Sunday, March 28, 2010
Almost a week after from the Dublin Benefit, and I'm just now managing to get it together to blog about it. Well, it was a very intense time.
...and a successful one, too. We raised about $1,000 (about 745 euro for those counting along at home in Europe) for our friends at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. The Big Basket o' Gay & Lesbian Plays, Books & Music is going across the ocean, won by someone who purchased a raffle ticket at the Opening Launch for the 2010 festival, which was also on March 22.
Next time, I will remember to get a photographer; oh, we HAVE a camera, and we even brought it, but the difference between a real photographer and us is that we'll look at something and say: wow, I'm really enjoying that, and a photographer will go: there's a shot. And, you know, TAKE it.
We did get a few photos however, and I'll do my best to get 'em right side up and sharpened, and we'll see how they reproduce on the internets.
We also had the loveliest programs for the event, courtesy of United Stages. (Take a look at the cover, right.)
After my last post, which was when I was flying out the door Monday afternoon, I picked up the programs, my dress from the dry cleaner, some supplies for the bar, and made sure that all the books we'd received were loaded into the back of the car. Also, I'd received an email saying that the lead actor in my play had completely lost her voice, so I'd better be ready to go on, maybe. (actually, that's not the first time that's ever happened to me).
At the theater, the first wave of volunteers, including PE Nolan and Lea Robinson arrived; we started wrapping the books for the basket, and writing out a ticket (or 3 or 9) for every person who had purchased a raffle ticket online. We had a lovely influx of raffle tickets bought on the last day, and Gar in Dublin sent me a spreadsheet of everyone, and we double and triple-checked the list, so if you bought a ticket, your name went into the basket. They were later joined by Adam Weinstock, who worked the basket and the buzzer (letting people in).
Our terrific trio of techs, Terra, Alison & Jen were also all over it as soon as they arrived. The stage was bare, with a large white hanging backdrop, which worked out fine for everyone. Soon there were chairs and blocks and a sofa carried from upstairs onstage and in the wings. We never did find the mic, though, and the two acts who requested it said: all right, here's what we'll do instead...
It was a hurried but thoroughly professional tech; Mark Finley supervised the talent, Chris Weikel turned up looking spiffy with a green carnation in his jacket to be the MC, Peter Saxe brought along lyrics to "Seasons of Love" so we didn't have a stage full of people singing "Five hundred thousand mumble mumble mumble..." Jamie Heinlein decided her voice could make it through the show, and I wouldn't have to go on, which was a relief to me, if not her.
Janice Mann arrived to handle box office, Derek Jamison and Jacqueline Sydney to do the bar. Deb Guston to supervise tech for "The Adventures of..." AND with a case of beer. J. Stephen Brantley brought green oatmeal cookies. Paul Adams was here, there, everywhere. Joe Godfrey came straight from his vacation and brought a bottle of duty-free to contribute to the bar, and his play "A Queer Carol" to contribute to the basket. Kevin Brofsky also turned up with a copy of "Claymont" for the basket.
I'd invited Brendan Fay of St. Pats for All to come, and he turned up in the lobby and I buttonholed him to say a word during the show; Chris wrote it all down on his notecards. More people were arriving, and miraculously, the tech seemed to be finished. Chris gathered the troops and they did a runthrough of "Seasons of Love" for the finale, accompanied by Peter.
We opened the house, to the accompaniment of pre-show music I'd burned to CD...two years ago in Dublin. Aimee Howard found it in her prop bag when she was pulling together the remounting of "Tom Cruise Get Off the Couch." People filed in and at fairly close to 7:30 (ish) Chris Weikel kicked off the show by reading a letter from Brian Merriman (see previous post).
Elizabeth Whitney (as Wonder Woman) kicked off the musical portion of the evening, with "This is for All the Boys," and she worked her way through the audience, ending up on a block about two seats from us, and finishing her number with copious blasts of Silly String, which delighted us all. As she left the stage, she let Chris twirl in her American flag cape!
Jamie Heinlein, Jason Alan Griffin and Hunter Gilmore were next up in "The Adventures of..." which is my play, directed by Deb Guston, and also one of my favorite plays. They added a few things that had me totally cracked up, and Jamie powered through her laryngitis, Jason added some kicks and falls to the fight scene, and Hunter added a sibilant "s" or two that had me spitting my drink.
