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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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Best Chairs in Comedy, Annoyance’s Last Night, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via The Annoyance)

Holy Fuck Comedy Hour
Wednesday, March 29 at The Annoyance Theater, 10:30 pm: FREE

As we’ve told you previously and with heavy hearts, strange n’ mighty little basement comedy theater The Annoyance is closing at the end of the month. More specifically, it’s the theater’s last night of shows tonight. What better way to send it off than by attending one of the shows The Annoyance is most lauded for, the late-night extravaganza that is the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour. The show assembles a strong assortment of comedians from different pockets of the NYC scene and asks them to write characters, scenes, songs, and more in only one week and then perform their creations with no rehearsal. And if you’re looking for even more chuckles, there will be three different improv shows happening earlier in the evening.

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This Hip-Hop Dance Production Involves a Mascot, Wrestling, and a Senior Aerobics Class

(photo: Maria Baranova)

It could take something as simple as a step-touch to unite the generations. At least that’s the impression you might get in a room with the company of experimental hip-hop and dance group Yackez. Most contemporary dance projects are rife with young and lithe bodies, but the cast of the latest and largest Yackez production, Give It To You Stage, ranges from ages 25 to 87. 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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A Talking Astor Place Cube, Queer Vloggers, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Wild Project)

(flyer via Wild Project)

F*@#d in the East Village
January 11-17 at The Wild Project, 7:30 pm: $20, $16 students/seniors.

The East Village isn’t what it used to be, I think we all know that. Samantha Fontana and Roger Manix especially do, so much that they’ve crafted a comedic play all about it. F*@#d in the East Village is one of those plays where two people play many characters, but in this case the show begins with only two people: a “recently dumped high school senior” who meets “her twentysomething gay man self in 2005.” Now that that pattern of logic has been established, the audience will go on a journey back in time to the East Village of the past, only it’s a little weirder and more surreal. Not in the sense of there being more avant-garde art spaces, but like, in the sense that the Astor Place Cube is granted the ability to speak. You know, just average stuff like that. Fontana is a born-and-bred East Villager, so this isn’t a mediation on “old New York” by people whose first interactions with the city included Duane Reades and Starbucks on every corner already.

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The Greenwich Village Church That Helped Women Get Illegal Abortions

This week, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

(Photo: Bill Altham)

(Photo: Bill Altham)

On the 16th of November in 1964, four women and four men appeared in their underwear at the Judson Memorial Church, happily cavorting with each other and rubbing their bodies with carefree smiles. They piled up together, humping and sensually touching each other in a mess of raw fish, chicken and sausages. It was an event devoid of modesty, an unapologetic, uncensored expression of sexuality.

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Before You Toss That Latte, Watch These Folks Dance Atop Empty Coffee Cups

How many times have you passed a city trash can overflowing with coffee cups and thought to yourself, “Damn, do the Olsen twins live around here?” Even in Greenpoint, where trash bins have been replaced by Big Belly solar compactors, you’ll often see the green beasts serving as unwitting Starbucks counters. What’s it going to take to end the scourge of empty cups? Does Camelbak need to come up with a coffee version, so baristas can pipe the brown stuff straight into our backpacks? Should we all start snorting caffeine in powder form?

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Performance Picks: Dystopian Foster Wallace, Chocolate Dances, Anti-Bannon Seinfeld

(image via The Annoyance)

(image via The Annoyance)

THURSDAY

Infinite Jets
Thursday, December 1 at The Annoyance Theater, 9 pm: $10. 

Surely many of you have taken a crack at reading David Foster Wallace’s behemoth of a novel Infinite Jest; perhaps some have even gotten through the entire thing. Or maybe the idea of parsing through a book so large it could double as a weapon seems daunting, and you’d rather sit in a basement watching a comedy show that vaguely riffs on the novel but is set in a vaguely dystopian future where the NFL is in cahoots with the government. In that case, Brian Pisano and Sam Taffe’s sketch comedy play Infinite Jets may be the thing for you. Our current future prospects aren’t looking too hot, so might as well laugh at a made-up future before ours becomes all too real. The show comes as a double feature with Deep Space Live, a late night talk show set in space hosted by a man whose only friend is a robot.

