When Live Arts and the Philly Fringe kick off next month (Sept. 7-22) LGBT audiences will have a lot of relevant events to choose from this season. Sexuality and gender themes – as well as many out performers – all play starring roles in everything from theatre and dance to cabaret and go-go.
Here are our top picks:
Charlotte Ford’s “Bang“ explores sexuality and gender roles in a “comedic clown theater spectacular” set under the glow of a pink neon sex show sign. Ford joins Lee Etzold and Sarah Sanford (of Pig Iron) for a very sexually explicit exploration of nudity, desire, gender roles and arousal – and did we say nudity (Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street)?
Sept. 7-10, 13 and 14
Two young women fall unexpectedly in love in “Stop Kiss” by Diana Son. And on the night of their first kiss, they are brutally attacked. The performance alternates between scenes before and after the assault, while taking a serious approach to the reality of hate crimes in America (The Arts Garage, 1533–35 Ridge Avenue).
Sept 7-9, 13-15-16 and 20-22
Get hot and heavy (and hard) for art during “Rub,” an erotic performance by Gunnar Montana and Jasmine Zieroff at – where else? – a strip club (The Dolphin Tavern, 1539 S. Broad Street).
Sept. 8, 14-15, 20 and 22
“Raw Stitch” (7 p.m.) by Jacqueline Goldfinger is a play about the “enthusiastically inebriated and the sexually active,” featuring nine new monologues. Each audience member even receives a PBR, condom, and dental dam with the price of admission (Quig’s Pub at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, 3rd Floor).
Sept 7-8, 12-15, 17, 19–22, 25 and 26
Brat Productions presents “RockPile: Popsicle’s Departure, 1989” and ”Eternal Glamnation,” a double feature of rock ‘n roll theater. In “Popsicle’s Departure, 1989,” Madi Distefano remounts her internationally award-winning solo tour about the end of the punk rock scene in Boston, while “Eternal Glamnation” is a nuclear glam-rock fantasia cabaret (Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street).
Sept. 14, 16, 18 and 24
Brian Sanders’ JUNK is back with “The Gate Reopened,” a dance theatre-in-the-round that takes over a warehouse on the Delaware River. The out choreographer imagines a world inside this massive structure in which a gate has been built as a 20-foot high cylindrical octagon. Audiences encircle eight dancers in a kind of futuristic, post-industrial, post-apocalyptic coliseum where the performers are suspended and propelled (Pier 9, 121 North Columbus Boulevard).
Philly’s own Jumatatu Poe discusses “Privatizing and Publicizing Gender: An Intimate Dialogue into Private Places“ (3 p.m.), a look at the choreographed work that explores J-sette, a dance culture developed in black gay clubs with roots at historically black Southern universities. The collaborators will discuss gender shifts and self discovery in a special talk back (Live Arts Studio, 919 N. 5th Street).
Sept 15-16, 18-20
idiosynCrazy productions’ “Private Places“ plays with the stylized movement of the service industry and the high-powered approach of J-sette (see above). The two share spatial formations that are tight and meticulous, activity that is repeated for accuracy, and routines performed under the surveillance of a captain. Choreographed by Jumatatu Poe, the show also examines notions of order – how we order, categorize, groom, distinguish and distort ourselves to achieve standards of presentation (Live Arts Studio, 919 N. 5th Street).
In the panel discussion – “Body Politics In Arts and Culture Today“ (2 p.m.) - several artists and academics focus on how our bodies speak to the world. Because several of this season’s performances consider the theme – both clothed and naked – the panelists will discuss everything from gender to identity and what it means to move (Arcadia Stage at Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street).
New York City’s Elevator Repair Service turns its eye on Barnes v. Glen Theatre, a 1991 First Amendment case brought by a group of naked go-go dancers in “Arguendo” (1 p.m.). The justices debate whether erotic dancing is protected speech under the U.S. Constitution: Is dancing naked in a strip club an exercise of artistic expression – or a crime (Arcadia Stage at Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street)?
Young Jean Lee Theater Company’s “Untitled Feminist Show“ (9 p.m.) features a cast of six in an irrevent, nearly wordless exploration of identity and gender roles when the theater, dance, cabaret and burlesque worlds collide with no shortage of skin (Suzanne Roberts Theater, 480 S. Broad Street).
Theater Cooperative & Naked Feet Productions presents “Lysistrata” (8 p.m.), an adaption of the classic Greek comedy by Aristophanes in which women withhold sex until men stop going to battle. It’s a timeless story about the battle of the sexes and the influence of sex on all of humanity – regardless of gender and sexual orientation (The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St.).