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Afro Punk 2013

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Every year it comes... And evey year something always comes up and I miss it.

But alas... I finally got my Afro Punk experience.

Video journal coming soon!

Dj StereOtype.

A Moment On The Fringe

A Review On Select Shows Of The NYC Fringe Festival

New York City is known for harnessing the freshest, most provocative, and game changing theater works in the world.

Matter of fact... New York City is known for harnessing the freshest, most provocative, game changing visual and performing arts IN GENERAL in the world.

In recent years both critics and nostalgia oriented artists that remember (or fantasized) about the good old days of the Studio 54, CBGB, days where Madonna, Basquait, Debby Harry, RuPaul, and Keith Herring were all poor and living their lives in living colour on the seedy streets of a town that was so poverty stricken that it bloomed with riches of inspiration... Have blasted New York for the gentrification, lack of affordable living for artists, and corporate approach to almost every art discipline that gets major funding and promotions.

I know, because I'm one of those artists that feels slighted and talks shit.

So this is why festivals like Fringe are so important... They gave the little people that built this big city a chance to have their voices heard in the largely ( and still developing) inaccessible market.

With Disney, Viacom, NYU, and Columbia owning most everything, The Public Theater being soooo selective with supporting emerging artists, and reality show stars/washed up singers snatching the Off AND Broadway roles left and right... What are young or unknown writers and actors to do?

The Fringe.

Which leads me to the shows that I got to check out.

Here goes.

The first show I got the chance to check out was "And It Spins Twice", directed by Michael Padden and written by Alexis Roblan.

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This show plays with the idea of identity and looking at things from the bigger picture, accepting truth when you see it in people, and ultimately not taking life so seriously. 

And what would put all these things into perspective better than the Apocalypse?

We meet two women that are both quantum physicists that measure time and space whom are both involved with the same wanna be rocker musician.

The question the audience is left with is if the women are really two different women or the same woman at different stages of their lives- or even perhaps the same woman in two different times, spaces, universes, galaxies...

The great thing about the show is that it is largely up to the audience to decide.

Well casted and well acted, this thought provoking show was both entertaining and eye opening. I give it 8.5 out of 10.

My next Fringe experience was a 1 woman show called "EPICish"

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The star of the show is a young woman named Eve Butler who plays 3 different women that have both powerful and well... epic stories.

But they'd have to be as the show is a modern day, female spin on Beowulf, Gilgamesh, & The Odyssey with each woman having ties to Savannah, GA.

The thing that I loved about this show (as a Southern boy from ATL) is that the writing and characterization accurately depicted different subcultures from my home state (GA) that are either misrepresented or exploited in other terms.

I especially connected with the last character that was young and misdirected... Getting pregnant while going to GA Southern and not knowing how to come to terms with motherhood. (Not that I can relate to getting pregnant), but I have met those type of girls. 

The cool thing about the show is that it fairly explores difficult things that both the characters do as well as their perpetrators without making anybody a villain.

It's a very human show.

Eve is a talented actor and writer and I would highly suggest her show.

I give it a 9 out 10 (only because I wish she was in a bigger theater that allowed better production quality).

After this, I experienced Wendy Herlich's "Another Evening Of Awkward Romance"

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This show was one of my favorites for the sheer fact that Wendy's writing is so silly, yet still intelligent. This show reminded me of old school SNL. 

The comedy doesn't ever take itself too seriously and allows itself to be free flowing, care free, and contagious.

"Awkward Romance" is a two person cast that plays different couples of all ages, with all different sets of issues, combing through random, funny, and real situations of absurdity.

As we all know, the things people do and go through for love are ridiculous. I found myself laughing because as outlandish as some of it was... It was real.

If anything, you have to check it out for the best duet cover of Taylor Swifts "Trouble" ever in life... 

I genuinely laughed out loud a few times... That rarely happens. 

9/10.

This leads me to my last review. 

"The ABC's Guide To Getting Famous"

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This show is part 1 man show, part documentary. The sheer fact that it was multi-media made it stand apart from the other shows that I saw. In between the stage actors monologues, interviews from real life actors were broadcast... Which was really cool, and refreshing.

