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Performance Picks: Green New Deal Raps, Comedians Get Serious


(image via Make/Shift / Facebook)

SHE Creates 2k19
Now through February 24 at New Ohio Theater, various times: $25 

The hills are alive with the sound of performances from female-identifying and genderqueer artists at She Creates, a festival presented by Make/Shift and Akin running through the end of the weekend at the New Ohio Theater. The festival centers around the premiere of The Clark Doll, a play by Liz Morgan about three black women figuring out how to escape a confining situation, but it offers much more than just plays, with night after night of drag, performance art, live music, visual art, and more. More →

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A Jane Jacobs Theater Festival, Machine Learning Comedy, and More Shows To See


(image via Caveat / Facebook)

Internet Explorers
Wednesday, December 19 at Caveat, 9 pm: $10

The internet can be a scary place, so that’s why this show has comedians to help you navigate the tangled mess that is the World Wide Web. If only it was a Mr. World Wide Web, and Pitbull was the sole creator and moderator of the online world. How different things might be… But they aren’t, so come to Caveat and see Mark Vigeant, a custom-made Twitter bot, and a merry band of assorted jokesters (including Botnik Studios, an “entertainment group” that uses machine learning) serve up their best material about artificial intelligence, the force that may one day replace humanity. More →

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#StopSESTA, Lobotomies, and More Performance Picks


(poster by Mikey Heller)

Tim Platt: Live in COWncert
Thursday, April 26 at The Brick, 9:30 pm: $10

Many of us grew up watching Sesame Street. Comedian Tim Platt has recently written a song for this beloved children’s show, but that isn’t the only song he’s penned. In fact, you can see Platt’s entire repertoire of comedy music on Thursday night at The Brick when he plays a concert as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Collective’s residence at the Williamsburg theater. Sure, comedy music can be grating or cringe-inducing, but Tim’s music is neither of those things. Well, unless it’s trying to be. So, come one come all, and open your ears for songs about vegetables (as someone who once wrote an entire play about broccoli, this excites me) and all other sorts of topics, with accompanist Ben Kling and opening act Eudora Peterson. Maybe, just maybe, there will also be a cow. More →

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Kevin Bacon Worship, Comedy While Jogging, and More Performance Picks

(image via Fresh Ground Pepper / Facebook)

Fresh Ground Pepper Festival
Now through April 21 at New Ohio Theater, various times, various prices.

If you thought theater festivals just happen during January and in the summer for Fringe, think again, my friend. There is a theater festival happening right now, and I don’t mean that in the theoretical sense. I mean that performance incubator Fresh Ground Pepper’s first-ever festival is actually happening, right now, until April 21. Unlike some theater festivals which just have some plays and some musicals maybe, there’s quite the dose of variety with this one. In addition to new play readings and devised theater showings, here are two late-night comedy evenings curated by everyone’s fave deranged comedian Lorelei Ramirez, a politically-themed “experimental art party,” a day of activities for actual children, and more.

If you’re around tonight, there’ll be readings of Krista Knight’s High Blonde, a play about city planning and accessibility, and Nate Weida and Ben Holbrook’s musical The Church of the 1st Order of Cloud City’s Inaugural Unity Jamboree, which is not about the art space in Williamsburg. More →

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Performance Picks: MTA Love Poems, Jeb Bush Meets Sam Shepard, and More


(flyer by Alex Farr)

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 →

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Surrealist Warehouse Festival, Fantastic Comedy, and More Performance Picks


(flyer via Brian Fiddyment / Twitter)

Wednesday, June 28 at Vital Joint, 9 pm: $5-10 sliding scale

Regular old prayers are boring. Clasping your hands together and murmuring at the sky all polite-like? Come on. And don’t get me started on the kinds of prayers that just happen as a silent “conversation with God” in your head (i.e. the kinds I did as a child, I was no heathen). Let’s get some performative prayer up in here! And that’s just what comedian Brian Fiddyment will bring you in his monthly show at East Williamsburg space Vital Joint. Well, maybe. It’s a show and open mic focusing on multimedia-based and non-traditional comedy pieces are given priority. Perhaps that was the true Word of the Lord all along.

