Saturday, July 9, 2016

Seeking a friend for the end of the world: Monstah Black's HOT!

Clockwise from bottom left:
Shiloh Hodges, Monstah Black, Benedict Nguyen,
Alicia Dellimore and Joey Cuellar (center)
(photo: Peter Yesley)

The world is coming to an end!

(No kidding!)

So, what do you do?

Well, if you're Monstah Black, you grab your pals, slap on wigs and stilettos, shake your cocktails and throw a fabulous dance party. Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle)--running Fridays and Saturdays through July 23 for Dixon Place's 25th Anniversary HOT! Festival--takes place by the light of a mushroom cloud and suggests nothing more complicated than what a lot of us have been saying lately in the wake of one bad, unacceptable piece of news after another.

Wherever you go, there you are.

You bring to each crisis precisely who and what you are and do what you were sent to Earth (from, you know, wherever Sun Ra hailed from) to do. So, let's just get the funk on with it!

When we first meet Black and company, they most bring to mind the Wicked Witch of the West--after she's been slain by a flying house, that is. Dressing room chairs and clothing racks have already toppled, pinning them against the floor. Glittery pools of blood-like fabric spread away from their poor heads.

It's August 11, 2033, and only Tucker (Joey Cuellar) appears to have survived the fashion apocalypse, perched on a bed, curly white wig dangling from fingertips. But, like creatures arising from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" ("Midnight hour is close at hand...."), the others soon spring to life, as preoccupied as ever with their usual pursuits.

Johnnie "Cruise" Mercer's character, for instance, can't get enough of his phallic selfie stick. Really, really, really can't get enough. Others obsess over their mirrored reflections, and Black--addressing us from a balcony--frets about how to fit a huge shoe collection into one suitcase.

What's important is important. "I'm going to make sure I look good if the world is coming to an end," one dancer declares. And Black--who designed the amazing costumes--certainly made sure everyone looks smashing, not only in these clubbing outfits but also the show's brisk, cartoonish movement stylings.

A lot of disciplined teamwork went into this production, you can tell, and the creative, performance and production team is sizable and complex--even with multi-talented Black appearing numerous times in the credits. The end result is far more amusement and glamour than you'd expect from catastrophe. But, then again, that's why we have queer artists.

Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle) continues Fridays and Saturdays, July 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 7:30pm.  For information and tickets, click here.

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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