Bridget Everett, Ben Rimalower and Xavier Join Justin Sayre for THE MEETING Tonight, 9/20
The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre - the acclaimed gay comedy/variety show - will open its fourth season tonight, September 20, 2012 at The Duplex in New York's West Village. According to Time Out New York, "The Meeting* has become a cult hit among a young, festive and culturally aware crowd. Sayre is an avatar of modern-retro cultivation." Each edition of The Meeting* honors a different gay icon; the September show will pay tribute to Disco chart-topper Sylvester with special guests Bridget Everett, Ben Rimalower and Xavier.
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 remainder of the season will celebrate the musical "Funny Girl" (October 18), Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich (November 15) and the annual Holiday Extravaganza (December 13). The Musical Director is Brandon James Gwinn.
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?"
Below are the dates and themes of the Fall 2012 Season:
TONIGHT, September 20
The season launches with an exploration of one of disco's most fascinating figures, who helped launch modern-day queer culture. Though best remembered for the #1 hits "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)," the flamboyant pop/dance star was among the first to challenge the traditional gender roles in the music business.
Thursday, October 18
Among the classic musicals of the last 50 years, "Funny Girl" may be among the most iconic - and gayest - with its towering breakout performance by leading lady Barbra Streisand, infectious score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and juicy theatrical lore. This edition of The Meeting* will feature songs from this seminal backstage musical, in addition to special trivia.
Thursday, November 15
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."
Thursday, December 13
The annual Christmas show - always filled with musical merriment and comedy shenanigans - both lampoons and celebrates the happiest time of the year, with that special gay twist. Past features include "The Nativity of Quentin Crisp," "Serving in Silence: The Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Story" and the famous "Truth or Dreidel" game.
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, 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.
On June 18, 2012, The Meeting* presented their second annual all-star Night of A Thousand Judys concert at Playwrights Horizons, honoring the iconic entertainer Judy Garland. The sold-out evening was a benefit for The Ali Forney Center - the nation's largest organization dedicated to serving homeless LGBT youth - and starred Tonya Pinkins, Michael Musto, Nellie McKay, Karen Akers, Howard McGillin, Ashley Brown, Daniel Reichard and more. The 2011 edition at Joe's Pub featured performances by Jackie Hoffman, Daisy Egan, Paul Iacono, Gay Marshall, Jeff Hiller, Emily Bergl, Ryan O'Connor, among others.
This summer Justin headlined his own show as part of Daniel Nardicio's Icon Series at the Ice Palace on Fire Island, in a season that also featured Liza Minnelli, Alan Cumming, Sandra Bernhard and Margaret Cho. Yale University presented a special edition of The Meeting* in 2011 as part of their Pride Month. The new website, www.InternationalOrderofSodomites.com, was recently launched with podcasts, videos, blogs and more.
Justin Sayre - described by Michael Musto in The Village Voice as "Oscar Wilde meets Whoopi Goldberg" - is a child of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania who demonstrated a supernatural instinct for "camp" at an early age. With a voice straight out the MGM finishing school for girls, he moved to New York believing it was still 1947. He was terribly misinformed. As an actor, he has worked and studied with some of the finest professionals in the city. As a gay, Justin has excelled at scarf placement, devilish quips, and a healthy but firm love of the American musical. He has also performed at Comix, "Our Hit Parade" at Joe's Pub. Justin has contributed a to the Radical Faerie Digest - one of the oldest gay publications in the country. In 2011, two of his short plays were presented by the "Fame and Shame on the LES" performance series. An evening of his short plays, "Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well... Writing" - called one of the "Top 10 Events on the New York Stage" by the New York Daily News - sold out two shows at Ars Nova in April. In June, Justin co-wrote and narrated a new adaptation of Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" for the Greenwich Music Festival, which was called "a thought-provoking, atmospheric performance" by Greenwich Time. In September, he will host a special centennial event to celebrate Harry Hay, co-founder of the Mattachine Society, at New York's Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies.
