Sunday, December 23, 2012

December Snapshots

Sometimes in New York, one has the distinct pleasure of experiencing several lovely events in a short period of time and one, namely moi, is confronted with the dilemma of how share them all. Until now, when I present to you a series of short vignettes about some fabulous evenings of weeks past. 

Une Petite Crise

When we walked into Marie's Crisis, I had visions of that scene in The Birdcage where the magical Mrs. Coleman (Goldman?) appears and the entire dinner party, conservative Christian family and closeted drag couple alike, burst into "I Could Have Danced All Night," from My Fair Lady. Except instead of a smaller dinner party, there was a large crowd of people sitting, leaning, standing around the piano in the center of the room, behind which an older gentleman in a beanie and a hoodie made his choice of show tunes, handed out solos and directed the evenings vocal acrobatics with thick, wrinkled hands. Gay and straight people alike sang in perfect and not-so-perfect pitch, and some, like me, just sang loud because why not? My, er, untrained voice hid amongst the crowd. I was able to Fosse my way through "All That Jazz" with hands and hips the way I always wanted to on the long road trips north when I was stuck in the passenger's seat.  All my mother and I would listen to were show tunes because she hated my dirty punk music ("Turn off that acid rock!" she'd say) and Kander and Ebb or Cole Porter or Jule Styne were the only things we could agree on. Consequently, I have some entire soundtracks memorized without even trying. I even got to flex my muscles a little bit at Marie's with Anything Goes, Chicago, Gypsy, and Cabaret. A glass of wine and a dirty martini in, I added some choreography. Fun story: Marie's was a brothel when it first opened in the 1850s. So my choreo was hardly the strangest thing that had ever passed in front of the bar's dark red walls. 

Cowgirls on the Run

EPL decided on a whim to come in for her 25th birthday the same weekend EH and ALC had become available to play, so we all went out and had a lady night. You don't get much more lady than a restaurant called Cowgirl, decked out from floor to ceiling in heavy handed and utterly ridiculous cowgirl paraphernalia, be they pinup cowgirl drawings, longhorns tacked to the wall, or a lamp made of smiling ladies wearing stetsons. Not to mention a menu featuring good ol' ranch grub like chili, chicken fried steak, fajitas, and god knows what else. We drank sangria, talked about things you can't talk about in front of boys or people you don't know very well. After many a beverage at another bar, we tried to find a cover-free gay bar to go dancing in, but we were at a loss. Instead, around 2am, we headed to Solas in the East Village and danced until we shut the club down. Next day, over home fries and omelets at new brunch spot Tolani, chosen to avoid all of the weird-ass cold rain flying around, we all conferred with each other--is your entire body sore? Mine is, too! Totally worth it. 

Taylor Mac

Even as someone ravenous for drag, I find myself unqualified to talk about the magic that is Taylor Mac. I had the pleasure of seeing the internationally acclaimed drag entertainer at Joe's Pub, tucked inside the newly renovated and legendary Public Theatre in the East Village. In a new series of one-hour shows he is workshopping, Mac uses his gorgeous, classically trained pipes to share re-tooled songs from every decade of music since the 1800s. In outrageous, outlandish costumes designed by the delicious Machine Dazzle (including a hat made from an entire box of Christmas ornaments), Mac is utterly bewitching, funny, and absolutely fabulous. Excuse me, sir--did you just perform a rock piano rendition of Silver Bells? Are you downing chocolate panna cotta in one bite and tossing arugula on your forehead betwixt songs? Will my life be lacking a certain amount of glitter until I see absolutely every single one of your 24 shows in the series (to be performed all at once, in one 24-hour period) as an ode to imperfection? Could doing so possibly lead to an overdose of brilliance and would it in fact be the most lovely way to die? Yes to all.