Category Archives: Celebrity

Down to Eartha One Woman Show in August

Actress, singer, author, and activist Eartha Kitt might be best known as the singer behind “Santa Baby” and “C’est si bon,” or as the third Catwoman on the sixties Batman TV series.

However, a government-led blacklisting in the late sixties halted her career for an entire decade. The infamous blacklisting forms the basis for Down To Eartha, a one-woman show which will begin its 10-show run at the Gene Frankel Theater (24 Bond Street) in August.

“I simply loved her as a young girl growing up in the theater,” said Down To Eartha producer and director Marishka Phillips. “After seeing her comeback performance in Timbuktu! I knew I wanted to be a part of this business.”

The play, which premiered earlier this year at the WOW Cafe in Manhattan, was written by Deirdra McDowell, who also stars as Kitt.

“I was first inspired to play Eartha Kitt by acting coach Susan Batson, in 2010,” said McDowell. “After performing an animal exercise in class, she simply stated, ‘I see Eartha.’ From there, I felt the need to tell Kitt’s story.”

Many will be shocked to discover the measures the CIA took to silence Kitt following an incident at a White House luncheon in January 1968. Kitt’s anti-war statements on that day personally insulted First Lady Lady Bird Johnson so much that she urged President Lyndon Johnson to blacklist Kitt from working in the United States. The government succeeded in doing so for the following ten years.

Down to Eartha explores Kitt´s personal re-encounter of that fateful day in detail, while also delving into her personal journey of power and freedom. Stemming from a life ridden with years of child abuse, Eartha´s personal journey proves to be at times a nightmare of a hurdle. It is one that could only be conquered by the power of love.

“In today’s political climate, the right to be heard continues to resonate,” said Phillips. “Kitt’s outspoken views are just as relevant and inspiring today as they were in 1968.”

Kitt, who for decades has endured a large LGBTQ following, stated in a 1992 interview, “We’re all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, we know what it is to be oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very much cognizant of that feeling. Nothing in the world is more painful than rejection. I am a rejected, oppressed person, and so I understand them, as best as I can, even though I am a heterosexual.”

Give Dierdra a listen!   Can’t wait for this!!

Down to Eartha will begin its run at the Gene Frankel Theater on August 7 at 8pm. Shows will run August 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 at 8pm. There will also be a matinee performance on Sunday, August 11 at 4pm. Tickets for all performances are available now.

James Bidgood at Museum of Sex

 

James Bidgood was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1933, at the height of the Depression. From the time of his arrival in New York at 18 years old, he immersed himself in the underground worlds of drag, hustling, and pornography. In the 1950s, Bidgood was a drag queen and set and lighting designer at the legendary New York nightclub Club 82. He attended Parsons School of Design, and went on to design elaborate costumes for society balls, among other jobs that would come to inform his art.

In the 1960s, he turned his attention to “physique photography,” the highly-coded gay pornography of the time, where he found creative freedom, an eager audience, and his own groundbreaking artistic voice. Bidgood was proudly and uncompromisingly “out” during a pre-Stonewall moment when rapid social change around gender roles and sexuality coexisted with widespread hostility and discrimination against homosexuality. His work stands as a crucial link in the history of queer art and cinema, as historically important as it is visually ravishing.

 

Extraordinarily, almost the entirety of Bidgood’s work was shot in his tiny Hell’s Kitchen tenement. Bidgood literally lived in his sets, and used colored lighting, homemade props, and a variety of clever illusions—from the ingenious use of forced perspective to complex, Rube Goldberg like mechanisms that operated moving sets, fans, or lights—to create impressionistic wonderlands.

The culmination of this work was Pink Narcissus, a dreamily erotic feature-length film depicting the allegorical fantasies of a gay prostitute, and shot almost entirely in the same apartment. Upon its release in 1971, Pink Narcissus was an immediate underground hit, but due to creative disagreements between Bidgood and the film’s producer, Bidgood took his name off the credits, and the film was released anonymously. While rumors flew that the film had been made by a major, presumably closeted Hollywood celebrity, Bidgood remained in obscurity.

Since his rediscovery in the 1990s, Bidgood’s work, made for the worlds of mail-order pornography and midnight cinema, has been exhibited in such prestigious venues as The National Portrait Gallery, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Musée d’Orsay, and is included in vaunted collections such as the Tate Modern, London and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Alongside Bidgood’s remarkable photographs, this exhibition brings together a variety of ephemera from his extraordinary life, from vintage physique magazines, showing the original context of the work, to vintage photos from Bidgood’s time as drag queen Terry Howe at Club 82—all evidence of an extraordinary, productive, and utterly uncompromising life.

 

James Bidgood: Reveries’will be on view through September 8th, 2019.

All images courtesy of The Museum of Sex. Full color images courtesy of ClampArt New York.

MUSEUM OF SEX
233 Fifth Avenue (@ 27th Street)
New York, NY 10016
(212) 689-6337

MUSEUM HOURS:
Sunday thru Thursday 10:30 am to 11pm.
Last entry is 9pm
Friday & Saturday 10:30 am to 12am.
Last entry is 10pm

Last ticket sold 2 hours before closing

 

Paige Turner, Sutton Lee Seymor and Jackie Cox June 27-28

WORLD  PRIDE  WEEKEND!   Get your  tickets  now – THIS WILL SELL OUT!

Move over Cher, Britney and Beyonce, NYC drag darlings PAIGE TURNER, SUTTON LEE SEYMOUR and JACKIE COX are back by popular demand, with their very own semi-biographical jukebox  YOU DON’T OWN ME! after it’s 2018 Smash Run and just in time for World Pride Weekend!

