Mx. JVB knows a thing or two about love. V has plenty of experience with heartbreak, and has the stories to prove it. V’s new show (it premiered in Paris and was also performed in the UK, but it’s new to us) is all about the craziness of love. It’s only on for 4 nights and features guest performances by some Bond favorites: Matt Ray, Claudia Chopek and Nath Ann Carrera. We’re told the evening will be a “celebration of obsession, sex, romance and all their queer and mysterious complications.” Expect songs from Dendrophile and Silver Wells, numbers from v’s stage and film appearances and some insightful and hilarious tales from one of the most unique and captivating cunts alive today. We have never been to a bad JVB show, even the time V was high on pain pills and upset after a visit to V’s family...in fact that might have been one of our favorites. V always manages to find the absurdity and humor in even the most tragic or unusual situations and we can’t wait to see what V has to say this Friday night about L-O-V-E!
A new show by Rebecca Patek at The Chocolate Factory
GAYLETTER last spoke with “Dancer and Lover of Sperm” Rebecca Patek during 2013, in an interview of the same name. After spending the afternoon researching and chatting with her, my crush on Rebecca is so intense that as a gay man I’m uncomfortable. But then, discomfort is what Patek usually serves — take her 2013 show Inter(a)nal f/ear, a blisteringly funny satirical dance-and-multimedia performance exploring her experience of being raped, or her newest piece, The Future Was Looking Better In The Past, running from May 20th to May 23rd at The Chocolate Factory.
The unnerving subject at the center of “Future…” is the “Leopold and Loeb” murders. Remember those? It was that one time in 1924 when super hot, super rich teenage homos Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb gave America the “trial of the century” when they murdered 14-year old fellow trust fund kid Bobby Franks with a chisel because, like, Friedrich Nietzsche and #übermensch and “just for kicks” really. Funny thing is — and in Patek’s sly hands it WILL be funny, whether we like it or not — both murderer Loeb and victim Franks were Rebecca’s cousins on her father’s side.
“I found out about the connection two years ago, and got obsessed with it,” Patek says. “The idea of exploring ‘tainted blood’ started as kind of joke, but then you do start to think about these family strains, and look for repeating patterns, and there’s something eerie about it.”
Do your family members have feelings about you doing this piece? “Well my dad plays the voice of the defense attorney, and my mom wrote the music for it, but they haven’t seen it…they just sent me the materials without seeing the work. In fact they’ve never seen any of my work before so….” She laughs.
To hear Rebecca describe her signature equation of dance+shame and violence+satire makes the singular sound simple. “Satire means that you can get at grey areas more easily….the way language can be violent, for example, the way we read each other physically, the more subtle forms of violence and manipulation. But these power dynamics…can be shown in the body. You can use the body in the same way.” Listening to this elegant explanation while staring at a picture of her face covered in cum, I ask Patek if she’s into S&M. “My work has in the past gone to the level of public humiliation that could be called psychological S&M, yeah there’s something there…hmm…” she trails off, and I sink into my seat, smitten.
Since Patek devised and choreographed “Future” but, for the first time in her career, isn’t performing in it (though the cast does feature talented GAYLETTER favorites Sam Roeck and Chris Tyler joined by John Hoobyar, Sheila Lewandowski, David Patek, Peter Mills Weiss and Jaime Wright) — she may have to find that thrill of abjection somewhere other than the stage…..although perhaps sitting next to her parents while they encounter her work for the first time in this twisted tale of family depravity could be masochistic enough.
A few weeks ago I attended a performance by The Dance Cartel (which is a group of 12 rotating dancers founded by Ani Taj) at the Ace Hotel. When I arrived at the door I couldn’t hear anything, the show had not even started, and it was already so loud and super high energy… I told Mossy who came with me, that I thought we were too sober for this. 3 drinks in, the music started to adjust a little. I was like why didn’t I smoke some greens before? The performance started, and the dancers started to move like they were in club in the 70s high on something. I mean they were already having so much fun 5 minutes into the performance, it was fascinating. They describe the show as “new modular-dance-party-arty.” I asked Thomas Gibbons (one of the dancers and a friend) to elaborate on that: “it’s really a mashup of all things we love. We often work off of the music that we find exciting and it informs whatever we’re doing. It could be a trap song that inspires some kind of Apache or agro style dance or a top 40 track that will evolve into Brazilian carnival dance.” It was great to see that they were not taking themselves too seriously. I got really into it, the audience is encouraged to dance and that’s what I did later on. “At the end of the day we just want the audience to have fun because we’re having fun.” This week’s special guests is one of our favs, John Early along with many others. See you on the floor!
A show inspired by Joni Mitchell's iconic album Blue
I’ve Been to Sea Before reimagines Joni Mitchell’s heartbreaking travelogue, Blue, as an epic odyssey on the open ocean. You will get wet. You’ll probably fall off the boat. You may need to be rescued. There really is no way to prepare yourself for this spectacle, but it helps if you get in early, get comfortable, and order Martinis.
