performance art

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Make American Gay Again, Theater As Light, and More Performance To Ease The Pain

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Make America Gay Again
Wednesday, January 18 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

By now, the phrase Make America Great Again pretty much seems like old hat. Which is also a pun I didn’t mean to make, but there it is. Tonight, performance artist Chris Tyler hopes to put his own ribald spin on MAGA with this spangled variety show, claiming while that America has never been particularly great or even particularly good, it has indeed been “more than a little bit gay.” Republicans are welcome to this affair, though it’s unclear what their fate shall be when they arrive. The lineup includes “drag queens, poets, and punk musicians” such as performance artist Emily Oliveira, drag queen Kelsey, local rockers Gandor Chorale, Pussy Grabs Back: The Band, writer Jess Goldschmidt, and more. Advance tickets are sold out, but a waitlist begins at the theater at 7:30.

THURSDAY

(image via What A Joke Festival)

(image via What A Joke Festival)

What A Joke Festival
January 19-21 at various locations and times: $15-40

Speaking of old hat, this nationwide comedy festival has its own red baseball cap, only it’s a lot less optimistic than what old Donald’s spouting. Yes, you can get your very own red cap sporting the phrase “WHAT A JOKE” so you can air your feelings about the state of the world without having to open your mouth. If headwear isn’t your thing, consider the comedy fest itself: the NYC chapter will be doing 3 shows in 3 days at The Stand, The Annoyance, and Rough Trade. The cheapest show ($15) is already sold out, but the other two are ripe for the buyin’. Each show features a slew of some of the city’s most delightful funny folk (such as Janeane Garofalo, Nikki Glaser, Dave Hill, and more), and not only that, but money made from the festival will go to the ACLU. If all you can do at this point is laugh, you might as well laugh for a good cause.

A Ghostlight Project participant (image via Ghostlight Project)

A Ghostlight Project participant (image via Ghostlight Project)

Ghostlight Project
Thursday, January 19 at various locations, 5:30 pm: FREE

This isn’t a performance per se, but an organized gathering of theaters and theater artists nationwide on January 19 at 5:30 pm. People will gather outside their theater of choice, whether they are directly involved with it or not, as a symbol of community and solidarity and to act as a “light for the dark times ahead.” It may seem fruitless to merely be gathering at this point in time, but sometimes all you can do is stand with each other as a reminder that despite who’s in charge, there are plenty of people around you willing to welcome you and fight for you. Participants nearby include The Public Theater, BAM, Fourth Arts Block, Abrons Arts Center, and The Bushwick Starr.

FRIDAY

(flyer via Queer Abstract / Facebook)

(flyer via Queer Abstract / Facebook)

Queer Abstract: What Gets You Free
Friday, January 20 at Starr Bar, 9 pm: FREE

On the dreaded day that the “Elect” in “President-Elect” becomes no longer, recover from your time spent either staring at or avoiding a bunch of old white people who don’t know what they’re doing by attending this late-night performance event featuring queer, trans, and POC performers. AKA: hopefully our future. A new monthly series at Mayday Space’s Starr Bar curated and hosted by Shannon Matesky, Queer Abstract showcases performers of all sorts, followed by a dance party after the show. This month includes comedian Joel Kim Booster (Conan), dancer Nicole Shante, poet Jayson P Smith, musician Jeannine Kayembe, and many more.

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Was this Performance Art Show Calling Out Hate Groups Too Real?

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

The results of the election have churned up a tsunami of cultural backlash aimed at the incoming Trump administration’s rhetoric of hatred and intolerance (or, in at least one case, in support of it). There’s a lot of doom and gloom right now– hate crimes are on the rise as our new political era continues to take shape with increasingly horrifying cabinet appointments, from a conspiracy theory-touting Islamophobe as Secretary of Defense to a Department of Energy head who once called for the agency’s abolishment– even so, artists and cultural figures have banded together to express their dismay.

Some, like the Instagram campaign and public protest #DearIvanka, have infused political action with artsy weirdness, while others have just continued making the art they always have, the only difference being that the injustices they’re concerned with– the patriarchy, white supremacy, xenophobia– have seen something of a comeback as some Americans are once again proud to wear their prejudices on their sleeves (or Twitter feeds).

