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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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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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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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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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Performance Picks: Loons, Waiting For the Bathroom, Live Deterioration

(image via Tinder Live / Facebook)

(image via Tinder Live / Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Tinder Live
Wednesday, October 15 at The Bell House, 8 pm: $15.

Lane Moore‘s celebrated show Tinder Live returns to Park Slope venue The Bell House for yet another amusing evening of dating mishaps and more. This time around, she’s joined by comedians and/or generally creative folk Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight), New York Times bestselling author Mychal Smith, and writer Chloe Angyal, who genuinely has a PhD in romantic comedies. Moore is quite a multitasker herself. In addition to jokin’ and hostin’ her acclaimed comedy show, she also fronts the band It Was Romance (they garnered plenty of media attention for their Fiona Apple-inspired music video for queer song “Hooking Up With Girls”) and writes for a variety of publications. But enough about all that, this evening is all about Tinder. In a good and funny way, we swear. And in a real way: there will be live swiping. Maybe one day you’ll even end up as one of the folks Moore engages with onstage. There are many routes to stardom.

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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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Next Week in Comedy: Seinfeld, Space and Singing

TUESDAY

(Flyer via Facebook)

Mary Houlihan & The Yellow Dress in “This Could Be Anything”
Tuesday September 6, 8 p.m. at Over the Eight: FREE. 
As the name suggests this one is a bit of a mystery. It’s a musical, but who knows what about? Written by indie pop musician Dan Weiss (with his band the Yellow Dress) and comedian Mary Houlihan, whose regular show, Cartoon Monsoon, usually includes a fair amount of funny singing, it definitely has a lot going for it. Sure, “comedy musicals” don’t always end well, but I have a feeling this one is going to be good.

It’ll also feature comedians like Carmen Christopher, Susan Casey, Pat Wise, Tim Platt and Joe Rumrill. As if that’s not enough, there’ll also be songs about “friendship and bravery.” If you’re curious to know any more details, then I guess you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself on Tuesday.

FRIDAY

(Flyer via UCBtheatre.com)

(Flyer via UCBtheatre.com)

Improvised Seinfeld
Friday September 9, 7:30 p.m. at UCB Chelsea: $10. 
Do you ever imagine Seinfeld still on TV? It’s a pie-in-the-sky dream so long as Seinfeld is busy getting coffee and complaining about college students, but it’s nice to think about, right? If, however, that’s not enough to scratch your Seinfeldian itch, then fear not, because there’s always Improvised Seinfeld.

At this semi-regular show, former UCB Maude team, Bellevue (who wrote a pretty good new episode of Seinfeld a while ago), perform a fully improvised episode of Seinfeld based on an audience suggestion. I’ve seen the show a few times myself and it is startlingly close to the real thing—the tone, the episode structure and even the actors playing the main cast (the Elaine stand-in, Cathryn Mudon, is an especially close dead-ringer for Julia Louis Dreyfus). So if you can’t even imagine it, then stop thinking about it and see it for yourself.

(Flyer via the Annoyance Theater)

(Flyer via the Annoyance Theater)

Deep Space Live!
Friday September 9, 8 p.m. at the Annoyance Theater: $10. 
In an effort to cope with the impenetrable loneliness of space travel, NASA scientist Sam Weiss (played by comedian Sam Weiss) has taken to hosting a weekly late night talk show. Because, honestly, what better way to deal with the existential ennui of being thousands of miles away from any other human beings than hosting a talk show?

This week also happens to be your last chance to catch Deep Space Live, which will feature guest appearances from the likes of the voices in Weiss’s head, some aliens and comedians including Sam Taggart and Ben Hosley.

SUNDAY

(Flyer via Facebook)

(Flyer via Facebook)

The Famous Awards
Sunday September 11, 6 p.m. at the Bushwick Public House: FREE. 
Next Sunday, comedian Kady Ruth Ashcraft will host the first ever Famous Awards—a one-of-a-kind award show that will celebrate and crown the world’s most famous individuals. You know, those traditionally unsung heroes of this world. Selfless and brave, every one of them.

