Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rollerina - Legendary Queen of Studio 54

On Saturday, April 20th, there was an event that honored New York City's Grand Dame of Drag - Rollerina! In the 1970s and 80s, Rollerina was always spotted roller skating around the streets of Greenwich Village by day and rolling around the dance floors of Studio 54 by night! She wore mod prints, flamboyant hats, crazy eye-glasses, long flowing dresses and often waved a fairy wand! She was one of the City's first celebrity Drag Queens, dating back before Wigstock! Today she no longer roller skates, but she is still going strong! She is a regular at Dance 208, The LGBT Center Dances, the place where her celebration took place. The DJ was Ted Snowdon, who spun classic Disco tunes that were played in the 70s at Studio 54 when Halston, Bianca, Andy and Liza partied the night away. It must have been such a groovy time back then! To pay tribute to Rollerina, I dressed like her. I wore a mod 70s print gown with a matching hat, turquoise necklace and rhinestone cat-eye glasses. Many Other Drag performers also showed up to show their respect and admiration to the legendary Diva and Queen of Studio 54. They included Flotilla DeBarge, Hedda Lettuce, Jacquline Jonee, Brenda Bond, Howie V and more! Film maker Wolfgang Busch, producer of the Drag Documentary How Do I Look? was also there enjoying the party and video taping for more visual footage of Drag Queen culture. Notable Leathermen Bruce-Michael Gelbert (Mr. Fire Island Leather, NY Q News), Sir Angelo Cilia (NYCGMC Butch) and Rob Valan (Leather Night Out) also came to give their birthday wishes! We even had a Rollerina look-alike contest which was won by my dear friend, Fanny Fondue. Fanny looked so much like Rollerina, people said that they were twins separated at birth! Rollerina gave a speech of gratitude about how she moved to NYC from Kentucky and how much fun and freedom of expression there was and is in NYC! She was also presented with a birthday cake, red roses and a new fairy wand! She danced to her favorate song, Abba's Dancing Queen with artist David Alverez, who decorated the hall with original retro art. Disco will NEVER die!

Photos: Clover Honey with Rollerina; Flotilla DeBarge and Clover Honey; Rob Valan (Leather Night Out)

Monday, April 23, 2007

GOAL - Gay Officers and me!

On April 20, I had the honor of attending the 25th Anniversary Celebration of GOAL (Gay Officers Action League) , an official NYC Police Fraternal organization supporting LGBT Police Officers, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Professionals. The event took place in a ballroom at the swank landmark eatery, Tavern on the Green, nestled in NYC Central Park. GOAL has grown from meeting in secret at undisclosed locations, to a Proud and Out professional unity where they march down Fifth Avenue proudly displaying their uniforms and shields. Awards were given to those who advanced and supported the Community. Recipients included Kurland, Bonica and Associates, a renowned civil rights law practice and Carroll M. Hunter, a former Deputy Director of the NYC Dept. of Corrections and former President of GOAL. I attended as Press with Tony Sawicki for Under the Pink Carpet and had a marvelous time among the many strong and brave men and women who are part of and support the organization. The NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly also attended the gala to pay homage to the establishment. We are grateful to those who uphold the laws and keep our City safe. Since its founding in 1982, the Gay Officers Action League has been at the forefront of advocacy for LGBT law enforcement personnel. GOAL also acts as a bridge between the the law enforcement community and the LGBT community.

I was in the company of NY Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell, future NY Assembly Member Micah Kellner, NYC Council Member Gail Brewer, GOAL President George Farrugia, Esq., Yetta Kuland, Esq., Drew Tagliabue and Phyllis of PFLAG, Queens District Leader Danny Dromm, Detective Patricia Rodrigues, Corrections Officer Jeffrey Nieves, Stonewall Democrats President Matthew Carlin, Gina Bonica, Esq., Michael Colosi, Esq., Eddie Ruiz, Howie V and others.

Photos: Corrections Officer Jeff Nieves with Clover Honey; Outside the Tavern; NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Clover Honey; Detective Patricia Rodrigues, Clover Honey and Yetta Kurland, Esq.; Matt Carlin, Clover Honey and Micah Kellner.

