comedy

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Performance Picks: Anarchist Emmas and Violent Ellens

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Tank / Facebook)

Red Emma and the Mad Monk
Now through September 1 at The Tank, 8 pm: $20-30

Nowadays, when one thinks about theater (particularly any form of commercial theater, Broadway or otherwise), radical politics aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second or third for that matter. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this serve as the cornerstone of Red Emma and the Mad Monk, a new play with music by Alexis Roblan presented as part of The Tank’s Ladyfest. It centers around a 12 year-old girl who has a mystic Russian imaginary friend and enjoys fighting online with “deplorables,” an unsettling pastime for someone so young, but it probably happens more than we’d like to think. In the midst of this, she learns about the influential anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and starts to consider the world a bit differently. Keep Reading »

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Cole Escola, Sloppy Shakespeare, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Sanina Leilani / Facebook)

Glow Up!: An All POC Variety Show
Thursday, August 16 at Starr Bar, 8:45 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

Queer drag performers Noctua and C’ètait BonTemps host this variety show featuring exclusively artists of color. If you’ve been posting on social media about how bad white supremacy in America is lately, attending would be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support a show where the lineup, hosts, and producers are all people of color. And what can you expect out of the night? The lineup isn’t too packed with people, but the ones they do have really pack a punch: burlesque performer Miss Sugar Mamasota, soulful singer Cherry, drag and music artist Laé D. Boi, and Texas-based pole and burlesque performer Black Orchid. Keep Reading »

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The Return of The Macaulay Culkin Show and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Subtle Pride / Facebook)

Subtle Pride: Live in Concert
Thursday, August 9 at Rubulad, 8 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While yes this is a concert, and this listing typically does not include those, I happen to know that seeing the group Subtle Pride in concert is not your average musical experience. In addition to many songs (often a cappella, harmony-laden, and/or improvised), there are often sketches, monologues, and other strange theatrical experiences peppered in within all the music sung by Mina Walker (of the band Daisy The Great), Brigette Lundy-Paine (of Netflix series Atypical), Zach Donovan, and Misha Brooks. It’s sort of hard to explain, but when I saw them at Dixon Place a year or two ago I was very impressed and also a little confused at times. But if you like celebrity culture, vocal harmonies, weird theatrics, and other such things, it is likely you will have a nice time. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Kaufman-Inspired Comedy, Mental Health, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Vow Performance Party / Facebook)

Vow II: Mental Health
Thursday, August 2 at Rose Gold, 7:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While it still carries some stigma, mental health has steadily become more and more of a presence in today’s everyday dialogues. This is undoubtedly due to the unfortunate prevalence of mental health issues, many of which have proven to be exacerbated by the current political climate. Even as (and especially) as things get worse, continually talking about it can help. One of the more unique ways you can engage is through Vow, a sex-positive party and performance series “for artists with stigmatized identities or experiences to express themselves freely in a supportive community.” The night is centered around mental health, and features relevant performances by a lineup that includes burlesque performers Regal Mortis, Lucy Risqué, and Miss Sugar Mamasota, dominatrix Venus Cuffs, performance artist Monika Rostvold, and more. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Boat Comedy, Puppetry, Being Very Online

WEDNESDAY

producer Catherine Woodard, playwright Stefani Kuo, and director Theo Maltz (image courtesy of Corkscrew Theater Festival)

delicacy of a puffin heart
July 25-August 5 at Paradise Factory, various times: $24 (pay what you can on July 28)

Presented as part of the second annual Corkscrew Theater Festival, a festival of new plays and readings showcasing up-and-coming artists, this play by writer, poet, and performer Stefani Kuo tackles the weighty topic of how female friendship and love perseveres in the midst of loss, lies, and decades of time. It does so by telling two stories: one of a lesbian couple trying to conceive in 1990s San Francisco, and one of their daughter 20 years later living in that same apartment and coping with illness. It can be hard to be a person who is consistently both living life and loving people, and this play seems to serve as a reminder of that. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Wallace Shawn, Heavy Metal Comedy, and More

THURSDAY

(image via The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret / Facebook)

The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret
Thursday, July 19 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation

Even though your parents probably told you otherwise, it can be fun to sin. Someone who knows that well is Vic Sin, a dance, drag, and burlesque performer who produces The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret every month at Bizarre, which is hosted by drag performer (and leader of the inimitable queer drag and burlesque collective Beefsquad) Lee VaLone. It also happens to be Lee’s birthday, so you know the show will be extra special. Helping celebrate (and sin) will be the stacked lineup of C’Etait BonTemps, Angelica Sundae, Devo Monique, Dynasty, Laé D. Boi, Mini Horrorwitz, Nyx Nocturne, and Theydy Bedbug. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Drag Competition, Comedy (Divine Or Otherwise)

WEDNESDAY

(image via House of Yes / Facebook)

