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Bruce Vilanch To Be Celebrity Judge For The Second Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Stoli® Gives Bartenders a Shot at Cocktail Glory with its Second Annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic

4-27-2013 4-00-51 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/—Stoli® Vodka, in partnership with the Key West Business Guild, today announced its second annual Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic – North America’s largest annual LGBT cocktail competition. The mix-off sees bartenders showcase their skill and ingenuity as they battle to be crowned the 2015 Cocktail Classic Champion at the Grand Finale during Key West Pride 2015.

Using Stoli Vodka as their primary ingredient, participants in 14 cities across North America will create an original cocktail for a panel of local celebrity judges, who will evaluate the drinks on uniqueness, taste and appearance. Aside from being crowned the 2015 Cocktail Classic Champion, the winner will ride in the Key West Pride Parade as the Honorary Grand Marshall and receive $5,000 for a LGBT or LGBT-friendly charity of their choice.

“It is an honor to host the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, North America’s largest annual LGBT cocktail competition,” said Patrik Gallineaux, the national LGBT Ambassador for Stoli. “Our community’s hard-working nightlife professionals often do not receive the recognition they deserve. It is amazing to see what our nation’s bartenders can do with their imagination, their cocktail shaker and Stoli THE Vodka!”

In partnership with the Key West Business Guild, an organization of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses in Key West, the competition will be hosted by Gallineaux and TV personality Jai Rodriguez. It will also feature a panel of celebrity judges including clothing designer Andrew Christian; legendary funnyman Bruce Vilanch; actress and singer LaToya London; and Key West personality and star of the annual New Year’s Eve High Heel Drop, Sushi.

“The LGBT community has some of the most inventive bartenders in the country,” said Matt Hon, executive director of the Key West Business Guild. “Through the Key West Cocktail Classic, they’re getting the opportunity to showcase their creativity and put a spotlight on the community. Key West, especially during Pride week, is the perfect stage to recognize them and the contributions they make to nightlife.”

The cocktail classic will take place at 14 events in the following participating cities:

Dallas – March 2
Los Angeles – March 15
Denver – March 30
Miami/Fort Lauderdale – April 6
New York – April 9
Chicago – April 15
Washington D.C. – April 20
San Diego – April 23
Philadelphia – May 5
Toronto – May 7
Boston – May 12
Vancouver – May 14
Seattle – May 17
San Francisco – May 27
Key West (Finale) – June 13

A maximum of seven bartenders will be selected to participate in each local event. For more information about the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic including how to apply, rules, guidelines and the full schedule of events, visit

About Stoli Group USA, LLC
Stoli Group USA, LLC is the North American subsidiary of SPI Group, recognized globally for pioneering heritage and the outstanding Stolichnaya® brand of premium vodkas. New York-based Stoli Group USA reflects significant growth investment in the U.S. market by parent company SPI Group and will drive the brand forward through new marketing, sales and brand innovation. Internationally distributed Stolichnaya vodkas are bottled in Latvia and are known for award-winning flavor and impeccable clarity. Considered a trailblazer in the vodka industry, Stolichnaya vodka defines the benchmark for quality with meticulously crafted liquid that meets the highest Alpha Spirit standard. The Stolichnaya brand portfolio includes Stolichnaya® Premium Vodka, ultra-premium elit™ by Stolichnaya®, Stolichnaya® 100 Proof Premium vodka, the super-premium Stolichnaya® Gold and Stolichnaya® Flavored Premium vodkas including Ohranj®, Razberi®, Vanil®, Citros™, Peachik® and Hot™. For more information visit or follow on Facebook at and on Twitter @Stoli.

About Key West Business Guild
The mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote LGBT travel to Key West through marketing and the promotion of specialty events; to support gay-owned, gay-managed, and gay-friendly businesses; to strengthen the Gay community’s position within the local community by supporting relevant LGBT issues. The KWBG was founded in 1978 by 8 local gay business owners and has grown to approximately 400 members, which work together to continue efforts to brighten the rainbow over the island, an island now known as Gay Key West. Promotion of events, such as Key West Pride, Tropical Heat and Womenfest, has made Key West a year-round LGBT travel destination.