Fresh Fruit Awards - Plucked and Squeezed

On April 16, I had the pleasure of participating in the annual Fresh Fruit Festival Awards, held at The Metropolitan Room. The Fruits of Distinction Awards (or "Fruities" as they are lovingly known) honor outstanding artistic achievements by the festivals participants. I greeted attendees, and warmed the audience up with my welcome and a vocal rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" a la Nicole from Moulin Rouge. I then introduced the MC for the awards, Mr. Murray Hill. I am also on Fresh Fruit's Board of Directors, led by artistic director Carol Polcovar and executive director Jeffrey Leeds. Together we boldly promote a Queer multi-media, diverse festival, providing venues, networking, exposure, and Community that builds talent, knowledge and artistic expression. The festival has welcomed artists form all over the world as well as local performers from the NYC area. The Festival is also the most inclusive expression of LGBT arts ever held in the City of New York, with performers that have backgrounds and identities that include all racial, religious, national, sexual orientations, and gender expressions celebrated on stage and in the audience.

This years special honors call the Passion Fruit Awards went to the Hon. Alan J. Gerson (NY City Council Member) and Transgender Lesbian author & activist Kate Bornstein. Some other Fruites given went to Ted Caine and Delores Kenan for acting, Mike Albo for Comedy, Kathy Valentine and Anne Rebold for Cabaret, David Brown for Original Music, Chocolate Waters for Poetry, Jen/Ed and for Performance, Claudia Alick for directing, and two ultra fabulous Drag Divas fwho reside in Nothern California Landa Lakes and Samantha Richards. They're part of the Brush Arbor Gurlz, a Native Drag ensemble that introduces audiences to Native American culture through humor and provides Native American visibility to the larger LGBT Community. Fruities have also been given to NH (Non-Human performers.) In the past this inculued Rod and Nicky, puppets from the Broadway hit Avenue Q. The tradion continued this year as an award was given to Adam Seymour Duckstien, better known as Queer Duck. The award was accdepted by Xeth Feinberg, the animator and cartoonist who directed and designed the feature lenghth Queer Duck: The Movie. Our NH (non-human) performer and award presenter this evening was the hilarious puppet Grand Duke Lenora Von Elsingberg. I had a wonderful time being part of such a fresh and fruity event at an elegant and sophisitcated cabart like The Metropolitan Room. Friends who attended the event included Bob Montgonery (Homocomicus), Dick McCall (Stonewall Demorates), Civil rights attorneries Yetta Kurland and Gina Bonica, Tre' Xavier (Raging Stallion), Nick Curto and Suellen Rubin of All Out Arts, Veronica Vera of Miss Veria's Finishing School, a Cross-Dressing academy, Performance Artist Cary Curran, the beautiful transgender model and performer Lavern Cox, Rita Petie, Madilyn Madelaine, Howie V and many others.

Photos: Clover Honey with Brush Arbor Gurlz Landa Lakes and Samantha Richards; ONn Stage; With author/activist Kate Bornstein; Ted Caine; Clover Honey, Bob Montgonery, Dirk McCall and Yetta Kurland; Miss Veronica Vera; Xeth Feinberg (Queer Duck cartoonist.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Philadelphia Freedom at IFGE Conference

