Sunday, December 27, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of The Golden Bride at the Museum Of Jewish Heritage by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of The Golden Bride (Di Goldene Kale) at the Museum Of Jewish Heritage was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Golden Bride (Di Goldene Kale)
Music by Joseph Rumshinsky
Lyrics by Louis Gilrod
Libretto by Freida Freiman
Co-Directors: Bryna Wasserman & Motl Didner
Scenic Design by John Dinning
Costume Design by Izzy Fields
Conductor & Musical Staging: Zalmen Mlotek
Choreographer & Musical Staging: Merete Muenter
Museum Of Jewish Heritage
Edmund J. Safra Hall
36 Battery Place
New York, New York 10280
Reviewed 12/23/15  

The Yiddish-American Musical Theater of the 1880s through the 1940s reflected the struggles and history of Yiddish-speaking Jews living in shtetls that dotted across the Russian Empire and the rest of Eastern Europe and their experiences immigrating by the millions to the United States to escape persecution and to seek out new opportunities for themselves and their families. The Golden Bride was a Yiddish operetta that premiered at the 2,000-seat Kessler's Second Avenue Theater in New York on February 9, 1923, as one of 14 Yiddish programs in the city that evening. It ran for 18 weeks and was then performed in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, and many other cities in the United States, South America, and in Europe. Thirteen recordings of songs from the show were released at the time, sheet music for two numbers was published, and a piano roll of the hit "Mayn Goldele" was issued. Before I provide any additional background, let me Cut To Hecuba, as people of the time were often heard to say (a reference to the practice of shortening matinee performances of Hamlet by cutting the long speeches before the reference to Hecuba in Act 2, Scene 2). 

The Golden Bride is absolutely delightful! It is an upbeat, spirited operetta featuring first class performers. The acting and singing are top-notch. All the actors are superior entertainers, but I was particularly impressed with Cameron Johnson, who played Misha, and Adam B. Shapiro, who was Kalmen. Kalmen (Americanized as Clem) was hilarious in his special appearance as Mrs. Pavlova, a noted ballerina. The operetta was meant to amuse and it succeeded in accomplishing that goal from the beginning to the end. The story is a light-hearted, romantic comedy about a young girl who has inherited millions on the death of her father. Her uncle has come to take her to America, but this "golden bride" refuses to marry any of her eager suitors (including the young man she truly loves) until one of them finds her long lost mother. The first act takes place in a Russian shtetl and the second act takes place in New York City. At the end of the first act, Goldele, her uncle, and his son leave for America by exiting the stage and passing through the audience, making the trip all the more dramatic. Why her mother was not in touch with her father; why her father left her to be brought up by innkeepers (think Les Miserables); why her mother stopped searching for her; and why Goldele would pay 4 young men to search for her mother in countries as far off as Japan, remain unanswered questions. Similarly, the chances of all four young men showing up in New York on the same day (along with the results of their all-expense paid trips) are nearly zero, and yet show up they did culminating in a masquerade ball and a happy ending. Would you have it any other way? I highly recommend you see The Golden Bride during its current run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. You will be glad you did! It is just as good, if not better, than many of the shows currently on Broadway.

The Golden Bride was last staged on February 27, 1948, on New York's Lower East Side. In 1984, musicologist Michael Ochs found a manuscript copy of the vocal score in Harvard's Loeb Music Library, which he headed at the time. The vocal score contained the music and lyrics for the sung portions of the work but lacked the dialogue, some of the lyrics, stage directions, and orchestral parts. Ochs put the score on exhibit in 1984, wrote a brief description, and kept the work in the back of his mind for the next 25 years. He returned to the operetta half a dozen years ago, began to translate the lyrics of the musical numbers, and located a typescript of the dialogue and lyrics at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York  among family papers donated by David and Lisa Roth, grandchildren of librettist Frieda Freiman and children of noted Yiddish actress Flora Freiman. Also at YIVO, Ochs was fortunate to gain the assistance of Yiddish-music expert Chana Mlotek, z"l, who introduced him to her son Zalmen, artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Forksbiene and music director/conductor of these new performances. A large gift of music manuscripts and other valuable documents from the estate of composer Joseph Rumshinsky came to UCLA in 1974 as a gift of his son, Murray, and daughter, Betty Rumshinsky Fox. Included in this collection are the lead sheet from which the composer conducted the premiere run of the show in 1923 and the original orchestral parts. Using all the resources at Harvard, YIVO, and UCLA, Ochs compiled and edited a full score of the work, transliterating the Yiddish text to reflect the special pronunciation used in Yiddish theater performances. Bringing the score from paper to stage included a concert performance with piano by the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene in May 2014, the company's performance with orchestra at Rutgers last August, and months of preparation since then by a hard-working cast and crew of its current production co-directed by Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner.

The Golden Bride is set in the early 1920s. In 1917, the Russian Revolution overthrew a centuries old regime of official anti-semitism in the Russian Empire. Misha, one of suitors in this play, reflects that optimism by exhibiting his strong patriotism for Mother Russia and his hope for full equality of all Jews within the new Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks abolished the laws which regarded the Jews as outlawed people and while they were atheists (and sought to close all religious institutions), they supported institutions of secular Yiddish culture, such as the Moscow State Jewish Theater. At the same time, religious traditions among the Jewish population were suppressed and many Jewish properties, including synagogues, were seized. Still, several prominent members of Soviet government institutions and the Communist Party (such as Leon Trotsky, Yakov Sverdlov, Lev Kemenev and Grigory Zinoviev, among others) came from Jewish backgrounds. In 1918, the Yevsektsiya was established to promote Marxism, secularism, and Jewish assimilation into Soviet society. Many Jews in the United States continued to support Stalin and the Communist Party's vision of promoting socialism throughout the world well into the 1950s. In the operetta, Misha spoke of a New Russia where Jews and Christians now fight together to bring socialism to the entire world. He said, "They carry a song of new freedom. The revolution has created shades of light."