"The ABC's" is basically a satirical workshop teaching Asian actors what they "must" do to receive recognition in the entertainment industry... Which is basically adhere to all stereotypes and accept being a third class, 2d, cut out of a human being.

It was interesting. As a black actor/artist that doesn't fit a particular type, I could relate to alot of it... But also empathize with aspects of a different struggle for recognition, appreciation, and opportunity. 

Sai Somboon, the actor who played the instructor/main character was cute and engaging... Sometimes a little heavy on the physical comedy, but endearing... And did I mention cute?

I appreciated the piece as it promotes dialogue about real issues that affect our industry.

I give it 9/10.

All in all... I loved the shows got to see at Fringe this year and wish all of the artists much success with their projects.

Keep it up!

Dj StereOtype.

The Downlow On Being Out: “Quizzically Quimisical”

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Art is subjective… Continuously shape shifting and morphing through a multitude of forms. We are continuously being challenged (or intellectually insulted) to accept, believe in, support, and get into something new. Sometimes it is hard (but most of the time not) to decipher what is simply product to be sold and what is coming from the heart…

Well last night, I had the experience of seeing “Quizzically Quimisical” at the Gene Frankel Theater (24 Bond Street, NY, NY)… And honey, I have to say that it most definitely comes from the heart, soul, mind, and anything else personal you can think of.

G.J. Dowding writes, directs, and produces a wide spanning and very interestingly put together performance art piece.

Part art distillation: The set is very well thought out, crafted, and executed, almost as if you have stepped inside a mixture of Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” video set and a Macy’s store front gone SOHO via vintage Hollywood glamour. The costuming is both stylized and statement making, while flexible and comfortable for the actors to move in… The light design ambitious, yet well befitting and beautiful.

Part prose/spoken word/poetry slam: The writing is elaborate and woven into many styles; literal, ethereal, and abstract.

Part play: There is narrative story telling.

Part movement: Movement is a MAJOR component: The chorographer is not consistently dance as much as physical narration for the shows center piece.

Part music: Music plays an integral part in the setting of moods and intentions.

When all is said and done “Quizzically Quimisical” is a hodge podge of both performance and visual arts; and for the most part all of the separate parts stand alone brilliantly as well as come together to compliment each other.

The piece explores the inner makings of the central characters queer identity by way of both the spiritual and childhood relationship he has with his glamorous mother and her demons… We see his gradual unraveling and acceptance of the mess that both needs and doesn’t need to be cleaned up that is his glitter filled, pain riddled, enlightened, and matured faggotry. (No shade… I am one of the kidz too)

My only warning is that the show is heavy, largely abstract (hence it being “Quizzical”), and that there is no intermission. None of these things are particularly bad, but be mentally prepared to keep an open mind, understand that you are not walking into a dialogue based show that will feed you much of its story line (much is left up to the perception of the viewer), and that by no means is this a comedic, stroll through the park… It takes you on some serious, heavy, and sometimes very sad paths.

All in all, I think that it is definitely worth checking out. There is a show TONITE Saturday 9/8/12 and 9/9/12 at the Gene Frankel Theater (24 Bond Street NY, NY) at 8pm. $15 at the door.

Written by: Dj StereOtype

PAUL MOONEY @ B.B.King Blues Club, NYC 8/3/2012 TONIGHT Produced by Jill Newman Productions w/PM7 Entertainment

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Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) @ The Apollo (Produced By Jill Newman Productions)

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Love Voices Speak To My Heart: Dionne Figgins One Woman Show An Accomplished: WIN!!!!!

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I have seen many one man shows this year... Been very surprised, stimulated, entertained, and taken on journeys that have created an empathy, understanding, and sensitivity to my heart. I have seen many shows that have inspired me, moved me artistically, motivated me to look at things in new or forgotten perspectives. I am so grateful to New York City for harboring all of us... The starving artists... So sensitive and longing, so hurt and searching, so brave and resilient. Thank God for the creative expression and talent that we possess and share... I don't know who or where I would be without all of you- you vulnerable, dramatic, divas and divos that dare to dance, sing, write, and act... You are me and I am you...