Moe Bertran was next up, doing his PFLAG monologue from "Love Scenes" by David Pumo (directed by Donna Jean Fogel), and it's a beautiful piece, and he really put it over. With Barbara Streisand as accompaniment. Lovely!
The sofa that was carried from the lounge upstairs came in handy in the next piece, Kevin Brofsky's "Tom Cruise Get Off the Couch," directed by Aimee Howard. Kaolin Bass and Joe MacDougall from the original cast reprised their roles, and Desmond Dutcher stepped in to pitch in as a rather mangy, pornographic golden retriever. It killed, of course, and Desmond added a new skill to his resume (playing a dog).
Dan Bernitt joined the merriment with a slam poem that had the poets in the crowd melting (yes, there were some poets in the crowd!) and then a monologue about being a character stripper/poet in Provincetown at a talent contest one summer at the Crown & Anchor. Oh, how much do we love Provincetown? (Enough to write a few plays about it, if you must know...)
Chris Weikel then displayed his pipes and terpsichorean stylings with a Peter Marks song (aka "The Gay Caveman Song") which showed off his fabulous cabaret talents.
Andrea Alton isn't actually a lesbian, but she plays one, a lesbian poet, to be exact, onstage. Her character Molly hit just the right tone with her compositions: "Lips," "Nipples," "Things That I Like" and a Mother's Day Poem that met with gales of applause and laughter.
Our final play of the night was Mark Finley's "Swans Are Mean," directed by David Winitsky, with Elizabeth Bell, Matt Boethin, and the versatile (flexible?) Hunter Gilmore. It's a lovely short play, set on St. Stephen's Green in Dublin, and maybe one of these festivals we'll get to do it there!
Brendan Fay came up to speak before the drawing, and tied the many diverse threads of the evening together with his observations.
Then we brought "the world's largest leprechaun," aka Paul Adams, Artistic Director of Emerging Artists Theatre, onstage to do the raffle drawing. Paul drew the name of the winner, to great applause; Mr. Richard Manley of Dublin, you are one lucky fellow!
And then the cast gathered onstage, as they do at the end of the festival in Dublin, and everyone sang "Seasons of Love," or "Five hundred thousand mumble mumble mumble" if they didn't have a lyrics sheet. Trust me, it was transcendant.
In photo: (l. to r.) Elizabeth Bell, Jason Alan Griffin, Desmond Dutcher, Dan Bernitt, Jamie Heinlein, Matt Boethin, Chris Weikel, Hunter Gilmore, Andrea Alton, Joe MacDougall, Kaolin Bass, Moe Bertran, Elizabeth Whitney.
And afterward, everyone congregated in the lobby for one more drink & green oatmeal cookie, planning their next trip to Dublin, and wishing they'd won the raffle.
I hope you've enjoyed following this blog for the duration of the planning/execution of the benefit, and if you are so moved, that you'll send a little something along to the Festival. You can donate here.
Thanks to all the friends, artists and techies who gave of their time, talent and work, and everyone who attended or bought a raffle ticket. I'm honored to know you, and we'll catch you on the flipside.
Five Hundred Thousand somethings!
Ambassador of Love
Monday, March 22, 2010
getting ready for Kevin Brofsky's "Tom Cruise, Get off the Couch."
On the day of an event, I usually wake up with a sense of both dread and excitement. All the things I could have done, should have done, would have done if I'd had the time press in like heavy clouds (as opposed to the real clouds currently lowering above), and then I get out of bed.
Ah, the last-minute details: who has the mic stand? Where are the schoolgirl costumes? What kind of booze (to BUY, not drink at 10 in the morning!)? Emails from abroad, emails from New Jersey, phone calls: are you there yet? What time will you be there? What time do you want ME to be there?
And at a certain point, the dread dissolves and the anticipation and adrenaline take over. At least they should. Any minute now....there!
We got more books yesterday...Saturday deliveries that our superintendent signed for and brought up in the afternoon. Thank you Carolyn Gage and Eddie Sarfaty! Other authors will arrive tonight bearing their books: Vanda and Kevin Brofsky and Joe Godfrey.
