside two free tickets per night specifically for veterans. Keep Reading »

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Messy Comedy, Final Macaulay, Royal Karaoke, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ground Floor Comedy)

Ground Floor Live
Wednesday, June 7 at Brooklyn Bazaar, 9 pm: FREE

Ground Floor Comedy, an online space for comedic videos and newsletter listing IRL comedy shows in Brooklyn and beyond, will be putting on their first live show tonight at Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar. There’ll be sketch, improv, and other absurdities from a silly group of comics and performers, many of which will be familiar faces if you’ve ever been to the Annoyance or new weekly series RUDE at South 4th Bar.

The whole affair is guest hosted by Mo Fry Pasic and Tim Platt, who always bring a special something to shows. If you come early at 8pm, there will be a “meat themed variety show” to spotlight new voices in the comedy scene, and I love a good themed show.

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A Streepshow, a Neutral Milk Hotelier, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

Paul Alexander by Valentin Xtravaganza (via Howl Happening / Facebook)

Inside Out Upside Down
Thursday, June 1 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: FREE

Movement Research shows typically happen in places formally designated for performance, where people gather in chairs and observe dance pieces and exit when they are done. Tonight, they’re switching it up. As part of their annual Spring Festival, curated by Laurie Berg, Monstah Black, and Amy Khoshbin, dancers and movers and beyond will be congregating at Bed-Stuy bar C’mon Everybody. There, the night will shift in between performance and party, as a variety of movement artists, DJs, MCs and more explore the question: “What is the role of the club in activating a community and creating a cross-cultural blend?”

The night’s performers include Richard Kennedy, Tendayi Kuumba, and Larissa Velez-Jackson of the group Yackez. In addition to dancers and DJ sets, there will also be a special MC workshop led by producers from “nightclub hybrid” Jackie 60.

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Indoor Comedy Shows, A Multitude of Taylors, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via LAWL / Eventbrite)

LAWL
Thursday, May 25 at New Women Space, 7 pm: $5

It is good to laugh, and there are allegedly real scientific statistics to back up such a claim. In fact, I just found something literally called the Laugher Online University, and you know what, I have a lot of questions about it.  But why spend your time on weird websites when you can venture into the real world and get some actual laughter?

You’re in luck— Thursday night is LAWL (Ladies and Womyn Laughing), Arti Gollapudi’s comedy night showcasing women, trans, and gender non-conforming funny folk. Gollapudi is no stranger to curating spaces prioritizing these groups, as she is also a co-founder of the Comedy Cunt Collective. Tonight at LAWL, you can see jokes n’ silly stories by Sue Smith, Shannon Odell, and Wanjiko Eke. And if I’ve made you too curious about this University of Laughter, you can always just look it up on your phone in between acts or something. Keep Reading »

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Eurodance Gorillas, Bad Tattoo Roasts, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Heaven Is Here! A Eurodance Party and Spiritual Rebirth Seminar
Wednesday, May 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $16

Do you love Eurovision? Did you miss it this year? Do you have no idea what I’m talking about? Do gorillas bring a smile to your face and a rhythm to your hips? Whichever of these categories you might fit into, perhaps you might be intrigued by the latest offering from Ars Nova Makers Lab member Emily Oliveira, working in collaboration with Max Branigan and James Gentle. We last saw her organize a night of performances involving songs each performer’s mother selected, and this time she’s taking more of a performer role herself. However, instead of mothers, there will be someone a little more primal. I’m talking about everyone’s favorite sign-language speaking gorilla, Koko.

Yes, in this strange Wednesday night journey you’ll learn that Koko is “a divine liaison to the spiritual world,” and she has facilitated the birth of a Eurodance group called All Ball through her educational sign-language YouTube videos. Perhaps electronic beats and kindly primates really can save the soul. Keep Reading »

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For Samara, Soho Rep Goes Uptown and Into Another World

(L-R): Jasper Newell, Paul Lazar (photo: Julieta Cervantes)

I don’t often think about laser tag. Maybe my life would be more interesting if I did, but it’s just not frequently on my mind. However, I was thinking of that childhood adventure game as I walked up the stairs into A.R.T. New York’s theater building in Hell’s Kitchen. There, I was handed a square of grey foam that I held to my chest like a shield as I walked into a industrial-feeling room constructed of black rubber milk cartons. Not that I was about to be faced with beams of light and fog. Not yet. I was here to see a play. Keep Reading »