Before It Was Cool

A man skilled in disciplines as varied as butoh, circus arts, visual art, and drag is just the man to depict the powerful voices of seven vastly different queer artists past. Solo performer Seth Eisen’s Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas explores the stories of disco-fabulous Sylvester, hustler-to-Zen-monk Tommy “Issan” Dorsey, German new wave auteur Klaus Nomi, Borscht Belt comedian and rumored gay Danny Kaye, and several others. The evening is facilitated by Eisen as Jean Malin, who created the “pansy craze” of the 1930s, popularizing queer cabaret. Each of his characters lived in an era and culture hostile to their kind, and each found avant-garde ways to be an out and visible exception through their art. Their stories unfold through a mix of media, featuring puppetry, dance, and more. The excellent Brian Freeman of Pomo Afro Homo fame directs these true stories of fierce resilience.
June 24-July 10, 8 p.m., 2010

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