Saturday, February 28, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of The Parkside Players' production of Vanities at Grace Lutheran Church by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of The Parkside Players' production of "Vanities" by Jack Heifner at Grace Lutheran Church (Forest Hills) was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Vanities
The Parkside Players
Grace Lutheran Church (103-15 Union Turnpike, Forest Hills, NY)
Reviewed 2/27/15

Vanities was written by Jack Heifner. It premiered at Playwrights Horizons in New York City on January 15, 1976, for 13 performances, and then was transferred to the Chelsea Theatre Center (now Westside Theatre) where it opened on March 22, 1976 and closed August 3, 1980, running for 1,785 performances. Jack Heifner received a 1976 Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding New Play. Vanities was made into a musical entitled Vanities: A New Musical, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2009.

The play follows the lives and friendship of Joanne, Kathy and Mary, three close friends who are seniors in High School in a small Texas town in November, 1963. They are cheerleaders for the Tigers, the school's football team and being pretty and popular teenage girls, they have boyfriends and worry about things important to their lives such as prom and whether they can hold out from going "too far" with their boyfriends. Joanne is the naive, country girl who is clear about what she wants; to marry her boyfriend Ted, have children and be a wife and mother. When Joanne comes up with proposed chants, such as Do It Again! Do It Again! Harder! Harder! and Go All The Way! Go All The Way!, she has no idea that others may see a sexual connotation in the wording. Kathy is the organizer who is less attractive than her girlfriends. Mary is the rebellious one who would like to travel and be free of her parents' rules and authority. Although still a virgin, Mary seems destined to become sexually promiscuous as evidenced by the fact that with each new gift her boyfriend gives her, she lets him go a little further in their sexual interactions until she finally realizes her boyfriend "has more gifts than she has parts to give." The three girls express anxiety about remaining popular in college and whether they can stay together there but are committed to doing so. The first act ends with the announcement that President John F. Kennedy has been assassinated. As you might expect given that this school is in a small Texas town, classes and the pep rally were cancelled but it was announced the football game would take place as planned, to which all three girls expressed their relief by exclaiming, "Thank God!".

In the second act, taking place in the Spring of 1968, we find the girls thriving as seniors in a Texas college. All three pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma, a prestigious sorority and now, as seniors, they are in charge of rushing new pledges to maintain the great quality and reputation of the sorority. Joanne likes tradition and rules. She doesn't mind inviting serenading fraternity brothers into the sorority house for punch and cake and objects to her sorority sisters wearing jeans and smoking at dinner (she prefers they smoke in their rooms). While all three girls are still very close, Mary has dumped her boyfriend because she got bored with him and she would prefer to just "let the sorority sisters loose" with no rules and no requirement for them to sign in and out. Joanne is still a virgin and is preparing to marry Ted. Kathy went on the pill, gave away the milk for free, and saw her boyfriend marry another woman whom he got pregnant and then married after just a month. Since Kathy's dream bubble was burst, she has no idea what she will do after college. Kathy majored in Physical Education and supposes she will teach. Mary majored in Interior Design, which she could not care less about and Joanne majored in Music because the lines to sign up for those classes were the shortest.

In the Summer of 1974, the three old friends meet again in a garden apartment in New York City. Joanne, the ever-devoted friend who is now living in Connecticut with Ted and her children, is the wife and mother she always wanted to be. Life may not be perfect and she may drink a bit too much, but Joanne is definitely a lady and a devoted friend, who named two of her children Mary and Kathy, after her childhood buddies. She attends this reunion Tea Party optimistic that there are many good times to reminisce about. Ted, her husband, recommended against her accepting Kathy's invitation, but Joanne went anyway walking into a bitter cat and claw fight of unexpected proportions. Only Joanne acts as a true friend while Kathy and Mary are two bitter, single, angry people envious of the fact that Joanne obtained part of the white-picket fence dream life she envisioned. It appears this inexplicable and illogical anger and hatred runs so deep that both Kathy and Mary are sleeping with Ted, Joanne's husband. Mary admits to Kathy she has been sleeping with Ted for a year and a half while it is implied the apartment in which Kathy lives, belongs to Ted as evidenced by the art hanging in it that was purchased at Mary's exotic art gallery. 