Many Jewish stereotypes are recognizable in this operetta. The entrepreneur/hustler always looking to make a buck. The Innkeeper and his wife asking for a million dollars from Goldele's uncle Benjamin for having taken care of her. Everyone else in town handing invoices to her uncle for every stick of gum they ever gave her. Khanele, who claims to love Jerome (Benjamin's son), and accepts a ticket to America, only to put him off (refusing to even call herself his fiance) until he makes her a internationally famous actress. Three of the four young suitors fully prepared to present impostors to Goldele just so she will marry them and make them rich. Finally, we have established immigrants taking advantage of greenhorns (newer immigrants unacquainted with local manners and customs). Perhaps some of these character traits are universal and are evident whenever poorer relatives in the old country interact with richer relatives in the new world. When those first immigrants came to America for new opportunities, they hoped to bring their families with them in due time, but they also hoped to start a new life unencumbered by those in the old world making constant demands on them for money and goods. However, with the advent of modern air travel, those very distant relatives finally found a way to end up on your doorstep with very little effort and/or resources.

Friedrich Brentel the Elder (1580-1651) painted "Ladies & Caveliers In A Ballroom" (1634) depicting a masquerade ball in France, which explains why Goldele welcomed Ladies & Cavaliers to her masquerade ball held in a mansion in New York City. Goldele took to her new life extremely well, hanging out with new friends and playing tennis. But as we learn, true love may conquer all in the end. But will it? Just like in many other romantic comedies of the time, a couple gets married and appears to live "happily ever after," which bears very little resemblance to real life, where most of your problems only start when you tie the knot. It's all diamonds and hearts in the beginning, but by the end of the story, you wish you had a club and a spade!

Presented in Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles, The Golden Bride stars Bob Ader (Benjamin), Glenn Seven Allen (Jerome), Lisa Fishman (Toybe), Regina Gibson (Sheyndl), Jullian Gottlieb (Khanele), Cameron Johnson (Misha), Rachel Policar (Goldele), Bruce Rebold (Pinchas), Adam B. Shapiro (Kalmen) with chorus ensemble members including Jordan Becke, Adam Kaster (Yankl), Jessica Kennedy, Amy Laviolette (Brokhe Sheyndl), Joseph Mace, Isabel Nesti, Alexis Semevolos, Zachary Spiegel (Motke), Tatiana Wechsler (Sheyndl Rivke), and Jeremy Weiss (Berke). The costume designs and sets were all magnificent, and the 14-piece orchestra under the direction of Zalmen Mlotek was flawless.

The Golden Bride runs through January 3, 2016 on the following schedule: Wednesdays & Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.; with additional performances on December 29th at 2:00 p.m. and January 1st at noon. No performances December 31st. Tickets cost $45.00 and call be purchased by calling 866-811-4111 or by visiting 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Mario Diament's Land Of Fire at Theater For The New City by Nickolaus Hines

This review of Mario Diament's Land Of Fire at Theater For The New City was written by Nickolaus Hines and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Land Of Fire
Written by Mario Diament
Directed by Moshe Yassur
Sets by Mark Marcante
Lighting by Gertjan Houben
Sound by Ellen Mandel
Theater For The New City
155 First Avenue
New York, New York 10003 
Reviewed 12/19/15  

Land Of Fire could be called unapologetic agitprop, but it's the type of politically motivated theater that doesn't dull the mind or break attention spans. It's not politically charged in the way that most Americans are used to. It's politically charged about a subject that most people know only from headlines on top of stories they didn't read - The Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

The themes (no matter how far away the location of the action) are universal. The writing style of Mario Diament, an Argentinian-born Jew, is provocative. He is a leading South American playwright and journalist who lives in Florida where he teaches journalism at Florida International University. Land Of Fire is based on the real story of the 1972 attack on the El Al Israel Airlines plane by the Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine.

As darkness envelopes the audience, the all too familiar sound of gunfire plays over speakers. A news broadcast of London at the time of the shooting is projected onto the back wall of the stage. A man in an orange jumpsuit (one of the jailed PLO attackers) and a woman with her hair pulled back into a tight bun (an Israeli stewardess who seeks dialogue with her attacker) sit across from each other when the lights come back on. It is character blocking that will become more than just familiar over the length of the show.

Land Of Fire runs at Theater For The New City in the East Village until January 3rd. Of all the off-Broadway plays to put on your calendar for the holiday season, this one won't inspire the spirit of giving. But it will make you question the issues of race relations, not between Israelis and Palestinians, but between each individual and the world.

Diament isn't subtle about his goal to make people question their own perspectives. The play has a clear controversial bias. It was easy to lose count of the comparisons made between the Nazi treatment of Jews and the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

"What the Swatstika meant to you, the Star of David means to me," is just one of the many controversial lines.

There's no getting away from the passions of politics in today's society. In a nation where a vocal portion of the country is supporting presidential candidates threatening to force an entire segment of the population to move because they are Muslim, you can be sure that someone in the audience was going to find fault with Diament's writing. Even in a preview show for critics and family, I wasn't able to escape sitting in proximity to a man who thought passionately enough about the subject to vocally exhale and snort each time the idea of Israeli injustice toward Palestinians was brushed up against - and it would take pages of writing to go into detail about his vociferous speech on the topic during intermission. Needless to say, this is a play to make a person think, not a play to leave a person with happy feelings.

The self-aware political partisanship of Land Of Fire comes with its own set of problems aside from the inherently polarizing topic. The actors are competent, but the lines seem alternately over-practiced or under-emphasized. Dagmar Stansova, playing Yael, the woman who survived the El Al Airlines attack, is on stage in every scene of  the show. Asking the most experienced actor to tackle such a subject of gravitas is a lot, but asking an actor to hold the attention of the audience with such heavy subject matter while being in every scene of the show is an almost impossible feat. Her counter Hassan el-Fawzi, played by Mihran Shlougian, is the Palestinian man responsible for the attack who is confronted by Stansova. Shlougian has arguably the strongest performance (at times), but his character has a very defined dual personality that rarely requires subtle acting.

