theater

Thursday Spotlight: Meet Director Dina Vovsi

Dina Vovsi

When we discuss the art scene in Greenpoint, we often focus on the Pencil Factory’s many inhabitants or the other visual artists working out of their studios, homes, and even in our neighborhood parks. But North Brooklyn has always been teeming with artists of many different stripes, including versatile theatermakers like director Dina Vovsi. Dina has worked in collegiate and Off-Broadway theaters, crafted plays centering on immigrant experiences, and created immersive experiences in outdoor settings. Below, we get to know the Greenpoint-based director while discussing her career, the importance of affordable housing, and — of course — her dog Bruce.

Greenpointers: How long have you lived in Greenpoint, and what brought you here? 

Dina Vovsi: I’ve lived in Greenpoint for about two and a half years. Before moving here, my partner and I were in Kensington for a year, and before that, I lived in Williamsburg for six years, so I’ve spent a lot of time in North Brooklyn. I am super lucky — my name was drawn in the affordable housing lottery for an apartment in a brand-new, mixed-income building, which has made being an artist significantly more possible over the past couple of years. It’s been a financial game-changer, and I can’t stress enough how everyone needs to be submitting for these buildings on NYC Housing Connect; I know quite a few people who have been selected recently, so it’s really not as impossible as legend says. We live in the quieter, north end of the neighborhood, and I love being near the water and walking our dog, Bruce, to Transmitter Park and Greenpoint Landing. More people know his name than mine, which I’m totally fine with. Continue reading

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US Premiere of “Bleach” Follows Lonely Bushwick Rentboy

Eamon Yates in “Bleach.” Photo by Hunter Canning

Check your coat at the door, and maybe your comfort.

But what else would you expect going to see an immersive play about a gay sex worker in a Bushwick basement? Bleach, the UK-imported one-man show now at Tyler’s Basement (637 Wilson Avenue), boldly but often unsuccessfully tests the limits of actor-audience intimacy. An attendant at the theater asks if you’ll be comfortable with the performer touching you; the character, a gay prostitute, is a pro after all. He gets paid to touch.

Even if you say no, it’s hard to emerge unscathed. In Tyler’s subterranean shoebox studio where the ten-max audience members convene, it’s difficult to not at least brush shoulders with the single performer in Dan Ireland-Reeves’s erotically stimulating but intellectually numbing play. Continue reading

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Obie Award Winner David Greenspan Returns To The Bushwick Starr

David Greenspan performs in his new memory play. Photo by Maria Baranova.

The time it may take you to get to The Bushwick Starr may last longer than its current production, but any trip to this experimental Brooklyn venue is worth the journey.

Now playing at 207 Starr Street, downtown guru David Greenspan’s 45-minute The Things That Were There is a cubist family drama that wisely deconstructs its genre but unfortunately does not carry much heft. In the zippy one-act, nimbly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, Lenny (Greenspan) introduces his birthday party and the family antics that surround it, highlighting pointed episodes from his relatives’ lives. Continue reading

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Shakespeare in the Popup Park Kicks Off Tonight (7/25) [UPDATE: Cancelled Due To Weather]

Central Park might have the Delacorte Theater, but north Brooklyn has Bushwick Inlet (popup) Park, and the good folks at Hip to Hip Theater Company are turning the provisional green space at 50 Kent Avenue into a makeshift Globe Theater this summer.

Hip to Hip will stage All’s Well that Ends Well tonight, and King Lear on August 22nd. Each performance will begin at 7:30 and run 95 minutes. An interactive kids workshop will begin 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Tickets are not necessary; blankets, low chairs and picnic fare are encouraged!

What: Shakespeare in the Popup Park
When: [CANCELLED] Tonight August 22nd at 7:30pm
Where: Bushwick Inlet (popup) Park, 50 Kent Avenue

UPDATE: Tonight’s performance has been cancelled due to the rain. Check out King Lear on August 22nd.

