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Comedy Film Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Interview West Fest Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Trav S.D. – “West Fest”

“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” Mae West

Vaudevisuals interviews Trav S.D. about the upcoming ‘West Fest‘ dedicated to all things Mae West. August 17th to the 29th at numerous historical locations.

Mary Jane “Mae” West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades, known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence.

West was active in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as appearing on radio and television. The American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.

WEST FEST – Aug 17 – 29th, 2018

For more information about the West Fest Click Here!

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August 17 (Friday)
Mae West Walking Tour
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Cypress Hills Cemetery
833 Jamaica Ave, Brooklyn (meet at main entrance)
Cost: $25 (cost of lunch and drinks separate). Advance registration required; space is limited.
To purchase tickets, visit: http://bit.ly/2Jj2pk8
Visit Mae West’s final resting place with historian and tour guide Kevin Fitzpatrick. Afterwards, walk (.7 miles) to Neir’s Tavern, an 1829 bar where Mae is said to have performed, for lunch and drinks before visiting her former home.

August 18 (Saturday)
Let’s Talk About Mae
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave
A series of talks about Mae West will take place in the former courthouse whose prison she spent the night in after being convicted on obscenity charges in 1927.
Cost: Free
Full schedule below and here: https://on.nypl.org/2mRBV0d

12:00 pm: Mae’s Early Life, Career, and Vaudeville—Trav S.D., writer and performer; best known for critically-acclaimed “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous” and the blog Travalanche.

1:00 pm: Mae and Broadway—John Calhoun, librarian, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

2:00 pm: Mae and Race—Chicava Honeychild, scholar, actress, proprietress of Brown Girls Burlesque, and artist in residence at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater.

3:00 pm: Mae and Spiritualism— Kathy Biehl, scholar, actress, freelance writer, and certified, award-winning psychic and astrologer.

4:00 pm: Rebel Mae West—a panel discussion moderated by Grady Turner, curator of “Bare! True Stories of Sex Desire and Romance;” featuring Dirty Martini, the international burlesque sensation; Elyse Singer, CUNY teaching fellow, artistic director of Hourglass Group, and director of two critically-acclaimed revivals of Mae West plays: “Sex” (1999) and “Pleasure Man” (2003) as well as participants Trav S.D., John Calhoun, Chicava Honeychild, and Kathy Biehl.

August 19 (Sunday)
Mae West Double Feature
Screenings: “She Done Him Wrong” (1933) and “Belle of the Nineties” (1934)
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave
Cost: Free
Films introduced by Michele Gouveia, West Fest chair, writer, and producer.

August 25 (Saturday)
Screening: “My Little Chickadee” (1940)
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St
Cost: $15
To purchase tickets in advance, visit:http://bit.ly/2OuLVbJ
Film to be introduced by Dr. Harriet Fields, the granddaughter of W.C. Fields. There will also be a Q&A following the film.

August 27 (Monday)
Staged reading of the musical “Come Up ‘n’ See Me”
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Friars Club, 55 W 57th St
Proper attire is expected.
Cost: $15
Tickets must be reserved in advance and paid for at the door (check or credit card only).
To reserve tickets, visit: https://www.comeupnseemethemusical.com/news
“Come Up ‘n’ See Me” is an original musical about the life of Mae West. Book by Bianca Leigh, Bonnie Lee Sanders, and Ellen Schwartz. Music and Lyrics by Bonnie Lee Sanders and Ellen Schwartz. Directed by Crystal Chapman. Musical Direction by Thomas Spahn.

August 29 (Wednesday)
Screening: “I’m No Angel” (1933)
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave, Huntington, Long Island
Cost: $11 members/$16 public
To purchase tickets in advance, visit:http://bit.ly/2vNX2Vm

Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Clown Comedy Dixon Place Magic Magic Music Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Variety Arts Women

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue – Feb. 6th, 2017 @ Dixon Place

THE BINDLESTIFF OPEN STAGE VARIETY REVUE

Hosting the evening’s entertainment was ‘Magic Brian‘.

First up was the ‘Amazing HouDino’ performing a wonderful card trick with his father Magic Brian.

HouDino carefully selected a card as audience volunteer looks on.

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Penelope the Clown carried a cinder block on stage. WOW..must have been heavy.

Albert Kirchner does some funny standup material.

Ellia Bisker and Adam Kuchler  perform a lovely duet with uke and bells.

The Flying Luango Brothers performed a musically accompanied escape/magic act.

