My cute str8 friend from work agreed to be my date for this show, and while waiting for the performance to start, we had a discussion about how we make shitty money and spend it on shitty things. Ironically, we discovered this show is not a shitty thing to spend money on.
Prepare to test your own financial insecurities as Ben Rimalower recounts his life story, skillfully intertwining personal anecdotes detailing a lifetime of utter fiscal incompetence in just over an hour. Ben delivers a brutally personal, creative performance courageously detailing all the shitty things he’s done to friends, family, workmates and ultimately, himself. If you’ve ever struggled with addiction, drugs, alcohol, sex or money (or all of the above), best believe Ben knows what’s up. It’s a truly therapeutic experience for both the audience and performer.
Ben and his director Aaron Mark share an impressive list of professional credits. Between the two, they have produced and directed Off Broadway shows seemingly since forever, performed on Watch What Happens Live, written films & documentaries, won awards, write for Playbill and Huffington Post… honestly, the production biography takes up the whole page. It’s very intimidating. You know when you go to a dive bar after a spectacularly shitty day to drink alone? (Yes you do, liar.) Ben is the kinda guy you hope to have sitting next to you, a casual confidante, relatable and charismatic with whom the conversation flows as effortlessly as the whiskey. Except Ben doesn’t drink anymore. He has better things to spend money on.
The show is running until February 26th, 2015 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. NY, NY. Click here for tickets and showtimes.
Now playing at The Harvey theater at BAM through Jan 25th
It is on rare occasion that all the elements for true artistic perfection come together at the same time elevating a performance into the ether of the gods. I remember the first time I experienced this moment — it was when Peggy Fleming did her long program in figure skating to win the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics. I was five. The next standout performance in my memory came at age 19 when I saw Dreamgirls on Broadway in it’s original production, spending all my bar mitzvah money to see it another six times more before it closed. Now let me preface what I’m about to say by confessing A: I’m certifiably obsessed with rodeo B: greatly enamored by the works of composer/performer Sufjan Stevens C: Smoked some fine ass weed before the show, so here it is: Round-Up an hour and fifteen minutes of super slowmotion rodeo footage accompanied by a live original score by Sufjan Stevens with Yarn/Wine is by far the most sublime, seamless artistic experience I’ve had in years, going down in my memory as one of those “ether of the Gods” moments.
The subtle score by Stevens is performed live with two percussionists and two pianists beautifully enhancing imagery of bronco and bull riding, calf roping, cheerleading and related rodeo imagery shot by Aaron and Alex Craig so that 1 live second of action takes 12 seconds to transpire on screen. The effect is at once poetic and dazzling. You have to grab tickets fast because Round-Up now playing at BAM in the Harvey Theatre only has performances through Jan 25th. As Sufjan points out “There’s so much dance in rodeo horse tails and stirrups, cowboy hats, tassels and chaps flying all over the place, the film is quite visceral” Not to mention all that male atmosphere and Levis clad crotches EVERYWHERE!
American Realness is a wonderful festival that takes place at the Abrons Art Center. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, it’s a series of “new performance, dance, and art events that repurposes “realness” for a newly growing subset of American and international art.” Curated by Ben Pryor it’s well worth attending. Miguel Giuterrez’s is a choreographer who’s created work for the festival. It’s actually part 2 of the performance he did from last year. It’s all about beauty and decay, and what it’s like to age as a dancer. I’m not a dancer, but I’ve dated a couple, and I know how tough a life it is. You are literally beholden to your body. A big injury can derail your career. I know that is true of lots of jobs, but how many of them are you forced to tempt fate constantly by putting so much strain on the instrument so vital to your success? Yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s an interesting topic to tackle and Miguel does it well. The show runs till the 18th. Don’t miss it. Click here for tickets.
The eclectic festival is back for another year. Check out the interview we did with its curator from last year.