I'm supposed to be at the theater by 5, and I will probably make it by then; pick up the dry cleaning, pick up the programs, do I need new pantyhose? (Well the Commander in my play does...that's not the sort of thing that gets passed off from one actor to another...)
Brian Merriman, the artistic director of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival sent us a lovely email to be read tonight. If you're not able to join us, I'll post here for you to read:
"The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival began in 2004 with a mission to mainstream the positive gay cultural identity in Irish society. It was no longer acceptable to us that gay art would be lauded while the gay artist was still a second class citizen. In bringing international gay theatre to Dublin you have helped liberate Irish and international gay voices. Gay theatre does not need translation -- we all know the culture in which we grow and love.
Tonight you continue that important work under the generous inspiration of our esteemed international ambassador Kathleen Warnock in the most practical way in a time of recession. We are so encouraged by tonight’s event in New York. The artists we know and those we have yet to meet are true friends in presenting tonight's festivities, which coincide with the official launch of our 7th programme by the Lord Mayor of Dublin in her home this evening.
We are also greatly inspired by the generosity of those who have donated prizes -- a treasure trove of gay theatre memorabilia. Thank you.
If you are planning to travel this year make a date in Dublin for the first fortnight in May as we always look forward to this great international network of gay artists and their friends descending on Dublin where there is always a welcome. Thank you all for the financial help but mostly for the sense of family that you are creating tonight as we both promote our active citizenship simultaneously on both sides of the Atantic. Well done Kathleen and all the crew. You are inspiring. Break..... everything!!"
I'll tell you what, I'm breaking a sweat right now. But I'll be (or look) cool as a cucumber this evening.
So without any further ado, I will sign off for now, and hope to see many of you this evening, and know that one of you will be the recipient of a COMPLETELY AWESOME PRIZE.
Here's to ya!
Ambassador of Love
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Well, it's Saturday, and I'm upright. This is an improvement. A brief but violent food poisoning/bug-like thing took me off my feet in this, the last run-up to the benefit. I would have been angry, but I was too busy being nauseous.
However, I'm back at the 'puter, and catching up like mad. There's more to report on the raffle front (new items!) and I've been proofreading the program, and people are stepping up to take on important jobs (like manning the raffle basket and running the box office).
And of course, if you want to buy tickets to the performance or raffle ahead of time, go to http://www.gaytheatre.ie.
That's the cover of the program above...isn't it gorgeous? Thanks go to Ian Marshall and Jonathan Reuning of United Stages for that one! And thanks to Shay Gines at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, and Leonard Jacobs at the Clyde Fitch Report for spreading their word via their blogs.
And the last several days have brought in more donations for the raffle. I got to give Bob Smith a hug the other night when he dropped off a copy of his novel, "Selfish & Perverse." I love this book, and have lent it to many friends (making sure to get it back after!) and even if you don't win the prize, you should definitely read it. And word from the Five Lesbian Brothers that a copy of some of their works (signed by ALL of 'em) is making its way Eastward, and a basket of booty from BETTY, including their new CD, "Bright & Dark" is happening as well. In addition, Amy Ziff, of BETTY (she's the hot blonde on the left) has thrown in a pair of tickets to her solo show at Joe's Pub on Wednesday March 31st at 9:30pm. Amy will be singing new torch songs that she's written, solo with a jazz quartet!!
I could go on and on. But I won't. But I will leave you with an image from a show you'll be seeing on Monday, Mark Finley's "Swans are Mean," directed by David Winitsky, and featuring the lovely & talented Matt Boethin, Hunter Gilmore (nominated for Best Actor at the Dublin festival last year!) and Elizabeth Bell. Photo by Ned Thorne, taken at EATfest, Series B, March 2010.
May the road do something...and your feet...do something...and something something...
It's an old Irish blessing!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
cabaret singer & bon vivant Chris Weikel will be your Master of Ceremonies!
So many beautiful books...and yet I must give them away...
Still, they are sitting by my desk right now, and I am enjoying the sight of them.
