Performance Picks

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Performance Picks: Clowns and Musical Trauma Comedy

THURSDAY

(image via Darian Lusk / Facebook)

Piano Boy
Thursday, February 27 at Vital Joint, 8 pm: $5

Billy Joel made a name for himself by being a Piano Man, or at least singing about one. But that was in the past. Now, it’s the era of the Piano Boy. Or at least it will be on Thursday night when musical comedian Darian Lusk performs his hourlong one-man show of the same name. In it, Lusk will take to the piano (or at least a little Casio keyboard) to perform an array of songs he’s penned over the past year, delving into topics from Judaism to group chats. He’ll be joined by opener Mary Houlihan.

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Performance Picks: Black Friday and Socialist Comedy

THURSDAY

(image via Paid Protest / Facebook)

Paid Protest
Thursday, February 20 at Secret Loft, 8 pm: $10 suggested donation

It’s getting to be that time of the year, the time where it’s impossible to ignore electoral politics no matter how hard you try. Of course, it’s important to stay informed, but there’s a balance one should strike between staying ignorant and getting completely enveloped in, say, Twitter conspiracies. One way of doing that is by logging off and heading to Paid Protest, a DSA fundraiser comedy show that was once in Brooklyn but has now made its way to Manhattan’s Secret Loft. This time, the team is raising cash for DSA’s Housing Working group through sets by Kate Willett, Alise Morales, Moss Perricone, Judah Friedlander, Jordan Jensen, and Shalewa Sharpe, alongside hosts Kath Barbadoro, Simone Norman, and Alex Ptak. Plus, there’s free pizza.

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A Show With A Spanking Booth, Oscars Comedy, and More Performance Picks

FRIDAY

(image via Cry Baby / Facebook)

Cry Baby
Friday, February 7 at Secret Location, 9:30 pm: FREE

It’s supposed to rain quite a bit today, which is kind of like the sky is crying. That’s fitting, as today is the return of the Cry Baby comedy show, serving up a night of lively stand-up followed by a party in a secret, DIY location in Bushwick. Hosted by comedic dynamic duo Abe and Dekunle, tonight’s show features Nore Davis, Sonia Denis, Eman El-Husseini, Lucas Connolly, Shelley Kim, and Jeff Wiles. Perhaps you’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry.

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Performance Picks: Space Socialism and ‘Old Town Road’ Burlesque

FRIDAY

(image courtesy of Object Collection)

You Are Under Our Space Control
Now through February 2 at La MaMa, 8 pm (some shows at 5 pm): $25 ($20 students/seniors)

These days, sci-fi tales feel closer and closer to reality, and performance group Object Collection knows this well. Their latest music-laden offering at La MaMa, You Are Under Our Space Control, draws from a mixed bag of scientific fact and outer space lore that includes Afrofuturist Sun Ra, campy sci-fi director Cy Roth, and experimental composer John Cage, whose unconventional tactics sometimes included star charts. The group uses video, eccentric props, soundscapes, and text to spin a tale of a depleted Earth and the hopes of a socialist future in space, which is starting to sound more familiar by the day.

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Performance Picks: War’s Absurdity and Magic in a Flower Shop

FRIDAY

(image via Brooklyn Comedy Collective)

A Late Night Show That is Also Live
Friday, January 17 at Brooklyn Comedy Collective, 9 pm: $10

Some show titles are abstract and obscure; some tell you all you need to know. A Late Night Show That is Also Live falls squarely into the latter camp. But while its name offers no surprises, it will surely be an evening full of them. This is not your average late night experience: host Meghan Strickland will not only be interviewing fellow comedians, but also giving them challenges to complete. And knowing the madcap stuff that comes out of the BCC, that could truly mean anything. Tonight’s guests include Nick Naney, Maya Sharma, Lucyana Randall, and Jessy Morner-Ritt.

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Performance Picks: Winter Theater Fests and Queer Comedy

(image courtesy of The Public Theater)

Under the Radar Festival
Now through January 19 at The Public Theater, various times, $25+.

What do Laurie Anderson, prize-winning playwright Aleshea Harris, and multiple stories about the moon have in common? They’re all part of The Public Theater’s 16th annual Under the Radar Festival, the long-running celebration of innovative performance work from around the world and one of the biggest signifiers that January’s theater festival season is upon us once again. This year, they’re presenting 12 theater pieces, four concerts, six works-in-progress, and several parties. Highlights include Selina Thompson’s pice inspired by a trip retracing a Transatlantic Slave Triangle route, Back to Back Theater’s exploration of disability and an AI-dominated future, and the aforementioned moon tales: one of virtual reality by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huan, one of desire on the West Bank by Palestine’s Remote Theater Project.

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Performance Picks: Bowie Cabaret, Country Christmas, Asian Drag

THURSDAY

(photo: Hanneke Wetzer)

Where Are We Now
Now through December 21 at La MaMa, 8:30 pm: $26 ($21 students/seniors)

Even though he’s not physically with us anymore, the spirit of David Bowie lives on through the musician’s storied legacy and acclaimed, sparkling body of work. All over, people are having Bowie-centric dance parties, Bowie-themed burlesque shows, and other tributes within the realm of nightlife. The latest of these you can catch is in the form of Dutch-German cabaret performer Sven Ratzke’s Where Are We Now, an intimate evening of storytelling and Bowie’s music, arranged simply for piano and voice. Ratzke has received international acclaim for his performances over the years, with particular attention given to his ability to seemingly transform into the Starman himself.

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Performance Picks: Bill Nye Burlesque and a Boozy Experiment

THURSDAY

(image via Stonestreet Comedy Hour / Facebook)

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.

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Performance Picks: Blacklight Burlesque, Queer Cowboys, Space-Age Late Night

FRIDAY

(image via Plan B / Facebook)

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.

SATURDAY

(photo: Danny Bristoll)

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.

SUNDAY

(image courtesy of The Violet Hour)

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.

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Performance Picks: Live Animal Comedy and a Carnival of Debauchery

THURSDAY

(image via Vital Joint / Facebook)

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.

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