To many LGBT-identifying people, the word “realness” evokes a very specific image in queer history. It’s the sequence in Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, in which several late 80’s NYC queens display what “realness” truly means: to blend seamlessly into heterosexual culture despite your queerness. It’s about being a walking contradiction, gender-bending your way into what culture has deemed the norm. It’s about being able to pass for something you’re not and subverting the entire image you’re conveying in the process. At American Realness, the arts festival currently happening downtown at Abrons Art Center, creator Ben Pryor (pictured) has adopted this word to perfectly represent a series of new performance, dance, and art events that repurposes “realness” for a newly growing subset of American and international art.
We asked a few questions to Ben about the future of American Realness, doing homework in the BAM Opera House as a kid, and what “realness” means in the context of the artwork and performances on display at this year’s festival. Check out the full interview below.
What is your background in the arts? Are you an artist yourself? My mom was a publicist for contemporary classical composers. David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julie Wolfe, the Bang on a Can scene, Michael Nyman, John Corigliano… I grew up going to atonal music concerts, being seated between critics, forced to behave myself backstage at theKnitting Factory at age 12, or doing homework during sound check in the Opera Houseat BAM. There was a predisposition to artists pushing the boundaries, and I was stuffing press kits to earn allowance at age 7. I got more serious about dance when I was a little older, studying tap, jazz, ballet and still doing musicals in school. My BA is in theater performance. Later on I started seeing concert dance and was studying a lot of queer theory and looking at the performance of race, gender and the self. I got really interested in qualities of performance and of personhood. How does the performance of self constitute an identity on or inside a body?
I think these two worlds can be seen in the performance work that excites me today. There is text, there is song, there is dancing/movement/ideas within the framework of dance. It is really a queering of musical theater, of modern dance, of performance art and other contemporary art making practices — a mashing up of contexts, theatrical or otherwise.
What stands out most to you when looking for performers for American Realness? I get excited about work when I am surprised, confused in that tantalizing or challenging way, and when I see or experience transformation — when I am pushed into new ways of thinking, into and through my own discomfort, or into a state of joy. American Realness presents work in which artists are exploring performative practices to show us that the world is larger than ourselves; that we are all connected. Their work is reflexive of who they are and how they make it, and subversive in how they approach the frames of dance and performance. The works are crafted as experiences more than shows, where the action is not just seen, but felt. It is about palpable energetic exchange between the performers and the audience. I want to FEEL something. I want someone to make sense of it all and tell me it is OK, however fucked up it seems to be. This is what I hope to offer audiences in a lot of different ways over the course of the program.
Over the past 5 years, what has been the most rewarding aspect of putting together American Realness? The program has been insanely rewarding in a number of ways. The resonance was palpable from the beginning. Everyone said yes. And keeps on saying it. The artists. The industry. The public. The program has had a remarkable trajectory and I am insanely grateful to Jay Wegman, Director of the Abrons Arts Center, for thinking it was a decent idea and making the path to today possible.
How do you define “realness” in relation to the arts? The term “Realness” comes from the Drag Ball context and has to do with passing. With the festival, I consider Realness in relationship to the performativity of personhood and identity and how these ideas are played with in the performance of life, highlighted here for us on stage. How are performers representing themselves? What are they presenting of “themselves”? I am really interested in that slippery space where we are not really sure what we know. It creates a heightened state of attention for the audience. They are forced to work through their own sense of confusion about what is happening.
There is also a level of “realness” that relates to the underfunded nature of American work (dance/theater/performance) in relationship to international work. It is about acknowledging that there is more frequently a DIY, raw aesthetic employed in this American work versus its international counterparts. But we are totally cognizant of that reality and making the decision to work with and call attention to it. We may not have everything that we wanted to do this, but we are making it work with what we have and not apologizing for it. Artists keeping it real.
