Category: Lesbian Affairs

Cabaret Review: Judy Gold

Judy Gold-Full-Body-1

Out lesbian Judy Gold has a long history as a successful stand-up comedian, and that’s exactly what she’s doing at her current run at Feinstein’s / 54 Below (one hilarious cabaret-mocking musical number to the side). Her material is largely observational and personal, and so there is some overlap with what I’ve seen in more structured shows of hers like 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother (a self-explanatory title) or The Judy Show (a sitcom-themed show about being a lesbian mother).

The audience was raucous on the night I went, her first night ever performing in a cabaret setting, and Gold seemed to be having the time of her life. This is both an ideal audience for Gold, and by the same token, this is probably the best way to experience her no-holds-barred stand-up.

About that opening number: it’s by Bette Midler favorites Eric Kornfeld (lyrics, though Gold said she wrote a lot of it) and Bette Sussman (music). It’s a medley of too-damn-happy songs which culminates in “Up Up & Away” – it celebrates the joyous fun that’s a major part of cabaret, while progressively undercutting that with the deep cynicism that’s one of the big attractions of Gold’s biting humor.

Before and after everything else, however, Gold is among the funniest stand up comedians working today, and she’s at her best when she’s scoring bulls-eyes with piercing observations. I’ll just put this plainly: Judy Gold is fucking hilarious, and can also be very touching. Her act at Feinstein’s / 54 Below is tons of fun and I can’t recommend it enough, you really should see it.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see

Theatre Review: “The Color Purple”

COLOR PURPLE 1685_Cynthia Erivo photo by Matthew Murphy, 2015

Jennifer Hudson may be the big name, but Cynthia Erivo is the event! More on that in a moment. On the off chance you haven’t read Alice Walker’s novel, seen the 1986 Steven Spielberg movie, or seen the original Broadway production of this musical here’s the gist: The Color Purple follows a poor African American woman in Georgia named Celie from her male-oppressed childhood in the 1900s through many tribulations to a kind of hopeful self-knowledge sometime in the 1930s – a great rip-roaring story, full of despair, joy and, finally, redemption.

The central role, Celie, is profoundly juicy – Whoopi Goldberg won a Golden Globe for portraying her in the movie, LaChanze a Tony for the original Broadway showing, and if Cynthia Erivo isn’t at least nominated for a Tony this time around, it’d be a crime. In some ways, she gives the biggest, most expansive reading of Celie yet. When she sings the 11 O’Clock number “I’m Here”, it’s like the sun coming out. And when she sings the final reprise of the title song, it’s the blazing light of high noon. Celie has a huge character arc, and Erivo rides it for all its worth.

Jennifer Hudson is the familiar star name in this production, playing charismatic blues singer Shug Avery. She doesn’t enter with quite the fiery bang that Shug should, but once she starts to sing, as you would expect, it’s pure pleasure. And once she gets rolling acting-wise, she makes you believe that Shug is the irresistible hunk of sensuality and life the other character’s describe.

This revival of The Color Purple started at small but mighty London theatre company Menier Chocolate Factory, and is directed by John Doyle. Both Doyle and Menier have a knack for finding soul in human-scale productions of big musicals, and this exciting production is exactly in that vein. Doyle’s stripped-down staging follows Celie’s story with laser focus, which frames Erivo’s performance perfectly.

As happens distressingly often with Broadway musicals these days, unbalanced sound design often makes it difficult to get all of the lyrics – when Erivo is getting drowned out by a flute, there’s a problem! That said, this still ends up being possibly the most satisfying version of The Color Purple yet. Highly recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see

Salt Lake City elects first gay mayor

Jackie Biskupski

Last Tuesday, November 17, former Utah lawmaker Jackie Biskupski became the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City. Biskupski says “Today is not just about making history. It is about people. It is about affecting change…It’s 2015, and we’ve come a long way from, gosh, when I first got elected” in 1998, when she became Utah’s first openly gay legislator.

Full story at NBC News.

Theatre Review: “Fun Home”

Fun Home Circle in the Square Theatre Cast List: Michael Cerveris Judy Kuhn Beth Malone Sydney Lucas Emily Skeggs Joel Perez Roberta Colindrez Zell Morrow Oscar Williams Production Credits: Sam Gold (Direction) Danny Mefford (Choreography) David Zinn (Set and Costume Design) Ben Stanton (Lighting Design) Kai Harada (Sound Design) Chris Fenwick (Music Direction) Other Credits: Lyrics by: Lisa Kron Music by: Jeanine Tesori Book by Lisa Kron

Richly emotional yet rigorously unsentimental – this quality is one of the things I like most about the remarkable musical Fun Home. It’s a hallmark of lesbian American literature from Gertrude Stein and Willa Cather onward, and something with which I’m very comfortable (my earliest mentors in the theatre were lesbian writers very much in that tradition-breaking tradition). Add to this bookwriter/lyricist Lisa Kron’s astringent wit, and the surging music by Jeanine Tesori, and you have a show that deals with longing and death that, while sometimes dark, is never depressing.

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An in-depth interview with Dr. Kevin Nadal on LGBTQ issues



That's So Gay!

“Ryan is a 32-year-old gay, White, Jewish American man who has been working as a college administrator…he sometimes feels uncomfortable with the types of homophobic language and behaviors that he notices in the office.
Sometimes coworkers will say things like “That’s so gay” when talking about something that is embarrassing or appalling. Other times, coworkers will assume that Ryan is heterosexual and ask him whether he has a girlfriend or if they can set him up on a date with their female friend or family member.

Ryan is upset with the entire situation and decides that he wants to address this issue. He schedules an appointment with the provost of the university (a white heterosexual woman)… When talking to the provost, Ryan is told that he ‘shouldn’t let things like that bother him’ and that he ‘should try not to be so sensitive.’”

-Example of a microaggression from That’s So Gay!, by Kevin Nadal

By now, many of you might have heard the term ‘microaggression’, but you might not know exactly what is meant by it, or what the big deal is- I mean, it has the word “micro” in it, how bad can it be?

And many times, some words feel like a part of our vocabulary and their discriminatory origin is often not thought about. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1990s, words like ‘gypped’ and ‘retarded’ (which, I accidentally said the other day when referring to my poor iPhone skills!), became a part of my vernacular, a part that I am not proud of, but try to be aware of.

And why do I do this? Why should we care? Well… who likes being negatively stereotyped?!

More importantly, while some microaggressions can seem innocent enough (and maybe some are even said without a malicious intent), research continues to show that they have a negative impact on mental health, general healthcare accessibility, and overall wellbeing.

To further examine the impact of microaggressions, was lucky enough to have a sit down with psychologist, activist, author, and microaggression researcher, Dr. Kevin Nadal. Kevin talks to us about the impact of microaggressions, his own research, and The Center for LGBTQ Studies, located right here in NYC!
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