On one level, Mary achieved the freedom she wanted with the success of her gallery and financial independence. She is a self-described exhibitionist, attends rallies for Bella Abzug, has had an abortion, and sleeps with hundreds of men (and some women). Kathy has quit teaching, stays home all days and reads books having "negotiated" a life she just let happen without advance planning. Both should be happy but instead they are bitter toward and envious of Joanne and all she represents. However, it is not Joanne's fault or their upbringing in a simpler time that has made Kathy "so cynical" and Mary "so wild." It is the choices they made along the way. As Mary, quoting Bob Dylan lyrics said, "the times they are a-changing" and it is everyone's personal responsibility to adjust to those changes without blaming others for the choices they make. This play may have resonated more in the early 1970s as the predictable lives many middle-class people lived in the 1950s and 1960s were shattered by sexual liberation, the pill, legalized abortion, feminism, and gay liberation; and this play accurately reflects the challenges young women faced during those times and face now. However, that is no reason to blame the lack of a "perfect life" on others. Joanne is not the devil and she doesn't reflect the oppressiveness of a conservative culture. She is, in fact, pretty accepting of the different opinions held by her friends and sincerely hopes things work out for them. Kathy and Mary hold their own futures in their hands, as everyone does, and they need to decide what makes them happy and then work towards those goals.   

The star of this show is Nili Resnick, who plays Joanne. Ms. Resnick has a powerful stage presence and wins over the audience with her charm and charisma. Alison Kondel is suitably strong and brassy as Mary. Ms. Kondel successfully exhibits the bitterness and anger her character carries with her for reasons unknown. Lauren Snyder did well in the role of Kathy but I believe the part may have called for a more traditional beauty. Finally, just because I have to say it or I'll burst, Mary should have recommended the musical Hair for the Sing Song, not Kathy. That would have been consistent with the trajectory of Mary's story line. The funniest comment in the play was uttered by Joanne in Act 3 after she fought with Mary, who just revealed she had slept with Ted, Joanne's husband. In response, Joanne bolted out of the apartment saying, "I'm going to go home right now and change Little Mary's name!".

I highly recommend you see Vanities at The Parkside Players. There is easy parking at Grace Lutheran Church, a friendly staff, reasonably priced concessions and quality productions.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of The Can Opener: A Brief Horror Musical at The Kraine Theater by John Michael Koroly

This review of M. Zachary Johnson's The Can Opener: A Brief Horror Musical at The Kraine Theater was written by John Michael Koroly and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Can Opener: A Brief Horror Musical

M. Zachary Johnson - Writer & Composer
Kenneth Oefelein - Director
The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 2/24/15 at 7:10 p.m.

"The Can Opener: A Brief Horror Musical" was recently featured as part of the 2015 Frigid New York Theater Festival. I regret to report that it proved to be a rather amateurish attempt at...what? Satire? Sweet homage? Sly commentary? It's really never clear what composer/lyricist M. Zachary Johnson intends here.


Ostensibly, the show is about a girl, Bobbi, in her late teens whose overactive dream life is taking over her waking life. (But IS it just a dream life? This is never made clear.) She enjoys the company of an imaginary friend: a hunky, attractive young man named Apollo. However, as soon as Apollo leaves, she is besieged by "zombies" who terrify her with songs about brain-eating and the like. Her parents are eager to get her off to college and there is some baffling dialogue over breakfasts about a string of murders in the neighborhood that might really be serial suicides. Again, none of this makes very much sense; least of all the scenes with Bobbi finally entering college and being consumed by a conformist environment, to the final tableau of her taking a hammer and chisel to her own head. It's all a confusing clutter of ideas.

Johnson's music never rises above the routine. His melodies in numbers such as "My Life Is Small But Cheerful," "Boy, Is This Weird," and "It's Time To Send You Away, Former Friend" are neither catchy in a conventional sense, nor daring in any thematic way. The score is supposed to drive the action along. Here, it just sits there, inert. Kenneth Oefelein's direction isn't any more inspired. At times, the blocking suggested a reasonably competent high school production. The Kraine's stage space is, I grant you, tiny, but it could have been exploited more imaginatively.