See what happens when three fierce drag divas all vie for the spotlight in this hilarious evening of sisterhood and friendship told through the music of Stephen Sondheim, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The First Wives Club , La La Land and More!

Performances are WORLD PRIDE WEEKEND Friday June 28th and Saturday June 29th at 7pm Tickets are $22 ($35 VIP with meet & greet, preferred seating and photo), and may be purchased online at

http://spincyclenyc.com/index.php/pride/479-own-me-pride

The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located inside the West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street. There is also a $20 food/beverage minimum at all performances.

Showbiz Spitfire” PAIGE TURNER, Known as the Carol Burnett of Drag, is one the original creators, producers and host of NYC’s live drag reality show “So You Think You Can Drag?”  She is a 2 time Glam Award winner and is known for her over the top parodies and comedy. Paige is a regular at the Beechman and has previously been seen in ”Drag me To the Top,” “Confessions of An Un-Natural Blonde,” Make America Gay Again,” “This Show is Gay!” and her annual Christmas and Easter Shows. You Don’t Own Me marks her 10th original show at the Beechman. She tours internationally  with Atlantis Cruises and coined the phrase Slurp!  She is currently part of the cast of Shade: Queens of NYC, on the Fusion Network.

Known as the “Robin Williams of Drag,” SUTTON LEE SEYMOUR is New York City’s campiest live singing queen of stage and screen, now touring her best selling shows from coast to coast in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, and also the seven seas with Atlantis Events! She is a Glam Award winner as well as Season 4’s winner of So You Think You Can Drag?  She has been previously seen at the Beechman in her solo shows Fameish and Camp Queen and as well as Make America Gay Again and She Came Upon a Midnight Clear with Paige and Jackie.

JACKIE COX burst onto the NYC drag scene in 2010 in So You Think You Can Drag  and went on to the win coveted role of All Star in 2017. She has headlined her own shows “I Dream of Jackie Part 1 and 2 at the Beechman and is part of the Hells Kitchenette trio. She has also appeared in shows at the Laurie Beechman Theater “Make America Gay Again” and “She Came Upon a Midnight Clear” with Sutton and Paige. and The Crown & Anchor of Provincetown (“Gypsies”). Recently, Jackie appeared on TV in Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live”, winning the title of “Real Queen of Beverly Hills” for her impersonation of TV personality and Depends undergarment spokeswoman, Lisa Rinna and has appeared on ABC’s What Would You Do? As a drag queen coming out to her family.

 

 

 

I’m From Driftwood Gala March 27

Are you ready?
I can not believe it’s been 10 years!
 I’m From Driftwood is celebrating 10 years, with dinner, drinks, performances, speakers and, of course, stories.
I’m From Driftwood’s 10th Anniversary Gala is in one week from today, on Wednesday, March 27. Since it’s a sit-down dinner, there are a limited number of seats so buy your ticket before they sell out. (GA starts  at $150)
The event will honor notable I’m From Driftwood storytellers: former Houston Mayor and current Victory Fund President and CEO, Annise Parker, who was the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major American city; beloved singer, songwriter, and pianist, David Raleigh; and revered LGBTQ and AIDS activist, Cecilia Gentili. The evening’s festivities will include dinner, stories from the “I’m From Driftwood” archive, and feature a performance directed by artist and activist Mila Jam.

VISION
I’m From Driftwood envisions a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person feels understood and accepted, and every straight person is an ally.

MISSION
I’m From Driftwood aims to help LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing.

Increasing empathy and empowering individuals is accomplished by creating an apolitical forum for LGBTQ stories from every age, race, gender, background and culture. The stories deepen our understanding of each other, preserve history, and open hearts and minds.

VALUES
The most personal and meaningful stories are shared when the storyteller is in a trust-worthy, welcoming, judgment-free environment. I’m From Driftwood strives to create that environment on every level, whether you’re a long-time supporter at one of IFD’s events or a first-time visitor to the site. Be yourself, be comfortable and let’s get to know each other.

Grace Jones June 29th @ World Pride NYC

THE AMAZING   Grace Jones will take center stage for an unforgettable day of music on Saturday, June 29th at Pier 97. Jones is most famously known for her post-disco dance track “Pull Up to the Bumper,” and an array of features in motion pictures including “Conan the Destroyer,” “Vamp,” and the 1992 classic, “Boomerang.”

In 2017 NYC Pride evolved Dance on the Pier, a 30+ year institution, into a new multi-day LGBTQIA+ cultural experience named Pride Island. After a hugely successful two consecutive years, NYC Pride is excited to bring Pride Island to Hudson River Park’s, Pier 97, in the heart of Hells Kitchen. This event showcases everyone from legendary soul singers to indie pop bands, this new inclusive experience creates a central hub for the LGBTQ community to celebrate Pride. This event has a legendary history of attracting the biggest performers for any Pride event in the world. Previous performers have included Cher, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Demi Lovato, Years & Years, Tegan & Sara, Tove Lo, and the late Whitney Houston. 

Don’t miss the biggest live music event in NYC Pride history and help us give back to the broader community! NYC Pride will be selecting nonprofits within the local New York City area to receive grants as part of this community-driven event. Pride Island serves as a fundraiser to help NYC Pride raise crucial funds to help produce a multitude of free events such as our new Youth Pride, Family Movie Night, PrideFest, The March, The Rally and many more! 

 

Tickets  are selling  fast!   Over  3 Million  people  are expected  into  NYC  that weekend!

GET TICKETS!

Nick Adams Facebook Page

The wonderfully charming and delightful (and sexy) triple threat on Broadway, NICK ADAMS is touring now with the Tony Award Winning  FALSETTO’S!!#cantwait! And recently you are able to  see him on Comedy Central’s  THE OTHER TWO!

