Performance Picks

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Performance Picks: Fearful Comedy, Fainting, and Queer Drama

WEDNESDAY

(photo via Shark Party Media)

(photo via Shark Party Media)

Mara Wilson’s What Are You Afraid Of?
Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg. 8pm. $10. More info here

Writer, comedian and former child actress Mara Wilson is back with the latest iteration of her show What Are You Afraid Of?, which rounds up choice comedians and storytellers to share their greatest and most interesting fears. This time around: Jasmine Pierce (Reductress), Anita Flores (Awkward Sex… And The City), and Anna Rose Roisman (UCB). And don’t fret, the extra fearful can always arm themselves with a booze blanket.

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Performance: Future in Puppetry, Internet in 1991, and Some Stuff in Between

(photo: Maria Baranova)

(photo: Maria Baranova)

WEDNESDAY

Steve of Tomorrow
Continues through March 19 at HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Ave., Tribeca. 7pm; tickets are $20. More info here. 
Steve of Tomorrow is a multimedia work of puppetry following a sci-fi fan who makes a blog post inviting any time travelers to greet him with their presence, but the only one to come by is lazy and not at all what he’d hope the progressive future to be. This piece questions technological advancement while utilizing the latest in video puppetry, created in the signature style of David Commander’s Toy Theater. Regardless of your feelings on tech or the capabilities of future-folk, it’s sure to be pretty cool.

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4 Performance Picks: Loft Opera, Brothels, And Hospitals

LoftOpera's "The Rape of Lucretia." (photo: Robert Altman)

LoftOpera’s “The Rape of Lucretia.” (photo: Robert Altman)

THURSDAY

LoftOpera’s Tosca
Continues through March 19 at 198 Randolph Street, Bushwick. Tickets are $30. More info here
If you think opera sounds stuffy and expensive, think again. At LoftOpera, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, you don’t even have to leave Brooklyn to get your fill of classic operatic scores, solid performances, and also, beer. The LoftOpera folks have garnered much praise for their past productions, and their Tosca is sure to be of similar quality. Come and experience all the nostalgia of a loft party, but with all the culture of opera.

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Performance: Champagne Jerry, Powerful Females, an Ionesco/Hitchcock Cocktail

THURSDAY

(photo: Kevin  Yatarola)

(photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Champagne Jerry in the Champagne Room feat. Neal Medlyn
Continues through March 5 at New York Live Arts, 219 W 19th Street, Chelsea. 7:30pm (March 5 at 10pm). Tickets start at $15. More info here.
Performance artist Neal Medlyn and his comic rap star alter-ego Champagne Jerry join forces (yes, you heard that right) for a regular performance bonanza celebrating the release of CJ’s new album. Not only that, but a slew of guests will be joining him. Tonight: Bridget Everett and Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys). Get those bubbles ready, this show is sure to be sparkling.

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5 Performance Picks: Corey Haim, Mary Shelley, and ‘Bad Theater’

clarebarron

(photo via The Bushwick Starr)

THURSDAY

I’ll Never Love Again
Continues through March 19 at The Bushwick Starr, 207 Starr Street, Bushwick. Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased here. More info herePlaywright and actress Clare Barron premieres a new work at the Bushwick Starr exploring the formative teenage events of first love and first heartbreak, constructed from her actual teenage diary. The piece is brought to life chorus-style by a group of celebrated performers, and features original music. Barron has recently won awards for playwriting, and from what I’ve read of hers in the past, her work is soft and strange, relatable but very specific. This show is sure to carry the same satisfying flavors.
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4 Performances Not to Miss This Weekend

FRIDAY

(photo: Patrick Moore)

(photo: Patrick Moore)

Lear
Continues through February 20 at New York Live Arts, 219 W 19th Street, Chelsea. 7:30pm; Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here
Acclaimed dance artist Valda Setterfeld, sporting a shock of white hair, crafts her own version of Shakespeare’s Lear in collaboration with Irish choreographer John Scott. Interestingly, Setterfeld herself plays Lear while the King’s daughters are played by three men. Don’t expect this to be an evening of period dress and Classical language. Setterfeld may be the right age to play Lear, but this unique and movement-driven creation seems anything but typical.

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Memory Palaces, a Splash Zone, and Some More Performance Picks

Distract yourself from the inexorable approach of Valentine’s Day with some soul, some goo, some cinema, and some sparkles.

WEDNESDAY

(Photo via Lady Rizo / Facebook)

(Photo via Lady Rizo / Facebook)

Lady Rizo: 5th Annual Nina Simone Tribute

Continues through February 11 at Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, East Village. 7pm; tickets are $30 and can be purchased here

For the fifth time, comedienne and cabaret songstress (as well as “entertainer, dream maker, chanteuse, [and] superstar“) Lady Rizo will enchant your Hump Day with her unique renditions of the great soul singer’s work. She’ll be joined by a live band and some choice special guests, including TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, The Wiz‘s Mykal Kilgore, and Carol Lipnik. Rizo has been acclaimed for both her vocal prowess and her comedic quirks, so expect a hearty serving of both.

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Shake Off the Winter Blahs and Jet to This Grand Paradise of Immersive Theater

Roxanne Kidd, Elizabeth Carena, Sebastiani Romagnolo, Tori Sparks, Wil Petre, Brendan Duggan. (photo by Darial Sneed)

Roxanne Kidd, Elizabeth Carena, Sebastiani Romagnolo, Tori Sparks, Wil Petre, Brendan Duggan. (photo by Darial Sneed)

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.

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Performance Picks: Erotic Monologues, Black Mass, Durational Dance

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.

WEDNESDAY

(photo via Circus of Dreams / Facebook)

(photo via Circus of Dreams / Facebook)

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.

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Performance Picks: Salon, Salon …Macaulay Culkin?

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.

WEDNESDAY

(photo: Allison Michael Orenstein)

(photo: Allison Michael Orenstein)

A Ride On the Irish Cream

Continues through February 6 at Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, Lower East Side. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here. More info here

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.

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Performance Picks: Bloody Celeb Humor, Motherly Folktales, Murder Mystery

If the The Fire This Time Festival and The Exponential Festival have you festivaled out, here are some other choice performances to check out.

WEDNESDAY

(photo via mollypope.com)

(photo via mollypope.com)

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!

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The Fire This Time Festival Celebrates Diversity of Black Theater

(photo via Fire This Time Festival)

(photo via Fire This Time Festival)

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.

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