If you’re anything like me, you have a touch of German in your bloodline, resonate strongly with your own idea of what is means to be German, but truthfully know next to nothing about the country’s history. With that being said, Earl Dax’s cabaret Weimar New York is back at Joe’s Pub for one night only, on July 15.
I actually had to google what the Weimar-era was before I wrote this, but I did learn that Jessica Lange’s AHS: Freak Show character Elsa Mars was based on this culturally chaotic time in Germany where everything was about the arts and creatives focused on highlighting the darker side of life. Sounds a lot like 2015.
Australian cabaret star and Prince’s dopplegänger, Paul Capsis (who is a major star in Australia) hosts the show which “uses the rubric of Weimar Germany to highlight unsettling parallels between the rise of fascism then and conservative political elements today.” Performers include Rachel Mason, boylesque sensation Enormvs Muñoz, comic and solo performer Marga Gomez, singer-songwriter Carol Lipnik and the glittering Pixie Harlots. After tonight, the show moves back to Bard’s SummerScape for their 6th season. Don’t miss out!
$25, 7:30PM, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette, NY, NY.
It’s a whiskey slugging cabaret sing-a-long. It’s a self-aware train wreck. It’s Molly Pope Likes your Status. People are raving about this shit. Apparently her voice sounds like Bette Midler and Bridgett Everett shaken into one long Manhattan. Even the queens over at Time Out New York describe her as a “viscerally thrilling alto.” Plus, she literally drinks almost an entire bottle of Jameson during every show. While singing. Ok Molly Pope.
The performance is Friday, July 10th, at the Duplex Cabaret and Piano Bar. A friend of GAYLETTER, Joshua Weidenmiller, told us “She’s like an old icon that feels brand new.” Now, I’m not saying she’s the new Amy, but it sounds like this lady is fucked up in all the right ways. If you’re looking for some retro glam debauchery with a 60’s beehive to boot, this sounds like your move. “The boys go crazy for her.”
$15-18, 9:30PM, The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. New York, NY.
There are a thousand and one reasons to go see the legendary dance company Alvin Ailey perform during their two week engagement at Lincoln Center that kicked off with the Ailey Spirit Gala earlier this week but I’ll just share a few here.
On June 11, at 6:30pm the Ailey Extension instructor Eddie Stockton and DJ C_Boogie are throwing down a free house dance class outside on the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center. They say all ages are welcome and no experience is necessary. Then later on in the evening the company is performing the world premiere of hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris’ Exodus,“a poignant and powerful depiction of the transition from our physical world to the spiritual afterlife.” Not to worry if you can’t be spontaneous and go tonight, you have other opportunities to see it.
There are so many other treats in their program including Ronald K Brown’s Grace, Hofesh Schechter’s Uprising and Christopher Wheeldon’s After The Rain Pas de Deux. Of sad note, the company will be performing one of my new absolute favorite pieces called Chroma on June 18th for the last time….ever! I went on and on about it here when I saw it at the Joyce, it is flawless. So go get your dance on, tickets start at $25 and it’s Ailey at Lincoln Center honies!
Ticket prices and performance times vary. David H. Koch Theatre, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, NY, NY.
Raise a martini, grab your kerchief, and search for a sugar daddy, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, calls for all three. Debuting at Café Carlyle from June 2nd until June 13th for $100 a pop, Alan Cumming’s performance covers a slew of songs and personal stories from Billy Joel and Miley Cyrus to family trauma and emotional strife. Despite the seriousness intermingled with his theatrics, Cumming remains the provocative, occasionally insane pansexual you know and love.
Co-host of the latest Tony’s, Cumming is now joined on stage by a pianist, cellist, and drummer to entertain his increasingly intimate crowd. Covering Broadway and contemporary Pop alike, he runs the full, flaming gambit in his Cumming cabaret fashion. But if you haven’t yet picked up on the purpose of this post or the puns there in, let me lay it out flat: Cum, come, come to Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs before it’s too late.
$100-120, 8:45PM & 10:45PM, Café Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street at Madison Ave. New York, NY.
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!