Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letters to the End of the World

At Hand Theatre opens another show today. The play is called Letters to the End of the World. This show is not written by me. It is not directed by me. I'm not even in it! Not even a walk on! I know, why bother right? Here is why:
1) I worked very hard at getting this play produced.
B) it might be one of the most beautiful plays I've ever read.

This funny and moving play, gracefully flashing back and forth between New York City and Zambia, introduces us to a remarkable group of innocents as they confront the AIDS crisis and question their own ability to love and connect.

The playwright and director, Anton Dudley is a sensitive, thoughtful, hilarious and very gifted artist. I have spent years courting this script and trying to work with him on making it happen. Last summer, while I was preparing my own show (maybe you heard of it, it's called MY AiDS by Dan Horrigan?), I also directed a staged reading of 'Letters'. This experience, this play... how do I say this without sounding totally ridiculous... made me a much more expansive person.

No not expensive - I'm still totally cheap - expaaaansive.

At the time I was writing all about me and my view on and experience with HIV, I was also directing this reading of a play that addressed the AIDS crisis on a much more global scale. More importantly, the play uses AIDS as backdrop or even a metaphor for both the pain and beauty in this world that asks us all to share in the same collective human experience.

Working on Letters to the End of the World made me feel small and curious. It also made me certain that I am an awesome part of a much larger experience. I am part of an experience that's bigger than me. It's bigger than America. It's bigger than Africa (and that's pretty damn big!) The play inspired me to be a better artist... and a better person.

While I hope to have already sold you on this show, below you'll find a more literal description of the play as well as a link for tickets. Hope to see you there!

Love Me,



Written by Anton Dudley

April 29th - May 16th, 2010

Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm

at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre

410 W. 42nd St. (btwn 9th/10th Aves)

A revealing article about the African AIDS crisis, buried deep in the pages of a fashion magazine, leads a young gay man in New York City to form an unexpected correspondence with a woman in Zambia. The friendship takes him halfway around the world to discover that Africa is much closer to his heart than he thinks.

Written and directed by Anton Dudley, the production stars Shannon Burkett (Dead City), Francesca Choy-Kee, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (The America Play, The Tempest with Patrick Stewart), Peter O'Connor, andCharles Socarides (2006 Tony-winning Awake & Sing!), with set by Eli Kaplan-Wildmann, lights by Ryan Bauerand costumes by Nicole Wee. Donald Butchko serves as the Production Stage Manager.

Tickets are $18 - available HERE or by calling 212-247-4200.

Equity Approved Showcase.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bold Betty

Last Week Wednesday, Ugly Betty aired it's final episode. I am pleased it's over as I think all TV should have a four season limit (tops!) but I am of course sad to see it go. While it had it's ups and downs this season proved to be a landmark season particularly in terms of queer visibility.

I am sure Betty herself deserves all kinds of coverage and speculation as the show was about her but all I really cared about this final season was little Justin Suarez. I thought the development of this character's coming out was groundbreaking.

It was not groundbreaking in and of itself that Justin came out.

It was not groundbreaking that Justin was a teen coming out.

It was not groundbreaking that he was a teen coming out and kissing his new boyfriend on national television.

It was groundbreaking because Justin Suarez was effeminate. He was sprightly. He was bitchy, catty, sweet, stylish, sometimes foppish. There was often very little difference between his character and Haley on Modern Family! He was a ladyboy coming out, kissing and experiencing first love. I couldn't have been more proud of both Justin and his portrayer Mark Indelicato. But mostly I was proud of UB producer and writer Silvio Horta.

Horta had the balls to bring us gay characters that were not "straight acting" or "butch" and he made us fall in love with them, identify with them and root for them. Horta managed to create a show where the not altogether masculine character could be over the top, queeny, sexual and still deserving of romance and love. How refreshing to see a little queen not only have hormones but also same said queen gets to act on those hormones! Ugly Betty broke the boundaries of what was 'palatable' (a most distasteful word) with nary a bit of self consciousness. It strut about in it's various time slots over the years, just like it's gay characters - being whoever the fuck it wanted to be.

When sweet little Justin had his first technicolor kiss, I thought, 'Jesus had this happened on Wednesday night at 9:00 when I was in highschool, my whole life woulda been a little different.' Every day that a gay marriage ban is enforced is another day that our government, our nation tells young gay people that they are not worthy of love. I am in awe of the Ugly Betty folks for telling them otherwise... and for letting them know you can be full of sass to boot.

