Life Gets Topsy-Turvy at this Queer Circus' Afrofuturist Trilogy

'Paradise: Belly of the Beast' closes out Topsy Turvy's afrofuturist trilogy. (Topsy Turvy)

There are all kinds of circuses these days — traveling family circuses from Mexico, steampunk circuses in warehouses — but you’ve probably never seen anything like the Topsy Turvy Queer Circus, led by India Davis. They’re a circus troupe that combines traditional aerials and acrobatics with burlesque, drag, voguing, and politics, and this week they close out their Afrofuturist trilogy, called Paradise: Belly of the Beast.

The show follows the story of a fallen angel and her journey to find her voice and secure the fate of her newfound home of Paradise. My co-host this week, Ariana Proehl, gets Octavia Butler vibes from Topsy Turvy’s aesthetic and themes — and, not unlike Butler’s sci-fi novels, Topsy Turvy pushes the boundaries of imagination and mythology while centering people of color and queer people of color.

Plus, it just looks straight-up entertaining. Some of these performers are no stranger to the stage: Marshall Jarreau, who comes from Cirque du Soleil, Davia Spain, Saturn Rising and more. That’s the Topsy Turvy Queer Circus on May 18 and 19 at Brava Theater in San Francisco. Details here.

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