East Village

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Performance Picks: Compact Comedy, 1970s Focus Groups, And More

THURSDAY

(image via Hypokrit Theater Company)

Eh Dah? Questions For My Father
Now through April 14 at NYTW Next Door, 7:30 pm (some shows other times): $49 ($25 day-of cash only rush tickets available to artists, residents of the East Village and Lower East Side, seniors, and people 25 and under)

This new musical by Aya Aziz and Hypokrit Theater Company, which previously won two awards at 2016’s New York Musical Theater Festival, transcends cultures and continents. It centers around a multi-generational family spread across Egypt and America who are grappling with with what’s simultaneously a very 2019 issue and one that stretches far into the past: coming to terms with the best way to digest the stories we were told growing up, and figuring out what is more truth than fiction, particularly in a post-9/11 world. More →

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Art This Week: Lines, Cut Paper, and Low-Tech Glitches

thecatamites, Magic Wand, 2016, Video game, Dimensions variable (still) (image via apexart)

Dire Jank
Opening Wednesday, March 20 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19. 

It’s usually considered good and impressive for something digitally created to look flawless, almost like it wasn’t created by humans to begin with. Usually this process is time-consuming; it almost always involves some sort of expensive software, or equipment, or graduate degrees. Dire Jank, an exhibition of games, videos, and digital art curated by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, celebrates pretty much everything that isn’t that. Pixelated images, old Photo Booth filters, outdated Flash games, glitches, and more are put on a pedestal here, valued more than the glossy, hyper-realistic creations that modern technology can create. More →

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Performance Picks: The TEAM, Drippy Dollars, Butch Dionysus

THURSDAY

(photo: Eoin Carey, via the TEAM / Facebook)

Anything That Gives Off Light
Now through March 30 at Joe’s Pub, 7 pm (some dates at 9:30 pm): $35

The latest endeavor from theater collective The TEAM—working in collaboration with the National Theater of Scotland and music duo The Bengsons—is staged not in a traditional theater space but the cabaret coziness of Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater. Of course, that’s purposeful, considering the show is partially set in a London pub. Amongst pints and whiskeys, two Scottish men and an American woman cross paths and begin a journey that takes them throughout Scotland, America, and the inner workings of the mind, all set to a Scottish-influenced folk-punk score.

FRIDAY

(image via Wet Cash NYC / Facebook)

Wet Cash
Friday, March 15 at GG’s Social Trade and Treasure Club, 7:30 pm: $10 suggested donation

Yes, this comedy show to benefit Make the Road NY is named Wet Cash, but it’s probably not the greatest idea to stroll up to the venue (a Bushwick thrift store) and attempt to pay your suggested donation using a bunch of dollars that were once floating in a bucket of water. However, you might end your night with some—the team behind the show will be giving out drippy dollars (which could be a good band name) to a lucky(?) audience member. That’s not the only liquid present, however, there will also be free beer from Braven, and of course, comedy by Dylan Adler, Rachel McCartney, Ben Katzner, David Drake, and host Noah Rocklin.

SATURDAY

(photo: Sandy Honig)

Cream Sauce
Saturday, March 16 at The Windjammer, 8 pm: 

What is there to say about cream sauce? It is indulgent and sometimes too filling, but it is also good. Those three descriptors could very well also characterize comedian Edy Modica’s play of the same name, coming to Ridgewood’s The Windjammer this Saturday. Fittingly, Modica will be presenting absurd anecdotes of all sorts inspired by the Italian side of her family, with help from fellow performers Brian Fiddyment, Eliza Kimberley, Francesca d’Uva, Rachel Kaly, Chase Montavon, and opener Steve Girard. Expect tales of pasta, funerals, cannoli, and of course, plenty of sauciness.

SUNDAY

Leigh Silverman and Madeleine George (image via NYTW / Facebook)

Hurricane Diane
Now through March 24 at New York Theater Workshop, various times: $69 ($25 same-day rush tickets available for young people, artists, and East Village and Lower East Side residents) 

The hedonistic, hard-partying Greek god Dionysus has shown up in countless pieces of culture over the years, from the old classics to the name of a record label. Currently, you can find the wine-soaked deity in Madeleine George’s play Hurricane Diane, directed by Leigh Silverman. Rather than a bearded being clutching the traditional grapes and a drinking horn, George’s Dionysus takes the form of Diane, a butch lesbian gardener with a penchant for seducing housewives. Diane is played by actor Becca Blackwell, who describes themself as “someone living both genders,” and according to mythology, it’s likely that the actual Dionysus did too.

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Performance Picks: Futuristic Sex Bots, Creepy Schoolhouses, Messy Comedy

FRIDAY

(Photo: Russ Rowland, via One Year Lease Theater Company / Facebook)

Eat The Devil
Now through March 9 at The Tank, 8 pm: $25 

The best way I can describe Eat The Devil, a multimedia-laden play by Nadja Leonhard-Hooper and Dan Nuxoll of Rooftop Films, is kind of like a cross between the movies Sorry To Bother You and Ex Machina, but way weirder, way more online, and with more theatrics. But even that doesn’t really do its uniqueness justice. The play, set in a strange-yet-feasible version of the future, centers around the development of Mia, an artificially intelligent sex doll played by nonbinary drag performer Theydy Bedbug. Meanwhile, airlines are sponsored by porn tube sites, Amazon is run by a flying Alexa device, Alex Jones is still screaming away, and furries are experiencing a cultural moment. It’s both a night of delightfully strange escapism and a harrowing vision of what very well may soon be our reality.