This is a love letter to you...

A love letter inspired by a show that has made feel especially grateful to be amongst you. A show that made me proud of the things that have brought me shame, for without those experiences how would I have learned to be the strong me that I have become.

I'm talking about Dionne Figgins' one woman show ChocoLove Voices.

Awe-strikingly fierce, yet so human and vulnerable- Dionne Figgins does what so many female entertainers struggle at doing: Not sacrificing her humanity or becoming a one sided victim to her sexuality, looks, or feminine prowess (becoming a shell of an individual for flaunting her appeal by way of exploitation)- BUT not apologizing for her naturally whimsical, sexual, or feminine way. She actually represents herself as AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING!

This may sound like something that should be a given... Simple, at the very least what you should expect, right?

However in a landscape of sexual exploitation, titties, ass, and lack of opinion outside of much anything outside of what a woman's fashion choices are, make up secrets, favorite sexual position or what she wants out of a lover... It is refreshing.

This leads me to the fact that this show revealed to me what it is that I have been missing in my life in the way of entertainment. A TRUE TO FORM, UNDILUTED, NON SEXUALLY INSPIRED PERSPECTIVE OF A GROWN ASS WOMAN.

ChocoLove Voices has an honesty, candor, and perspective not being heard or paid much attention to: The opinion and life experience of the single, unmarried, African American, career woman who is not a groupie, video vixen, r&b diva, or babies mama... Not a real housewife, not a basketball wife, not a mob wife... Not a socialite, not competing for the attention of ONE man against several other women, not cussing and fussing OVER not wanting to be told "you're fired" by a rich white man...

I didn't realize until watching this show just how poisoned our perceptions and access to black women have become.

It makes me want to weep... Michelle Obama, Oprah, Tyra, Whoopi, and Sherri Shephard on The View are about all that we have in the way of anything of substance and integrity in the main stream everyday, American media.

Beyond this show well representing the totality of a black womans humanity- it dealves into an amazingly generational story. There are very few shows directly tailored (in a realistic way) to the life experience of the young adults of this generation. There is a huge void happening between the high school and early college, pre-21 club and the 40 and up crowd. There are not too many stories about what it is to be in the prime of your 20's and 30's at all.

ChocoLove gives a voice to this under-represented demographic of people that do not happen to be on "reality television".

The show is honest, the show is brave, the show is empowering. A mixture of song, poetic monologues that linger between spoken word and feeling like you are simply dishing with a good girlfriend over the phone, clever costumes changes, and rocking piano arrangements- ChocoLove technically impresses multiple senses.

Dionne is a welcoming host, allowing you into her boudoir of thought, inviting you to play around and see what you find... She masterfully sings, metamorphs like a shape shifter into various versions of herself, and at the end of it all balances it all cohesively, never confusing, jumbling, or getting schizo about it.

She acknowledges her strengths, works on her weaknesses, breaks herself down, and grows from the rubble.

This is by far, the best show I have seen all year.

Run, do not walk to the theater when you get the chance.

please check out Ms. Figgins website, http://dionnefiggins.com/

Kuale.


Dionne Figgins Presents: ChocoLove Voices

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"Picture Incomplete" Fills It's Frame Quite Well

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A one man musical...

Sounds ambitious, right?

It sounds kind of dangerous to me to be completely honest.

I mean... Could you imagine one person not only acting out multiple characters, but singing in different styles to compliment those characters, doing call and response MUSICAL dialogue on key, rapidly making costume changes, doing choreography and blocking dance moves not only for themselves, but the other self they will have to be after the key change, and trying to potentially partner dance with alone?

My God...

It sounds like an identity crisis waiting to happen... Or schizophrenia celebrated in front of a velvet curtain (But honey, if they EVER do "Sybil" the musical- I will be first in line... NOW THAT would be ENTERTAINING... I'm still lobbying for "Precious On Ice")

Okay... I'm done.

