The Illustrious Blacks: HYPERBOLIC! Thursday, September 7 at Joe’s Pub, 9 pm: $15 advance, $20 doors
The Illustrious Blacks is a duo comprised of musician Manchildblack and performance artist Monstah Black. The mythos behind the Afro-futurist group goes like this: each man was the ruler of his own planet and known throughout the cosmos for his own unique artistic offerings. One day, the two planets collided, resulting in a colorful explosion that was not disastrous, but instead created a perfect union of art, music, fashion, dance, and theater. I have to say, this whole origin story somehow reminds me of the King Of All Cosmos from the Katamari video games, which is a game in which you play a little creature who rolls up big spheres of stuff to be turned into planets to please a big king. I’m sure that isn’t a very relevant comparison to what The Illustrious Blacks’s show will be like, but it’s still kind of fun to think about.
What is a body? Well, that’s a good question. For one, it’s a sack of flesh with some organs in it. But it’s also so much more. This performance and panel discussion delves into the inherent relationship that live performance has with bodies. If you make something and perform it yourself, the way your body exists, moves, and functions affects how that performance happens. Additionally, the societal constructs regarding bodies and how they should act and appear will affect the audience’s perception of the performance. Is there a way to prevent or subvert this? Performers Erin Markey, Neil Goldberg, and Jonathan Gonzalez will all show you some of their work, and then discuss what you’ve seen and how it relates to the big wide world of bodies. More →
Tiny Hornets, Or, It Didn’t Have To Come To This August 24-September 8 at 389 Melrose Street, 7:30 pm: $12
What is folklore? Who belongs to it, who disseminates it, and who decides what it looks like? That is what The Drunkard’s Wife, Craig Flanagin, and Normandy Sherwood are trying to figure out in their latest creation, Tiny Hornets, in which a guide introduces you to a slew of villagers and all their peculiarities. These villagers are all unique in their own ways, including one who may or may not be interested in the taste of flesh. And of course, folk isn’t folk without music and dancing, so there will be plenty of that too.
The Sex Myth: A Devised Play August 16-20 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm (Sunday at 4 pm): $35
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that most of America had either an awful sex ed or none at all. Sure, you can take to the internet in all its glory to learn a thing or two, but formal sex education programs are notoriously lacking. This has created a hush-hush attitude around carnal matters, which leads to shame, misinformation, sensationalism, and a whole host of other not-so-great stuff. A new devised show, The Sex Myth, uses real stories and experiences to expand conceptions of what is “normal” in bedrooms and bodies alike.
Little Gross Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Bats and Rats Wednesday, August 9 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5
The last time I saw Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher pay tribute to quirky creatures, it was at Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards. Though sadly no actual frogs or lizards were in attendance, the show went swimmingly (do lizards swim?) and it appears they are continuing on with this charming theme. This time around, they’re dedicating it to the little guys often misunderstood or feared by the human species: bats and rats.
The two hosts have assembled a mighty group to sing the praises and oddities of these furry and beady-eyed critters. Expect creative concoctions of all sorts from Patti Harrison, Ike Ufomadu, Alyssa Stohona, Phil Meister, Brian Fiddyment, and Joey Dundale. This may be the only time you see someone screaming at the sight of a rat in a positive and encouraging way. I was once walking and a rat scurried across the sidewalk and ran straight into my boot on his way to his destination. Maybe he was heading, slowly but surely, to this show. More →
Ok. I know what you’re thinking. You want to see a magic show, but you don’t know where to go. Well, as it turns out there is one happening tonight. While you ooh and ahh over my magnificent mind-reading skills, Wondershow is gearing up to show you mind-bending tricks at the Bushwick venue with some of the bendiest bodies I’ve ever seen, House of Yes.
Wondershow is hosted by magician and mentalist Eric Walton. I would explain his work by relating it to someone else’s, but the event description calls him “incomparable,” and I don’t want a magic spell to be cast on me if I disobey. The show also features mind reader Eric Dittelman (of America’s Got Talent), knife-thrower The Great Throwdini, “Western variety arts” master Chris McDaniel, and ballerina/burlesque performer Aurora Black. For those ageless or nostalgic folk mourning the loss of the early 20th century burlesque and vaudeville shows that used to be so commonplace in areas like Midtown, surely you’ll be in for a treat.
Butcher Holler Here We Come at DarkFest, with Adam Belvo on the right
Tonight, The Tank turns off its lights for four days, for its annual DarkFest. The midtown theater has invited five known and emerging acts to do whatever they want, as long as they steer clear of the power grid. In previous years, that has meant anonymous confessions in the pitch black, shows illuminated with nothing but glow tape, and a mining-disaster story lit only with hard-hat headlamps.
Trap Musical Wednesday, July 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $7-15 suggested donation
I have to be honest, I find this event extremely baffling. The poster has Pepe and Shia LaBeouf on it, neither of which are particularly beloved images lately, yet the show is subtitled “#TheyWillNotDivideUs.” Are the divisive villains in this story Pepe and Shia LaBeouf? There doesn’t seem to be much indication, but in any case the idea of a “full-length trap and R&B musical production” being performed in a Bushwick bar that specializes in the wild and weird seems like a good enough selling point. Helmed by Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, the cast is massive and jam-packed with a bevy of local performance artists, musicians, dancers, rappers, and more.
If you’re itching to see what in tarnation this thing is but can’t attend tonight, the event indicates it is going to become a monthly affair on the fourth Wednesday of every month. It will become a late-night party after the performance concludes, where you can process what you just saw by dancing until the wee hours.
Not Dead Yet Thursday, July 20 at C’mon Everybody, 8:30 pm: $5 advance, $7 doors
This comedy show, hosted by the multi-talented and highly strange Lorelei Ramirez, really gets to the bottom of the human condition based on its title alone. Sure, we aren’t dead yet, but we will be soon. Whether it be from being cooked alive due to climate change, from inhumane health care policies (though that one seems a tiny bit less likely now), from an aggressive ghoul with a mustache that no one can see but you… Or maybe you’re just one of the lucky few to pass peacefully. Either way, you’re still here. So you might as well go to this comedy variety show.
The show itself (which is monthly) is packed to the brim with notable creatives serving up a whole bevy of funny n’ weird stuff across disciplines. There’ll be comedy by Becca Blackwell, Brett Davis, Sydnee Washington, and Katie Boyle; readings by poet Sasha Fletcher; videos by Lukey Walden and Alan Resnick, and even music by Drag Lomax and Tredici Bacci. As the teens say: what more could you want? More →
Holding: A Queer Black Love Story Wednesday, July 12 at Secret Project Robot, 9 pm: FREE (donation suggested)
This performance is presented as part of queer, trans, POC-centric collective BUFU’s month of community programming, available in full on their website. Created and performed by Alex Farr and Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Holding explores the ways one can tell a queer black love story in 2017, particularly in these more precarious political times. Prioritizing the powerful nature of being soft and kind to others, the show states, “We name our tenderness as an act of resistance—intimate resistance that should be celebrated, protected, and cared for.”
After the performance, the artists will stick around for a talkback discussion, unlike a certain David Mamet who recently said he would fine artistic groups $25,000 if they dared to publicly discuss his work after a production of it. More →