Poetry vs Comedy Variety Hour at Sideshow May 10th

Well folks, Sideshow time is rolling around again—the next of my monthly reading series that I co-host and co-produce with the lovely Cheryl B. happens one week from tomorrow, on May 10th.

This one is a special one. Cheryl is still in the hospital, where she’s been for almost a month now, and we’re not sure if she’ll be able to attend next week or not (I would guess it is unlikely, but I know how badly she wants to be there!). But this show is a special revival of Cheryl’s former reading series, the Poetry vs Comedy Variety Hour, which was a genius combining of both poets and comics in a hilarious “competition” where the top poet and the top comic go head-to-head in a bonus improv round. Of course, the winning is not the point (but it didn’t stop me from being extra-nervous when performing in this series—I guess it brings out my inner competition that I try to keep managed).

I competed in Cheryl’s series three times, and won twice! I was the first poet to ever win, too—usually the comics were much more of a shoe-in. (But not this time, right Kit? We’ll give ’em a run for their money!)

I dug this photo out from the shoot with Syd London when I was making the graphic for this event, not sure I ever shared it with y’all (unless you went through the Flickr set).

photo by Syd London

I miss Cheryl’s company. I visit her as often as possible, but it’s not the same as kicking around for a day at a coffee shop in Brooklyn and talking about our lives and writing and girlfriends and sex and jobs and goals and whatever. I don’t know if I would have undertaken this Sideshow project if she wasn’t at the helm with me, and I’ve been so grateful for her guidance and help with this show.

So while we’ve been planning this special Poetry vs Comedy Sideshow for a long time, I’m also glad it’s coming along now, and it’s become a bit of a tribute to Cheryl as a community organizer, reading series host, poet, writer, and performer. We’ll be donating what we collect to Cheryl, and hopefully we’ll have someone there videotaping the evening in case she can’t make it. She is doing MUCH better (which is such a relief), but she still has some rehabilitation to go through, and some care and healing for her poor lungs.

I’d really like to rally and send some good energies her way during this difficult healing time. I hope, if you are in New York City on May 10th, you’ll come.

Join us at Sideshow on May 10th for a special revival of Cheryl B.’s previous reading series, Poetry vs Comedy Variety Hour! PVC is not a typical poetry slam nor a regular stand-up comedy show. PVC is a battle of wits and Rhymes where the stanzas and the stand-ups collide.

Performers include Kit Yan, Molly “Equality” Dykeman, Sinclair Sexsmith, Paul Case, Emma Willmann, and Jessica Halem. Celebrity guest judges include Shawn Hollenbach, Livia Scott, and Amanda Goad, Esquire. Hosted by Carolyn Castiglia, this special PvC features musical guest Leibya Rogers!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival: POETRY vs COMEDY
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, May 10th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)


Andrea Alton aka Molly “Equality” Dykeman has performed her poetry/burlesque and comedy all over New York with appearances at Comix, The PIT, Arlene’s Grocery, The LGBT Center, The Knitting Factory, Dixon Place, The Bowery Poetry Club and The Stonewall Inn. She’s also performed at The Chicago, DC, San Francisco and Toronto Sketch Comedy Festivals as well as at The Miss Fag Hag Pageant (a benefit for The Harvey Milk School) and Murray Hill’s Miss Lez Pageant. Molly’s play The F*cking World According To Molly was just accepted into the New York Fringe Festival and will be premiering in August. www.mollyequalitydykeman.com

Recently Featured in the HBO Documentary Asians Aloud, Kit Yan tell stories through slam poetry from the lens of a transgender Asian American from Hawaii now lost in the big city of New York. Through touching love poems, dirty sex accounts(optional), and comedic tales of his childhood –Kit takes you on a journey that is raw, real, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable. New York Magazine describes his art as “knockout spoken-word” while Curve magazine says “incredible slam poetry” and Bitch magazine states that: “The eloquence of Kit’s spoken-word delivery lies in the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, gender-inclusive, language that ties his lyrics together.” Kit’s work has been taught at universities coast to coast, from San Francisco State to Harvard. He spoke to over 200,000 from the stage of the 2009 National Equality March, performed on the San Francisco Pride main stage, and earned a spot in as a top three finalist at the National Queer Slam. Kit Yan is the reigning Mr. Transman 2010, the first person to ever hold this national title.

