Performance Picks

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Performance Picks: Comedy With Free Pizza and Plenty of Drag

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Great Fairy Venus Celestina / Facebook)

I’m Selfish! The Birth of Venus
Wednesday, October 16 at Dream Baby, 9:30 pm: $10

Drag performer The Great Fairy Venus Celestina’s recurring show at the bar Dream Baby is always named I’m Selfish, but this time the title feels even more justified, as it will be celebrating the literal birth of Venus herself. Join the birthday queen, members of her Haus, and other special guest performers who will be turning out “Venus-themed” numbers for all to see. The cast will be performing a whopping three sets, so there will be plenty of time to see, tip, and drink, including some chances to win free booze.

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Performance Picks: MCR Burlesque and Indoor-Outdoor Comedy

THURSDAY

Not Straight Not White
Thursday, October 10 at 132 W 21st Street, 7 pm: FREE

At this trio show, audiences get the best of three worlds. There’s photography, there’s sculpture, and there’s performance, and it’s all created by young artists (Patrick Arias, Jinyong Choi, and Garrett Allen) who are, as the title suggests, neither straight nor white. To those deeply enmeshed in inclusive, queer, nightlife-y worlds, this may not seem like the most revolutionary thing (though I’d advise taking a closer look at those scenes to see how consistently diverse they really are), but recall that it was a mere two days ago that the Supreme Court was contemplating queer and trans people’s right to hold a job without the constant fear of being fired simply for who they are. Not Straight Not White acknowledges these tumultuous times and attempts to imagine a better future, one where the marginalized take back the power.

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Prelude Festival, A Queer Sabrina Cabaret, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Prelude NYC / Facebook)

Prelude 2019: Riotous Excursions
October 3-5 at Martin E. Segal Theater Center, various times: FREE

Free theater, performance art, panels and more abound at this year’s Prelude Festival, a celebration of contemporary theater and performance that’s curated this year by Sanaz Ghajar and David Bruin. The festival largely presents works (or excerpts of works) that are still being developed: highlights include a “music-video-electronic-sample-remix-opera,” a “dream party” assembled by playwright Jaclyn Backhaus, a meditation on intimacy using cello and poetry, and a madcap think tank creation by Bailey Williams, Derek Smith, and Alex Rodabaugh. There will also be “studio visits” (live performance excerpts followed by critical responses) and panels exploring activist art and creation in the age of late capitalism.

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Performance Picks: Comedy, Birthdays, and Competitions

THURSDAY

(image via The Flea Theater / Facebook)

The Sandalwood Box and The Fez
Now through November 1 at The Flea Theater, 7 pm (some shows at 3 pm or 4 pm): $15+ ($10 student rush tickets available 10 minutes before curtain, subject to availability)

The latest offering in experimental playwright Mac Wellman’s theatrical, political, and often-surreal bonanza at The Flea is actually two plays in one. The first, The Sandalwood Box, follows a woman seeking speech therapy after losing her voice who meets a mysterious professor able to contain “captivating catastrophes” inside of (you guessed it) a box made of sandalwood. The Fez deals in even more abstract terms, with the summary simply stating “The charmed spell of the theater has somehow absented itself, and something strange happens. A play that was originally printed on a tee shirt is finally produced!” 

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Performance Picks: Slumber Parties and Riverdale Burlesque

THURSDAY

(image via Arti G. / Facebook)

Boys I’ve Kissed and Hated: Slumber Party
Thursday, September 19 at Max Fish, 7 pm: $10

Sure, 7 pm is a little early for a slumber party, but this isn’t any ordinary slumber party. It commemorates comedian and writer Arti Gollapudi’s new book of poetry, Boys I’ve Kissed and Hated. Don your coziest outfit (it’s getting to be that time of year, after all) and enjoy some snacks and drinks as well as tarot readings and a photo booth, so you can capture the current moment and find out what’s in store for your future. And of course, this is a show, so there will also be performance by Gollapudi and Sadie Dupuis (of the bands Speedy Ortiz and sad13). Just try not to actually fall asleep there once the fun has wrapped up.