The press release came with a three-and-a-half page explanation of the conflict to help the people reviewing the show with the background of the true story. I suggest looking deep into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before jumping into this one. The motivations behind each character and the facts dropped into the story are difficult to follow without knowing the extensive backstory of a conflict that dates back to the 1940s. 

"People are more comfortable with hate," Shlougian's character says.

The majority of the play focuses on Shlougian and Stansova's characters, but the side characters are heavily relied upon to provide background and feelings. One of the most important to pay attention to - and one of the strongest performances - is by Marilyn Lucchi, who plays the mother of one of the women killed in the terrorist attack. Lucchi is the brief spot of balance in a show that leans toward the Palestinian viewpoint. Her restrained sentiment explains the feelings of an entire population in terms that even an outsider can understand. Other actors in this play include Scott Zimmerman, Naci Baybura, and David Mandelbaum.

Land Of Fire should not be taken lightly. Its message is important even though it is not always delivered in the most effective manner. The program includes the John Lennon quotation, "All we are saying is give peace a chance," and I suggest Land Of Fire should be given a chance as well. Just make sure you know your history first.

The play, also known as Tierra Del Fuego, had its world premiere in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2012, with subsequent productions in London, England (Calder Theatre), and Montevideo (Uruguay). It is now in its third sell-out season in Buenos Aires (Brazil), where it opened in 2013 earning many awards including Argentina's top playwriting prize. Tierra Del Fuego was translated from Spanish into English by Simone Zarmati Diament. Theater For The New City, in association with New Yiddish Rep, presents the United States premiere of Land Of Fire. For tickets, which are $18.00, call SmartTix at 212-868-4444, or visit For more information about the play and regarding New Yiddish Rep,   go to 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Jackie Beat: White Meat Or Dark? at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Jackie Beat: White Meat Or Dark? at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Jackie Beat: White Meat Or Dark?
Written & Performed by Kent Fuher
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 12/18/15  

Jackie Beat will tell you many of her fans say "it's not the holidays until Jackie Beat comes to town to perform her annual Christmas show," which this year is entitled Jackie Beat: White Meat Or Dark?. She will also tell you to post on social media that this was the very best show you have ever seen and that "she is looking thinner and thinner every year." Perhaps that's because of all the "jello" she has been eating, or because of the protein facial she discovered she received after waking up naked with a headache in Bill Cosby's home (at least she didn't sleep with Charlie Sheen). Jackie has been doing Christmas shows for over 25 years so, as she says, "coming up with new Christmas material is like the opposite of my dick. It gets harder every year." She gave a hearty welcome to all the "carpet munchers, old Queens, fag hags, and cocksuckers" in the audience, and even provided an educational portion of her show during which she assured us Creme Brulee is a dessert and not the name of a bi-racial Drag Queen.

Appearing on stage wearing a beautiful Christmas dress and a white wig as broad as her shoulders (with a wrapped Christmas present perched in her hair), Jackie Beat came out ready to have fun and to engage with the audience to make them feel as if they were an essential part of the show. She had on green tights and the alternative title for the show, which she considered, was Green Legs & Ham. She asked if anyone in the audience was in finance or show business, so she could properly acknowledge those who celebrated Hanukkah. She also asked if there were any "people of color" in the audience who celebrated Kwanzaa. When two black women applauded, she blasted them for liking the phrase "people of color" but getting all bent out of shape if she switched the words around and called them "colored people" ("you'll never hear  the end of it"). Jackie then sang a song explaining to white people what Kwanzaa is all about. Supposedly it is a harvest festival but you are required to say all the names of the vegetables in Swahili. Felching is not required during the family celebration but supposedly "sweet potato pie" is a favorite.

The most brilliant parody songs Jackie Beat sang were "A Gay In The Manger" (Away In A Manger involving Mary's gay first cousin), "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" (about Bill Cosby in 1993; organized and arranged for maximum impact), and "Go To Hell" (for Silver Bells). "Good Morning Starbucks" (for Good Morning Starshine was probably a bit too political instead of simply being politically incorrect but it still had its moments). Jackie Beat even brought back snippets of songs from yesteryear, such as a parody of a line from Last Christmas ("Last Christmas, I gave you the AIDS. The very next day, you gave it away!"). Jackie Beat has a very sharp mind. She is fresh and charismatic, and at her best when ad-libbing during interactions with the audience. She may have worked her ass off building her career (and swimming to where she is today while Drag Queen contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race just show up on a cruise ship saying "here I am"), but she's no worse for the wear. Her patter and observations are insightful as well as being hilarious.

Jackie Beat tried to give the audience a show long enough to meet their expectations. She made an analogy and said, "Like you older Queens, when you hire a hustler. Legally, you expect it to be a certain length." And so she sang on until she reached "the part of the show when I leave the stage and pretend the show is over" only to be drawn back by the enthusiastic applause for an expected encore! There was a lot of self-admitted "shameless promotion" to sell her tee-shirts, CDs and merchandise but at $10.00 a CD, it was an extremely good bargain.    

You can't go wrong seeing a Jackie Beat show. You are guaranteed to laugh out loud at her razor-sharp comedy and hysterical song parodies. For more information on Miss Jackie Beat, visit her website at Spoiler Alert: It's a Dude! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Ben Rosenfeld's new digital comedy album The Russian Optimist by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Ben Rosenfeld's second comedy album entitled The Russian Optimist was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Russian Optimist (Digital Album)
Written & Performed by Ben Rosenfeld
Recorded Live on October 24, 2015
New York Comedy Club
Copyright: 2016 Ben Rosenfeld
Total Length: 1:09:56
Reviewed 12/17/15 

Ben Rosenfeld, an up-and-coming comic, uses his own life as an immigrant Russian Jew living in New York as source
 material for his new digital comedy album entitled The Russian Optimist. The album contains 34 tracks and hundreds of hilarious jokes and stories. I highly recommend it! 