On April 12, I arrived at the Philadelphia Airport Hilton Hotel as a guest to attend the annual IFGE (International Foundation for Gender Education) Transgender Conference. IFGE advocates for freedom of Gender Expression and promotes understanding and acceptance of ALL people. The Hotel was beautiful, spacious and I enjoyed the indoor swimming pool. I saw many familiar faces and met some new wonderful and interesting people. I was greeted by my dear friend, Christine James, a Grand Dame of the Transgender movement and one of the founders and organizers of the conference. It was a chance to network, meet new people, learn and have wonderful time. Attending the conference were Miss Veronica Vera, founder and Head Mistress of Miss Vera's Finishing School, a Cross-Dressing Academy. Cross-Dressers were honored with an eloquent speech given by Miqqu Gilbert, who won a Trinity Award. Ms. Gilbert told CDs to claim their rightful place in the Transgender Community. I was very glad to hear her wonderful words spoken, since I was always dismayed by Transsexual Women who were not accepting. Bigotry and hatred are never in fashion and always make a person hideously ugly. I got the chance to see Donna Rose (author of Wrapped in Blue) who also won a Trinity Award and Helen Boyd (author of My Husband Betty and She's Not the Man I Married) along with Betty Crow herself. On Friday, Jade Esteban Estrada performed his fabulous one-person show Icons, where he played Sylvia Rivera, Gertrude Stein and others. Also on Friday evening, me and the some of the girls hit the clubs in town. When we arrived at a Philly night-spot called Tavern on Camac, I sang some songs with John Flynn accompanying on the piano. "Hey Big Spender" went over very well. Since Under the Pink Carpet, the TV show I'm on, is on WYBE, a PBS TV station in Philly, many people recognized me and came over to say Hi and told me how much they enjoy seeing me on TV. On Saturday night I was part of the entertainment line-up we called "Philadelphia Follies" during the conference closing night formal Ball on Saturday. I sang "When You're Good to Mama" and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" to the fun and supportive crowd of over 900 people.

Photos: At Tavern on Camac in Philly, On stage at IFGE, With Helen Boyd (author My Husband Betty) and Betty Crow, Rochelle Nicole of CDI (Cross Dressers Internatinal), Lorenzo as "Elvis", Donna Rose (author Wrapped In Blue)

Models and Art Galore!

I soaked in some more art, both visual and performance at the second anniversary celebration of a party called Galore that took place at XES lounge in Chelsea on April 9. The art was a premiere showing of a new exhibit of artistic photographs by Jeff Eason of Wilson Models. Mr. Eason/Wilson Models is also the photographer who took the studio shots of me that I use on my website. Jeff is terrific behind the camera and the works that were exhibited in this new show were amazing! They were black & white nudes of male models with chocolate syrup dripping down their chiseled bodies. I thought about using Chocolate syrup in my next photo shoot, but I concluded that jewelry is a better accessory on models like me. Jeff also takes photographs for HX magazine and Matt Banks, the publisher of HX was at the event. I always love it when I run into those who publish my favorite magazines! The event was hosted by Deryck Todd and DJ Jimmy Beats played the music and videos. There was also some live entertainment provided by Adam Joseph who not only performs, but writes, engineers and arranges all of his music. Plus, he's adorable! The other music performers were Alysha Unpress, Amy Douglas and the group Shimerplanet. Jimmy also sang "I get by with a little help from my Friends" with the rock group. A night mixed with visual art, performance art, drink specials and gorgeous men, of course, made for a wonderful and memorable evening!

Photos: Clover Honey with Adam Joseph, With Deryck Todd, Matthew Banks (HX Publisher) with Clover Honey and friend, Clover with DJ Jimmy and Madelyn

Some Men - Terrence McNally and Marriage

I was Broadway bound on April 6 as I helped my dear friend Hector Coris, Director of Marketing for Second Stage Theatre, host a special reception after a performance of the new Terrence McNally play that strongly touches on the subject of Gay Marriage, Some Men. McNally's new play was inspiring, touching and funny. It opens at a wedding of two men and looks at same-sex life and love against the background of some of the events that shaped the last century. The hot-button topic of gay marriage is a running theme of Some Men, with the questions that the subject invariably raises. “Some people think this marriage thing is going to be the end of Gay life as it has been practiced on this planet for a hundred million years,” says a character in the opening scene. One of the most touching scenes for me was a moment where a Drag Queen (brilliantly played by actor David Greenspan looking fabulous in a peach ensemble with white gloves and pearls) sang "Over the Rainbow" in a preppy piano bar where she was unwelcome. The scene was not camp, but dramatic as the sounds of the Stonewall Riot were heard just outside.