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Performance Picks: A Capella Horror, Comedians Dancing, and More

THURSDAY

(image via PrismHouse Theater Company / Facebook)

Ablaze: an A Capella Musical Thriller
August 22-24 at New Ohio Theater, 7:30 pm (Sunday shows at 2 pm and 8 pm): $20

Traditionally, the only music associated with the horror or thriller genres (well, aside from the actual song Thriller) is ominous background noise, or instrumental tracks featuring a lot of minor keys, creepy strings, and other such sounds. A cappella singing usually isn’t involved, or even considered. However, in Ablaze, a new musical thriller from Prism House Theater Company, it stands proudly front and center. Yes, this is an a cappella thriller musical, and it’s about a group of teens who survive a fire only to find themselves stuck in a secluded basement with a mysterious presence. What else to do but sing about it? 

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Performance Picks: Weird Sex History, the Actual Macaulay Culkin, and More

THURSDAY

(image via The Nobodies / Facebook)

The Mx. Nobody Pageant Week 2
Thursday, August 15 at Brooklyn Bazaar, 7 pm: FREE

Drag Race isn’t on right now, but if you’re still itching for a competition involving lip-syncing and creative outfits, look no further than the Mx. Nobody Pageant, which will give you all that, but with less commercialism and restrictive notions of what a drag performer looks like. Anyone can compete in this pageant, and new performers are particularly welcomed. So, head on over to Brooklyn Bazaar to get a peek at what the future of drag might look like, and how diverse such an art form can truly be.

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Comedians Getting Therapy, Immersive Mysteries, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Andy Ward / Facebook)

Red Flags
Thursday, August 8 at Otto’s Shrunken Head, 7:30 pm: FREE

Red flags. They’re stressful and bad, sure, but they sure are fun to talk about. This mindset permeates Red Flags, a queer comedy show all about the signs you ignore time and time again even though you told your friends you’d stop doing that. Hosts Nora Jefferies, Jovough Jackson, and Andy Ward want to hear all about your red flags, and not just the ones involving yourself or the people you’ve slept with. Any red flags are fair game—maybe there’ll even be discussion about an actual red flag, the kind you fly in the sky. Joining the trio of hosts to discuss their most crimson of banners will be Mark Stoll, Chris Murphy, Meghan Frank, and Mila Myles.

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Performance Picks: PowerPoints, Alan Turing, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Hotline / Facebook)

Hotline Comedy
Thursday, August 1 at 2A, 7:30 pm: FREE

Drake sung all about hotline bling, but if that wasn’t quite your thing, now you have the chance to get some hotline comedy at this weekly show hosted by Kendall Payne and Allison O’Conor—sorry that last part didn’t rhyme. It’s free, it’s stand-up, it’s at a reasonable hour; what more do you want? To start August off, they’ve assembled Randall Otis, Rebecca O’Neal, Lili Michelle, Diego Lopez, and Mariah Oxley to fill your ears with the dulcet tone of jokes. And if you don’t make it this week, you can come next week, or the week after. Weekly comedy shows happen impressively often!

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Performance Picks: Summer Comedy, Burlesque Fantasy, and More

WEDNESDAY

(image via U Up? / Facebook)

U Up?
Wednesday, July 10 at The Corners, 8:30 pm: FREE

While I want to say I haven’t sent a “u up” text, a brief moment of rumination on my college days makes me think that is probably not true. Thankfully, this monthly comedy show hosted by Youngmi Mayer and Blair Dawson starts at 8:30 pm, an hour when most people are probably up, so if you want to bring someone you can just text them some other kind of less embarrassing thing. Whether you go alone or with a pal of sorts, you can expect stand-up by Aparna Nancherla, Andrés Govea, Alex English, Atheer Yacoub, Andrew Casertano, and Olga Namer, who happens to be the only one on this lineup who doesn’t have a name that begins with A.

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