Sunday, June 29, 2008

Out Pride Outside: NYC's Gay Pride Parade!

What can you say? Its the best parade with the most fabulous costumes around, dancing its way down 5th Ave. to the gay mecca that is Christopher Street. Floats galore, terrific transvestites and a crowd loud and proud, the New York City Gay Pride Parade is a delight of fun fun fun. Favorites included Wonder Woman and Super Girl, a pair of Hilton sister look alikes, and men in platform heels showing off legs better than Gisele Bundchen's. Its just not fair! Here is to celebrating the diversity and flamboyance that is New York City.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mermaids, Mermaids Everywhere at Coney Island's Mermaid Parade!

Nothing is more quintessentially New York fun and freaky than the fin-fabulous Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. Dress code ranges from Broadway quality aquatic costumes to teeny weeny bikinis on gals full figured and proud. Glitter and sea shell bras are prerequisites. The parade's cast of characters included voluptuous flesh baring pirate babes, shark finned macho men and drag queens shaking their mermaid tails. And the crowd ate it all up like fried calamari.

This year's parade had a tinge of the somber as Coney Island is under attack by yet another attempt to commercialize and commodify New York City. Talk about swimming with sharks. Looks like some in the city feel that Coney Island would do better as yet another generic shopping mall. Can we stop pouring Purell all over our city, please?

But despite the dip into the political, the day remained wacky, hot and humorous like any day at the beach should. For great images, check out New York City Daily Photo or the fingers-on-the-pulse Gothamist.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Standing Clear: Your Theatrical MetroCard to All Things Subway

Standing Clear, a new play by Coffee Cup theater company, takes you on a subway ride without the commuter torment of the N or W line. But even if you take a cab to the theater, beware - you'll be met with a barrage of wackadoo subway staples that are the human grid of New York City public transportation.

Written by performers Ishah Janssen-Faith and Jack McGowan and created with input from the entire cast, Standing Clear is an ode to the daily here-to-there grind. You'll identify with hapless subway sheep as they are surrounded by freaks, weirdos, arguing lovers and clueless tourists. The subway shenanigans shift from poignant to horrifying to humorous smoother than the trains run, largely due to the talents of an able cast playing a diverse array of characters.

Melinda Ferraraccio, with her sharp tongued strength, plays full tilt. Becca Hackett has a real girl presence so sweet it makes you wonder if she's even acting. Jack McGowan ably juggles cute boy and fed up husband among others, and Ishah Janssen-Faith is spot on as a talks-too-much butt-in-ski that we just want to shush, and then shames you with her palpable loneliness. But it is Ben Holbrook's perfect portrayal of a not-all-there subway dude with a heroic streak that steals your heart.

While the plots and pace occasionally veer off track, it is nicely directed by Barbara Karger. The real fun of the show is the nodding laughter of recognition that bonds the audience, met as we are with clueless iPod blasters and cramped crowd choreography. Commute on down to the Access Theater at 380 Bway at White Street before Standing Clear closes on June 21, for a show we can all relate to. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students.

Bonus: There will be a talk back on June 16 at 7pm with Hollaback NYC and Girls for Gender Equity at $30 a ticket.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saved from Shopping by Rev. Billy

Can I hear a hallelujah? Rev. Billy preached his freakalicious gospel at the Highline Ballroom this fine Sunday afternoon, compelling all to put down their credit cards and raise their hands to heaven. That is right, children, the holy spirit was among us in the form of trapeze artists, Coney Island freaks, a talented choir in green robed glory, and a message that speared your shopaholic sternum.

Leader of the Church of Stop Shopping, Rev. Billy is perhaps best known outside NYC as the subject of the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? produced by Morgan Spurlock. But he is a staple of the New York arts and activist scene, protesting corporatization, capitalism, and commodification of our once divinely diverse city. Delivered in a Southern Baptist style, his stop the buy buy buy madness message is aimed at big business and consumers alike.

As New York City is bulldozed into just another megamall filled with Banana Republics and Best Buys, Rev. Billy tirelessly takes to the pulpit with a trinity of prayers - stop gentrification, preserve culture, and suspend your spending. The preacher strives to save your soul with a communion plate of performance art and cleverly lyric-ed gospel music. For me, it was more cathartic than any wafer and grape juice divinity I was ever served.

Catch the Rev in action at Union Square Park on Thursday, June 5 at 5pm on the NW corner. Face the Shopocalypse, confess your carnal commerce sins, and be saved!

(credit: Photo by Dogseat.)