He has over 23,000 fans on Twitter, but only 7000+ on FB – so I am asking my network, to LIKE his page, to help get his numbers up! This guy is so awesome and amazing! And a little bird told me, he has a CD in the works! (Which I have been telling him for 6 years, he needs one!).

SO PLEASE LIKE! 

World Pride NYC The Gayest Day of the Year!

NYC Pride Guide: WorldPride Preview

Our  2018 NYC Pride Guide and WorldPride Preview is F I N A L L Y H E R E! And guess what? WorldPride Closing performer Melissa Etheridge is gracing the cover!

Check out an exclusive interview with Etheridge, our snowed-in survival guide, and an in-depth interview with artist, Shantell Martin.

Read Now
WorldPride Closing Ceremony in Times Square
Mark your calendars for June 30, 2019 as NYC Pride welcomes all to a final celebration of pride from 7-10pm in NYC’s iconic Times Square.Grammy-Award winning singer-songwriter, Melissa Etheridge is slated to perform for the evening.

That night, Times Square will serve as a home to a multitude of LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies on a truly momentous evening of love, pride, and community” said Etheridge.
The evening will provide a full slate of influential speakers and global musical talents. The official lineup for the WorldPride Closing Ceremony will be announced in February.

The Largest LGBTQIA+ Street Festival in New York City!

All eyes will be on New York City as we commemorate 50 years of the Stonewall Uprising. Our attendees are from all five boroughs and beyond making PrideFest the single best opportunity for businesses to connect directly with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sunday, June 30, 2019
11:00AM – 6:00PM

New Years Eve with Raven O at Pangea

Raven O Rings in 2019
With Acclaimed Bassist Ben Allison

Start the New Year with an intimate night of song and sass from NYC nightlife legend Raven O.

Legendary Downtown trendsetter Raven O raises our throbbing spirits on New Year’s Eve in a shape-shifting, champagne-soaked celebration at Pangea, 178 Second Avenue, the East Village Mecca for cutting-edge cabaret, song and performance.

With the help of the acclaimed bassist Ben Allison, the oh-so-colorful avatar of the downtown performance art scene stirs up his witch’s brew of sultry song and restless commentary, not once but twice, in back-to-back shows at 8pm and 10:30pm.

Both shows are generously priced — $125 for the early show and $165 for the late show.  The evening includes, in both cases, a delicious 3-course dinner, and a half-bottle of Cava per person.  Tax and gratuity are inclusive.

ADDITIONAL BEVERAGES ARE NOT INCLUDED, AND ARE BILLED SEPARATELY WITH A 20% GRATUITY ADDED.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

8:00PM SHOW – DINNER SEATING BEGINS AT 7:00PM.
Please arrive no later than 7:30PM to be seated for the show and dinner.

10:30PM SHOW – DINNER SEATING BEGINS AT 9:45PM
Please arrive no later than 10:00PM to be seated for the show and dinner.

Downtown’s intimate supper-club Pangea is the ultimate in alt, playing home to some of the best in alt cabaret. The New York Times recently called it “a bohemian oasis not unlike the fabled Max’s Kansas City from days gone by.”  178   2nd Ave

GET TICKETS! 

Find Raven O on Facebook  to stay up to date!

SHADE Queens of NYC

Where have I been?

My  friend  PAIGE  TURNER  asked  if  I  saw her  on SHADE – Somehow  this flew under my radar  until now!  Apologies!

Relationships, community, family, and faith are in the spotlight in Shade: Queens of NYC, a docu-follow-musical-reality show that explores what happens to New York’s fiercest, funniest drag queens as they vie for fame, fortune, and love.

Shade: Queens of NYC reveals a side of drag life beyond the usual glam, glitz, and next-level lip syncing, instead focusing on what happens to our queens when the wigs come off.

The cast of queens includes: Justin Nako/Chelsea Piers, Chris Yoon/Jasmine Rice LaBeija, William Bailey/Jada Valenciaga, Nathan McManus/Holly Box-Springs, Kristian Seeber/Tina Burner, Marti Gould Cummings/Marti Gould Cummings, Daniel Kelley/Paige Turner, and Jesse Havea/Brita Filter.

 

Catch up on YouTube  if ya missed it!

 

Harvey Fierstein’s TORCH SONG Limited Run

I am SO LUCKY, that as a young gay boy  about 22 years  old, I think it was 1982,  I made it to  New York  city (from small town Michigan)  and got into Studio  54 for an amazing evening and  also got to see Harvey Fierstein on Broadway  in Torch Song Trilogy with  Mathew Broderick and Estelle  Getty! ( I had read about the show in After Dark magazine, and seeing the show was the primary  reason  for my trip).

In that eye opening trip to the big apple  I  saw amazing  clubs that are no longer  around. I also met Andy Warhol on that trip! All the things I had read about  NYC  were  true!  What a trip! My little gay life would never be the same!

Harvey and the story left such an impression  on my soul.  I followed  Harvey’s  career over the years and saw his works  whenever I could. He is genius to me,  and  “an icon.”

So I was THRILLED  beyond  belief  to see Torch  Song, a compact version of Torch Song Trilogy, make it to the stage in New York!

And with Michael Urie  no less!  Who  I met in Chicago  when he performed  “Buyer & Cellar”.  He is so wonderfully talented.

It’s magical  that Torch Song  is at the Hayes Theater, on it’s 35th anniversary, on the same Broadway stage where the Tony Award-winning premiere forever changed the face of popular entertainment.  Along with the talented Drama Desk Award Winner  Michael  Urie,  Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl shines  are Arnold’s  mother.

