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Slipper Room Owner Faces Criticism After Dropping N Bomb On Stage

Credit: Liz Clayman for New York Magazine.

Lower East Side vaudeville venue the Slipper Room is at the center of a controversy over offensive speech which began Wednesday, July 5, when host and owner James Habacker, while performing as his character Mel Frye, used a racial slur onstage as well as referred to mentally disabled people with language often considered offensive.

According to a Facebook post (quoted in a recent addition to the Slipper Room’s Wikipedia page) by someone who attended the show in question, Habacker made a joke using the term “retarded,” which he justified by arguing he was changing the word’s context to be more positive, and then, adding further fuel to the fire, claimed it was akin to black Americans’ reclamation of the “N-word,” which he used several times to the discomfort of the sole black audience member.

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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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Disney Burlesque, a Show in a Bathtub, and More Primo Performance

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Slipper Room)

(flyer via The Slipper Room)

Burlesque Tribute to the Ladies of Disney
Thursday, February 3 at The Slipper Room, 7 pm doors, 8 pm show: $10 

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque is back again. Known for their titillating tributes to all things pop culture, Hotsy Totsy has created scantily-clad evenings dedicated to Game of ThronesStar Wars, Stephen King, The Muppets, and more. This month, they’ve stepped away from the fur and sci-fi in lieu of something more delicate and nostalgic. Yes, they’ve whipped up a tribute all your favorite princesses: the ladies of Disney. However demure these princesses may be, this show doesn’t exactly seem to follow suit. The concept hinges upon Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad as the Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming respectively, who seem to be enjoying their very own Happily Ever After. Only, paradise can be boring for a mere duo. As per the show’s description, “Looking to spice things up, the two love birds have decided to throw a ball, looking for the hottest princess in the land to join them in a threesome!” Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Chatbots Gone Rogue, Snowed-in Radio Plays, Psychedelic Burlesque

THURSDAY

(flyer via Bordello / Facebook)

(flyer via Bordello / Facebook)

Bordello: Psychedelic
Thursday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation 

Sinister and sultry variety show Bordello, hosted by Madame Vivien V, features a slew of out-there performers who will brighten up your night with acts of drag, dance, performance art, fire, and more. On the lineup this time is B-boy and boylesque dancer Eckszooberante and drag performer Chris of Hur, along with performer Amber Von Toxn and Heather, who appears to proudly carry the title of “The Worst.” This iteration of the show, which has been billed as “punk rock meets burlesque meets performance art,” has a psychedelic bent to it, so who knows what sensorial adventures your eyes will be asked to behold. Let the aptly-named DJ Penny Lane spin you into color-crazed oblivion, fix your eyes to the stage, and trip out.

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6 Burlesque Performers Share Their Lofty Ideas About Taking It Off in NYC

Dirty Martini (photo: Steven Menendez)

Dirty Martini (photo: Steven Menendez)

Burlesque has a storied history in New York City. It first appeared in the 1800s, mixed in with other vaudevillian entertainment, and it rose in popularity (and decreased in clothing) until Mayor La Guardia and moral outcry got to it in the 1940s. That’s when many Times Square burlesque theaters closed and attendees of Depression-era shows were reduced to “sex crazed perverts.” Later, many of these very buildings became home to peep shows and sex clubs in the seedier days of Times Square, which in turn suffered a similar fate during the Giuliani-led Disneyfication of the neighborhood in the ’90s. As this was happening, groups of artists in underground venues were bringing creative and often strange stripping back to the city, giving birth to what is now hailed as the neo-burlesque movement.

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Jonny Porkpie Talks Trump, Penis Pasties, and His ‘Dead Sexy’ Halloween Show

Mad-Doctor-Jonny-Porkpie_by_David-Byrd

Jonny Porkpie in “Dead Sexy: The Play” (Photo by David Byrd)

“I think I had six-pack abs for a week when I was 16,” says Jonny Porkpie with a laugh, pushing his long, brown hair behind his head.

