Apocalipsync is the kind of play you go to when you don’t want to think or worry. You just want to enjoy.

A collaborative effort by House of Laureen, a self-professed drag family, the title is self explanatory. Set in the year 2024 where corporate greed and the political left’s obsession with safe spaces resulted in the apocalypse, the show’s three main queens, Uma Gahd, Dot Dot Dot, and Anaconda LaSabrosa, are trying to salvage what’s left and unite humanity.

When I asked Uma Gahd what message audiences should take away from this play, this was her reply:

“I think just that with what’s happened in Ontario right now, it couldn’t have been better timing for a horrible thing to happen because my character represents the kind of thinking that got people into office. If you look at Doug Ford, he doesn’t have a platform! He didn’t have a projected financial plan or anything but his personality or one little thing that he put up that was just scary enough, got people to vote for him…Watch out for the people who aren’t saying things… Listen to the people who aren’t saying anything and BE WARY!”

Unfortunately the message House of Laureen wanted to convey in the play is a bit lost in all the kitsch and drama, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not everyone wants to see a play that’s too political, and the post-apocalyptic drag costumes and well choreographed lip syncs makes this easier to watch for anyone wanting a break from the abysmally depressing current events in the United States and Canada.

The show’s queens each represent a political viewpoint.

Dot Dot Dot represents the far left, obsessed with recycling human waste via composting toilets, something Dot herself is personally obsessed with. In the play it makes for great comic relief as human waste in this world is highly toxic.

Uma Gahd represents the far right, someone obsessed with human comfort via shelters that actually give you some privacy. As Gahd told me in a post show interview, her character is all about maintaining and her costume was designed to show just that. She’s the only queen who is wearing stiletto heels and a corset throughout the entire play along with a full-length skirt that – by her own admission – she was constantly tripping on.

Anaconda LaSabrosa, a big beautiful bearded queen, represents anarchy. Though her character seems to play dumb, she has the most complex thoughts of any in the play.

The song choices in the play are perhaps the best insights into the characters. Anaconda’s lip sync of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball fits the anarchist platform of political destruction. Uma Gahd’s lip sync of Makeup by Amanda Blank conveys the character’s obsession with maintaining appearances, while Dot Dot Dot’s lip sync of Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves displays the obnoxious optimism of her far-left character.

The show is narrated by Peaches LePage, resplendent in pale makeup, lizard hands, and traffic cone boobs. She adds that extra bit of snark and worldly wisdom while managing to seem politically neutral during her brief appearances.

The play’s main flaw was an issue with sound. It was too loud and pitchy, making the audio of the queens’ thoughts as they sat by a fire a little hard to distinguish from the announcements of the world’s leaders via radio. Hopefully they’ll fix the issue for future performances.

That said, fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race may be a little disappointed with what they see. As Director Noah Gahd and the cast told me, most drag queens cannot afford the thousand-dollar dresses and wigs that you see among the contestants on the show. As Peaches LePage wisely said during the interview:

“If you’re not going into massive amounts of debt, you’re not doing drag,”

The costumes in the play are homemade by the cast and it shows. While they do give that post-apocalyptic feel, they maintain the glamour the genre requires. It’s a demonstration of their DIY skills that they’re all beautiful to look at despite limited budgets.

If you want to have a bit of fun and take a break from all the politics in the air and immerse yourself in a world of glitter and catchy tunes, check out Apocalipsync. It’s fun!

Apocalipsync: Humanity is a Drag has two performances left, tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Tickets available through MontrealFringe.ca

I should say right off the bat that I wasn’t expecting much when I went to see Brave New Productions’ Buyer & Cellar at Montreal Fringe. Though the show was a hit at Montreal Pride last year, the whole idea of a one-man show struck me as egotistical and pretentious. I am very happy to say that this play and its star, Donald Rees, proved me wrong.

The show is about a gay aspiring actor who, having recently been fired from Disneyland in LA, finds himself hired to work as the only clerk in the mock shopping mall of Barbra Streisand’s cellar.

When I asked Rees what audiences should expect, this was his reply:

“Expect to see me sweat and eventually lose my voice. I’m (half) kidding. Buyer & Cellar feels like story time with an old friend. It’s a fast-paced and funny show that mixes an energetic theatrical performance with elements of stand-up comedy.”

And he was right. Amidst show tunes and impressions of Streisand that were at once funny and deferential, there was a delicious amount of charm, snark, and humour. You don’t feel like an audience member at this play, but rather someone who is letting a new friend tell their life story.

The only flaw I could find in the play was with regards to the language. The hero’s boyfriend, Barry, is Jewish, as is Streisand, so there are a lot of Yiddish words that may be lost to audience members unfamiliar with Jews and Ashkenazi slang.

I mean, one could always look the words up on their phones, but using your phone during a theatrical performance is just plain rude. Brave New Productions would be wise to include a Yiddish glossary in the show programs for future performances.

To go further into detail about the show would be to spoil it, and I think that if you love storytelling and aren’t homophobic, you should see this play; it’s delightful. Instead, I’m going to treat you to the chat I had with Donald Rees about the play itself, what brought him to it, and what to expect in the future:

What drew you to this play?

I read the script about five years ago, and even though I knew nothing about Barbra Streisand (for example, I had no idea she removed the middle A from her first name), I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The script itself is wonderful and has elements of stand-up comedy, which I love.

Is it more of a challenge playing a one-man show? What do you feel the differences are as a performer?

I think, between the first run and these encore performances, I’d forgotten just what a challenge the show was. On the one side, in terms of text memorization, it’s an incredible volume to commit to memory.

I won’t lie. Every once in a while the audience cracks me up and I’ll lose my spot. So far, I haven’t had to reach for the script to get back on track, but it’s backstage just in case.

The real challenge is energy. There’s no break. It’s over an hour of my energy mixing with the audiences’ reaction. Near the end, it starts to feel like a marathon.

At the Fringe, the added challenge is our limited time slot, so we have to push the pace a little harder. With that, the challenge is still to make sure that the laughs still land and the emotional parts still have time to sit and resonate.

Why do you think Buyer & Cellar was such a hit last year?

That’s a great question. I know we were up against a show which was basically naked men singing cabaret songs, which clearly has naked men and songs (I’m a big fan of both those things) and then we were up against RuPauls’ Drag Race show (also a fan), but luckily people still came out to see the show.

I think it may come down to the fact that it’s good old-fashioned theatre and that really speaks to people these days. It’s not complicated, it’s not convoluted. It’s also not politically charged, which is maybe refreshing these days.

