Experiencing a cabaret night at home, like Cairo KitKat Club, leaves a lot to be desired: never have I missed so greatly nightlife’s convivial atmospherics — clinking cocktail glassware and conversational snippets overheard from a nearby table or banquette. Yes, the conditions of the pandemic are such that theaters, cabarets, and nightclubs remain shuttered to the public. So it would be cruelly unfair to fully blame HaRaKa Platform, a Cairo-based international platform for performance and movement-based research in Egypt and the Arab region, for this absence. Still, I’ve seen better drag shows via Instagram Live and Twitch, which have navigated these cross-platform technicalities with a fraction of the institutional support this Zoom cabaret got from co-presenter Goethe-Institut New York.
Cairo KitKat Club aims to retell the history of cabaret through the story of Egypt’s KitKat Club, a now-demolished 18th-century Cairo nightclub. Through a series of recorded video performances, viewers are transported between the present and the past, with performers, academics, and yes, even a handmade belly dancer doll reflecting on how nightlife performance has been shaped by borders and pandemics; Berlin’s debaucherous KitKatClub, where one of the performances was staged, is now a rapid COVID-19 testing site.
While I quite liked the tongue-in-cheek PPE stripteases and desktop screen scrolling of declassified M15 files, I resented how distracting it was to watch these video performances with a VLC media player not set in theatre/full screen mode. This was a shame, since a livestream format would technically lend itself greatly to a multimedia project such as this one. So transportive this was not, especially since many of the video performances had a pixelated quality harkening back to mid-2000s YouTube aesthetics, and the organizers failed to consider how audiences at home could interact. (Joe’s Pub, for instance, has been streaming cabaret performances via their YouTube channel, where viewers and artists are encouraged to chat.)
At the end of the performance, master of ceremonies/Cairo KitKat Club director Adham Hafez cheekily quipped, “good thing about Zoom is you can’t throw tomatoes at me!” He’s lucky I took a deep breath, and refrained from keyboard smashing a series of tomato emojis at him.
Cairo KitKat Club continues with a final presentation via Zoom at 5pm EST today, December 14. The online cabaret was directed by Adham Hafez and is presented by HaRaKa Platform, in partnership with Goethe-Institut New York and La Mama Theatre.
The artist’s portrait of her mother, painted in 1977 and reproduced on the vaporetti of Venice, may be one of the most evocative artworks in the Biennale.
A new box set of four of the Iranian director’s features offers a great opportunity to get to know his singular style.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
It’s not a “greatest hits” show, or a comprehensive survey; rather, it is a starting point to reconsider an expansive vision of Chicana/o art.
“I’m focused on contemporary Native American stories, the modern-day ups and downs of that lifestyle, but I’m not trying to do it in a traditional manner,” the award-winning filmmaker told Hyperallergic in an interview.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.