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Performance Picks: Dancing Comedians, Personhood Through Puns, Interactive Foreplay

WEDNESDAY
(via Facebook)

(via Facebook)

Nationals: An Amateur Adult Dance Comedy Tournament
At UCB Chelsea, 307 W 26th Street, Chelsea. 11pm. $5. More info here.
Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney host this four-month-long wild n’ wacky dance competition where the goal is not to dance in the prettiest way or for the longest time, but rather whose dancin’ feet make for the most chuckles. Sure, you can argue that many dance competitions run the risk of being unintentionally comedic already, but just imagine a dance competition where everything is supposed to be funny. Will there be technically skilled, tightly-crafted pieces using formal dance moves to inspire laughter? Probably not, because the teams are mostly made up of comedians. But you never know– there could be some surprises. Competitors include a team of two, a team of almost 10, and comedian Annie Donley (The Annoyance, SOAP’s Messy Backyard Show) going at it solo. And rest assured, whatever happens, a star WILL be born.

 

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Coming Up: Nacho Cheese in a Chocolate Fountain and 3 Other Things in Unexpected Places

Sometimes it can get a little old going to the same bars, galleries, shows, knowing the kind of stuff you’ll see there. So, shake it up with…

A live band at karaoke:

(image via Be Yourself / Facebook)

(image via Be Yourself / Facebook)

Be Yourself Karaoke!
Saturday, July 30 at Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side. Doors at 8pm, music at 9pm. $10. More info here.
Karaoke is always a fun choice (I’m aware many would disagree) but karaoke backing tracks can often be in weird keys and sound like an early 2000s MIDI version of the song you actually wanted to sing. That’s all about to change with Be Yourself Karaoke, a live band that specifically plays ’90s/early 2000s emo and pop-punk songs with audience members as the lead singer. The setlist of songs to choose from is much less overwhelming than those huge karaoke binders and includes hits from Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy, Say Anything, Good Charlotte, and more. Yes, that means you too can relive that dream of bopping around your bedroom yelling to MCR while wearing too much eyeliner, only this time you’ll have a microphone and a stage.

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Performance Picks: Blood Pact, Black Ballet, Spooky Ghosts in the Park

(image via Marybess Pritchett)

(image via Marybess Pritchett)

WEDNESDAY
Blood Pact
Continues weekly through August 17 at The Annoyance, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 9:30pm. $5. More info here

The school I went to didn’t really have much Greek life at all, but I can still acknowledge that fraternities and sororities provide rich material for comedy. A group of women at The Annoyance agree, and they’ve made this show to prove it. Blood Pact centers around a handful of sorority sisters who agree to regularly meet back up after school, but only during their time of the month. They describe the show as “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets Sex and the City meets Requiem for a Dream,” which is a combo I can’t quite imagine but trust exists somehow. Trust me, periods are so weird and complicated and interesting and crisis-inducing that there will certainly be a LOT to joke about.

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After Seven Years, a Magical Series of City Walks Hangs Up Its Laces

This Is My Worst Nightmare by Becca Blackwell (photo: Eric McNatt)

This Is My Worst Nightmare by Becca Blackwell (photo: Eric McNatt)

In the city, or in any city, streets aren’t just streets, and building aren’t just buildings. There are histories stacked on top of each other, whether they be literal populations and businesses that come and go or more personal, emotional histories. A park or a street corner is going to mean something different to everyone.

For the past few years, Elastic City has striven to crystalize this feeling into something more tangible with its series of free artist-led participatory walks in New York City and beyond. These walks take small groups (usually 12 or less) on fictional, historical, emotional journeys, such as a reenactment of coming-of-age moments that occurred at the height of the West Village’s dyke bar culture, a singalong Annie tour, or renaming and imagining a neighborhood where immigrants are celebrated. Artists like scenic designer Mimi Lien (a winner of the MacArthur “Genius Grant”), performance artist Karen Finley, activist and urbanist Nisan Haymian, among many others, have created and led walks for the series.

Today, Elastic City will wrap up their walk series for good. I chatted with Elastic City founder Todd Shalom and his longtime collaborator (and Elastic City’s Associate Artistic Director) Niegel Smith in the time they had in between conducting walks. Today, for the last several times, they’ll lead the walk they’ve created together that will serve as a finale for the series. It’s called, fittingly, The Last Walk, and takes place in Prospect Park, beginning at Grand Army Plaza.