What do you feel resonates most with audiences?

Laughter feels so good to the soul and this show is filled with moments of laughter. It’s nice to just sit down for story time. In the end, it’s so wonderfully written, and brings up some wonderful themes we can all relate to.

The play addresses issues of employment, the price of fame and more. What do you think the most important issue addressed in the play is?

Barbra has a lot of stuff. Who doesn’t? But what happens when you start to value stuff more than people? Without revealing too much about the ending, it really comes down a loving reminder to appreciate the people who matter in our lives.

Will the play run only during Fringe, or do you anticipate appearing at Pride 2018 as well?

For now, the plan is for this to be the final run. When it comes to comedies, I’d rather do less performances with fuller audiences, not for any reason other than people feel more comfortable laughing at a busy show, so it’s a win-win for all.

But I’m excited to tell you that we are preparing something very special for Pride this year. We had such a great experience with Fierté in 2017. This year we are returning with the Canadian Premiere of Gently Down The Stream by Martin Sherman.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a show. It’s a powerful piece of theatre that explores LGBTQ history, but has this beautiful hope and energy to it. The performances are astounding and humbling to me. We’ll be sharing more details about that after the run of Buyer & Cellar.

* Buyer & Cellar runs until June 16th as part of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. Tickets available through MontrealFringe.ca

If there’s one play that truly embodies the spirit of diversity and creativity of the Montreal Fringe Festival, Glam Gam Productions‘ Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story is it. If you’re open minded and want to laugh yourself silly, this play is a sure bet.

Greasy is not for everyone.

If you’re a prude who takes offense to nudity and simulated sex acts, don’t come to this play. If you’re homophobic, do not come to this play. If the idea of people being open and free about their sexuality makes you angry, do not come to this play. If you’re the type to have a social media tantrum about a few Catholic school jokes, stay away.

Inspired by the musical play Grease, Greasy is a racier, raunchier, funnier, gayer spoof with all the right jokes in all the right places.

The play starts with Winter, a cute blonde lesbian played by Magenta Haze, whom nine months earlier had rolled around in the snow with Dani, played by the amazing Phoenix Wood. Like in the original play, the sweet naïve Winter finds herself at the same all-girl Catholic high school with her old flame, who shrugs her off to impress her clique of butch dykes.

Many of the character names in the play are riffs on the names in the original. Rizzo becomes Jizzo, Danny Zuko becomes Dani Fuko, Kennickie becomes Kink-Nikki, and the Pink Ladies become the Pink Tacos.

This play is a treat because no topic is off limits. Queer identity, drag culture, gender roles, polyamory, and even mental illness, academic stress, and school debt are all addressed in the piece. What particularly sets Greasy apart from the original, however, is how thoroughly the other characters are developed.

The original Grease revolved around the romance between Danny Zuko and Sandy, giving it an almost nauseatingly sentimental note while leaving the other characters’ storylines superficial. In Greasy all the characters are given a voice and a story to tell, whether it’s Frenchie’s struggles to get into med school, Jizzo’s conflicted sexuality and her romance with Kink-Nikki, or Rummy and Slutzy – played by the hilarious Booze Crotch and her puppet Slutzy – and their struggles with mental illness and love for Tarty.

Even gay male identity is addressed through the play’s two drag queens, Cha Cha and Ta Ta, played by the beautiful Lez Izmohr and Spoopy Patootie, respectively. We also get this through Prince LaFontaine, played by Micheal J. McCarthy, whose outfits consisting of the tackiest suits I’ve ever seen, trumped even the most beautiful drag costumes in the play.

The show has the added benefit of promoting body positivity via its numerous burlesque performances. Few in the play fit the Hollywood ideal of an anorexically thin body and big boobs, but all who took their clothes off for the audience made it sexy through artful shimmies and shakes and the sensuous removal of their outer costumes revealing glittery pasties and thongs.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you may want to give this play a shot. All the singers and band members are talented and never miss a beat even when the venue’s sound system screws up.

This play shocked me in many ways, but awed me in more. If you want to laugh and cheer and dance in your seat, check out Greasy. It’s worth it.

* Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story runs until June 16 as part of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. Tickets available through MontrealFringe.ca

* Featured image via GlamGam.com

Montreal Fringe is one of those events that truly has something for every theatre go-er. You like burlesque? They have shows for that. You love drag queens and drag kings? There are shows for that too. You want drama? Comedy? Something different? Fringe has got you covered. If you’re willing to look, you’re bound to find many diamonds in the rough.

The Montreal Fringe Festival prides itself on creativity, diversity, and accessibility so even the shows that producers consider unsellable get a shot at stardom by having a chance to take the festival stage. One of the best ways to sample local talent is to take in the Fringe for All event that happens the first night of every festival.

For up to two minutes, all the local performers get a shot at enticing attendees to come to their plays. It’s a slog, but for your stamina you see a lot of gems hidden among snippets that confirm people’s worst prejudices about independent theatre – that it’s pretentious, artsy, and consisting of symbolism lost on even the university educated.

I’m not going to bore you with those. Having witnessed bits of shows that look REALLY good, I’m going tell you MY picks for Montreal Fringe 2018:

Apocalipsync : Humanity Is a Drag

I should admit right off that bat that I LOVE drag, so the show intrigued me before I saw their bit. When they took the stage I was not disappointed. Their lip sync and choreography was immaculate as was the glam the genre requires.

The premise of the show is that – “CONSERVATIVES REJOICE!” – the left ended the world and the “Social Justice Road Warriors” played by drag queens Uma Gahd, Dot Dot Dot, and Anaconda are searching for humanity’s salvation. If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you NEED to see this show.

Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story

True to the title, the show is riff on the classic musical play Grease but with a much naughtier touch. There isn’t just dancing, there’s riveting burlesque performances proving that you don’t need to be a busty toothpick to be sexy.

Also, this is the latest offering from Glam Gam Productions who produced Peter Pansexual, which set Montreal Fringe box office records last year and a group we at FTB have been following for a while.

Mid Knight

Mid Knight is a modern fairy tale about what would happen to Little (Prince) Charming if his parents got divorced. The snippet I saw featured a piñata with the word “childhood” on it getting smashed to bits by the show’s prince with a blunt sword. The audience got any candy that came out. It’s an interesting approach to the classic fairy tale that’s timely given the renewed public interest in medieval themes due to shows like Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time.