 

Torch Song Trilogy won Tonys for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play for Fierstein. 3 years on Broadway, it was truly a landmark show!

 

I am sure most of you know  the story, but there may be some younger people  reading who do not know the story;  This  show is fiercely funny and heart-wrenching.  Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song follows Arnold
Beckoff’s (Mr. Urie) odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother (Ms. Ruehl) reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect.

This story was of Arnold’s struggle to be accepted as a young Jewish gay man living in New York City in the late 1970s and ’80s. What’s amazing, in some ways,  is that it was powerful then to me; this is pre  AIDS,  pre  gay  marriage, PRE  EVERYTHING and  today the story is still just as powerful.

Forty years after writing Torch Song, it still speaks to audiences making them laugh and weep and happy,” says Fierstein in a statement. “Unbelievable. And to now return to the theater where it played all those years ago… Beyond wishes… Beyond dreams.. Beyond the most outrageous fantasy.”

“A great play makes you think, and what’s going on in the White House is always in the back of our minds,” Urie told NewNowNext about the timeliness of the revival. “We’re all confused, terrified, and clinging to each other, so Arnold, the ultimate caretaker, is the kind of friend we need right now. Yes, he’s flawed, but he has so much heart and compassion.”

I urge you to see this brilliant show, if you haven’t already!   LIMITED  RUN!!

Join Arnold on this all too human journey about the families we’re born into, the families we choose, and the battles to bring them all home.

Torch Song is playing at the Hayes Theater at 240 West 44th Street.

Directed by Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman

www.torchsongbroadway.com

CHER The new CD and Tour!

SEE THAT GIRL…

WATCH THAT GIRL…

SHE’S THE DANCING QUEEN!

She’s back! At 72 and going strong!

The one and only Cher will released Dancing Queen last week, a new album of all Abba hits by Warner Bros. Records.

The Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Award winning icon was inspired to record the album following her stunning performance in the recently-released mega-hit film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

 

Commented Cher: “I’ve always liked Abba and saw the original Mamma Mia musical on Broadway three times. After filming Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, I was reminded again of what great and timeless songs they wrote and started thinking ‘why not do an album of their music?’ The songs were harder to sing than I imagined but I’m so happy with how the music came out. I’m really excited for people to hear it. It’s a perfect time.”

Dancing Queen was recorded and produced in London and Los Angeles with Cher‘s longtime collaborator Mark Taylor, who previously produced Cher‘s global smash “Believe” which was number one in over 50 countries. And it does not disappoint! I truly love the last song on CD I think the best, “One of Us”.

Cher is scheduled to be awarded a Kennedy Center Honor on December 2nd in Washington DC.

She is a co-producer of the The Cher Show, the upcoming Broadway musical opening on December 3rd ( we saw it in Chicago and LOVED IT!) 35 smash hits!   Info  here.

 

She is currently performing a residency at MGM Resorts. Get tickets HERE!

NEW TOUR – The Here We Go Again Tour is the seventh solo concert tour by American singer-actress Cher in support of her twenty-sixth studio album Dancing Queen. It is the first time the singer tours Oceania since her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour in 2005. The tour started on September 21, 2018 and will finish on May 18, 2019.

Cities with Ticket links HERE

 

RuPauls DragCon 2018 NYC!

During the final weekend of September, tens of thousands of people will fill New York’s Javits Center. Many will be dressed in colorful wigs and fierce heels; they’ll flock to panels for over-the-top makeup tutorials and fashion runway shows. Others will wait in line to meet former contestants from hit reality TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and they’ll buy merchandise such as “Charisma” pins and “Oh, Pit Crew!” underwear. All this for a $40-a-day ticket.

Welcome to DragCon, or more specifically, RuPaul’s Dragcon, the multimillion-dollar extravaganza that’s the drag industry’s answer to comic con.

Debuted on the West Coast in 2015 off the success of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” DragCon now happens twice a year: September in New York — Sept. 28 through 30 this year — and May in Los Angeles, California. And it’s become big business.

“In New York at the Javitz Convention Center, DragCon sold out its first year” in 2017, Fenton Bailey, executive producer of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and co-creator of DragCon with fellow executive producer Randy Barbato, tells CNBC Make It. Andre Charles, better known as RuPaul, is a partner in DragCon, according to the company.

Last September, at the New York and Los Angeles conventions, over $8 million worth of merchandise — particularly wigs, makeup and “Drag Race” merchandise such as T-shirts — sold on the convention floor, he says. That doesn’t include the $40 entrance fee ($70 for the whole weekend) each of the 35,000 attendees had to pay in N.Y.C.

In its near decade on the air, it’s not only entertained, it has also helped introduce much of America to drag and its community. The show features contestants outside of their drag clothes, talking about personal hardships like being unaccepted in society or their family. In addition to Emmys, in 2010 the show won Outstanding Reality Program at the GLAAD Media Awards, for fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and surrounding issues.

Read more  about the Money Making Sensation  HERE

 

THREE DAYS OF ART, POP CULTURE, AND ALL THINGS DRAG – SEPTEMBER 28, 29, AND 30

JAVITS CENTER

WIGSTOCK Returns to New York City 201

WIGSTOCK, the legendary annual event that dominated drag culture from 1985 until 2003, is being relaunched Saturday, September 1, during Labor Day weekend by feisty festival founder Lady Bunny and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris.

The day-long event will take place at the gorgeous new Pier 17 Rooftop in New York City’s Seaport District starting at 2PM and going until 10PM. This event will occur rain or shine.

