Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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The Bearded Ladies announce new pop-up shows

The Beardmobile celebrates the magic of queer collaboration, activism and performance with May dates.

The Bearded Ladies Cabaret Company along with a slew of incredible partners and artists, have announced show details for the Beardmobile — a roving, multi-use cabaret truck that makes live performance accessible in the age of the pandemic (see schedule below). The 15-foot box truck will be the main stage for a series of outdoor pop-up performances throughout Philadelphia, presented as part of the queer cabaret group’s Late Night Snacks series this May.

The Bearded Ladies Cabaret is a Philadelphia-based troupe of artists who use cabaret to tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit. Cabaret, a unique blend of popular and ‘high’ art, lends itself particularly well to artistic exploration of contemporary issues. Their interdisciplinary productions also draw from traditional theatre, opera, dance, and art installation. In their 10-year history, they have collaborated with the Wilma Theater, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center, Opera Philadelphia, FringeArts, and Eastern State Penitentiary to bring their unique form of cabaret to more than 10,000 Philadelphians.

The Beardmobile is a big, gay mobile performance unit, glitterfully outfitted for socially-distanced performances and political actions. With neon LED lighting, high-powered speakers, a 6-foot retractable stage, and room for a three-piece band, the truck is not only stunning, but versatile. The Beards have already experimented with “protest mode,” a mode in which the back door of the truck opens and the speakers swivel to face outwards, allowing leaders to be better heard during protests. The Beardmobile was included in Democracy Now’s coverage of Philly’s “Count Every Vote” demonstrations in November 2020.

While the project is intended to raise morale all over Philadelphia, the Beards have implemented safety protocols. In addition to protective vinyl shields to mitigate the spread of airborne germs, passengers aboard the Beardmobile are required to follow CDC and city guidelines (masks at all times, 6 feet of distance) and the truck is sanitized daily. The project planning team have also undergone an array of safety trainings, including Health Education Service’s COVID-19 Compliance Training. An Accountability Partner will be present at every Beardmobile performance.

The Bearded Ladies | Photos: Plate 3 Photography

“The pandemic left so many artists underemployed and so many organizations on shaky ground,” says John Jarboe (she/her), Artistic Director of The Beards. “We designed the Beardmobile not only to showcase Bearded Ladies artists but also to be a resource for performing arts and social justice organizations in Philadelphia.”

For the 4-week run of pop-up performances (designed to be enjoyed at a distance), the Beards have teamed up with a variety of organizations across the city. These partners will help curate performances, choose accessible locations, and most importantly, gain the consent of their community.

“We’re taking every precaution, and part of that is making sure we build trust with the neighborhoods where we plan to take the truck,” says Cat Ramirez (they/she), Line Producer for the Beardmobile. “We’re co-presenting with organizations who have strong ties in their communities. In many ways, they are leading the charge on curation, outreach, marketing, and the safety processes specific to each location and audience.”

With a rotating cast of hosts, the Beardmobile will be popping up in neighborhoods across Philadelphia starting in May. John Jarboe hopes the project creates needed space for the particular communal joy, grief, processing, and release that live art provides. “The Beardmobile was born to facilitate collaboration, activism, and performance in the city we love,” she says. “Who would have thought a queer cabaret company would pull out wrenches and wheel grease? That’s adaptation for you.”

DATES FOR MAY:

May 2

Start Your Engines

The Beardmobile’s first event with Virgil Gadson (Lil O), hosted by Eric Jaffe.

May 6

Project HOME

An afternoon of vogue, lip sync, song, performance, and open mic featuring residents of the Gloria Casarez Residence and The Project HOME family, hosted by Sam Rise.

May 9

Drag Mother’s Day

Bring all the children and all the mothers and daddies and guardians for a show celebrating queer family, hosted by Eric Jaffe and Jess Conda.

May 13

Love Jawns

A project from Yolanda Wisher and Philadelphia Contemporary that fuses poetry and music performances featuring Ursula Rucker, DJ Junior, and films by Wren Rene.

May 15

Black Femme Magic

An entire evening curated by LaNeshe Miller-White featuring Noelle Diane Johnson, Karen Smith, and Caitlin Green, hosted by Cookie Diorio.

May 19
Opera Philly

A performance hosted by Cookie Diorio featuring T-VOCE, Opera Philly’s all-city youth choir.

May 22

Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang (To Know Is To Love)

Sinta Storms, Modero & Co and Bearded Ladies offer an evening of Indonesian Dance, Gamelan, and poetry all devoted to the saying: Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang (translation: To Know Is To Love), featuring Modero Dancers, Katherine Antarisko, and the Gamelan Orchestra, hosted by Anthony Martinez-Briggs.

May 27

Love Tour Host Show

Hosted by the Beards’ own John Jarboe and introducing the Beardmobile host team.

May 29

Unity at the Initiative: Queer Skate Day

A queer skate day celebrating Asian Arts Initiative’s Unity at the Initiative with live music and performance, hosted by Sam Rise featuring Vichte Boul Ra, Icon Ebony Fierce, and Messapotamia Lafae.

Follow the Beards: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube / Official Site

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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