CLIO: Puppets, Not Patriarchy

If you’re a heterosexual male who doesn’t believe in making sure your sex partners are satisfied in bed, this isn’t the show for you. It’s a puppet show about Clio, a clitoris on a journey of self discovery to find out what she is capable of, thus becoming “cliterate”.

The snippet I saw was funny and sweet so while I don’t typically go for shows about one body part, this looks intriguing, if only to marvel at how the puppeteer keeps a straight face through the performance.

What the Hell Happened to My Patio Furniture?!

I’m not normally a fan of one-man shows, but Joshua Budman’s two-minute performance in which he wonders how his patio chairs disappeared from his sixteenth-floor balcony to the song Dust in the Wind had me laughing so hard it looks like a sure thing.

#ashtag

This is an interactive show in which audience members are invited to participate using their cell-phones. It’s a format I’ve never seen before in theatre and it featured a male and female actor with perfectly synchronised dialogue. It’s worth checking out if you like high tech audience participation

Mme Brulé

Mme Brulé starring Evelyne Laniel is a French language play that embodies the frustrations of formerly idealist teachers everywhere. The snippet I saw was hilarious and heartwarming, making me want to laugh and cheer. If you have any teachers in your life, bring them to this show.

Drunk Live Reading: Bridesmaids

If you were a fan of the film, you need to check this out. Featuring Montreal’s own Cat Lemieux who co-hosted the Fringe for All with Kenny Streule and Dayane Nbaritukure, all proceeds of the event go to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Not only is that an amazing cause, but Lemieux’s snippet channeled Melissa McCarthy and the late Chris Farley in way that was hilarious and riveting, making this show a sure bet.

Les Aventures d’Humphrey Beauregret

Philippe Gobeille’s one-man puppet show surprised me. His puppet “Humphrey Beauregret” is a 1940s style P.I. reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart’s classic roles. Not only does the character tell stories, he sings songs such as Unbreak My Heart and All By Myself channeling the trope’s loneliness and taking it to amusing extremes. It was riveting and funny and a good sample of what’s to come in his show.

Montreal Fringe is on from May 28th to June 17th. As festival spokesperson and Fringe veteran Véronique Raymond declared in her opening speech: “It’s the only time when Francophone and Anglophone artists share the same stage.”

Check it out. It’s worth it.

The full schedule is at MontrealFringe.ca and look for our reviews over the next few weeks

If you like unique original art and unique takes of the well-established classics, there is plenty to check out this week (this weekend in particular) in Montreal. So let’s get started:

Doris: the art show

Montreal-based performer and art maker Jessica Rae is hosting a one-day immersive art show set in a trash-kitsch dream world inspired by her grandmother.

The event will feature hand sculptures, mobile art and x-mas tree decorations which you can purchase. The chips, soda, jelly rolls and wine, though, are free!

Consult the Facebook event page for more info.

Doris: the art show takes place Saturday, December 9 from 2pm – 7pm at 3655 boul St-Laurent, #205, all ages welcome

The Film Society’s 25th Anniversary Surprise Screening

You may have seen or at least heard of a Montreal company presenting silent films with live musical accompaniment. That was Le Cinéclub de Montréal or The Film Society of Montreal and they’ve been in operation for 25 years.

To celebrate that milestone, they’re holding a surprise free screening this Saturday. By surprise, we mean that we don’t know what film will be screened, though you can bet it will be a classic and there will be something unique to the Film Society happening either before, after or alongside it.

Le Cinéclub de Montréal / The Film Society of Montreal’s 25th Anniversary Surprise Screening is Saturday, December 9th at 6:30pm at Cinema de Sève in Concordia’s Webster Library (LB), 1400 de Maisonneuve Ouest

Geordie Productions’ A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ holiday classic A Christmas Carol has been adapted for the stage and screen so many times, it’s really difficult to come up with a unique take on it. Montreal’s Geordie Productions, though, has, in more ways than one.

They’ve cast lawyers, judges and other leaders in Montreal’s legal and business communities as actors. Quebec Superior Court Justice the Honourable Pepita G. Capriolo plays Ebenezia Scrooge, so yes, Scrooge is also a woman in this production.

There are only a few shows and each one includes a cocktail hour and silent auction. This holiday tradition is a fundraiser to allow Geordie to continue to function and bring its plays to schools year-round.

A Christmas Carol presented by Geordie Productions runs Friday, December 8th at 7pm and Saturday, December 9th at 2pm and 7pm at the D.B. Clarke Theatre, Concordia University Hall Building, 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest, tickets are $25 and available through geordie.ca

* Featured image courtesy The Film Society of Montreal

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Twinkle, twinkle little plastic shards, how I wonder how many of you there are?

I have always defended glitter when someone called it herpes! I have always been the person who outshines everyone by bathing in gazillions of tiny little sparkles. I am an asshole, a shiny, shiny turd.

This is not something I am proud of in retrospect. There have been times that I literally wore only glitter, then it seemed glorious, now I feel every speck cutting the throats of children drinking a glass of water, digesting in the bellies of my friends and family, and balling up in the ocean.

I am embarrassed by the amount of glitter pollution I alone have caused, let alone all of the glitter dripping sparkletastic burlesque dancers out there. The aftermath of one of my shows sent millions of microscopic pieces of glimmering plastic down the drain and into the water supply and tainting the food chain for years to come.

This must stop! I challenge all of you, every dancer and party girl, every gay activist that wants to glitter bomb a nazi or fascist politician, every drag queen with eyes on fleek, and everyone with little kids who are about to make holiday crafts: JUST SAY NO TO GLITTER!

The planet cannot suffer for fashion. My shine is NOT more important than the Earth and either is yours. It is so fucked up and sad how much plastic is out there because of vanity.

In every single sip of water we drink there are solar systems worth of micro particles that are too small for any filter. It’s horrifying! When I think of that the choice is easy to ban glitter. My hot scientist partner tells me I shine without it, I don’t need the synthetic brilliance. She inspires me to do better.

The NY Times recently posted an article about banning glitter. We cannot filter out this problem! Scientists studied the effects of plastic in the great lakes and had a huge part in the ban on plastic microbeads. I can’t imagine how much glitter and micro toxins I have ingested while wearing glitter on my lips. Cosmetic glitter is crazy and unnecessarily in a lot of products.

Artist Lara Buckley’s current show Alters of Erie is a lifelong collection of found discarded trash and natural materials mixed together harmoniously. It is currently up at the BOX Gallery in Buffalo NY.