Hot Mess: Drag Competition
Wednesday, July 11 at House of Yes, 10 pm: FREE

When you think of a drag competition, surely one certain television show comes to mind. But, as RuPaul’s Drag Race has made clear, not every type of drag performer is allowed to partake. But at Madame Vivien V’s live drag competition Hot Mess, there are no such limitations. “All drag is equal so whatever form you take, [whether] you are a seasoned professional or a baby darling, if you’ve got something to say, we want to give you the stage,” the event page articulates, noting that the show will include queens, kings, “queerdos,” and whomever else may want to strut their stuff. The winner will receive the coveted title of Mx. Hot Mess, as well as $100 cash. Plus, unlike a lot of events at the glitzy House of Yes, it’s free. Keep Reading »

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Strawberry Moon Rituals, Post-Pride Shame, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Talk Hole / Facebook)

Shame.
Wednesday, June 27 at Asia Roma, 8 pm: FREE

Talk Hole, the only local comedy show series I’m aware of that has ever received a trendy spread in Dazed, returns to the basement of the Chinatown bar/karaoke spot Asia Roma for another evening of oddities and laughter. Though it’s still technically Pride month, the big weekend of parades has passed, and the folks at Talk Hole are very aware of that. To them, the Pride has come to a close, which means it’s time for Shame to rear its greasy little head. Assisting hosts Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst in their quest to “support shame throughout the year” will be Jacqueline Novak, Max Wittert, Karen Chee, Jon Wan, and Lena Einbinder. Keep Reading »

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I Love the ‘Straighties,’ and More of This Week’s Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Stigma Unbound / Eventbrite)

Stigma Unbound: Pride
Thursday, June 21 at Secret Location, 8 pm: $15-30

You probably haven’t forgotten, but it’s Pride month. To sex-worker-centric event series Stigma Unbound, Pride means something more than merely slapping a rainbow flag onto your coffee mug or banner ad. “In contrast to corporate and official pride celebrations, we come together on this night to share personal stories and perspectives on what pride really means if you’re queer, a person of color, gender nonconforming, trans, or a sex worker,” they say. At a secret dungeon in Brooklyn, a variety of performances from sex workers and their allies will unfold, exploring topics such as queerness and trans identity, white supremacy, lost loved ones, and fantasy. After the show, the evening will turn into an inclusive, consent-focused, all-gender play party for those who want to engage in a little post-show steaminess. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Pride, Daddies, Teenage Richards

THURSDAY

(image via The Public Theater)

Teenage Dick
Now through July 15 at The Public Theater, 7:30 pm (weekend matinees at 1:30 pm): $50+

As I’ve discussed several times before, wacky Shakespeare adaptations are a dime a dozen. Normally, this manifests in the form of doing something other than the expected set design, costume design, or casting, while leaving the original script—and sometimes other age-old practices—intact. Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick, presented by the Ma-Yi Theater Company in association with The Public Theater, does something different. It portrays Richard III (“the most famous disabled character of all time”) as a high school junior with cerebral palsy who is determined to become class president, and will do whatever it takes to get there. Given that most productions of Richard III feature an able-bodied actor in the titular role even when breaking with tradition in other parts of the staging (yes I’ve written about this topic before), this play’s focus on both authentic casting and disability is a breath of fresh air. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Immersive Comedy, Intergenerational Queer Performance

FRIDAY

(flyer via BEEF show / Facebook)

Post Verbal: Pride
Friday, June 8 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $5-10

The passionate queerdos that comprise burlesque/drag collective BEEFSquad have cooked up yet another performance creation for you, just in time for pride. So, rather than bowing to the forces of rainbow-tinged capitalism as more and more brands trumpet just how proud they are of everyone (while really also saying, by the way, you should buy their stuff), perhaps consider supporting local independent queer performers instead. A BEEF show is always full of surprises, from the salacious to the scary, and Friday night’s show hosted by C’etait Bontemps and Angelica Frankenstein should be no different. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Drag, Science, Neurodivergence

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Dirty Blondes / Facebook)

DRAG!
Thursday, May 31 at Le Poisson Rouge, 7 pm: $35

Everyone likes drag. Well, maybe not everyone, but it’s certainly been having a mainstream moment lately, so it’s safe to assume more people like drag than ever before. If you’d like to see some drag, there are many places you can go in the city, but tonight you can specifically go to Le Poisson Rouge, where an array of colorful performers such as Bear Lee Legal, Glace Chase, Chris Tyler, Dynasty, and Donald C. Shorter Jr will be giving shows, shows, shows to help raise money for feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes. The show’s Facebook event proclaims “bodies will dance, drinks will flow and gender norms will be smashed,” which sounds like a recipe for a nice night to me. And yes, I know Drag Race is also tonight, but you can just watch it later. Keep Reading »