Friday, December 15, 2017

Your Christmas alternative: "Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars"

 Daniel Diaz (above) and Fleur Voorn on video (below)
in Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars
(photos: Theo Cote)

Pull up a chair, sip some white wine and kick back with Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars, your all-queer Christmas fête from writer/director Gian Marco Lo Forte and the Pioneers Go East Collective at La MaMa/The Downstairs. This 70-minute music-theater show dips into YouTube's vlogging trend to explore LGBTQ identity, culture, struggles, triumphs and the joy--and sheer relief--of being surrounded by family-of-choice at holiday time.

Our technology grows slicker by the minute, but humans remain a species eager to tell and consume stories--a truth manifest in phenomena like StoryCorpsThe Moth and YouTube vlogs. Gemini Stars//Scorpio Stars features personal stories contributed and shared by its performers--Daniel Diaz, Jess Barbagallo, Fleur Voorn, Michaela Reggio, Niko Tsocanos and Ryan Leach, all live; Julia Dobner-Pereira and Chloe Li Piazza on video. Not all of its tales land with equal effectiveness. But there is often charm, humor and poignancy enhanced by spirited, if easy-going, presentation along with music, movement and decor.

Best of the batch: The hilarious Diaz has vivid recall of meeting a hunky firefighter near the muumuu racks in the musty basement of a vintage clothing store; Barbagallo and Reggio amusingly and affectionately reflect on a road trip that sounds like their relationship in microcosm. And you probably shouldn't miss the tender ballad performed by musical guest Ombro de Oro and dedicated to one "Blanca Ivanka."

Perversely, all of this made me flash back to those Andy Williams  Christmas tv shows in the 1960s. You remember Williams, right? Smooth-singing Republican who, nevertheless, championed Bobby Kennedy and George McGovern? Whose politics corroded with age--foe of Obama ("a Marxist!"), fan of Limbaugh and Beck? I'm trying to imagine what might have been--some alternative much like Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars.

Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars continues through December 17 with performances tonight and Saturday at 7pm and on Sunday at 2pm. For information and tickets, click here.

La MaMa (The Downstairs)
66 East 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue and Bowery), Manhattan

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