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Christmas Spectaculars, Gay Horses, and Other Seasonal Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Andrew Ayres / Facebook)

(flyer via Andrew Ayres / Facebook)

Sexxxplosion!
Wednesday, December 14 at The Rosemont, 9 pm: FREE 

This event is for the later crowd, especially if you like to experience a show and a party all at the same time, in the same place. Queers, colorful folk, and nightlife crawlers alike will gather in jazzy Bushwick cocktail bar The Rosemont (opened by Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce) for a night of lip-sync and general debauchery. The lineup, hosted by Andrew Ayres, includes ultra-flexible burlesque babe Apathy Angel, “vegan goddess” Slater G. String, photographer and performer Gypsy Hill, and “part dandy part showgirl” Nellee Dii. Rounding out the evening is Neon Music, spinning tunes all night. Performances begin at 11 pm, which is late enough to feel mysterious and nightlife-y but early enough for people to actually be conscious for them. Grab one of the Rosemont’s bespoke cocktails (or a beer and a shot) and prepare for a “Sexxxplosion.”

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Watch Comedians and Watches, Augmented Reality, and Holiday Cheer 101

Casey Caldwell by Charles Ludeke Claire Fleury by Alesia Exum LACTIC by Thibault Théodore-Babin TILLYandWILLIAM by Tilly D Wolfe (image via Vox Bizarre / Facebook)

Casey Caldwell by Charles Ludeke; Claire Fleury by Alesia Exum; LACTIC by Thibault Théodore-Babin; TILLYandWILLIAM by Tilly D Wolfe (image via Vox Bizarre / Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Wordspeak
Wednesday, December 7 at Vox Bizarre, 8 pm: FREE

Vox Bizarre is a new Ridgewood-based “store and workshop” pop-up devised by four design labels: Casey Caldwell, TILLYandWILLIAM, Claire Fleury, and LACTIC. Aside from all creating unconventional and intriguing attire and accessories, the common thread that unites these labels is that they are interested in shedding binary gender classifications within fashion and developing pieces that are inclusive to all body types. In addition to selling their wares, they’ve planned a variety of community-based events, such as performances, workshops, photoshoots, and more.

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Fall Into a ‘Chasm’ of Art, DJs, and Music at This East Williamsburg Festival

(image courtesy of Julia Sinelnikova)

(image courtesy of Julia Sinelnikova)

Tonight, a chasm of art opens up in East Williamsburg. More specifically, tonight marks the beginning of CHASM, a four-day late-night multimedia/nightlife/performance/music event, showcasing some of the most groundbreaking artists working in the Brooklyn scene today. The experience is curated by Julia Sinelnikova, a multimedia artist who often creates under the name The Oracle and is drawn to the usage and interactions of light in her work, whether it be through curation or creation. Keep Reading »

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This Occultish ‘Rave for Adults’ is Using ‘Radical Intimacy’ to Find Realness in Art

An attendee of "The Hidden Valley" over the weekend looks on at a performance by Wild Torus (Photo: Nicole Disser)

An attendee of “The Hidden Valley” over the weekend looks on at a performance by Wild Torus (Photo: Nicole Disser)

If you’ve been to Wild Torus events before, it’s likely you know all about their marathon performance-art benders and messy parties. Guests are necessarily a part of the events involving immense creation and destruction within the same night (or 48-hour marathon). My first Torus encounter was a mind-jostling, brain-crushing, chaotic mess. It was a crush of humanity, all soaked in sweat, and stuck with gloopy, sticky materials, under an onslaught of hypnotic drumming, loud-as-hell discordant synth drone, and anything and everything you can imagine.

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Back-to-School Tales, Sexperiences, and More Performance Picks

(image via Harvest Moon / Facebook)

(image via Harvest Moon / Facebook)

THURSDAY

Harvest Moon: A Freak-Folk Cabaret
Thursday, September 22 at The Wild Project, 8 pm: $10-20 sliding scale. 

Come ring in the soon-arriving autumn with this mystical evening of live art, from music and dance to film and fairytales and everything in between. A gaggle of artists based in Bushwick and beyond (some are regulars at Bizarre Bar staple Circus of Dreams, others frequent the nearby Tarot Society or Living Gallery) will assemble to bring you their artistic bounty. And it’ll be a bounty, all right– there are over 15 acts on the bill, including Jason Trachtenburg, Tarot Society’s Darcey Leonard, Omer Gal‘s music ensemble Cookie Tongue, and a Texas-themed Butoh troupe. If you’re pressed for time, you can just pop in for the second act at 9:30pm (there are two entry times) but all tickets earn you access to the whole shindig. The weather may get to the high eighties today, but fall is a-comin’. Eventually.

