Ars Nova is one of those intimate, creatively flexible venues, like the Soho Rep, where you never know what to expect when you enter the space. This is, after all, where a Russian-themed cabaret environment was created for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, and where a burlesque theater was imagined for Eager to Lose. With the Debate Society’s production of Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen’s Jacuzzi, a sometimes humorous, sometimes tense suspense drama with a faint whiff of Emlyn Williams’s Night Must Fall, the audience is placed in three rows of (uncomfortable) bentwood chairs along one long wall. Only a few inches away on the other long wall is the realistically detailed interior—designed by Laura Jellinek—of a ski chalet high in the Colorado mountains. The wide, narrow room, with sliding doors to the snowy exterior at stage right, is dominated by a practical hot tub used so extensively you’ll feel yourself getting pruney. Bradley King’s lighting creates shimmering reflections of the hot tub’s water on the wood-beamed ceiling. A period-perfect TV figures in the action and puts an accurate time stamp on the plot about to unfold.
Virgin America has released a near six-hour video that follows a painfully ‘blah” flight from start to finish. The painfully boring video features a flight aboard Blah Airlines, a fictitious airline that’s no-frills no-fun vibe will be easily recognized by travelers. Using mannequins, with permanent looks of horror plastered on their faces, the video captures everything from the boring safety videos, cruddy snacks, crying babies to the horrible seatmate.
Virgin didn’t stop with just a six-hour advertisement, it has also given life to Blah Airlines by giving it a website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, live chat, phone, and even a fax machine.
Watch the six-hour video after the jump…
Wearing nothing but a blindfold and briefs, Brendan Healy is led around the packed lobby of the Gladstone Hotel and made to sit in a chair perched on top of the front desk. The artsy Toronto hot spot is hosting a party for artist Stev’nn Hall’s (www.stevnnhall.com) racy bondage-themed portrait series, and, in one image, a naked Healy is shown twisting the head of an equally naked clone of himself. This flesh-and-blood version of what’s in a picture frame in the gallery upstairs has the crowd in awe of both Healy’s body and his nerve. Yet when the head of the world’s longest-running and biggest queer theater companies claims he’s not nearly the exhibitionist he seems, you almost believe him.
“I’m a terribly awkward, shy person,” says Healy, the artistic director of Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (www.buddiesinbadtimes.com). On the day we chat, the 28-year-old ginger, his beard all scruffy, is wearing a black T-shirt with an Egyptian-style print. “I gravitated toward theater because theater culture is a very codified way of relating to people. There are all kinds of rules, but it’s incredibly intimate, so it’s perfect for me.”
Port and pumpkin butter in a cocktail? You bet. Try this recipe for a festive fall drink that will have your party guests trying to figure out how you got so darn creative.
1.5 oz aged rum
1 oz Warre’s Otima 10yr Tawny Port
1 oz lemon juice
2 bar spoons pumpkin butter
1 Maraschino cherry
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients, fill with ice and shake well for 10 seconds. Hawthorne strain into a coup glass; garnish with a Maraschino cherry on a toothpick.
Recipe Courtesy: H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir To Go, San Francisco
The legendary Bette Midler is about to release her first studio album in eight years, and the star has released the first song from the album, a cover of TLC’s “Waterfalls.” The Divine Miss M’s latest will feature songs from female groups that have influenced the Hawaiian-born singer on the album titled It’s the Girls. Be sure to get your copy or download on November 4.
Do you think T-Boz and Chilli are proud?
Check it out the first song after the jump…
It’s hard to believe that when Martha Wash takes the stage backed by a five-piece band at Feinstein’s at the Nikko tonight, it will be her first time performing in her hometown in three decades. “I’m nervous about it,” says the 60-year-old San Francisco native, whose thunderous vocals have been a staple of gay dance culture since she began her career—along with her friend Izora Rhodes—as a backup singer for Sylvester in the mid-1970s, singing at the likes of the Castro Street Fair and the Elephant Walk Bar. “I’m hoping to see a lot of familiar old faces and friends from my school days.”
Wash was in her late teens when she first encountered Sylvester—who died of AIDS in 1988—when he opened for R&B star Billy Preston (now best known for “Get Back” with the Beatles). “Sylvester’s band was cool and he was clearly enjoying himself. I grew up in the church, but even in elementary school there were boys who I think were gay, and in high school, there were gay guys in my classes. So that was no big thing for me. I was used to it.”
“Two years later,” she remembers, “I auditioned for him. I did a gospel song, and he hired me on the spot.” On some of Sylvester’s best known recordings, the mix is such that Sylvester could be considered the back-up, with lead vocalist honors going to Wash and Rhodes—also known as “Two Tons of Fun.” (The pair also recorded the evergreen novelty tune “It’s Raining Men” as The Weather Girls.) Sylvester is now the subject of an off-Broadway musical, Mighty Real in which actress Jacqueline Arnold takes on the role of young Wash. “I haven’t seen it yet,” confesses Wash, “But its pretty weird to have somebody else playing you.”
Keep reading after the jump…
I’ve just arrived in Toronto, my first time visiting the much-hyped Canadian city, and I begin walking from my hotel to the University of Toronto where a Human Rights Conference is about to kick off as part of this year’s World Pride festivities. My hotel, the Four Seasons Toronto (60 Yorkville Ave. Tel: +1-416-964-0411. www.fourseasons.com), is located in Yorkville and my friends and I are surprised by the enormous amount of area establishments that are demonstrating their gay pride. During my walk along Avenue Road, I spot the Church of the Redeemer’s sign “Welcome the World, Happy Pride,” the Royal Ontario Museum’s massive rainbow banner that shows off their sponsorship of the events, HSBC’s rainbow flags, and the national chain Pizza Pizza’s advertisement for “Slice + Coke + Pride Bag” for $5.99. The city’s glass-heavy architecture reflects the street-level life as well as a near-constant ROYGBIV shimmer that glistens to the street, like the rainbow being cast from “The More You Know” star, and I’m beginning to think Toronto itself reflects a spirited, unique diversity.
Cyndi Lauper’s fourth annual Home for the Holidays benefit concert is shaping up to be even more eclectic than this week’s Turn It Up series, as it was announced that rapper 50 Cent will also perform to benefit homeless LGBT youths. Other headliners include indie-icon Sufjan Stevens, R&B legends Salt-N-Pepa, and controversial country gal Natalie Mains. Taking place at the Beacon Theatre on December 6, Rosie O’Donnell and Laverne Cox with co-host the event.
The addition of 50 Cent, however, comes as a surprise. The singer famously bashed gay people on social media by tweeting “If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol.” and has also threatened violence over a comment by openly gay blogger Perez Hilton. 50 Cent has been an apology tour for his comments, and it appears he has come full circle with this latest announcement.
Nick Jonas proved once again that he’s down for pretty much anything, when during a British video interview, the now-solo Jonas brother played a raunchy game titled Guess That Bulge.
Check it out after the jump…
It’s always exciting when a hotel revamps its in-house restaurant—especially when the hotel is an old favorite. The Andaz Wall Street has transformed its ground-floor bar and lounge into Dina Rata, a full restaurant and bar serving upscale American bistro cuisine. It might be the closest thing you’ll get to home cooking without leaving the city.
Keep reading after the jump…