There is also the level of marketplace that is somewhat transparent, perhaps less so for the public, but very much so for the programmers coming to the festival. The festival takes place during this huge performing arts conference. There are curators and programmers from all over the country and the world in town. Many of them are literally shopping for work to bring to their venues and festivals at home. So American Realness is also about selling your goods. In the traditional American entrepreneurial spirit, we have set up shop and we are for sale.
This year is the first time American Realness is featuring works authored solely by international artists. Can you describe your process for recruiting internationally? My day job is producing and touring the performance works of a few choreographers,Miguel Gutierrez and Ishmael Houston-Jones, for example. With that I end up traveling to different festivals and venues around the world where clients’ work is being presented. This affords me the opportunity to see a lot of work from other artists that often times isn’t otherwise coming to NYC. Every now and then I see works that I know will really resonate back home. I have resisted making invitations because my festival was supposed to be about “American” work. Now that the program is five years old, I feel like I can finally break out of that frame and not worry about what colleagues or the press might say. Now it is about sowing that the central aesthetic ideology of the program still holds clear across national and geographic boundaries.
Several of the works at this year’s festival challenge typical ideas of identity and how we see ourselves. What about the concept of identity, and the many ways it changes in our lifetime, appeals to you most? Like most homos, I had my own struggle with figuring out who and what I am and wanted to be. It wasn’t really until I started readingFoucault and Butler that I really felt comfortable understanding my identity as the confluence of my mental and physical reality. I think the combination of the more body-based practice of dance and the more intellectually-based practice of theater (not to imply that a dance or body based practices are not also intellectually grounded or rigorous) lend themselves to an investigation of personal identity. It is true that identity shifts as life goes on, so it is a ripe and universal territory for exploration, one that audiences can find themselves in.
In the future of American Realness, are there any directions you haven’t gone yet that you’d like to go in regard to artistic disciplines? I keep feeling interested in curating some sort of music program. I dabbled with some more musically based projects in 2013. This year I was trying to get Mykki Blanco involved in some aspect of the program. I was like “Hey Mykki, I am this crazy guy you don’t know who has access to a theater and this festival that gets some good press, wanna come make some crazy stage piece pop-opera?!!?” I like to have crazy fantasies I don’t have the resources for. I think that could really be amazing though, broadening the program a bit, but also asking the artists to bring themselves to the forms of the program. I think there is a lot of potential there.
Can you give insight into any particular events/artists/art in history that have influenced American Realness? Mark Russell’s Under the Radar Festival was the blueprint for American Realness. Mark ran Performance Space 122 for 20 years and then started Under the Radar as a way to bring new experimental theater to his national and international colleagues. For Realness, I shifted the focus from theater to dance and performance, but the format and function of the programs in the context of the APAP conference that is happening is quite similar.
American Realness spans many different venues, but is housed largely in Abrons Art Center. What about that space in particular appeals to your vision for American Realness? I love that Abrons is a campus. There are three theaters in the two connected buildings, and we have turned this multi-purpose room into another performance space. You can make a lot happen there. We take over the three gallery spaces too so the program really takes over all the public spaces and becomes something new. It allows the festival to become a fully social experience, not just going to the theater, sitting, watching and leaving. You can hang out, talk about the work, check out some exhibitions. Make some new friends and then go see something else. That was always really essential to the vision for the program.
Can you give us an insider’s opinion on some of the must-see additions to this year’s festival? This is always a hard one for me. I curated the program, so of course I have a reason for you to see everything! I would love for people to especially check out the international work as they are probably less familiar with these guys. Dana Michel is from Montreal. Her piece ‘Yellow Towel‘ is playing with racial stereotypes in this really interesting way. When I saw the piece last summer I kept thinking “WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE DOING?” There is all this action going on, she is speaking all this quasi-comprehendible gibberish, and while she is totally captivating on stage, she isn’t really letting you in 100%. It’s the kinda confusing/exciting I go for. And people should check out The Lounge. It is a free after-party each night at The Public Theater with a cash bar, performances and DJs. Chris Tyler’s TRL >>> Total Reject’s Live is happening next weekend, that should be wild. Hope to see ya there.
