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Performance from Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento, April 2017, featuring The Royalty Dancers (photo by Makoto Hawkins)

When Jaimie Warren and Matt Roche founded Whoop Dee Doo in Kansas City, Missouri back in 2006, the vibe was of a cable-access kids’ variety show: a blend of unabashed revelry in oddness, transcendent silliness, and earnest dedication to community-building. It was, according to Warren, shaped by being in a smaller city where “you make your own entertainment,” and in Roche’s words, there’s a “fascination with weird local stuff.”

Since then, Whoop Dee Doo has continued to evolve, blending serious theatrical practice with a wackily infectious, gleefully manic sensibility, and creating commissions for institutions like the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum, SFMOMA, and New York’s own Abrons Arts Center.

Whoop Dee Doo performance, An Abominable Thawt at Abrons Arts Center in 2015, featuring the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York (photo by Naoko Wowsugi)

Somehow, Queens’s Knockdown Center, with its insightful, community-driven, idiosyncratic programming seems like a perfectly natural landing spot. Since November 18, Whoop Dee Doo has been staging an installation there that consists of a series of free public programs produced in collaboration with local community and arts groups. It concludes this Saturday with “a final live performance and immersive set” featuring all the collaborators — “teens from Maspeth Town Hall Community Center … local performance groups Ñukanchik Llakta Wawakuna, and students from the Calpulli Community — in what promises to be a joyous, slightly unhinged celebration of the unrivaled diversity of Queens.

When: Saturday, December 16, 3pm and 5pm
Where: Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, Queens)

More info here.

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Laila Pedro

Laila Pedro is a writer and scholar based in New York. She holds a PhD in French from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and is currently at work on a book tracing artistic connections between Cuba, France, and...