All jokes aside... I have to thank Judy Jacksina (press agent extraordinaire) for continuing to invite me to these interesting shows, because Trent Armand Kendall gave me precisely what I never knew I would need in a type of show that I never really imagined seeing... "Picture Incomplete", his one man musical is surely a sight to behold.

Ballsy, brazen, brutally honest, unapologetic, vulnerable, soul bearing, fearless, self actualizing, engaging, humorous, and full of love... "Picture Incomplete" paints a completely vivid, truthful, and endearing picture into the realities of not only his life... but the lives of so many.

It is the type of show that no matter who you are... You can connect and relate to; but in the way of the black, gay, star crossed, talented, hungry, mid west/down south, home grown, African American man that migrates to New York to escape the oppression of a place and people he must call his own, but never felt like home, not looking back and pursuing a career in entertainment while maintaining a way of survival in the city through the squalor of his 20's and up... IT IS THE GOSPEL!!!!!!!!

His show is like looking into the mirror... and all of the black queens in the house were gagging I tell you- GAGGING!

If not choking on laughter, coughing up an "amen, halelloo" of agreeance, or trying to catch their breath because a profound truth was spoken that left them breathless.

I love when an artist can illustrate their point and invite you into their world/share their truth- pain included... Without becoming a self loathsome victim to it.

I love it when an artist can paint their victories in a hue that make you happy for them opposed to trying to make you feel envious because their way is braggadocios.

I love it when an artist does these things unapologetically because they are confident enough in their craft to know that what they are sharing is a gift- and that you can trust them to not only entertain you, but feed your soul and spirit with something healthy, rather you are realizing it or not.

All of these things that I love, were fully represented in "Picture Incomplete".

I walked away not only being able to say that I liked the show, but that I felt uplifted...

Also with a sense of complete respect for the artist.

That's awesome.

I must say that the presentation of the show merchandising and press packet was very impressive. I have been given less material to work with doing Broadway. I gotta CD, T shirt, church fan, poster, and a T shirt.

Trent dares you to write a bad review after all of his bribery.

Lol.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it- do yourself a favor the next time the opportunity presents itself and GO!

Feel free to go to pictureincomplete.com

Kuale.

Goapele "Dawns" A New Day

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I remember Goapele's debut record that got major distribution, "Even Closer"... It doesn't seem that long ago, but I was a senior in high school on a serious neo-soul kick. Her music spoke to something in me that knew that there was something more out there for me to listen to as a consumer and aspire for as an artist. Those days seem a lifetime ago and like yesterday all at the same time.

I loved her and was excited to see her years ago in Atlanta when her second album "Change It All" came out... The show was cute, I wasn't blown away, and when I walked up to her after the show and told her that I was a big fan she simply replied "Oh really", flicked her dreads, and walked off.

I was over her... I haven't heard anything new from her in  some years and thought she was a snob, so I left her alone.

Alas, a few weeks ago- on the dawn of a new record I get an email from Jill Newman Productions about Goapele doing a show in commemoration of dropping her latest efforts.

We checked it out...

And all I have to say is... All is now forgiven.

Goapele has grown in leaps and bounds from her last album and live sets of years past.

I am so impressed with both her vocal technique, captivating stage presence, and seamless gelling with the musicians she works with.

She has evolved from being a promising young artist, to being a real cat: a confident woman with prowess that is both beguiling and feminine, yet intelligent and aggressive, soft and tender, while unapologetic and honest... She holds herself with the utmost of dignity and class while at the same time emoting the down home energy of being from Oakland, California...

And I must say that she looks better than ever... SHE IS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, a complete vision.

It's really rare that I am captured by an entire set comprised mostly of music that I have never even heard. The show was mostly her new material that just dropped yesterday and even though I could not sing along because clearly I didn't know it... I honestly loved all of it.

Her new music is still founded in romantic and soulful timbers that echo of ethereal and womanly energy...Yet is more experimental, unexpected, somehow polished and pristine, but still authentic and raw.