The digital album was almost called Seven Minutes Of Semen, but he was concerned people would get the wrong impression about what it contained. We learn about that and the fact that Ben's chances of getting prostate cancer are zero in the segment entitled "Is Monogamy Natural?" It is hard to imagine Ben having sex because he intentionally comes across more as a Nerd than as a source of sexual stimulation. Nevertheless, he assures us in "Nerds vs. Dorks" that "Nerds have girlfriends while Dorks have inflatable dolls." On the first cut entitled "Forced Into Being A Nerd," he explains that being Russian, he had few choices. The options were "astrophysicist or human trafficker" because Russians are usually good at "math or murder." He wears eyeglasses because he says contact lenses hurt his eyes "plus the cops took his binoculars." So just as many Nerds do, he wears black-horn-rimmed eyeglasses, which he calls "face condoms" "because it feels so much better without them, but it's too risky." So yes, he practices "Safe Sight."   

In "Boris The Samurai," he explains his parents named him Boris, which is Russian for warrior. He changed his name to Benjamin, which in Hebrew means "son of my right hand" so he went from "samurai to semen" and from "ninja to napkin." In "An Egyptian Love Story," we learn his parents got divorced when he was young. ("They married newer immigrants (his mom married an Egyptian) because they needed someone to do all the household jobs they didn't want to do. They basically in-housed out-sourcing.") More stories about his parents are contained in "My Russian Dad." "Dad's Bedtime Stories," "My Russian Mom," and "No Childhood." In "Jewish Football," Ben explains he was good knocking down the other team's "Hail Mary" throws because he "didn't believe in them," but that in four years, he never caught a ball "because he couldn't touch the pigskin."

Ben calls his native Russia "Evil Canada." Like Canada, it is a "cold country full of drunk hockey players" but "while Canada has Universal Health Care," Russia has universal Don't Care." In the track entitled "How Russia Views Gay People," he explains that according to the Russian government there are no gay people in the country. There are only "men who made bad choices" and for that, they may be prosecuted for trespassing, breaking & entering, or tailgating ("You shouldn't have put that thing there."). In "A Date With Anne Frank," he mentioned that Russia is so anti-Semitic his grandparents moved from Russia to Germany in the 1990s. Supposedly Germany told Russian Jews they were "sorry for what happened, asked them to come back, and even offered to send a train to pick them up." The track is so named because Ben said he went out on a date with a woman who claimed to work at the Anne Frank Museum in Manhattan ("you may not have heard of it because it is hidden in the attic of another museum"). Her on-line dating profile said, 'if you are Jewish, and like adventure, you should e-mail me," which Ben said he was pretty sure was "Hitler's pitch."

More Russian stories are addressed in "Russian Road Rage," "The Russian Optimist,""Russia, Israel & American Terrorists," and "Russian Jeopardy." He tackles America in "Why Congress Is Useless," "Citizenship Test," "Americans Are Spoiled" (and when he says "Americans," he means "White People"), "The Meth Model," and "America Runs On Fear." The topic of "love" and "girlfriends" are addressed in "Wedding Weigh-In," "True Love" (his girlfriend is "a true New Yorker who can cut a line of cocaine with two Metro Cards and snort it with a Parking Ticket"), "Teeth Grinding," "Talking In Bed," "The One," "The Museum Of Sex," "Antidepressant Dating," "Sleep Interrogation," "A Zipcar Relationship" ("even though other men will have used the Unzipped Girl before, it would still be a tight ride"), "Overcompensating," and "Older Women." Regarding dating, Ben says, "I would rather invest in myself than in a relationship because I've outlasted every relationship I've been in."

Finally, in "Pre-War Buildings," he tells the story about how his friend was bragging about living in a Pre-War Building, but as Ben points out, "If you are properly pessimistic, all buildings are pre-war. Somewhere, there's a future dictator getting rejected from art school." 

Ben Rosenfeld was born in a country that no longer exists (the USSR) and in a city that has since changed its name (Leningrad). His family emigrated from Russia (with its cold winters) to "another frozen tundra, untouched by human kindness, Connecticut." He graduated Rutgers University with a double major in Philosophy and Economics, so he "knows how to make money," but "just doesn't see the point." After college, he began his corporate career as a Fortune 500 management consultant while moonlighting as a stand-up comic. After three years at Accenture, Ben entered a fully-funded Ph.D. program in Neuroeconomics at California Technical Institute (CalTech), "a school which boasts 31 Nobel Prize laureates and 0 HBO Comedy Specials." He quit grad school to dedicate full time to stand-up comedy. ("After all, while many people can name the actors on The Big Bang Theory, very few can name the scientists who actually came up with The Big Bang Theory.") Soon after quitting, Ben created the motivational seminar and e-book How To Find Your Passion, which guides high school and college students towards their future career path. 

Ben has appeared on FOX's Laughs, CBS This Morning, National Geographic's Brain Games, FOX's The Wendy Williams Show, TruTV's All Worked Up, The Weather Channel, and Rooftop Comedy. He has twice headlined at Caroline's on Broadway and performs nightly in New York City. His first comedy album, Neuro Comedy, is available on iTunes and Pandora. Ben also is the creator of the illustrated coffee table book, Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes To Cheer You Right Up, an Amazon Top 5 Seller in Humor. Ben also writes, directs, and edits short films and videos, which can be found at 

Ben Rosenfeld offers "Smarter Comedy For Smarter People." He is a rising star on the comedy circuit! He has an extremely promising career ahead of him in the entertainment field. Be one of the first to "discover" him. His new digital comedy album, The Russian Optimist, will be released on iTunes ($9.99), Google Play, Amazon ($8.99), Spotify and all other digital retailers and streaming sites on January 1, 2016. If you found some of his jokes funny and/or insightful, you will totally enjoy this new digital comedy album. Start off the new year with an explosion of laughter. Ben promises "it will help you cure your hangover...or make you wish you were still drunk." 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chris J. Cole Convicted, Stripped & Expelled From Beaux Arts Society, Inc.