HUGE thanks to Gareth & Brian at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival for setting up a payment link on their website. We will speak no more of the online payment service that dared to try to thwart our plans! Rest assured that everyone who did manage to pay through Paypal (There! I said it!) will be in the drawing or have their name at the box office, depending on what you purchased.
The pace is picking up as we approach next Monday's event. We've got a running order for the show, an MC (the lovely & talented Chris Weikel), and other things falling into place.
And today I came home to find these volumes from Joel Derfner! I originally met Joel when he was in dear Ed Valentine's play "Snipe Hunt," which made me laugh and laugh. When I found out that Joel is also a writer, I asked him to come read at Drunken! Careening! Writers! where he memorably stripped to his underpants and stood on the bar to read the chapter about becoming a gogo dancer. One of our best readings ever! Joel is currently in production with the musical "Signs of Life," which runs through March 21.
And also, Mark Finley, whose play, "Swans Are Mean" you will see next Monday, stopped by my desk at work to deliver a copy of his play, "The Mermaid," produced by TOSOS, and published by United Stages (who are donating programs for our event!) "Swans" was inspired by TOSOS's trip to Dublin last May: it's set on St. Stephen's Green, and involves a Bridezilla, her put-upon best friend, and a cute Irish photographer.
Also got a package from David Bell, whose "The Play About the Naked Guy" had an off-Broadway run at EAT, that made me laugh and laugh. It also has the best Marian Seldes joke I ever heard.
And now would be a great time to mention Jonathan and Ian at United Stages: they are donating the playbills to us, and are responsible for a significant amount of important work being done off-off and in the independent theater being given a permanent record in beautiful, affordable published volumes. They are also purveyors of some of the nicest (and most affordable!) playbills around. I've been a fan (and customer) of United Stages since the early '00s, and wouldn't consider using any other playbills. Lots of other groups feel that way as well. (And huge thanks to J. Stephen Brantley, who served as playbill wrangler for this event).
So I hope we'll see you at TADA next Monday (which Emerging Artists Theatre has graciously let us use for the evening). We'll have the box office open for ticket sales, and you can purchase tickets for the raffle on-site starting at about 6:30. Doors will be at 7-ish, and the show is set to start at 7:30(ish).
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
...so I've only written one blog post. But I've updated it A LOT. However, we're just over a week away from the event for The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and there are all kinds of wonderful things to report.
Click the link below, which goes directly to the Dublin Festival, for a chance to win the Big Gay & Lesbian Basket o'Books, Plays & Music. It's a raffle! PayPal won't let me call it that, but the kind folks at the Festival put a link to both the tickets to the event and the drawing right on the upper right hand corner of their website! Easy-peasy
Tickets cost $5 each, $10 for 3. Let me show you some of the fabulous items that wonderful authors have been sending me (and there are even more on the way!)
Last summer, my beloved TOSOS presented Meryl Cohn's play "And Sophie Comes Too" at the NY Fringe (a sell-out hit that was extended!); one of Meryl's other talents is giving advice, and she's sent us an autographed copy of "Do as I Say: Ms. Behavior's Guide to Gay & Lesbian Etiquette."
And we've got another performer who will join us on the night! I've been a fan of Andrea Alton's for some time: I first got to know her work in Peter Snoad's "My Name is Art," which ran before my own "Some Are People," at EATfest, so of course I saw every performance. She played a lesbian with some serious opinions about what makes ART. And just a couple weeks ago, I saw her play, "Carl & Shelly, Best Friends Forever," in its off-off Broadway run, having been a fan of the piece since I saw it in the Fringe. Andrea has also performed characters from it in my reading series Drunken Careening Writers! at KGB Bar, and she & her performing partner Allen Warnock (whom I call my long-lost cousin) will be appearing at DCW in May. She's coming on March 22 as Molly the Lesbian Poet (she's not a lesbian, but she often plays one onstage!) She will perform Molly's poem "LIPS!" among other selections.
Our basket o'books will also include "Hairspray: The Roots" with a byline that reads: "Hosted by the authors of the Hit Broadway Musical Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman." I've known Mark for years; he taught a course called "Writing Funny" back when I was over at The Writer's Voice of the West Side Y. And every term, he always turned in his own "student evaluation" of his work, with answers to questions like "What was the best thing about this workshop?" with "The lava never reached the classroom." And now he has a Tony!
