Benefit TRANS Formative - SONGS THAT PROPEL US Set to Play at Joe's Pub on 4/28

Benefit TRANS Formative - SONGS THAT PROPEL US Set to Play at Joe's Pub on 4/28

TRANS Formative - Songs That Propel Us: A Benefit for New York Voices, Joe's Pub's artist commissioning program, and the Ali Forney Center. An extravaganza featuring stars of the downtown scene will play at Joe's Pub at The Public, 425 Lafayette Street, on April 28. Show time is 9:30pm. Tickets are $30 and can be reserved online at or by phone at: (212) 539-8778. The list of performers appears below. The inimitable Ms.Tammy Faye Starlite and Eric Schmalenberger will host the performance.

Maier Gustern, who teaches a significant number of entertainers in the LGBT community, says, "Joes' Pub has been a significant presence in the development of a diverse group of talent. Certainly, they have been a force in the careers of many of my students. Joe's Pub New York Voices Artist Commissioning Program and the important Ali Forney Center, in their very different ways, support and encourage people to be who they really are, to be the best the can be and to nurture each other. Youth who are struggling with identity need role models who've stepped out to claim their true selves. I thought it was the right time to throw a great party to say thank you to these organizations that foster those values."

New York Voices is the artist commissioning program of Joe's Pub at The Public. The program supports the creation of new works from critically-acclaimed musicians and performers. As part of The Public's long history of supporting some of the country's most celebrated artists, New York Voices also includes a development workshop with The Theater's artistic staff. Supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Voices provides each artist with rehearsal space, time and financial backing. Artists commissioned by the program include Abigail Washburn, Bridget Everett, Noche Flamenca, Toshi Reagon, Lady Rizo, Allen Toussaint, Angelique Kidjo and Ethan Lipton, whose 2011 premiere No Place To Go went on to win an Obie.

The Ali Forney Center is the largest and most comprehensive program in the nation dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Through a variety of services, the center sees over 1,000 homeless LGBTQ youth each year, offering essentials of food and sustenance, extensive physical and mental health services, career and educational counseling and life skills mentoring. 99% of youth in the center's Transitional Housing Program are employed and 77% are enrolled in higher education.

Where does the diminutive, 70-something year old Barbara Maier Gustern fit into all this? Her association with Joe's Pub goes back many years, and includes her work as vocal coach in the Joe's Pub production of Ethan Lipton's No Place To Go, as well as Joe's Pub and Broadway productions of Passing Strange.

"My first 'downtown' voice client, (avant-garde superstar) Diamanda Galas, came to me in the 80's," Barbara says, "and she became like a daughter to me. Through Diamanda came Debbie (Harry), and then Justin (Bond) showed up around 2000, and later, Taylor Mac. More and more interesting people kept spreading the word. I've produced a few benefits at Joe's for the Colorado Pug Foundation, The Living Theater, some shows for Weimar New York (with Earl Dax and Shanta Thake) and others. Last year, Taylor Mac suggested I produce an evening with my students. Then a couple of months ago at a Lady Rizo show I was dancing on a table on a dare, and Shanta encouraged me to make this show happen."

The lineup for TRANS Formative for April 28th is:
Hosts: Tammy Faye Starlite and Eric Schmalenberger.
Performers: mother and father of performance art, Penny Arcade and John Kelly; Seth Bedford, Louise Bradshaw, Heather Greene, Benjamen Ickies, Taylor Mac, Machine Dazzle Flower, singer/songwriter Nancy Magarill, Miss Guy, Burlesque performer Julie Atlas Muz, World Music performer Sofia Rei, Rob Roth, David Sloane Esq., Vlada Tomova Bulgarian Trio, World Music performer Sofia Tosello and Natti Vogel.

Proceeds benefit New York Voices, Joe's Pub's artist commissioning program, and the Ali Forney Center.

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