The cast was of widely varying degrees of quality, with Sharon Lam's Bobbi likable enough, eventually winning our empathy. Jesse Corbin's Apollo was suitably magnetic. Kevin Tucker as the father and Rose Marie Rupley as the mother, however, were of very uneven voice; Tucker going off note several times. Meghan Pulles and Andrew Blair made for some enjoyably quirky zombies, though.

The title reference to a can opener, by the way, is never explained nor implied that I could tell.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Stearns Matthews in Spark at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Andrew Martin

This review of Stearns Matthews in Spark at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Andrew Martin and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

"Spark" - Stearns Matthews

Stearns' Album Release Show
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
West Bank Cafe (407 West 42nd Street, NYC)
Reviewed 2/11/15 at 7:00 p.m.

When cabaret first began to enjoy its initial renaissance in New York over three decades ago, most largely with the late Erv Raible and Rob Hoskins at the helm, it more often than not emerged as being propelled by female talent. However, male vocalists have always endured as their own force with which to be reckoned, including Phillip Officer, Tom Andersen, Mark Coffin, Tony Award-winning Billy Porter, and singer-instrumentalists Billy Stritch and Ricky Ritzel, among myriad others. Today, and in the here and now, Stearns Matthews may well be their heir apparent. His most recent appearance, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, to celebrate the release of his new CD Spark, definitely displays not only the young gentleman's golden vocal timbre, but his inherent gift for communication on a variety of numbers that range from intensely serious to humorously delightful. Aided and abetted by the divine Christopher Denny at the piano, the evening never proves anything but an utter thrill and a prime example of the art form at its best.


After launching into a splendid delivery of Stephen Schwartz's "The Spark Of Creation," Matthews masterfully manages to take a chestnut like Bacharach and David's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and transform it into a moment that can only be described as utter velvet. "My Alligator And Me" by John Bucchino is merely heightened further with the "guest appearance" of musician "Toots" Matthews on melodica, and by the time he plows into Rodgers & Hart's "My Romance," Matthews borders on legitimately incomparable. "Stop In The Name Of Love" proves a particular standout as delivered in German, French, Italian and even Pig Latin, and he bursts forth equally triumphant with the uproarious "Every Time A Friend Succeeds (A Little Piece Of Me Dies Inside)" by Amanda Green; it's clear that he's a definitive find for the current cabaret climate if one hadn't already discovered his brilliance. Perhaps even more mesmerizing is Matthews' ability to take such run-of-the-mill pop standards as Roger Miller's "King Of The Road" and infuse them with a stripped-bare plaintive quality, which almost makes them sound as though they've never been sung before and belong solely to him.

Although there are no official announcements at the time of this writing for an upcoming club appearance by Stearns Matthews, he has rightfully received a 2015 Bistro Award for his CD Spark and is certain to continue his conquest of all things cabaret. One can't be urged more strongly to attend his next show whence upon that should happen.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Barbara A. Malley in Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama by Andrew Martin

This review of Barbara A. Malley in Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama was written by Andrew Martin and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

"Eat, Drink, Be Merry" - Barbara A. Malley

Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/25/15 at 3:00 p.m.

It's always a snappy surprise to walk into a club with little expectation, to see a show by an older performer of who you know or have heard basically nothing, and then see perform a thoroughly delightful and charming hour of entertainment. So it goes with Barbara A. Malley who, with her most recent show
 Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama, came off as not merely an absolute pro but someone whose show should be seen solely for an hour of thorough escape, and the chance to just feel marvelous. This tribute to the glory of aging (yes, the glory, not the downsides), is brilliantly directly by Jay Rogers with musical direction by Ricky Ritzel, and when it returns there it absolutely deserves a look and a listen. It's not the greatest vocal prowess to be found in cabaret, and perhaps occasionally pitchy, but that's wholeheartedly beside the point; Malley is clearly having such a good time on that stage that the audience to a man can't help but begrudge her the pleasure.

After getting things off to a rollicking start with the title song by Keith Thompson, Malley at times proves captivating on such comical numbers as "In A Disney Way" by Michael Bruce, Kander & Ebb's "The Elephant Song," and "He Had Refinement" by Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields. But she's equally adept with such ballads as "Blame It On My Youth" by Oscar Levant and Edward Heyman, and even gives pop music a try with James Taylor's "The Secret Of Life." In addition, she showcases original material as in the case of "White Girls Don't Sing The Blues" by Sue Matsuki and Gregory Toroian, and by the time she winds up with "Go Visit Your Grandmother" (also by Kander & Ebb), she's got the audience eating out of the palm of her lovely little hand.


