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Boxing, Competitive Comedy, and More Performance Picks


(image via Uncharted)

Polly Mope
Thursday, March 22 at Greenwich House Music School, 8 pm: $15

I have to be totally honest, I have not yet managed to see one of performer Molly Pope’s cabaret shows, but based on what I know of her and who she has collaborated with, I feel like I can still say with confidence that you’ll be in for a treat when you do. Thursday is a particularly good time to do so, as Pope will be premiering her first ever “completely original solo piece,” Polly Mope, as part of Uncharted, a concert series focused on new work and first-time experiments. By “completely original” she means the music is her own instead of the familiar cabaret protocol of covers n’ banter, but you can trust that the originality will not stop there. Keep Reading »

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A Tribute To Brooklyn, Queer Storytelling, and More Performance Picks


(photo: Aaron “RadioSilence” Jaker)

¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn
March 15-31 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $20

It’s far too common to see comedians, storytellers, and other performance-based creative types make quips about living in Brooklyn, but usually these are predominantly white transplants talking about how quirky it is to live there, with all the cute cafes and niche boutiques and all that. I typically find this very grating, because living in a place is not a personality trait, particularly when you are a white person being all “Haha, how funny is Brooklyn” about what is almost always a gentrifying neighborhood. But if you’re looking for a different kind of love letter to the borough, look no further than Modesto Flako Jimenez and the Oye Group’s latest multimedia production, ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn. Using projections, bilingual storytelling, poetry, music, and more, Jimenez waxes quite literally poetic about his unique life, the multifaceted place he calls home, and all the complicated forces currently at work within it. Keep Reading »

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Sesame Street Drag, Disabled Comedians, and More Performance Picks

Asia Gagnon’s ‘The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About’ at SipFest

Now through March 14 at Wild Project, various times, various prices

The nature of live theater is that anything can happen at any time. Sometimes this is good, but not always. Spaceman, a high-tech play from Loading Dock Theater about a woman astronaut’s journey to Mars, was supposed to have a run at Wild Project currently, but had to be canceled due to an injury sustained by the lead performer. However, the venue will not be empty. A last-minute festival of original performance works by women and queer artists called Sipfest will run at the Lower East Side venue in its stead. There, you’ll find a solo show digging into how we discuss sexual assault, drag performances, femme ballads, a play inspired by the fanfiction epic My Immortal, and more. Keep Reading »

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Get Woke and Dodge the Oscars With This Week’s Performance Picks


(flyer via Woke AF / Facebook)

Woke AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show
Thursday, March 1 at UCB East, 11 pm: $7

Minds are like doors, I guess. Some are closed and some are open and some are in between and uh, some have doorbells? I’m working on it. Instead of trying to continue this bit, let’s get to the point here: Woke AF is a comedy variety show that aims to open your mind by exposing you to a diverse group of people waxing poetic/comedic about social issues they feel particularly attached to. Maybe it’s a topic you’re well versed in but have never heard joked about lovingly, or maybe you’ll learn something totally new. However your mind will react to this proposed awakening, you can expect to see ruminations of all sorts from Jes Tom, Corin Wells, Timothy Dunn, Glorilis Tavarez, Jesse Roth, and Kami Dmitrova. Just remember not to be too performatively woke, even if this is a performance. Keep Reading »

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Choreographed Memes, Afropunk Spaghetti Westerns, and More Performance Picks


(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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Neutral Milk Cabaret, Butts, and More Performance Picks


(image via Salty Brine’s Living Record Collection / Facebook)

How Strange It Is
Wednesday, February 7 at Pangea, 7:30 pm: $20 advance, $25 doors

You may have first caught wind of this show back in 2016, when it happened at small East Village venue the Red Room. Whether you did or not, Salty Brine’s cabaret that uniquely puts Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea in a WWII setting has been enjoying an encore run at nearby spot Pangea for the past few weeks. The show is part of his longtime “Living Record Collection” project, in which he performs notable albums in their entirety with a conceptual twist. Past endeavors have included a German cabaret Abbey Road, a Prohibition-era She’s So Unusual, and a sentimental, seafaring rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Tonight will be the last night of this particular creation, so don’t be a “fool” (ha ha, get it, because that is one of the song titles) and get over there. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Clickbait, Cults, and… Miss Frizzle

