Once upon a time there was a secret garden in the Lower East Side. Although it was located on a very busy street, the gate wasn’t visible until you knew to look for it.
Inside the garden were climbing plants and fireflies surrounding a tiny stage, and every Saturday night in July the most fabulous performances would appear on it. Tales of stardust and luminescent shopping carts, Southern gothic dramas with cameos by Ava Gardner, emo crooning like balm on a deep wound, wild ponies dancing as if in a sweltering dream, falling pianos and the end of the world.
Hippie punks and radical faeries and drag queens in street clothes huddled close on wooden benches under the stars. Cardboard set pieces were illuminated by clip lights and taped-down electrical cords. Bug spray and watermelon juice made sweaty tattooed limbs even stickier. The only way to truly get clean was to pile into the Trojan Pony, an unmarked van with 17 secret saddles, and gallop down to the Rockaways for a moonlight swim after the show.
This summer we have been living in a fairy tale. Every Tuesday night, the collective of artists and dreamers known as the Department of Transformation gathers on the wraparound porch of an oddly preserved mansion in Flatbush, and together we plan the next installment of Fame and Shame in the Lower East Side.
On Thursdays and Fridays we perform in a lovely theater with proper seats and a delightfully painted proscenium, and Saturday nights we move to the garden’s stage. Three nights of decadent performances by some of Brooklyn’s most talented queer artists, supported by a stellar team of technical advisors, production designers, and some of the sweetest volunteers you’ve ever met. We hope to continue finding outlets for these talented friends to continue bringing their gifts to audiences.
We hope you can join us for the last two weeks of the series, which will feature a gothic fairy tale song cycle by Princess Tiny & the Meats, and a collection of sacred battle drag looks by Blaise.
All of this work is very fresh, very queer, and absolutely enchanting. We do hope you can share it with us. Please RSVP for the Saturday night garden performances – they have been selling out. Though: the Thursday/Friday theater shows are also quite lovely, and we usually go to the beach afterwards!