It was hands down the best show I have been to in months, maybe all year...

Thank you Jill Newman Productions.

Check out Goapele's new album "Break Of Dawn" as well as her website Goapele.com

Kuale.




Girl Power UNLEASHED- Chix 6

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I don't go to Queens for much of anything...

I mean absolutely no shade... but unless there's some money to be collected, there has got to be a HELL of a reason for me to schlep from my comfortable Brooklyn digs anywhere outside of my necessary Manhattan runs. What can I say? The past few years have knocked a great deal of my exploratory mind set away, and much to the expense of the Bronx and Queens... I even broke up with someone that lived in Elmhurst because it felt like long distance...

All this said... When I got the email from Paul Sanders of JS(2) Communications about a musical happening in Queens... Let alone CORONA QUEENS OFF THE 7 TRAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARK... I said... What the hell is this?

Nonetheless, the press release was intriguing and most of the shows that we have been reviewing are non musicals, after confirming one performance- I was unable to make it- so I am grateful that Paul was cool enough to extend me a second chance to get up on checking the show out.

So you ask if a trip to Corona, Queens was worth it?

My answer is...

ABSOLUTELY!

Vibrant, detailed, ambitious, extravagant, fun, campy, empowering, technically elaborate, impressively detailed, and entertaining...

Chix 6 has the luster, shine, and potential to go on and become a Broadway staple, get licensed for regional, high school, and college performances, and become a powerful brand.

The show tells the story of a young comic/graphic artist named Katie White that is the anonymous engenue behind the pop culture phenome of comic book character "Lightning Girl". She seems to have it all: A stable future, nice apartment, set career, creative license to make something out of nothing, and a great rocker boyfriend... Except for the fact that her boyfriend is not so great.

Long story short, her man gets bit by the fame monster and allows his ego to grow to proportions of grandeur, making a window for him to take her for granted... Her refuge amidst the unraveling of her relationship is creating her newest graphic art project- a team of all female super heroes that end up coming to her rescue and saving her from her ill fated relationship- but most importantly herself.

The main thing running through my mind as I watched the show was, "How did they get so much dynamic talent on one stage... In Corona, Queens"?

The cast is so multi talented: all great singers and dancers: one even playing the violin immaculately while singing her heart out and acting her face off, another doing circus acrobatics in mid air on sheets and hoops while singing, juggling a British, French, and American accent, dancing, and never dropping character.

Technically impressive, juggling multi media (video streaming along with the live show, live music, dancing, acting, extensive light design, and elaborate wig and costumes)... Chix 6 packs a serious punch.

The writing is relatively progressive and inspiring... Besides some cheap shots in the way of corny and unnecessary gay jokes and some awkwardness in the beginning of the show dialogue wise between Katie and her boyfriend... It stands pretty solid as a piece without the music.

The music is vibrant and fun, beautifully vocally arranged and strong.

Musical theater buffs MUST see this!

The show will only be playing at the beautiful Queens theater until the end of the week.

It gives Queens a new reason for patronage... and me reason to maybe call that ex of mine... Elmhurst is closer than Corona off the 7.

:)

Check it out.

chix6.com


Kuale.

Trent Kendall At Studio Theater (Theater Row) 410 West 42nd Street 10/25 9pm

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Alice Smith +Gary Clark Jr= Sexy

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So last night a friend and I went to Highline Ballroom to check out the Alice Smith/Gary Clark show that we put a preview up for last week.

It's been a few years since Alice Smith dropped anything, and although I do enjoy her music, I'd never gotten a chance before now to see her perform live, so I honestly didn't know what to expect.

I had never heard of Gary Clark Jr. until Jill Newman Productions emailed me the flier.

All things said, the show was an anomoly for me.

I had no real expectation or judgment... intrigued to see what these two artists bring to the stage.

In a word, it was hot!

Two completely different artists that take you two completely different places, yet still teeter the same wave length enough to cohesively fit into a bracket that makes sense in each others meshing.

It was very enjoyable.

