a fairy tale, set on the lower east side

23Jul11

Once upon a time there was a secret garden in the Lower East Side.  Although it was located on a very busy street, the gate wasn’t visible until you knew to look for it.

Inside the garden were climbing plants and fireflies surrounding a tiny stage, and every Saturday night in July the most fabulous performances would appear on it.  Tales of stardust and luminescent shopping carts, Southern gothic dramas with cameos by Ava Gardner, emo crooning like balm on an open wound, wild ponies dancing as if in a sweltering dream.

Hippie punks and radical faeries and drag queens in street clothes huddled close on wooden benches under the stars.  Cardboard set pieces were illuminated by clip lights and taped-down electrical cords.  Bug spray and watermelon juice made sweaty tattooed limbs even stickier.  The only way to truly get clean was to pile into the Trojan Pony, an unmarked van with 17 secret saddles, and gallop down to the Rockaways for a moonlight swim.

This summer I have been living in a fairy tale.  Every Tuesday night, the collective of artists and dreamers known as the Department of Transformation gathers on the wraparound porch of my rented queer mansion in Flatbush, and together we plan the next installment of Fame and Shame in the Lower East Side, the performance series we are producing this summer.

On Thursdays and Fridays we perform in a lovely theater with proper seats and a delightfully painted proscenium, and Saturday nights we move to the garden’s stage.  Three nights of decadent performances by some of Brooklyn’s most talented queer artists, supported by a stellar team of technical advisors, production designers, and some of the sweetest volunteers you’ve ever met.  I’ve been in the role of producer, helping secure the venues and pull together the resources (financial and human) to make these shows happen.  It’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve done, frankly, and I’m hoping to continue finding outlets for these talented friends to continue bringing their gifts to audiences.

I hope you can join us for the last two weeks of the series, which will feature three of my closest friends and collaborators.  Ariel Speedwagon (with whom I once shared an artist residency in an abandoned scrapyard) is featured this week in an elaborate, hilarious movement/clowning/professor shtick about the end of the world.  Next week will feature a fairy tale song cycle by Princess Tiny & the Meats (who composed the score for my film earlier this month), and a collection of sacred battle drag looks by Blaise (who I traveled cross-country with earlier this year, and collaborated with on Into the Neon).

All of this work is very fresh, very queer, and absolutely enchanting.  I do hope you can join us for it. Please RSVP for the Saturday night garden performances – they have been selling out.  Though: the Thursday/Friday theater shows are also quite lovely, and we usually go to the beach afterwards!

A lot more info is on the posters below, and in here:  http://www.departmentoftransformation.org/home/

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