With a vibrant history as an actor & playwright performing in some of New York’s most eclectic venues, at long last, Salty Brine (the only 2 adjectives I use to describe oysters, btw) has taken up a well-deserved cabaret artist residency at The Red Room. Accompanied by 2 musical geniuses that move as seamlessly between their instruments as they do as supporting characters, you’d best hunker down for a performance that rocks wildly amongst the currents of the silly and sorrow. You’ll probably also leave feeling guilty about having only paid 10 bucks for a ticket. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time.
Imagining track lists as blueprints for evenings of musical mayhem, Salty and his exceptionally talented ensemble bring you the spectacular Living Record Collection Cabaret with a show every Wednesday night until April, 29th. Do yourself a favor and get on board. Oh, the door boy is a massive babe. Please get in touch.
$10, 8:00PM, The Red Room, 85 E. 4th St. NY, NY.
A performance written and directed by Dane Terry
There’s that saying, “You can take the Queen out of Appalachia but you can’t take Appalachia out of the Queen.” Ok it’s not really a saying, but the experience of running as far away as possible from our village/suburb/coal-mining-holler is common to many of us who end up here, and thus it’s intriguing when a queer New York artist creates work by returning to the milieu they left behind. Dane Terry‘s show “Bird In The House” at La Mama attempts this, and the results are dazzling.
“Bird” is a musical-narrative performance featuring the songs of Terry’s new album “Color Movies.” It’s a childhood epic told in shades of Southern magic-realism, with and the white working-poor experience, complete with homo awakenings at the pool and mystical encounters in the midnight woods. Yet any description of this coming-of-age tale belies what’s most wondrous about it: “Bird In The House” is an evening spent under the spell of a natural-born storyteller, a wizard whose power to delight, crack up, and terrify an audience comes from the traditions of the uniquely American world he brings so vividly to life.
The story unfolds in the land of Bluegrass and Folk, but Terry’s music is dynamically genre-bending. Elton John is in the room — so are Andrew Bird and David Bowie and Sufjan Stevens and Tammy Wynette. Still, the songs are each stamped with Terry’s compositional personality, full rich imagery and haunting dissonance. Dane plays beautifully, and the songs are theatrical, calling down a spiritual experience: queer church offering queer healing. Terry’s voice is like how your favorite ex used to fuck you: effortlessly controlled, teasing you with sudden depth and masterful technique. It’s jarring at first, this tattooed, hipster-looking twig who sings like a HillBilly Holiday, but you get over it because oh my god that VOICE. Much of the music is sung not by Terry, but by the female duo of Tova Shoshana and Rose Emily Quinn, who seem at first to be a two-woman Greek chorus, but quickly reveal themselves to be as much the high priests of this service as Dane is.
At the center of “Bird” is Terry’s power of narration. He creates our immersive, cinematic experience with the frame-by-frame confidence of an auteur, guiding us through a moment of crisis in his small-town childhood with terror and humor. The weirdness of being tossed between the frightening and the funny recalls the best campfire storytelling, and Terry’s brilliant descriptions (“her smiling face unfurled beneath wave after wave of blonde, and she placed on my head a hand with more knuckles than normal“) and gift for the aphoristic turn of phrase (“everybody’s just about as special as death on a farm”) are part of his inheritance as a true-blue Southern American orator. Terry satirizes his working class evangelical microcosm like Garrison Keillor does the Lutheran Midwest — with a warmth and compassion that’s as sincere as his wit is sharp.
“Bird”‘s music and narrative unfold against a pared-down Southern Gothic set (a rabbit ears TV actually sits atop the grand piano Terry plays), under a flamboyant lighting design full of pulsing rhythms and take-your-breath-away moments ripped from eighties rock concerts and the best televangelist shows, completing the sensual and chilling tour-de-force. With its haunting music and masterful storytelling, “Bird In The House” will take you home in the best sense, no matter where you ran away from to get here.
“Bird In The House” playing at The Club at La Mama, 74a E 4th St. April 24th, 25th at 10:00PM, April 26th at 6:00PM. Get Tickets here.
In celebration of Earth Day, join one of our favorites, the uber cunt and always amazing performer Mx Justin Vivian Bond and some more of her musician friends at Rockwood Stage 2. Justin will be performing ‘My Natural Rhythms’ with some special guests including Jake Shears, Dane Terry and Thomas Bartlett. Also, unrelated, I saw on Instagram that Justin got a new haircut so I will guarantee you V’s performance is gonna be extra juicy, those things are related, you know like when you get a new look and are feeling yourself a bit more than usual, everything just...flows. Here’s what JVB has to say about the event “Get down with brown, polish you nuts and berries, put on your earth shoes, hemp clothes and recycled underwear and head over to Allen St. for a cornucopia of rare earthly delights!” Praise mother earth, praise mother JVB!
