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Beyond Dark Corners Warehouse — Next Door

Remaining performances: July 19 at 8 pm; July 23 at 9:30 pm; July 25 at 1 pm

They say: Black, and Gay in struggle with identity. Christopher Prince and Terry Sidney, seasoned Performance Artists push the envelope another notch by creating a riveting evening of poetry, music and stories exploring conflict between self-value, culture and social politics.

Sheffy says: November 4, 2008, was historic.  African-American voters turned out in record numbers to elect Barack Obama. In California, that record black vote has been blamed for ensuring passage of Prop 8, where 7 in 10 blacks voted in favor of a measure that bans gay marriage.  While both the black community and gay community have struggled for their civil rights, traditionally the two have not gotten along.  So what if you’re both black and gay?  Chances are “Beyond Dark Corners” is not just a metaphor for you.

Here, the secret lives of black gay men are revealed in back-to-back one-man performances by Christopher Prince and Terry Sidney.  Each performs four pieces using poetry, song, and storytelling to evoke their respective worlds.  Prince explores identity: life on the down-low, in which men who purport to be straight just sometimes, in the dark, need a man. Prince is more than disappointed with those that won’t come out of the closet: “We hide inside, the dark hangers gouging at our eyes.”  When a transvestite is metaphorically stoned by the community, he is angry that the “black warriors to protect her are hiding in the bars.”

Sidney could tell a story with his facial expressions alone.  Add his dynamic voice, chiseled body, graceful movement… singing (OK, he does have a single weak spot, but luckily he invites guest singer Nikita Vann with a mellifluous voice that soars).  The anchor of the evening was Sidney’s poignant story about a lover who dies of AIDS.  We share the narrator’s fury as he confronts his lover’s mother who has forsaken her son.  She accuses “you people” for killing him with AIDS.  An all-too-common slander for gay love, she belittled their relationship to mere sex, but, the narrator attests, “I was there when he need me the most.”

See it if: You need to balance Fringe’s multiple bare-breasted women swordplay shows with a buff, bare-breasted man doing a sensuous dance with a gleaming white matador-like cape.

Skip it if: Sitting in a very dark room with the wine from the Warehouse bar in your hand and jazz in the background won’t allow you to see anything  beyond the dark corners of the back of your eyelids.