I was not feeling particularly delighted when I nestled into my seat at Company XIV‘s stage production of Snow White. Firstly, the theater smelled like a brothel before Yankee Candle Company was invented (intentionally, I assume), and Sundays are the last day I want to be getting all experimental with my olfactory receptors. All. Organs. Ache. Even my ability to laugh is usually squandered at this point– lolz are wasted on the youth, am I right? So when this baroque, gyrating, barely-clothed, indulgent mishmash of Versailles’s gaudiest decor, the charming Weimar cabaret, classical ballet, pole dancing, and remnants of the Brothers Grimm managed to turn my bottom-grazing sulk into 100-percent authentic laughter and delight, I was so, so happy I’d crawled out of my bed to be with Company XIV’s Snow White.
Missed January’s exhausting theater festivals and still crave stuff to see? This week brings variety shows (as usual), erotic monologues, a black mass, durational dance, and more.
Circus of Dreams
At Bizarre Bushwick, 12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick. 9:30pm. $7-20 suggested donation. More info here.
This is one of the first weird variety shows I ever went to, and I haven’t looked back since. Circus of Dreams, an unpredictable and odd monthly variety show formerly hosted by Matthew Silver and now helmed by the vivacious Lindsee Lonesome (one-half of brash music group Marital Dispute), is both a strange wonderland and warm community of weirdo artists who consistently bring their wacky ideas to life in the typically welcoming and aptly-named Bizarre Bar. Sometimes you’ll see naked people. Sometimes you’ll get cake thrown on you. Sometimes both will happen. Either way, you certainly won’t be bored. And admittedly this week I’m working the door, so come say hi.
Banana Bag and Bodice presents the world premiere of their “shaggy-dog folktale” LongYarn, centering around a woman called “Mother,” who is a composite of intriguing women from history. Collaborators who worked on the project include Glickman Award-winning Jason Craig, Jessica Jelliffe, and composer/performer Dave Malloy, whose electro-pop opera (that I saw many times) Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 will soon go to Broadway. Initially part of the Exponential Festival, the show has recently announced an extension into early February after netting rave reviews. Stop by nearby watering hole Heavy Woods after for drink specials.
An Audience With Molly Pope At Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., East Village; 9:30pm (also at 7pm on 1/27). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
“Neo-retro” cabaret artist Molly Pope has performed many times all over the city and garnered much praise along the way, but this time she’s doing a little something more: recording her first album. Of course, that’s also happening in front of a live audience, led by a six-piece band. And don’t worry, there will be a sing-along, and audience members who partake will in fact be credited as back-up artists on the album. It’s your chance to be a star!
Though it’s easy to get distressed about how white and male-dominated the artistic landscape still is today (because it really, truly is), it’s important to acknowledge and seek out the exciting and prevalent work being made by artists of color in spaces that are perhaps not as commercial as, say, network television. Some of it has been in comedy: recently, we’ve written about black comedian and activist Elsa Waithe and an all-Muslim comedy showcase.
It’s been a long time coming, and even though House of Yes officially opened on New Year’s Eve, the Bushwick performance collective’s brand new (and impressive) space is finally complete, with all the the licenses and permits it ever dreamed of, and it appears to be running on schedule, no less. Kae Burke– the co-founder of House of Yes along with Anya Sapozhnikova– played host last night and, strutting across the stage in impossible heels and sequined bikini number, reminded the audience, “This is our first variety show in two-and-a-half years.” Proof that even a fire, raids by the cops, and a colossal construction project couldn’t keep House of Yes down.
While you still have a staggering amount of Manhattan performance festival shows going on this week, don’t be afraid to take a break from sifting through show schedules in order to check out some of these other options.
January is theatre-fest time: there’s the always exciting COIL fest, Under the Radar at the Public Theater, and the opera-centric summit Prototype. But Theresa Buchheister– a founding member of Title:Point, the DIY production company that runs Vital Joint at the Silent Barn– thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce her own operation into the mix, The Exponential Festival, as a counterpoint to the usual.
Read more here.
A bevy of Brooklyn’s wildest comedians and wackiest performers come together for this six hour long (yes, you read that right) marathon of holiday madness. One of the brains behind this ambitious endeavor is, unsurprisingly, Jo Firestone, creator of Punderdome 3000, director of B+B favorite Body, and too many other creative and just plain bizarre shows to mention here. The lineup is rightfully jam-packed, and we trust that it will be full to the brim with surprises, shocks, and sillies.
Read more here.
Tis the season for Macbeth, y’all. Get your Macbeth hair of the dog and head to a psycho-sexual parody of the play (because everyone knows the best cure for a hangover is…) perhaps even more transgressive than that $100 plus tourist trap. This weekend, Stairwell Theater is staging Ubu Rex, an immersive evening of debauchery and cabaret based on the 19th-century play Ubu Roi, at Aviv, and you’re invited to partake in the revelry and grime at a “post-apocalyptic dinner party.”
Get discounted tickets when you buy in advance.
Read more here.
Bordello, Madame Vivien V’s recurring evening of debauched performance, is bigger and better than ever this holiday season with their twisted and more scantily-clad version of The Nutcracker, set in a vaudevillian absinthe club.
Read more here.
Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, the poet Staceyann Chin spent her teenage years terrified of getting pregnant. “Every Bible lesson, biology lesson, and casual reference to the future was marked with the warning: if you get pregnant, your life is over,” she wrote later.
When Chin began dating women, she was relieved, thinking that this panic would no longer be a part of her life. But at 35, after yet another debilitating breakup, Chin woke up from her solitary life in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, haunted by a wholly different inconvenient truth: despite the fact that she had no partner, no stable income and no medical benefits, she wanted to have a baby.