Alice has what I call the Sade quality... A sober and sombering swelter- not over done or vebose, almost awkwardly private, even maybe a little detached, yet inviting in it's mystery. She is centered in her music, not swept in image or attempting to be engaging- more or less caring of her craft, loving that enough to share it though the things that come with it may feel awkward.

Her voice soars, its unique tember and resonance is unlike anybody else's... doesn't even seem to come from her petite body.

When not singing she comes across as a country black girl that went to an hbcu who just wants to have fun, but is also no nonsense if you cross her.

Seeing her live made me like her more

Her new material is also well crafted.

Moving along...

Gary Clark Jr. is an amazing guitarist and masterful ingestor of musical content to then reproduce to make his own. His sound is unique in the sense that no young person is really doing it, though it does have strong remnants of BB King, Led Zeppelin, 70's Aerosmith, and a tad bit of Chess Records to it. When he played I felt the joy of music showering me... His energy is transforamtive and paints a live soundtrack. At moments I forgot I was at Highline and felt like I was in a dirty honky tonk, and when he played his slow, sexy love songs I was at 1950's prom with my very own Danny Zuko, slow dancing the night away pondering if we should make love in the back of my parents Chevrolet on "make out mountain"... When I looked around me others were taken away, moving with no sense of self...

Gary is mysterious, attractive, and sensuous in his simplicity.

He is a man with a guitar he knows how to play... A tried and true deadly weapon.

If I had panties to throw they would have been on the stage.

I enjoyed the show very much!

Thank you Jill Newman Productions

Written By: Kuale

A Week @ Stage Left

Last week we had the honor of visiting one the cutest, coziest little theaters in NYC not once, but 3 times to see some very interesting shows: Lets get into it!

"Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You!"

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It was once said by some great acting philosopher that when moments of truth happen that everyone stops and takes notice... even animals will take a brief pause when an honest moment envelopes in front of their eyes that is undeniable.

They say that amidst all of the propaganda of modern day showmanship: such as flesh baring, sex on stage, meat dresses, wardrobe malfunctions, pyro, over 30 dancers, extensive set design, and the smoke and mirrors of hair, make up, and technology... The only true way to capture the hearts and minds of an audience... and keep them...

Is to be honest.

Well in the fashion of being honest:

One man shows can be grueling... Long, boring, self contained rants.

Everyone assumes that their story is so important and moving and touching... and all that bullshit...

That it warrants its own show told from the very lips of the person it happened to.

It can become oh so narcissistic.

When I sat down last week to see Jay Alvarez's show "Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You!" I didn't know what to expect... I had no judgement or preconceived notion of what would happen. I didn't realize it would be a one man show.

It's a good thing or else I may have come with the above mentioned ideas about what it would be.

"Sharks" is the story of Jay's family migrating from Cuba in the early 1960's to The United States to escape Fidel Castro's rule.

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Beautifully and masterfully method acted, well directed, and emotionally stirring, "Sharks" is an introspective, revealing, yet surprisingly relatable journey because... IT IS TRUTHFUL.

The fiber from which it is stitched seems like a genuine one that anyone could wear as a blanket.

Not jaded, not bitter, not corny, not self loathing disguised as self actualization, and not laced with some superiority complex that reads as "my struggle was harder than yours", "Sharks" has a way of hitting nerves without being cliche or playing up to the one man show stereotypes.

Jay is a great actor that embodies each character and brings them into a rich tapestry while still staying very balanced in his own body and voice.

I laughed, got a little misty eyed at points, and was thoroughly entertained.

Great show.

Bait n' Swish

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It is always interesting to be given the opportunity to go behind a closed door to get more insight into worlds, lifestyles, ideas, and communities that one does not get to frequent often or necessarily identify with...

The thing about going on these journeys is that one has the responsibility of keeping an open mind, which is where artists, producers, and consumers alike tend to get stuck.

We all know what we know and tend to have convictions to those things.

It is a rare situation when a person can tap into something realistic in all of it's humanity, humor, pain, and emotions while placating to an audience with expectations and not fall into a stereotyped category.