On Friday, May 15, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. voted unanimously, after reviewing extensive evidence including e-mail communications, to convict Chris J. Cole of Breach of Contract & Intentional Fraud; stripping him of the title of Official Photographer of the 108th Annual Beaux Arts Ball; and permanently expelling him from membership in the Beaux Arts Society. It was also found his actions damaged the reputation of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc.

The nine-month delayed announcement of this Board action was to give Mr. Cole every possible opportunity to return the money he took from Ball Attendees who ordered and expected prints from him. or, in the alternative, to give him time to deliver the prints he promised. The list of individuals who paid Chris J. Cole for prints that were never delivered includes Dr. Thomas G. Jacoby, Dame Gloria B. Kingsley K.R., Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg, Jason Querry, Judy Coppola, Ron Fowler & Rev. Cantorah Georges. Other fraud victims have not yet been identified.

Chris J. Cole was born on August 7, 1994. His permanent residence is at 104 Mahogany Way, Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446. His cell phone number is 267-324-6354 and his e-mail address is He is a student at Drexel University. On his application for membership in the Beaux Arts Society, he claimed Fine Arts Proficiencies as a Cinematographer, Director, Screenplay Writer, Score Composer, Design Artist & Photographer. He was admitted to the Beaux Arts Society in 2014 and expelled from membership in 2015.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular
Written & Performed by Joshua Eads-Brown
Starring Michael Kirk Lane, Janine Klein & Heather Barbour
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 10/13/15  

Ginger Minj (Joshua Eads-Brown), who competed in the 7th season of RuPaul's Drag Race for the title of America's Next Drag Superstar, introduced herself in the premiere as an "overweight, asthmatic, chain-smoking, cross-dresser from Orlando." She routinely works at Hamburger Mary's and Parliament House in Orlando, Ultra Lounge in Cocoa Village, and as an actor in Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show on International Drive. Ginger Minj has long reigned as The Comedy Queen Of The South, with pageant titles including Miss Gay United States 2013 and Miss National Comedy Queen 2012. Before becoming Ginger Minj, Josh Eads-Brown was a child actor starring in a series of Christian movies and books on tape, and even won a Best Actor Award for the State of Florida in 2002. I missed her last show in New York City entitled Ginger Minj: Crossdresser For Christ - The Musical, A Drag Queen Confessional but I am glad I caught this one. 

If you are easily offended and committed to enforcing political correctness in the speech of others, I warn you not to enter the Haus of Minj where lesbians are expected to be sitting in the back of the theater "just in case someone's car breaks down." Ginger Minj says her show is intended "to celebrate everyone, no matter what their beliefs are, all while poking fun & having a good time" and in this regard, she succeeds in spades. Speaking of spades, Ginger and her merry crew blast Kwanzaa as a "bullshit holiday" that has only one song. Her friends, Michael Kirk Lane (a representative of the Master Race & a Christian), Janine Klein (a Jew waiting for "The Man With The Bag" (of cocaine)), and Heather Barbour (an African-American who comes on stage wearing a white sheet while Ginger sings "White Christmas") pile on claiming that blacks don't need another holiday. They already have Black Friday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Black History Month (February) even though it is the shortest and coldest month of the year. It turns out poor Ms. Barbour never intended to represent a racist KKK member and instead simply wanted to be the Ghost of Christmas Past. Later in the show, someone else appears wearing a blue sheet representing The Ghost of Hanukkah Presents (representing Hanukkah and the many presents given over the course of the holiday) and eventually someone comes out wearing a black sheet representing The Ghost of Kwanzaa Future. That last person wanted to be The Ghost of Kwanzaa Past, but complained she was running on CPT (Colored People's Time). She was also supposed to read her script but had trouble seeing out of her hole.

Christmas is referred to as an "anal," instead of an annual, holiday. The Jewish celebrant of Hanukkah not only snorts cocaine but also chugs Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine right out of the bottle. Ginger Minj sings Frosty The Snowman, mentioning that the lyrics, in her opinion, suggest Frosty is a pedophile. The White Aryan representative takes offense when the two women start to complain about prior oppression and subjugation. He calls them "bitches" and says, "Sorry, was I supposed to check my white privilege at the door!" Ginger Minj was well-dressed and I particularly liked her Hanukkah dress and bow displaying a pattern of lights and Stars of David. She may have bought this dress at Target, which she said "everyone knows is just Walmart for white people." The only criticism I have is that the show was too short and that whoever applied her lipstick with a broad "shit-color" as an outline around her red lipstick should reconsider their profession. It looked as if Ginger recently placed her mouth in a place where the sun doesn't usually shine. It was quite disturbing, as was a totally wasted straight guy named Jerry, who constantly interrupted the show making comments and singing along with the performers. A stern warning by Ginger "to shut the fuck up" and even Janine throwing white powder on him didn't stop his antics (and the staff of The Laurie Beechman Theatre took no action either).

The only thing left out of the show was a rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear" with Ginger Minj playing Helen Keller. They thought that was the one that might have pushed them over the line. Instead, the show ended with "525,600 Minutes" from the musical Rent, where the question is asked "how do you measure a year" (in Seasons of Love) and "how do you measure the life of a woman who's a man." Donations were solicited for Dancers Responding To AIDS and Ginger Minj closed the show saying, "If Minj can look this good, there's no excuse for ugly women."