Beauty in the decay. It looks like entire decorated Christmas trees and holiday wreaths from a distance and then you look close to see that it is just perfectly arranged garbage, fish heads on baby doll bodies with plastic rhinestone eyes, invasive plants also fill the room, discarded rubbish on a pedestal, hanging all around the gallery, floating and dancing, things that the world forgot now have new life as eye opening art.

Found pieces of man made bullshit that are polluting our world can be free art supplies. It is also incredible to pick up all of the straws, broken toys, streamers, and other broken bits from the ground and water. We can all get together, pick up rubbish, and make our Earth cleaner while making cool art in the process.

As an artist I need to be more sustainable. Every single painting I have ever painted has glitter on it. I was obsessed. But like anything, once you realized something is wrong abort immediately. Once you know about something and continue doing it even though you know it iss wrong, then you are the problem! You can’t play ignorant. People can grow and change, we call it evolution.

I have so much back stock of glitter I think I want to put it all in resin so it never has the chance to escape into this world. Make one final piece to immortalize the horrific craft herpes that I have loved for so long and now despise.

I never thought glitter would make me cry. It is not a harmless craft supply or fun makeup, it is pure evil in masquerade.

Ending this plastic nightmare is important for the sustainability of this beautiful planet. Plastics do not make it possible! Plastic is toxic and it is not fully known what the last 100 years of exposure have truly done to us.

Humans are killing the Earth at a astounding rate, climate change is real, so many animals are becoming extinct, and yet that little piece of glitter will still be here for the next 100 years no matter what.

I am going to fully make the change to non toxic biodegradable glitter. It is sold on Etsy and other places in the internet like Ecostardust, but I bet it is mad easy to make.

That way I can have my twinkle and be kind to mother earth too! Yay! It’s a win win.

All that glitters is not necessarily good. We have to take every step to make things safer and healthier, our health and the future of our world depend on it.

First we ban glitter, then who knows! Let’s learn from our mistakes and get better for it! Break the tradition and start new sustainable trends. Let’s all become eco friendly sparkle warriors!

This week, we’re stretching the classic definition of show at least a couple of times, but for good reason as you will see. So here are this week’s picks for Montreal arts shows:

Keep the Beat Launch

This one is more of a campaign rollout than a show, though there will be readings by actors Jacqueline Laurent-Auger and Denis-Martin Chabot. The main reason we’re including it is because Maison Plein Coeur, an organization that helps people living with HIV/AIDS, is fighting to stay open after losing its federal funding.

As today is World AIDS Day, it is an appropriate time as any for them to launch their Keep the Beat campaign. You can find out more at tonight’s event.

The Keep the Beat Launch is Friday, December 1st from 7-9pm at Maison Plein Coeur, 1611 Dorion. The event is free, but please RSVP via EventBrite

Bareoke

While this one is definitely a show, it’s the audience that bring the entertainment. It’s a strip karaoke show brought to you by local raunchy theatrical burlesque troupe Glam Gam Productions and they’ve been doing it the first Saturday of every month for a few years now.

So what exactly does strip karaoke involve? Well, people sign up and go on stage to sing just like in regular karaoke but are free to remove as much or as little clothing as they want. Glam Gam always provides a safe space. More details can be found on the Facebook event page.

Bareoke is Saturday, December 2nd, from 10pm-3am at Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul St-Laurent (2nd floor). $5 at the door

Cryote

This one definitely is a show, an art show. You’ve probably seen some of Cryote’s commissioned street art around town and now you have a chance to see what he can do in the more traditional milieu of painting, and if you want, take some of it home with you.

His style is surrealist and generally features animals and pastel colours.

Cryote’s art show vernissage is Friday, December 1st, from 6pm to midnight and will also be viewable Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11am to 8pm at 87 Mont-Royal Ouest. BYOB and art will be for sale

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

It’s that time once again! Time to find out just some of what’s happening artistically this coming weekend and next week in Montreal. Two of the shows are happening tonight, so let’s get started:

Hunting Moon

It seems like community theatre is alive and well in NDG. This weekend and next, Theatre NDG is presenting a new one-act comedy by local playwright Ryan Madden called Hunting Moon featuring a cast of local actors.

According to the description, it’s all about love: being in it, being burned by it and being hopeful about it. Seeing as pretty much everyone can relate to at least one of those states, it’s sure to speak to the audience.

Hunting Moon presented by Theatre NDG continues November 24th and 30th, December 1st and 2nd at 8pm with a matinee December 2nd at 2pm. Loyola Chapel, 7141 Sherbrooke Ouest. Tickets are $10  and available through Eventbrite

ArtJam Vol. 15

ArtJam is a monthly multidisciplinary arts party put together by Good Vibe People and streamed live by Nomad. According to the promo material, they shoot for an atmosphere that is more social than a typical arts show or concert.

Tonight’s event features art by DUVAL Art, Michèle Laflèche, Kasimp Productions and others. Music will be courtesy of Afro-Soul artist Tina Ford, folk-alternative musician Vikki Gilmore, indie rockers Made Men and more.

ArtJam Vol. 15, November 24, 8pm, NomadLive, 129 Van Horne. Tickets are $10 (including a drink) and entrance is free for members only before 9pm

Collage Workshop with girlplague

Ever wanted to learn how to collage? Local collage artist (and FTB contributor) girlplague is offering a two hour workshop on the art form. She will show cutting and application techniques, differences in adhesives, basic composition and more.

girlplague has over ten years’ worth of experience in the genre and her work has been shown in galleries worldwide.

Collage Workshop with girlplague, November 30, 6-8pm, 3487 rue Peel. Tickets are $25 and available through Elysium

* Featured image courtesy of girlplague

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Now that it’s beginning to feel a bit more like winter, it’s time to enjoy some of the indoor arts Montreal has to offer. We’ve got a couple of great suggestions this week, one from the world of burlesque and a documentary film. We will be back with a larger list next Friday. So let’s get started!

Candyass Cabaret: Stumped in the City

While Montrealers decided to push out the old and bring in the new in our recent municipal election, there still are plenty of reminders of what the now previous administration did all around town.

With fake granite tree stumps still on the Mountain and traffic cones on our streets, the monthly Candyass Cabaret burlesque show had more than enough inspiration to frame their show tonight as Stumped in the City. Can you make fiscal mismanagement sexy? Apparently, the answer is yes!