To make a contribution to help keep American Realness going, click here.
We had quite a night on Saturday at the Paramount Hotel near Times Square. We’d been to the basement many times (PrettyUgly is held in it’s underground ballroom) but wanted to check out the Queen of The Night show that’s held there beforehand. It’s an “immersive theatre” experience. It’s kind of a cross between Sleep No More and Cirque De Soleil, with a Game of Thrones like feast of roasted pig, lobster and beef ribs served during it. There’s even an open bar where you can order whatever you like...which we did! After a couple of Negroni’s we kind of lost track of the story line, not that that mattered, it’s full of impressive acrobatics, magic and dance which don’t really rely on a plot. At the end of it they ask everyone to head to the floor for a romantic slow dance. They then spoon feed the whole audience this incredible chocolate cake. The ticket for Queen is not that much more than your average Broadway show ($140) but not only do you get a brilliant show, you also get the aforementioned open bar and a pretty wonderful dinner. You can also hang out afterwards and dance the night away at PrettyUgly. Just go easy on the drinks, Abi and I hit the bottle hard and things got pretty...I’ll save that story for another day. ;) Use the promo code 'GAYLETTER' for a special offer.
Start the new year off with some cerebral performance art. “LOOSE is an autobiographical examination of how gender expression, and racial identity affect each other when we navigate public space. Conversations with other gender non-conforming people of color are captured and turned into a live documentary performance that blends the practices of DJ remixing techniques and live video mixing. LOOSE is designed to be improvisational. No two performances are the same.” The unique performance is created by D’hana Perry a Brooklyn based DJ, documentary filmmaker and video artist. He studied at Wesleyan and Emerson and is way smarter than me. Perry has been a part of the NY queer nightlife scene for sometime while also working with the artist collective, KUNQ. It’s hard for me to say whether this show is going to be good or not, because I haven’t seen it yet, but from the company Perry keeps (Mykki Blanco, Jubilee, JD Samson, Kim Ann Foxman) we have a feeling it will be well worth your time.
The adorable London-based queer electronic musician and vocalist Billy Lloyd, is visiting NYC for a few days looking for nice Tinder dates — just kidding — well he’s not here just for that… While in New York he’s gonna be putting on an amazing show on January 3rd at Joe’s Pub. We had a chance to chat with the artist about his music, his social media, gender identity and of course the best approach to taking him to bed.
You’re living in London now? Yes, since June. Before that I spent three years in Leeds. I did a degree in popular music.
Popular music? Yes, they don’t exist at many places, but they do exist.
Does that mean people are writing papers on Lady Gaga and Adele? Yeah, kind of. I went to conservatoire, so it’s very practical based.
What’s the difference between a conservatoire and a conservatory? I don’t think there is one. You say ‘conservatoire’ if you’re trying to sound extra fancy. It was mostly writing and performing music. I think I wrote three essays in the the entire three years I was there.
What were the essays? One was on feminism in music, and the other was an extended evaluation of an event that I put on in Leeds.
You have a series of videos for the singles on your EP that feature you introducing each song. For the single ‘Mirrors’ you talk about identity; an obsession with looking perfect; confronting yourself in the mirror; the difference between who you see and the idea of yourself. For many people these days there’s the distance between the socially constructed self on Facebook versus the person you see in the mirror everyday. As a performer your press imagery is so perfected and idealized and highly aestheticized, tell me about the contrast of you getting out of bed in the morning versus your lovely press images. That’s definitely where it comes from. As I started to create more images of myself that had studio lighting, and I was wearing tons and tons of makeup. I was heavily styled. You’re deleting all the pictures where you look crap. Starting to see more and more of those images and putting them out on social media, you start to think that you look like that all the time. It becomes uncomfortable and a jarring experience when you look in the mirror, and you don’t have studio lighting on you.
