This is why I love Balls Cabaret

lesly1.gif• A comedian
• Two story tellers
• Two singer/songwriters
• A mime
• A music/comedy duo
• A barber shop quartette
• A video-shoot of the performers, crew and audience singing John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”
• An interpretive dance number accompanying an operatically-delivered song about penis worship.

You never know what’s going happen at Balls Cabaret. In addition to the above spectacles that were witnessed on Saturday November 17th, you also stand a chance of seeing magicians, musicians, jugglers(!), unicyclists, dancers, poets, nude poets, nude dancers and nude jugglers (if only). And some sort of ode to penises is virtually guaranteed – as it should be.

I attended Balls last Saturday for the first time in over five years. Nothing had changed. The indomitably cheerful Leslie Ball served as box office clerk, stage manager, talent scout, host and chocolate pusher. An enthusiastic audience ranging from teenaged girls to grandpas arrived promptly. The night’s performers, some grizzled stage veterans, others jittery first-time-playing-to-live-humans newbies, milled around the seats and backstage. At exactly midnight, 90 minutes of sometimes great, sometimes less-than-great entertainment ensued.

ballsgang.gifBalls Cabaret has been running, with rare exception, without interruption every Saturday night at midnight since August of 1991, making it the longest running late night open mic gig in the history of penises. I first attended Balls in 1995 and first performed soon thereafter. Though I never went fully nude, I too disrobed to a certain degree on at least one occasion. Furthermore, I juggled solo and with my partner, I escaped from a straight jacket, I balanced huge things on my chin, I spun children’s soccer balls on my fingers and I tied balloon sculptures that may have ever so briefly, and certainly unintentionally, taken on phallic form.

Some nights at Balls have been legendarily excellent (like the time I got topless), other nights excruciating clunkers (the ostensibly dope-fueled, beat-poet, interpretive-staggering, garbage can lid quartet comes to mind – the ‘no performing drunk’ rule was instituted the following week), but averaged out over time Balls is always worth the $5 entry fee.

In the words of Colleen Kruse, “Penis, penis, penis.”

Balls Cabaret
Every Saturday night at midnight
The Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 340-0155

[Photo credits: Eric Geigle & the Walker Art Center]

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Live theater | 19.11.2007 15:53 | 2 Comments

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