Category: Editorial

I'M JUST SAYING! Kenyatta Khan on Change… and Fashion Week

Change. Everything now is about change. Changing of President. Changing of venue. Changing of friends. There is so much change going on I feel like I’m in an unending cycle that refuses to change.

This past week was Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and let me tell you just how much that has changed. First off, I want to make it clear that I absolutely love Fashion Week (or at least I used to). Every year thousands of people flock to NYC to see the upcoming designs and designers to display their personal creativity for the fashion world. Without fail, I’ve gone to all of my favorite designers every year… except for this one. This year, for some reason, I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to deal with any of it. To be quite honest, I really don’t care for a lot of it. I’ve changed into someone who appreciates fashion and glamour but disgusted by the attitude behind it all. I love the designs and creativity but it’s just no longer fun and exciting anymore. It’s more of a task that isn’t exactly mandatory but smiled upon. When I first started attending Fashion Week at Bryant Park and inducted into the fashion world yet again for modeling, it was all so exciting and newish! Here I am in NYC talking to, cozying up with and being admired by celebs and the people responsible for just about everything in their lives. I felt lucky and privileged. Ever since it moved to Lincoln Center though, I still see the same people and have the same chit chat about who, what, when and where, but now it’s all so mundane and forced. Plus it really has changed A LOT!!! I’m just saying.

To me, Bryant Park was the epitome of Fashion Week for NYC. Everything was hectic and crazy, and just plain fun. You could literally get into just about all the shows you wanted just by the assumptions people would make. Getting into backstage, impromptu castings for a show that a model didn’t show up for, beverages of all assortments handed around like a cheese plate at a cocktail party. IT WAS EVERYTHING! Lincoln Center tried to recreate that magic I suppose, but because of the economy and so many houses forclosing and businesses bankrupting, it lost the spark. I’m not sure about this past Fashion Week but last season’s felt empty and so much more… business oriented I guess. I suppose it is but it just didn’t feel right. Everything was so mechanical and secured, which is both good and bad seeing how a designer had something “misplaced”. I don’t know the full story so I won’t gossip, it’s un-lady like. Anyway, the Fall showing at Lincoln center was all rigid and stuffy. It was like going to a birthday party where everyone should remain seated and quiet AND THERE’S NO LIQUOR!!!! Who wants to do that, besides someone who has a drinking problem? No Fashion Week should be like going to an after party and finding Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Tom Cruise in a ménage à trois. Just doing things that would make you clutch your pearls, drop to your knees and begin to chant your Hail Marys!

Change can be good but it can also be bad. I suppose it’s all how you look at it. Change in economy (for the positive) good, Mitt Romney as president – bad! Finding out one of your favorite designers went bankrupt – bad. Finding out there’s an OVER sample sale by said designer – Fucking amazing! We all must adapt to the changes of this world, but with these changes I don’t believe that we should lose ourselves. Lose who we are deep inside or even if you’re in the process of figuring out that part of this journey of life, losing your beliefs and morality. Because at the end of the day, the sun has set and you always got YOU to count on! Tomorrow will hopefully come and it might not be better but it’s new and with that you can change whatever you want (within reason)! Obama!!!!! What?! I live for him! I’m just saying…

Cabaret Review: Judy Collins

I’ve been aware of folk and pop singer Judy Collins since I was a little kid listening to my big sisters albums – Judy’s hit versions of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now” and “The Circle Game” have a solid place in my musical memory (though I’d heard both first sung by Native American singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie – Sis had even more of Buffy’s records).

What a treat then, to see Collins, a truly dynamic performer, in an intimate setting like the Cafe Carlyle. She’s an authentic river of song, in truly golden voice. She’ll be talking about a song in passing, and then launch into three or four lines, singing with breathtakingly casual grace and beauty.

When she sings a song in earnest, she’s truly arresting, imbuing each line with subtle style, implying stories behind stories. She’s known as one of the best interpretive artists in pop music, and in this act she brilliantly illuminates songs ranging from traditional folk and Bob Dylan to Anthony Newley and Sondheim and even a touching song of her own about her late mother.

In the current show, she’s mostly interested in tracing the broad outlines of her career, with an emphasis on her early folk days in Greenwich Village. Interestingly, the song person that made her want to be a folk-singer wasn’t another folk-singer, but big band singer Jo Stafford singing the traditional Scottish ballad “Barbara Allen” (which Collins stirringly interprets).

The stories she tells are truly entertaining, varying from the touchingly personal to the hilariously bawdy. She recently published a memoir, and if what she tells here is any indication, it’s probably loads of fun. Collins’s spectacular, undiminished talent always gives me one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had in cabaret.

For tickets, click here.

For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see dramaqueennyc.com.