At the event I met Lucy Arnaz and her husband Laurence Luckinbill. This was the second time I've met Lucy, known for being the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and it's always a thrill to chat with someone so talented and who's been in so many Broadway, television and Cabaret productions. Speaking at the reception was Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters. Wolfson is a nationally renowned attorney and director of Freedom to Marry, who hails the movement for marriage equality as "one of the first important civil rights campaigns of the 21st century." I also met actors from Some Men including Pedro Pascal (Fritz) and Romain Fruge (Carl), Tom Kirdahy, the husband of Terrence McNally and others who are trying so hard to win equality in marriage. By the way, I have a beautiful white gown all ready for when my time to take the big step comes. But I'm in no rush, I'm still having lots of fun being a single girl in New York City.

Photos: Lucy Arnaz, Poster, Clover Honey with Evan Wolfson (author of Why Marriage Matters and Chair of Marriage Equality), Tom Kirdahy (McNally's Husband) and Howie V., Actors from Some Men - Pedro Pascal (Fritz) and Romain Fruge (Carl)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Night of 1,000 Gowns with Cyndi Lauper

On Saturday March 31, I attended the Night of 1,000 Gowns, the annual Drag Fundraising Ball at The Broadway Ballroom in the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. The event is an all-out Glamour-Fest formal dinner with dancing in a spacious grand hall. At the end of the evening there was an actual Royal Coronation Ceremony that took place. Elected Monarchs are sovereignty crowned Emperor and Empress of New York. This year the honor went to a Drag Diva with a small name, B (henceforth known as Empress B) but with big jewels and a bigger heart. The new Emperor is Craig Hollywood, a gorgeous big Bear of a guy who I always loved! The beneficiary of the Gala was PFLAG (Parents and Friends/Family of Lesbians and Gays) and the special guest star was one of that orgainzations biggest and most famous supporters, Pop icon Cyndi Lauper. When I first arrived in my gown with gold hologram spangles and bell sleeves, I ran into some media crews and I proceeded to give Celebrity interviews about the event and about NYC Drag culture for the local news teams. My news camera crew was off for the evening, so I came as a guest. It was nice being on the other side of the microphone for a change! I ran into my colleague Cognac Wellington, hostess and reporter for a party news program on cable TV. When Cognac started to interview me, Cyndi Lauper made her entrance and there was quite a stir! Ms. Lauper was not giving the Press any interviews, but when she saw me, she came running up to us. She told me she remembered and loved the interview she gave for Under the Pink Carpet. And Cognac was lucky enough to be the only person who was able to get a sound byte or interview with the Pop Star!

I loved being at a magnificent party with all of my Drag Diva Sisters and seeing all the fabulous and creative ensembles. There were more Jewels, sequins, feathers, fur, hairspray and (the most important accessory)- fierce attitude - than at a Gabor Family Reunion! There were also plenty of Men who dress like Men, who looked snazzy and sharp in their tuxedos and dress military uniforms. Plus, there were also some GGs (Genetic born Girls) who got all dolled up with fun, fashion and estrogen. One beautiful GG was famous fetish designer The Baroness who looked divine in gown made of pink latex! Among the attendees were Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Cabaret Icon Barbara Cook, burlesque diva Dirty Martini, Drag Queens Lady Bunny, Bianca Del Rio, Carmella Cann, Millie Sheaintwright, Flotilla DeBarge, J. Roy Helland from Hollywood's The Birdcage and the legendary Rollerina. Ms. Rollerina is among the first celebrity Drag Queens symbolizing the 1970s Disco era in NYC. She no longer dances at Studio 54 or roller skates in the streets of Greenwich Village, but she still is going strong and knows how to have a good time. My Drag Diva partygoer friends included: Cissy Galore, Bernda Bond, Loopee, Jacquline Jonee, Rita Petite, Wendy Darling, Rochelle Nicole, Lady Julie, Cassandra Hilton and countless others. My Men friends included: Ryan Wolowski (Out and About TV), Frank DeCaro (Sirius Satellite Radio), Bruce-Michael Gelbert (Q News), Drew Tagliabue (Executive Director PFLAG), Michael Mulvaney (Rainbow Connection TV), Will Clark (Porno Bingo) and many more!