Sinclair Sexsmith really loves sandwiches, daisies, spiral notebooks, and bourbon. She has performed in dyke bars, libraries, community centers, college campuses, and once, topless in a burrito line. She co-hosts and co-produces Sideshow with Cheryl B., and writes at Sugarbutch.net.


Called “bawdy and brave” by Time Out Chicago and “Righteous and Chipper” by the Times-Picayune, Jessica Halem was raised by hippie Jewish artists from the East Coast which was anything but normal – or easy – in small-town Ohio, but did help to foster this very funny “on-your-face” comic who puts her queer spin on everything from Sudafed to Feminism to Glory Holes. Jessica Halem was trained in femme queerness at Sarah Lawrence College; earned her chops as a social justice activist working for Bella Abzug; and as a LGBTQ health guru running the Lesbian Community Cancer Project. Jessica Halem performs at every college, Pride, and bathhouse where she can help find the funny in even the toughest of times.

Originally from rural Maine, Emma Willmann began performing comedy in late 2008. In 2009 she was a finalist in Catch a Rising Star, and in 2010 she won first place in The Boston Comedy Riots. In 2011, she was featured in The Women in Comedy Festival, a finalist in Mohegan Suns Funniest Comic in New England Competition, and became a regular at The Broadway and New York Comedy Clubs. When not doing comedy, Emma is getting a Masters in Media Studies and Entertainment Management at The New School, where she also co – host’s the radio program, “That’s My Theory,” on WNSR New School Radio. Tweet with her @EmmaWillmann.

& special guests TBA!


Actress, comedian & character powerhouse Livia Scott was recently named “One of our favorite 53 comedians” by The Huffington Post. Credits: Honesty on Comedy Central, 7 different characters in National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie, Law & Order and Conan. Currently you can see her on Atom.com playing Courtney Love in the web series Saving Love.

Shawn Hollenbach is a stand up comedian, actor and the gay next door. Shawn is the producer of Closet Cases, a Critics’ Pick from Time Out NY, a Homo Must in HX Magazine and can be heard on Broadcastr. You may have seen him on VH1 or on Gayest Week Ever on Logo’s NewNowNext.com. He’s also been featured on two episodes of Hot Gay Comicson the here! Networks and you may have seen him as the host of Busted, a celebrity gossip podcast. He’s also creator and co-producer of the Miss Fag Hag Pageant. featuring such talents as Caroline Rhea, Leslie Jordan, John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Musto and Hedda Lettuce. Shawn is also a contributing writer for 365gay.com

& special guest TBA!


Mindy Raf (BUST Magazine, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Women in Comedy Festival) is a writer, comedienne, and musician out of Brooklyn, New York. She will be performing music as her popular alter-ego, chick rocker, Leibya Rogers. Mindy is currently finishing up her first novel which is set to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin. http://www.mindyraf.com


Carolyn Castiglia is a stand-up comedian, writer and hip-hop superstar. You may have seen her on Comedy Central’s Atom TV, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Nick-at-Nite’s Funniest Mom in America 3, The Maury Show, ABC World News with Charles Gibson and heard her on Sirius/XM Radio. She is best known for her appearances on VH1/ego trip’s The White Rapper Show and Miss Rap Supreme as the lovable and hilarious Miss CKC. Her funny freestyle has won her numerous championship titles at The BEATdown, a monthly showcase at New York’s UCB Theatre.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

4 thoughts on “Poetry vs Comedy Variety Hour at Sideshow May 10th”

  1. beforethedawn09 says:

    Instead of “bourbon,” I read “bottoms.” I suppose that would work too.

  2. a. says:


    1. Sinclair says:

      Ha! No need to play favorites. I expect our judges will be impartial, a. :)

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