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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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Steve Earle Gets Theatrical, Philippine Dance, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Soho Rep)

Samara
Now through May 7 at the Mezzanine Theater at A.R.T. New York Theaters, 8 pm (select times at 3 pm and 5 pm): $35+

Though this show is playing up near Hell’s Kitchen, it’s commissioned by Soho Rep, the acclaimed and boundary-pushing theater that recently left its longtime home base on Walker Street, downtown, due to conflicts regarding what the building was zoned for and what they needed to do to operate the theater. Without any sign of stopping their production output, Soho Rep and artistic director Sarah Benson have been putting up shows elsewhere in the meantime.

Samara unites two downtown theater heavy-hitters, Benson and Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players. Maxwell rarely brings outside directors on board, but has asked Benson herself to direct his latest work. They’ve assembled a cast that is diverse in gender, race, and even age, as the ensemble’s age range is 14 to 92. Notably, the cast includes singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has a storied (and Grammy-winning) career in American roots and folk music and has penned tunes recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and more. Earle has also composed music for the play, so whether you’re a fan of avant-garde theater or just good old-fashioned American grooves, you’ll probably find something to like about this show. Keep Reading »

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Make American Gay Again, Theater As Light, and More Performance To Ease The Pain

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Make America Gay Again
Wednesday, January 18 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

By now, the phrase Make America Great Again pretty much seems like old hat. Which is also a pun I didn’t mean to make, but there it is. Tonight, performance artist Chris Tyler hopes to put his own ribald spin on MAGA with this spangled variety show, claiming while that America has never been particularly great or even particularly good, it has indeed been “more than a little bit gay.” Republicans are welcome to this affair, though it’s unclear what their fate shall be when they arrive. The lineup includes “drag queens, poets, and punk musicians” such as performance artist Emily Oliveira, drag queen Kelsey, local rockers Gandor Chorale, Pussy Grabs Back: The Band, writer Jess Goldschmidt, and more. Advance tickets are sold out, but a waitlist begins at the theater at 7:30. Keep Reading »

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Watch Comedians and Watches, Augmented Reality, and Holiday Cheer 101

Casey Caldwell by Charles Ludeke Claire Fleury by Alesia Exum LACTIC by Thibault Théodore-Babin TILLYandWILLIAM by Tilly D Wolfe (image via Vox Bizarre / Facebook)

Casey Caldwell by Charles Ludeke; Claire Fleury by Alesia Exum; LACTIC by Thibault Théodore-Babin; TILLYandWILLIAM by Tilly D Wolfe (image via Vox Bizarre / Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Wordspeak
Wednesday, December 7 at Vox Bizarre, 8 pm: FREE

Vox Bizarre is a new Ridgewood-based “store and workshop” pop-up devised by four design labels: Casey Caldwell, TILLYandWILLIAM, Claire Fleury, and LACTIC. Aside from all creating unconventional and intriguing attire and accessories, the common thread that unites these labels is that they are interested in shedding binary gender classifications within fashion and developing pieces that are inclusive to all body types. In addition to selling their wares, they’ve planned a variety of community-based events, such as performances, workshops, photoshoots, and more.

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