Category: Politics

Theatre Review: "A Strange and Separate People"

by Jonathan Warman

Jon Maran’s play The Temperamentals, about the formation of the United States’ first gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, was one of my favorite gay-themed plays of the last few years. So I was excited to hear about his new play A Strange and Separate People which deals with homosexuality among 21st Century Orthodox Jews on the Upper West Side. It doesn’t have the epic breadth and power of The Temperamentals, but is, nonetheless, an engrossing play on an intriguing subject.

Dr. Stuart Weinstein, a newly Orthodox gay doctor, befriends Phyllis, a housewife with a side business as a caterer. As he gets to know Phyllis and her husband Jay – a psychiatrist who sometimes performs reparative therapy on his gay clients – things get increasingly complicated. Things all three of these intelligent people love – religion, learning and each other – come into ferocious conflict.

Once again Marans deals with very compelling ideas, and has created well spoken characters with a sense of humor that comes to their aid even in their most wrought moments. Director Jeff Calhoun has done a terrific job creating fluid and expressive staging, but hasn’t quite modulated the plays strong emotions and intense arguments to the acoustics of the tiny Theatre Row Studio. It’s not as though the actors are shouting throughout the entire production, but they do it often enough to be a bit grating.

What I most appreciate, though, is Maran’s willingness to look so unsparingly at the need for change in communities that are having a hard time adjusting to homosexuality, or even the modern world in general. I didn’t love A Strange and Separate People with the same intensity that I loved The Temperamentals, but I like it well enough, and find it to be a truly thoughtful play that deserves attention.

For tickets, click here.

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

Theatre Review: “A Strange and Separate People”

by Jonathan Warman

Jon Maran’s play The Temperamentals, about the formation of the United States’ first gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, was one of my favorite gay-themed plays of the last few years. So I was excited to hear about his new play A Strange and Separate People which deals with homosexuality among 21st Century Orthodox Jews on the Upper West Side. It doesn’t have the epic breadth and power of The Temperamentals, but is, nonetheless, an engrossing play on an intriguing subject.

Dr. Stuart Weinstein, a newly Orthodox gay doctor, befriends Phyllis, a housewife with a side business as a caterer. As he gets to know Phyllis and her husband Jay – a psychiatrist who sometimes performs reparative therapy on his gay clients – things get increasingly complicated. Things all three of these intelligent people love – religion, learning and each other – come into ferocious conflict.

Once again Marans deals with very compelling ideas, and has created well spoken characters with a sense of humor that comes to their aid even in their most wrought moments. Director Jeff Calhoun has done a terrific job creating fluid and expressive staging, but hasn’t quite modulated the plays strong emotions and intense arguments to the acoustics of the tiny Theatre Row Studio. It’s not as though the actors are shouting throughout the entire production, but they do it often enough to be a bit grating.

What I most appreciate, though, is Maran’s willingness to look so unsparingly at the need for change in communities that are having a hard time adjusting to homosexuality, or even the modern world in general. I didn’t love A Strange and Separate People with the same intensity that I loved The Temperamentals, but I like it well enough, and find it to be a truly thoughtful play that deserves attention.

For tickets, click here.

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

EXCLUSIVE: Is NYC ready for a transsexual mayor?

She is real, outspoken and ready to shake things up. She is a party girl, a girl of fashion, a nightlife personality and a prominent member of the NYC scene. She is a true Gay Socialite, ‘fierceness personified’. She is a transsexual who loves the city she has called her own for two decades. Her name: Tiana Reeves.

A collaborator and friend of this house, Tiana spoke to us to give us exclusive news, confirming what until now had been an open secret: she is stepping out of her comfort zone and announcing her intentions to run for Mayor of New York City.

The idea originally came out in August of last year, as a result of one of Reeve’s many rants about the state of things in the city and the lack of initiative from the City government to do something about it. “It came out of nowhere” she says, “someone made a comment about it on facebook, suggesting I should run for office, then someone else said ‘Tiana for mayor!‘ and it happened”. That same night her rant (about cyclists on the streets) was topic of conversation at a club, and again ‘Tiana for mayor‘ was in people’s mouths. “A lot of people talked to me about it and approached me with signs of support and encouragement, even when it seemed like a joke (which wasn’t). There were rumors and jokes about it, but the important thing is that people was talking about it.”

At the time we made a poll among notable members of the nightlife and entertainment scene (including club owners, promoters, drag queens, dancers, bar tenders and party regulars) and we got a reply from almost everyone, all giving us positive feedback. All expressed their support of the idea and many even showed interest in actively contributing to the campaign.

The talks, however, stopped after a couple of months and Tiana didn’t say much about it after, but she never abandoned the idea. She got busy with Fashion Week, and collaborating with different artists (Tiana appeared in Brian Kent’s ‘I’ll Find A Way’ music video) and traveling. “I was putting it off, but not any more.” A recent trip to Dubai gave her the final push to to say “I’m doing it!”. “Dubai has obviously inspired me. It has inspired me to make changes in my life, starting with myself and my house. Now I want to see changes in my city”.

Tiana confesses that one of her concerns was that she can be seen as opinionated, and that most people don’t like that. However that may be one of her biggest assets: her way of approaching things is direct and open; it shows that she is passionate because she cares; it shows she is honest (a rare, yet much desirable quality in a politician) and that she knows what she is talking about. What is more important is that Tiana offers a solution. She represents realness like no politician can give. “No bull…, no hold back. Just solutions!”

Tiana defines herself as “a seasoned New Yorker that has a very unique eye for things that have to be or should be, but from every person’s perspective, not just some (in a millionaire’s bubble or a one-sided ex DA’s)”. “Basically I’m your run-of-the-mill New Yorker that could relate to the people and make things happen, one who sees what should be done because I see it and live it everyday; from traffic and public transport to crime and (in)security in the streets; from the wasting of public money to the inefficient ways of collection”.

Being two of the biggest industries in NYC, nightlife and fashion are underrepresented; so is the GLBT community, and Tiana’s campaign is a campaign to give a voice to those underrepresented. But the race won’t be necessarily easy, given that the front runner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is not only a lesbian but also a nightlife advocate. Tiana, however, says that to her advantage she has all the knowledge, love and experience of being an ultimate insider. She represents a breath of fresh air and a depart from traditional, elitist politics.

There are lots of things to do still: recruit people, gather sponsors and organize activities to raise funds, but most importantly start the campaign by getting the vice out and letting people know that Tiana is here to shake people up. “I don’t necessarily expect to win, but I want my campaign to bring awareness to how underrepresented we are (in the GLBT community, in nightlife and in fashion), and to give a voice to those who are underrepresented”.

A facebook fan page has been set up for you to voice your concerns and opinions. “It’s a page for everyone who likes the idea; a page for those who live, work or spend some time in NYC and love this city and who care about the city and its many issues. It’s a page for the GLBT community and for those who support it. It’s also a page for those who love NYC’s nightlife. Even if you cannot vote, support and make a difference!”

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