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The Minsky Sisters ~ photo by Erin Patrice O'Brien

The Minsky Sisters have been on our radar for some time, so we asked them to tell us about themselves.

CC: We’re here with Jen and Kristen, the Minsky Sisters! Hello!

Jen: Hello!

Kristen: Hello!

CC: When did you guys get your act together, so to speak?

Jen: We’ve been performing together for several years but Minsky sisters became a thing July 2008. Our friend Shien Lee, the producer of Dances of Vice, asked us if we would do a tap number. Both of us have been dancing for most of our lives. And we didn’t have a name, we were just ourselves. We didn’t have an identity, and we performed just thinking we were gonna do just one dance and that was going to be it. But people really liked us and we started getting asked to perform at other venues, not just Dances of Vice, and we thought, OK, I guess we’re a thing now — an act. So we got a name.

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BB Heart as Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop

Last Saturday night was the latest installment of Nelson Lugo and Shaffer the Dark Lord’s series of entertainments predicated on puerile pleasures. Last time around it was “Video Game Vixens.” This time it’s “Cartoons!” The genre of entertainment is burlesque, and the conceit is “Saturday morning when we were kids.” The tagline for the show ran thusly: “the boys and girls celebrate cartoons and the brightly-colored foxes that star in them. Pour a bowl of Cap’N Crunch and gather ’round the boob tube, because this month, EPIC WIN is gonna party like it’s Saturday morning!” Yes indeedy. Six lovely ladies did burlesque routines as six fairly well known Saturday morning cartoon females: Miss Mary Cyn as Bugs Bunny (dressed as a chick — natch), Lefty Lucy as Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls, Victoria Privates as the chick who sang “Unpack Your Adjectives” on Schoolhouse Rock (Blossom Dearie), Bonnie Voy’age as She-Ra, BB Heart as Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop, Magdalena Fox as April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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November 19, 2009

Oh the villainies of Facebook! It seems that when word gets out that you write for a blog as prestigious as Cultural Capitol you start getting invited to all kinds of parties. And so it was I was invited to the NCYFF film industry mixer at GStaad last night.

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Jude Law contemplates existence as Hamlet

“Don’t call it a comeback!” ~ LL Cool J

LL was all of twenty-two (22) years-old when he wrote that line. But consider that he had his first hit when he was seventeen, and that in Showbiz! time you can be on top of the world one moment and two celebrity-seconds later, shallow, unscrupulous producers are trying to cast you in a D-list celebrity reality show.

Now consider the case of Mr. Jude Law, who was considered one of the “10 most bankable stars” of 2006 (along with Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks), and who in 2009 tells Sarah Lyall of the New York Times, “to be honest, I don’t know what I’ll do after this. I have no films planned. I haven’t been hugely inspired by what’s come my way in the film industry lately, and this has opened up my eyes to how great roles can be, and how great acting can be.” Do I smell a whiff of desperation? (Did I mention that St. Jude is the patron of lost causes?)

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Tony Curtis takes a photo with a young fan

Celebrity sightings are fun, particularly when the celebrity in question is a World War II vet, bonafied Hollywood icon, and true hero of The Greatest Generation.

Tony Curtis, star of famous films like Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like It Hot, Sparticus, and The Great Race, was the Grand Marshal of today’s Veterans’ Day Parade in Manhattan. I snapped this picture of him just before shaking is hand — the same hand that shook Burt Lancaster and Stanley Kubrick’s hands. How’s that for six degrees of separation?

Curtis served in the Navy on the U. S. S. Proteus.




James Tigger! Fergeson as The Great Longing and Taylor Mac as The Lily. Photo by Ves Pitts.

“Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses.”  —Wittgenstein

For “The Lily’s Revenge,” Taylor Mac’s latest opus at HERE, he borrowed the 5-act structure of classical Noh theatre to construct this whopping five-hour piece—magical, intellectual, hysterical, and linguistically acrobatic.  The audience is led—by the divine, effervescent, and perpetually bubbly World Famous *BOB*—from lobby to theatre and back for each “recess,” during which the audience is entertained by short, punchy acts meant to reference Japanese Kyogen.  Now, forget about Noh because I won’t mention it again for another three hours.

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This Friday, November 6th, check out the glorious return of This Is Burlesque with The Pontani Sisters and Murray Hill!

Cultural Capitol talked to Angie Pontani about the new space and the new show. “The new space is fantastic,” she told us. The stage is upstairs at Sweet Carolines on West 45th between 8th and 9th Avenues. “It has a much larger stage and better sight lines for the audience, yet it maintains the intimate style of Corio.  We are also pretty excited to be in Times Square!”

If you loved the extended Pontani burlesque famiglia you won’t be disappointed with the new lineup. Murray Hill, The Pontani Sisters (Angie, Helen, and Peekaboo Pointe) with guests-in-residence Melody Sweets and Little Brooklyn are still the hardest working family in showbiz.

I asked if there were any surprises in store for the upcoming run. “Yes,” Angie said, there will be “new numbers for sure and bigger and better then ever.  With such a large stage we are going to be able to use more props and perform larger group numbers.  The Gin Bath act has a new home — I am so excited to do that act every weekend!”

Friday will be an extra special evening because it is also Angie’s birthday! (Happy birthday!)

Get your tickets now!

This Is Burlesque

Every Friday and Saturday night at 9:30

Sweet Carolines, 322 West 45th Street

For advance tickets call 212-977-3884


Dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming, these days I get invited to more events than I could possibly attend, and occasionally wonder how I got invited in the first place or even why I went.  Take last Thursday’s book release party at Destination Bar in the East Village—celebrating the book the world has been waiting for, THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT

Cue existential crisis, mad envy, clueless drunkenness, and, yes, fear for the culture of a dying planet.  But before the chilluns deride my old-fashionedness—or just my oldness—let me first say:  I love the website.  The food alternately grosses me out and inspires cravings of the post-bong-hit variety, and above all, Richard Blakeley is a genius.  And a nice guy, alleged crimes aside.  Too bad the bar was packed with Twitterbots. 

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Halloween weekend 2009 was as Halloweenie as you can get. The night itself, when ghouls and ghosts walk the spooky streets of New York, fell on a Saturday. The moon was almost (but not quite) full, and by all accounts it was more debauched than a Night on Bald Mountain. November 1st — All Saints Day — fell respectfully on a gray, cold Sunday, perfect weather for nursing a hangover with comforting dim sum and a bloody mary.

Cold sobriety is the kind of thing you have to ease into though — as hostess-with-the-mostest Calamity Chang knows very well. Tasty eats and visual treats are necessary on Sunday eve to ease a soul back into the work-a-day Purgatory awaiting on Monday. That is why she put together Dim Sum Burlesque at Chow Bar, which will run every Sunday for the rest of the month, and possibly the rest of the year. Calamity Chang told me they are booked for the rest of November, but you might be able to score a table if you walk in. No-shows are held until 9:00. I for one would love to have dim sum burlesque at Chow Bar on Sunday January 3rd 2010.

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CHH 01

A tap dancing mermaid at the Clinton Hill Carnival of Carnage

Happy Halloween! Tonight the good people at 313 Clinton Avenue put on their yearly Halloween show, and it may have been their best ever! The theme this year was “Carnival of Carnage.” As always the production value was top notch. The folks working on the show include some past and present theater folk from the Great White Way who know their way around sound and light equipment. They also know how to edit your favorite Disney songs to give them Brooklyn specific lyrics over the familiar music. Most of the ghouls and monsters in this year’s show crawled out of the ooze of the Gowanus canal, including the mermaid in the picture above, tapping her way into the hearts of the many children in the audience who were enchanted by the spectacle. (It seemed like half the audience was under three years old.)

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