Official Wigstock Design By ©Tabboo! 2018, courtesy Gordon Robichaux, NY

 

TICKETS(Click image  above  for  tickets!)

GENERAL ADMISSION
$95.00 + Ticketmaster Fees

(*YES,  $95.  Fee’s  explained  below)

…..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE PYRAMID PASS
$250 +Ticketmaster Fees

BENEFITS:
Exclusive surrounded-by-the-action standing ticket in VIP section (Front of Stage & Runway)
VIP post-show backstage afterparty with Drag Queen performers and other cast members
T-Shirt custom designed especially for WIGSTOCK 2.HO by Tabboo!
Commemorative poster
Two (2) Complimentary Drink Tickets
Portion of each Pyramid Pass ticket benefits GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis)

…..……………………………………………………………………………………………

THE WIGSTOCK VERY IMPORTANT QUEEN EXPERIENCE
$1000 + Ticketmaster Fees (Limited Quantities)

BENEFITS:
Exclusive premium VVIP Seating in the VVIP Riser, the only seated section at the event
Premium Open Bar and Food
Exclusive access to the dedicated VVIP lounge and service area
T-Shirt custom designed especially for WIGSTOCK 2.HO by Tabboo!
Autographed commemorative poster (principal cast members including Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris)
VVIP lanyard
Exclusive VVIP reception directly after the show with Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris
VIP post-show backstage afterparty with Drag Queen performers and other cast members
Portion of each VIQ Experience ticket benefits GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis)

 

 

*fee’s  explained. People have no idea, what costs are involved  in throwing a huge  event of this magnitude!

 

Lady Bunny  explains. “Hey! I was thrilled by the positive response to Wigstock returning. I wasn’t thrilled by the disappointment from some when they learned that the cheapest tickets were $95—apart from a few blocks of $18.95 tickets. If you think that’s too high, then you know I think it is. When I post about DJing Sundays at The Monster, my favorite thing to type is “Free!” at the end. When I performed Trans-Jester! for two years at Stonewall Inn, I loved making tickets affordable to most at $19.99.

I shun VIP anything, so you know that way higher than $95 VIP tickets was not my idea. Some forget that when we moved the event from Tompkins Square Park to the much larger piers, the production costs grew and we had two choices: to charge admission or not put on the show. We felt so guilty about charging at all that we donated 1/2 of our net profits to GMHC. This year’s tickets sales also contribute a portion to GMHC. So if you think I’m gouging, please know that gouging just isn’t in my nature.

I hope you’ll understand that the last outdoor, full-fledged Wigstock was around 17 years ago. And I’m sure you’ve noticed that the city has changed a lot since then, and is far more upscale. Tompkins Square Park’s bandshell is razed and that rusty pier is shut. I used to pay a permit fee of $50 to the Parks Dpt. for the use of Tompkins Square. The new space costs $35,000 to roll in equipment and use for rehearsals the day before, and $75,000 to use the day of the show and then roll the equipment back out. A whopping $66,000 go to union wages. I was never in charge of Wigstock’s finances, but lordy did I gag at the over $15,000 “filing fee” on this year’s budget. I was too defeated to even ask what that filing fee was for. But we lost our first location and then found this brand new, rooftop concert venue Pier 17 where Diana Ross will perform later in September. If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me, I thought. It is gorgeous, and the view of water in the back and a wall of skyscrapers beside the stage is splendid and unique. But not at all cheap.

We’re also paying performers this time around, which only ever happened the two years we did that Wigstock-themed cruise. I’m happy about that, but paying 50+ performers adds up.

Around 13 of them are from out of town and they must be flown in and housed in hotels for two nights because the show starts at 3PM. They can’t arrive the day of the show from LA or SF, and the show needs Lina and Candis and Glamamore and Alaska and Juanita More and Latrice to rule. And if the oldest performing drag queen in the US—Darcelle XV from Portland–needs an assistant along her trip, then I want to provide two tickets for her. Bianca Del Rio will literally wipe off her make-up backstage and hop a flight directly from the festival to Sweden for a gig which pays her more than I ever could. So if her assistant carrying her extra bags of merch needs to accompany her, I want to pay for that. (I never said her plane would actually land, however.)

A bus for the 8 acts coming from Provincetown costs thousands to hire for 24 hours. But these gals have been doing back to back shows all summer and have taken the day off on their last weekend to lose money at Wigstock, departing at 4AM from P’town and back that same night. To me, they are all drag stars who are doing me a huge favor by appearing at all. I can’t repay them with a crappy bus which signals to them that I’m not concerned with their comfort. And have you seen Dina Martina and Ryan Landry? They definitely need to catch up on some beauty rest en route! Desmond Is Amazing needs edits on his track—that comes out of my own pocketbook and I’m happy to pay it. The festival didn’t last for 20+ years because I have a reputation of mistreating talent–or Flotilla. But the costs incurred by talent and the splashy new venue naturally get transferred to ticket buyers.

Most agree that our line-up is a sensational. And while $95 IS pricey, the show is 6 hours long. I totally understand that it may not be affordable for everyone, but that’s what it costs to bring Wigstock back—which is what people all over the world have begged me to do for decades. So we are back on Saturday, September 1st, and I sure hope you can make it!

Broadway Bares Raises $1.8 MILLION

Sexy seamen were ready to sink Battleships, frolicsome friends played “Striptionary,” and a rambunctious round of flashlight tag involved the entire audience during the steamy evening of sensational stripteases at Broadway Bares: Game Night.

This year’s record-breaking edition of the annual spectacular raised $1,875,090 with two standing-room-only performances at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

Produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Game Night gave your ordinary night out a tantalizing twist with striptease production numbers inspired by beloved board, video, and arcade games.