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You Choose Who Lives in New Slasher-Circus-Dance Show Slumber

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

It’s not every day you see a show where the cast ends up covered in fake blood and has to run to the venue’s backyard to use the outdoor shower (not to be mistaken for the rooftop hot tub) so they can rinse off and run back onstage to finish the show. But exactly this occurs in Slumber, a new slasher-inspired circus and dance show coming to Bushwick’s House of Yes later this week, featuring choreography by the MTV VMA-nominated duo Keone and Mari Madrid, who choreographed and performed in Justin Bieber’s hit video for “Love Yourself.”

Slumber follows a group of girls and one guy on what very well may be the last night of their lives, as one soon reveals themselves to be more murderous than others. It unassumingly begins with an onstage pillow fight, which acts as foreshadowing for the more literal fighting ahead. This pillow fight was one of the first inspirations for the show, as was Kanye’s song “Real Friends,” a chase scene, and the over-the-top nature of The Walking Dead. Throw some in some aerial silks and a Chinese pole, as well as performers from the Broadway revival of Pippin and a healthy dose of electronic and hip-hop tunes, and there you have it. Oh, and let’s not forget “more blood than you could ever imagine.” Um, fake blood, we swear. Keep Reading »

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Many Marys, and a Broome Street Salon and More Performance Picks

(image via Future Forms / Facebook)

(image via Future Forms / Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Future Forms
Wednesday, September 28 at Throne Watches, 8 pm: FREE. 

The future may not be looking very great for the country/society as a whole, but it’s looking okay for the four hosts of this recurring comedy show: Mary Houlihan recently went viral for her hilarious and biting interview with Martin Shkreli, “space prince” Julio Torres was recently hired as an SNL writer, Sam Taggart was named one of Brooklyn’s funniest people, and Joe Rumrill‘s face is currently comedian Tig Notaro‘s Twitter avatar. While they’re all certainly busy with all this and more, they still find time to gather in this Williamsburg watch store and host a comedy show.

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Enter This Fever-Dream Dance Melding Andy Warhol and Lana Del Rey

The Feath3r Theory. Photo: epfalck | Effyography

The Feath3r Theory. Photo: epfalck | Effyography

What’s it like to step into another person’s fever dream…if that person has been obsessed with Andy Warhol since childhood? That’s the premise behind Raja Feather Kelly’s the feath3r theory, the first and only dance company devoted to the great Factory master of celebrity. For his new show presented by Danspace Project, Andy Warhol’s Tropico, Kelly was inspired by Lana Del Rey’s short film by the same name, which follows a kind of Adam and Eve/Bonnie and Clyde narrative from original sin to redemption, with John Wayne standing in for the God figure. Melded with Warholianism, it makes for a (two-hour plus) surreal ride through a strange new land, recycling pop culture themes and touching on the power of celebrity as well as Kelly’s own identity.

“Seeing Lana Del Rey’s Tropico made me think of Warhol and what he would do, and how ideas are connected and have lived on from now, and where that interacts with what I’m thinking about and my relationship to pop culture and my relationship to religion and to my identity and how that instructs and becomes an eternal story,” said Kelly. “I feel like Lana Del Rey and Andy Warhol sometimes get a bad a rap as sort of vapid, and I really think they are doing something larger than people will give them credit for.” 

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Can This Sprawling, Immersive Exploration of Surveillance ‘Change the Face of Culture’ in Bushwick?

(photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)

(photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)

On May 20, the 50,000-square-foot Knockdown Center will become the site of a bold new experiment in live performance. Authority Figure, directed by performance/dance/sound artists Monica Mirabile and Sarah Kinlaw, is an immersive and participatory experience exploring themes of surveillance, authority, and obedience. Appropriately vast in scale, it features over 150 performers (including a child and a pregnant woman), and has been created with six choreographers, seven installation artists, and six musicians, including local faves Pictureplane, SOPHIE, and Hot Sugar.

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