Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sky Box Aerial and Variety Show

Performance Date: 11.11.10
House of Yes

It was a three-fer weekend, ladies and gents.  That’s right a three-fer.  An aerial show at the House of Yes on Thursday night – Thursday counts as weekend in NYC – and a double header of comedy on Saturday, with Reefer Madness at the Gallery Players and Wonder of the World from The CHILDREN’s Theatre Company in Williamsburg.  Feels good getting back in the playgoing habit with such a wallop of a weekend.

I had a fabulous time at the House of Yes.  Do yourself a favor and go see something there.  Please.  If their regular fare is as fun and rollicking as the Sky Box Aerial and Variety Show was on Thursday, it will be well worth your while.  It was a vibrant and visceral night of vaudevillian circus, lightly raunchy and sweetly twisted, with many moments of both beauty and astonishment.  There were aerial acts on the silks and the trapeze, contortionists, a juggler who reminded me of this guy but sexier and without makeup or pointy shoes, a balancing act, a ukele serenade, a charming emcee in sequined hotpants, and a little kid in the audience named Cougar wearing black and white striped leggings and a muscleman mustache penciled on his upper lip.  It was awesome.

I kept thinking how whenever I tell people that my friend Gwynne, who performed gorgeously on the silks with her cohort Kate, does aerial performance, nobody knows what I’m talking about.  They think of old-timey planes.  When I explain that it’s things like silks and trapeze and stuff like that, I invariably have to reference Cirque du Soleil.  But here’s what I was thinking Thursday night – this House of Yes stuff is WAY BETTER THAN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have loved me some Quidam and Varekai, and I’ve been dying to see O in Vegas ever since it opened.  But as beautiful and amazing and inspiring as those shows are, I never really get the sense that anyone is in danger.  Where is the danger??  With all the costume and makeup and rock hard abs, with all the precision and perfection that millions of dollars and unlimited hours of rehearsal time can buy you, with the enormous big top that distances you from the action, what ends up getting erased is the thrill of oh my god that man’s neck is wobbling perilously because he has that other guy BALANCED ON HIS HEAD!

Now I imagine the House of Yes people wouldn’t want me to imply that their work is perilous.  After all, even though circus and aerial arts are inherently dangerous, those who teach and perform those arts are rigorously trained in safety.  There’s a focus and respect level there that is evident when you watch these artists perform.  But the fun of aerial arts is precisely that it seems so unthinkable to tie yourself up in a bunch of fabric thirty feet in the air and then let yourself drop, tumbling down until you’re suspended three feet off the ground.  You think you would die if you did that.  And, unless you’ve been taking classes at the House of Yes, you probably would.

Zat is all for today.  Stay tuned for parts two and three of my walloping weekend, where I will reflect upon the societal dangers of The Reefer, and follow some adorable CHILDREN to Niagara Falls.

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