Check out more  photos  on Gay Cities

50th Anniversary of Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), the official 501(c)3 of the Stonewall Inn, announced that it will host its annual PRIDE reception on Monday, June 4th at the historic Stonewall Inn.

Launched in 2017, SIGBI is inspired by the struggles and ideals of the LGBTQ rights movement born from the Stonewall Inn Rebellion of 1969 though its awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue.

“We are excited to once again partner with Jet Blue and Brooklyn Brewery to support The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. The Initiative supports grass roots organizations across the country and especially those in places where equality has been slow to arrive.” Said Stacy Lentz, Co-owner of the Stonewall Inn and CEO of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. “With their generous support the Initiative is able to do the much-needed work of helping some of the most undeserved LGBTQ communities.”

This year, in response to the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, SIGBI will highlight the work of Proyecto Matria www.proyectomatria.org, which works to advance the equity of LGBTQ communities from two areas: human rights activism and the offering of services in the field of economic development and housing. Matria also has educational programs to train other organizations, public agencies and communities on how to stop discrimination against LGBTQ people and create safe spaces from an equity perspective.

 

SIGBI will also announce two major campaigns:

The inaugural Stonewall Auction, running now through June 12th on Charitybuzz is offering once in a lifetime celebrity experiences and items for bid, https://bit.ly/2J1ztNZ . Also, the Stonewall Inn Ambassadors, a cohort of activists, celebrities, and influencers, who will work together to elevate awareness and support for SIGBI over the next 12 months and through the 50th anniversary of Stonewall on June 28, 2019. Stonewall Inn Ambassadors include Chelsea Clinton, Bryan Lourd, Laverne CoxRobbie RogersGeena Rocero and Cleve Jones. Please see full list at the end of this release. www.stonewallinitiative.org/new-index/

Both campaigns are programs of Pride Live Nationwww.pridelivenation.org.

During the reception, there will be a performance by Michael Blume and remarks by featured speaker Chely Wright.

Indie/soul artist Michael Blume has released his latest songs “R U Mad” and “Blunder” – from his upcoming EP Cynicism &Sincerity, which will be out June 8th via S-Curve Records. The songs are available now at all digital music outlets, including SpotifyApple/iTunes, and Amazon……

See the new  video!   (PRESS HERE to watch)

The forthcoming EP release comes following a whirlwind year for Blume. Since arriving on the scene in 2015, New York-based singer, songwriter, and artist Michael Blume has consistently delivered daring, diverse, and dynamic anthems blurring the lines between simmering and soaring. He’s attracted acclaim from Rolling Stone, GQ, Nylon, Ladygunn, Pigeons & Planes, Earmilk, and Dujour and turned the uninitiated into believers at Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Lollapalooza, and will be performing at the Bonnaroo Music Arts Festival on June 10th.

Chely Wright www.chely.com rose to fame as a commercial country singer in the 90’s and has since released eight studio albums and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. The Academy of Country Music named Wright “Top New Female Vocalist of 1995.”

About Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative is inspired by the struggles and ideals of the LGBTQ rights movement born from the Stonewall Inn Rebellion of 1969. Through awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative supports grassroots organizations across the country with a focus on those in communities where progress toward equality has been slow and discrimination, harassment, substance abuse, depression and suicide have become an unacceptable way of life. You can donate to SIGBI by visiting: www.stonewallinitiative.org/donate/

“ANGELS IN AMERICA” Establishes Angel Fund

Producers Tim Levy (Director, NT America) and Jordan Roth (President, Jujamcyn Theaters) announced today that the Olivier Award®-winning National Theatre revival of Tony Kushner’s masterwork, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, has established the “Angels Fund” to provide hundreds of $5 tickets to each part of the play to NYC-area LGBTQ & HIV/AIDS service organizations.

Some of the organizations that have received these specially-priced tickets include: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), SAGE, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and The LGBTQ Center.

 

The Angels Fund is supported by Howard Gilman Foundation and SHS Foundation with additional support from Debby Landesman, Barbara Whitman/Purple Plume Foundation, Daryl & Steven Roth & Elizabeth Armstrong.

 

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience art as important, topical, and challenging as Angels in America – especially people like the clients and staff of GMHC, the world’s first AIDS service organization, who may not otherwise get the chance,” said Gay Men’s Health Crisis CEO Kelsey Louie. “Thanks to the Angels Fund and the National Theatre, many of our clients and staff will be able to see the production.”

 

“This season’s revival of Angels in America is much more than revisiting Tony Kushner’s brilliant plays with a spectacular cast,” said BC/EFA Executive Director, Tom Viola.   “It is a deep dive into how we find the courage, outrage and love to survive, even thrive in the midst of any calamity. Angels in America is a searing reflection of how we dare to love each other, as our best, worst and most exhilarating selves.   I thank the producers for sharing that mirror with Broadway Cares, our staff and volunteers.  We are blessed and ripped open by the experience.”

 

Angels in America producer Tim Levy said: “We wanted to make sure that individuals who are most directly connected to the content of the show, but who couldn’t afford full-priced tickets, had the opportunity to see it at an affordable price. We wanted to be able to share ‘The Great Work’ with those in the community who are actually doing The Great Work.”

 

Angels in America, which was nominated for a record-breaking 11 Tony Awards® will play its limited engagement through Sunday, July 15, 2018. The show began previews on February 23, and opened to ecstatic reviews on March 25 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street).

