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Virtual Shows: Forced Collaborations and Comedic Capers

THURSDAY

(image via DPTV)

On 1 Condition: Quarantine Qitchen
Thursday, May 21 on Zoom, 7:30 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

Virtual shows inherently lend themselves to some art forms over others. It’s easier to, say, play a virtual concert in a bedroom with an acoustic guitar than it is to organize the logistics of a remote 4-piece rock band. And then there’s dance. It’s a full-body art form that typically needs plenty of open space, something that isn’t exactly available in abundance these days. However, that hasn’t stopped dancers from doing their thing. Dixon Place’s On 1 Condition: Quarantine Qitchen presents a unique challenge to dancers: they must create a new dance piece that abides by a “crazy rule.” Featuring performers from not just NYC but Hawaii, Australia, LA, and more, this show will surely surprise—if anything, because the rule for the dancers hasn’t been revealed yet. More →

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Frankie Cosmos, Drag King Channel Surfing, and More Virtual Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

The Cake Night Show
Wednesday, May 13 on Twitch, 10 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

Since quarantine began, it could be argued that drag queens didn’t get any less visible. After all, if you’re usually going out during Friday’s episode of Drag Race and are now stuck at home, you might as well tune in. But of course, queens aren’t the only type of drag performer out there. There are drag kings, and drag performers who constantly blur the lines of gender. They may not have a mainstream TV show, but they’re doing work that deserves to be seen. Tonight, collective The Cake Boys takes to streaming platform Twitch to give you a show that has drag, yes, but so much more. Structured as an absurd channel-surfing experience, you’ll get peeks of all kinds of creativity, from wacky fitness videos to what very well may be a Satanic version of Bob Ross. Oh, and there’ll be commercials, but not the kinds you’re used to.

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Virtual Performance Picks: New Music and Create-Your-Own Cult

THURSDAY

Max Vernon (image courtesy of Everyman Agency)

New Songs Now In Your Living Room
Thursday, May 7 at Rattlestick on YouTube, 8 pm: FREE

These days, everything happens in your living room. Or your kitchen, or your bedroom, or maybe your balcony, if you’re lucky enough to have something like that. On Thursdays, you can welcome the dulcet tones of new music to your living room, thanks to Rattlestick’s new virtual series. They’re spotlighting local songwriters and theater composers, who will be performing new material and discussing their artistic processes, so you can see the sausage and how it’s made. Yes, that’s an unsettling metaphor, but so be it. This week, composers Max Vernon and Rona Siddiqui get their turn in the virtual spotlight. 

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Improvised Tarot, A Theatrical Saga on Zoom, and More Virtual Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

The cast of the 2013 production of Regular Singing, written and directed by Richard Nelson, the final play of The Apple Family Plays at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

What Do We Need To Talk About?
Wednesday, April 29 at The Public Theater on YouTube, 7:30 pm: FREE

We’re used to movies having sequels for years on end, but when it comes to live performance, this practice is much rarer. It’s far from nonexistent, though—just ask Richard Nelson. The playwright’s epic Apple Family saga (formally known as the Rhinebeck Panorama) has stretched for a literal decade, and has always been performed at The Public Theater. Obviously things are different now, but the story continues nonetheless. Nelson wrote this latest play very recently while quarantined in Rhinebeck, and of course, it takes place over Zoom instead of over the dinner table. And if you’re new to this tale, Nelson’s previous Rhinebeck plays are available to stream for free, so you can get all caught up.

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Stripped-Down Sets, a Zoom Opera, and More Virtual Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

Kings of the World
Wednesday, April 22 on Twitch, 9 pm: FREE ($10 suggested donation)

Big cities and nightlife go hand-in-hand, but when it comes to virtual shows, it doesn’t matter where you live. Drag king showcase Kings of the World knows that well, seeking to virtually spotlight kings from all over rather than just focusing on major metropolitan areas. Hosted by LA-based performer Mo B. Dick, the show does indeed have drag kings from practically every part of the world. There are acts from Ireland, India, Australia, Puerto Rico, Spain, DC, and more, illustrating the wide range of queer performers out there. And of course, NYC is represented, in the form of local Brooklyn performers Muscles Monty and Uncle Freak. A $10 suggested donation gets you acts from 20 kings, and that’s quite a deal indeed.

