We all saw the reboot of Stephen King's It, a tale that has vilified clowns and placed them squarely in the horrifying camp for generations now. But the truth of the matter is that clowning—real clowning—is an old and proud tradition that exists well outside the birthday party milieu and more firmly in the physical comedy realm. Meanwhile, in a younger though somewhat parallel existence, lies burlesque, that sexy and teasing art form that empowers performers and audiences alike to embrace their sexuality while keepin' it classy. Both are, at times, misunderstood, but what if the twain did meet? Enter Cartoon Chaos Cabaret, a newly minted performance troupe with roots in Phoenix, New York City and Los Angeles; a troupe that just so happens to be coming through town.
"It's kind of funny that I just fell into clowning, because as a child I was scared of clowns," co-founder, producer and performer Lydia Wilts says. "It just found me; I was in theater programs growing up, but I had this opportunity to be touring and performing as a clown, and it helped me to get over it, to see the people behind the face." Wilts' performance blends clowning, burlesque and even a little Star Wars.
Cartoon Chaos Cabaret also comes with an educational component. Take, for instance, Dr. Klaw, a longtime performer who Wilts says hosts the show and speaks between acts, providing history and context to the stage show. "There's so much history in all of this," she explains. "We don't make it boring, but it's really important that people understand what they're watching is a long passed-down art form." Klaw spent time working with the Coney Island Circus Sideshow while the final third of the cast, Bazoo the Kloun, is an artist with a base in suspension (y'know, hanging oneself from hooks) who is based in California but hails from Albuquerque. Each performer takes the stage at varying points in the night to share their own particular blend of theater, comedy and dance.
Thus, the show is sexy and silly, a strange combination of theatrical methodology that seems like it wouldn't intersect well—yet does. It's the troupe's first tour, but Wilts is hopeful and excited to show us what they can do. "It's something I feel more people should see, something I feel more people should pursue," she says of variety-esque performance. "It's something that's out there." Did we mention this whole thing will probably cure you of your clown phobia? You're welcome.
(Alex De Vore)
Cartoon Chaos Cabaret:
8 pm Thursday May 31. $10-$15.
142 W Palace Ave.,
Normally we have a mixed reaction to Disney's padded, four-fingered glove's grip on pop culture, but we recommend the upcoming free outdoor screening of The Lion King because of its obvious Shakespearean themes (the damn thing is basically Hamlet) and pretty OK songs. Find here the tale of a young lion named Jonathan Taylor Thomas who must avenge his father James Earl Jones, the original king of lions, who's been felled by his own brother, Jeremy Irons. JTT joins forces with a meerkat and a wild boar and the trio learns stuff through songs before returning to the land of lions to straight keep the murder cycle alive. God bless a time when films didn't treat young kids like idiots who couldn't handle mature-adjacent things. (ADV)
The Lion King:
8 pm Friday June 1. Free.
Cerrillos Road and Guadalupe St.,
Pelvic Thrusts and Whatnot …
This is not a drill: The Santa Fe Playhouse is putting up a full production of The Rocky Horror Show this summer (opening June 14), and we are more jazzed than is probably healthy. Also exciting: The Playhouse now pays its actors more, takes on more ambitious projects and is expanding in all kinds of good ways. But all that takes funds—and no better way to raise 'em than a massive dance party. Dress as ridiculously as humanly possible for a costume contest, a competition of who does the sweetest "Sweet Transvestite," music by Your Boy Re-Flex, raffle prizes, food trucks, adult beverages, and emcees Quinn Alexander Fontaine and Frank N Furter. We're shivering with antici … pation. (Charlotte Jusinski)
Nineteen-eighty-effing-nine. That's when alt.rock giants Big Head Todd and the Monsters burst forth with their debut record, Another Mayberry. Since then, they've kept the dream alive, with more than a dozen releases (including 2017's New World Arisin') and tireless amounts of touring. Santa Fe just so happens to be on that tour list this time around, and the band's even doing it for a good cause, namely Santa Fe Prep's tuition assistance and Breakthrough Santa Fe, a nonprofit college aid program located right here in town. Y'know, Santa Fe, we really know how to rock hard for good causes. Let's keep the momentum going. (ADV)
Big Head Todd and the Monsters:
8 pm Tuesday June 5. $30-$140.
Lensic Performing Arts Center,
211 W San Francisco St.,