Thursday, May 26, 2011

Interview with Molly "Equality" Dykeman

By Byrne Harrison
First Molly Photo by Anya Garrett
Final Molly Photo by Jeep Wheat

Molly "Equality" Dykeman is a comic, poet and mullet enthusiast who likes chicken fingers, people who aren't douchebags, and all types of ladies. She's also the creation of Andrea Alton, a New York-based actor, comedian, and award-winning playwright.

I recently had a chance to talk to Molly as she was preparing for her performance in the SoloNOVA Festival's Ones at Eleven comedy showcase on Friday the 27th.

In Terrance McNally's Master Class, Maria Callas tells one of the students, "You must have 'a look'." You definitely have 'a look.' How would you describe your sartorial style?

I had to look up the word “sartorial” and I still don’t know what it means. However, my look is functional, comfortable, sexy, stain resistant and safe.

I have to say, nobody wears a reflective vest like you. You rock that look.

Thank you Byrne. I do appreciate it. All I can say is that some people are born to wear couture while others are meant to wear tube tops and daisy dukes. I was born to wear reflective vests and neon shin guards on special occasions.

So let's get down to business, I understand you're performing as part of a comedy showcase at the SoloNOVA festival. How did that come about?

I heard they were having a comedy night, so I submitted some of my poems and jokes 'cause I’m always looking for new ways to meet ladies. When that didn’t work, I started stalking the people in charge. I guess my mullet and I grew on them because Jennifer Conley Darling and James Carter asked me to be a part of the festival.

How would you describe your comedy style?

I’m sort of like a funny lopsided train wreck that doesn’t give a shit. In a perfect world I wish I could be a mixture of some of my favorite comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman and Roseanne Barr, but I’m not. At the end of the day, I’m just me.

So you're a poet, too?

Yeah I am. I’m pretty good at it to. Someday I’m gonna eat nachos and write poetry with Maya Angelou.

Can I hear a sample?

Well I spent the day writing and thus far I’ve written poems about bed bugs, this lady I met at Gingers Bar and I also wrote a poem about nachos. I love nachos. As for specific lines, please come to the SoloNOVA Comedy Night on Friday the 27th.

What separates you from the wannabe Sapphos out there?

Probably my mullet and hygiene. After that, my subject matter. Most Sapphos won’t take the time to write about chicken fingers and their lazy eye but I will.

On to the lightning round.

Favorite drink?
Sunny Delight in the morning - Strawberry milkshakes in the afternoon – PBR in the evening.

Favorite actress?
Halle Berry

Mullets on men - yes or no?
No. Men don’t know how to wear mullets.

Best lesbian ever?
Ellen DeGeneres

Worst lesbian ever?
Anne Heche

You can catch Molly (and maybe even see Andrea) at SoloNOVA's Ones at Eleven on Friday, May 27th.

May 27 at 11pm
at 9th Space
(located at Performance Space 122, 150 First Ave. at E. 9th Street)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jeffrey Solomon Talks About Santa Claus Is Coming Out

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Charles S. Reece

Jeffrey Solomon’s play, Santa Claus Is Coming Out, is currently being presented as part of the SoloNOVA Festival. This acclaimed one-man mock-u-mentary explores the secret romantic life of the great holiday icon and the controversy that engulfs the world when the truth is revealed. When a little boy’s gender atypical gift request to the North Pole is denied, a series of heart-felt letters from the child nudge Santa Claus out of the closet and into the culture wars. A theatrical documentarian in the mold of Anna Deveare Smith and the Laramie Project, Mr. Solomon purports to have interviewed, and portrays, all of the key players in the scandal that has come to be known as ‘Santa-Gate’.

Your show, Santa Claus is Coming Out, is described as a theatrical mockumentary. Tell me what you mean by that.

The playwright and solo performer Jeffrey Solomon – do you mind if I refer to myself in the third person here? – insists that every word of text in the play is edited from his interviews at the North Pole and beyond and other documentary sources.

What is the play about?

The secret romantic life of the great holiday icon and the controversy that engulfs the world when the truth is revealed. When a little boy’s gender atypical gift request to the North Pole is denied, a series of heart-felt letters from the child nudge Santa Claus out of the closet and into the culture wars. Characters portrayed in the play include little gay Gary, his confused mom and angry dad, Santa’s fake-actress wife, his Agent, his longtime companion and Mary Ellen Banfield, a conservative activist who is fighting to institute a Santa NO FLY ZONE.

What inspired you to write it?

A decade ago, when voters in Oregon were considering Measure 9 which would have made it illegal for any school to “promote, sanction or encourage homosexuality,” I headed west with recorder in hand to find out why people were so terrified of children being spoken to honestly about the existence of gay people. Measure 9 and numerous other controversies in the last decade inspired this play, including a few elementary school teachers who dared to ‘come out’ to young kids, sparking a reaction from the public and the media bordering on hysteria. I shouldn't really call it ‘coming out’, because these teachers did what straight colleagues have always done, spoken openly of their families in age appropriate ways and answered their students questions. Despite signs of progress, ‘gay’ is still the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ when it comes to kids. Anyone who does so is in danger of being accused of promoting that lifestyle and yet we promote straight love in every form and fashion to our children - sailors can settle down with fish, princesses can get physical with frogs and beauties can live happily ever after with the beasts who abduct them - but the child who may grow up to be gay, has no reflection of himself. There is no happily ever after in sight during his or her formative years. It is this invisibility I am exploring in Santa Claus is Coming Out. I was one of those children, and I can tell you that the fact that subject was unmentionable and invisible when I was a child caused me a lot of unnecessary pain and shame. I have created in the play, the Santa Claus I needed. The one I wish I had known.

