Catching up with Somerville's new, much-needed live performance venue and function space
During the pandemic, the theatre has undergone a complete renovation of its facilities
With local tracks to match
The Slaughterhouse Society is an oddity that one would usually find during Halloween season—a time when all things spooky and horror become hot commodities in the US. But it’s an aesthetic that the performance troupe, primarily led by Boston-based performer and self-described “art-weirdo,” Fem Bones, pays homage to all year round.
While the troupe performs a variety of work—ranging from campy burlesque shows to theatrical plays—its residency at the Somerville Theatre has provided a freaky spice to peoples’ typically standard movie nights. It’s dubbed the Slaughterhouse Movie Club, and patrons can expect a wacky and unapologetically queer preshow to accompany select films throughout the year.
With its next performance, a 30-minute, kaiju-themed burlesque preshow for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, slowly approaching on May 31, I called up Bones to chat about her work with Slaughterhouse and to help enlighten me on the underground scene that her troupe proudly entertains.
Well, we started off about nine years ago as the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts, and we were an all-alternative-girl burlesque troupe. But after a lot of time and developing and meeting other artists we really loved working with, [we] kind of evolved past being a burlesque troupe into just an art performance gang.
So some of us sing, some of us do circus, some of us do drag, some of us do burlesque, and our shows vary too. Really, we just call ourselves this art alternative group of burlesque babes and gender punks doing spooky alternative performance art.
The guy who runs the Somerville Theatre, Ian Judge, has always been really supportive of local artists in Somerville. I met him through performing as Clara in The Slutcracker a few years ago and ever since then, he’s just been really supportive of helping local art happen in a town where there isn’t a lot of venues or affordable options to local artists.
He started approaching me being like, “How would you like to do a fun little preshow to a movie.?” Over time I said, “Hey, can I turn this into a big show? Let’s just do an hour of spooky fun, movie-themed burlesque, and drag, and then show a movie and make a whole night of it.” With its success, he asked us if we wanted to do a whole season. So now we’re on our second season.
Their steady rise from a cappella college days to folk festival favorites
The nonprofit film series is entering its 15th year, and its 2017 iteration is spread across more than three screening locations, with programming that includes features, short films, fiction and nonfiction, panels and parties, innumerable filmmakers in person, all the works.
In last week’s preview of the Somerville Theatre’s 70mm & Widescreen Film Festival, I wrote about the old canard that the big screen is inherently better suited for large-canvas movies. Within the narrow viewpoint of my own personal experience, that line of thinking is demonstrably false—“so often it’s the textural details of cinema that remain in our mind’s eye the longest, even in those [70mm] epics,” was how I put it, “the grains of sand, or the wind that whips them, rather than the desert itself.” Having spent the weekend at the Somerville festival’s opening screenings—
Jaws rip-offs sighted at 12 o’clock
IFFBoston presents a Brian De Palma program that peeks backstage