Billed as an “off-mtl375 cabaret” the show is hosted by Jimmy Phule and features performances by Miss Curvy Beauty from France, Nat King Pole, Roxy Hardon, Classy Clare, Tania the Mexican Mime, James Douglas and many more!

Candyass Cabaret presents Stumped in the City, Friday, November 17, 10pm (doors 9pm), Café Cléopatra, 1230 boul St-Laurent (2nd floor)

Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution

On Monday, Cinema Politica and MediaQueer are presenting the Montreal premier of Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution. This film from director Yony Leyser follows the rise of the queercore movement, which was originally intended to “punk the punk scene” but turned into a movement of “artists who used radical queer identity to push back equally against gay assimilation and homophobic punk culture.”

G. B. Jones’ The Troublemakers, a doc which takes a look at the queer movement in Toronto, will kick off the evening and the cult icon herself will be in attendance.

Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution Montreal Premier at Cinema Politica, Monday, November 20, 7pm, Concordia University, Room H-110, 1455 Blvd de Maisonneuve West

* Featured image from the Candyass Cabaret by Argaive

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Rocky Horror celebrations are a staple of Halloween festivities in Montreal. Revolving around the musical play, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show and its film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, every year hundreds of people fasten their garter belts to dance the Time Warp again!

There are generally two Rocky Horror Shows in this town.

There’s the Halloween Ball at the Imperial Theatre on Bleury, which features a costume contest, a screening of the film, actors miming the film on stage – with a few amusing ad libs – and audience participation complete with props and call lines. The other show is the play: Richard O’Brien’s musical playing at the Mainline theatre on St Laurent.

It was the latter show that I had the privilege of enjoying this year. Those who have been to the Halloween Ball but not Mainline’s play are doing themselves a disservice as it is truly something.

The Mainline production features actors that do more than mime. The cast is doing all the singing and dancing and speaking of lines. The only audience participation is the yelling of call lines, something the production openly encourages. The actors give as good as they get from hecklers without missing their stride.

There is no throwing of rice or toilet paper, and no one will squirt you with water. The band is live and the “phantoms” who act as backup singers, dancers, and extras, are clearly all skilled performers.

I was at The Rocky Horror Show this past Saturday night and I was not disappointed. The cast was top notch as ever, the music spectacular, and the ambiance was not that of a play so much as that of avid listeners watching the lively telling of a very fun story.

Elyann Quessy reprised her role this year as Janet, the innocent, newly-engaged virgin who gets corrupted over the course of the play. Her pipes were impressive as ever while maintaining the squeak and squeal her character required. Despite the teal hair suggestive of a more rebellious nature in the actress, she was convincing as the innocent girl seduced.

Adrian MacDonald played her fiancé, Brad, replacing Anthony Schuller of last year’s performance. A regular attendee of Montreal’s Rocky Horror celebrations, I have very particular expectations when it comes to Brad. The Brad I know is a fumbling virginal dork trying to assert the aggressive masculinity he doesn’t have.

MacDonald is a great singer and he can clearly do comedy, but he was too masculine for the part. Rather than a fumbling dork, he came off as an irate but otherwise average guy. Here’s hoping he finds his inner geek and hams it up a little more in future performances.

Franco De Crescentis’ Riff Raff is a sight to behold. He was in the play last year, and in the role he manages to surpass the play’s creator, Richard O’Brien, who played Riff Raff in the film. Riff Raff is an Igor-like butler, but in most portrayals he’s just creepy. De Crescentis gives the character a sexy intensity you do not expect from the character, and it works.

Sarah Kulaga-Yoskovitz reprises her role this year as Magenta. As she did last year, she opened the play by singing Science Fiction Double Feature with one of the phantoms, and Kulaga-Yoskovitz can sing. Magenta’s Eastern European accent was consistent throughout the play as was her chemistry with Riff Raff.

Cassandra Bluethner played Columbia, replacing last year’s Maxine Segalowitz. Segalowitz is a tough act to follow and unfortunately Bluethner’s portrayal didn’t do it for me. Columbia is a groupie and in my experience she’s supposed to be feisty and almost childlike. This year’s portrayal reminded me more of a petulant teenager in that “I hate everybody” phase. Her dancing and singing were good, but I wanted more from the character.

Kenny Streule played the Narrator, whom die-hard Rocky fans will know as the Criminologist. His bits are some of the most heavily heckled, and Streule handled it well despite the fact that English is clearly not his first language.

Not sure whether his costume changes between bits were his idea or that of Director Amy Blackmore, but it did help keep the audience on their toes.

Sam Boucher’s Rocky was good, but once again I found myself wishing to see a portrayal that was a lot more physical.

Dr Scott and Eddie were played by Kenny Stein, who also played the roles last year. His Eddie is always good, but his Dr Scott was even better than last year, channeling Dr. Strangelove in his performance. It’s an addition to the character that makes perfect sense, and Stein does it well.

I’ve saved my review of Frank n’ Furter for last because the character is so important to the film and play. Stephanie McKenna is playing the part again this year and she is great, proving that a woman can play Frank as well as any man. Her replies to heckles were seamless and her physicality was indicative of an above average strength and agility that made her performance acrobatic in all the right ways. The one thing that was disappointing about Frank had to do with wardrobe and makeup.

The Frank n’ Furter I know and love wears loud makeup and costumes reminiscent of 70s and 80s glam rock. Frank’s costumes this year were more conservative and the makeup was lacking the garish androgyny of his signature style. It is McKenna’s sass and strength that saved the character from its otherwise boring look.

The band was amazing and Katharine Paradis on saxophone gave the music a more gritty sound suited to the show’s sexual content. The choreography of Amy Blackmore, Holly Greco, Patrick Lloyd Brennan, and Jessica Rae was almost flawless and the phantoms’ execution of it was a sight to behold.

If you don’t like musicals, heckling, or sexual content that embraces all orientations, stay away. If you’re an open minded soul who can behave at a play, see this show. It’s worth it.

The Mainline Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show – Live Montreal Musical is happening from October 19 to 31. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Seniors, students, and members of the Quebec Drama Federation pay less. For more info and tickets go to mainlinetheatre.ca

It was like being at a playground with no bullies, an island where the mean kids were eaten by the piranhas in the mote. Human centipedes and oversized drag queens ran wild, smiling half naked fat people covered in glitter howling at the moon, everyone was queer, penises had goggly eyes, dildos were flying free, dog shit was on the menu, size 13 heels digging into the dirt as we followed a trail of Tiki torches, whip it remains, discarded wigs, and plastic pink flamingos towards true freedom, the safest safe space, a revolution, true freaks united to exist in a place of pure bliss. Welcome to Camp John Waters.

