Weekend Roundup: The Gayest Ways to Spend the First Weekend of Fall

There’s a lot going on this first weekend of fall—from the start of FringeArts to LiCK’s latest Vixens & Vagabonds Queer & Kinky Cabaret to gay night at Six Flags Great Adventure. I round up all the notables below:

FRIDAY

Drag performance artist Christeene performs Saturday at the FringeArts building.

Drag performance artist Christeene performs Saturday at the FringeArts building.

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Gay Guide to the 2014 FringeArts Festival

gay fringearts guide

THEATER

Two Street by Tribe of Fools: The newest brainchild of the Philadelphia-based Tribe of Fools, the physical theater company has won critics over with its previous Fringe festival hits Heavy Metal Dance Fag and Antihero. The troupe, which consists of Terry Brennan, Zachary Chiero, Tim Popp and Peter Smith, welcomes Peter Andrew Danzig, Isa St. Clair, and Karina Balfour to the group for the FringeArts Festival take on Shakespeare’s classic tale, updated for queer contemporary audiences. More here. September 4-13, The Church of the Crucifixion, 620 South 8th Street. —Bryan Buttler

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Ladies and Gentlemen … Martha Graham Cracker!

Photograph by Chris Crisman

“Sometimes I feel like Martha’s more well-known than I am — she’s eclipsed me.” Photograph by Chris Crisman

Hard to say what Martha Graham Cracker noticed a few seconds ago as she left the band and the stage and slinked through the crowd. Hard to say why she picked out from the 100 people packed into this blackened room a certain middle-aged white guy in a white button-up shirt, but right now Martha has her legs wrapped around this guy’s neck.

The guy is standing next to a rectangular bar at the back of L’Étage, a nightclub and cabaret off South Street. Martha’s sitting on the bar and leaning back into the bartenders’ space, legs up in the air so that her calves are balanced on the guy’s shoulders, wireless microphone in her right hand. She’s singing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” — like, really singing it, powerfully, seriously, an emotionally naked song about desperation and fear, singing it in her strong, lovely voice, a spotlight piercing the dark and illuminating her face.

And part of the comedy here, part of the reason that all 100 people are laughing and clapping in surprise and delight, is that Martha’s not even looking at the guy who is struggling between her legs. Smiling but struggling as a friend or partner films it on her smartphone. Almost certainly a new experience for the guy, being this close to a drag queen, much less a drag queen like Martha: six-foot-two and hairy-chested, hairy-armed, hairy-legged; not a man trying to pass as a woman but a defiantly unmown lawn of a man in a blond pixie wig and a blue dress and six-inch heels that are now crossed behind the dude’s neck in a hammerlock as Martha’s guitarist and bassist and keyboardist and drummer play the Whitney Houston song and Martha sings:
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FringeArts Announces Festival Bar Entertainment

martha-graham-cracker-thinkfest (1)

One of the best parts about the FringeArts festival is arguably the Festival Bar. I mean come on, with 120-plus shows, you need a place where you can pop a squat, order a cocktail and let your mind rest from taking in all that art—and trust me, some of that stuff can get pretty intense. Plus, it’s nice to have a place to congregate with other theater-goers, to get feedback about what shows you should see, and which ones you should miss.

For the first time in FringeArts history, the bar will take place in its new permanent home—Chef Peter Woolsey’s La Peg, a bar and restaurant in the barely year-old FringeArts building at 140 North Columbus Boulevard. Throughout the course of the three-week festival the bar will host some performances of its own, starting with a bang with the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret on September 5th. That show will feature the hairy, leggy drag queen (pictured) backed for the first time by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Should be quite the show.

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Martha Graham Cracker Heads to Poland

Martha Graham Cracker’s world domination tour continues. It all started last year in New York, where she got rave reviews (and multiple invite-backs) performing at Joe’s Pub. This spring she turned the honky tonks on their heads in Austin, Texas. And now she’s making her biggest leap yet—across the proverbial pond and then some to sing in Lublin, Poland’s experimental arts festival “Confrontations” in October.

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Looking for something else? Visit our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a good rundown of local goings-on through June.

Martha Graham Cracker to Make Her Southern Debut

martha graham cracker thinkfest

New York City critics — and Bill Murray — raved when Martha Graham Cracker made her Big Apple debut last year at Joe’s Pub, but that was kind of easy. New York loves its drag queens — even the ultra tall, very hairy variety. Martha likes a challenge, and that’s why she’s accepted an offer to head [way] below the Mason Dixon to put on her first-ever show in the South.

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7 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week:
B-Boy Blues, Glamsino Royale,
an NSFW Dance Party and More

b-boy blues

B-Boy Blues: The award-winning stage adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novel B-Boy Blues gets its Philly debut at Painted Bride Art Center. The first-of-its-kind gay, hip-hop love story chronicles the lives of queer black men in New York City. The Philly Gay News does a nice writeup about it here. The event — a must-see one-night-only affair — is being produced with the help of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride. Tuesday, February 25, 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.

More to-dos after the jump

TONIGHT: New Weekly Women’s Party Starts at Vanity Nightclub

tongue tied thursdays vanity

Gayborhood lesbian bar Sister’s closed last August, taking with it Philly’s only bar dedicated solely to women who love women. There have been a few female-centric, one-off parties have popped up since — like LickR — and of course we love our Stimulus and Pulse events, but the void is still strongly felt. Maybe this new soiree at Vanity Nightclub will help. Hosted by EDM Nocturnal Philly Radio and Voices Music PeopleTongue Tied Thursdays is a new “women’s and LGBTQ” dance party that will go down every single week. Music at tonight’s launch event will be spun by DJs Steal Yo Girl and Messi Messina. And in the vein of Sister’s, there will be shot girls and go-go dancers. 9 p.m., $5, Vanity Nightclub, 2102 Market St. 

ALSO …

Across town, another lady will be lighting up the night with her signature torch songs and maybe a martini or six. Martha Graham Cracker hits L’etage for her first cabaret of the year. This time around she’ll be joined by “8-piece absurdist soul outfit” Johnny Showcase. Should be a snazzy good time. 8 p.m., $15, L’etage, 624 S. Sixth St. 

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