I was extremely impressed with the talent of Ginger Minj, Michael Lane Kirk, Janine Klein, and Heather Barbour. All are top-notch, high-quality performers with strong stage presences and a total dedication to playing their part to bring maximum pleasure to the audience members. They basically took the idea of a traditional Christmas pageant and turned it on its head in a celebration of life and the curative qualities of laughter. Minj is magnificent! For more information about Ginger Minj, visit

Applause! Applause! Review of Villain: DeBlanks at The Triad by Nickolaus Hines

This review of Villain: DeBlanks at The Triad was written by Nickolaus Hines and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Villain: DeBlanks
Created by Writer/Director Billy Mitchell
Presented by Brenda Braxton
The Triad
158 West 72nd Street
New York, New York 10023 
Reviewed 12/6/15  

Before there were TVs in every car and a proliferation of shows from television's "Golden Age" on que for instant consumption, there were communal family games. Villain: DeBlanks harkens back to the communal qualities of that time, but it is unapologetically, hilariously, not restricted to clean family fun. 

Villain: DeBlanks (possibly pronounced Fill In The Blanks) is a Mad Libs - vaudeville - murder mystery - choose-your-own-adventure mash up presented by Brenda Braxton and conceived of/written by Billy Mitchell. A stage prepared for what could best be described as a script reading is filled by a new cast of actors for each performance. And while the actors are Tony Award winners and Broadway celebrities, the audience is the star of the show.

The audience decides the pace, atmosphere, and tone of the night. Shortly after being seated and introduced to the night's cast (and after ordering the first drink of The Triad's two drink minimum), the cast descends into the audience with script and pen in hand.

"I need a verb."

"Give me a place."

"Can you tell me a type of vehicle used in construction?"

It's clear by the actor's face when a given word is going somewhere comedic. Speculation on exactly why it's comedic, however, are the only snippets of sound that can be heard from the audience members sitting on cozy plush seats around the small tables. The audience is asked for nouns, verbs, adjectives, liquids, cities, desserts, and body parts.

When the scripts are full, the actors finally return back to the stage. In the December 6th show, I was treated to Daisy Eagan, Bobby Cronin, Lauren Elder, Geneva Carr, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Peter Filichia, and Steve Schonber - each possessing very different skill sets, yet each equally able to entertain in the largest and most public game of vaudevillian Mad Libs I have ever seen.

The story revolves around the murder of Philip DeBlanks, a man who left a large fortune up for grabs after he mysteriously died. Each character (who each also has a punny nickname) has their own reasons why they did or did not murder DeBlanks. And while the pre-intermission section of the story has that set plot line, strategically placed words were provided by the audience.

In Villain: DeBlanks, like in life, there are people who understand the game and people who don't. Some of the audience-provided words missed the mark entirely, but most of them pleasingly stick the landing. Each individual performance is like a crap shoot at the large casino Philip DeBlanks owned in the story. One audience member may fill in the spaces with dick synonyms while another may provide the first mundane word that spills out of their mouth. Luckily, December 6th involved a healthy balance and the result was an astounding level of all-encompassing humor.

The actors say their lines without a hitch in their step, but it's clear which words were provided by the audience. It's also clear which area of the audience provided each word, as a pocket of especially enthusiastic laughter would break out from the people involved in the writing of that specific part of the murder mystery.

After a spattering of character debates speckled with absurd words, intermission begins and who committed the murder is just as ambiguous. The meaning of the paper in front of each audience member becomes clear, and this is where the choose-your-own-adventure part comes into play. While waiting for round two of the two order drink minimum, the theater-goer once again becomes the playwright. This time, in the form of circling a character's name.

A loud and involved (on second thought, all of Villain: DeBlanks is involved) tallying off of the votes follows and the murderer is announced. The ending reflects the audience's choice.

Villain: DeBlanks is theater of the people at its finest. The only negative factor was the show's abbreviated length. At $25.00 a ticket with a two drink minimum, the 75 minute (at most) show seems abrupt. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Humane Society of New York though, and it is hard to complain too much after having been thoroughly entertained.

The show was previously in Los Angeles and had a limited engagement run in New York at Joe's Pub and 54 Below. Future performances are scheduled at The Triad for January 3rd, February 7th, March 6th, and April 3rd, all Sundays at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information, visit  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters at Studio Theatre Long Island by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters at Studio Theatre Long Island was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters
Created by Jay Falzone, Dan Lavender & Stephen Smith
With Jay Falzone (Delphine) & Stephen Smith (Carmela)
Studio Theatre Long Island
141 South Wellwood Avenue
Lindenhurst, New York
Reviewed 12/11/15  

The Calamari Sisters are fictitious characters (Delphine & Carmela Calamari from Bay Ridge) with their own website, YouTube channel, and Facebook Page. They have been touring with different shows since May 2011. Each production contains unique dialogue, different dance numbers, a variety of songs, a number of bad jokes, and the creation of dishes and drinks related to the carefully selected theme of each particular show. For example, the last show The Calamari Sisters put on at JCC Center Stage in Rochester, New York from October 8 - November 8, 2015 was entitled Oy Vey, It's The Calamari Sisters. That show told the story of what happens when the Italian, Roman Catholic sisters agree to cater an event at a Jewish Funeral home and their struggle to keep it Kosher. There seems to have been significant confusion with respect to what show was to play at Studio Theatre Long Island. David Dubin, the Artistic Director of Studio Theatre Long Island, introduced and advertised the show as Cooking With The Calamari Sisters. The program referred to the show as A Musical Cooking Lesson With The Calamari Sisters. The Calamari Sisters' website says the show playing is called Another Christmas With The Calamari Sisters, but The Calamari Sisters themselves and their production team assured me the show playing at Studio Theatre Long Island is entitled A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters, as opposed to their Big Christmas show, which has a set too large to fit on this stage. Other shows they offer are The Calamari Sisters' Clam Bake, Bun In The Oven: Contractions With The Calamari Sisters, and The Calamari Sisters' Big, Fat, Italian Wedding

