Waiting to board my plane, I flipped through a Time magazine sitting on the table nearby. Nixon was traveling to China, people were wondering whether or not hippies made good parents, and the Honeywell Pentax was one of the best cameras on the the market.
Missed January’s exhausting theater festivals and still crave stuff to see? This week brings variety shows (as usual), erotic monologues, a black mass, durational dance, and more.
Circus of Dreams
At Bizarre Bushwick, 12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick. 9:30pm. $7-20 suggested donation. More info here.
This is one of the first weird variety shows I ever went to, and I haven’t looked back since. Circus of Dreams, an unpredictable and odd monthly variety show formerly hosted by Matthew Silver and now helmed by the vivacious Lindsee Lonesome (one-half of brash music group Marital Dispute), is both a strange wonderland and warm community of weirdo artists who consistently bring their wacky ideas to life in the typically welcoming and aptly-named Bizarre Bar. Sometimes you’ll see naked people. Sometimes you’ll get cake thrown on you. Sometimes both will happen. Either way, you certainly won’t be bored. And admittedly this week I’m working the door, so come say hi.
This week is a week of variety… shows, that is. Plop down at a show featuring way more than just one performance. Take it all in.
A Ride On the Irish Cream
Full disclosure: I’m performing in this show. But even if I wasn’t, I would still be telling everyone to see it. Erin Markey (who we saw perform at the St. Marks Is Dead party a few months ago) and a team full of champions has created a deeply personal ode to relationships and childhood full of strange but plentiful humor, bright-eyed wonder, and honestly some of the best live music I have heard in a piece of theater in a long time. Unlike some of those bland poppy posers billing themselves as rock musicals up in midtown, this show is the real deal.
An Audience With Molly Pope At Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., East Village; 9:30pm (also at 7pm on 1/27). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
“Neo-retro” cabaret artist Molly Pope has performed many times all over the city and garnered much praise along the way, but this time she’s doing a little something more: recording her first album. Of course, that’s also happening in front of a live audience, led by a six-piece band. And don’t worry, there will be a sing-along, and audience members who partake will in fact be credited as back-up artists on the album. It’s your chance to be a star!
Though it’s easy to get distressed about how white and male-dominated the artistic landscape still is today (because it really, truly is), it’s important to acknowledge and seek out the exciting and prevalent work being made by artists of color in spaces that are perhaps not as commercial as, say, network television. Some of it has been in comedy: recently, we’ve written about black comedian and activist Elsa Waithe and an all-Muslim comedy showcase.
While you still have a staggering amount of Manhattan performance festival shows going on this week, don’t be afraid to take a break from sifting through show schedules in order to check out some of these other options.
This week and next: more performance festivals than you ever knew could happen at the same time. And plenty more to choose from.
FESTIVALSPS122’s COIL Festival
Through Jan. 17, various times and various venues. Full programming, schedule, and tickets here. They may not have moved into their renovated East Village space yet, but that’s not stopping Performance Space 122 from presenting their contribution to APAP, the COIL Festival. Exploring the theme of transformation, they’ve hunkered down in venues all over, including La MaMa and Paradise Factory in the East Village and New Ohio Theater in the West Village. Offerings include Annie Dorsen’s live musical piece utilizing algorithms to slowly transform The Beatles’s Yesterday into Tomorrow (from the musical Annie) and Frank Boyd and the TEAM’s one-man live jazz radio show.
If you’ve decided that Stairwell Theater’s scatological Ubu Rex seems a little too extreme for you, there’s no shortage of oddball performance events around every corner this week. But sorry to all you straight-laced folk out there, none of them are particularly traditional.
Would you rather spend a short evening watching stuff in a bar or dedicate your whole day to the wildest and most visceral of performance art? This week, you can do both.
Where The Wild Things Are 8
At Bizarre Bushwick, 12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick. 9pm; $7-20 suggested donation. More info here.
Party moguls Brooklyn Wildlife present the eighth edition of their evening variety show at Bizarre Bar, home to all shapes and sizes of variety show. At any given moment, you can catch “aggro” raps by Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky, beats by Star Falcon and Rob Interface, performance art poetry by Terminal Intrusion (Nyssa Frank, owner of The Living Gallery), burlesque, and more. The event asks attendees to wear a costume from a childhood story, a mascot outfit, or just to come half naked. So, suit up. Or down.
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It’s December. Instead of thinking about how time is quickly passing you by, take a pause from reality and step into one of the many intriguing performances available this week. Some of them are even free.
This week, you can eat turkey and see shows. I guess you could do that any week, but it’ll feel more significant now.
This week, you can traipse over to Williamsburg and become part of a theatrical diamond heist, hole up with some strangers (and their holes) in a live version of a sexy UCB podcast, observe a lecture on hallucinations… The possibilities are endless.