Monday, April 23, 2007

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.)