TO BOOK TICKETS TO THE EVENT, or to PURCHASE RAFFLE TICKETS, go directly to:
And there's a link in the upper left hand corner! I've given up on PayPal, or they've given up on me. However, never say die, and buy a ticket!
Erin go Braless,
Ambassador of Love
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Greetings from the Ambassador of Love! At least that's what I call myself. I'm Kathleen Warnock, NYC-based playwright and editor, and as of the 2008 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, I hold the title of Official Ambassador of the Festival.
Times are hard (this is not news to anyone) and the economy has tanked even worse in Ireland. So I’m hosting a benefit for Festival on Monday, March 22 at TADA Theatre (which my home theater, EAT has graciously handed over for the evening) at 7:30pm-ish. It’s going to feature New York artists who have performed in Dublin at the festival, and it’s sure to be a gay old time, so to speak.
So far, the artists who have signed on to appear include Elizabeth Whitney (of Wonder Woman, The Musical fame, pictured at left); Moe Bertran (performing a monologue from David Pumo's Love Scenes, pictured below); Chesley Award winning writer Dan Bernitt, and we'll also have a few short plays: My own "The Adventures of..." (pictured below, with the cast of Jamie Heinlein, Jason Alan Griffin, and Hunter Gilmore), Kevin Brofsky's "Tom Cruise, Get off the Couch!" and Mark Finley's "Swans Are Mean." I'm working on other fun guests & surprises, and will update the blog copiously for the next few weeks.
(And then I'll probably just stop. I have no problem blogging for a short-term purpose: see my previous Eat in Ireland blogs.)
In addition to the fabulous show on March 22, I also want to give people who CAN’T make it there a chance to help out our pals in Dublin. So we're selling some books. People can buy their tickets at the event, but you can also purchase them online, (via PayPal) and raise additional funds by purchasing a share in a basket of fabulous books, plays & music!
And what books are on offer, Kathleen? Well, reader, I've realized that I know lots of wonderful LGBT playwrights, fiction writers, musicians, memoirists, poets and performers. So I started asking if they'd consider donating an inscribed copy of one of their works to a “Big Basket o’Gay & Lesbian Plays, Books & Music” that would be a gift at the end of the evening. And the response has been wonderful! Each day, the mail brings new treasures that YOU should definitely want to own.
Just this week, I've received such treasures as:
- a signed copy of "Lives of the Circus Animals" by Christopher Bram
- a signed copy of the literary magazine "At Rise" with a one-act play by Robert Patrick (RARE!)
- a signed copy of the award-winning graphic novel "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel
- signed copies of "Niagara Falls" and "Questa" by Victor Bumbalo
- a signed copy of the "Hairspray" coffee table book by Tony-award winning author Mark O'Donnell
- a signed copy of the "Corpus Christi" program from the fine folks at 108 Productions
- a signed copy of the script of "Corpus Christi" from Terrence McNally
From Doric Wilson: A copy of has masterwork Street Theater signed with a DVD of the Eagle production; a copy of Now She Dances! signed plus a preface not included in the publication; a copy of the original 1980 publication of Forever After signed
Since Paypal won't let me sell tickets to a raffle, the kind folks at the Dublin Festival have given me a link that goes directly to their page, where you can purchase both tickets to the raffle ($5 each 3 for $10) and tickets to the benefit performance $20 each.
TO BOOK TICKETS TO THE EVENT, or to PURCHASE RAFFLE TICKETS, go directly to:
- For you to spread the word amongst your friends: gay, straight, Irish, Irish-American, actors, writers, musicians, gadabouts and everyone else you think might enjoy the event and/or raffle.
- For you to help out backstage or front-of-house on the night, or to donate something we can stock the bar with: a bottle of whiskey (Irish, of course!), beer (Guinness, Smithwick or Harp will do!), soda, water, or some other tasty treat.
- To cheer loudly in the audience when the Friends of the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival strut their stuff, and join in a chorus of "Seasons of Love" at the end of the night.
- Consider taking your vacation in Dublin the first two weeks of May. I guarantee you'll have a blast and see some amazing theater.
Love, peace, & hair grease,
Ambassador of Love