Monday, October 30, 2006

National Constitution Center: Freedom Rising


The National Constitution Center, at 5th and Market in downtown Philadelphia, near the James A. Bryce U.S. Court House and near Independence Hall, has a twenty-minute one-man play in the Kimmel Theater, showing each half hour, in which an African American relates the history of the Articles of Confederation, leading to the Constitution's writing in Philadelphia, to be followed by the Bill of Rights in 1791. The actor is surrounded by a multi-media show on an arena stage, with many of the panels in a ring above. (African Americans, it will be remembered from Colonial Willimsburg, were bargained with by the British.) The music sounds like the same music as used in the Jerry Brucheimer film Pearl Harbor (2001).

The Center also has a 9/11/ commemorative exhibit, "A Nation Remembers," 100 photographs of art, taken by Jonathan Hyman.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Apex Follies: The Ultimate Halloween Bash

Should a Halloween drag show be on my "stage performances" blog? This was the second in a series at the Apex Club in Washington DC, near Duport Circle. There is a comparable show every Saturday night, replacing the old "Liquid Ladies" parties. When the Velvet Nation closed because of real estate development around the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium (let's hope it is assymetric, like Camden Yards), the Cobalt seemed to be the only major dance floor, so Apex apparently designed an event to attract business that would be going to the old clubs in Southeast DC.

But for the show, it was in two parts. The first was the usual pantomimes, but the contest was really worthy of note. There were about 25 contestants, including seven pink ladies from "Deal or No Deal" (each with a briefcase -- I'd try a parody of "Jeopardy" myself), then a Persian warrior, the girl in a cardboard One Night Stand, a "Tight End" football player too lightweight to make the faltering Redskins (who, however, managed to lose to the 0-5 Tennessee Titans at home when they had led by 11 points at halftime!), and then Adam and Steve, who both exhbited the "theta property". (That is a private code word and just let you guess what it means.) But the most controversial was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, next to two "women" in burqas, with signes "Miss Baghdad" and "Miss Tikrit," the latter city being the hometown of Saddam Hussein. It is odd at a gay event to find a display that indirectly justifies the president's policy on Iraq! I suppose someone could dress up as Mohammed, and incite anger, as we know from the cartoon controversy--but Islamic law actually only forbids that in Islamic countries.

It's interesting to see the most touchy geopolitical issues (as well as the obvious domestic ones like gay marriage) on display at a gay drag show, less than two weeks before the mid term elections.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

HRC National Dinner a spectacular event

The Human Rights Campaign held its National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center Oct 7, 2006. It was a set up as an extremely wide screen stage, with a projection of blue clouds in the background.

There was a musical performance by Jacob and Joshua, who form a team called Nemesis Rising. It's clear that to be a professional singer you have to have the physical fitness of a professional athlete.

There was a discussion of the bill to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" by Reichen Lehmkuhl, author of "Here's What We'll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out and the U.S. Air Force." Amazon link is here.
He received a National Visibility Award, as did form 'Nsync member Lance Bass, who also spoke.

There were two short films. One was
Frank Kameny, which gave a brief biography, much of it in black and white. Dr. Kameny was fired from the government map service in 1957 from a civilian job as an astronomer. He was actually confronted by agents and asked if he was a homosexual.

The other was
Champions of Change: Billie Jean King, which was a biography of tennis player Billie Jean Moffitt King, who is famous for establish women's sports and for defeating a man, Bobby Riggs, in 1973. For years she was hindered from speaking publicly about women's and lesbian issues. She also received a National Visibility Award.

Joe Solomonese was master of ceremonies. Mike Berman, from the Duberstein Group, also spoke. The Campaign raised several hundred thousand dollars, which will be matched, from the floor.