Writers: Ashley Nicole Black, Adam Feldman, Kenny Mellman
Director/Curator: Amanda Duarte
Reviewer: Maridee Slater
“NYC, shame on you! If you all had just stayed in the shitty towns you came from and voted?! SHAME.”
Thus begins Amanda Duarte’s intro to this month’s edition of Dead Darlings, a monthly salon created four years ago to showcase the projects that artists of all varieties have had end up on the notorious creative chopping block. Hosted by Judson Church (thanks to Micah Bucey), these corpses are given life, resurrected from whatever dark corner or dusty folder they’ve sat in for who-knows-how-long. This edition’s presenters include Ashley Nicole Black (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Adam Feldman (Time Out New York), and Kenny Mellman (Kiki and Herb, The Julie Ruin). An invigorating reading from the host herself, titled Women of Letters, kicks off the evening. The whole intro is a sucker punch to the present. Duarte wraps up with an anthem for the Trump Era: It is better to eat furniture.
Duarte is no stranger to self-effacing humor, and she’s got it down to a tee. Her quick-witted rhetoric is an electrifying voice in the downtown scene. It’s no wonder that Dead Darlings has been a platform for the likes of Doug Wright, Leslye Headland and Moises Kaufman, Rachel Shukert, Naomi Ekperigin, Todd Oldham, and Mike Daisey (just to name a few). Her non-sequiturs are masterful and voluminous, creating a colorful and frenzied pastiche of the gamut of human emotion in real time. Present at the event were myriad generations of makers and shakers, all basking in the awesome glow of this communal resurrection. The beauty is in the details. Proceeds are given to someone in need. This month’s edition of Dead Darling’s donated monies raised to the family of Charleena Lyle’s (the thirty-year-old mother of four shot last month by police officers in Seattle).
The guests are high quality. Ms. Black is equally as charming and hilarious. Humble and warm in her delivery (with just the right edge for a church setting), she gave us, Not 13 Reasons Why, but How It Could Have Been. Feldman proves to be a stellar storyteller. His insanely honest Twitter quips have many on the floor in tears, this reviewer included. His raucous karaoke leaves the whole church elated. Mellman rounds out the evening with a mirthful meditation on Street Antigone. Celebrity bartender Zachary Clause is crush-worthy and completely in service of the flavor of the evening. Derek Rippe’s projections are always on point.
The calibre of the guests is a reflection of the institution. Run, brawl, and claw your way into the next edition on September 13th. Put it in your calendar NOW. And bring ten dollars for that suggested donation; heaven knows it will help out someone in need.
Reviewed on 12 July 2017