Video: Bette Midler And Bruce Vilanch In 1971 Documentry “Vito”

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Video: Trailer And July Fundraiser Campaign For “Scrooge And Marley ! ~ Donate What You Can!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Be A Part Of The Movie-Making Process
‘Scrooge & Marley’ Debuts Trailer,
Launches ‘Christmas in July’ Fundraising Drive

CHICAGO —SAM I Am Films, producers of “Scrooge & Marley,” a modern-day variation on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story, “A Christmas Carol,” has posted the first trailer of the film, which will be released in December. Acclaimed out actor David Pevsner portrays Ben Scrooge while former SNL star Tim Kazurinsky appears as the Ghost of Jacob Marley.

The trailer kicks off a series of “Christmas in July” fundraising events that will include house parties, a cabaret benefit and an online pledge campaign – all designed to raise awareness and excitement about the film’s holiday release and to aid producers of the independent feature in securing additional post production funds.

To support the Indiegogo campaign, visit the website and search for Scrooge & Marley. The direct link is:

The trailer will be released on Indiegogo, the film’s website ( and Facebook page, and more photos will be posted on the Facebook page and website in July. The trailer includes the first peek at other notables in the movie—Rusty Schwimmer, Bruce Vilanch, Megan Cavanagh, Ronnie Kroell, David Moretti, Richard Ganoung, and JoJo Baby.

“Scrooge & Marley” was shot in Chicago in May and also highlights a host of recognized theatrical actors who round out the cast: Drew Anderson, Christopher Allen, Nicholas Bailey, Allison Torem, Fawzia Mirza, Peter Mohawk, Scott Duff, PJ Powers, Amy Matheny and many more.

The house parties are being held at private homes with the main public event taking place on Thursday, July 26, 6-9 p.m. at 3160 Cabaret (3160 N. Clark), where several scenes in the movie were shot. Guests will have a chance to win exclusive “Scrooge & Marley” merchandise and will be treated to music from the film performed live by cabaret entertainers Becca Kaufman and Dick O’Day (alter ego of Richard Knight, Jr., co-director and co-writer of the film), who appear in the movie. The trailer and never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos will also be shown. The event is free, but donations will be requested.

“Scrooge & Marley” is a modern-day variation on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Recounted from a gay sensibility, with heart, comedy and music, the magic of Dickens’ timeless tale of a man’s redemption at the holidays—thanks to the help of three ghostly spirits—comes alive from a fresh perspective that will appeal to audiences of every persuasion. The film is based on an original script by Ellen Stoneking, Knight and the late Timothy Imse. It was directed by Knight and Peter Neville. Executive producers of the film are Tracy Baim (“Hannah Free”) and David Strzepek (“Foodgasm”), joined by several co-producers (Knight, Neville, Stoneking, Kroell, and Moretti) and noteworthy crew.

Full cast and production team bios at .

Twitter:!/ScroogeMarleyCH .

On Facebook see

The Edge’s BeBe Sweetbriar Interviews Bruce Vilanch

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Edge
Bruce Vilanch :: Exercising his muscles (and fund-raising)
by BeBe Sweetbriar
Wednesday Jun 27, 2012

You can’t help but notice him when he walks into a room wearing his trademark t-shirt with an emblazoned slogan. You can’t help but laugh at his jokes and stories. Those are givens when it comes to award-winning comic writer Bruce Vilanch (the Oscars, Donny and Marie Show, Hollywood Squares).

But how many times does do the titles ’musical theater performer’ or ’songwriter’ come to your mind when you think of him?

As it turns out, they should since Vilanch both starred in musicals and written songs. Bruce Vilanch was in the first national company of the Tony-winning musical “Hairspray,” and has written songs for Eartha Kitt and the Village People.

Always poised to take command of an awards show or benefit with his wit on the microphone, Vilanch, however, will call upon his song and dance skills at the upcoming benefit event One Night Cabaret Benefit in San Francisco for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation which is far more commonplace for the funny man than we might imagine.
Making it happen

BeBe Sweetbriar: I think it is wonderful that the One Night Only Cabaret benefiting Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation at which you are set to appear on July 2 in San Francisco with the cast of Green Day’s ’American Idiot’ will give many in audience their first chance to see you in a musical-type forum. Many of us have not had the privilege of seeing you in the touring company of ’Hairspray’ as Edna Turnblad, and think will be surprised to see your performance at this event.