I drove to Kent, Connecticut from Buffalo NY, stopping to steal a kiss at 4:20 and send my roomie/bestie/ride or die/ down AF off to the NY Burlesque Festival for the weekend (because YES, Camp JW is even more important than THAT).

I remember months ago a few of my friends shared a link about the camp and I knew right away that I needed to be here. Born to wander solitary, I love going places alone, you never know what you will get into or who you will connect with.

I had my costumes ready months ago, we did a show at The Buffalo Infringement Festival called Don’t Go Chasing John Waterfalls. It was a tribute to John Waters.

All of my costumes were shoved into black trash bags and thrown into my HHR. This weekend was going to be the biggest audition of my life! When I read the description I imagined Divine on a zipline, Edith Massey on water-skis, or Mink stole with a flaming bow and arrow. I couldn’t wait to do boondoggle with weirdos and tell sexual horror stories around the campfire.

My first look was strong. I considered breaking it out for the costume contest but am glad I chose how I did. I wore the perfect Aunt Ida black jumpsuit. A thriftstore find, I remember putting it on excitedly after finding it on the pajama rack without panties on.

Labia to the crotch of the most perfect vinyl 90’s fetish wear, that was DEFINITELY worn. I inadvertently had sex with that person’s old crusty juices. The dust of ancient crabs couldn’t keep this perfect item of clothing off of me.

That is the kind of commitment I have to a life of true filth. Filth is my life, filth is my politics, filth is freedom and revolution.

I strutted toward dinner, this was a party that everyone arrived late to. The tent felt like a wedding, I sat alone, and then was joined by beautiful people, who would quickly all become my trashmates.

I watched John Waters eat. That felt strangely stalkery, so I then just shoved bread dipped in red lipstick and glitter in my mouth and looked everywhere else. People lined up to talk to him while he was eating. AMATEURS, I thought.

He told us some camp stories, motivated us all to be a little more political, inspired some circle jerks, and made me happy that I came. Where will I be at 71? John Waters has done it, and still fucking does it!

Bad taste is my fetish. That dream lit tent was overflowing with creative juices (and other juices too I am sure). Everyone was sensational, it was a totally empowering celebration.

The meet and greet was incredible, but strangely anti-climatic since I knew my real chance to shine was the costume contest. John asked me if my name was spelled with a C or a K, I told him C but that I would literally change my name if he spelled it the other way. Then he asked me if my mom was a stripper or a hippy. I said both, naturally. My polyester floral dress looked perfect next to his blue toned blazer.

Quickly drunk off of my new friends’ wristbands and whatever the drug fairy was handing out. The music was awkward at times, but the Camp Getaway staff made up for it!

Bluto was our jolly host, he partied harder than all of us. His wonky Edna Turnblad tits were on point. Color wars involved team building exercised like bouncing on a horse, tossing water balloons, and breaking balloons with a pelvic thrust. Team red baby, I bounced us to victory that round. Lunch with Pissy was brilliant, I fucking loved her blue sequins, crowd humping, and flawless mashups.

Except for this DJ. He didn’t get it. This was his reaction while I ate shit on stage. His fucking face is all the justification I need. Shocking, disturbing, out of control, yet still artful and smart.

Beautiful women with boners, vagina dentata, ALL OF THE LEOPARD, sky high drag queens with rubber tits and wigs that touch the ceiling, dykes with frizzed mullets, hand painted shirts, pencil thin mustaches, and pubic hair galore! I even saw a real live tea bagging!

I hear there was a blow job contest too! Does anyone know who won it? Was it in our dreams? Can we also talk about how spot on The Corny Collins Show in the boathouse was? It was perfectly decorated. The staff looked straight out of the 60’s. Integration for all!

They told us to just say our name and who our character was. I could not do that. This is my stage and I have layers on. I was right after the trash can. I ferociously grabbed the mic, put my gun in the air, and screamed KILL EVERYONE EAT SHIT I AM DIVINE!

Then I ripped off my perfect red sequin fishtail dress to reveal white fringe, and lifted the stuffed dog I was carrying, squeezed it, and as the “shit” plopped onto my face I knew that I had achieved my goal. As I bent over to reveal my giant skid mark I could hear him laugh and the crowd roared. I stormed off stage. History was made.

When he announced the winners I was ready. Third place was the best Hatchet Face, he was so good! The makeup, the movements, orgasmic! Then Number 2… THE STRIPPER THAT ATE SHIT! He commended me on giving a whole act.

The 1st place winner was the most spot on Aunt Ida in white, with the bloody hook hand and perfect hair. She looked like Edie back from beyond the grave. He ended with FUCK YOU MISS AMERICA!

Fuck yes! It was such an incredible moment a lifetime in the making. However, it had to end quicker than I wanted. I had to take a horrible shit the entire time I was on stage.

My biggest fear is that my chocolate stain would be an actual dihaerra stain dripping out of my tighty whities. I pooped myself in a Dollar General once while wearing a dress. Luckily it was a long dress and I got out of there before anyone saw.

This was not going to be one of those days. I rushed by my idol to go explode in the shitter. It could not have been more appropriate. In the end, it was all for a lousy t-shirt. That was what I officially won.

I want to call out all of the incredible people I met and experienced, but the list is too long.  A man painted a landscape with his cock and also fucked a stuffed chicken during the costume contest! Thank you, sir.

There were so many wonderful costumes, everyone was truly a star! So many quick changes, every meal was a new look. I was honored to be there.

I also won an audience with the Pope of Trash himself. I am a memory in his mind, hopefully a highlight from his inaugural camp. I knew very well that I really didn’t look like Divine, but I am a method actor like he was. I am an only child weirdo turned glamour queen.

My life changed when I first saw Hairspray and Pink Flamingos. I finally knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up” or whatever you want to call it . My color scheme was set.

I was obsessed with drag queens and all things subversive as a child. It was a definite sign of things to come. I was never afraid to be myself. Just like this night, I had only just begun.

We lingered outside for a long time after the party ended. My new friends sang and I did an impromptu burlesque number down to bare nips. The lights went out, then the real party began deep in the woods (just kidding it was like the first cabin)… it was MORTVILLE!

Our Queen made us all put our clothes on backwards and drink illegal liquor. There soon was a giant Plush Papa Smurf and Moose, that really spiced things up. The goggly eyes from my nipples ended up on the tip of a cigarette smoking dick. At one point there was a sphincter twirling the hypnotist wheel.