Growing up in a town of 400 people in the middle of England, how did access to the internet impact your development? I think it’s what made me the person that I am. I have the Internet entirely to thank for that. I didn’t really have any friends that lived in my town. Most of my ways of interacting with my friends was through the Internet. I remember when I was about 14 I had a Tumblr blog where I was able to be out as gay. I used a fake name and was able to talk about all my issues. Like most other people in small towns I was bullied, but I didn’t have a particularly hard upbringing. The Internet gave me a place where I could make friends, friends that I still have now. Some of my closest friends were people who also had blogs and connected with me. Since they’ve stayed my friends through revealing who I am.
Was that the name of the blog? Anonymous Gay Teen? No. That would be perhaps a bit corny, but I went from being essentially an anonymous gay teen to being myself. The blog has now transformed to my outlet as Billy Lloyd, more of a mood board and an output of that part of me.
Were you Billy Lloyd in your anonymous gay teen phase? No. That was a different name. I think it was John something. It was very…
John Smith or something. Yes, completely nondescript. So obviously a fake name. Certainly it facilitated my ability to be comfortable with myself and my discovery of my own gender identity and sexuality.
How do you identify your gender identity now? Essentially queer. I like the term gender queer. I like queer as a catch-all term for both my sexuality and my gender because it suggests that there are lots of blood lines and everything is free. I think the internet is entirely to thank… to blame… to thank.
I’m thinking about your song ‘Whatever’ which you describe as dealing with the gap between political awareness and the actions that one might take to address a particular issue. One of the lyrics goes, “It’s not real if we see it through the glass screen.” You have just talked about having this mediated experience vis-a-vis the internet that was very helpful in terms of forming your identity and not feeling isolated, but “Whatever” paints a more skeptical view of our hyper-mediated culture. I’m curious to know more about the song, this tension between the utopian possibilities available in our inter-connected world versus the apathy it can engender. Essentially the song is a comment on where we are now in terms of cultural apathy. One way that I’ve seen it manifest itself is on Tumblr: these posts will go around with petitions to sign. They’ll have a 100,000 reblogs, but they’ll only have 20,000 signatures on the petition. People will happily click reblog.
They’ll broadcast it, but they won’t take the extra 20 seconds it might take to sign the petition. Yeah, because you might have to sign up or something, and it will take you away from scrolling through Tumblr and looking at pictures of cats. That’s a really good summary of the situation we’re in. We’re quite keen to appear as activists, and we’re aware of the power of social media. We’re trying to utilize it but not in an active way at all. We’ll post about things that are bad, but we won’t do anything about the things that are bad in anyway real way. I use Twitter and Tumblr to broadcast other voices and raise issues, and I wonder if I am just doing that to get social cache? Really it should be about the issue, but there is a small value to broadcasting information through social media. It’s a way of bringing attention to issues and expanding awareness.
I think there’s a desensitization that happens. I grew up before the internet. The amount of information that I have to deal with on a daily basis now…! Computers are supposed to make your life easier, but what one person is expected to be able to do now versus what one was expected to do in the analog age. It’s a blessing and a curse! I could not do what I do as an independent curator, producer and artist manager without it. 30 years ago I would have had to have an office of four — at least! So in one sense it’s liberating because someone who is doing something kind of niche and alternative can have a presence and a ‘storefront’ and do their thing in a way that would have required an entire office. Yes, exactly. In October I went to Russia and did a show there. It was a great show. For an independent artist — at the time I didn’t even have a manager — to have a successful show in another country pre the internet would have been virtually impossible. So I think that’s really exciting about the internet.