Christie Cahill and Amy Schulster perform a wonderful aerial act.

Magic Brian places HouDino on the stage with his ‘straight jacket’ sweater ready to escape.

HouDino escapes the ‘straight jacket’ sweater with time to spare and a nice smile.

Magic Brian moves the show along with the classic ‘linking rings’ routine. 

Ambrose gets an audience member to ‘nose up’ and hands him a whip cream pie.

Ambrose gets the pie in the face as both he and the audience member laugh.

Carol Sirugo performs a solo piece about mountain ranger guide.

Greg Dubin performs the lovely classic magic routine ‘cups and balls‘.

Jerline Custa performs 3 ball juggling on the unicycle.

Lucy Shelby performs a ‘political’ piece with an audience member.

Maks and Skyttles perform an enchanting aerial drama.

Curtain call for the cast and MC of the Feb 2017 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue.

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Categories
Comedy Dixon Place LaMaMa etc Music Performing Arts Photography PS122 Story Teller Television The Kitchen Vaudevisuals Interview Video Writer

Frank Maya – A Tribute – Video/Essay/Postcards/Interviews

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FRANK MAYA

Frank Maya: Out There By Victoria Linchong

Frank Maya once said that he turned to comedy “as a way to make the world safe for me.” The first openly gay comedian to appear on MTV and all three major television networks, Maya’s candor and wit helped pave the way for greater acceptance of homosexuality in mainstream media. As ABC News noted in a 1993 introduction to Maya, “Until recently, comics who wanted to succeed in show business never ever admitted they were gay. And they certainly never used their homosexuality as a punchline.”

Maya was born in 1950 to a middle-class Catholic family in Long Island. His Irish and Colombian background later became fodder for much of his comic material. A gifted musician and vocalist, he found work playing in cabarets and folk clubs after graduating from Hofstra University. In the mid-1970s, he met director John Jesurun and began venturing into the alternative music scene, then dominated by the Talking Heads and post-punk New Wave.

Fronting a band called the Decals, Maya became known for satirical songs that combined Latin-infused pop with absurdist poetic patter. Several of his songs also used toy instruments, recorded sound, or found objects such as scissors or a jar full of pennies. In one song, the refrain consisted of Maya shouting, “Pancakes!” with a recorded voice responding, “They’re ready!” Impish and whimsical as his songs were, they also were biting commentaries on consumerism and the banality of everyday life. His lyrics also revealed a quirky way with rhymes, “When you’re home for the holidays do you realize your dog looks upset? Does he realize during dinner, he’s simply the household pet?” The New York Times praised him as “a wacky pop iconoclast with enough star quality to have earned comparisons to performers as dissimilar as Laurie Anderson, David Byrne and Peter Allen.”

Maya was part of Jesurun’s legendary serial theater piece, Chang in a Void Moon, when it premiered at the Pyramid Club in 1982. His music performances had always verged on theater with interludes of acerbic monologues he called rants. In the mid- 1980s, he began focusing more on his rants, joining a growing cadre of solo performers such as Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, and Karen Finley, who were similarly examining American society through a personal lens.Pacing around the stage, he tackled pop culture, gender issues, and the mundanity of existence. Thirty years before the current outcry over the lack of minorities in mainstream media, Maya was commenting, “There’re a few movies like Cotton Club where they take all the black actors who’ve been out of work for ten years and put them in the same film… People say, ‘See we’re making progress.” His three-hour-long solo performances were performed at P.S. 122, La Mama, Dixon Place, the Kitchen, and Lincoln Center’s Serious Fun series. He also toured the mid-Atlantic states and performed in Germany.

During that time, Maya was known to paint his ears gold, perhaps to distinguish himself from other solo artists. He soon found a much more authentic way of differentiating himself. While Maya had made a few allusions to his sexual orientation in his music and his rants, he had never been completely overt about his homosexuality. His former partner Neil Greenberg believes that an anti-gay incident may have radicalized him. Whatever the cause, Maya began boldly declaring his homosexuality in 1989. At the same time, Maya was also realizing that he could achieve wider public attention by rebranding himself as a stand-up comic. “In New York they call me a performance artist…” he remarked in a 1989 Washington Post article, “But if you ask the Washington audience after my show, they’ll say, ‘He’s a stand-up comic.’ I always feel that my stuff is misinterpreted — it’s very funny, but it’s got serious points in it… But I’m not afraid of being considered a comedian as long as people like Lily Tomlin are considered comedians.”

Maya made his first openly gay appearance on HA! Comedy Network in 1990. His breakthrough to mainstream media happened at a pivotal time when the AIDS crisis was at its peak. Maya’s self-deprecating humor was a refreshing antidote to the widespread alarm in both the general population and the gay community. Here was a good-looking man without any effeminate traits, talking simply and naturally about being homosexual. “Comedy is about really being truthful,” he stated, “People are hoping the comic will tell them everything. So how can you hide your love life? It just seems impossible.” Though he joked about people in his audience who looked mortified, he said he rarely had hecklers and added, “”I guess people are still recovering from the fact that they can’t believe what I’m saying.”

Throughout the early 1990s, Maya appeared regularly at Caroline’s Comedy Club and MTV’s “Half-Hour Comedy Hour.” He also starred in his own half-hour special on Comedy Central. His last show Paying for the Pool ran at the Atlantic Theater for eight weeks. It was described as, “A one-man show in which Maya talks about his childhood and coming-out experiences.”

Maya was diagnosed with AIDs in 1995 but continued to perform. In The Queerest Art: Essays on Lesbian and Gay Theater, Carmelita Tropicana remembers him at a conference for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) four months before he died. Despite a high fever, he did his entire set and had to be persuaded to go home early. Although friends were tearful over his impending death, Tropicana recalls, “[Frank] hated the tender sweet image of white helium balloons flying up to the sky in memory of those who have died of AIDS. He was angry, he wanted something loud, an uzi, a bomb to explode.” An upfront iconoclast to the end, Frank Maya was 45 years old when he died.

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Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 9.47.12 PM1986 Postcard for Frank’s performance at CBGB

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Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 9.49.45 PM1986 Postcard for Franks Maya’s performance at LaMama Cabaret

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Frank Maya at The Kitchen1990 Postcard for Frank Maya’s performance at The Kitchen.

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Frank Maya’s Music

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FRANK MAYA ACCORDING TO HIS FRIENDS: Uncut, Unexpurgated, Unabridged

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Postcard for Franks Maya’s performance at PS122 – 1989

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Frank Maya - Paying for the Pool 1993

Postcard for performance at Atlantic Theater – “Paying for the Pool” 1993

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MORE ABOUT FRANK MAYA – Performance Videos

Frank Maya at Dixon Place (circa 12-31-91)

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REFERENCES

Brown, Joe. “A Little Tattle Tale” Washington Post; 17 March 1989.

Holden Stephen. “A Wacky Pop Iconoclast” New York Times; 15 July 1983.

Holden, Stephen. “Frank Maya, 45, Performance Artist and Solo Comic.” New York Times; 10 Aug 1995.

Holden, Stephen. “Music Noted in Brief: Frank Maya, Singer, Satirizes Consumerism.” New York Times; 30 March 1983.

Rizzo, Frank. “Maya’s Punch Line Reaches a Broader Audience.” Hartford Courant, 22 Sept 1993.

Solomon, Alisa, and Framji Minwalla. The Queerest Art: Essays on Lesbian and Gay Theater. New York: New York UP, 2002.

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Thanks to Neil Greenberg,(postcards, videos,interview) Ellie Covan,(interview, video) John Jesurun (interview) and Victoria Linchong (Writer/Profile) for their great contribution to this post!

Categories
Burlesque Cabaret Clown Coney Island USA Music Performing Arts Photography Story Teller The Clown Un_Mask Variety Arts

The Clown Un_Mask – Armitage Shanks – Seattle, Wa.

Armitage Shanks poses for The Clown Un_Mask portrait2015.07.25_AShanks_-36

ArmitageShanksArmitage Shanks performing in the HOTEL TRYST show at Coney Island USA.

Armitage Shanks at Hotel Tryst.Summoning the crowd at HOTEL TRYST last weekend at Coney Island USA.

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“One of the darkest-hearted comperes on the burlesque circuit- TIME OUT LONDON

“A Cabaret Legend”- LE COOL MAGAZINE DUBLIN

“A voice like honey-coated gravel. He was a sinister and louche presence, who put some sex in the air.”- DAN SAVAGE

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Categories
Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals Interview – Armitage Shanks – “The Carny Preacher”

Armitage Shanks - The Carny PreacherArmitage Shanks – Photographed by Cyrus Sky

A good friend(Zero Boy) let me use his apartment for this video interview of Armatage Shanks. Dark and moody lighting lends itself to this interview.

For more information on Armitage Shanks: http://www.bookofburlesque.com/armitage-shanks-the-carny-preacher/

Carnivalesque Poster