Monday, December 8, 2008

Evolution of a theatrical family

Have you ever wondered what became of the descendants of artistic legends? People like, oh, Oscar Hammerstein II, best known for his partnership with Richard Rodgers?

Well, Hammerstein's grandson, Simon Hammerstein, is still in the theater business -- and moving the goalpost on "freaky."

These are the types of headaches familiar to nightclub owners, and although that is certainly what Hammerstein is, it is not how he prefers to consider himself. While doing the things that nightclubs do, The Box also programs a schedule of performances that, from his point of view, are as ambitious as any Off Broadway theater’s. This was Hammerstein’s biggest gamble: that he could produce profane sets in an all-hours, anything-goes venue and yet keep the vibe classy enough that no one would think they’d entered a sex club instead of a nightclub.

There is a tension in the crowd, a sense of titillation at the prospect of a line being crossed. Shows begin at around 1 a.m. and usually include two acts and an after-show. The lineup is never announced ahead of time, but these days it’s likely to include Narcissister, a woman who performs a reverse striptease, pulling her clothing—a skirt and stockings and tube top and scarf—from her orifices. Or it might feature an acrobat who balances on one finger resting on a dildo worn by his female assistant, or an act of vaginal bloodletting, or a performer dressed as R. Kelly appearing to urinate on an performer with pigtails.

I'll admit that I'm intrigued and would attend a show just for the sheer hell of it. But I would probably want to sit ... umm ... outside the splash radius.


Blogger akaGaGa said...

You would pay money to watch such an uplifting performance? I bet you watch reality TV shows, too.

December 8, 2008 7:46 PM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

No, no. I'm just hopelessly decadent. And I really want to see if we're actually living, as I suspect, in pre-war Berlin.

December 9, 2008 10:39 AM  
Blogger akaGaGa said...

Well, you don't need to go to the show to find out. Of course this is Berlin. I just posted about that yesterday. Honest.

December 9, 2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

Ah! Great minds ... ;)

December 9, 2008 1:17 PM  

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