Did the show come about because you connected with people via Tumblr? Actually through YouTube. I did a cover of Patrick Wolf‘s ‘Vulture,’ and put it on YouTube. The person who is now my manager, Ennie Vicious, who lives in Moscow, she’s done some work with Patrick, and she’s a very big fan of Patrick and found my cover and through that discovered the rest of my work. She contacted me and said “Hey, let’s do a show in Moscow!” which, looking back on it, was a bit of a gamble because she could essentially have been anyone, but we talked a lot and got on very well. They flew me over, and she has very good links in Moscow. We did a bunch of promo for it, mostly through the internet. It was a crazy weekend. I literally just went for the weekend. I obviously went to the Kremlin and Red Square to hold up the rainbow flag. The minute she said I was definitely going to Moscow I knew that was something I wanted to do. It was quite a scary experience actually because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
What was the reaction? Were there any police? Was there any reaction, or did it just go by unnoticed It didn’t go by unnoticed. People were taking pictures of us. I didn’t know it at the time because I don’t speak Russian, but people were shouting offensive things at us. The police were right behind us, but I guess they didn’t care.
You weren’t arrested for promoting homosexuality? No. It’s not actually illegal to promote homosexuality. It’s just illegal to promote homosexuality to people under 18, so the venue was 18 and over. There was nothing technically illegal. Everyone that I came in contact with was loving and wonderful, and most of the audience identified on the LGBT spectrum which made me really happy. That was part of the point of me going to Moscow. As a result of those laws there are more kids out of their homes for being gay, more pressure on people to not be gay or queer. We did a meet and greet after the show, and it was lovely. I had several conversations with people about my music, about what songs like ‘Normal’ meant to them. That was really special since that’s one of largest parts of why I make music.
Your song ‘Fake‘ touches on a topic that may be familiar to GAYLETTER readers — the one night stand! In your introduction to the song you talk about the recognition of your need for human touch and a sense of love, but you’re only able to play that part in the moment. There’s an interesting level of self-awareness there. Tell me more about the song… The themes your dealing with. I like to analyze my actions and what I’m going through from a removed perspective. When I find something interesting I become obsessed with every aspect. Usually there’s a moral dilemma or some kind of conflict. With the EP I was trying to examine who we are as a culture, who I am. That’s obviously a large undertaking, so it became more specific, more niche. With ‘Fake’ I’m looking at one night stands and the way they are just weird interactions when you look at them objectively. It’s not in our human nature to act that way with strangers in any other circumstance. For example, if a stranger sat next to you on the subway you don’t act as though they’re a family member and you love them.
Cuddling up to them, stroking their thigh… Yeah, we’ve very removed in every other part of our lives. Then when it’s a one night stand we’re cuddling and kissing and your bodies are doing things you’d never dream of doing with someone you know nothing about. I wrote it in a space where I was having quite a lot of casual sex, but not really because I liked sex that much, but because I really craved for affection and the aftermath of it was kind of what I enjoyed more. I think people have one night stands because they want to be someone else for a while. If you’re messaging someone and you’re talking to them and they’re going to come over in a half hour and you’re going to spend a couple of hours exploring each other, you can be anything you want to be, and they don’t have to meet your friends or your parents or know about your history or know that you work a shitty job or anything like that. That’s interesting as well because you can construct this encounter, and take whatever it is that you want and get whatever it is that you need to get from it. It’s quite a unique type of encounter.
The way you talk about it it seems almost utopian. What’s dystopian about it, what’s the down side It’s ultimately — at least from my perspective, I’m having these encounters to get affection or to feel like I’m loved or something, ultimately they probably don’t care about you.
I know you’re here with your family, so I don’t know how many one night stands you’ll be having, but if GAYLETTER readers want to try their luck at finding you in virtual space are they more likely to find you on Grindr, Scruff or Tindr? Probably Tindr.
Tindr! You do have a romantic streak. I like it because it’s more to the point. You either like someone or you don’t, and if that person doesn’t like you as well you can’t talk to them. So you know exactly who’s interested in you. Though nearly every person I have worked with creatively I’ve met on Grindr. The two directors I’ve worked with and the photographer. The guy who has filmed most of my videos and has done most of the photography that you’ve seen, and the guy who filmed my very first video, I met them both on Grindr.