Debachery levels were high and so were we. There was so much sequins and lack of fucks. I could live in that time and place.

The Glam Gam gang from Montreal gets my vote for the Filthiest Campers! Especially my bizarro sibling, Michael J. McCarthy. Until this weekend, these wonderful creatures were just something I had seen on the internet.

I wrote a piece about their Odorama show at Cafe Cleo last year and fate brought us together. I can’t wait to perform with them in the future, look out for my triumphant return to Montreal!

I hated to go to sleep, but I had a burlesque class to teach in the morning. Wait, WHAT? How did that happen? I was in the right place at the right time. They had advertised burlesque and the instructor bailed. I jumped at the chance to teach TRASHLESQE right after a late breakfast to a bunch of hungover John Waters fans, my people.

I started off with some Divine into Iggy Pop I Wanna Be Your Dog. During the number I took a jar of chunky peanut butter out of my underoos. That was obviously homage to when Iggy Pop smeared peanut butter all over himself and his fans at a live concert. I saw Iggy for the first time this summer at Burger Boogaloo.

When I was done with my performance I asked if anyone wanted to clean off my cock. Nobody jumped at the chance. I was disappointed to say the least. Nobody lived up to my standard of filth that morning. I then proceeded to take two pieces of bread, wipe of the dick, and made me a sammich.

I then told the class to all remove their shirts and gave them a golden shower (glitter of course). LOVE YOUR BODY… touch yourself like you want to fuck yourself, own your sexuality, flaunt your flaws because they are perfection.

I asked people what they wanted their burlesque name to be, danced with them, and taught a few peeps how to spin tassels (it’s all in the knees). Burlesque is for everyone, just like the whole weekend in general. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, young or old, male/female/trans/non binary, you have the freedom to express yourself and people will feed off of your positive energy.

Treating life as a stage will transform you to new states of being! You are powerful. Confidence kills all fear. THERE ARE NO BULLIES HERE!

Oh, Camp John Waters, how I loved you so. I was a lifeguard for awhile, floating on the giant inflatable flamingo  with my mullet, magnum condoms in my sweatband, just keeping people safe.

Sadly I am still too big for the zip line (250lb weight limit). Bloody Mary Bingo and Cards Against Humanity for the win.

Next year how about Divine and wine paint party? Make merkins and pasties? Adult balloon animals? Porn collages? Drag makeup workshops?

Yoga should be called Learn how to suck your own cock, Zumba should be called MILF Bod 101, booze should be served 24 hours, the bonfire should be a giant lobster effigy, and the end, there needs to be a Dirty Dancing-style talent show so all of the spectacular weirdos can strut their stuff and show the world that we are unstoppable.

I don’t have the heart to unpack. My car is still full of costumes and there is still crusty peanut butter on my pretty pink strap-on.

It is impossible to come down from such an incredible high. I met my idol AND impressed him. What next?

All I know is that I will be there next year! I am already signed up to perform and teach another Trashlesque class. Dreams to come true!

See you next year campers, I love you all. Stay trashy.

Even though the past few days have felt more like a second burst of summer (hope you’re enjoying it), we are in September and the fall is approaching. The good news is that we’re starting up our Shows This Week columns again.

This week, music shows in Montreal are centered around POP Montreal, so that column will be back after the festival. There are plenty of other arts shows you can check out this week in Montreal, so let’s get started with Montreal Arts Shows This Week:

Candyass Cabaret: Summer in the City

One group clearly wants to bring what we have been experiencing outside indoors. The Candyass Cabaret kicks off its fall season, which runs the third Friday of every month, with a tribute to summer.

Jimmy Phule is back as emcee and the show features burlesque, musical and other types of performances. Candyass regulars Salty Margarita, Diane Labelle and Nat King Pole are back, plus the evening will feature the triumphant return of Tania the Mexican Mime and much more.

Candyass Cabaret: Summer in the City runs Friday, September 15 at 10pm (doors 9pm) at Cabaret Cleo, 1230 boul St-Laurent (2nd floor). Tickets are $10

Mile End Studio Tour

Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood is home to quite a few artists and their studios. Now, for the weekend, many of those artistic work spaces are open to the public as part of the second annual Mile End Studio Tour. You can visit the studios of painters, fashion designers, ceramists, visual effects artists and more.

Mile End Studio Tour runs September 16 and 17. A full list of participating studios can be found on their Facebook event page

Alienation

If this column had returned last week, we would have included the Alienation Vernissage at Usine 106U. If you missed it, though, you can still see this exhibit featuring a slew of local artists, including FTB’s own Legal Columnist Samantha Gold (and even stick a pin in her Trump Voodoo Doll pictured above) for the rest of the month.

Alienation at Usine 106U, 106 Roy Est. Find out about all the artists on the Facebook event page

 

* Featured image of Samantha Gold’s “Pussygrabber” Doll by John Lanthier via Facebook

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

The 13th Annual Buffalo Infringement Festival has come to an end, I survived. All of my dreams came true (especially the wet ones).

In 11 days I made quite a few costume changes, lost my mind and found it, and saw some of the most incredible art I have ever experienced in my life. I won this year’s poster contest, so it was extra special.

Thank you Montreal for giving us the Infringement Festival! I was a naked caterpillar riding my trike wearing nothing but glitter and a smile for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and World Naked Bike Ride, Marie Antoinette me was part of a nude cake fight and fetish party for Wet Dreamland where hotties suckled at my frosting spewing teets, my porn collages and newest paintings hung proudly.

I was Dazzlingly Inappropriate. I read a story based on my drawing that will eventually be a children’s book collaboration. I spun rainbow ribbons in a garden. I was a purple sparkley unicorn and Bob Ross in the same day. My rainbow butterfly wings were my day look. Oh, and no big deal but my best friend dressed up like a dog and shit in my mouth as I was Divine for our tribute to John Waters, then my dick was a monster and I was a mud shark girl for a Frank Zappa tribute to end the festival.

It was a wild wild wild ride. I am so honored to be part of this festival. My life is better because of it. I have a chance to truly be ME and express whatever weirdness lies within.

To be uncensored and completely free is priceless. I am already planning for next year! A whirlwind of every kind of art imaginable takes hold of my spirit.

Infringe everyday!

 

Howie Mandel’s gala hosting abilities are stronger than most. You can tell he’s a seasoned performer who has been on television for years. Perhaps it’s from having done Deal or No Deal and America’s Got Talent, but for whatever reason, he was able to host one of the best gala’s I’ve seen in years.