Jay Falzone plays Delphine Calamari, the eldest daughter of Rocco and Vittoria Calamari. By age seven, she was helping her grandmother cater every major event at the legendary Rigatoni Lodge of the Brooklyn Federation of Italian-American Societies. Her love for meat began soon thereafter, and within a few years, she was known throughout Brooklyn as "that Italian girl that can tell you which butcher a sausage comes from with her eyes closed." By the time Delphine was a young woman, it was widely believed that unless you served Delphine's meatballs at your wedding reception, your marriage would be doomed, and you would never conceive a son to carry on your family name. In addition to cooking, Delphine has always been interested in the arts, singing countless duets with her sister, Carmela, at St. Lawrence of the Roasted Martyrs Church and Convent. Their nativity of cold meats and dairy was always a huge crowd pleaser at Christmastime. Also, as a young girl, Delphine attended Miss FloFlo's School of Dance for Bigger Girls, where she excelled until she was asked to leave due to an unfortunate fight with a fellow dancer, Tula Mercantelli, over a piece of Easter pie. Today, Tula is carrying her third illegitimate child by a third father, and it serves her right. Undaunted, Delphine was Founder and President of the Pasta and Meat Club at St. Lady of the Divine Pain High School. Upon graduating, she was fired from several restaurant jobs for forcing patrons to eat after they were full. Jobless, she teamed up with her sister, Carmela, and founded the borough-famous Calamari Sisters' Catering Company. They soon became known for their song-and-dance-and cooking routines. Knowing that the next natural step for them was television, they grabbed the opportunity when it presented itself. A few years ago, their Uncle JoJo accidentally went swimming without taking off his cement block and left them a large inheritance, which they used to finance their public access cable TV show, Mangia Italiano. Delphine thanks her family for all their support (except Aunt Viola, go to hell), especially Uncle Geno for being in the right place at the right time when this kitchen set fell off the back of that truck!

Stephen Smith plays Carmela Calamari, the sluttier daughter of Rocco and Vittoria Calamari, who weighed 15 pounds at birth. Carmela began turning heads with her cooking from a very young age, combining a lemonade stand with a kissing booth at the age of eight. After being promptly shut down by her uncle, and several of her customers mysteriously disappearing, she turned her attention to more conventional outlets and began competing in the Bay Ridge pageant circuit. While qualified, Carmela was crowned Miss Salami of Bay Ridge, first runner-up Miss Wooden Spoon of Bay Ridge, and Miss Congeniality for Miss Stuck Pig of Bay Ridge; always wowing the crowd with some extraordinary new and unusual talent. It was while competing for the famous Miss Macaroni of Greater Brooklyn when Carmela was allegedly caught feeding one of the judges minestrone soup out of her Gucci knock-off pump. Although never conclusively proven, she was disqualified from any and all future Italian pageants in all five boroughs. Never one to accept defeat, Carmela dove into helping her sister, Delphine, and their grandmother, cater events at the Rigatoni Lodge, becoming the fastest cake froster in all of Brooklyn. After graduation, Carmela attended DeVry University for a year and a half before pursuing her dream of a life in show biz. Public access cable was the answer. She became the star of Mangia Italiano.

A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters features Delphine and Carmela Calamari, two sisters who grew up in Bay Ridge and try to maintain the traditions passed down to them from their mother and grandmother, which means seven fishes (no meat) on Christmas Eve, calling neighbors to wish them a Merry Christmas, and decorating their Christmas tree with plastic lobster ornaments. The sisters dance, sing, tell jokes, cook, mix drinks and directly interact with the audience as they share stories about their relatives and talk behind the back of audience members brought up on stage to taste the food and try the drinks. The Christmas songs featured include Mambo Italiano, It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Dominick The Italian Donkey (with ventriloquism by Carmela), There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, and finishing off with Put A Little Love In Your Heart (They really demand audience participation on this one!). Oblivious to the changing realities and demographics of Bay Ridge, they are under the false impression that their Jewish, Chinese, and Muslim neighbors are all still Italian (or possibly Sicilian) and celebrate Christmas. This leads to a hilarious skit during which the sisters speak to two of their neighbors and leave a message for the third. They really don't get it. They try to play peek-a-boo with Mohammed's wife, but she never plays back (her veil remains in place).

Carmela is the slut. She just gave up birth control for Lent and when she was in 9th grade, her fellow classmates called her The Calamari Petting Zoo (everyone felt her up). When Carmela criticized Delphine for having a mouthful of meat (i.e. prosciutto) in her mouth on Christmas Eve, Delphine responded, "Congratulations! You finally got to say that TO somebody!" Carmela even came on to horrified young men sitting in the audience and both sisters hit on Kevin, a handsome young Irish guy brought on stage with his female "friend," who they both promptly ignored. The Calamari Sisters told us that Jesus was half-Italian and that if you are married to an Italian, "you are Italian by injection." They even visited Italy in their "Christmas Around The World Tour." In Vatican City, they learned the "Virgin Mary never used a condom, and neither should you" and they also found out that China is "not just for Jews anymore." Many of the jokes told are decades old and most are groaners. For example, "What do a priest and a Christmas tree have in common? Answer: "The balls are just for decoration." Nevertheless, the jokes will still put a smile on your face.

Jay Falzone (Delphine) and Stephen Smith (Carmela) are two high-energy performers who are upbeat and entertaining. They interact with the audience and keep them fully engaged in whatever antics are taking place on stage. The Calamari Sisters made their own version of a drink they call the Italian Stallion (Galliano liqueur, Creme de Banana, Heavy Cream, blended with ice and garnished with a banana), which was available during intermission for a $4.00 donation. Other treats they made on opening night were squirreled away by the theater staff and only reluctantly shared with one or two audience members in the lounge. Is it a cooking show? Is it a spoof of Italian Christmas traditions? Is it a drag show? Yes, and much more. I think you will enjoy A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters. Some might find it a bit crass and if men dressed in drag is not your thing, then I would avoid this particular offering by Studio Theatre Long Island. If you are open-minded and ready to experience something completely different, I recommend you have a Calamari Christmas This Year. It's great fun!

