Category: Entertainment

The 2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominees

14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations Announcement

Awards season kicked off this Wednesday morning as the nominees for the 2013 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were announced in Los Angeles.  Leading the pack with four nominations each are Steven Spielberg’s  historical biopic “Lincoln,” the musical film adaptation “Les Miserables,” and the quirky, romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.”  In the world of television, cable dramas and network sitcoms ruled.  Favorites such as “Breaking Bad,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Homeland,” and “Mad Men” received multiple nominations.  Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” was the only cable sitcom to earn a nod for Comedy-Ensemble, as SAG gave love to “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Glee,” “Modern Family,” and “The Office.”

The 19th Annual presentation will take place live on January 27th, airing on both TNT and TBS.  Dick Van Dyke will be receiving the guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

And the nominees are…

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Cabaret Review: Justin Vivian Bond

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Back in the days when Justin Bond mostly performed as Kiki DuRane of Kiki & Herb, that deranged duo would always do Christmas shows that were the most hilariously blasphemous and vitriolic thing in town. Now that Justin Vivian Bond has shed the DuRane persona and stands ever more firmly center stage (and in the center of the gender specturm), v’s Christmas show naturally takes a much different form.

In “Snow Angel”, this year’s Christmas show, JVB’s own persona is plenty big enough and v’s wit is spontaneous, an acidly funny stream of consciousness – what do you know, hilarious blasphemy and vitriol still come pretty naturally to Justin! The stories v tells now are more personal; now, instead of toying with Kiki’s complicated fictional relationship with Christianity, Bond can actually put v’s own pagan ambivalence about Christmas at the heart of the show. And the music can be performed with less irony and greater feeling – after singing Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Made in America”, JVB specifically said “I hate post-rap irony, so I did my best to be sincere.”

There’s a lot of songs by Melanie Safka (of “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” fame), and Melanie’s dangerously earnest passion defines the tone of this act. The musical backing from Brett Every on piano and Nath Ann Carrera on guitar is sophisticated, warm and rich. Amber Martin on backing vocals can stand up to Bond’s titanic vocal power, a very tall order. There’s nothing particularly jazzy about the arrangements – if anything they are redolent of folk rock and chamber pop – but there is a powerful sense of improvisational give and take.

Bond is one of the most original and potent performers of our time, whom I think everybody should see at least once. Or more often – there’s something new and freshly rewarding about every single performance.

For tickets, click here.

For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see his blog Drama Queen.

Vote in the 7th Annual Awards

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The 7th Annual Award Nominees

Here are the nominees for the 7th Annual Awards honoring those who made significant contributions to the LGBT Community in the areas of nightlife, community service/politics, entertainment and by a celebrity as well as the Most Talked About LGBT Headline and the GaySocialite of the Year.   Watch it here, hosted by Charles Winters and Thomas Bistritz:

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Theatre Review: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

This revival is the best taste of good old-fashioned musical comedy fun so far this season! Or more accurately, good old musical hall fun, since Rupert Holmes, the musical’s author and composer, has set the Dickens whodunit in the context of a Victorian British musical hall. There, a raucous troupe of variety performers mounts a staging of the unfinished novel. Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides.

I had a thoroughly good time, rarely thinking this could have been written or directed in a different way. And whenever I did, I decided it would be quibbling with a show that succeeds remarkably well on the modest terms it sets. For example, there’s a patter song that’s almost incomprehensible; however, the lyrics aren’t the point of the song, the sheer spectacle of speed is the point, so who cares!

Director Scott Ellis makes fine use of an irrepressibly energetic and committed company, headed by the incandescent Chita Rivera and Jim Norton. Gregg Edelman seems to be having a blast playing the dotty Rev. Crisparkle, Will Chase seems totally at home as the moustache-twirling Jasper, and Stephanie J. Block positively glows playing the “pants role” of the doomed Drood.

Drood is intended to be silly fun, and nobody in the creative team or cast spends any time pretending otherwise. Set designer Anita Louizos, for one, has created a lushly inviting facsimile of a late 19th Century British music hall, which lends the proceedings warm support. Likewise, costume designer William Ivey Long has convincingly captured the luxury of Victorian costuming. The musical Christmas Story oversells its good cheer, this Drood doesn’t have to, it actually is that entertaining.

For tickets, click here.

For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see his blog Drama Queen.


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