Barbara A. Malley will return to Don't Tell Mama on February 24th at 7:00 p.m. and she's wholeheartedly worth the fifteen-dollar cover charge (with a five-dollar discount for MAC members) and two-drink minimum. By all means, visit the show and prepare, if not to eat or drink, to be very merry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of The Slipper Room Show & The Slipper Room Midnight Show at The Slipper Room by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of The Slipper Room Show & The Slipper Room Midnight Show at The Slipper Room was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Slipper Room Show
The Slipper Room Midnight Show
The Slipper Room 
(167 Orchard Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/23/15 at 10:00 p.m.

The Slipper Room is the brainchild of performer and producer James Habacker. It originally opened in 1999 and was the first venue built specifically to showcase the work of the burgeoning new collective of artists involved in the genre that has become known as "neo-burlesque", an art form that began in the early 1990s in New York City and is committed to the revival and updating of the traditional American burlesque performance. Given the proliferation of nudity and its easy accessibility on the internet, the goal of the modern burlesque performer is not to titillate an exclusively male audience but to offer a mixed gender audience with a wider variety of costumes and performance styles. The Slipper Room was completely renovated in 2012. It attracts both tourists and a hip crowd of 20-30-year-olds out to have a good time and an interesting new experience and, in that regard, The Slipper Room delivers! Master of Ceremonies Bastard Keith observed during the midnight show that "a solid 8% of the audience is too old for these shenanigans." Being a part of that 8%, I can say that I enjoyed all four sets just as much, if not more, than the rest of the audience. The only negative was that the music in the room prior to the show and between sets was too loud for people to engage in casual conversations with one another. The customers and the staff of The Slipper Room are all very friendly so if you are looking for something to do for someone's birthday or for a special occasion, I highly recommend you bring them to The Slipper Room for one of its New York Burlesque & Variety Shows. 

The 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. sets were hosted by Peter Aguero and featured Ekaterina, Topher Bousquet, Cassandra Rosebeetle and Tansy. The 12 midnight and 1:00 a.m. sets were hosted by Bastard Keith and featured Francis Stallings, Albert Cadabra, Deity Delgado, Gigi Bon Bon, Legs Malone and special guest, Uncle Earl. During the performances, the Master of Ceremonies interacted with the audience and between sets, there was go-go dancing and an opportunity for audience members to donate extra money to the performers either by dropping cash into a black hat or by going on stage and placing a picture of a President where the sun doesn't often shine. The cover for the earlier shows is only $15.00 if purchased online ($20.00 at the door) and you are invited to stay for the later sets. If you come only for the late sets, the cover is $10.00 at the door. The Slipper Room doesn't serve food but the bar is open and the wait staff is professional and friendly. If you are hungry either before or after you visit The Slipper Room, Katz's Delicatessen is just a block away and is open all night on the weekends.  

Ekaterina (www.MissEkaterina.com), a very attractive and talented aerialist, was born and raised in Russia. She began performing at the age of five as a rhythmic gymnast and became a member of the Russian National team. In 2001, she joined the acrobatic dance troupe Anti-Gravity and moved to New York City. Ekaterina now has a professional career in the circus, dance, and burlesque, specializing in physical comedy, contortion, and aerial arts. Besides performing with circus and entertainment companies such as Cirque Du Soleil, Cirque Musica, and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, she recently joined the cast of Sleep No More - the most recent incarnation of immersive, site-specific, interactive play, created by British theatre company Punchdrunk. Her unique burlesque performance centered on her performing as a cat might, inviting a male audience member to scratch her stomach and behind her ear. She also licked her own foot and coughed up a hairball!  Cassandra Rosebeetle (www.CassandraRosebeetle.com), a dark, sultry, woman of mystery, was a competitive ice skater for 15 years and has been performing as a principal member of the Desert Sin Dance Company since 2001. She has an extensive background performing as a belly dancer and glass-walker. Her unique burlesque performance featured Isis Wings, a black umbrella, and accompanying music with French lyrics.

