The Columnist: Joseph Alsop's Fabulous Gay Life As A 'House Faggot'

The Voice's Michael Feingold already reviewed The Columnist, in which John Lithgow brilliantly portrays columnist Joseph Alsop in David Auburn's new play on Broadway. But, we wanted to share a few thoughts about our experience watching it this weekend, in light of other things we've been writing about lately.

By chance and choice, we've been taking a bit of a wander through gay American history recently. After writing about How To Survive A Plague this week, David France's documentary about the heyday of ACT UP mostly made of home video footage, it was fascinating to watch The Columnist, a completely different, Broadway exploration of a very dissimilar kind of gay life. Both represent gay American history, though from extremely different points of view.

We also couldn't help but think of Dan Savage's recent label of the gay Republican group GOProud as a bunch of "house faggots" when we were watching The Columnist. You don't get much more closeted than Joseph Alsop, and you certainly don't get any closer to the Big House (and, in his case, the White House) than that homosexual did.

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Q&A: Director Lorca Peress On the World Premie of The Image Maker At Queens College

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Maurice Peress, conductor, and Lorca Peress, director
Theater director Lorca Peress is directing two one act operas opening this weekend at Queen College's Goldstein Theater. My Kinsman, Major Molineau (making its New York premiere) and The Image Maker (making its world premiere) were both composed by Bruce Saylor and are conducted by Ms. Peress's father Maurice Peress, the legendary conductor and author of Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America's Music and Its African American Roots . (When we covered it for Sound of the City, we had the pleasure of having Maestro Peres as our date at the world premiere of Philip Glass's Symphony No. 9 in Carnegie Hall last January, where he had once worked as Leonard Bernstein's assistant.)

We interviewed Ms. Peress over the phone last week about the new pieces, working with her dad, and creating new work at Queens College.

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Once Upon a Time in the Bronx: Theatre of the Oppressed Explores Violence, Family Life

Actors in Theatre of the Oppressed's upcoming production in the Bronx.
When directors with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC asked a group of teenage girls to strike a pose that they think represents the Bronx, most of them did the same thing: They chose images with weapons.

This is how artist Melanie Crean remembers a workshop with around ten teenage girls in the Bronx, who were then in the early stages of creating a play that they will perform in front of a live audience this coming week.

"[Violence] is a very real part of their lives that is not necessarily getting discussed and analyzed in schools or elsewhere," Crean told the Voice. "We're starting to...get people talking about problems, so we can start to think about solutions."

This is part of the unique process of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, a nonprofit group on the rise that collaborates with organizations throughout the city to create original productions with communities that face some kind of oppression or discrimination.

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Watch Mayor Bloomberg Sing About The 'Brotherhood of Mike'

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Because there's no better way to start off your April Fools' morning than with a video of our venerable mayor singing tunelessly alongside a Jonas brother: here you go. It's footage from last night's Inner Circle Show, which we previewed yesterday. Alongside current How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying stars Nick Jonas and Beau Bridges, Mayor Bloomberg sang, danced and even spoke in Spanish. The show's "Brotherhood of Man" number became about the "brotherhood of Mike." Watch after the jump.

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Inner Circle Show To Leave No City Figure Free From Ridicule

Tonight marks this year's "Inner Circle Show" -- the annual event in which the city's political press corps gets together to make light of the what they cover -- and, according to Inner Circle Chairman Mark Lieberman, no one is safe. Lieberman, who talked with Runnin' Scared on Friday explained that there will be commentary on Occupy Wall Street, the mayoral wannabes, the mayor's kiss with Lady Gaga, Rick Santorum, Tim Tebow and Rush Limbaugh, who gets an Act 2 song called "Birth Control Killed The Radio Star." "Nobody is immune from the parody," Lieberman said. Even the title, "Preoccupied" pokes at two different groups. "It's a double entendre," Lieberman said. "It's Occupy Wall Street, obviously, and also the fact that so many people in the Bloomberg admin may be preoccupied as to what they are doing when the mayor's term ends."

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Theater Group Barters Moving Services For Performance Space For Show About Moving

Faced with the unattractive and expensive prospect of raising money to find traditional spaces in which to perform, a young theater company, Rudy's Meritocracy, has turned to manual labor. The group is advertising their services as a makeshift moving company. If you hire them, they'll help you move your stuff, and after that's done they'll put on a 40 minute show about moving titled THISISMYREALLIFE in your new apartment. The group came upon the idea in part from their experiences of being 20-somethings in the city. "All our friends are moving all the time," Cordelia Istel, one of Rudy's Meritocracy's three members, told Runnin' Scared Friday. "We're two, three years out of school and have just looked at friends constantly moving and realized that provided us with empty space."

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Sleep No More Remixed: Version 2.0, April Fool's Joke, Or Phishing Scam?

Prior to receiving the above "telegram" today, we've been to the McKittirck Hotel twice to engage with Punchdrunk's Sleep No More.

Now, it seems the production is about to undergo a radical change.

Or engage in an April Fool's Day prank against would be returning customers.

Or maybe, as the click through site tells you to return in two days to purchase tickets, it's simply a phishing scam to get your credit card data.

Either way, it's an intriguing mystery.

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Theater Troupe Mourns the Loss of Tony Horton, Homeless Actor Who Lived Underground

Courtesy of Theatre of the Oppressed
Tony Horton, homeless actor who died last week, standing center during a curtain call.
Tony Horton spent decades living on 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

But the big difference between him and his Upper East Side neighbors is that Horton, an actor and an artist, lived underground.

The homeless New Yorker died in a fire on Sunday at the F train stop at that intersection where he had lived for many years. It was news earlier this week when we happened to be writing about a Monday night performance of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, where Horton was an actor.

Runnin' Scared spoke yesterday afternoon with Katy Rubin, founding artistic director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, to hear about the troupe's response to the loss of one of its members and to learn a bit more about the life of Horton -- a homeless man in his 40s who hated shelters, loved giving gifts, and frequently played the role of police officer in the troupe's performances.

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Theatre of the Oppressed Brings Homeless Actors to the Stage Tonight

Some of these folks have never acted on a stage before, but then again, this is most definitely not your traditional performance.

Tonight, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC is partnering with nonprofit group Housing Works to put on a show centered around the experiences of being homeless and HIV-positive in New York City.

The actors, who have been collaborating on all aspects of the performance since September, are all HIV-positive (except one staffer from Housing Works), and all have experienced homelessness themselves. The production, called The Worm in the Big Apple, aims to tell the personal stories of these New Yorkers and shed light on some of the larger challenges this population faces.

And the audience gets on stage, too.

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La MaMa E.T.C. Responds to Millenium Film Workshop Eviction, Says It "Believes and Supports" Its Misson

Mia Yoo, Artistic Director of La MaMa E.T.C. (Experimental Theatre Club), responded to our story about Millenium Film Workshop being served an eviction notice from La MaMa on Wednesday night with this statement:
Since December 2010 La MaMa has been talking and meeting with Millennium Film to try and understand how we can help them as they continue to find ways to stablize their organization. We will continue to do so. We believe and support the mission of Millennium Film and consider it a very important cultural institution.

Tamara Greenfield, the Executive Director of Fourth Arts Block who has been mediating between Millenium and La MaMa over the past many months (including a long meeting yesterday) explained what the process has been like for the two non-profits, her belief that La MaMa wants to keep Millenium in its home (under a different configuration, where some of their current real estate can be rented out to increase revenue), and why she thinks there may have been an "overreaction" from Millenium to the eviction notice.

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