You can catch A Little Christmas With The Calamari Sisters on December 17-20, 2015 (Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.) and December 26-27, 2015 (Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.) at Studio Theatre Long Island. Tickets cost $25.00 and can be purchased at For more information about The Calamari Sisters, visit and like their Facebook Page at 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Ray Cooney's It Runs In The Family at The Gallery Players by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Ray Cooney's “It Runs In The Family" at The Gallery Players was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

It Runs In The Family
Written by Ray Cooney
Directed by Mark Harborth
The Gallery Players
199 14th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Reviewed 12/6/15 

If you want some relief from your holiday doldrums, I suggest you attend the Ponsonby Lecture on neurology scheduled to be presented by Dr. David Mortimore, Chief of Neurology, at 12 noon on December 22nd at St. Andrews Hospital in London. I hear it might lead to a knighthood if he delivers his speech well, avoids wearing wigs, and keeps his pants rolled down. But that is not an easy task given what has been going on in the Doctors' Common Room. His boss, Sir Willoughby Drake, who wants to make sure the speech is perfect, has refused to look it over after walking in on Dr, Mortimore apparently having oral and anal sex with an eighteen year old boy. Rosemary Mortimore, his wife, is also there to hear his lecture. Jane Tate, a former Nurse, shows up with the news that Dr. Mortimore is the father of Leslie, who upon learning his real father wasn't dead and worked at the hospital, became intoxicated, was arrested by a Police Sergeant for traffic infractions, and brought to the hospital so his father can accompany him to the precinct. Police Sergeant Connolly is also the uncle of Dr. Mike Connolly, a "daft bugger" who is consumed with the duties of running the hospital's Boxing Day pageant. Dr. Mortimore convinces Dr. Hubert Bonney to temporarily admit paternity, which pleases Leslie, Dr. Bonney's mother, and Jane Tate, who is afraid to disturb her son with any further bad news. Add to that a Matron injected with a sedative hanging from a window ledge in the snow, three other Matron impersonators, a patient rolled into the action by a Sister looking for a man (as opposed to a dog) named Leslie, and a young, emotionally unstable teenager standing in his red boxer shorts or posing as a corpse, and you have the basic elements of a mindless, frenetic, farce fraught with confusion, misidentification, and zany antics. As long as you don't think too hard about the decisions of the characters or question the premises of the plot, It Runs In The Family will take you on a joy ride full of hearty laughs, twists and turns, ins and outs, and ups and downs. With its excellent ensemble cast, I guarantee you will have a jolly good time.

Under the professional direction of Mark Harborth, the entire cast did a fine job bringing this British Farce to life. Special recognition is owed to Michael Hardart for making Dr. Hubert Bonney into a believable character as opposed to a simplistic, duped nincompoop. Leonardo Altafini (the Police Sergeant) and Dominic Cuskern (Sir Willoughby Drake) deserve credit for playing their parts as seriously as was intended by the playwright in the midst of the madness taking place around them. Ben van Berkum, a very charismatic actor with a strong stage presence, was able to transition from depressed, angry Leslie to happy, content Leslie without missing a beat. Noelle McGrath was very believable as the Matron, and, in fact, set up one of the funniest lines in the play. She said, "Matron can turn ugly," to which Dr. David Mortimore, more than competently portrayed by Joseph Cassesse, responded, "There is no answer to that." Dr. Mortimore also sometimes acts as a man of the cloth, a Vicar who does not wear a collar since he is "unorthodox." The very talented Adrian Rifat, who played Dr. Mike Connolly and one of the Matron impersonators, was said by Dr. Bonney to have "female features but primarily male fixtures," which might explain why he enjoyed wearing female clothing. Monica Ammerman was more than competent as Jane Tate, the former Nurse who arrived unannounced to tell Dr. Mortimer that when she unexpectedly left her job 18 years and 9 months ago without saying goodbye, that she was "expecting." With Dr. Mortimore clueless, Jane said, "after what we did, what do you think I was expecting?" to which he responded, "It couldn't have been a raise." Amy Scanlon (Rosemary Mortimore), Pauline Walsh (Mother) and Elyssa Nicole Ackerman (Sister) made significant contributions to the cast and to the success of this production. Larry Gutman played the resilient patient (Bill posing as Leslie) who sang show tunes, thought his wife had come back to him, and wouldn't go away even after returning with a toilet seat over his head. But most importantly, he remained confused because there is no number 34 bus that goes to Camden Town!

The best summary of unanswered questions is provided by Police Sergeant Connolly, who finally confronts everyone at one time and place, saying Dr. Mortimore's wife can go home only after he gets some answers to a few questions, "Like why Matron Pathological had a six-inch syringe stuck in her backside, and why Ear, Nose & Throat, and Surgical, having suffered similar injections, have disappeared off the face of the earth. Why Dr. Bonney has a wife he knows nothing about, a mistress he calls Miss Tate, Mrs. Tate and Mrs. Lesley -- and a mother he calls Pussy. Why the doctors in this place can make some patients rise amazingly from the dead, and, at the same time, they don't know if other patients are D.O.A., C.O.D., or have been hit by a number 34 B-U-S. Why there seems to be some permanent pantomime rehearsal in progress running concurrent with some vicar's tea party. Why the name Leslie seems to cover all forms of life -- from unbalanced punks to neurotic dogs. And why, if you're called Leslie or Tate, all your relatives have suffered fatal climbing accidents in the Himalayas. Why, if you have those aforementioned names of Lesley or Tate, you don't seem to know who your mother or father is -- and why I'm beginning to think you're all a bunch of baskets."   

To get the answers to these and other questions, see Ray Cooney's It Runs In The Family at The Gallery Players before December 20, 2015. It plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. with 2:00 p.m. Saturday matinees and 3:00 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets cost $18.00 for adults ($15.00 for children and senior citizens). You can purchase your tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or by visiting this website: