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Posts Tagged ‘Bette Midler’

Bruce Vilanch Hosts “One Night Only Benefit Cabaret” September 12, San Francisco

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Outtake Online
Bruce Vilanch Hosts “One Night Only Benefit Cabaret” September 12, San Francisco
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2016

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In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Bruce Vilanch about hosting One Night Only Benefit Cabaret for the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation on Monday Sept 12th at Marines’ Memorial Theater in San Francisco. Philanthropy and stellar entertainment take center stage as REAF presents a special one-night-only benefit cabaret with the Broadway Touring Cast of “Beautiful”(The Carole King Musical) in “Motown & More, An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy” hosted by Bruce with Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Songs from “Beautiful” will not be performed. As we have been reporting, for over twenty years the Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation has raised millions of dollars by producing Broadway quality entertainment events and galas to advance HIV treatments and support AIDS services until there is a cure. Recently REAF has expanded its fundraising focus to the Bay Area’s growing demand for two new areas by providing food for the needy and programs that support homeless, disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. We talked to Bruce about this fabulous organization and his spin on our LGBT issues.

With the upcoming presidential election just months away, when asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Vilanch stated, “Well a lot depends on what happens in this election clearly. I mean if the Nazis actually win and I call them Nazis because they would like us to be eliminated. Read the Republican Party Platform, the reptilian party, as I call it, platform, you’ll see that they would like us to just shrivel up and die. They would like to enable us in that effort and I think if they win then we’re going to see a period of regression and of people feeling their oats so they can attempt to beat us into the ground. If the democrats win and Hillary is in charge I think we’re going to see a continued path towards complete civil rights. That means no rollback on marriage equality, which is what the republicans would like. We’ll see it extended and obviously the most important thing about this election is the next president will choose a bunch of Supreme Court Justices who will issue to the ultimate ruling on all things that affect our lives. So I think at the moment we have the coin in our hands and as a nation we’re going to toss it in November and we’ll see what happens. So I’m hoping it comes down on the girl side.”

Bruce Vilanch is one of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry. He began contributing to Academy Awards telecasts in 1989 collaborating with the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman and graduated to head writer in 2000. Since then Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right thanks to the feature-length documentary “Get Bruce” and his one-time stint as a regular on “Hollywood Squares” for which he also served as head writer. One Night Only Benefit Cabaret is produced by the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet who both lost their lives to AIDS. To date REAF has raised well over $3 million dollars for AIDS services and beginning in 2015 expanded to support hunger programs and programs for homeless and underserved youth.

For Info & Tix: reaf-sf.org

Is It Okay To Make Fun Of Caitlyn Jenner?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Instinct Magazine
Is It Okay To Make Fun Of Caitlyn Jenner?
Instinct Staff | September 6, 2016

Boy Culture interviewed legendary comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, who had his own opinions on the joke and the response to it:

BC: Bette Midler recently took it on the chin when she was perceived as mocking Caitlyn Jenner for being trans.

BV: Personally, I thought that was insane. She wasn’t making a joke about transgenders, she was making a joke about the monetizing of transgenderism, which is being done by Caitlyn Jenner.

BC: I guess the waters are muddied because people want to mock Caitlyn, and she’s so famous for being trans.

BV: Exactly. Anybody who would make that leap is out of their mind. It’s not a joke about transgenders, it’s a joke about this person who will do anything to remain in the public eye—and who is not our friend, by the way. She’s more to be pitied than censured. There’s no accounting for the taste of some. You find generally in communities like in the gay community that activists have no sense of humor. They areso sensitive about everything. And to jump on Bette Midler is kind of like, “Excuse me? Where’ve you been for the last 50 years?” Well, you know, probably in Trinidad, Colorado, deciding what you wanted to look like, I don’t know.

That alone would get me in jail. That remark. You know, you’re not allowed to say anything!


Bruce Vilanch

Motown & More, An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy with Special Guests Bruce Vilanch and Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy September 12, 2016

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

San Francisco Weekly
Bruce Vilanch on Whether It’s OK to Make AIDS Jokes (Yet)
Quentin QuickTue Sep 6th, 2016 5:47pm

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No one speaks of [HIV/AIDS] anymore and that truly saddens me, to paraphrase comedian Sandra Bernhard. But in 1981, it replaced hepatitis and mono as the topic on everyone’s lips.

That’s how Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys comedy writer and actor Bruce Vilanch (Hollywood Squares, Hairspray) remembers it.

“This thing came, but the devastation was so total,” Vilanch told SF Weekly. One week someone had a cough and the next week they were dead. No one knew what was happening, but there seemed to be so many gay people that it was happening to. And it resembled pneumonia, so we called it the gay pneumonia. It wasn’t even identified as AIDS till years later, so it was this horrible, baffling thing.“

While HIV cocktails have turned the deadly virus into a more manageable one, those who live with it still struggle to pay for cost-prohibitive medications and in some places to acquire safe housing. That’s why events like The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s one-night-only cabaret benefit Motown & More, An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy with Special Guests Bruce Vilanch and Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy remain vital.

Vilanch spoke to SF Weekly about the continued importance of AIDS benefits, holding out for a cure and whether it’s too early for AIDS jokes.

What can you tell us about Motown & More?

I’ll be cohosting and doing comedy mostly. I don’t have any plans to do any musical stuff, but you never know. Between now and then, we might cook something up. I just hate to pin myself down.

This is also a great opportunity for the kids singing Carol King eight times a week to sing anything but Carol King. Since Carol King wrote a lot of stuff for rhythm and blues acts during her Brill Building period, there’s a lot of Motown-y stuff in that show, and they’re going to get to sing that stuff that they can’t sing in her show. So that’s what makes it so much fun.

How did you first get involved with Richmond/Ermet’s One Night Only shows?

Well, I’ve been doing stuff for Richmond/Ermet for a long time. They do two big shows a year: Help is on the Way in the summer and Help is on the Way for the Holidays around Christmas. I’ve done a bunch of those at the Palace of Fine Farts. When I was in Hairspray, we toured the country for a year and we made it our business to take our Monday nights, which were dark and turn them into AIDS benefits for local charities, and Richmond/Ermet does the same thing.

When one of these musicals comes into town, they get the cast on a Monday night to sing everything else. The cast loves it because they get to sing something else and Richmond/Ermet is such a wonderful, close-to-the-ground charity, where all the money goes directly to the people who need it. They have a very low overhead. They’re not in the charity business. They’re really doing a great public service, so you get a great feeling of contribution.

People are still struggling with HIV/AIDS, yet there isn’t a single awareness-raising red ribbon to be seen at major awards shows anymore. People don’t talk about AIDS to the extent that they used to.

That’s because of the cocktail. With the drugs that are available, people are living longer. They’re not dying at the rate they were years ago. But at the same time, those cocktails are incredibly expensive and people need the support. Of course, the thing hasn’t been cured yet and it would be nice if one of these drugs was actually like a polio vaccine and could wipe it out. So, of course, the research and the work continue and that needs financing, too.

But Richmond/Ermet is not about research. They’re about helping people who have it and live with the financial burden and providing services for them. I think when people find out what this organization is about they see how worthwhile it is and begin talking again. When you stop the dying, then people’s attention shift to something else. That’s what we’re like.

How did the gay community handle the epidemic 45 years ago?

There was panic in the community because it seemed to be happening to so many of us and, of course, panic outside of the community because anyone dealing with us suddenly viewed us as a pariah.

As the contours of it became clearer, the gay community realized that the only way we were going to do anything about it was if we banded together. What had been the beginnings of a political liberation movement that had been gathering steam since Stonewall transformed into an AIDS movement. The government wasn’t going to do anything because they were as scared as anybody else, so it was up to us to force them to do things.

Talk to us about your own personal involvement.

I got involved on the show business level, because show business is the great fountain of money when it needs to be, and you do that by putting on shows and raising a lot of money. That’s what we did with the people who were willing to identify themselves with it and that was generally people whose lives had been affected by it like Joan Rivers, Bette Midler and Nell Carter. Once Rock Hudson identified as an AIDS patient, then the floodgates opened and Elizabeth Taylor got involved and real charities began to be formed.

Are you still haunted by the ghosts of loved ones lost to AIDS?

