Performance Picks

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Performance Picks: 30-Year Christmas Carol, Queer Vloggers, Gay Hell

THURSDAY

(image courtesy of A Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol Year Five: Home For The Holidays
December 14-18 at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, 8 pm or 7 pm: $30

Marriages are technically a commitment for life. The team behind this deconstructed, imaginative, and wacky riff on A Christmas Carol directed by Andrew Neisler and told through the story of a fictional couple has chosen something no less ambitious, particularly for live performance: they will perform a version of this show every year, for thirty years. Now, they’re on their fifth year. Things are changing, but they show no signs of slowing down. So, come on down to whatever a “fashion and design accelerator” is and pay this kind couple (Ryann Weir and Andrew Farmer, who also wrote the piece) a visit. Though Farmer was the writer behind the recent series of spooky subway-centric tales, I assume this show will be more seasonal than spine-chilling. Also, it includes unlimited beer and wine. Keep Reading »

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Circus of Dreams Ends Its Five-Year Run, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Circus of Dreams / Facebook, photos by Nick McManus)

Circus of Dreams
Wednesday, December 6 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $10 suggested donation

This performance art variety show, originally hosted by bearded street performer Matthew Silver, was one of the first shows in New York I saw that wasn’t a formal “theater” show, and it truly bewildered and impressed me. It was strange, daring, messy, stressful, loud, rule-breaking, sometimes all of those things, sometimes none of them. It made me realize that there was this whole community of performance I didn’t know about or thought wasn’t around anymore, and I found myself involved in the show first as friend of performers, then recurring door worker, then occasional performer. Since then, the host and producer has changed to show regular Lindsee Lonesome but the spirit has stayed the same. Tonight, after five years, Circus of Dreams will happen for the final time, and it truly feels like the end of an era. So, if you’re free, pop by Bizarre to see some of the show’s veterans and newbies alike take that scrappy stage for the last time. I’ll be at the door. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Patriarchal Trash, Woodland Puppetry, Black Remembrance

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Fire Signs Present / Facebook)

Fire Signs Present: Sociable Sagittarians
Wednesday, November 29 at Artichoke Pizza, 9 pm: FREE

Artichoke Pizza is known far and wide for serving up very large, very rich, very cream-laden slices of pizza to late-night revelers and hungry lunch-searchers alike. But when they opened a Bushwick location in the old Northeast Kingdom space not too long ago, they also began hosting events and shows in their basement. One such monthly show is a woman-centric variety show helmed by Fire Signs Present, a duo (of fire signs, of course) comprised of performers Meg McDermott and Nancy Pop. Each month, they book women and femme comedians, storytellers, musicians, and anything in between, typically who belong to the astrological sign of the month, but not always. (Full disclosure: I performed at last month’s Scorpio show. Fellow Scorpio Risings…hello.) This time around, it is all about Sagittarius folk, specifically Hannah Abney, Thoughtress, Brittany Sherrod, and Aston Hollins McClanahan. Plus, there is free prosecco. Keep Reading »

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Get Your Relationship Turned Into a Musical, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image courtesy of Rebecca & Evan)

Your Love, Our Musical
Wednesday, November 22 at Caveat, 7:30 pm: $15

If you’ve ever dreamed of turning your latest Tinder date into an original musical, I don’t know what kind of a person that makes you, but you can take a stab at making this odd dream a reality at the return of Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman’s Your Love, Our Musical, now presented at new brainy venue Caveat. It’s fairly self-explanatory; the duo selects an actual couple from the audience and interviews them. After that, they work their magic and craft a whole (and wholly improvised) musical about what they’ve just heard. If you’re looking for a new perspective on your relationship but can’t afford therapy, this could be the way to do it. Keep Reading »

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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 »