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Performance Picks: Muskrats, Menstruation, And a Trip to Jupiter

(image via New Ohio Theater)

(image via New Ohio Theater)

WEDNESDAY

The Annotated History of the American Muskrat
Continues through July 16 at the New Ohio Theater, 154 Christopher Street, West Village. 7pm. Tickets are $18 ($15 students/seniors). More info here.
Originally developed in Boston, this play-slash-experiment was written by John Kuntz in collaboration with the show’s original cast of performers, and now will have a short run as part of the New Ohio Theater’s annual Ice Factory Festival. It follows a group of 8 people who must prepare and give a presentation about muskrats if they would ever like to sleep. American muskrats, specifically. Yes, these guys. Will you learn a lot about the muskrat? Will you learn anything at all? Is this really happening to these people or is it all some sort of wild rodent dream? Find out all this and more at the theater…

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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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This Musical Proves Men Aren’t The Only Ones With Killer Ambition

(photo via Planet Connections)

(photo via Planet Connections)

Musicals are often full of emotion, especially during moments of song. When a woman sings of wanting the people who irk her “slain,” it’s usually not a threat to be taken literally. But in Ambition: The Female American Serial Killer Musical, now playing as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity in the East Village, such musical stylings do indeed foreshadow death.

Ambition is written by Asian-American playwright and performer Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, who is also the co-creator of a web series called 2 Girls 1 Asian and helps produce and curate a bimonthly performance series called Undiscovered Countries, which is how we met. Since then, we’ve performed in each other’s respective variety shows and I’ve generally kept tabs on her work. When I heard about this project I knew I had to check it out, as I am the type who spent many childhood years up late combing through the Wikipedia pages of people who have done awful things. People, but largely men.

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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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12 Hours on a Bed Of Salt and 4 More Performances You Should See

(photo: Nick McManus)

(photo: Nick McManus)

WEDNESDAY

Circus of Dreams
At Bizarre Bushwick, 12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick. 10pm. $7 suggested donation. More info here
This monthly performance art variety show has been going on for a couple years now and still never fails to surprise me. Though it’s impossible to predict or even properly describe what shenanigans will occur, there will be gender-blurred burlesque, shocking circus stunts, a senior citizen contortionist who has had several hip surgeries and is still going strong, dominatrix performance art, and zany audience participation. And that’s just a sampling. This month is glam-themed, so I’m sure there will be sparkles and over-the-top outfits everywhere the eye can see. Get there early to beat the inevitable crowd, it’ll make getting a drink in a timely manner much more feasible and you can see some nice preshow go-go dancing.

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Performance Picks: Office Wellness Seminar, Prom in 2003, A Permanent Caterpillar

THURSDAY

(photo via Kelly Cooper)

(photo via Kelly Cooper)

DTF Presents: Mandatory Seminar
Continues weekly through June 2 at The Annoyance Theater, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 9pm. Tickets are $10. More info here
Have you ever been a part of an office wellness seminar? I personally have not, but they sound truly absurd. Get a taste of one too outrageous for words tonight and next week in the hallowed halls of The Annoyance, where The Dingleberry Theater Foundation tries their very best to stage their own wellness seminar featuring a cast of characters who don’t seem at all suited for that sort of workplace, much less any workplace. Will there be meditative breathing exercises and miniature bottles of water or will there only be disaster? Only one way to find out.

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Performance Picks: PowerPoint Presents and an Appearance by Ronald Trump

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Bushwick Starr)

(image via The Bushwick Starr)

Ike At Night
Now through June 4, Wednesday through Saturday at The Bushwick Starr: $18. 
Acclaimed comic performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu hosts a talk show of his own creation at the Bushwick Starr. Each night is different, featuring a new selection of handpicked artistic guests each time, including  B+B fave M Lamar, theatre director Richard Maxwell, performance group Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, The Dance Cartel choreographer Ani Taj, and more. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Campy Cats, Poetry Brothel Séance, and Experimental Comedy

THURSDAY

(photo: Jody Christopherson)

(photo: Jody Christopherson)

Strays
Continues through May 14 at The Brick, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg. 7:30pm (Sundays at 2pm and 7:30pm). $18. More info here
Imagine an episode of Law and Order with only two people in it. Now imagine those two people playing every character. Add a missing cat, a suicide prevention hotline worker who also once worked as a stripper, some lo-fi multimedia, and a hearty scoop of madcap campiness, and you’ll have a thick stew similar to acclaimed writer and performer Kim Katzberg’s new play Strays, where two actors (Katzberg, with Nora Woolley) take on a long list of character and an even longer list of hijinks.

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