(image via HERE Arts Center)

America Is Hard To See
Now through February 24 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $35-45

Do you ever have an idea and sort of less-than-halfway execute that idea, and then spend a really long time procrastinating doing any more work on it and then find out that someone has beat you to the punch but in a way that seems really interesting and cool so you can’t help but appreciate it? Whether you have or you haven’t, that very thing happened to me with this new play. In college, I started writing a play about a trailer park community of sex offenders with nowhere else to live, based on the real manifestations of this phenomenon. I never finished it, or even came close, because writing plot is hard. Life Jacket Theater Company did, and they even traveled to Florida’s Miracle Village and interviewed its residents to create their show. Add in a helping of methodist hymns and theatricality, and you’ve got the recipe for a play that seems truly nuanced and exciting, particularly in today’s tumultuous time of #metoo reckonings. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Battleship Burlesque, Benefit Shows, and More


(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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Responses To The Inauguration Anniversary, And More Shows To See


(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Citizens United II: What Happened?
Wednesday, January 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

If you couldn’t tell from the title alone, this is a political show. Though just to clarify, it’s not a staged reading of the Hillary Clinton book. At least, I don’t think it is. “Leftist performance collective” Citizens United returns once more to the Ars Nova stage to parse through these troubled political times by way of drag shows, poetry, performance art, punk music, and more. The group joins the many artistic efforts happening this month to commemorate-slash-mourn the one-year anniversary of the presidential inauguration. In fact, the last time Citizens United brought their unique stylings to the stage was January 2017. What has happened since that fateful month is dizzying and often cringe-worthy to think of, and possibly perfectly summed up by a night of chaotic performance. Keep Reading »

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Under the Radar Festival and More Must-See Performance

A scene from Antigonón, un Contigente Épico, running January 10-14 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 14th Annual Under the Radar Festival. (Photo: Lessy Montes)

The Public’s Under The Radar Festival
January 4-15 at The Public Theater and other venues, various times and prices.

It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.

A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Experiments in Comedy, Magic Mushrooms, and More


(flyer via littlefield)

A Gay Show For All People
Thursday, December 28 at littlefield, 7 pm doors, 8 pm show: $10

If you’re looking to literally make the yuletide gay, you have plenty of chances to do so at the holiday spectacular edition of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp’s A Gay Show For All People. True to its name, this show features “comics and queers and mostly people who are both” doing their thing onstage while anyone who so desires to attend watches. The lineup is quite “stacked,” as the teens say, with Cole Escola, Naomi Ekperigin, Patti Harrison, Blake Daniel, Liza Treyger, Larry Owens, Bowen Yang and Matt Roger’s improv duo Sluck, Henry Koperski and His Straights, a live band playing “vodka songs,” and possibly more.

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Performance Picks: 30-Year Christmas Carol, Queer Vloggers, Gay Hell


(image courtesy of A Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol Year Five: Home For The Holidays
December 14-18 at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, 8 pm or 7 pm: $30

Marriages are technically a commitment for life. The team behind this deconstructed, imaginative, and wacky riff on A Christmas Carol directed by Andrew Neisler and told through the story of a fictional couple has chosen something no less ambitious, particularly for live performance: they will perform a version of this show every year, for thirty years. Now, they’re on their fifth year. Things are changing, but they show no signs of slowing down. So, come on down to whatever a “fashion and design accelerator” is and pay this kind couple (Ryann Weir and Andrew Farmer, who also wrote the piece) a visit. Though Farmer was the writer behind the recent series of spooky subway-centric tales, I assume this show will be more seasonal than spine-chilling. Also, it includes unlimited beer and wine. Keep Reading »