burlesque

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Local Boylesque Revue Wins ‘Large’ At Vegas Burlesque Pageant

(photo: MC Newman)

If you’re already gearing up for the Mermaid Parade, you might feel the rush of sweat and glamour pouring back into town from one of the biggest glitter gatherings of the year: The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. Bringing home more than a yearning to eat a vegetable this year is the local performing group Boys’ Nightwho won the pageant’s award for Best Large Group. I caught up with the boys via email while they were still dazed (and likely oxygen-starved—the secondhand smoke at the Orleans Casino is notorious) from the win and the weekend. Keep Reading »

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Cool Off And Get Cultured At These Seven June Book Talks

(credit: Amazon)

Michael Eric Dyson + Shaun King + Harry Belafonte
Monday, June 4 at The New School, 7 pm to 8 pm.

Michael Eric Dyson joins The New School and The Strand to unveil his book What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America. The book follows his New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America. Acclaimed singer and advocate Harry Belafonte, along with activist and The Intercept columnist Shaun King, join Dr. Dyson in conversation about his important and timely book. Keep Reading »

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You Can Help Crown The Best Of Brooklyn Nightlife

(flyer via Brooklyn Nightlife Awards / Facebook)

Awards shows may be a great way to spend an evening, but at the end of the day you’re usually watching a bunch of fancy rich people give shiny trophies to a bunch of other fancy rich people while even more fancy rich people watch. Plus, the elite group who voted for the nominees? They’re more than likely to also be fancy rich people. But then, there’s the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards, where the performers getting trophies (well, more like bricks with plaques on them) may look fancy, but it’s probable they creatively cobble together most of their eye-catching outfits and props using stuff from thrift shops and the dollar store, just like the rest of us. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Wrestling With Friendship, Oddly Satisfying Content, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Bushwick Starr)

Singlet
May 16-June 3 at The Bushwick Starr, 8 pm: $20-25

Singlet, the new show from the singular (get it, singular sounds like “singlet”) mind of performance and cabaret artist Erin Markey is about wrestling, yes, but it is also about so much more. That’s not a metaphor or anything; this show about friendship and rivalry takes its inspiration from everyone’s favorite performative form of consensual violence involving spandex and rings, but also Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Precious Moments collectible dolls, Jean Genet’s The Maids (aka one of the plays everyone directed scenes from in theater school to be edgy), couples counseling podcasts, and a myriad more references I may never fully comprehend, tbh. Markey will be performing alongside frequent collaborator Emily Davis, and I wouldn’t be surprised if tickets sell out soon, so as the teens say, hop to it.

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Choreographed Memes, Afropunk Spaghetti Westerns, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents: The New Review
Thursday, February 22 at Mayday Space, 8 pm: $5

Out with the old, in with the new, that’s what they say. Or at least, that’s what someone said, sometime, somewhere. Regardless of your opinion on the old, you can see the new coming out in full force at the inclusive troupe Magical Girl Burlesque’s recurring show, The New Review. True to its name, it centers around showcasing both emerging and experienced burlesque performers who have new acts they’d like to workshop for an audience. Think of it as a kind of open mic for burlesque, except the lineup is technically pre-curated and there probably won’t be any white men telling jokes that they (and no one else) think are funny. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Battleship Burlesque, Benefit Shows, and More

FRIDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents Birthday Battleship Burlesque
Friday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm: FREE (suggested donation to benefit Southern Poverty Law Center)

Ah, Battleship. That classic game of pegs, coordinates, and nearly naked bodies. If you’re confused about that last part, perhaps you’ll have your memory refreshed on Friday night, when the performers of Magical Girl Burlesque take to the stage and somehow reenact an entire game of Battleship with a burlesque twist. Here’s how such a thing will work: each performer on the lineup represents a boat piece. Audience members will play the game in the classic way, and when the battleships are sunk, the performer will perform. So in this case, losing the game is actually winning the game. The show is free, but donations will be collected for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Stonewall Recollections, Radical Burlesque, Renewable Energy

WEDNESDAY

(image courtesy of Alton PR)

Street Theater
September 20-October 4 at The Eagle Bar, 7 pm: $25

The “father of modern queer theater” is back, and fittingly doing a show inside a gay leather bar in Manhattan. Yes, the late playwright and Stonewall Uprising participant Doric Wilson, who recently received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to gay theater, is bringing his satirical Stonewall play Street Theater to Chelsea’s The Eagle.

Street Theater, which won an Innovative Theater award for a recent prior revival, was written in part to chronicle the events and people Wilson experienced personally at Stonewall in 1969. It’s produced by The Other Side of Silence (TSOS), one of the city’s first LGBT-centric theater companies, initially co-founded by Wilson and “resurrected” in 2002 by Wilson, Street Theater‘s director Mark Finley, and Barry Childs. Plus, after the show tonight, it’s “jockstrap night” at the bar. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Cavemen Presentations, Bodily Explorations, Socialist Talents

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Creative Independent / Facebook)

What Is A Body?
Wednesday, August 30 at 58 Kent Street, 7 pm: FREE

What is a body? Well, that’s a good question. For one, it’s a sack of flesh with some organs in it. But it’s also so much more. This performance and panel discussion delves into the inherent relationship that live performance has with bodies. If you make something and perform it yourself, the way your body exists, moves, and functions affects how that performance happens. Additionally, the societal constructs regarding bodies and how they should act and appear will affect the audience’s perception of the performance. Is there a way to prevent or subvert this? Performers Erin Markey, Neil Goldberg, and Jonathan Gonzalez will all show you some of their work, and then discuss what you’ve seen and how it relates to the big wide world of bodies. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Pizza N’ Jokes, Anime Burlesque, A ‘Folkloric Spectacle’

THURSDAY

(image via Tiny Hornets)

Tiny Hornets, Or, It Didn’t Have To Come To This
August 24-September 8 at 389 Melrose Street, 7:30 pm: $12

What is folklore? Who belongs to it, who disseminates it, and who decides what it looks like? That is what The Drunkard’s Wife, Craig Flanagin, and Normandy Sherwood are trying to figure out in their latest creation, Tiny Hornets, in which a guide introduces you to a slew of villagers and all their peculiarities. These villagers are all unique in their own ways, including one who may or may not be interested in the taste of flesh. And of course, folk isn’t folk without music and dancing, so there will be plenty of that too.

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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 »