Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic! at Under St. Mark's Theater by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic! at Under St. Mark's Theater was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic!
Written by Neil Arthur James
Performed as Dandy Darkly
Under St. Mark's Theater (94 St. Mark's Place, NYC)
Reviewed 3/2/15 at 8:50 p.m. 

Pussy Galore! That is what you can expect when seeing Dandy Darkly perform Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic!, a reference to the disgust and sickness many gay men feel at the mere mention of a vagina, let alone being forced to actually look at one. Barf! As he says, "the mere mention of snatch will clear a gay bar in seconds!" Being "an unapologetic classically vicious sissy" accused of being a misogynist by a woman at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he committed himself to trying to overcome his Pussy Panic by telling four stories involving pussy at various different stages of a woman's life. Little Sally's Big Pussy tells us about a young girl with a magical vagina that she uses to shoplift and that is ultimately inhabited by white older men who want to seize it and control it for their own purposes. The Blood Mother is about a superstar celebrity in her childbearing years who continues to reinvent herself over and over, obsessed with youth and her desire to stay relevant. Fanny & Dolores is a love story dealing with post-menopausal women living a "barren" existence in Shady Acres until they find each other.  Finally, Mister Timothy is about a menacing, murdering mortician who is committed to making beautiful women immortal. So basically, you will experience stories of virgin pussy, prime pussy, old pussy and plastered pussy. Whether these allegories will help gay men overcome their Pussy Panic is an open question. However, the stories do take unexpected turns and can be interpreted to reveal insightful commentary on cultural norms and gender perceptions.

Dandy Darkly is an International Storytelling Superstar, who is a flamboyant, electrifying, satisfying, sensational satirist. Although he has performed abroad, he describes himself as "New York City's Celebrated, Desecrated, Inseminated, Storyteller of Hysterical, Horrific, Tales of Sex & Death." Since his Stonewall Inn debut in 2010, Dandy Darkly has become a fixture among New York City's eclectic, variety, sideshow, burlesque and cabaret stages. He is colorful, compelling and unpredictable. His shows are highly entertaining just so long as you are not easily offended. Through his storytelling, Dandy Darkly shares many views and opinions regarding contemporary society that get his audience members thinking about serious issues even though at the time they are hearing them, they are just having fun. Dandy Darkly's particular "FUCK YOU!" is reserved for those who would object to the content of his stories, those "increasingly, rabidly, politically correct cadre of rubber-necking No-Nos intent on wringing every drop of fun from our vibrant gay community." He fears that satire can no longer be appreciated and that "like a library bathroom glory hole, satire has been walled over, white-washed, sold to developers and made into an American Apparel." But Dandy Darkly has refused to throw in the towel. He finds "pride in inappropriateness." He "adores every bitter sissy he meets." He "applauds a vitriolic dyke." He is "in awe of the brave LGBTQ children of all genders, ages, and colors." He approves of 'public displays of nudity and sex and thinks as a community, gay people must embrace the satiric smut from which we crawled."

The compelling, unpredictable stories Dandy Darkly tells are allegories regarding how society perceives women at various stages of their lives. In Little Sally's Big Pussy, Sally is described as "Freshly seventeen years of age; pretty & petite, curvaceous and vivacious with an old-fashioned fascination for vintage inventions!" As a consequence of that fascination, Little Sally starts to shoplift, smuggling larger and larger items out of the store by placing them in her vagina. Eventually, her gynecologist and father are literally sucked into her vagina where they form an Old Boys' Club and request Sally purloin guns and other manly items for their pleasure. No babies. No women permitted. But finally, the hundred or so men are dislodged by a big black cock. Once evicted, the men no longer support Little Sally who must go back to shoplifting in order to survive. The Blood Mother is an homage to Madonna, although her name is never mentioned, and through satire, Dandy Darkly examines what a pop star must do to remain relevant. Steal ideas from The Scarecrow King (implied to be Michael Jackson)? Adopt children from third-world countries in what is described as "a modern day slave trade." (Screw the Birth Mother!) Fanny & Dolores is a touching story about two lesbians who meet and fall in love at the Shady Acres Nursing Home. Dolores Diesel is an angry dyke who never discovered love until now. Fanny is a colorful, gypsy witch who, through magic, helps Dolores come to terms with growing older by helping her relive her youth and realize that love can happen at any age. Finally, Mister Timothy is a sociopath who kills Hollywood starlets, plasters shut their pussies and puts them on display so they can remain young and famous forever. Eventually, Mister Timothy commits suicide, ending the show.

Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic! is being presented as a part of Frigid Festival New York, first founded by Horse Trade and Exit Theatre in 2007 and organized to allow experienced and emerging artists to produce and perform material in spaces that are affordable and accessible. One hundred percent of the ticket sale price for each show goes directly to the performers, but the Frigid Festival does accept donations and gives out Penguin Pins in return. Neil Arthur James, who obtained a BA in Drama from the University of Georgia, is Dandy Darkly. He has performed Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic! at the HOT! Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Celebration of Whimsy Theater and the New Orleans Fringe Festival. Dandy Darkly has produced critically acclaimed variety and burlesque shows across New York City at Dixon Place and The Slipper Room, which have included Dandy Darkly's Easter Blister!, Dandy Darkly's Turkey Coma!, Dandy Darkly's A Case Of The Vapors!, Dandy Darkly's Poppycock Peepshow!, Dandy Darkly's Gory Hole!, Dandy Darkly's Kiss Beneath The Camel Toe!, and Dandy Darkly's Fucking Christmas Christmas Show!. He continues to perform pop-up storytelling events in areas notorious for public gay sex including Fire Island's Meat Rack and his annual shows beneath Provincetown's Dick Dock. He returns this summer to the Edinburgh Fringe with his new show, Dandy Darkly's Trigger Happy! - exploring themes of gun violence and traumatic hypersensitivity.

You can learn more about Dandy Darkly and his upcoming shows by visiting his website at

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