I’ve been to a few galas, many of which have been pretty lackluster, whereas Howie’s seemed to rise to the occasion. He made a highly entertaining evening  better because he knew how to deliver jokes and properly introduce the next comic. You’d think this would be an easy task for most hosts, yet I’ve seen so many failed attempts before.

It also didn’t help him that it was a good night for the comedians that he was hosting,  as most of them were spot-on with their routines. The evenings all-star cast included Cedrick the Entertainer, Ron Funches, Orny Adams, Christela Olonzo, Gina Yashere and John Heffron.

Highlight of the show were Cedrick the Entertainer jokes about getting old, Ron Funches whose dry lisp delivery was just generally funny and Gina Yashere talking about the dirtyness of New York (she’s a great comic and I recommend checking out her solo show if she comes back to the festival in the near future).

Orny Adams received of a standing ovation for his routine which was based on the how much he hates millennial and millennial culture. I have to say; I’ve seen Orny several times and when he’s on he’s on and that night he was great!

By the end of the evening most people who were in the audience were feeling pretty energetic from all that laughter, and segue after segue the host master Howie Mandel gently made us laugh as he brought us to the end of this all star occasion.

35 years ago Just For Laughs brought the world’s great comics to Montreal, and here, 35 years later, who better than Canadian funnyman Howie Mandel to host them.

* Featured image from 2016 by Mike Miller, courtesy Just for Laughs

Not all heroes wear capes. Some, as I found out during Saturday’s second taping of All Access Live Hosted by Wyatt Cenac, jump on stage to entertain the crowd during technical problems.

Having already been to an All Access Live taping, the one hosted by Moshe Kasher, I expected a funny, intimate show and a well-oiled and well-timed production. It was both, right up to the end of American comic Theo Von’s set when the generator that was powering all the TV equipment blew.

After a bit of confusion, warm up comic Aaron Burr returned to the stage to explain what was happening.

Now since we’re talking about messups, I’ll admit one of my own. In my initial review of the Kasher All Access I called the warm-up guy Bill Burr. I thought it must be Bill. Bill Burr was a comic and Aaron Burr was the guy who shot Alexander Hamilton (note to self: listen to Mirna, she’s usually right).

Turns out not only is Aaron Burr a comic, he’s a damn good one capable of some seriously good improv to keep the audience going when the planned show was temporarily delayed.

Jessica Kirson, whom I imagine was the planned surprise guest for the end, also performed her set during this mid-show interruption. We’ve already reviewed her as part of The Ethnic Show, so I won’t go into her set here only to say that her comedic talent combined with the awkward energy in the room led to a truly stellar set that the audience needed at the time.

Huge props are also due to Von. He had been rocking the crowd with a solid set and then was pulled off the stage before he was able to finish it. When the TV tech was back up and running, he had to start from the beginning, something that I can’t imagine being easy to do when so much of a comedian’s success relies on flow and timing.

While the audience was fully expecting him to repeat most jokes and was even told that he would by Burr, Von opted for entirely different material at the start. He only ended up repeating the setup to the joke he was interrupted on, which involved audience interaction on top of it.

Now while I’m sure professional comedians like Von have a ton of material in reserve, the decision to throw out what he had planned for his TV appearance in order to offer the in-house crowd something new impressed me. It helped that he also happened to be one of the funniest and most animated comics up there that night.

Amidst all the chaos, host Cenac kept his cool and delivered his comedy in the chill, matter-of-fact way he is famous for. His material ranged from personal observations to the current state of US politics.

Audience interactions also played a big part in his performance, something Cenac felt completely at home doing. For one intro he sat casually at a table, just hanging out with some of the crowd.

I interacted with one of the comics, Darrin Rose, when he asked who was an older brother. Turns out he wasn’t that fond of older brothers, or at least his – for comedic effect of course.

Robby Hoffman, with her mousey though confident delivery was great. Kurt Braunholer was another standout.

The other comics, Rhea Butcher, Charlie Demers, Esther Povitsky and Damien Power, all delivered solid sets and I remember laughing quite a bit. I’d have to watch the TV version of this show to properly do them justice in a review, though.

All the excitemen during the unexpected break made Von’s triumphant return to the stage the comedic high point of the night. That and probably the extra bar run we got because of it split my focus between what was currently on stage and thoughts of “how cool was that” about what had transpired.

That dichotomy lasted until the end, with a brief interruption when I fully focused on Cenac’s second mini-set.

It wasn’t the show I was expecting but it ended up being one of the most entertaining shows I saw.

Models. Dance Numbers. Glitz, glam, multiple outfit changes. The Laverne Cox gala dazzled in production quality and sheer aesthetics, from the hilarious (and extremely effective) hype man to the flawlessly toned legs of our fabulous host in a wide array of black high-cut leotards.

The only thing that didn’t live up the excellently executed night was, unfortunately, also the main point of the evening. For a production that hit so many high notes, the actual comedy fell a little bit flat.

Not to say the comedy was bad, which it wasn’t. It was full of the kind of jokes you might reply ‘LOL’ to in a text message, while your passive facial expression remains unchanged. But of all of the shows I saw at this year’s Just For Laughs festival, this one certainly got the fewest laugh-out-loud moments from me.

It actually featured one of my personal festival favorites, Ryan Hamilton, who I thought might improve my impression of the comedy that night, and perhaps even warm me up for the next comic. But all of the jokes he ended up telling were ones that he had already told at his own show (which I already reviewed) earlier in the festival, and didn’t quite have the same effect on me as the first time around. Perhaps this is better for him, as his show would be one that I would recommend.

For the first time at the festival, I found myself wondering how many comics were left until I could go home.

Laverne, I love you. You’re an inspiration to millions, and your legs are amazing. However, with all of the options available at a major comedy festival like Just For Laughs, the Laverne Cox Gala would not be one that I would recommend.

It can’t be that the timing was off, as the show itself was so well timed, with all the right beats hit during the dance number and every strut in perfect sync during the catwalk. This particular comedy line up, unfortunately, didn’t really do it for me, and as the comedy was supposed to be the main point of the show, I can’t say that it really lived up to my expectations.

As such, I can’t recommend in good conscience that you, dear reader, go and spend your hard-earned cash to see this show at what’s supposed to be a comedy festival. You’re better off spending the money on a Netflix subscription to watch Orange Is The New Black if you want to see Laverne Cox.