Bridget Everett co-hosts "Our Hit Parade," a monthly revue of current pop hits, with Kenny Mellman (Kiki and Herb) and Neal Medlyn at Joe's Pub. She starred in the original Ars Nova musical At Least It's Pink based on her life which she co-wrote with dir. Michael Patrick King(writer/director Sex and the City) and Mellman. Bridget has performed at Montreal's Just for Laughs (w/ ADROCK of the Beastie Boys), NY Comedy Festival, HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the Adelaide International Cabaret Festival in Australia. She has appeared frequently on Time Out New York's annual list of top cabaret performers, ranking number one in 2010 and was recently listed as one of TONY'S top 50 funniest New Yorker's. Film/T.V.: Sex and the City, "2 Broke Girls." She's been dubbed "Wynona Judd meets Melissa Etheridge, via the local bar floozy, on a rocket ship out of Twin Peaks" by Michael Musto from The Village Voice. She played Lynn Chenney in Taylor Mac's "Red Tide Blooming" at P.S.122 and was a regular on Logo's "Jeffery & Cole Casserole." Bridget co-wrote and performed an evening of original music called "Bridget and Neal are F*cking and Adam is Watching" with Medlyn and Adam Horovitz (Adrock: Beastie Boys). Bridget can be seen in HBO Canada's "Funny as Hell" alongside Horovitz. and will be releasing an album of original music.
Ben Rimalower - currently performing his one man play Patti Issues at the Duplex through November 1 - directed and produced the Off-Broadway plays Joy (Actors Playhouse, Out Magazine: "Top Ten Theatre") and The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero (Daryl Roth/DR2 Theatre). He also directed Justin Sayre Is Alive And Well... Writing (Ars Nova), Project Lohan (La Mama E.T.C.), Snoopy! starring Sutton Foster (Symphony Space), And/or (Hot Festival), Sodom the Musical (Kraine Theatre) and the all-star Night Of A Thousand Judys (Playwrights Horizons) as well as staged readings for Second Stage, The York, Dixon Place and Ensemble Studio Theatre. He conceived and directed Leslie Kritzer is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches (Time Out New York Award) and subsequently produced Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records' long-awaited recording, Patti LuPone at Les Mouches (Billboard "Heatseekers" Chart), digitally restored from archival tapes of LuPone's legendary 1980 performances. In venues such as Joe's Pub, San Francisco's Plush Room and Los Angeles' Upright Cabaret, Ben has earned the title the "Midas of Cabaret" (The Advocate) helming a slew of solo shows for artists including Alec Mapa, Cole Escola, Our Lady J, Natalie Joy Johnson, Lindsey Alley, Molly Pope, Wendy Ho, John Hill, Scott Nevins, Kate Pazakis and Lance Horne in addition to producing and hosting the Laurie Beechman Theatre's recurring variety show, Saturday Night Underground. Ben writes a blog for The Huffington Post and "The New Old Gay" for akawilliam.com. Assistant Director credits include Lonny Price's productions of A Class Act (Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway and Tokyo) and A Little Night Music (starring Patti LuPone, George Hearn and Zoe Caldwell) as well as the Emmy-winning Sweeney Todd. Ben studied Theatre Arts at U.C. Berkeley where he was the founding Artistic Director of BareStage (now celebrating its 16th anniversary). Follow @benrimalower on Twitter.
XAVIER's vocal skills have received praise from the some of the music industry's best including TV on the Radio, Mary J. Blige, The Rapture, Amanda Palmer, Pete Tong, D'Angelo, Ashford & Simpson and Lena Horne, as well as a Diesel U Music Award nomination. He's hollered on records with Scissor Sisters, Stephin Merritt, and LL Cool J. The UK-based music magazine NME calls his music "glorious" and Billboard magazine contends he's "pure magic". His website is xaviermusic.com or you can follow him on Twitter @lovexaviermusic.
The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre is presented at The Duplex (61 Christopher Street at 7th Ave, New York, NY 10014) on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. There is two-drink minimum per person. You must be 21+ years of age to attend. For tickets, visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com. The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre is produced by Adam J. Rosen and Dan Fortune.
For more information, visit www.InternationalOrderofSodomites.com.