Love Me,

Friday, April 9, 2010


So my theatre company is doing this little show. I mean it's no big deal. It's a fundraiser.


You know how those things go. Dullsville. It's gonna be some people singing at some dive called Joe's Pub
on Sun April 18th. It helps to raise money for my company (I know we're so annoying) and proceeds go to the Broadway Green Alliance. I guess they're some organization that helps make Broadway more eco - conscious? Lame. Right?

So now comes the part where I tell you about the people involved. For your sake and mine, I'll keep this brief. They tell me that some guy Mario Can-whatever will be in it. He's some actor / comic guy. I guess he was in that show Sex and the something? I dunno. He's supposed to sing and be funny and stuff. Whatever.

Also there's this dude Anthony Rapp. He's gonna perform too. He was in that musicale. What was it called? He wore a scarf and held a camcorder and hung out with people with AIDS and shit. And he was in Adventures Baybsitting.

There's also the whole cast from that other show. What was it called? We Don't Have a Title? The No-Name Show? But anyway they'll all be there. Jeff and Hunter and these two chicks that hang out with them. Woo- hoo!

OK. I'm almost done! The evening will feature music that was cut from musicals. Some of the songs are by people like that country singer with the big boobs...

...and that old guy that writes songs. What's his name? Stephen Soderbergh?

So anyway, you probably shouldn't come.

You should definitely not BUY YOUR TICKETS BY CLICKING HERE!!!

And you should definitely not be super lame and buy the $100 ticket that gets you front table seating and a bunch of free shit.

Or you can just be kinda lame and buy the $30 tix.

I'll be there... only because I have to. You comin'?

Love Me,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lord of the Land

LANDLORD. What a weird and archaic word. Have you ever thought of the breakdown of this word? Land - lord. The term is completely medieval. Maybe I would have a more positive view on the title if every landlord I've had hasn't been kind of a total loser in his own special way. I unfortunately have had to play modern day serf to a number of cigarette dangling, fast talking, poorly clothed and entirely inept lords of the land for many many years now.

My first New York landlord was taken off guard the day we pulled up with a U-Haul ready to start moving in. The Landlord (who was occupying the apartment) had somehow forgotten to move out and do any cleaning at all. As my roommates and I stood on the front porch crying in the pouring rain, the landlord and his brother began to pretty much throw their belongings and spare furniture down the stairs. They hurriedly and spastically raced about hurling chairs, blankets, pillows and tchotchkes down to the first floor hallway. They "cleaned" the apartment for us by filling up buckets of soapy water and dumping them all over the floor. In between the hurling and dumping they kept shouting down the stairs " Almost ready guys!" and "we'll have this place clean in about 10 minutes!"


But still, better than my previous (Buffalo) landlord who thought the best way to deal with the rotting, wooden, front porch was to place a soon to rot piece of plywood over the ever widening hole. I had several unfortunate (read intoxicated) run ins with said hole. This landlord took a similar approach to the moldy bathroom ceiling as well. I was very sober the morning that came crashing down on me mid shower.

I should be thankful for my current landlord. While lazy and whiny, his appearance is ultimately the most offensive thing about him. He's a little bit Barney the drunk from the Simpsons and a lot Hoggle from the Princess Bride. I initially thought he wore the worst toupee ever slapped on a scalp but I have come to realize that it is in fact his very own hardened, crusty hair that has been permanently yellowed by the cigarette that inevitably dangles from his lower lip... even when he's in my apartment!

He lives across the hall and for the most part responds to maintenance issues when I bring them up. Still, though, he is always looking for a way around the issue or more likely, having to pay to correct the issue. Sometimes this results in the most ludicrous line of questioning.

My landlord on a faulty stove pilot: "Well did you try to re - light it?"

On a mysterious puddle of water in my bedroom: "Well did you maybe spill a pot of water?"

On a wobbly toilet: "Well were you standing on the toilet?"

Yes I was standing on the toilet. I was jumping up and down on the toilet. I was DANCING ON THE GODDAMNED TOILET! Because that's what I do when I'm unwinding from a stressful day. I come home, put on some music and make like Michael Flatley on the porcelain throne!


Until I can get it together to buy my own little place and start struggling with 'Plumbing for Dummies' (or more likely pay a professional) this is what I am left to deal with. But you'll have to excuse me for now, I have a jar of mildew that I have to rub all over my window panes.