Tansy (www.TansyBurlesque.com), New York's Burlesque Starlet, has been often described as "The Elizabeth Taylor of Burlesque". She is absolutely gorgeous! Tansy exudes charisma and radiates a joyful effervescence and joie de vivre. In 2012, she was crowned "Miss Newcomer World" at The World Burlesque Games in London, England. She was also chosen to perform in the "Best Debut" category at The Burlesque Hall Of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas and has had the honor of competing for the "Queen of Burlesque" title in New Orleans. Tansy is a very classy burlesque performer with a great stage presence. Christopher David Bousquet ("Topher Bousquet") (www.flextopher.weebly.com), is a double-jointed contortionist who is able to twist his own body into a pretzel with the greatest of ease. Topher completed the Professional Track program at the New England Center for Circus Arts and later was accepted into L'Ecole de Cirque Quebec City. He now trains, teaches and performs in the circus and burlesque scenes all over New York City. What this young man can do with a lit hula hoop will amaze you!

Francis Stallings (www.FrancisStallings.com), a Brooklyn-based aerialist and actor earned degrees in Sculpture and Art Education from the University of Georgia but her exposure to the performing arts and circus eventually led her to move to New York City where she designs her own costumes to show off her aerial skills and her own unique take on burlesque, whether that be appearing as a Zombie Nurse or as she did in the midnight show as a Police Officer with a gun. Gigi Bon Bon (www.GigiBonBon.com), is a professional dancer who began her burlesque career as one of Lady Rizo's original "Assettes" and a member of Jenny Rocha & her Painted Ladies. She was a Founding Member of the Good To Go Girls. She made her solo debut at the 2014 New York Burlesque Festival, where she was nominated for a Golden Pastie Award. MC Bastard Keith introduced her as The Red Head That Knocks You Dead! While that certainly is not literally true, Gigi Bon Bon is a high energy and flirtatious bombshell who knows how to seduce the crowd with her dynamic dance moves and killer smile.

Legs Malone (www.LegsMalone.com) is the Girl With The Thirty-Four and a Half Inch Inseam! She has beautiful legs that run for "miles and miles". Her burlesque performance this evening consisted of a skit involving a lamp and her desire to get three wishes fulfilled by the lamp's genie. Money and diamond earnings were granted without a problem but when she wanted a pearl necklace, let's just say the genie wanted her to manipulate the lamp as he instructed before he would fulfill the wish. The skit was absolutely hilarious! It was very innovative showing what is possible in this new genre of Neo-Burlesque. Deity Delgado (www.DietyDelgado.com), breaks all the rules of traditional burlesque and takes you to a place you had no idea existed. Deity, the aptly named icon of New York City Burlesque, made her first on-stage appearance at the Blue Angel Cabaret on Walker Street in 1994. A native New Yorker, she performed for several years in the world-renowned nightlife capital of Ibiza, Spain. Upon returning to New York in 2000, she has performed in BadAss Burlesque, Nurse Bettie-spanking the LES, Kitty Nights, Coco de Mer Salon, Hypergender Burlesque, Shaken & Stirred, and Penny Arcade's Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore!. Deity Delgado is also a make-up artist and an expert seamstress, which explains her performing burlesque in a dress made up entirely of cardboard. She performed to the song People Are Strange, which was a perfect match for Deity Delgado. You will not soon forget her. She is a classic!

Albert Cadabra (www.AlbertCadabra.com), is known as The Great Deceiver. He is internationally recognized for his unique performances, including eating a dinner of razor blades, hammering 6 inch spikes into his face and electrocuting himself with 2,000 volts of electricity. In tonight's performances, he escaped from a straight jacket while hanging upside down and swallowed a six-foot long balloon filled with air. He attended Bard College, receiving a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a Major in Film & Television. In 1999, he won the Funniest Person In Manhattan Award at the Stand-Up New York Comedy Club. In 2001, he went on to produce, write and star in a 3-year Off-Broadway magic show called Magical Madness and in 2005, he created a new show called The Cadabra Spectacular, which opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. In 2008, he signed a deal with Ripley's Believe It Or Not in Times Square to create, perform and host Ripley's Sideshow Wonders, a daily, live, family-friendly sideshow with performances of the strange and bizarre. Uncle Earl, a Neil Diamond impersonator, appeared on stage at the end of the evening with two disco balls hanging from his crotch. He led the audience and the midnight performers in a grand finale that ended with everyone singing along to the song Sweet Caroline. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening! 