Bruce Vilanch: Nobody’s going to be more surprised than I am (laughs). I’m going to be on the road until I get to San Francisco the day before the show, so me and the cast of ’American Idiot’ will be working on something when I arrive. If not, you’re going to get me to host the thing and I will see what little musically I can come up with (alone).

I’ve done this a bunch of time. When there is a big musical in town, Richmond/Ermet gets with the cast of the show on their night off and turn it into a benefit. I’ve done it with ’Young Frankenstein ,’ ’Hair’ and now ’American Idiot .’ The thing about ’American Idiot’ is that it is all Green Day music, so these guys (and gals) are doing Green Day eight times a week (Tuesday-Sunday with 4 shows on weekends). They are probably going to use this opportunity to sing Puccini and Britney Spear’s ’Toxic .’... all the musical literature they would like to expose to a San Francisco audience. In that vein I will try and come up with something to match what they are up to. I’ve seen this company of ’American Idiot’ when they played Los Angeles, and they are incredible—extraordinarily talented.
’Benefits ’R Us’

BeBe Sweetbriar: It’s fair to say that you will be in good company…

Bruce Vilanch: Very good company, because a lot of them were actually in ’Hair.’ They went from ’Hair’ to ’American Idiot’ because they are both rock musicals, and they require similar skill sets. When I was in ’Hairspray’ we did the same thing (benefits). We did a lot of Monday nights all over the country.

BeBe Sweetbriar: You know, many times when I speak to actors doing some real serious Shakespearean-type theater, they use working in comedy as kind of a release to get out of that serious vein. Is this musical-type performing like that for you—a release or break from the comedic writing that you do all the time?

Bruce Vilanch: Yeah! I’m just ’Benefits ’R Us’! That should be my corporate logo. I’ve done so many of these over the years. I’m beginning to wonder what am I breaking away from… other benefits?

The fundraising needs to be done, but I guess it is an opportunity for me to get to exercise the performance muscle as opposed to the writing muscle. It is out of the ordinary because it is not what I generally do.

Extraordinary… but common

BeBe Sweetbriar: Because you present yourself to us, the public, the audience, as sort of ’one-of-us,’ I think we sometimes forget about the Hollywood insider that you are. I mean your skills that you utilize to do the writing for all four of the major entertainment award shows (Academy Awards, Tonys, Emmys, Grammys), so many variety shows, and concert shows (Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Michael Feinstein) has established you in high regard in the Hollywood circle. We forget about this because you are so approachable and down to earth.

Bruce Vilanch: Well, Oh! I’m common, what can I tell ya? Extraordinary… but common.

BeBe Sweetbriar: To even think that we can put ’songwriter’ in front of your name when introducing you…

Bruce Vilanch: (interjecting) Funny, I did have a hit disco song. I had a disco career 30 years ago. I wrote a song for Eartha Kitt called ’Where Is My Man?’

BeBe Sweetbriar: Yes indeed! I remember that song by Eartha very well.

Bruce Vilanch: And then the guy I collaborated with which was Jacques Morali, who created the Village People (’Y.M.C.A. ,’ ’Macho Man ,’ ’In The Navy ,’ ’Go West’). So, I did an album for the Village People, which is called ’Sex Over The Phone.’ It was banned by the BBC (laughs).

I got to work with the Village People and Eartha Kitt in the second and third acts of their careers, respectively. This was after their HUGE hits. I didn’t have those. Only God knows what I would have done with all that money! That has been the extent of my songwriting career, up to now, except for a lot of parodies.

Solo show on way?

BeBe Sweetbriar: Like San Francisco’s own Tom Orr. He writes a lot of parodies for himself and other local celebrities to perform.

Bruce Vilanch: He’s hysterical! I love Tom Orr. I just saw him in ’Hot Greeks.’

BeBe Sweetbriar: Another thing we forget is the numerous awards you have received for your charitable work for the  fight against AIDS and the gay rights movement.

