Just Do Art: The Skin and Brains Edition

Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad take a “shining” to Stephen King in the Jan. 11 installment of Hotsy Totsy Burlesque. | Photo by Ben Trivett

HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE TRIBUTE TO STEPHEN KING | After gleefully indulging in the November through December bounty of buffets, high-calorie drinks, and must-gobble baked goods, just be grateful that our recent cold snap provides a practical reason to dress in layers that camouflage the consequences of holiday gluttony. For the hard bodies of Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, however, the plate of cookies left for Santa and the leftovers in the fridge have retained their integrity. See the result of this heroic commitment to proper nutrition and exercise when the clothing comes off and the flesh is exposed — all for your viewing pleasure. That’s to be expected, of course, at any self-respecting burlesque show. But what sets this series apart is its seamless mix of skin and satire, always with a new narrative hook (popular themes have included Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who). With the first show of the 2018 comes the series’ third foray into the world of horror novelist Stephen King.

The plot reads as if it’s been ripped from an undiscovered King page-turner: Squeaky-voiced Cherry Pitz (veteran comedic performer Cyndi Freeman) gets the good news that dear friend Carrie will be paying a visit. Having shaken off the shame of a high school prank to become one of her small town’s best burlesque entertainers, Carrie is determined to make it in the Big Apple — but macabre mojo seems to stick to her like pig’s blood on a prom dress. The show features a cast including Candy Apples, Cubby Hall, Fem Appeal, Matt Knife, and Rosie Cheeks — and is presided over by Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad. “As performers and writers,” Pitz and Brad said in the guise of their “real-life” alter egos, “we have grown as a troupe and as friends and are happy to move into our 11th year. Every month you are invited to The Home For Wayward Girls and Fallen Women. The residents of the home need money to keep their hotel open, and to buy G-strings and glitter.” Other than the murder and mayhem worthy of a Stephen King novel, what could possibly go wrong?

Thurs., Jan. 11, 8pm. At The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St., at Stanton St.). For tickets ($15), visit slipperroom.com. Visit hotsytotsyburlesque.com for artist info. Upcoming show themes include Ladies of Disney (Feb.), Star Trek (March), and Westworld (April).

Caveat’s Kate Downey is seen here holding the squishy thing with a starring role in Jan. 5’s “Drink ‘n’ Draw Brains” event. | Photo courtesy Caveat

BRAINS AND WITS AT CAVEAT | We’ve all heard the one about the priest, minister, and rabbi who walk into a bar — or at least we’re familiar with the set-up. But what about the recovering theoretical physicist, the renegade museum tour guide, and the one-time Moth StorySlam champion? They walked into a room, saw the potential for something different, and came up with a buzz-worthy slogan: “Join us for drinks and go home smarter.” Since then, Caveat has carved a niche for its highly intelligent, alcohol-friendly series of science talks, storytelling, concerts, trivia competitions and live recorded podcasts, most of them in the awesomely affordable $10-$20 range (with $8-a-glass beers, wine around $10, and grub from $3-$12).

Coming up on Fri., Jan. 5 at 6pm, the “Drink ‘n’ Draw Brains” event is everything it sounds like. “Attending neurosurgeon” Anna Kasdan will give you the lowdown on what each part of the brain does, as you use that “creative” part of the noggin’ to draw the (real!) cranium-based tenant on display. A friendly neighborhood art teacher gives you tips (including, one supposes, how to compensate for your increasingly poor motor skills as the drinks flow). Feel free to bring drawing supplies, but know that the bare basics (pens and blank paper) will be provided. This event is free with advance RSVP, and $5 at the door. Then, on Sun., Jan. 7 at 6:30pm ($12 tickets), “Harmon Leon Infiltrates Trump’s America” has the razor-sharp, media-surfing cultural critic (and author of “Meet the Deplorables”) taking you on a trip through his investigative infiltration of extremist groups.

Fearless comedian Harmon Leon infiltrates Trump’s America — and your heart — Jan. 7 at Caveat. | Image courtesy Harmon Leon

Serious enough to be grim but smart enough to be goofy, Leon told us this upcoming gig’s main song “is called ‘Terrorist Love Hummus.’ It fits in with a story about an anti-Muslim hate group I infiltrated… The crux of the song is that during the Iraq War, the US government would track the sale of hummus at grocery stores because they came to the astute conclusion that terrorist love hummus — and if they followed the trail of hummus they would find some terrorists; because terrorists, as we all know, love hummus.”

Caveat is located at 21 Clinton St. (at E. Houston St.). For info, visit caveat.nyc.

—BY SCOTT STIFFLER

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