If New York City nightlife has been feeling a bit, well, stale lately, head over to the next Cabaret Cataplexy, a night of artistic performances hosted by Ashley Brockington and Monstah Black.
Cabaret Cataplexy is an irreverent mish-mash of talent, art and skin. Part open mic night, part artist’s experiment, and part cabaret, whatever Cataplexy is, it’s one of a kind. As the flyer proclaims, “in a time of economic struggle, people need a place to laugh, cry, scream, kiss, hug, dance and let go with other breathing humans.” Cataplexy is just that place, “a tribal setting where you can let go and let flow.”
“Cabaret Cataplexy started after Ashley Brockington and I had a leisurely conversation about how we as brown queer freaks who like to dress up felt like we had no place to go to hang out with other brown freaks,” says host Black. “There are plenty of places to get dressed up and go to, but the number of people of color in some of these places seemed to be very low. So, we thought it might be a good idea to create an environment that opened the door and encouraged more folks of color to get their dress up on and get on stage to exercise their exhibitionism.”
Walk into an evening of performance at Cabaret Cataplexy and you may feel as if you’ve stumbled into an intimate night at Toulouse-Latrec’s Moulin Rouge or Sally Bowles’ Kit Kat Klub – the crowd is progressive, diverse, and accepting – anything goes here. The is no stage, so the acts are performed all over Haven, a bohemian styled saloon on 51st st. You’re liable to see a lovely burlesque performance that moves down the central staircase, followed by a story and a song by a minstrel perched on the bar, followed by a projection art and dance performance in the upstairs salon. The mood of the night is intensely intimate, artistic and sexual, but never does it feel louche.
After the show, the performers and artists mix, mingle, laugh and dance to the stylins of DJ Deep Fried Nutella. Cabaret Cataplexy is a seasonal event, meaning there are usually only four per year. Black says there is talk of a holiday season Cataplexy in December, but the next officially planned event is February 2nd.
Below, Juliette Marie Jones on the electric violin.