There’s lip synching and then there’s Lypsinka. I have never seen any body, drag queen or otherwise do linguistically what she can do. Although not a single word is coming from her vocal chords Lypsinka manages to deliver a performance as if it was her last breath — not one syllable out of place. Enough praise, Lypsinka The Trilogy now running at the jewel of an off-broadway house, The Connelly Theatre on East 4th Street, is up until the first week of January. There are three productions running in rotating repertory: the revivals of Lypsinka! The Boxed Set and The Passion of the Crawford and the premiere of John Epperson: Show Trash. Lypsinka is the iconic creation of John Epperson, who got his start in show business as a rehearsal pianist for the American Ballet Theatre, has been gracing stages with his electric talent worldwide for the past three decades.
Abi and I got to see the classic, ‘Lypsinka! The Boxed Set’ and were thoroughly entertained and left wanting more by show’s end. The production includes audio from singers Ethel Merman, Fay McKay and Dorothy Squires to name a few and text by Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson, Natalie Wood, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Phyllis Diller and then some. I could go on and on about Lypsinka but let me end here by encouraging you to go see the performer many regard as the “Goddess of Showbiz” do her thing!
The Australian choreographer Luke George was in New York City in the summer teaching the What is Queer Performance workshop, which we covered in our newsletter and on our site. Luke is back again to premier his first New York show titled ‘Not About Face’ at The Chocolate Factory Theater, from November 19-22. The artist tell us that it’s a very queer piece “where the performers (Hilary Clark and myself) and the audience are all dressed in sheets and spend about an hour in pseudo-spiritual/cult like interactive group experiences.” If you go see his show be prepared to join the performance, not to worry if you are shy, they’ll cover you in a robe and everything will be anonymous. Performance art is always so hard to explain, but when you experience it you always leave with a better understanding. of it. Just go with an open mind. I’ll leave you with a deep quote from the press release: “We will come together. We will become anonymous. We will fake belief or believe in faking it.” Sure thing!
I feel like we haven’t seen Penny Arcade in ages, it was nice to get an email from her earlier this month telling us about her new show ‘Longing Lasts Longer’ that she’s been working on with Steve Zehentner. They both designed and directed the show and Penny tells me that she has been completely immersed in it. The show is a “rumination on love, longing and the loss of New York’s cultural identity.” They shot a lot of video and they are hoping to develop this into a full length theatre performance piece containing video, music and songs — Penny adds “I’m returning to my 1980’s work with live music and songs.” Yes Penny! There are only a few performances left. It’s very hard for me to fully explain what this show is about, but if you know Penny then you should just go... you’ll always learn a thing or two from Mama Arcade!
A new show performed by Mike Albo, Nora Burns and David Ilku
I have been saying “Linkedin is the new Facebook” to people so much recently, mainly as a an ironic icebreaker, that I’m pretty sure at this point, I believe it myself. I tried the line again the other week when I was stuck for conversation at the Stonewall Inn with a hottie. Turns out he was a Digital Social Media Consultant Coordinator or whatever, and he didn’t think it was very funny. I guess it wasn’t? I’ve since given up on social media jokes.
Fitting perhaps that I returned to the Stonewall Inn last night in the hopes to see Mike Albo, Nora Burns and David Ilku deliver a better round of social commentary that me, and boy, did they ever. Opening up with a fresh angle roasting our addiction to social media, the trio unleashes multiple acts of genuine, brilliantly funny and honest social commentary covering everything from Ebola to ISIS, from our (healthy? unhealthy?) obsession with Kale, to the girls in Grindr profile pictures. It’s a sassy display of brilliant, contemporary comedy that even prompted one lady in the audience to yell “GENIUS!” halfway through an act. That would ordinarily annoy me, just like people who clap when the pilot lands an aircraft successfully, but I was prepared to let it slide this time. She was right.
Mike told me that the trio have been performing together for 15 years, and over the past 2 months they “just got together and just talked about what really pisses them off.” Isn’t that great? Everybody loves to bitch.
The term ‘must see’ gets thrown around a lot, but there’s only one show remaining. So if you’re the guy who’s updating Facebook with the number of miles you ran with your Nike+ app or making sincere status updates about the changes in your diet, you won’t enjoy the show. But considering that’s not you, there’s no excuse to miss out! Like it, share it, endorse it, whatever, November 4 is your last chance to see it.
Unitard – House of Tards is playing at Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St. Nov 4th, 8:00PM, $15 (advance tickets), $20 at the door.