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Performance Picks: Dominatrix Birthday, Hip-Hop Theater Party, Free Comedy

THURSDAY

(image via Kim Fatale / Facebook)

(image via Kim Fatale / Facebook)

XXX: Kim Fatale Turns 30
Thursday, September 8 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm doors, 9 pm show: $5 suggested.
Dominatrix and performance artist Kim Fatale will be ringing in her third decade and entrance into the “age of desire,” and not just through any old birthday party. This will be a true show, with appearances from some of the city’s weirdest and wildest creators and performance artists, including Wild Torus (who I once saw perform running naked covered in goo), Jenna Kline (who I once saw with slabs of meat attached to her face, respectively), and Geraldo Mercado. Expect tunes from ski-bass-wielding burst of energy Borts Minorts, the “alluring and feminine” Huisi He, and the birthday star herself, in a performance made in collaboration with sound group SPREADERS. Roll on over to Bizarre and submit yourself to art.

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Brooklyn’s Wildest Performance Artists Talk Lawsuits and New Beginnings

Wild Torus at the Torus_Porta last year (photo: Nicole Disser)

Brooklyn performance art duo Wild Torus are known for their wild, orgiastic, and messy shows, which often get the audience involved. They’ve always been a bit extreme, but found themselves in a situation that shocked even them when, in April, a performance art festival they did with Estonian performance collective Non Grata at East Williamsburg space The Paper Box was shut down mid-show without warning.

Mike Berlant (aka Vlady VØz Tokk, one half of Wild Torus along with Amy Mathis / Mág Ne Tá) recounted their experience on Facebook, in a post that was shared over 50 times and led to many in the surrounding arts community leaving bad reviews of the venue (including bad experiences some organizers had with other shows done there) and calling for it to be blacklisted. A month later, Wild Torus found themselves being sued by Paper Box for defamation and for “trashing” the space. They say they weren’t informed of the suit until the New York Post called them for comment for a piece they wrote about it.

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Performance Picks: Western Wildness, 2-Year Anniversaries, Bits N’ Buddy Holly

WEDNESDAY

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Wednesday With Westerns!
Wednesday August 24, 7 pm at City Reliquary; $7.
The City Reliquary, a tiny, quirky wonderland of a museum, will be the location for this western art party this evening. Gallop amongst NYC memorabilia, but don’t get too distracted, as there will be plenty to do on the frontier. Selections include the chance to get your own Wanted poster painted by artist Omer Gal, experimental Japanese movement genre butoh done with a Texas twist, line dancing, a hog-tying contest, theatrical happenings, ghostly songs, wandering Western characters, and surely much else. If you have the gall to come in a Western-themed costume (god forbid nobody mistake you for a lost Republican on the way there), you’ll be greeted with a free shot of tequila or whiskey. As the cow/boy creature on the poster proclaims so proudly, “Be a REAL cowboy like me!” Darn tootin’.

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Performance Picks: Harsh Noise Videos IRL, LOL Sadism, and Theatre Ina Garden

THURSDAY

(via Housing Works)

(via Housing Works)

Loose: A Comedy Show
August 11, 7 pm at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: $10. 

The always-effervescent Jo Firestone hosts this monthly evening of chuckles at the equally warmhearted Housing Works. But Firestone’s no ordinary comedy show host, no siree– she’s the brains behind ventures like Punderdome 3000, that oh-so-thrilling pun contest that’s either your worst nightmare or best dream come true.

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Performance Picks: Dancing Comedians, Personhood Through Puns, Interactive Foreplay

WEDNESDAY
(via Facebook)

(via Facebook)

Nationals: An Amateur Adult Dance Comedy Tournament
At UCB Chelsea, 307 W 26th Street, Chelsea. 11pm. $5. More info here.
Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney host this four-month-long wild n’ wacky dance competition where the goal is not to dance in the prettiest way or for the longest time, but rather whose dancin’ feet make for the most chuckles. Sure, you can argue that many dance competitions run the risk of being unintentionally comedic already, but just imagine a dance competition where everything is supposed to be funny. Will there be technically skilled, tightly-crafted pieces using formal dance moves to inspire laughter? Probably not, because the teams are mostly made up of comedians. But you never know– there could be some surprises. Competitors include a team of two, a team of almost 10, and comedian Annie Donley (The Annoyance, SOAP’s Messy Backyard Show) going at it solo. And rest assured, whatever happens, a star WILL be born.

 

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