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.
The company of “Street Children” (photo: Ted Alcorn)
Time magazine declared a “transgender tipping point” in 2014 when it featured actress Laverne Cox on its cover. In the two years following that proclamation, mainstream media and pop culture attempted to follow suit. TV shows and movies like Transparent and Tangerine garnered critical acclaim and media buzz, but not all of it was positive. Despite increased portrayal of trans characters in media, the people creating and playing them remain predominantly cisgender.
Edgar Oliver is a memorable man. I feel as though I could listen to him recite a portion of the phone book and throughout it I would find humor, joy, and sorrow. That’s not to say he has a terribly wide range of vocal inflection, but rather quite the opposite. Somehow he treats every word nearly the same way, with the same great deal of care and dramatics, and yet an entire world opens itself up among the syllables.
In Attorney Street, Oliver’s third solo storytelling show, he explores a new chapter of his life in a new apartment on the Lower East Side after being made to leave the small East Village SRO he’d remained for decades. With this major change, he also tracks other shifts in his life and surroundings: a vacant lot he cherished is now no more, a young boy that awakened desire in him as a child now has a child of his own, and so on.
When I ventured out to Fire Island last weekend, it took us nearly an hour to get from the ferry landing to the house by traversing a forest path in pitch darkness. As I strained to wheel a suitcase through the sand, we joked nervously about the classic horror movie scenario, and I wondered which one I was going to get first: poison ivy? lyme disease? eaten by coyotes? Once we got to the house, though, we were enveloped in blissful solitude, and I cracked a book about Fire Island only to be reminded that Robert Moses had once sought to run an expressway through the quiet little place.
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.
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…
Erin Markey: Humping A Gatorade Bottle At The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street, West Village. 9:30pm. $15 plus a two drink minimum. More info here.
Performance artist/comedian/writer/singer/actress/my friend Erin Markey is always a pleasure to watch onstage. Her cabaret shows at The Duplex and Joe’s Pub are full of strange and compelling life stories, odd characters, impressive voice work, jokes you might not realize are hilarious until five seconds after they’re told, and some very nice singing. This show, with the truly memorable subtitle of Humping a Gatorade Bottle, is sure to be no less wonderful and intriguing, in addition to being a “heartwarming crossfit program.” Now that’s what I call one-stop shopping.
President Obama officially declared the Stonewall Inn, long recognized as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, a national monument this morning, making it the first monument to the struggle for LGBTQ equality.
The Stonewall became the center of a new movement for gay rights in June of 1969, when patrons at the well-known gay bar fought back against one of the NYPD’s periodic raids. The ensuing riots and their aftermath inspired many to act and organize in support of LGBTQ rights, creating the first movement of its kind in America. The Stonewall Inn became a national landmark in 2000 and a city landmark almost exactly a year ago.
In light of President Obama’s momentous meeting with Raul Castro in Cuba today, it’s worth pointing out this ghost sign on the corner of Avenue of the Americas and King Street. It’s one of the few remaining emblems of the countries of the Western Hemisphere to hang on lampposts along the avenue.
At 81 years old, D’yan Forest describes herself as a “young Betty White.” The octogenarian and veteran performer doesn’t mask her sexual conquests in grandma-speak. Indeed she speaks Millennial more fluently than some natives I know– she’s sex positive, has done her fair share of swiping left on Tinder, and is open-minded toward all kinds of people. Before I set off to the West Village apartment to meet D’yan where she’s lived since the ’60s, I phoned her and she assured me: “I’m very interesting, too, darling.” Click. It’s hard to argue with that: the multi-instrumentalist’s career spans at least three continents, and she can sing in nine languages. On top of all that, she’s now trying to hack it as a stand-up comic.
Center in red, Hilly Bodin as Snow White , Laura Careless as the Queen (Photo by Mark Shelby Perry, courtesy of Company XIV)
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.