Bruce Vilanch: I have a Lucite shelf! I have many items of varying shapes and sizes in crystal and Lucite, and it’s all waiting for an earthquake.

BeBe Sweetbriar: I’m really kind of scared to ask to describe the shapes of every one of those items you have on the shelf (laughs).

Bruce Vilanch: Oh, my God! Well, there’s a shaft I’m looking at. Quite a few shafts, as a matter of fact. It’s very nice, very encouraging. When you are sitting in the middle of the night by yourself and thinking this is crap that I’m writing, it’s never going to play, and then I look up at the shelf and go ’well, something worked.’

BeBe Sweetbriar: Well, there was the one-man show you wrote and performed, ’Almost Famous,’ sometime ago… 12 or 13 years ago. Is there any chance we may see that in a reprise with a rebirth?

Bruce Vilanch: Well, I’ve been doing a one-man show steadily since, it’s just, the stories keep changing as new things happen. It’s essentially the same idea. I have no act, I’m just talking about the things I’ve done for other people, and things I’ve been involved in. So, it’s not exactly the same show, and I don’t do those songs any more. I’m actually working on a ’wholesale’ new one. I’m going around the country doing pieces of it here and pieces of it there, and sooner or later it will coalesce into something. Then I’ll bring it back and try and sell some tickets.

BeBe Sweetbriar: It’s funny also, because I see you at so many awards shows that you host or present, and you have so many great one-liners and wonderful anecdotal stories that you tell that are hilarious, and yet, when we see descriptions of who you are and what you do, we never see something like stand up comic in there.

Bruce Vilanch: Because I don’t really push it. I’m not a club comic. They expect that type of performer in those clubs. I perform in those types of clubs for benefits, but I don’t like to. I like to perform in places where people come to see me. I don’t like to perform in a room where they (audience) are in the room anyway. And if they don’t like you, they will just talk, and heckle, and drink until the next guy comes on.

The ritual is different. That’s why I’d much rather play in a theater than in a club. (It’s) just not my scene. I also don’t say I’m a stand-up because it means a certain type of performance which I don’t think I do. I have elements of it, but I call myself a ’sit-down’ comic (both laugh), because I tell stories a lot and you have to pay attention. There can actually be silences while people are absorbing and being interested, as opposed to a sort of laugh-a-second that club comics get.

BeBe Sweetbriar: Some times that one-second laugh is the only laugh many stand up comics ever get in a short-lived career. I’d take longevity of laughter in the career of Bruce Vilanch, sit-down or otherwise, any day!

Bruce Vilanch will appear and perform with the cast of Green Day’s ’American Idiot’ in the ’One Night Cabaret Benefit’ for Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation at the Marines Memorial Theater in San Francisco on July 2. For info and tickets Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation.

Follow the upcoming whereabouts of  Bruce Vilanch on his website.

Watch this clip of Bruce Vilanch performing:

Bruce Vilanch Will Be Grand Marshal At South Florida Stonewall Summer Pride

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

South Florida Stonewall Summer Pride Will Bring Erasure’s Andy Bell, Comedian Bruce Vilanch, and 30,000 People
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:24
Written by Gideon Grudo


Reece Darham’s day is going to start around 4 a.m. on June 24 and end around 3 a.m. the following morning. He’s co-chair of the Stonewall Summer Pride board, meaning he’s involved in every aspect of the event this year.

“I’ll know we did well when I can finally put my head on the pillow, knowing that the Rainbow Business Coalition (RBC), Stonewall Summer Pride board, and the city of Wilton Manors have produced a community event that we can all be very proud of,” Darham said about his metric for success this year. “And knowing that we’ll grow this into a major national event.”

From the sheriff’s office donating fire trucks for kids to paint to national headliners for the day’s concert, this year might indeed satisfy Darham’s hopes.

On Sunday, June 24, the Stonewall Summer Pride kicks off at noon and continues officially until 10 p.m. (unofficially into the night). The festival will run until 7 p.m., the Children’s Park runs until 6 p.m. or so. At 7 p.m., the parade kickstarts. And at 8:30 p.m., the show begins. It all happens in Wilton Manors, along Wilton Drive.