The two man show(s) Bait n' Swish are interesting because they flirt with aspects of the gay life that are very typical... but do it in such and authentic and entertaining way that you don't really care.

What I liked about the shows was that they had a great sense of humor while maintaining a sense of self that felt honest.

Tom Gualtieri and David Sisco play almost 50 distinct characters amongst themselves... AND DO THEM ALL JUSTICE.

Absolutely uncanny.

Circumstantially there were times when I felt like I was watching "Will N' Grace" re-runs... But I was entertained and walked away feeling a larger sense of connection and understanding to the white boy, Chelsea/Hells Kitchen-esque, New York City Way.

Not to mention that it was funny as hell.

I liked it and would totally recommend it to friends.


Grapefruit

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It is refreshing to hear an alternative version of a story told many times over...

When you think of cancer, you automatically tend to approach the subject in a defeatist/victimized way, feeling strong fear, sympathy, or apathy for the subject telling the story.

"Grapefruit" written by Sally Lambert and performed by the talented and personable Cheryl King of "Stage Left Studio" is a triumphant journey into the mind of a cancer "patient" going through the pharmaceutical regime of prescribed treatments, all the while going on a personal voyage to unearth her true state of being/make sense of what is really happening to and around her.

Emotional, humorous, raw, heart filled, aggressive, unapologetic, and inspiring... "Grapefruit" resonates strongly with me as it is not just a cancer story, it is a survival story that sheds light on something so looked over...

The crooked and backwards health care and pharmaceutical machines of the USA...

Sally's show in so many words teaches us that everything that we need to live a bountiful life is already inside of us, no matter what we are labled or prescribed.

Cheryl King played the characters with fervor, so closely connected to the piece that you would never know that she did not write it- paying an honest homage to the woman who wrote and was to originally perform it. Ms. Lambert passed away before putting the show up, Cheryl picked it up because she saw it as important.

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"Grapefruit" is a beautiful wake up call that maintains the celebration of a life lived with purpose.

I feel honored to have witnessed it.

*For more information on Stage Left Studios visit  http://www.stageleftstudio.net/ special thanks to Judy Jacksina

Written By: Kuale


October Jill Newman Productions

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"Seed" Does A Good Job Of Harvesting Thought

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Sometimes it feels like realism in art is over rated... They say that art imitates life, and indeed to an extent that may be true, but it is undeniable that art influences life. The media has a choke hold of power over humanity- thus productions often times set a precedence in peoples minds that in fact influences their view point of their reality.

Throughout recent history, almost any time that an African American production gets critical acclaim it has shown black people in a down trodden state of extremism: From "Precious" and "Monsters Ball", to "For Coloured Girls" (The original and Tyler Perry's), "The Colour Purple", "Good Times", "Boys In The Hood", etc... It is undeniable that many successful black shows disguise tragedy, misfortune, and similar sob story lines as important, progressive art.

Walking into the play "Seed" written by Radha Blank, I honestly did not know what to expect... From what I read of the piece it sounded promising... but potentially unoriginal and maybe a bit pretentious...

However, I was pleasantly surprised: I feel that the show is actually an extremely accurate, yet tasteful, and very artistic account of the realities of youth parenting youth in today's not only urban- but mainstream American society in general.

Well written, well casted, well acted, cleverly staged, intelligently directed, and impressively lit/sound designed... "Seed" successfully captures what many fail at: Exposing a societal issue without exploiting it, and still managing to be realistic WHILE being entertaining. I can also say that where many of these types of stories are easy to figure out because they have been done so much, "Seed" has an unpredictable sentiment that leaves the audience thinking.

It is the story of a young boy from Harlem who is born of young, selfish parents that do not finesse his talents. AS washed up social worker with her own imbalances comes into him and his families life and turns it upside down in ways good and bad...

It is more than worth checking out: Go to http://seedtheplay.com  for more information

Written by: Kuale.

