Max Brumberg-Kraus as Çicada L’Amour, photographed by Kristen Stoeckeler

Spooky thrills. High camp. Social commentary. Spirituality?

House of Larva’s Rochester performance will be many things, but boring? Never.

McKay Bram, a Rochester-based House of Larva member. who joined the avant-garde drag co-operative two years ago, will perform with Cities-based artist and theologen Max Brumberg-Kraus at Canvas & Chardonnay Saturday night.

Been to another drag show? The format won’t be markedly different, Bram says – she and Brumberg-Kraus will lip-sync in dramatic costumes, and tips are appreciated. However, the songs will all be bound together by a storyline.

“Viral Liaisons” follows Doctor Pouchet Pouchet, Bram’s drag persona, as he explores the depths of the Clinique de Mayonaise (heh) to find the burial place of Çicada L’Amour (Brumberg-Kraus) who holds the cure to a deadly virus.

The set list includes Disturbed, Disney showtunes, Phil Collins, music from “The Wicker Man” and Beethoven – “but nobody’s lip-syncing to that,” Bram says.

House of Larva has its own sci-fi mythos and pantheon that are adapted from show to show. If you’ve been before, expect to be greeted by familiar faces and names (Pouchet, Cicada, Enfanga, Creamy D-Lite). If not, the show should still be accessible – and equip you for their next iteration down the road.


Max Brumberg-Kraus as Çicada L’Amour and McKay Bram as Pouchet Pouchet, photographed by Kristen Stoeckeler

Other constants in House of Larva shows? Fantastic music, theatricality, a smidgeon of macabrity, and a healthy dose of humor.

“We try to strike a good balance,” Bram says. “There’s comedy, spirituality … camp. We show a clip from Young Frankenstein.”

The show is presented in five short acts, with performances by Rochester artists punctuating each scene. Danny Solis, Ameen Taahir, Allison Jones, and Sarah Berge will all take the stage throughout the night.

For poet Danny Solis, the experimental nature of the show may open up some art mediums he hasn’t dabbled in before – namely, standup comedy.

Solis, a “longtime fan of House of Larva,” says the co-op elevates the art form in unexpected ways – each show pulls in theology and social commentary.

“I think they’re doing stuff that nobody else I know is doing,” Solis says. “House of Larva is political, philosophical, and spiritual in a way that people don’t associate with drag.”

The show is suggested for viewers age 18 and over, but that’s a guideline, not a rule, Bram says.

“I think drag allows you to experiment and look into a lot of social systems in the world,” she adds. “Gender, but also others.”

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