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“Then She Fell” Continues to Lure Audiences to North Brooklyn — And Down the Rabbit Hole

Photo by Chad Heird

Much like the White Rabbit, I was very late to the party.

Third Rail Projects has been enchanting audiences in Brooklyn since 2012 with its immersive show Then She Fell, a deep dive into the rabbit hole and through the looking-glass. Last week, I finally got to experience this gritty gem.

Set inside the Kingsland Ward at St. John’s (195 Maujer St) in East Williamsburg, the three-story building is made out to be an eerie sanatorium of sorts that probes into the underside of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass — examining the insidious relationship between the author and his muse, the young Alice Liddell. In light of current conversations about #MeToo, the alleged relationship between Charles Dodgson (the man behind the pen name of Carroll) and Alice Liddell leaves little room for speculation. Continue reading

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The Bushwick Starr’s “Singlet” Tests the Limits of Intimacy

Singlet at The Bushwick Starr, photo by Sasha Arutyunova

Consider yourself blessed, Brooklyn: the downtown and all’s-fair-in-love-and-cabaret artist Erin Markey is performing within walking distance from the L Train. Markey, whose preferred gender pronoun is they, has written — and is performing in — Singlet, a bold world premiere that is now extended at The Bushwick Starr through June 12 (207 Starr Street). Known for their one-of-a-kind and genre-defying Manhattan performances, Markey now comes to their home borough with a stunning and zippy world premiere. Continue reading

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Ladies Who Ranch, Art on Airwaves, La Banubas, Paint and Sip — What’s Happening, Greenpoint? (3/7–3/13)

For just $1 get a ride to nearby subway stations to/from Greenpoint with Via, an on-demand ridesharing app!! Download the app here and set your pick up or drop-off location by moving the pin on the map to the locations for any of the following train stations:

  • Marcy Av (JMZ train)
  • Vernon Blvd – Jackson Av (7 train)
  • Bedford Av (L train)
  • Lorimer St/Metropolitan Av (L and G trains)
  • Graham Av (L train)
  • Nassau Av (G train)
  • Greenpoint Av (G train)

Expires Monday (March 12, 11:59PM). Install the Via app now! [Sponsored]

WEDNESDAY 3/7

^ Tables of Contents Reading Series: Hunt! Gerrard! Caldwell! @Egg (109 North 3rd St), 7pm, $5, Each reading will be paired with snacks inspired by its text, plus you’ll be in for an author-curated playlist and a rangy Q&A/discussion on writing, craft, aversion, and creativity to wrap up the night. Beer and wine will be available for purchase, and WORD will be present slinging text, More info
☺ Ladies Who Ranch @ Vital Joint (109 Meserole St), 8pm, $5-10, Group of women does jokes for laughs at comedy show to change the national conversation. The show is followed by the Ladies Who Ranch Open Mic, an experimental comedy mic that especially encourages multimedia performances, More info
♫# Live Flamenco in St Charles Cellar @St. Mazie Bar (345 Grand St), 8pm, FREE, A night of authentic Flamenco in our beautiful speakeasy. Full dinner menu available as well as a 3 course Pre fixe menu, cocktails, absinthe and more… Ole!, More info
♫ Carte Blanche @Radegast Hall (113 N 3rd St), 9pm, FREE,French, Latin and American tunes while you sample the incredible selection of authentic german beers on tap and maybe have a giant german pretzel or bratwurst from the grill!! Space to dance!, More info

