Bearded Ladies Cabaret Takes Queer Live Performance on the Road in Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love gets a colorful new pop-up cabaret venue with The Beardmobile, a love letter to the city's neighborhoods with performances by local artists this May.

The Beardmobile. Credit: Plate 3 Photography

A year into the lockdown, and people are still finding ways to make live performances live.

After months of Zoom readings and other eager beaver attempts at recreating the magic, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret Company has announced the Beardmobile, a 15-foot box truck that serves as a stage, will bring four weeks of roving performances in Philadelphia beginning May 2.

The Philadelphia-based troupe of artists use the cabaret form to “tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit,” according to a press release. Adhering to safety protocols, the truck will bring a splash of color and flair to its socially-distanced performances this spring.

“The pandemic left so many artists underemployed and so many organizations on shaky ground,” says John Jarboe (she/her), artistic director of The Beards. “We designed the Beardmobile not only to showcase Bearded Ladies artists but also to be a resource for performing arts and social justice organizations in Philadelphia.”

In that vein, the Beardmobile serves as a love letter to the troupe’s hometown, showcasing local organizations, artists, and community members. See the full schedule below:

May 2: Start Your Engines
The Beardmobile’s first event with Virgil Gadson (Lil O), hosted by Eric Jaffe.

May 6: Project HOME
An afternoon of vogue, lip sync, song, performance, and open mic featuring residents of the Gloria Casarez Residence and The Project HOME family, hosted by Sam Rise.

May 9: Drag Mother’s Day
Bring all the children and all the mothers and daddies and guardians for a show celebrating queer family, hosted by Eric Jaffe and Jess Conda.

May 13: Love Jawns
A project from Yolanda Wisher and Philadelphia Contemporary that fuses poetry and music performances featuring Ursula Rucker, DJ Junior, and films by Wren Rene.

May 15: Black Femme Magic
An entire evening curated by LaNeshe Miller-White featuring Noelle Diane Johnson, Karen Smith, and Caitlin Green, hosted by Cookie Diorio.

May 19: Opera Philly
A performance hosted by Cookie Diorio featuring T-VOCE, Opera Philly’s all-city youth choir.

May 22: Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang (To Know Is To Love)
Sinta Storms, Modero & Co and Bearded Ladies offer an evening of Indonesian Dance, Gamelan, and poetry all devoted to the saying: Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang (translation: To Know Is To Love), featuring Modero Dancers, Katherine Antarisko, and the Gamelan Orchestra, hosted by Anthony Martinez-Briggs.

May 27: Love Tour Host Show
Hosted by the Beards’ own John Jarboe and introducing the Beardmobile host team.

May 29: Unity at the Initiative: Queer Skate Day
A queer skate day celebrating Asian Arts Initiative’s Unity at the Initiative with live music and performance, hosted by Sam Rise featuring Vichte Boul Ra, Icon Ebony Fierce, and Messapotamia Lafae.

Partners for the performances include Asian Arts Initiative, Vox Populi and The Moon Baby, Modero and Co., PARC, East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, The Wilma, ILL DOOTS, Philadelphia Contemporary, LaNeshe Miller White, Dain Saint, Spiral Q, and Applied Mechanics, For more information and tickets, visit beardedladiescabaret.com.

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