 

Angels in America is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Marianne Elliott, and stars Academy Award® and Tony Award nominee Andrew Garfield and two-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane, and also features Susan Brown, Denise Gough, Amanda LawrenceJames McArdle, Lee Pace, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Beth MalonePatrick Andrews, Glynis BellAmy Blackman,Curt James, Rowan Ian Seamus MageeMark Nelson, Matty Oaks, Genesis Oliver, Jane Pfitsch, Lee Aaron RosenRon TodorowskiSilvia Vrskova, and Lucy York.

 

When it first premiered, Angels in America won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, seven Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play. HBO’s 2003 screen adaptation won both the Emmy® and the Golden Globe® Awards for Best Miniseries.

 

The design team includes Tony Award winner Ian MacNeil (Scenic Design), Tony Award nominee Nicky Gillibrand (Costume Design), Tony Award winner Paule Constable (Lighting Design), Drama Desk Award winner Adrian Sutton (Music)Tony Award nominee Ian Dickinson for Autograph Sound Ltd. (Sound Design), Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell (Puppetry Designers), Finn Caldwell(Puppetry Director and Movement), Robby Graham (Original Movement), Chris Fisher (Illusions), Steven Hoggett (Movement Consultant). Casting is by Jim CarnahanCSA.

 

Angels in America is produced by Tim Levy for NT America, Jordan RothRufus Norris & Lisa Burger for the National Theatre, Elliott & Harper ProductionsKash Bennett for NT Productions,Aged in WoodBaruch-Viertel-Routh-Frankel GroupJane BergèreAdam Blanshay ProductionsCatWenJam ProductionsJean DoumanianGilad-RogowskyGold-Ross ProductionsThe John Gore OrganizationGrove EntertainmentHarris Rubin ProductionsHornosMoellenbergBrian & Dayna LeeBenjamin LowyStephanie P. McClellandDavid MirvishMark Pigott,Jon B. PlattE. Price-LD ENT.Daryl RothCatherine SchreiberBarbara WhitmanJujamcyn TheatersThe Nederlander Organization, and The Shubert Organization.

 

Angels in America is a two-part performance — Part One, Millennium Approaches and Part Two, Perestroika.

 

For a complete list of performances (including the final two weeks), please visit, www.angelsbroadway.com. Tickets ($99 – $318) of Angels in America are available at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 877.250.2929, or in person at The Neil Simon Theatre box office (250 West 52nd Street).

 

Susan Brown, Denise Gough, Amanda Lawrence, James McArdle, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett are appearing with the support of Actors’ Equity Association.  The Producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance of this production

 

www.angelsbroadway.com

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www.twitter.com/angelsbway

www.instagram.com/angelsbway

 

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Lady Bunny Special Engagement

So excited to return to the legendary Stonewall Inn for my first ever Christmas show! Expect plenty of raunchy version of Christmas carols, side-splitting one-liners and pop parodies to boot. And you’ll get to meet E-Bunny-Neezer Scrooge, in a demented skit with a cameo by the one and only (thank god!) Bianca Del Rio. Well, not in person, but via recording from LA. Drag Race favorites are skewered as well, and you must meet Lardi B, my version of hip-hop sensation Cardi B.

Christmas Leftovers is a last minute endeavor which came together after seeing a supremely silly performance at Joe’s Pub by my friend John Roberts, who does the voice of Linda on Bob’s Burgers. I also miss Stonewall after my long run of Trans-jester! So I’m back, with a hodge podge of both old and new favorites. Why watch Mariah Carey butcher All I Want For Christmas when you can see me struggle for to hit those high notes? The news is currently so wretched that I just wanted to bring you some holiday glad tidings.

6 shows only beginning December 22nd at 7PM. $25 + 2 drink minimum. 21 and up.

For more info/tix, please visit: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3192648

 

Broadway Cares holiday CD

BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS RELEASES EFFERVESCENT NEW 2017 HOLIDAY ALBUM
The 19th volume in the “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure” collection is full of spirited holiday favorites sung by stars from Broadway’s leading musicals including 
Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Hamilton, Waitress 
and A Bronx Tale. 

The Christmas season is in full show tune swing now that the 19th volume of Broadway’s Carols for a Cure has arrived.  The latest compilation from the beloved series continues Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ tradition of pairing the casts from award-winning Broadway musicals with seasonal songs that are both classic and new.  Once again, the result is pure magic and is sure to help make the 2017 holiday season shine brighter than ever before.

“These are all new, original recordings, creatively arranged and performed by the incredibly talented performers and musicians from the 2017 Broadway season,” explains producer Lynn Pinto who, once again, collaborates with engineer Andros Rodriguez on the album. Pinto allows each company a great deal of freedom in choosing the material and the style of the arrangement. She adds, “We record the musicians and singers in layers, utilizing isolation booths for a higher quality recording. It gives the album a unique sound from most cast albums and allows us to showcase some of the best voices and instrumentalists in the world.”

The first Broadway’s Carols for a Cure album debuted in 1999, making this year’s album the 19th in the annual series.  Fans of Broadway will be overjoyed  to hear recordings from Tony Award winning casts of Dear Evan HansenHamiltonCome From Away and many more:


ALADDIN O Come All Ye Faithful 
ANASTASIA All Those Christmas Cliches 
AVENUE Q The 12 Days of Christmas
BEAUTIFUL Love at Christmas Time
A BRONX TALE I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
CATS Joy to the World
CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Do You Hear What I Hear?
CHICAGO This Is The Night 
COME FROM AWAY It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
DEAR EVAN HANSEN Down In Yon Forest
GROUNDHOG DAY Oh Little Town of Punx, PA
HAMILTON Chester
JERSEY BOYS (National)Let’s Have an Old Fashioned Jersey Christmas
KINKY BOOTS Hark! The Herald Angel Sing
THE LION KING Everyone’s a Kid at Christmas
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Old Fashioned Christmas
SCHOOL OF ROCK Yule of Rock
WAITRESS I Wonder What You Got For Me
WAR PAINT I Can’t Wait For Christmas
WICKED God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Highlights are copious but include Billy Porter and the cast of Kinky Boots singing an all-new, rockin’ version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and the cast of A Bronx Tale performing “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” in a New Yawker-style that will have listeners humming for days.Additionally, Meghan Toohey (Sara Barielles’ long-time guitarist) serves up a lovely 1960s-style original song, “Wonder What You Got For Me,” featuring the talented Anastacia McCleskey and the rest of the company and band from Waitress; and Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the composer/lyricist team behind Anastasia perform their original carol, “All Those Christmas Cliches,” along with their award-winning cast.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with serious illnesses including AIDS receive the health care and support they need.  In addition, they provide financial support in the form of grants to AIDS and family service organizations throughout the country.

“The 19th volume of Broadway’s Carols for a Cure is the best yet,” promises Lynn Pinto.  “It exudes such warmth, like a cozy blanket on a snowy Winter’s day.”

 The 2-CD set is  in the web store at BroadwayCares.org or by calling Broadway Cares at 212-840-0770.

Rick Skye as Liza! Nov. 25th

RICK SKYE STARS AS LIZA MINNELLI

IN

DON’T TELL MAMA’S NEW HIT SHOW

 

BAZAZZ!

A SEQUINED VARIETY

                                                                                                                               

Saturday, November 25th

Rick Skye, who won the 2017 MAC Award for “Best Impersonation,” opened Don’t Tell Mama’s new monthly variety show Bazaaz! A Sequined Variety last month to a sold-out audience and the media is buzzing. In New York magazine said, “There’s a new sequined variety show in town that is a must see!”

 

The show features Skye’s heralded impersonation as Liza Minnelli singing in his own voice and showcases award-winning impersonations, guest performers and Skye’s Kit Kat Boyz. Bazaaz! A Sequined Variety will next play on Saturday, November 25th at 8:00PM.

 

Liz Smith said, “Save your Saturday nights every month, from now on. Why? Because down at New York’s famous Don’t Tell Mama cabaret,Rick Skye is the host with the most at Bazazz! A Sequined Variety.  Skye’s impersonation of Minnelli is sensitive, boisterous and moving although ’impersonation’ is too banal a word for his affectionate, on-target work.”

Skye is well-known in London and New York for having written and performed in a series of outrageously comic, award-winning shows including The Flip Side of Neil Sedaka, which earned him a Bistro Award, A Slice O’Minnelli and The War of the Mama Roses. His show Its Madame with an E! played Atlantic City and Las Vegas and brought him to television where he appeared on Watch What Happens, Live! With Andy Cohen and Celebrity Apprentice as well as Fox & Friends and the WB. His most recent success was Judy and Liza Together Again which closed after an unprecedented seven-year run at Don’t Tell Mama’s and garnered two MAC Awards.

 

He has performed in many shows as Liza Minnelli in a number of hit shows that played internationally. He co-starred with Steven Brinberg in the London production of Barbra and Liza LIVE! which played the Dublin Gay Theater Festival and he toured with Liza LIVE! playing the New Players Theater in London and many spots in England. A Slice O’ Minnelli enjoyed successful seasons at the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End, The Dublin and Edinburgh Festivals, and from cities New York to Chicago. Critics called Skye “Masterful…Astonishing…Brilliant (Chicago Sun Times) and the show earned him the 2006 MAC Award for Best Impersonation, the “Best Achievement in Performance” Award at the Dublin Theatre Festival and the Terrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.

 

Skye’s special guests in November’s Bazaaz! A Sequined Variety will include Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand and entertainer Sidney Myer. Cabaret favorite Rick Ritzel is the evening’s Musical Director.

Bazaaz! A Sequined Variety will also play on:

Friday, December 29 – Guest stars TBA

Sunday, December 31 – Guest stars TBA

 

Don’t Tell Mama’s is located at 343 West 46th Street in New York City. There is a $20.00 Cover/2 Drink Minimum (Cash only). Reservations can be made at www.donttellmamanyc.com.

Torch Song with Michael Urie

Michael Urie takes on Harvey Fierstein’s epic play

Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song was originally written as a trilogy of three plays, but is now more commonly performed as one play in three acts. Centering around a gay Jewish drag performance artist and torch singer as he searches for love, purpose, and family, this epic, four-hour work focuses on three different periods in Arnold’s turbulent life. Dealing with heartbreak, bigotry from close quarters and raising a family, this touching drama first premiered in 1978, Off-Off Broadway. Torch Song will be helmed by Moises Kaufman and star Michael Urie, the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and LA Critics Award winning actor of Buyer & Cellar.

An iconic play returns to New York

Fierstein’s drama arrived on Broadway in 1982, winning two Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play (Fierstein) running for an epic 1,222 performances, before being adapted for the silver screen in 1988, also starring Fierstein, Matthew Broderick and Anne Bancroft, and directed by Paul Bogart. –  As a young boy seeing this  in 1982,  I was awestruck  and emotionally  moved! And to see it with Matthew  Broderick and Estelle  Getty!   What a cast!

Michael Urie first came to international prominence in the hit TV show Ugly Betty, and has since appeared as an immature NSA contractor on The Good Wife. On stage, he is most well-known for his one-man led show Buyer and Cellar, which premiered Off- 2013 to rapturous reviews, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Urie’s performance was universally praised for playing multiple roles in the show, including Barbra Streisand! Now he is set to take on the role that Fierstein wrote and originated himself.

More  info  at  2ndStage