Underground Thursday Rewind: "Labour of Love" by Hue & Cry

Tomorrow night, Friday, September 14, I will be DJing at the Lush & Lively cocktail hour at the Time Out New York Lounge at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street (between 8th & 9th Ave) from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. The music emphasizes horns and strings, so there will be jazz (classic and “nu”), latin, international orchestral and big band pop (like this Northern Soul-inspired 1987 barnstormer from Scottish duo Hue & Cry, huge hit in the UK, didn’t even dent the charts here) and – of course – lots and lots of disco. The Cosmo special is only $3 from 6:30PM to 7:00 PM, and there are $5 drink specials until 9:00 PM.

Find the Hue & Cry video below.

GaySocialites.com endorses Brad Hoylman for State Senate district NY-27

GaySocialites.com endorses Brad Hoylman for State Senate

[Editorial note: Candidates who receive endorsements from GaySocialites.com or any media outlet under the supervision of GaySocialites Media Group (GSMG) are approved by the GaySocialites.com Editorial Board and the Editorial Advisory Board for the GSMG.  However, each endorsement is penned by a senior member of our staff and edited by another senior staffer.  This endorsement was written by CEO and Editorial Director Charles Winters and then edited by Chief Information Officer Joshua Sean.  This endorsement doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of our entire organization or those associated.]

Thursday, September 13th is primary day in New York. Although there aren’t any major contested races on the state or national level, there is one that should be noted for Manhattan voters.

Following endorsements for Barack Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand, we here at GaySocialites.com are excited to announce our third endorsement of the political season is for Brad Hoylman who is running for New York State Senate in District NY-27, which includes Greenwich Village, the East Village and portions of Chelsea and Midtown West.

Its no secret that the west side of Manhattan has a lot of gay men and women living there, so it is important to have a qualified, progressive representative in this district.  Brad has two challengers.  One of which is viable while another is a complete joke.  Hoyland, an openly gay candidate, rises above the rest and would be someone who would make us proud in Albany. He was even hand-picked for the job by Tom Duane, the Senator vacating the position.

I take nothing away from bartenders, waiters or manual laborers; but I wouldn’t want one of them pulling my teeth and certainly don’t want one of them making my laws. I’ll gladly let them mix my drinks, serve me my dinner, take out my trash or perform various other duties for which they may be qualified. Political races shouldn’t be an outlet to employ someone who can’t get a job doing anything else. There are specific qualifications that a State Senator should possess and pouring a good cocktail is not one of them.  Hoylman has been a Democratic grassroots activist in the Village for over 20 years, served as the Chair of Manhattan Community Board 2 and president of the Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats. No other candidate matches those qualifications, and those listed are just a few examples of what Brad has already accomplished.

Hoylman is exactly what that district needs to ensure issues of concern are properly addressed. I am so tired of straight politico-wannabes running around town tossing around their support for gay marriage. That is no longer an issue in Albany. Gay marriage is already legal in New York, and the only threat to chance that is on the national level (if there is any threat against it all.) In all reality, it is probably something most candidates in Manhattan say they will support.

There is a great deal of pride and professionalism that needs to be restored to the New York State Senate, and Brad Hoylman is the man to do that. He hasn’t run his campaign out of a dive bar, and he doesn’t have questionable skeletons in his closet that will creep up and haunt him later. Don’t waste your vote by pulling the lever for someone who will make you regret it later.

We here at GaySocialites.com are confident that a vote for Brad Hoylman is a vote you not only won’t regret; but it is one that you can be proud.

Theatre Review: "Chaplin"

Without the charismatic and intelligent performance of Rob McClure as film legend Charlie Chaplin at the heart of Chaplin the Musical, there would be precious little reason for this show to exist. Christopher Curtis is an acceptable composer, capable of crafting melodies and harmonic progressions that are pleasant, if limited in stylistic range.

One thing Curtis for sure is not: a musical theatre lyricist. There isn’t a lyric in the entire show that isn’t at best cliched or at worst painfully awkward. He enlisted the help of veteran bookwriter Thomas Meehan to good effect – the book scenes are the best thing about the show, not brilliant, but brisk and engaging. If he had done the same thing with the lyrics and engaged a skilled and experienced musical theatre lyricist, Chaplin could have been a much better show.

Better, but, even with stronger lyrics, I still don’t see much of a reason for the show. We learn nothing about Charlie Chaplin that wasn’t more interestingly and soulfully expressed in Richard Attenborough’s 1992 biopic. And so I come back to McClure: he takes everything given to him – especially Chaplin’s cinematic mannerisms and private personality – and runs with it, with great energy and smarts. McClure’s performance holds the whole thing just barely together.

Director/choreogapher Warren Carlyle isn’t much help: his dances, as usual, are kinetic, even dynamic. But his decision to impose a black and white color palette on the show’s designers is truly deadly. Black and white film is the medium that Chaplin happened to have at his disposal, and over many years he became a master of it. By contract, Carlyle’s glib, too literal design choice undercuts all of the show’s comedy and much of its spectacle. It really sucks all the heat out of the piece.

It’s mediocre and overlong rather than truly heinous, and McClure’s stellar performance makes seeing Chaplin bearable. But I can’t really recommend you pay full price for a ticket to this one.

For tickets, click here.

For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see dramaqueennyc.com.

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