Photos: Being Interviewed with Cyndi Lauper by Cognac Wellington; Barbara Cook; Empress B and Emperor Craig Hollywood; Lady Julie; Frank DeCaro of Sirius Satellite Radio; Bruce-Michael Gelbert with Clover and Ryan Wolowski; Dirty Martini; J. Roy Helland from The Birdcage; Rollerina.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Adult Fun and Fundraising for the Arts

On Wednesday March 28, It was time for another charity BINGO game. There are NO Church Ladies at the Bingo Bashes I attend, but there are Male Adult Entertainment Stars and it truly is a fundraiser for a good cause. It's Will Clark's Porno Bingo, the Male Adult Video Industry's way of giving back to the Community that supports them. Tonight's beneficiary was the Fresh Fruit Festival and I can't think of a more exciting way to be a Patron of the Arts than to attend tonight's games. The Fresh Fruit Fest provides networking, venues, support and creative outlets artists. Will Clark's BINGO games are a way to meet Porn Stars and local Celebrities in a fun and sexy, but relaxed and friendly way that raises money for a good cause. They take place on Wednesday evenings at 9th Avenue Bistro in NYC. I was a special guest and number caller tonight along with two sizzling stars from Raging Stallion Video, Jake Deckard and Jay Black. Singer/songwriter hottie David Serrano also performed some of his original music. The reigning Mr. Eagle 2007, Rich Weber was generous to lend his auctioneer skills for a special Jock Strap auction where our two Stars modeled and sold their athletic supporters to the highest bid in a Chinese Auction. Cabaret singer Robert Vest , David and Andrew did a wonderful job at selling the BINGO cards. Other "Celebrities" among the crowd included All Out Arts President Nick Curto, photographer Michael Alago (roughgods.com), photographer A.B., Porn Star Tre' Exavier, JC Faust from the rock band Nekked, Cabaret singer James Lloyd Bennette, two Cher impersonators (although not dressed as Cher) Devon Cass and Howie V, Eric Einstein of Pieces Bar and members of Cheer New York (LGBT Cheerleaders) and Amy, Rita, Madelyn, Alicia and other members of CDI (Cross-Dressers International.)

Photos: Jack Deckard with Clover; Clover Honey; Clover, Jake, Jay Black and Will Clark; David Serrano, Clover Honey and Eric Einstein.

Expo: See and Be Seen/Scene!

On March 25, it was time for the annual GLBT Expo at the Javitz Center in NYC. It was the 14th year that Queer and Queer-friendly companies both large and small have gathered under on roof. And yes, it was a very large roof. It was a jamboree of corporate Fortune 100 companies along with small non-profit community organizations and social clubs on display together for all to see. The City's top entertainers were also making a showing with Out rockers, singer/songwriters and Drag Divas all parading around the huge exhibition floor in between the concert performances. Among the fabulous entertainers who showcased their talent were Dance music Diva Martha Wash, formerly of the Weather Girls who drove the crowd wild with "It's Raining Men" and her other hit songs. Also providing entertainment were Ira Levi, Houston Bernard, Jonny McGovern, Josh Zuckerman with Drag Divas Peppermint, Cashetta, Sherry Vine and so many others. I loved running into Kevin Aviance and was very impressed with his new line of stylish, fabulous shoes for women and Drag Queens.

I took the opportunity to see and be seen, taste and sip the liquor samples and network with others in the GLBT business community. This including the TV industry that I love being a part of when ran Ben Harvey of Here! TV, the most fabulous Gay television network. We laughed about the video shoot we did together for a showcase of Leather/Motorcycle themed movies a few weeks ago. We also ran into Ryan Wolowski of Out and About TV who was also in the shoot. Plus, I had the pleasure of meeting Sara Logue, of Here with Josh and Sara, the Will & Grace of Radio. And it's always fun catching up with and dishing with another Blonde, busty cable TV personality, which I did when me and Robin Byrd hugged each other.

The Exhibition went on for miles and I met so many friends, fans and acquaintances that the time also flew by, and I realized I met more people that day than many do in a year.

Photos: "Auston" and "Elton" for Gay British Tourism, On Stage, Martha Wash, Ben Harvey, Junior and Tray, Sherry Vine with James Coppola, Ryan, Mike and Peppermint, Kevin Aviance