The Bearded Ladies curate a late-night cabaret series for Fringe Fest

2 minute read

With the Philadelphia Fringe Festival back in the city, audience members have a new place to go for a post-show nightcap in the heart of East Passyunk. Late Night Snacks is both a pop-up bar featuring cocktails from Sassafras and The Tin Angel and also a unique cabaret venue, featuring an eclectic roster of artists from the region and from around the world, including opera star Stephanie Blythe, Justin Vivian Bond, Adrienne Truscott, Martha Graham Cracker and more. The Cabaret is being curated by Philly’s own Bearded Ladies Cabaret.

The cabaret of misfit toys

“We’re the misfits of the misfits,” says John Jarboe, Bearded Ladies Artistic Director. “A lot of us cabaret performers are working in the liminal spaces edges between more established art forms… our work is irreverent, experimental, interdisciplinary.”

And while cabaret may not be mainstream—it’s clear that the Bearded Ladies, now celebrating ten years together, have a supportive audience here in Philadelphia. During last year’s Fringe Festival, the group staged Do You Want A Cookie?, a cabaret show featuring 14 different cabaret performers from around the world. The show was an immersive experience, set in a warehouse in Callowhill.

It takes a village

Inspired by the success of that experiment, the Bearded Ladies worked with Fringe Arts and also a collation of local organizations including Opera Philadelphia, Vox Populi, Hidden City Philadelphia, the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, and the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs to create an even more ambitious lineup of performers for Late Night Snacks.

The setting for the pop-up cabaret bar is a converted auto body shop, located at 1316 South Percy Street. The Bearded Ladies, along with installation designer Machine Dazzle, have converted the space into a speakeasy where audience members can stop by for a drink and take in a show. Performances begin at either 9:30pm or 11:30pm.

Jarboe emphasizes that Late Night Snacks will be a three-year project and will take place during the Fringe, in a different Philly neighborhood, each year. “We intend to create a space that supports the community where we set up,” he explains. In this case, the collaborators have been working with Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation to make sure that the performance space becomes integrated into the fabric of the neighborhood.

Jarboe is excited about the well-known performers who make up this year’s line-up and also hopes that people will come to Late Night Snacks and discover lesser known cabaret artists whom they haven’t heard of yet but who are equally amazing. The artists range from opera singers to drag queens, from art clowns to well-known cabaret stars. And while some people may wander into the speakeasy for a cocktail, Jarboe hopes that many will stay to check out the show.

What, When, Where:

Late Night Snacks takes place at 1316 South Percy Street, Philadelphia from September 12-25. For a full schedule and roster of performers, visit online. Tickets are available on a sliding scale, $0-$45.

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