Under the Radar Festival
Now through January 13 at The Public Theater (some shows at offsite venues), various times: $30
Yesterday marked the start of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, which showcases new performance from around the globe and is now in its impressive 15th year. While most of the shows take place at The Public, some are staged elsewhere, from Chelsea’s SVA Theater to The Met. Festival loyalists may recognize some familiar names—Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey’s [50/50] old school animation, a monologue-based work about violence that’s hard to adequately describe, also appeared as part of UTR’s smaller fest-within-a-fest last year, but is chillingly compelling enough to warrant a repeat viewing. Other highlights include creative storytellers James + Jerome filling the halls of The Met with their music-laced tales, multimedia puppet-centric riffs on both Frankenstein (Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein) and Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas (Plexus Polaire’s Chambre Noir), an evening with darkly odd comedian Lorelei Ramirez, and more.
January 4-13 at various venues, various times: various prices
Once housed more wholly within Abrons Arts Center, the American Realness dance-centric performance festival has expanded to 12 venues across multiple boroughs, which is good news if the Lower East Side isn’t easy for you to get to. This year, the festival brings along works like a new queer piece (with sure-to-be-eye-catching costumes by Reid Bartleme) by Jack Ferver, a revival of Juliana F. May’s Folk Incest (a meditation on “seemingly unpresentable content” which ran at Abrons earlier in 2018), nora chipaumire’s explorations of pop, Africa, and capitalism, and the return of the curious Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, this time with “a transformative ritual based on the obsessive recreation of a single unpopular shopping ‘haul’ video that was posted to YouTube on Labor Day 2013 and later deleted by its creator.”
January 5-13 at various venues, various times: $30+
Opera is often dismissed as an old art form, suitable for equally-old rich people who can afford and/or endure it. The Prototype festival stands out in a sea of theater festivals that unfold in the city every January as the only one to focus on new, innovative opera and music theater, reminding attendees that reviving old masters is far from the only way to go. This year there’s 12 shows showcasing the talents of 24 composers, including “bilingual cross-border opera” Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance, the Royal Opera’s version of Sarah Kane’s fragmented play about mental illness 4.48 Psychosis, and an interactive experience where audience members play extras in a feature film that changes nightly.
Friday, January 4 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors
Already feeling reluctant to follow through with your New Year’s resolution? You’re not alone. Enter into a legacy of quitting at Sam Corbin and Ian Goldstein’s show where failure takes front and center in a way that’s meant to stir up camaraderie rather than frustration. After a lengthy run at Pete’s Candy Store, they’re setting up shop at Bed-Stuy’s C’mon Everybody, but despite continuing this show for so long, you can be sure they’ve quit something else along the way. Tonight features comedians Joe Rumrill, Fareeha Khan, Alex Song, and Taylor Ortega, and you’ll have a chance to get up there yourself and detail a moment you gave something up for the chance to win a free drink. So go ahead, cancel that candlelit yoga class you scheduled for tonight and come see some quitting.