From the Folks Who Give You the Black Party: ’ The Dirtiest Show in Town’

by Steve Weinstein

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday April 4, 2011

As if they haven't perpetrated enough mayhem on the good citizens of New York, the Saint-at-Large is going all theatrical on your ass, with a new play. Caligula Maximus promises to be an all-out debauched take on Rome's most notorious emperor (and that alone is saying something).

Here, the probably insane and certainly insanely vicious and libertine First Century A.D. ruler takes on one Jesus Christin in what is being billed as "an X-rated match for the minds and hard-ons of ancient Rome!" There will be music by Alfred Preisser, who also wrote the book, and Randy Weiner.

The fact that Weiner helped create The Donkey Show should give some indication of the anarchic take on classical material the show's creative team is aiming for here. The Donkey Show took Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and placed it in a Studio 54-type '70s disco. The show ran off-off-Broadway seemingly forever, fueled by word of mouth about its racy content and off-the-wall, fourth-wall-breaking athletic antics.

Caligula Maximus is set on the last night of the emperor's life. Like Donkey Show, 1970s decadence, however, is as much the guiding aesthetic as classical Rome. Think Fellini's Satyricon meets, well, meets Bob Guccione's Caligula.

I should mention that this show has absolutely connection to that notorious 1979 film, which was one of the most reviled of the era. As a classics nut (seven years studying Latin!), I have to admit I thought it was far from inaccurate.

Caligular Maximum promises to be more a semi-contemporary take on the nasty emperor and Roman decadence. It stars Acid Betty's Jamin Rhren and Kayvon Zand. It was originally staged at the legendary East Village avant-garde theater La Mama as a legitimate play. The play is a collaboration with Lady Circus, a sexually charged acrobatic troupe.

Considering what those two bodybuilding aerialists managed to pull off at last month's Black Party, several of us will be attending with a "how do you top that attitude. And considering the shows that have made the Black Party so world famous, there's certainly a high bar of outrageousness that they're working with here!

The press release includes a come-on. Or is it warning?: "Audiences are encouraged to take off their togas for a dip in the Cosmic Pool."

You have been warned.

Caligular's venue is nearly as adventurous as its presentation. It will be playing nearly every night through April 17 at the House of Yes, 342 Mauer St., in the South Williamsburg-Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Apparently, the closest subway is the L to Grand Street. Go to Brown Party tickets, only $20. Performance schedule: Performance Schedule: April 6 & 7 @ 9 p.m.;April 8 @ 8:30 & 11 p.m.; April 9 @ 9 p.m.; April 10 @ 8 p.m.; April 13 & 14 @ 9 p.m.; April 15 @ 8:30 & 11 p.m.; April 17 @ 2 p.m.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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