For the past 14 or so years (he’s lost track), Jonny has immersed himself in the field of burlesque. With a background in theater, a burlesque-themed mystery thriller (The Corpse Wore Pasties) under his belt, and another novel on its way, he sees burlesque as the ultimate opportunity for creative expression.

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Performance Picks: Fainting Clowns, Doom Spirituals, and So Much More

(photo via BAM)

(photo via BAM)

WEDNESDAY

Portrait of myself as my father
Continues through September 17 at BAM Fisher, 7:30 pm: $25.
Choreographer Nora Chipaumire, born in Zimbabwe and based in Brooklyn, takes the medium of traditional African dance and dresses it up in the masculine garb of a boxing ring in this piece that explores and explodes traditional notions of black masculinity through the spirit of her estranged father. He will appear in multiple forms, symbolically summoned as a “specter” through two dancers, Kaolack (also known as Senegalese dancer Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye) and the Jamaican-born Shamar Watt. The three performers will step into the ring, don their gloves, and fight it out. Or dance it out. Or maybe there’s less of a difference than we think.

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Catching Up With Vic Sin, Bushwick’s Prodigal Boylesque Star

Stephen Plante (Vic Sin) in his Vienna Boylesque Festival costume. (Photo courtesy Stephen Plante)

Stephen Plante (Vic Sin) in his Vienna Boylesque Festival costume. (Photo courtesy Stephen Plante)

Back in February we told you about how far Bushwick-based boylesque performer Stephen Plante (Vic Sin) was willing to go to fund his trip to the Vienna Boylesque Festival, pledging his body for “one night only” in return for a $3,000 donation. He told us it was “a joke, but at the same time, is it possible? Yeah.” Well, he reached his goal (without having to go full-on Pretty Woman), performed in Vienna, England and France, and now he’s back, with footage of his festival performance and a mission: to make the New York City arts scene more family-friendly. He’ll still be stripping, but he wants to do it with more support from other artists, both on and off of the stage.

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Over the Weekend, Bushwick Said Beetlejuice Twice

(Photo: @dalidoodle72)

(Photo: @dalidoodle72)

Despite the rumors a couple of weeks ago, Beetlejuice 2 isn’t happening anytime soon. But that didn’t stop Bushwick from saying, “It’s showtime!” this past weekend.

At Bizarre on Saturday, local drag king Lee VaLone, aka Lela Graham, turned on the juice and shook loose at the Sinner’s Ball, lip-syncing and dancing to a mash up of Nirvana’s “Breed” and Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line.”

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Boylesque Star Raises Funds and His Body Is Up For Grabs?

Stephen Plante (AKA Vic Sin). (Photo: Dmitri Wildfong-Nishman)

Stephen Plante (AKA Vic Sin). (Photo: Dmitri Wildfong-Nishman)

Stephen Plante’s stage persona, Vic Sin, is inspired by both masculine and feminine qualities, but is the Bushwick performer prepared to go full-on Pretty Woman to attend the Vienna Boylesque Festival? To help finance his trip, he created a GoFundMe campaign that offers intimate rewards, ranging from “a big hug!!!” to “MY BODY!!!!!” for “1 night only.”

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House of Yes is Now (Legally) Open For Good, Here Are the Photos to Prove It

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

It’s been a long time coming, and even though House of Yes officially opened on New Year’s Eve, the Bushwick performance collective’s brand new (and impressive) space is finally complete, with all the the licenses and permits it ever dreamed of, and it appears to be running on schedule, no less. Kae Burke– the co-founder of House of Yes along with Anya Sapozhnikova– played host last night and, strutting across the stage in impossible heels and sequined bikini number, reminded the audience, “This is our first variety show in two-and-a-half years.” Proof that even a fire, raids by the cops, and a colossal construction project couldn’t keep House of Yes down.

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Performance Picks: Hitler’s Dog, Burlesque, and Three Festivals

This week and next: more performance festivals than you ever knew could happen at the same time. And plenty more to choose from.

FESTIVALS

(image via ps122.org)

(image via ps122.org)

PS122’s COIL Festival
Through Jan. 17, various times and various venues. Full programming, schedule, and tickets hereThey 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.

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