Courtesy of Outlandish
Miss Richfield 1981

"Gay-ish" Series Outlandish Brings John Waters and Jackie Hoffman to Fort Lauderdale

Thanks to the Trump administration, 2018 is off to an interesting start. As American politics increasingly resemble a badly written reality TV show, audiences must now turn to live performance to keep us grounded. Matt Farber, the LGBTQ entertainment pioneer and creator/producer of Outlandish, believes his six-part live performance series can soothe our collective woes.

“In the vice of the age we live in, entertainment is more important than ever, especially entertainment that makes you think. [Outlandish] is the idea of assembling community to enjoy and... laugh, cry, think, emote, and express under a physical space... It’s a great outlet for the audience as well as the performers,” Farber says.

Outlandish, which debuted last year, will bring six live acts that are iconic in the LGBTQ community to South Florida in 2018. The performance series, running January 20 through March 17, will take place at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. Farber says the progressive Christian church was the perfect location to stage the series.

“It’s a welcoming, gay-centric, gay-friendly church with amazing sound, light, video system, and seating," he says, noting the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida has performed there. "Of course Outlandish would be held in the church! It’s a unique experience that makes sense in a nontraditional venue... The venue lets you create for the vibe of what Outlandish is about.”

The series is designed to appeal to both LGBTQ and broader theater audiences, Farber says. “Outlandish is a gay-ish performance series, which means it’s something that has a strong connection to the LGBT community but has an appeal that crosses over to a general theater audience... These are acts that have a show and theatrical element, not just straight standup or theater. We have men, women, and men dressed as women.”

The series begins January 20 with Jackie Hoffman’s What Ever Happened to Jackie’s Emmy? Hoffman, who has played roles in Broadway shows such as Hairspray and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and on television shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Strangers With Candy, recently rose to popularity when she received an Emmy nomination for her role as Mamacita in the FX series Feud. Hoffman will keep audiences laughing as she shares gossip of the entertainment world through monologue and song.

YouTube star Randy Rainbow, hailed for his sharp newsroom-style musical satire of the follies of the Trump administration, will perform at the cathedral January 26 and 27. “People describe him as someone who has gotten them through tough times with his videos. Being in his presence is like a cathartic experience for people. Witnessing live recreations of his Trump-takedown music videos is a fascinating thing to watch,” Farber says.

On February 17, drag persona Miss Coco Peru will share her show, The Taming of the Tension. The show, which references Coco’s epic quest for the allegedly stress-relieving Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Tea in her viral YouTube video, will be full of her trademark storytelling style and songs.

Cult auteur John Waters, the writer and director of queer classics such as Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, and Serial Mom, will perform his one-man show, This Filthy World 2018, February 24. Waters will share outrageous stories from the weird world of film and live up to his nickname as “The Pope of Trash.”

Famous for her off-Broadway show, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, drag persona Dixie Longate will present No Instructions March 3. Dixie, who originally hails from a trailer park in Alabama, will share how she copes with a confusing world that comes without a road map.

The final show of the series is Miss Richfield 1981’s Born Again. The big-haired, bespectacled beauty originally from Minnesota will share her search for a religion that could salvage broken contemporary society through audience interaction and comedic songs and video. Farber, who is Miss Richfield’s agent, says, “[How fitting] that the final show should be in an inclusive church where everything goes.”

Though the series is not officially anchored in political satire, Farber says the audience and performers are most likely united in their sentiments about the current state of society.

“While everybody is welcome, I am guessing that a majority of the people in the audience probably are not Trump supporters, and I would guess that the performers themselves are vocally anti-Trump. With the exception of Randy Rainbow, [political satire] isn’t what they do, [but] I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an acknowledgment of the elephant in the room with each of the shows even though that’s not the focus.”

Above all, Farber says, the series is intended to create a positive experience with a welcoming community. “[Outlandish] is a place to hear your thoughts and feelings validated, a chance to escape and laugh, [and] a chance to share a space with like-minded people.”

Outlandish Live Performance Series. January 20 through March 17 at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-2004; sunshinecathedral.org. Tickets cost $30 to $387 via outlandishfl.com.

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