And if you want to double up on the #showz, get there early, because at 8 pm three groups of artists are performing new experimental works as part of ?!: New Works, deemed “the spiritual successor to the Exponential Festival.” More →

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Sci-Fi Egg-Laying, Ski Shop Fantasies, and More Performance Picks


(flyer via ROFL3 / Facebook)

ROFL3: The Slumber Party
Wednesday, May 3 at Our Wicked Lady, 8 pm: FREE

“Comedy shows” sounds a lot like “comedy shoes.” What are comedy shoes? Maybe they’re big ol’ clown shoes, or super squeaky slippers, but it doesn’t matter what you think they are. The dynamic duo of Edy Modica and Eliza Hurwitz have declared their comedic footwear of choice to be roller skates, proclaiming (and skating) this loud and clear in their monthly show on wheels, ROFL. Bet you never knew that age-old internet acronym was actually referring to roller skates.

This month, a fine bunch of funny folk will be rolling in to tell jokes and make merry, including Marcia Belsky, Dan Licata, Jaboukie Young-White, Charles Gould, and Aparna Nancherla. I once tried to perform as a character wearing roller skates and when I tried to stand in one place for a duration of time I slowly and endlessly rolled forward and did not know how to stop. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

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Bromancing Assassins and the Myth of the Great Writer Genius in Holden

"Holden" by Anisa George (Flyer courtesy of George & Co.)

“Holden” by Anisa George (Flyer courtesy of George & Co.)

In a vacuum, The Catcher in the Rye is a pretty straightforward story– not a whole lot happens. But if you’re at all familiar with American culture, you’re probably well aware that it has taken on an enormously prolific life of its own. Probably you read the book for school as a teen, or even a tween if you grew up here, and you might have noticed that it has a somewhat polarizing effect. If you identified with the book’s hero, a 17-year-old kid named Holden Caulfield, anyone else who shared this affinity was an OK person too. But plenty of people just don’t get Holden’s misanthropic cynicism, and it’s weird, but there seems to be a built-in emotional trigger point here for those who do: clearly the haters must be “phonies” then, too. As time goes on, and teenage angst either subsides or turns into something else, like, playing in a black metal band or four-martini lunch hours, Holden’s frustration with the world’s many, many disappointments seems more like kid stuff. And most people realize that, OK not everyone is such a phony after all. But not everyone lets go of Holden so easily.

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Village-Set Street Children Aims to Tell Queer and Trans Stories ‘Authentically’

The company of "Street Children" (photo: Ted Alcorn)

The company of “Street Children” (photo: Ted Alcorn)

Time magazine declared a “transgender tipping point” in 2014 when it featured actress Laverne Cox on its cover. In the two years following that proclamation, mainstream media and pop culture attempted to follow suit. TV shows and movies like Transparent and Tangerine garnered critical acclaim and media buzz, but not all of it was positive. Despite increased portrayal of trans characters in media, the people creating and playing them remain predominantly cisgender.

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Performance Picks: Dancing Comedians, Personhood Through Puns, Interactive Foreplay

(via Facebook)

(via Facebook)

Nationals: An Amateur Adult Dance Comedy Tournament
At UCB Chelsea, 307 W 26th Street, Chelsea. 11pm. $5. More info here.
Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney host this four-month-long wild n’ wacky dance competition where the goal is not to dance in the prettiest way or for the longest time, but rather whose dancin’ feet make for the most chuckles. Sure, you can argue that many dance competitions run the risk of being unintentionally comedic already, but just imagine a dance competition where everything is supposed to be funny. Will there be technically skilled, tightly-crafted pieces using formal dance moves to inspire laughter? Probably not, because the teams are mostly made up of comedians. But you never know– there could be some surprises. Competitors include a team of two, a team of almost 10, and comedian Annie Donley (The Annoyance, SOAP’s Messy Backyard Show) going at it solo. And rest assured, whatever happens, a star WILL be born.


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