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A Boardwalk Empire Star Showed Up at This Amazing Time Warp to the Prohibition Era

Frank Spano worked his way down a line of guests, welcoming the men in fedoras and women in flapper dresses to his hidden nightclub. He was tall, wore a grey suit and spoke with old-fashioned politeness. When he shook my hand and introduced himself, I shared a knowing smile with the other guests. We were all aware that Frank Spano would soon be shot dead in the narrow alleyway where we stood. We were here to find out why.
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Josh Brolin’s Stepsister Made a Rock Opera About a Swamp Goddess in Space

The year after Molly Brolin (stepsister of Josh Brolin) and her fellow Berklee grad Justin Johnson moved to Greenpoint in 2010, Johnson saw “a dark sorceress cast a spell of calm over all the bodega workers in Manhattan” while he was working in a stockroom in Soho.

That stress-incited hallucination evolved into Smile Swamp Princess, a rock opera co-composed by Megan Lui and directed by Molly’s neice Eden Brolin. It debuts at Wild Project next week.
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Theater This Month: Caribbean Carnivals, Activist Cats, Singing Bros

SmokeBreakForest artwork by director Diane Exavier

SmokeBreakForest artwork by director Diane Exavier

The shining star of downtown theater events this month is undoubtedly the Fringe Festival, but for Brooklynites and those who have panic attacks when faced with choosing from a 1,200 show set list, there’s a vibrant selection of other plays in the B+B domain this August. Read on for our picks.
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Theater for the New City Got a Facelift But Not the One It Wanted

Theater For The New City has a spiffy new front. (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

Theater For The New City has a spiffy new front. (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

If you’ve walked down First Avenue recently, you might’ve noticed that Theater for the New City has spruced up the building it’s been in since the late ’80s with a circus-inspired paint job. Definitely a step up from the drab facade of yore, but what happened to that crazy makeover that the designer of the Shake Shack had planned?
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Drinking Games, Puppies, and Some Paintings, Too: The Weekend in Art

Artwork by Jack Jerz.

Artwork by Jack Jerz.

The Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival wraps up this weekend. Also on deck: a dog-friendly pool party, eco-power theater, and haunting portraits of underground celebs. Read on for our weekend art picks.
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Mark Your Calendar For These Two Outdoor Arts Festivals in the East Village

2012's FAB! Festival. (Photo: Whitney Browne)

2012’s FAB! Festival. (Photo: Whitney Browne)

The East Village’s cultural institutions are taking it to the streets again, as the details of two big outdoor arts festivals were announced today.

Theater for the New City is preparing to kick off its annual Summer Street Theater Tour, which has been bringing free outdoor theater to low-income communities since the 1970s. This year they’ll be hitting up neighborhoods in all five boroughs, including Bed-Stuy, the South Bronx, Jackson Heights, Coney Island, Harlem, West New Brighton, and the East Village.
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Talking SimCity and Centipede With the Curator of the Video-Game Theater Fest

Above: “Harold Pinter’s Duck Hunt,” from the 2010 festival.

8-Bit villains, roleplaying heroes, and an evil queen who wants to destroy Earth by boring its gamers to death — these are not sort of things we usually see on stage. But the people behind Game Play, a three-week-long theater festival celebrating games and the people who play them, know that the best theater has no time for reality.
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Burlesque for Nerds and a Dance Party with Imelda Marcos

Tburlesque Blitzhe prolific Horsetrade Theater Group, which operates the Kraine Theater and Under St. Marks in the East Village, is getting even busier than usual, with a Summer Burlesque Blitz beginning July 18. Four days of live performances include GeekBoys (a “Nerdy-Burly review” with bearded strip-tease artists making pop culture references) and RAWR! Burlesque, which has performances in honor of classic cult films. Expect jokes about light sabers at either or both. Visit Horsetrade’s website for the full schedule, and read on for our July theater round-up.
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Don’t Even Think About Asking These Improv Legends to Do ‘Real Housewives’

(Photo: Facebook, Baby Wants Candy)

As mentioned in this week’s comedy roundup, the 15th annual Del Close Marathon kicks off this Friday, with 56 straight hours of improvised comedy taking place across 7 stages throughout the city, including East Village’s own UCB East theater and Theater 80 on St. Marks Place.

There’s reason to range beyond the Bedford + Bowery borders, as well: Baby Wants Candy — the long-running, Chicago-based improvised musical — is one of the most beloved institutions within the improv world and a Marathon fixture, having played over 1,700 shows worldwide.
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Is This Lena Dunham Send-Up Enough to Cure You of ‘Girls’ Withdrawl?

Did you miss “Too Many Lenas,” the loving spoof of Lena Dunham and her characters that we told you about last week? Well, then you missed two Lenas playing Chubby Bunny, a monologue rife with breakfast-themed double entendres, a human-sized cake, topless doubles ping-pong, masturbation to a Woody Allen film, and zingers like “Does curly hair make me ethnic?” But don’t worry: Bedford + Bowery has secured this clip of Sam Corbin as Self-Depicted Lena. Just a little something to tide you over until the real Lena returns to HBO.

Can’t Get Enough Lena Dunham? Boy, Do We Have the Play For You

Left to right: Tessa Skara (Apologetic Lena), Haley Traub (Perfect Lena), Stephanie Hsu (Urban Lena), Sam Corbin (Self-Depicted Lena), Jaime Wright (Naked Lena)

Left to right: Tessa Skara (Apologetic Lena), Haley Traub (Perfect Lena), Stephanie Hsu (Urban Lena), Sam Corbin (Self-Depicted Lena), Jaime Wright (Naked Lena)

She’s won a Golden Globe. She’s sold a book for over $3.5 million. She’s one of the most influential people in the world. Now imagine if there were six of her.

This is the premise of “Too Many Lenas,” a play based on — you guessed it — the creator of HBO’s “Girls” premiering at Dixon Place later this month.
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