The Stonestreet Comedy Hour Thursday, November 20 at Stonestreet Studios, 8 pm: pay what you can
Thursday is like the Friday of the weekdays (yes, Friday is technically a weekday too, but you know what I mean), so it’s only natural that you do some sort of activity before you have to go to bed and wake up early one more time that week. One recommended one is The Stonestreet Comedy Hour, a short-but-sweet donation-based comedy show that takes places within Stonestreet, a film production studio that also trains NYU students. Hosted by Jesse Roth, a comedian with an occasional penchant for song and dance, the show features sets by Allison O’Conor, Patrick Nolan, Ariel Gitlin, Andrew Coalson, and Matt Gehring, plus, everyone’s favorite: free snacks.
Plan B: Glovember Friday, November 15 at Bodeguita, 9 pm: $5
There’s no denying it anymore: it’s dark and cold out. Unfortunately for many of us, that means seasonal depression, bemoaning daylight savings, and investing in one of those SAD lamps that may or may not actually work. One way to get a little more light in your life is by attending the latest edition of the Plan B variety show, which presents drag and burlesque in the back of Bodeguita, a cozy Cuban bar and restaurant off Myrtle-Broadway in Bushwick. This time, the show is blacklight-themed, which the performers will be embracing heartily, surely in the form of neon body paint, glowing outfits (that won’t be on for long) and other surprises.
Virgo Star Now through December 1 at La MaMa, various times: $25 ($20 for students and seniors)
Astrology has exploded in popularity lately, from apps that send you negs from the stars to people’s signs being referenced in movies and TV. Though Virgo Star, the latest performance offering from the Pioneers Go East Collective, seems like the latest edition to that starry trend, but it’s actually an exploration of cowboy culture—another buzzy topic nowadays. Using dance, theater, projections, and more, the show deconstructs the Wild West and classic western movies to find what those stories might look like when told from a queer perspective.
The Violet Hour Sunday, November 17 at Caveat, 7 pm: $10 advance, $12 doors
Late night talk shows are one of our culture’s oldest forms of entertainment. Typically, there’s a white guy in a suit, he does a monologue, he interviews a guest who is there to promote something, a musician plays, etc. Sure, this formula has some slight deviations now, but it mostly remains the same. One attempt to do something new instead is The Violet Hour, a live late night talk show at Lower East Side space Caveat that’s literally out of this world. Hosted by a Victorian spiritualist time traveler who live in a spacecraft, the show focuses on our planet and the climate-related issues plaguing it, as well as how to enjoy our time here while we still can. This Thanksgiving-themed show’s special guests include Broadway performer Alex Brightman, conservationist Brett Jenks, and musician Eileen.
Petting Zoo: The Wildlife Stand-Up Show Thursday, November 7 at Vital Joint, 8 pm: $10
Some might say performers and animals have quite a bit in common, what with their primal energy and general lack of regard for doing anything other than what they’ve planned on doing, like perform or eat grass. These two similar species will be converging tonight in a very special show, and we don’t mean that metaphorically. Petting Zoo features not only jokes by familiar comedic faces like Dan Licata (who now writes for SNL), Charlie Bardey, Maggie Crane, and Mariah Oxley, an actual professional animal handler will be in appearance to show you a gaggle of furry, scaly, feathered, and otherwise non-human friends.
Visibility and representation in the media for trans and gender non-conforming people is certainly better than it once was, but it’s still all too common to see trans characters played by cis actors (or written by cis writers) or shoehorned into unfortunate stereotypes. That’s not the case with comedian Chloe Koser’s one-woman show Never A Boy. Koser tells her own story in her own words, delving into her personal journey of transition with a narrative that’s poignant but also unabashedly, comedically explicit. It’s not all autobiography, though; in between the memoir components of the show, Koser will perform an array of absurd characters, from a tampon maker to someone with deep carnal desire for a whale.
Orchid Receipt Service Now through October 26 at Mitu580, 7 pm: $25 ($10 for low-income artists)
One of the perks of seeing theater in New York is that sometimes you get to see actors that would normally only occupy your TV screens in person. Typically, this happens on Broadway stages, where you have to fork over big bucks (and go to Times Square) to see big names. Corinne Donly’s new play Orchid Receipt Service, a dreamscape centering around two transmasculine people’s relationship, breaks that mold by being in Gowanus (well, still a trek for some). Not only does the show feature Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon, both its cast and creative team are almost entirely made up of trans, non binary, and gender non-conforming artists. So not only can you see a face you know from TV, you can also see the stars of an inclusive, expansive future.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.