The subject matter is especially timely given the recent efforts of some activists and educators to speak to children more openly about LGBT issues in the wake of gay teen suicides, and the accusations from social conservatives that these are just thinly veiled attempts to promote the gay lifestyle to children.

You've written a number of plays with LGBT themes. Tell me a little bit about your body of work.

I have performed my other solo play, Mother/SON, globally, including performances in UK, Ireland, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The play is inspired by mother’s coming out journey as the parent of a gay son, and in addition to being presented theatrically has been used widely as an educational tool at schools and corporations. I am also very proud of my ensemble plays, which are currently touring with my theater company. These include Tara’s Crossing (about a transgendered refugee seeking political asylum), Building Houses on the Moon (about the lives of LGBT youth), and DE NOVO (about undocumented kids in US immigration custody.) See for more info.

What's your background?

I grew up in the 70’s as a middle class Jewish kid largely raised by a television. This may explain the wealth of references in my play from from those ingenious Claymation TV Christmas Specials including "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," etc….

What do you have planned for the rest of 2011?

A Spanish translation of my play DE NOVO will be performed in El Salvador in June and I will be travelling to see it, so I am working hard now to remember that the Spanish word “embarazada” DOES NOT mean embarrassed! (look it up). I am performing with the acclaimed storytelling org The Moth in Michigan this June as well. In October “Mother/SON” will be travelling to Greece. And in the meantime, I’m writing a new play and not looking at X-TUBE… I swear I am.

For more information about Solomon’s work, visit

Sunday, May 8, 2011

RIP Doric Wilson

Goodbye to a tireless advocate of gay theatre and gay rights. Playwright Doric Wilson passed away this weekend at the age of 72.


Lambda Literary

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine

This is not exactly on topic since it doesn't have anything to do with theatre, but Michele Josue, a friend of Matthew Shepard, is raising money to do a documentary about him.

Here is Michele's description of the project.

In 1998, my friend Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and tied to a fence on a Wyoming prairie and left to die because he was gay. His tragic murder made countless headlines around the world and Matthew Shepard soon became a hugely public symbol, undoubtedly important, whose story resounded in the hearts of many. But to me, Matt was a dear friend.

This past fall, I have begun work on a feature-length documentary about the Matthew behind those headlines. Through the honest and intimate recollections of his family and those, like myself, who were personally affected by his death, our film seeks to tell the story of the Matthew the world hardly knows and to make sense out of a senseless tragedy.

This past October, we shot extensively in Denver and Wyoming with very limited resources. During this time, we interviewed many amazing people who gave us incredible insight into Matt’s death and his all-too-brief life. Overall, it was a humbling and inspiring experience.

I feel it's so important, especially in this day and age, to share with the world the story of our Matt, as not just a symbol, but as a real person who had the love and respect of his family and his many friends. To be honest, this is a film I've been waiting years to make, and I am honored to have the opportunity to make it now.

You can find out more and invest in the film at Michele's Kickstarter page.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All The Kings Men to Perform in NY This Friday

Boston-based All The Kings Men (ATKM), the all female, physical theatre ensemble performing original, cabaret style shows, is coming to New York.  This award-winning group that has performed throughout the US and internationally continues to push the boundaries and explore stereotypes of gender identity through comedic and dramatic story telling, all set to music. Utilizing character, physical theatre, dance, comedy, lip-synch and character based sketch work in their shows ATKM is a comic and sexy modern day twist on Shakespeare, where women play all the roles.

ATKM will be performing this Friday at the Let's Be Brief launch party @ DROM (85 Avenue A between 5th and 6th Street).  Doors open at 10:30 PM; event begins at 11 PM.

Danielle Stanziale presents the Let's Be Brief Launch Party!

Let's Be Brief (Lbb) is the premiere underwear company catering to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer (LGBTQ) community and allies! Lbb underwear embody a masculine look with innovative styles, flattering different body types and sizes. A percentage of all sales will be donated to LGBTQ organizations chosen by our customers.

Come join us in celebrating our launch on Friday May 6th, 2011.

10:30pm - Doors open... Come early, grab a drink, check out our undies and be seen and photographed on the red carpet!

11:00pm - All The Kings Men (ATKM) take the stage... Come see this award-winning, all female, character-based performance troupe that creates wholly electrifying cabaret-style and modern vaudevillian productions

12:00pm and on - Dance all night long to DJ Lezzz Van Halen

This event is sponsored by Go Magazine.

Get tickets in advance... or buy a pair of undies and get in for free!!!