Walking the streets of Williamsburg, Dan Ruth can point out the buildings where squatters used to hold court. He still remembers the excellent soundtrack at King’s Pharmacy, the unvarnished temperament of the lady behind the Stroll-In Video counter, impromptu concerts in the back of bars, and gaggles of old ladies acting as the sentinels of his block. He wouldn’t claim to be part of the first wave of artists and musicians moving out to Williamsburg in search of cheap rents, but he was definitely hot on their heels.
Do Something Variety Show
At Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg. 8pm. $5 suggested donation. More info here.
The wacky and humorous Jo Firestone co-hosts this bizarre-sounding recurring variety show of mostly comedic madness this Friday night. There will be poetry readings, tunes, comedy, and even something “wiggly and crazy.” Also someone/thing named Crimbo, who remains a mystery to me. Throw in some cheap drinks, and I am not sure one needs anything more.
Welcome to Lake Homo High, a high school full of drama with one teacher (Mr. SubBottom), one coach (Coach DomTop), and four students. It’s a school where you can network your way to good grades, audition for America’s Next Top Quarterback, and even earn an H&M gift card during an oral quiz if you can correctly identify the worst way to die (Answer: “Over 30”). Oh, and shocker: everyone is gay.
WEDNESDAYMara Wilson’s What Are You Afraid Of?
Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg. 8pm. $10. More info here.
Writer, comedian and former child actress Mara Wilson is back with the latest iteration of her show What Are You Afraid Of?, which rounds up choice comedians and storytellers to share their greatest and most interesting fears. This time around: Jasmine Pierce (Reductress), Anita Flores (Awkward Sex… And The City), and Anna Rose Roisman (UCB). And don’t fret, the extra fearful can always arm themselves with a booze blanket.
Steve of Tomorrow
Continues through March 19 at HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Ave., Tribeca. 7pm; tickets are $20. More info here.
Steve of Tomorrow is a multimedia work of puppetry following a sci-fi fan who makes a blog post inviting any time travelers to greet him with their presence, but the only one to come by is lazy and not at all what he’d hope the progressive future to be. This piece questions technological advancement while utilizing the latest in video puppetry, created in the signature style of David Commander’s Toy Theater. Regardless of your feelings on tech or the capabilities of future-folk, it’s sure to be pretty cool.
Continues through March 19 at 198 Randolph Street, Bushwick. Tickets are $30. More info here.
If you think opera sounds stuffy and expensive, think again. At LoftOpera, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, you don’t even have to leave Brooklyn to get your fill of classic operatic scores, solid performances, and also, beer. The LoftOpera folks have garnered much praise for their past productions, and their Tosca is sure to be of similar quality. Come and experience all the nostalgia of a loft party, but with all the culture of opera.
Continues through February 20 at New York Live Arts, 219 W 19th Street, Chelsea. 7:30pm; Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.
Acclaimed dance artist Valda Setterfeld, sporting a shock of white hair, crafts her own version of Shakespeare’s Lear in collaboration with Irish choreographer John Scott. Interestingly, Setterfeld herself plays Lear while the King’s daughters are played by three men. Don’t expect this to be an evening of period dress and Classical language. Setterfeld may be the right age to play Lear, but this unique and movement-driven creation seems anything but typical.
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.