The event promises to feature “a red carpet, step and repeat, champagne toasts, and most importantly, awards celebrating the 2016 accomplishments of famous people.” The show itself is free, but also be aware that it is 100% black tie mandatory.

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Week in Comedy: Summertime Stories and Imaginary Films

THURSDAY

(Photo: Summer Fling)

(Flyer via Summer Fling)

Summer Fling
Thursday August 25, 9 pm at Union Hall: $10

Hosted by Lacey Jeka and Kristen Buckels (Between Two Bushes), this show is stacked. I mean seriously, you’re telling me that you’ve got Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone– who by the way also host some great shows together— and Brett Davis, the cult-obsessed audience antagonizer, plus a great young man named Gary Richardson, all on the same bill?

Also, the show is only $10? And it’s on a Thursday and at a reasonable hour? Wait, there’s a flyer for it? Uh, yes please. Like, on all accounts. This show might only last one night, but, oh man, what a summer fling it will be.

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Performance Picks: Beds Not Chairs + Silent and/or Messy Laughs

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Judson Arts Wednesdays)

(flyer via Judson Arts Wednesdays)

Blind Crest
August 17, 7 pm at Judson Memorial Church: FREE

Judson Arts Wednesdays, a series of free music, dance, and theatrical-readings twice a month, wraps up the season with this final play reading.

Blind Crest was inspired by the true story of Ronnell Wilson and Nancy Gonzalez, this work by Monet Hurst-Mendoza is take on a “boy-meets-girl” story where a black man on death row and a newly-appointed corrections officer make a connection and plan to have a baby.

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This Week: Silly Shows Of All Sorts and An Experimental Theater BBQ

(via Facebook)

(via Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Snippets From Sparkleberry

At The Annoyance, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 8:30pm. $10. More info here

A ragtag gang of particularly zany folk come together to present this supposedly long-awaited public showing of some of the citizens of Sparkleberry’s theatrical creations, a town full of kindred spirits who also happen to be incredibly dumb. Needless to say, such a combination will probably make for some engaging material. The production features Eliza Hurwitz (who has also created a show that is dedicated to her love of Duane Reade), Steven DeSiena (the Music Man in recurring cartoon/puppet/sketch show Cartoon Monsoon), and Bardia Salimi (who I meant to see in a backyard comedy show in May but he spent too long getting an ice cream.) With a team like that, what could go wrong?

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‘Humping a Gatorade Bottle’ and More Performance to Quench Your Thirst

(image via Facebook)

(image via Facebook)

WEDNESDAY

Erin Markey: Humping A Gatorade Bottle
At The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, West Village. 9:30pm. $15 plus a two drink minimum. More info here
Performance artist/comedian/writer/singer/actress/my friend Erin Markey is always a pleasure to watch onstage. Her cabaret shows at The Duplex and Joe’s Pub are full of strange and compelling life stories, odd characters, impressive voice work, jokes you might not realize are hilarious until five seconds after they’re told, and some very nice singing. This show, with the truly memorable subtitle of Humping a Gatorade Bottle, is sure to be no less wonderful and intriguing, in addition to being a “heartwarming crossfit program.” Now that’s what I call one-stop shopping.

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Performance Picks: Puppet Folktales, Chilean Mine Immersion, and Some Much-Needed Laughs

WEDNESDAY

(image via Facebook)

(image via Facebook)

Secret
At La MaMa, 66 E 4th Street, East Village. 8pm. Free. More info here
I can’t say I know a ton about Watoku Ueno’s one-night-only piece at La MaMa, but maybe they’re staying true to their name and keeping all the juicy details a secret… What I do know is that it’s based off Japanese folklore, specifically a story known as “Crane Wife,” where a man marries a woman who is really a crane in disguise and makes money by weaving her own feathers into silk brocade and leaves once her husband finds out she’s really a crane. That is true independence and craftiness, if I do say so myself. Secret includes not only dance and live music but also some glorious shadow puppetry that will bring this odd little tale to life.

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