So our dear girlfriend Renée Cox is performing at BAM this Thursday night as part of The Brooklyn Bred series of the Next Wave Festival. You might know her mainly as a photographer/provocateur, but give the girl a chance. She’s sharing the stage with the headlining performance artist Clifford Owens — who is sure to shock, as well as Amanda Alfieri, Shaun Leonardo and Martha Wilson. Owens’ performances usually involve audience interaction with his physical body in some fashion creating spontaneity and chance to drive the performance. After much deliberation, and as a counterpoint to Owens’ piece, Cox is showing an 8 minute film called “The Goddess.” Over the phone she elaborated, “I’m doing a meditation, let the rhythm be your guide.” As for the title she added, “The Goddess who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared force on the planet.” OK now I’m scared too, but more power to you if you can distill that into an 8 minute movie. The evening promises to be an enthralling night of performance based art, so sit back, inhale, then exhale and let the rhythm take you with it.
The exhibition is now on view at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division
Justin Vivian Bond (pictured) is like the patron saint of GAYLETTER. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve featured events featuring V. If it was anyone else you might be forgiven for thinking our coverage was overkill, but with Justin — no one can get enough. Which is why we are so excited to help celebrate Justin on Wednesday, October 22 at the Cock. It’s technically a fundraiser for NYPAC, a non-profit organization that supports performance art.
The location for the benefit is especially fitting for Mx Bond, “who performed at The Cock’s original 12th Street location every Saturday, and was the first performer to christen its current — and soon to be former — incarnation. This benefit will be an opportunity to celebrate both Mx Bond and the history of the East Village and Lower East Side, which have been so actively intertwined.”
There’s going to be performances by Joseph Keckler, Erin Markey, Casey Legler, DJ Lina and Juliana Huxtable. It’s also highly likely that Justin will perform at some stage during the night (we can’t promise that, but it’s highly likely). Grab your tickets now.
Benefit Gala $150, After Party $50, Gala 7:00PM & 10PM, Wednesday, October 22, The Cock, 29 2ND AVE, NY. Buy your tickets here!
Where the hell did September go? We mentioned the Queer New Your International Festival last week but we have to mention it again because this is the last day of the festival and you must see these two performances. At 8:00PM there’s the U.S. premiere of a piece by Croatian artist Bruno Isaković’s Denuded for two dancers. This solo performance “is basing its movement quality on the relationship between breath and physical tension and ways in which it permeates the body in each moment…It sets these two organic body functions within the performing moment and uses gradation of their interdependence to radicalize, confront, and re-neutralize them.” That kind of description makes me go “uh-huh” and some of you might go “WTF,” but we promise you’ll like it. At 9:00PM there’s the U.S. premiere of Dancing Girl by artist Sujata Goel. Goel presents a fictional version of herself — “a mythical doll-like figure that reveals herself and continually morphs — from broken doll to beautiful doll to dancing doll to a lonely doll — finally disappearing completely and returning to a dormant invisible state. Dancing Girl depicts a performer who seeks to step outside of her body and confront the image of herself.” Again deep, but trust, well worth seeing.
OK, I saw this show Mighty Real: A Sylvester Musical last Thursday and I still have the title track spinning in my head. For those of you that don’t know, Sylvester was a drag icon from the disco days who sadly passed away from AIDS. Ms. Thing was fearless, ruling the club scene with hit after hit, getting her start on the stage with The Cockettes in San Francisco performing as Miss Ruby Blue. The musical immediately piqued my interest when I read that the original Broadway Dreamgirl Sheryl Lee Ralph was one of the co-producers. It’s non-stop music at a fever pitch for ninety minutes with no intermission, loosely telling the story of Sylvester’s life. The show stars Anthony Wayne as Sylvester and Anastacia McCleskey and Jacqueline B. Arnold as none other than the Weather Girls whose rendition of “It’s Raining Men” was everything! So take out that old sparkly top, do a light beat and head out to Mighty Real for a fierce ride on the soul train.
This must-see performance is happening on the opening night of the Queer New York International Arts Festival which returns to Abrons Art Center for the third year. The goal of the festival has been to bring diverse and provocative queer performances from around the world and to broaden “the traditional concept of “queer” (in) art, challenging perceptions about what queer is — and can be.” Each year we try to see as many performances as we can because there’s a lot of good stuff. I met with the curator last week and he told me that this performance is extra special. The two part performance, Confusions, is brought to us by a “highly innovative” Croatian theater director, Branko Brezovec and is going to be the first time that it’s been performed in the States. “Confusions was conceived as a radical theatre experiment...The novel follows the vicissitudes of young military school student Törless, whose confused moral complicity with his classmates, via brutality such as torture and rape, reveal the dark side of homoerotic relationships.” Sounds heavy right? Well I am not going to add anything else because you should go and experience it for yourself. Go and see this and many others from this amazing festival — you’ll be tweeting us “Thank You” soon.