All the time. I live now in a loft in West Hollywood and through one of my windows can look up at the Hollywood Hills. I point out houses of people who are dead. I knew them all. It’s a visceral reminder of all the people who used to be here who aren’t anymore. I think, as you get older, visions of people who you’ve lost begin to appear to you at the oddest times. But in the case of people like me, we lost so many people when we were young that we were not supposed to lose that it’s double what it would be for most people. To have a mass of people go at the same time was devastating and unprecedented.

What are the challenges, aside from overpriced medications, still faced by HIV-positive people today?

There’s still discrimination. People ask me why I continue to do benefits, and I say because no one with breast cancer was ever forced to leave an apartment because they have breast cancer. This is one of the few conditions in the world where you’re still made to feel like a leper in some places.

Will we see a cure in the near future?

Yeah, of course. I may be a cockeyed optimist, but we do have cures for things that used to be the scourge of the planet and I think we can find a cure for this. I suspect that we’re close because they have already found a way to contain and manage it, so they’re just a couple of hills away.

We often look for humor in the things that most distress us. That said, since you’re a comedy writer, I have to ask … Is it still too early for AIDS jokes?

I think people who have it can do that. But I think it’s difficult for anybody else to try and do it unless they’re going to make a comment about the fact that they’re doing it and that it’s too soon.

There are AIDS jokes that we always tell each other that we’d never do publicly. But then there are a lot of jokes that we tell each other that we’d never do publicly, so it falls into that category. I can’t think of one that I would do generally, because it ain’t fittin’.

Motown & More – An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy, Monday, Sep. 12, at Marines’ Memorial Theater, $36-$75, 609 Sutter St, 415-273-1620 or ONO-Beautiful.eventbrite.com.

Bruce Vilanch To Perform At The 32nd Annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE)

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Playbill
20 Artists Currently Set for Sondheim No. 5 Concert in Beverly Hills
BY ANDREW GANS
APR 08, 2016

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The 32nd annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE), which is entitled Sondheim No. 5, will be presented June 18 at 2 PM and 8 PM at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

Currently scheduled to perform are Susan Anton, Barrett Foa, Loretta Devine, Allison Janney, Andrea Marcovicci, Cortes Alexander, Alexandra Billings, Mary Jo Catlett, James Clark, Carole Cook, Davis Gaines, Jason Graae, Alvin Ing, Branden James, Jean Louisa Kelly, Vicki Lewis, MaryJo Mundy, Madison Claire Parks, Bruce Vilanch and Lisa Vroman.

David Galligan directs with Michael Orland as music director.

Begun in 1984, STAGE is the longest-running annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser in the world. To date, STAGE has raised more than $5 million for HIV/AIDS organizations in the Southland. Funds raised through S.T.A.G.E. support a variety of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) programs, including its Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; freestanding and mobile dental clinics; in-home health care ; housing assistance; HIV prevention and testing efforts; and a range of other services on which thousands of Angelenos affected by HIV/AIDS depend.

For ticket information visit Stagela.com.

Orlando: Naked Boys Singing is a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Orlando Weekly
Naked Boys Singing is a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze
By Seth Kubersky
Feb 12, 2016

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We live in a world of lies, bombarded daily by half-truths, obfuscations and outright falsehoods from promoters and politicians. So let’s get erect and give a standing ovation to Naked Boys Singing for earning the “truth in advertising” award. This spirited musical revue may not have any dialogue, characters or plot, but it’s got more exposed penises than a half-dozen productions of Equus. Which just goes to show how far our city has evolved: Back in 2000, a lone Naked Guy at the Orlando Fringe faced threats of arrest, but in 2016 seven nude dudes can strut on the Footlight stage for five weekends and no one blinks an eye.

A long-running hit in New York, NBS comes to Orlando courtesy of producer-director Tim Evanicki, who recently took the reins of the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre. Under former artistic directors Michael Wanzie and David Lee, Footlight hosted not only PH’s popular drag shows, but legit dramas and comedies that drew audiences of every orientation. That leaves Evanicki some big shoes to fill in his new role, as he graciously acknowledged at the packed press preview.

“I am loving this job,” Evanicki told me in an interview after opening night. “Parliament House is an LGBT resort that caters to everyone. I’d like the programming in the theater to reflect that. We will be bringing in more book musicals and big names that appeal to all walks of life.”