Was there a one night stand involved? No there wasn’t. I have a semi-rule with myself: anyone I work with professionally I don’t want to go there because it gets very complex.
You should read some rock and roll history. Yeah, I’m completely outing myself as the least rock and roll person in the world, but I like Tindr. It gives you a nice ego boost when you’re like, ‘That guy is hot,’ and then they like you back.
I guess it’s kind of rote, like playing solitaire. I’m just wondering why I don’t feel more of a sense of rejection when I like someone, and they haven’t liked me back. I guess you can always assume they haven’t seen your profile. Yeah, that’s what I tell myself. They haven’t seen my profile, or they just accidentally swiped me no.
Yeah, I’ve done that. It’s easy to do. Yeah, it’s easy to do. That’s what I tell myself.
Alright, well, if Tindr is looking for a UK spokesperson, we’ll send them your way…
Did you know that male ballet dancers don’t wear point shoes, ever? I did, but don’t tell that to the all male troupe Le Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo now performing at The Joyce Theatre cuz ALL the dancers are on point, pretty pink satin point shoes en pointe! Founded in 1974 for the purpose of “Presenting a playful and entertaining view of traditional classical ballet in parody form and en travesti Le Ballet Trockadero first performed in late late shows in off off Broadway lofts.” Well now the ladies of The Trocks (as they are affectionately known) have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world. Abi and I were joyfully entertained, fueled by the $4 glasses of red and 50 cent cheese sticks we got during two welcomed intermissions the night we attended. Those heavy male bodies were delicately balanced on toes to perfection as the men danced excerpts from the likes of Swan Lake, Don Quixote and La Naiade de le Pecheur that premiered in London in 1843. Please take this opportunity to get your new year started off on the right foot and come see The Trocks twirl, spin, lift and pirouette you into a frenzy of delight.
I was reading the description for this show, it starts like this, “America’s most celebrated Hollywood legend, Nicholas Gorham, returns this year with a brand new television special live from Egypt!” My first reaction was “really? mmmkay,” but then seconds later, I realized that they were not really serious — I love crazy shit like this... I am not saying that Nicholas couldn’t host a live show from Egypt, in fact, I can tell you that the boy is very talented and we have loved his nice ass since we first saw him perform, but it’s unlikely. When Tom first saw him, he was like, he’s so good, “I want to have sex with him...” Anyways, I went to Facebook chat and tracked down Nicholas to ask him more about this. “The whole show is crazy,” I was right! “The play’s premise is that we are in Egypt doing a U.S.O tour and are forced to rethink our misconceptions about the Muslim world. I always write a Christmas play that is more about our society and the collective issues...I’ve found that this time of year is when, as an outsider, all of America’s insanity becomes its most epic, so I feel as though it’s the perfect time to showcase how ridiculous we all are about things.” Nicholas will be joined by other performers (and members of the cast) including Enid Ellen, Cynthia Bastidas and David Commander. Click here for tickets!
Let me set the stage — we’re in Joan Crawford’s living room in Hollywood and famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper is there to do a live Christmas broadcast with Joan and her children... then the shit hits the fan. Gary Cooper lives next door and there’s a steady stream of guest’s ringing the doorbell thinking they’re going to Cooper’s party that continually interrupt the broadcast. Joan is played by none other than Joey Arias, who delivers a beyond stellar performance, Chris March (yes the Project Runway former contestant) plays the beloved daughter Christina, Connie Champagne is Judy Garland, Flotilla DeBarge is Hattie McDaniel, and a flawless Sherry Vine plays Hopper and cinema’s Baby Jane Hudson. There’s a parade of other Hollywood luminaries that stop by including Carmen Miranda, Liberace, Ethel Merman, The Andrew Sisters and a hilarious Gloria Swanson. It’s really a technicolor wonder beautifully staged and performed with the perfect ironic dose of holiday cheer. Come one, come all, just make sure you come! Get tickets!