Blackbird: A Queer Vocal History promises to be the best homage to singing outsiders since Cant Stop the Music, shining the spotlight on half a dozen favorite and soon-to-be-favorite queer musical obscurities. Through a hodgepodge of puppetry, live performance, and jazzy media, Seth Eisen celebrates a pantheon of gay performers practically unknown in their own lifetimes. Some of these trailblazing outsiders may ring a bell: disco legend Sylvester, who moved to San Francisco in 1967, for example, and Klaus Nomi, the otherworldly countertenor who brought the 1980s New York City underground to its New Wave knees. Other icons on display, however, may still be news to even the most musically enterprising Northern Californian: Jean Malin, the 30s speakeasy queen; Issan Dorsey, a 50s drag queen who became a Zen abbot; and flaming Brazilian rock star Ney Matogrosso all receive the multimedia tribute theyve got coming. The finale pays tribute to Azis, the bearded, rouged, and gender-bending Bulgarian diva, bringing this tale of brilliant and marginalized vocal artists right up to the Bulgarian here and now.
Nov. 14-23, 8 p.m., 2008