SATURDAY

The Mess With Jesse Roth
Saturday, March 9 at The Footlight, 7 pm: $5-10 sliding scale

Some comedians describe themselves as clean, but performer Jesse Roth prefers her work to err on the messy side of things. That doesn’t necessarily mean she’s into flinging food and mud around (though there have been comedy shows where those things happen), but rather, she embraces the flawed nature of experimentation. At her recurring show at The Footlight, Roth delves into stand-up, dance, sketch, solo performance, music, and more, finding out what works along the way, and what doesn’t. This Saturday’s show features guests Steve Jeanty of hip-hop improv group North Coast and Graham Techler.

SUNDAY

(photo: Maria Baranova)

Skinnamarink
Now through March 23 at New York Theater Workshop, 3 pm (most shows at 7:30 pm): $30+  

First of all, if you don’t get that little children’s song in stuck in your head eternally after reading the title of this show, I envy you. Skinnamarink, the latest production from offbeat theater company Little Lord, takes its inspiration from McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers, a series of vintage children’s books dating back to the 1800’s that aimed to teach the youth to read. Using this source material (and peanut butter, so if you’re allergic, consider yourself warned), the ensemble immerses the audience in a “little one-room schoolhouse of horrors” to educate on the curiously dark state and history of the American education system.

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NYC Comedian Recounts Her Time As a ‘Massage Parlor Madam’

Many artists have to work odd jobs to pay the bills, but comedian Nicky Sunshine had a hustle that set her apart from most. After getting tired of and/or fired from unsatisfying gigs and winning a comedy competition that paid only in beer, Sunshine answered an ad in the back of the Village Voice and found herself at a happy ending massage parlor. Her one-woman show Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam, which ran at the East Village’s historic Wow Café Theater this past weekend, is a chronicle of how she got there and what happened next. More →

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A Very Burlesque Valentine’s, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Jen Gapay / Facebook)

Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque Valentine’s Spectacular
Thursday, February 14 at Brooklyn Bowl, 7:30 pm: $25 

There are a staggering number of events of all stripes happening on Valentine’s Day, as show and party producers rush to appeal to the lovers, the lonely, and everyone in between. Some happenings are best enjoyed in a coupled sense, but others are fun for anyone. I wouldn’t say something called the Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque Valentine’s Spectacular is necessarily fun for the whole family, due to the large quantities of well, titties, but it’s an evening that can certainly be a good time for anyone regardless of relationship status. “Singing siren” Shelly Watson will welcome a stacked lineup that includes Jo “Boobs” Weldon, Darling Just Darlinda, and this year’s Miss Coney Island Pearls Daily, plus live rockabilly music. More →

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Art This Week: Two V-Day Shows and Fruity Fellows

Vesuvius, Will You Be My Girlfriend?, 2018. 10 x 12½’ (image courtesy of Howl Happening)

Homo Eruptus
Opening Thursday, February 14 at HOWL! Happening, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 13. 

Scooter LaForge’s paintings, on view at East Village space Howl Happening starting on Valentine’s Day, are satisfyingly messy, so it’s only appropriate they are unveiled on a day classically associated with messy emotional feelings, whether they be good or bad. Similar feelings are articulated through LaForge’s brushstrokes, which create compelling and mind-boggling scenes featuring cartoon animals, bodily fluids, autofellatio, angels, and much more. He manages to fit a doe-eyed rabbit that looks straight out of a Disney movie in the same frame as angry black paint smears, a urinating brown bear with big black boots, and human(ish) figures that look almost like they’d be fit to adorn the ceiling of a church somewhere, provided that church was sufficiently strange. The longer you look, the more you’ll find. More →

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Performance Picks: Literary Roasts, Asian Drag, 100 People In A Room

WEDNESDAY

(image via Drunk Education / Facebook)

Drunk Education: Roasts of ‘Great’ Literary Men
Wednesday, January 16 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 7 pm: FREE

The books you read in school growing up (and maybe even now) were most likely written by (white) men, save for a few exceptions. There were plenty of opportunities to discuss this work, usually mandatory, but most of the time this involved parsing through the analytical layers of it all, marveling at what a multifaceted creation had come into existence at the hands of these men. Wednesday’s Drunk Education is a little different. Notable literary men will be the central topic, yes, but they’ll be roasted by three women writers (Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos, Observer’s Helen Holmes, and freelancer Becca Schuh) until nothing is left but some charred remains. More →

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Performance Picks: Exponential Festival, Comedy, and Sex Work

(image via Exponential Festival / Facebook)

The Exponential Festival
Now through February 2 at various venues, various times: $20

The Exponential Festival is a little different from the many theater festivals setting up shop in venues across the city this month. It’s exclusively based in Brooklyn, the material it champions is a little weirder and genre-expansive than what you might typically think of as “theater,” and it runs longer, which means both more shows (a dizzying array, really) and more chances to see them. Some highlights include a new short play by Athena playwright Gracie Gardner, a double bill of comedy from Justin Linville and David Perez, a play based on the Talmud and Kung-Fu films, a dystopian psychosexual musical with a disco soundtrack, an intimate show involving one audience member and one performer, and A Doll’s House, Part 3.

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Art This Week: Traumatized Clowns and Reducing Food Waste

Joel Osteen (Jessie Pierrot) part 1, 2018
Single Channel Video
00:31:28

Holy Fools
Opening Wednesday, January 9 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 3.

Clowns are perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on this green earth. Some people have a literal phobia of them, some find them distasteful, some chuckle at them, some employ them, some become them, and some make art about them. One of the art world’s more notable clown-based endeavors is Bruce Nauman’s 1987 piece Clown Torture, featuring a slew of video displays portraying “an absurd misadventure of a clown” that’s both morbid and humorous. Over three decades later, artist Ondine Viñao is putting her own spin on this work in an exhibition at Rubber Factory, recruiting four all-female clownish performers to stage their own mishaps, mixing both trauma and folly. More →