Keep The Jeep Riding: TURQUOISE JEEP in BK Last Week

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Turquoise Jeep... Silly, funny, effervescent, entertaining... A bunch of these words come to mind when I think of the camp performers who have become youtube sensations and heralded their independent movement into viable careers with legions of fans, sold out shows, and busy performance schedules; but one word unexpectedly dawned on me as watched their show last week in Brooklyn @ The Morgan in Bushwick- and it is, intelligent.

When I looked at the mixed crowd filled with people of different ages, races, nationalities, and styles it hit me that these guys have successfully on their own done something that many other artists, independent as well as mainstream have not done. CREATE THEIR OWN CATEGORY.

Nobody is dong what they do: Create original music and self iconic visuals that are camp, but still not an absolute, total, farce- that are funny enough to crack up to, but still catchy and have enough pop to un-embarrassed sing out loud. Not to mention, the choreography and dances that have become synonymous with many of their numbers.

Their branding techniques are genius, and I think the coolest thing of all, is that they have a mystery. You find yourself asking, "Are these guys serious"?

The artists they are, are at the same time characters- they have complete privacy and anonymity as individuals. Nobody knows who "Flynt Flossy" is when he takes off the mustache and glasses, yet he has a viable fame that makes him money.

I also love that this is a group of black men that do not take themselves so seriously and are not afraid to be fun, dance, and have a good time.

I love Turquoise Jeep. Check them out at: www.turquoisejeep.com. Special thanks to Charu that got us on the list per the great new Brooklyn based store Live Astro located at 552 Grand Street. BK NY... Check them out at http://www.facebook.com/liveastro and http://www.twitter.com/liveastrony... Look out for our special video segment on them coming soon.

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Kuale.

 

CHRISETTE MICHELLE PERFORMING XMAS IN NYC

SHOW REVIEW: The Hard Nut Isn’t Hard To Get Off On


The holidays are upon us: and trust me, as a single, hard working, careerist, 25 year old man living in a state that may as well be a million miles away from my family, NYC resident that isn’t an alcoholic, running the streets to fill the void of loneliness this time of year brings (weather and holidays included)- I am in no type of Christmas or holiday spirit.

I don’t particularly consider this to be a bad thing… I mean, when you grow up and life becomes about survival AND you are free to do as you please anytime you want, holidays do become a bit less pressing.

A random Wednesday could feel like Christmas and Christmas could be a ravishing disappointment.

Tis true… have become a bit jaded to mainstream celebrations, BUT I ALWAYS appreciate good art.

With this said, upon entering the AMAZINGLY beautiful Opera House of The Brooklyn Academy Of Music this past Saturday all by my lonesome, surrounded by children with doting parents, couples dressed in their most festive attire, and old people buzzing with Holiday cheer- I for a moment had to tuck away my fierce Grinch outlook and for the two hours of Mark Morris Dance Groups “The Hard Nut”- succumb to something that I have not felt in years…

Holiday Cheer!

I mean, granted- this show IS NOT your average Christmas pageant or dance recital- but it gave me something really endearing.

“The Hard Nut” is a more modern (dance and culturally) version of the Christmas classic “The Nut Cracker”.

What I love most about the show is that it hybrids a myriad of colours, ideas, cultural references (that are relevant to today’s pop culture that all generations can recognize and appreciate), with the techniques, structure and beauty of dance, while maintaining a fresh sense of humor that is dead on.

And dare I saw that with the campiness of the humor comes a brilliant sexuality that exudes from the core of the overall piece? The cast of dancers are a very endogenous and racially mixed bunch; you have both men and women of all shapes and sizes in the same costumes doing the same movement

The show has artistic integrity from all aspects. You get a little bit of drag (yes male to female transformation) and the makeup is well done- the transformation intriguing, yet convincing; the costumes are well crafted and very beautiful, the sets are brilliant, the dancers are great actors.

The whole thing was a masterfully fun experience that while keeping true to Holiday traditions, keeps a raw, unapologetic, artistic license.

CHECK IT OUT.

PLAYING AT BAM, 30 LAFAYETTE AVE, BK NY 11217 FROM 12-10 TO 12-19.

Written By: Dj StereOtype

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