Judy Garland holds a special place in the hearts of many in the community and Garland fans come out in droves to remember her legendary works and to benefit homeless LGBT youths. The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre will present the fourth-annual “Night Of A Thousand Judys” on Monday, June 16. The Pride concert to benefit The Ali Forney Center will take place at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street in Manhattan). Called “a rambunctious, uproarious, unpredictable all-star concert” by The Wall Street Journal, “Night Of A Thousand Judys” will honor the iconic Judy Garland with special skits, tributes and songs from her legendary career as movie star, recording artist and stage performer. There will be a pre-show VIP reception at 6:30 PM and the performance at 8:00 PM. The evening is written and hosted by Justin Sayre, and directed and choreographed by Jason Wise, with special guests to be announced. The first three sold-out annual concerts featured the talents of Martha Wash, Carolee Carmello, Justin Vivian Bond, Madeleine Peyroux, Tonya Pinkins, Nellie McKay, Telly Leung, Karen Mason, Michael Musto, Jackie Hoffman, Howard McGillin, Jessica Molaskey & John Pizzarelli, Ashley Brown, Daniel Reichard, Karen Akers, Paul Iacono, Daisy Eagan, Frank DeCaro among many others.
This week, Girls creator, actress, and writer Lena Dunham was honored by the largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students, the Point Foundation, at their annual Gala. The Emmy Award–winning actress, who had donated $25,000 to the organization, was presented with The Point Horizon accolade. When accepting the honor, she told the crowd, according to Bennett Marcus of Vanity Fair: “This is probably the most attractive room I have yet to enter. I don’t want to traffic in stereotypes, but gay men clean up real good, which is probably why I have dated so many of you.” But she continued to talk about the LGBT community in her life including her openly gay sister. “My sister Grace coming out as a gay woman at age 17 was a huge turning point for me in my understanding of the issues facing LGBTQ people. We were raised in an environment—the art world of downtown Manhattan—where no one hid their sexual orientation, and a common question from four-year-old me was ‘Mom, are those ladies gay together?’ I was always very jealous of any child who had two dads. And because of our parents’ deeply held commitment to acceptance and equality, my sister’s process of coming to terms with her sexuality was as angst-free as anything involving sex can really be. She was assured by the adults in her life that she was not only accepted, but adored for who she is. I am so happy that this is the way she was able to enter the world as a woman and an LGBTQ person.”
It’s been almost a decade since the Pittsburgh-born Billy Porter released a solo album, and since then much has changed for the award-winning artist, who grew up singing in the Pentecostal church. Perhaps best known for his Tony Award–winning role as ‘Lola’ in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Porter’s musical background is based in gospel, soul, and R&B. He released his first solo album, Untitled, on A&M Records, and a second album, At The Corner of Broadway + Soul, on Sh-K-Boom Records. On April 15, 2014, Porter releases his debut on Concord Records, Billy’s Back on Broadway. The album’s title is a nod to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording Sammy’s Back on Broadway. “The canon of great Broadway songs is so vast and I have so many favorites that the only way I could narrow them down was to choose a theme,” Porter says. “Once I settled on what I wanted to say and the journey I wanted the listener to take, the songs made their presence known rather quickly.”
Check some of them out after the jump…
It’s never too early for a cocktail on St. Patrick’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than getting out of the messy streets of New York City and heading up to the highest rooftop bar in New York City, Bar 54 at Hyatt Times Square. So, grab The Irish Goodbye, a cocktail that features ingredients with a special Irish flare that will have you begging for more. We have the recipe below, just in case you’re not willing to brave the streets today.
· 2 oz. Redbreast Irish Whiskey
· ½ oz. Apricot Eau de Vie
· ½ oz. Carpano Antica Formula
· ¼ oz. Apricot liqueur
· 1 dash mole bitters
· 2 dashes orange bitters
The drink is stirred and garnished with a cherry.
Name: Steven Wenslawski
Hometown: Clayton, CA
Current Show/Role: Nothing But Trash; roles - Johnny/Falcon
The best part of the show I’m in now is: The fun cast I get to work with!