The adorable Paul Iacono is starring in an awesome show directed by Aaron Mark, with music direction & arrangements by John McDaniel. Everyone (including us) is talking about WTFK, so that means you must go and see it. In case you don’t know who Paul is, he lives downtown in NYC, he starred in the film “G.B.F.,” he was the lead in the MTV show “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” and he’s always busy hustling to plan a new project. “Where’s the Fucking Kid” is a “musical-comedy” show that’s based on his childhood. He gave me the best explanation possible for his show saying it’s about “growing up a showbiz brat, undergoing chemo for leukemia and performing alongside the likes of Elaine Stritch, Mickey Rooney and Stephanie Mills, as well as being discovered on the Rosie O'Donnell show (age eight) for impersonating Ethel Merman. Though my favorite story in the show comes from my first time smoking marijuana (age 11, as a means to combat my nausea) at a gay bar in Philadelphia while performing in 1st national tour of 'The Wizard of Oz'. In my show, I recreate that fateful first drag performance, full-out. Vape included.”” The show is happening for two performances, March 11th and the 18th at 54 Below. Reserve a ticket A.S.A.P. homo!
Two of the funniest and craziest performers in NYC will be together this Sunday, March 8th at Joe’s Pub. OK, so first to the funny lady of the hour: Amber Martin (pictured). This is her show. It’s actually the “second installment of her The Days of My Lives residency. This new show is Martin’s blending of music, raunch, stories, movement, and acid-clapped comedy with a pristine, multi-octave singing voice. Amber shares hilarious recollections of her life growing up around the swamps and dirt-road backwoods of Southeast Texas through the 70’s...her church camp, hair-metal, pageant queen 80’s and her college, LA Riot, flight attendant, acid-dosed 90’s.” Joining her on stage as a special guest is one of our other favorite people: Bridget Everett. This bitch is absolutely hilarious, and she keeps getting better. The two of them together...well we just don’t have words. Except for these: GO FUCKING SEE THEM NOW!!!!!!
A new Cuban troupe that will heat you to a boil
On the heels of our warming relations with Cuba I decided to check out this exceptional dance troupe from Cuba called Malpaso Dance Company now performing at the Joyce Theater through March 8th. Apparently the Joyce has a 13 year history of involvement with Cuba and it’s dance community. “Through a people-to-people license Joyce staff members and supporters have traveled to Cuba since 2001 helping to bridge the gap through cultural exchange.” This is amazing, no?
Weathering the wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain I trudged up 8th Ave. to the Joyce to check out the premiere of two pieces Malpaso performed. The second dance called Despedida inspired by Jorge Luis Borge’s poem of the same name blew my mind. First of all, I can’t begin to explain to you how phenomenally gorgeous the male dancers are, one more stunning then the next. And oh my, the muted clingy dance pants they wore thinly veiled the ample packages beneath-when the light hit just right it took my breath away. Even the New York Times said it was “impossible to choose a favorite among the dancers.” The piece is choreographed by the company’s artistic director Osnel Delgado set to an original score by award winning Cuban-American composer Arturo Farrill and played live by the Afro Cuban Jazz Ensemble. The piece was everything I was hoping for from my first experience with Cuban dance.
The first piece, which my dance partner-in-crime Beth called “very Prada,” (I imagine because of the subtle palette and silhouette of the clothes and elegant lighting) is called Under Fire (pictured). It was created by the brilliant American choreographer Trey McIntyre. The music was unexpected, by a woman called Grandma Kelsey an Idaho based singer/songwriter. I know it’s sort of a last minute heads up but this night of dance, lasting a perfect hour and fifteen minutes with one intermission, is the perfect antidote for the crazy weather we are having, it will warm you to the core!
Ticket prices range from $10-$69, Various times, Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave. NY, NY.
My cute str8 friend from work agreed to be my date for this show, and while waiting for the performance to start, we had a discussion about how we make shitty money and spend it on shitty things. Ironically, we discovered this show is not a shitty thing to spend money on.
Prepare to test your own financial insecurities as Ben Rimalower recounts his life story, skillfully intertwining personal anecdotes detailing a lifetime of utter fiscal incompetence in just over an hour. Ben delivers a brutally personal, creative performance courageously detailing all the shitty things he’s done to friends, family, workmates and ultimately, himself. If you’ve ever struggled with addiction, drugs, alcohol, sex or money (or all of the above), best believe Ben knows what’s up. It’s a truly therapeutic experience for both the audience and performer.
Ben and his director Aaron Mark share an impressive list of professional credits. Between the two, they have produced and directed Off Broadway shows seemingly since forever, performed on Watch What Happens Live, written films & documentaries, won awards, write for Playbill and Huffington Post… honestly, the production biography takes up the whole page. It’s very intimidating. You know when you go to a dive bar after a spectacularly shitty day to drink alone? (Yes you do, liar.) Ben is the kinda guy you hope to have sitting next to you, a casual confidante, relatable and charismatic with whom the conversation flows as effortlessly as the whiskey. Except Ben doesn’t drink anymore. He has better things to spend money on.
The show is running until February 26th, 2015 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. NY, NY. Click here for tickets and showtimes.