The Children’s Park, a spot for kids to come run wild, will be one of this year’s highlights, and geared toward a family audience.

“Even though it’s a pride event, it’s not necessarily a gay event,” Darham said. “We’re extending that to the community, the whole community. It allows for a separation of the adult playing area and the children’s playing area.”

Indeed, kids will have plenty to do, and maybe not enough time to do it all. Drew Miller is on the RBC board and was put in charge of the park. Since many of his friends are gay couples who’ve adopted or have had kids, he wanted to make sure this part of the celebration was perfect for them. The two big sponsors of the Children’s Park are the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Panthers. BSO is bringing a bounce house and a few fire trucks, one of which, the kids will be allowed to paint. The Panthers are bringing an inflatable hockey rink where kids can play the not-very-tropical-game. They’ll also be bringing a video game entertainment truck.

And it doesn’t end there. There’ll be a spot where kids can drop paint on sheets of paper that are clipped to hinges that spin, appropriately called Spin Art. The finished pieces of art are the kids’ to take home. There will also be a slide in the shape of the titanic (honoring the 100th anniversary of the sinking), the back end of which will be seemingly sticking out of the ground. There will be a DJ spinning kid-appropriate music (can’t have any part of Pride not complete with music). And there will be a trackless train riding kids around Wilton Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. It can take 16 kids at a time, and will join the front of the parade at 7 p.m.

“We made the decision to have the children at the front of the parade so they can get through and get done early,” Miller said. “The front of the parade would also be the most comfortable if there were any moderately clad individuals toward the back of the parade. We made an effort to be conscious of children’s time to get home and get to bed, and for visual purposes.”

Having the Children’s Park is an important part of the pride event, Miller said.

“It just normalizes our event to a place where there’s nothing different between our festival and, let’s say, something like St. Patrick’s Parade,” he said. “We’re just as normal as any other festival. It shows our and the community’s support.”

Now that the kids are taken care of, there’s a lot more going on this year. Jennifer Holiday, for example, is set to sing on the North Stage at 6 p.m. And the entertainment at 8:30 p.m. is headlined by no other than Andy Bell of Erasure fame. Other performers include Johnny McGovern, Mary Griffin, Tiffany Arieagus, Champagne Bordeaux, and Electra.

This year will the pride event’s 13th anniversary. But Reece Darham said that the close-knit relationship that RBC has had with Wilton Manors, on everything from public safety to accommodations like parking and appropriately closed roads, will result in a huge event. He expects around 30,000 people to show up.

Of those, almost one thousand will be members of A Celebration of Friends, an international group of mature, LGBT men. The organization’s founder, president and CEO said he expects “friends” from as far as Australia, South Africa and Japan to show up at the festivities this year.

“Our people — we have a lot people who normally come in from small towns. They’ve saved their money all year to come this. It’ll be like a family reunion. It gives them a chance to kick up their heels,” said Tom “Tomcat” Pence. “We have a lot of people who would normally not celebrate themselves.”

Darham added that he hopes this reinforces and improves the LGBT community’s strong relationship with the city of Wilton Manors.

“We’ve worked tirelessly and exceptionally close to the city,” Darham said about RBC’s push this year to partner with the city. “On every level, we’ve taken lessons from the past and implemented them for a great day.”

The parade itself, thought to include about 600 people, will have Bruce Vilanch, the multiple Emmy-winning comic, as its Grand Marshal. Called a Twilight Parade due its timing, it will start at 7 p.m. on Wilton Drive and progress from 20th Street and run north to 5 Points.

Bruce Vilanch Set for Richmond/ Ermet AIDS Foundation Benefit

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

American Idiot Cast and Bruce Vilanch Set for Richmond/ Ermet AIDS Foundation Benefit
By Bethany Rickwald • Jun 5, 2012

The Richmond/ Ermet AIDS Foundation is to present an evening with the touring cast of American Idiot on Monday, July 2 at 7:30 pm at the Marines Memorial Theatre.

The evening of music and comedy will also feature special guest Bruce Vilanch.

Proceeds will benefit The Richmond/ Ermet AIDS Foundation and Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.

For more information and tickets, click here.