THURSDAY 3/8

* Kombrewcha’s International Women’s Day Celebration @ The Williamsburg Hotel (96 Wythe Ave), 6:00pm, $3, Boss Ladies doing big things. We’ll be hosting a panel on Women Who Do. Buy tix
* NYC DRAFT Meetup @ PencilWorks (61 Greenpoint Ave), 6:30pm, FREE, Fast-paced hour of ideas, entrepreneurs and bikes, capturing the exciting things happening in the bike industry, RSVP
♫ ♦ Art on the Airwaves @ Union Docs (322 Union Avenue), 7:30 pm, $10, A showcase of radio documentary selected by James T. Green, cofounder of Postloudness, a collective of independent audio shows by people of color, women, and queer-identified hosts that aims to create a community of unique voices in audio. Buy tix
♫ Anna McClellan (Record Release), Navy Gangs @ ALPHAVILLE (140 Wilson Avenue), 10pm, $10, Buy tix
♫ Mughal Legion 3 Ft. Fanaa @ Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Ave), 10pm, FREE, Part 3 of a monthly-ish series of musical rites to be performed at Legion Bar, curated by Mughal Muesli. More info
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Peace, Love, and Dopeness in The Bushwick Starr’s New Spaceship Spectacular

"The Brobot Johnson Experience" with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova
“The Brobot Johnson Experience” with Darian Dauchan, photo by Maria Baranova

“An Unidentified Flying Boombox has landed in Bushwick.”

This announcement, along with a pre-show layer of purple haze, are harbingers for Brobot’s cosmic arrival. Cast out of the planet Nubian, he’s here to share the human — er, robot — experience in order to save planet earth. (The reason our blue marble is in jeopardy is never made clear, but look no further than daily headlines to grasp Brobot’s desperation to save us.)

Brobot arrives, lays down some beats, and harnesses audience enthusiasm à la Tinker Bell resuscitation to refuel his spaceship and return home. This is the flimsy and stilted premise of Darian Dauchan’s new show, The Brobot Johnson Experience, now playing at experimental powerhouse The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street) through March 17. Dauchan writes and stars in his a one-robot, existential spaceship-palooza, and though director Andrew Scoville keeps the pacing breezy and the staging kinetic, the show remains rather plotless: After a few numbers, a craving for conflict (or other characters) settles in. Without any dramaturgical verve, all fuel (literally absent from the ship) must come from our trusted time and space traveler.

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“Dandy Be Good” Offers Sizzling Tales in Bitter Weather

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk
G.J. Dowding. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

Vital Joint’s venue is tiny, but the amount of pre-show audience chitchat was enormous. Most was facilitated by a a suit-donning and larger-than-life Rhinelander (more on him later), but some was organic: “Did you make that necklace” or “Hey, the bar serves beer” pleasantries were also exchanged. If there was ever a lull, our German friend was quick to fill it with a quip or suggestion that the cash-only bar is steps away. “This is experimental theater,” he said. “You’ll need a drink.”

This is all the prelude to Dandy Be Good, queer artist GJ’s storytelling cabaret now playing through January 27 at Vital Joint (109 Meserole Street) as part of Brooklyn’s Exponential Festival. Like the pre-show banter, Garlan Jude (GJ)’s show fosters community and togetherness. They lip sync to songs from Judy Garland (a fun reversal on the performer’s name?) and interviews from socialite women of yore. But GJ doesn’t hog the stage — they share it with a trio of guest performers: a vaudevillian-reminiscent actress, a consummate orator, and — yes — our chatty German pal.

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Activists Are Real? See For Yourself in The Buswick Starr’s New Comedy, “Cute Activist”

Madeline Wise in “Cute Activist” at The Bushwick Starr

Milo Cramer has made his Bushwick Starr debut.

I’m not just discussing his play, the zippy and zany Cute Activist. Cramer wrote it, but — in a lovely surprise — is also in it. And like his play, the performance is delightful.

Cramer, alongside Sebastian Pray, puppeteers his way through his new comedy, now extended through February 3 at The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street). Cute Activist gingerly but probingly tackles capitalist greed, interracial dating, and — yes — activism. (Sound designer John Gasper comically conjures *thunder* each time that forbidden word is uttered.) Or is it slactivism? It’s hard to say. Cramer doesn’t try and pin down the elusive term, but he does winningly show how his heroine Jen — short for Jen-der, or Jen-trification — illuminates it for herself. Continue reading

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