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Probably my pre-equity apprenticeship at the Barn Theater in Augusta, Michigan. A typical hour of the day would find you rehearsing for a show, mowing a lawn, and cleaning a toilet. All between frequent applications of bug spray.
If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: In the orchestra pit, pounding the keys.
Places, intermission or curtain call? Curtain call. The sense of well-being that warms you after a performance free of mishaps.
The best pre-show dinner and post-shot cocktail in town are at: Best pre-show dinner for me is Chez Steven, because I do enjoy my own cooking. Post show I may take a nip at places like Industry or Flaming Saddles.
Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…
When it comes to accommodations in Midtown Manhattan, location is everything (as is a good room rate). That’s why the new Hotel Boutique at Grand Central caught our attention. Its convenient location—facing the entrance to the famed Grand Central Terminal—is perfect for those visiting the city for business or pleasure.
The combination of location and state-of-the-art design and aesthetic make the new Hotel Boutique at Grand Central a welcome addition to the city that has everything. The hotel offers an array of conveniences for guests at no additional charge. These include: free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, unlimited chilled bottled water, complimentary coffee, tea, newspapers, magazines, and games in the lobby, iPads for loan to registered guests, printer/computer usage, a fitness room, exercise equipment delivered to room, and self-serve laundry facilities. Also available are luxurious dinners at Davio’s — a restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine. Rates start at $199 per night, which is a real bargain in Manhattan these days.
Swedish jewelry designer Efva Attling first made a name for herself as a model, and now the openly lesbian designer has made waves throughout the fashion world with her semi-rough-hewn traditional looks. Her men’s and women’s jewelry pieces are meant to provoke thought in the wearer and in observers. Each jewelry item delivers an inspiring message as she merges language and ornament for her philosophy: “Beauty With a Thought.” One of her latest pieces is ”Rainbow Freedom,” a pendant in silver, stamped with the colors of the rainbow pride flag. The pendant comes on an oxidized chain in three different lengths, 18, 20, or 24 inches. Best of all, 30% of all proceeds will go to Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) in New York City a place that provides comprehensive counseling and case management for nearly 2,000 LGBT youth . $235. www.efvaattling.com
Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be marching in the city;s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the organizers’ refusal to allow gay groups to march nor participants to carry LGBT signs. “No, I am not planning on marching in the parade,” de Blasio said. “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.” De Blasio is breaking with tradition as both Guliani and Bloomerberg marched in the event that draws crowds of up to 1 million.
A charity has been launched to help the critically injured victim of a Manhattan high-rise fire that also claimed the life of his husband. The fire occurred on the 20th floor of a Hell’s Kitchen luxury apartment, but the couple, Daniel McClung and Michael Todd Cohen, who lived on the 38th floor, fled their apartment and began to descend via the stairwell. The fire department said the couple was found on the 31st-floor stairwell and that they should have stayed in their apartment, a protocol for high-rise building fires unless otherwise instructed. Cohen remains in serious condition and friends, family, and the community are rallying to help cover his medical expenses. “Words cannot express the magnitude of our grief over this tragedy. As we mourn the loss of Daniel, we simultaneously are surrounding Michael with love, light and support,” Randi Cohen, Michael’s mother, Greg and Scott Cohen, Michael’s brothers, and Jason Mitchell Kahn and Ben Sands, Michael’s best friends, said in a statement. “Thank you for the amazing outpouring of love, support and concern. As Michael begins the long road to physical and emotional recovery, we ask for privacy and respect during this impossibly difficult time.”
Jackson debuted a version of the act at Birdland in New York last month in conjunction with the release of his first album of original songs, I’m Blue, Skies.
“The last two years have been among the best and worst of my life,” Jackson says, “Putting this act together was partly a way of processing everything and finding my way forward.”
Amidst major life transitions—a divorce from his partner of 13 years/husband of two; a commitment to sobriety after what Jackson has described as “20 years” of struggling with drugs and alcohol”; the start of a new relationship; the release of a debut album, I’m Blue, Skies—Jackson has managed to keep his diverse entertainment career roaring ahead.