Justin Sayre's THE MEETING Honors Marlene Dietrich, 11/15
Each edition of The Meeting* honors a different gay icon; the November show pays tribute to silver screen legend Marlene Dietrich. The essence of Deco glamour, the international film legend donned a tuxedo and top hat to pioneer androgynous fashion at a time when Hollywood's gender lines were rigidly defined. Privately bisexual, she flirted with onscreen lesbianism. Also a noted song stylist, she introduced the famed torch song "Falling In Love Again" and the camp classic "The Boys in the Back Room." Special guests include Nellie McKay, Cole Escola, Danielle Grabianowski and Kim Smith. Tracy Stark serves as Musical Director.
The Meeting*, the monthly gathering of the I.O.S. (International Order of Sodomites), has become a downtown sensation with its signature blend of outrageous comedy, political and social activism, and cultural education. Justin Sayre - the show's creator, writer and host - serves as the Chairman of the Board. Each month, the I.O.S gathers to educate the membership on essential business of the day through musical performances, skits, trivia and regular features such as "Letters to the Chairman" and "New Rulings from the Board." Justin Sayre and The Meeting* were named one of the Top 10 nightclub shows of 2011 by Time Out New York, received the 2012 Bistro Award for "Comedy Artistry" and a 2011 MAC Award nomination for Best Male Comedy Performance.
The I.O.S is the centuries-old secret organization of homosexuals and their friends - modeled after The Mattachine Society and other groups - that sets the mythic gay agenda.
"At the heart of the show is community," Justin comments, "something that even with all our advancements, we still find hard to create or to maintain. But the thing that has been amazing to me is the reach of the show. So often, straight men and women, fathers and girlfriends, tell me they have had the best time. Comedy can really show people that we are all funny, fallible human beings stumbling around trying to do the right thing. There are differences of course, but by accepting them and celebrating them we show a pride in our common humanity that is infectious. The Meeting* is a gift: not something that I give, but something that I get. A chance to share my thoughts and ideas but also a great opportunity to celebrate gay culture. That's pretty good, huh?"
Past "agenda items" have addressed current issues such as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, the romantic saga of gay penguins at the San Francisco Zoo, and a guide to the so-called "Gay Panic" defense. The organization's valuable Public Service Announcements have included the Houseboy Relocation Program, helping Fire Island's displaced hired hands, and the Twink Literacy Campaign, dedicated to educating today's youth about classic gay culture (soon to be a digital short).
The monthly events have featured popular guest stars such as Lea DeLaria, Christian Campbell, Marilyn Maye, Frank DeCaro, Molly Pope, Lance Horne, Lady Rizo, Tituss Burgess, Natalie Joy Johnson, Kenny Mellman, Randy Rainbow, Maude Maggart, Jack Ferver, Murray Hill, Jeffery Self and Cole Escola, Bridget Everett, Steve Hayes, Poor Baby Bree and more. Previous shows have paid tribute to singers such as Dolly Parton and Diana Ross; films like "Valley of the Dolls" and "Beaches"; actresses such as Bea Arthur and Molly Ringwald; as well as playwrights and filmmakers like Tennessee Williams and John Waters.