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Performance Picks: Riot Grrrl Antigone, Marionettes Abound, Toasty Roasts

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Room Service / Facebook)

(flyer via Room Service / Facebook)

Room Service
Wednesday, February 15 at The Jane Hotel, 8 pm: 

Valentine’s Day has technically passed, so all you single people can breathe a sigh of relief and all you non-single people can also breathe a sigh of relief because the pressure to give into capitalism has maybe lessened a little. Depending on who you are, of course. But if you’re longing to stay in the spirit of flowers, chocolates, and a pink n’ red color palette, this edition of Greta Titelman’s Room Service comedy show at The Jane has got you covered. With a lineup full of love-worthy folks like Bowen Yang, Lorelei Ramirez, Alyssa Stonoha, Petey DeAbreu, Blair Socci, Tom Thakkar, and Ricky Velez, you’ll be sure to spend the night feeling warm inside, expelling laughs from your gullet in only the most loving of fashions. Rounding out the bunch will be two individuals aiming their Cupid’s arrow in a more musical way: Ruby McCollister and Tim Platt as “resident songbird” and “heartthrob,” respectively. Keep Reading »

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Bejeweled Opera, Empowering Blurred Lines, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image courtesy of Hallie Haas)

(image courtesy of Hallie Haas)

Masterpiece Classic: Women in Art
Wednesday, February 8 at UCB Chelsea, 8 pm: $7

It is generally agreed upon that art is Good. However, the art world is where things get a little more polarized. This new character-based show by comedian and actress Hallie Haas takes on the type of people who consider themselves high and mighty creators, the type of people who take themselves reeeeeeally seriously. The premise is that Laura Linney, of course, has gathered together seven of the most sophisticated and acclaimed women artists for an evening that feels a lot like a certain public access television show. Only probably a lot weirder. Especially considering Haas will be playing every character. This spoof on PBS classics feels especially timely, considering I just got an email asking me to sign an online petition so that Donald Trump doesn’t get rid of PBS Kids. Please, think of the children. And the art.

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Disney Burlesque, a Show in a Bathtub, and More Primo Performance

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Slipper Room)

(flyer via The Slipper Room)

Burlesque Tribute to the Ladies of Disney
Thursday, February 3 at The Slipper Room, 7 pm doors, 8 pm show: $10 

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque is back again. Known for their titillating tributes to all things pop culture, Hotsy Totsy has created scantily-clad evenings dedicated to Game of ThronesStar Wars, Stephen King, The Muppets, and more. This month, they’ve stepped away from the fur and sci-fi in lieu of something more delicate and nostalgic. Yes, they’ve whipped up a tribute all your favorite princesses: the ladies of Disney. However demure these princesses may be, this show doesn’t exactly seem to follow suit. The concept hinges upon Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad as the Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming respectively, who seem to be enjoying their very own Happily Ever After. Only, paradise can be boring for a mere duo. As per the show’s description, “Looking to spice things up, the two love birds have decided to throw a ball, looking for the hottest princess in the land to join them in a threesome!” 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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Bromancing Assassins and the Myth of the Great Writer Genius in Holden

"Holden" by Anisa George (Flyer courtesy of George & Co.)

“Holden” by Anisa George (Flyer courtesy of George & Co.)

In a vacuum, The Catcher in the Rye is a pretty straightforward story– not a whole lot happens. But if you’re at all familiar with American culture, you’re probably well aware that it has taken on an enormously prolific life of its own. Probably you read the book for school as a teen, or even a tween if you grew up here, and you might have noticed that it has a somewhat polarizing effect. If you identified with the book’s hero, a 17-year-old kid named Holden Caulfield, anyone else who shared this affinity was an OK person too. But plenty of people just don’t get Holden’s misanthropic cynicism, and it’s weird, but there seems to be a built-in emotional trigger point here for those who do: clearly the haters must be “phonies” then, too. As time goes on, and teenage angst either subsides or turns into something else, like, playing in a black metal band or four-martini lunch hours, Holden’s frustration with the world’s many, many disappointments seems more like kid stuff. And most people realize that, OK not everyone is such a phony after all. But not everyone lets go of Holden so easily.

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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. Keep Reading »

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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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This Queer Performance Festival Wants to Mend Our Generational ‘Disconnect’

Banjela Davis

Banjela Davis (Photo courtesy of La MaMa’s Squirts)

Nowadays, it’s common to see one generation insisting that the other will never understand them, whether its Jerry Seinfeld lamenting that college kids are “too PC,” the drag performer Lady Bunny balking at “crybabies” and new pronouns, or tweens making memes decrying the whole bootstraps thing (every Boomer’s favorite piece of outdated advice).

Given this disconnect, it’s not everyday that you see a generational cross section of people in the same room together, let alone actually listening to each other. This rings especially true for people in the queer community, who experience generational differences in even starker terms because of the gaping hole that the AIDS epidemic left behind. But bridging this gap is exactly what La MaMa’s Squirts: Generations of Queer Performance seeks to do.

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Winter Festivals, A Play On 4Chan, Gay Shows For All, and More Performance Picks

FESTIVALS

Under the Radar
Wednesday January 4 through Sunday January 15, various showtimes at The Public Theater and other spaces: $20 and up

Ah yes, it’s that time again, when the slew of January performance festivals sail in every winter to overwhelm you with a seemingly endless supply of shows. One of these is The Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival, which presents a wide variety of music, performance, and more from artists based across the U.S. and all over the world.

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How Sex Sold Songs in New York’s Early Theater Days

This week, we continue with our series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

View of 444 Broadway as The Olympic Theatre, year unknown. Photo courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.

View of 444 Broadway as The Olympic Theatre, year unknown. Photo courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.

James Norman knew exactly what he was doing when he walked into 444 Broadway in the spring of 1862. And the woman he shot knew, too. The music was loud, drinks were flowing, and he was a jilted man. He gave $100 dollars (a hefty sum in 1862) to buy furniture to his fiancée Kate White, a waitress at the concert saloon on the ground floor of the building. She ran away with the money, never to be heard from again. They had met one of the many times he must have come in drunk, sweaty, and groping. It’s not hard to imagine why she took the money and ran.

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The Theater That Was a ‘Weapon in the Class Struggle’

This week, we continue with our series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The Workers Laboratory Theatre, headquartered at 42 East 12th in the 1930s. (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center Archives)

The Workers Laboratory Theatre, headquartered at 42 East 12th street in the 1930s. (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center Archives)

In June 1931, with America’s working class still deep in the grip of the Great Depression, a handful of actors in New York City performed Art is a Weapon, a skit first adapted by the New York’s Workers’ Laboratory Theatre. It begins with a Capitalist, with a “silk topper and over-refined accent,” making his declaration about the limited uses of art. The workers respond by making the distinction between proletarian and bourgeois art; between art intended to amuse and enlighten the elite and art meant to liberate workers.

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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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