Peter Aguero was an unfortunate choice to host the first two sets of performers. He used the words "mother-fucker" and "fuck" more times than I could count to mask his lack of talent as a Master of Ceremonies. His interactions with the audience members also fell short. The best he could come up with was how he hated Texans. On the other hand, Bastard Keith (www.BastardKeith.com) was a witty, talented, charismatic and entertaining Master of Ceremonies who sang a few songs and kept the pace of the show moving. He gave pet names to audience members and brought some of them up on stage for various contests. He claims to be a singer, writer, and gadabout. Bastard Keith is an extremely intelligent fellow and is very entertaining. He is the perfect host for any event you may be running. 

I just checked and The Slipper Room (www.SlipperRoom.com) is featuring a whole new cast of professional performers who are appearing on the line-up for tomorrow night's show. If you have not experienced this new genre of variety performers, do not wait any longer. Get yourself down to The Slipper Room and see some uniquely talented people you probably weren't even aware existed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes at the Metropolitan Room by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes at the Metropolitan Room was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes
An Evening Of Song, Story & Striptease!

Metropolitan Room (34 West 22nd Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/10/15 at 10:00 p.m.

Co-hosted by Witti Repartee and Cherry Pitz,
 Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes was a two-hour Vaudeville-style Variety Show featuring over a dozen elaborately costumed performers doing impersonations, burlesque, singing, storytelling and live acts leaving you eager to hear and see more. This lavish, spectacular show was great fun! It promised to "thrill, tickle, titillate & tease" and it delivered. Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes was presented by command of Their Most Imperial and Sovereign Majesties Emperor XXVIII Tony Monteleone and Empress XXVIII Twinkle Montgomery of The Imperial Court of New York. It was truly an extravaganza of colorful characters who went all out to entertain the sold-out house of enthusiastic audience members. Witti warned Cherry the audience might not be so accepting of her being co-host since she was a biological woman, but Cherry was not deterred. She explained her pop was both a father and a mother to her. He was a Drag Queen. She also mentioned that from when she was very little, she got used to being booed on stage when it was discovered she was a "real girl". Cherry, whose character is a bit ditsy, insisted she and Witti had more in common than not because they were both redheads. 

The opening number had Witti and some of the girls singing "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" (from
 Best Little Whorehouse In Texas) where we learn about Miss Mona's "no-no rules" and how the Congress folks from Austin and the Young Boys looking for sin come for "one small thrill" while we are assured there's "nothing dirty going on." Iris Explosion stripped, MargOH! Channing sang, and Robusta Capp did a spot-on impersonation of Cher. Other performers included Anita "Mother" Moorehead doing a duet with Elian Encounter, Natasha Carrington, Robin Kradles, and Ermine Muff. Cherry Pitz performed a monologue with Vincent Price off an old LP record, which also gave her the excuse to take off almost all her clothing. 

Worthy of special note was the appearance of Roger Anthony Mapes, whose
 Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour won a 2014 MAC Award in the category of Impersonation, Characterization and/or Drag Artist. Rev. Yolanda is also set to be inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame at B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill on February 11, 2015. She is definitely not just another pretty face, but her talent and outrageous form-rubber costumes (which we saw a blown-up photo of) make her hard to forget. Finally, the star of the show, in my opinion, was Neil Arthur James, who appeared as Dandy Darkly, a Satiric Storyteller who appears to have come to us straight from a 23rd century gig in a Star Wars cantina. His expressive, colorful style captivates the audience's attention. Dandy Darkly, known for hisGory Hole and Pussy Panic shows, was given 13 minutes to tell a story about two women living in the Shady Acres Nursing Home and how they came to be close friends. This moving tale draws in the audience and makes us feel as if we know them. I also thought it was a hoot when one of his characters, Fanny, confessed she was a witch but confirmed she was as "gay as an ice cream social"! I suggest you go out of your way to catch Dandy Darkly's next show!