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Virtual Performance Picks: Theater from the Archives and Actual Bedroom Pop

THURSDAY

Theresa Buchheister and Ryan William Downey in Sleeping Car Porters
(photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)

Sleeping Car Porters
Thursday, April 16 at The Brick on YouTube, 8 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

The thing typically said about live theater is that it’s ephemeral. It happens for a certain amount of time, and then it’s gone. But in the wake of the pandemic, that’s starting to somewhat change. Many venues are combing through their archives, offering viewers the chance to stream filmed versions of shows that have since closed. The Brick in Williamsburg is the latest to do so, starting Thursday with their experimental, acclaimed, Western-ish play Sleeping Car Porters. Sure, it won’t be quite the same as being in the room with a group of performers, but we have to take what we can get, and the chance to see theater after it happened IRL shouldn’t be underestimated.

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A Morning Show For All, Doctors Doing Comedy, and More Virtual Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via @maryhoulie / Instagram)

Mary Houlihan’s Lil’ Morning
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at @maryhoulie Instagram Live, 11 am: FREE (donation suggested)

While many comedy shows are only appropriate for an audience of adults, there’s plenty of funny fare out there for everyone to enjoy. Plus, it’s a specific type of achievement when someone is able to create something that makes multiple age groups laugh. You can catch something of that sort an impressive three times a week in the form of Mary Houlihan’s Lil’ Morning, found on Instagram Live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the early-ish hour of 11 am. It’s technically a show for kids, but Houlihan and her gang of funny, musical friends are more than capable of putting a smile on everyone’s faces. So pause that pandemic-themed movie you turned on and start your day with something a little brighter.

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Virtual Performance Picks: Wordy Wonderlands and One Final Drag

WEDNESDAY

(image via @oopstagramt / Instagram)

Oops!
Wednesday, April 1 on @harajukubk Instagram Live, 10 pm: FREE (suggested donation)

Typically happening at queer bar The Rosemont, drag show Oops is one of the events that immediately flocked to a virtual setting. Hosts West Dakota and Harajuku have been drawing digital crowds in the hundreds to witness their antics, which have ranged from more traditional lip-syncs to leaning into the virtual format by playing with the split screen video feeds that come with an Instagram Live. In lieu of the dollars tossed at IRL drag shows, the queens accept Venmo tips, of course. After a couple weekly shows, this will be the final Instagram Live version of the show, according to their social media. Is it a savvy April Fool’s joke or is the novelty of virtual shows already starting to fade? Presumably, the only way to find out is by tuning in.

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Virtual Performance Picks: Queer Bedroom Comedy and a Cannabis Cabaret During Quarantine

WEDNESDAY

(image courtesy of Doll Body)

High Concepts
Wednesday, March 25 on @highconcepts Instagram Live, 9 pm: FREE (suggested donation)

People who regularly go to bars are surely having a hard time lately, but stoners might be doing a little bit better. They probably already spend a lot of time chilling out in their rooms. But for performers Doll Body and Vylette Tendency, it’s a bit different. They host a monthly “cannabis cabaret” at a DIY venue, featuring drag, burlesque, and other surprises, and things usually get hazy in a good way. While that’s on pause, they’re taking to Instagram Live for this month’s show, which celebrates producer Vylette’s birthday. Pray your internet connection will stay stable, and prepare for shows from Deity Delgado, Professor Lionel Longlegs, Bad News Bear, Foxy Belle Afriq, and your hosts. Ingest whatever you like while you watch, and don’t forget to tip.

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Livestreamed Shows Are Facilitating Community and Creation (With Some Technical Difficulties)

Screenshot of Mark Vigeant’s Let’s Play Learning Games With Comedians (via Caveat / YouTube)

People have always said that the New York of the present is nothing like the old New York. If you compare today to just one week ago, that sentiment has never felt truer. Venues, bars, and countless other establishments are now closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means live, in-person shows are a thing of the past for now. But many artists are adapting, putting on shows that are live-streamed or otherwise virtually broadcast. Anything from drag shows to intimate acoustic sets can now be consumed from your bedroom, provided you’re willing to tolerate some buffering.

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