Evanicki first saw Naked Boys Singing at NYC’s Actors Playhouse in 2004 and made it his top priority upon becoming PH’s new artistic director. “I wanted to make sure we kicked it off with something that would put the Footlight Theatre on the map,” he said. “I also wanted to pick a show that would cater to and attract more than just the LGBT community.” Of course, assembling a show where the cast is unclothed nearly the entire time required some adjustments. “Singing auditions were fully clothed, but the dance callback was done nude,” Evanicki recalled. “It was funny, because we have union performers, and the union required us to have a monitor from Actors’ Equity audit the audition process. Poor Doug Truelsen.” The early rehearsals were done dressed, but drawers were dropped once Pete Simpson’s choreography – which puts a floppy twist on the classic chorus kickline – was complete. “I left it up to the boys as to when they felt comfortable rehearsing nude,” said Evanicki. “We had 12 total rehearsals, and they were nude on day seven.”

It’s one thing to hoot and holler at a stage of stripped strangers, but I found the show a tad awkward to watch (at least at first) because I know some of the cast. For example, I’ve been friends with Joshua Roth since we worked on Tod Kimbro’s 2011 Fringe musical Suckers, but I’ve never seen him as exposed as during his “Perky Little Porn Star” number. “There is nothing that truly prepares you for 90 minutes of nudity; you kind of just have to jump into the deep end headfirst and with a smile on your face,” Roth told me. A theme-park performer by day, Roth’s NBS role has let him “step way out of my comfort zone, as well as become more comfortable with myself, my peers and also complete strangers.” Of course, you can’t do a nude musical without some unintended side effects: “I have been working a lot with aerial silks lately, and I have a pretty bad bruise on my upper left thigh … pretty much my groin area. I pulled Pete (our choreographer) into the dressing room, and without even thinking about it pulled down my pants and showed him the bruise. It wasn’t even until about five minutes after he left the dressing room that he realized that I had just whipped it all out for him and he didn’t even notice or care … and neither did I.”

So after all that, how is the show? As I said above, if you are interested in story or deep meaning, better move along: There’s a nod to nakedness as a metaphor for emotional vulnerability and a maudlin song about a dead lover, but otherwise the mood is kept light and campy. The performers are all solid (ahem), especially Kevin Kelly, who wears Liza well in the Fosse-flavored “Entertainer,” but the majority of the music is simply unmemorable. With a baker’s dozen of credited writers (including Bruce Vilanch), it’s a clear case of too many cooks muddling the man-chowder, and musical director John T. Gardner’s keyboard often drowned out the unamplified singers. As a hetero male, I didn’t identify with some of the topics (like gym addiction), though it appears sung schlong synonyms make everyone’s inner 12-year-old snicker, gay or straight. But if a boozy, bawdy evening of ogling buff boys with their balls swinging in the breeze sounds like ideal entertainment, better buy your seats now; Naked Boys Singing looks to be the hardest ticket of this theater season.


Bruce Vilanch To Play Coral Springs Museum Saturday, January 30th 2016

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 7pm

Emmy Award Winning Comedy Genius

BRUCE VILANCH

&

JESSICA KIRSON

(Comedy Central, NBC TV’s Last Comic Standing)

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From Mr. Vilanch: “Currently celebrating his seventeenth year as Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety coach, Bruce Vilanch is descending to The RRazz Room to dispatch more updates on his bizarre career behind, before and squatting over the footlights. A Hairspray star, a Hollywood Square and the latest success story on Christian Mingle, (who just hooked him up with a guy who used to be Pope), Bruce has more than a few songs to sing and stories to tell.”

Jessica Kirson’s unique style and captivating stage presence captures the attention of audiences and club bookers everywhere she performs. Her wide variety of characters brings a diverse energy to her routine. Once you’ve seen her amazing talent, it’s easy to understand why she was selected to perform at the Hamptons, Toyota, Marshall’s Women in Comedy, Comedy Central’s South Beach, Montreal, and HBO’s Las Vegas comedy festivals. She was awarded “Best Female Comic” by the MAC association in New York City and recently accepted the Nightlife Award for “Best Stand-up Comedian” in New York City. Her YouTube channel “The Jessy K Show” has more than 100 videos with a combined total of over 2.5 million views. She recently launched her own podcast called “The Jessica Kirson Podcast.”

Coral Springs Center for the Arts
2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065 United States

To Buy Tickets: Click Here