Witti Repartee hosts a show of  this kind twice a year as a Special Event for the Imperial Court of New York. Witti, who was Empress XXVI a few years ago, noted that the audience was packed with friends of hers from many aspects of her life including her Drag Family, Leather Family, Kinky Family, Chorus Family, Family Family (including her husband), Weight Watchers Family and her Work-Family. There was also a 50-50 raffle and a progressive auction, which raised $748.00 for Iris House, which provides comprehensive services and advocacy for women, families, and communities infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously providing prevention and education services for its clients and at-risk communities. Boy Laney, Mr. Eagle NYC 2015, made an appearance and sang a song from Disney's movie
 Mulan acapella in order to raise awareness about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PeEP), which is a way for people who don't have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day (Brand Name: Truvada). When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. Boy Laney encouraged audience members to ask their doctors about this new HIV prevention drug.

The Metropolitan Room does not feature a large cabaret room. The seats and chairs are packed close together and I was unable to move or get up out of my seat for the entire two hours I was watching the show. The staff was extremely friendly as was my waiter Billy. But on a Saturday night, with one sold-out show letting out at the same time patrons from a second sold-out show are waiting to be seated, and everyone is standing in a narrow passageway while the staff handles the bills from the earlier show and cleans the room, you can expect to stand for 45 minutes to an hour before finally getting to your seat. Perhaps when the downstairs bar isn't being used as a Green Room, there may be an alternative waiting area for in-coming guests. Despite these minor issues, the Metropolitan Room features some of the best talent performing in cabaret today. I strongly recommend you check their schedule of upcoming performers and get down to see a show there soon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dr. Tom Stevens Re-Elected Chair Of The Libertarian Party Of Queens County

The Annual Convention of the Libertarian Party of Queens County was held on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at the Queens Pride House located at 76-11 37th Avenue, Suite #206, Jackson Heights, New York 11372. Dr. Tom Stevens, who was first elected LPQC Chair at the Annual Convention held last year on January 11, 2014, was unanimously re-elected Chair. The membership also elected Thomas Adair Rossman to serve as Vice-Chair, Alden Link to serve as Secretary, Natale Corsi to serve as Treasurer, and John Clifton to serve as State Representative. Dr. Stevens was also re-elected to serve as Membership Director.

The Queens Libertarian Party ran and co-sponsored many events throughout the year but the year's Guest Speakers, all who spoke at its General Membership Meetings held on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, included:

Jay Burkos - Essential Keys To Successful Re-Entry Programs
Becky Akers - A New Look At Benedict Arnold: Traitor or Libertarian Hero?
Fred Cookinham - Evacuation Day
John Darash - Common Law Grand Juries
Dr. Pascal Wallisch - The Psychology of Perception: Flying Saucers & The Virgin Mary
Thomas Adair Rossman - Global Innovation Revolution
James V. Allerdyce - Domestic Drones: Promises & Threats
David Kraljic - How Will Data Change Democracy?
Natale Corsi - Legalizing Mixed Martial Arts In New York State
John Rafferty - Is America A Christian Nation?
Dr. Jerome Huyler - A Country In Crisis: So What's To Be Done?
Rev. Addison Quale - The Biblical Case For Libertarianism

Dr. Stevens also pulled off a very successful 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Libertarian Party of Queens County on September 19, 2014 from 7-10 p.m. at Connolly's Corner located at 71-17 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, New York 11378. The following individuals spoke at the affair: Mark Axinn, New York Libertarian Party Chair; Dr. Tom Stevens, LPQC Chair; John Clifton, Libertarian Party Candidate for New York State Comptroller; and John K. Wilson, Libertarian Party Candidate for New York State Assembly District 37. All attendees received a parting gift and the Libertarian Party of Queens County made a net profit of $418.46.

Another major event held this year was LPQC's Holiday Toy Drive spearheaded by Michelle Yaskel. Queens LP members donated 108 toys to QSAC (Quality Services For The Autism Community) located at 12-10 150th Street, Whitestone, New York 11357. The toys were hand-delivered to the children and a photo of the donation was taken so a News Release could be sent to the local press.

Dr. Tom Stevens formally joined the national Libertarian Party (LPUS) on August 1, 2003. He served two terms on the LPUS Judiciary Committee, having been elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2008. He remains a member of the national Libertarian Party to this day. Although first elected LPQC State Representative on April 24, 2004 and serving in many other capacities, Dr. Stevens never served as LPQC Chair until his election to that post on January 11, 2014.