Monday, September 12, 2011

The power of theater.....

Since I was very young, oh so many years ago, I have been fascinated by live theater.  I was exposed to live performance in school, probably like most people who don't have adults to take them to the theater.  Back in the dark ages we listened to the radio....our imagination fleshed out the voices we heard and created the fantastic worlds they sent us over the radio waves.  TV came into our lives like a little miracle.  Black and white, Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, oh my!  History in the making.

I did not see a live theater performance until my high school put on "Good News".  Well, kill me now....I wanted to be part of that world.  But life intervened and it was several years before I could realize my theater love.  And many years after that I came to the Berkshires and found the Berkshire Theatre Festival. 

Which brings me to my story today.  Back in the summer of 2008 I received an email from a woman named Janine.  She said that she had been reading my blog and that she had been going to the Berkshire Theatre Festival and that she would like to meet me sometime.  I replied to her that I hoped we would meet and please introduce herself to me if she ever saw me in person.  Soon after I attended a party hosted by the BTF Director Kate Maguire and this lovely woman did introduce herself.  We have been friends ever since.

This year Janine auditioned for our community production of "The Wizard of Oz".  Everyone in the audition room was so impressed with her talent on the guitar and her lovely voice.  She was offered a role in the production as a 'citizen of Oz'. Since Janine has a full time job several miles away, it has been a hardship for her to attend all the rehearsals which take several weeks.  After working all day, she would drive an hour to be at rehearsal and then drive back and go to work the next day.  Why would anyone do that?  The power of theater!

Here she is in her costume as an 'Ozian"....

Although I have been privileged to meet many famous theater performers and have a few autographs to show for it, I don't think any of them will ever mean as much to me as the autograph she gave my daughter, "Thank you for your support, Love, Janine".

And I thank you, Janine, for your support for our theater.  We love you.
Countess Bedelia 9/12/2011 07:37:00 PM | 0 comments |

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another remembrance of 9/11...

Every year since I started this blog I have posted a remembrance on 9/11 of my friend, Janis Lasden, who was a passenger on Flight 11 out of Boston. 

She was going on vacation to Palm Springs with her boyfriend on that fateful day.  I will never forget how I heard the news.....2 days after the tragedy.  I had just arrived home and was walking out of my garage when a friend pulled up.  "I was hoping to catch you." she said,  "Have you heard the news?"  "What news?"  I replied.  "Janis and Dom were on Flight 11.  They are gone."

Ten years later there are so many stories.  So many people who were affected by those tragic events. 
Here is a story and video about the American Airlines employees working at Logan Airport on 9/11.  Because both flights that crashed into the World Trade Center towers originated in Boston, most people knew someone who was connected in one way or another.  Karen Martin, the lead flight attendant on Flight 11, was from my hometown of Danvers.  New England is still mourning that day on a very personal level.

It was an event that defined a generation and yet, when I brought my 10 year old granddaughter to New York City for a visit two years ago, she asked me to explain the messages on the wall of the fire department that listed the firemen from that firehouse who had died in the towers.  No one had ever taught her anything about that day.  I couldn't believe that this history wasn't taught in public school, even in fifth grade.  Hopefully that has changed by now.

So once again I will remember my friends on this day.  I still like to think that they are dancing the two-step in some country western dance palace in the sky.
Countess Bedelia 9/11/2011 02:14:00 AM | 0 comments |

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Gayby, the feature film

Some friends of mine made a short film called "Gayby" about a straight woman (played by Jenn Harris) who wants to have a baby with her gay best friend (played by her real life gay best friend Matthew Wilkas) and she wants to procreate it the 'old fashioned' way.  It was so successful that the writer, director, and producer, Jonathan Lisecki, decided to make it into a full length feature.

I could go on and on about how funny this film is...will be...if it gets the funding it needs to be finished.  But I'll let Jonathan's own words speak for the film and then, maybe, you will click on the Kickstarter page and contribute a dollar or two or more so that we can get to see this wonderful production on the big screen.

Jonathan's Blog on the Kickstarter page:

We filmed Gayby in 16 1/2 crazy, amazing days in the heat of August (2011)in NYC. The cast and crew consisted of the nicest, most talented bunch of people ever. Someone who worked on the last full day of shooting said that she could not believe we were still having so much fun that far into a shoot, but we were.

Our immensely talented cast was led by the superb combination of Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas. These two are just perfection together and were also surrounded by actors of the highest caliber. Our glorious supporting cast deserves serious alphabetical accolades. So a big thank you and congrats to: Charlie Barnett, Louis Cancelmi, Sarita Choudhury, Christian Coulson, Alycia Delmore, Mike Doyle, Adam Driver, Bridget Everett, Jack Ferver, Randy Harrison, Tommy Heleringer, Dulé Hill, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Alex Karpovsky, Ryan McGinnis, Kenny Mellman, Zach Shaffer, Joanne Tucker, and even little old JL.
 We were very lucky to have great actors and friends pop in for cameo roles, and we must give a shout out to all of them because they were awesome. So thank you to: Samantha Buck, Victoire Charles, Corinne Colon, Jeff Hiller, Lawrence Michael Levine, Maria McConville, Sherwin Parikh, Sophia Takal, Emily Wachtel, and an extra special thank you to eight-year-old Satchel Shure and six-month-old Zoe Leathers for choosing our film for their debut.

Now we wish we could explain some of the out-of-this-world amazing things that happened, but you might not believe us. Did we film a musical sequence where Kenny Mellman performed a fantastic original song he wrote for the film on piano while Bridget Everett scatted about Babydaddies? Did Matt Wilkas and Louis Cancelmi go-go dance behind her shirtless while Randy Harrison twirled in an exact replica of a mid-90s rave moment? On a different day did Jack Ferver and Jenn Harris work stripper poles in perfect unison and create a movement piece for the ages? Did Dulé Hill take us all to school with a little slice of his Broadway tap-dancing perfection? I don’t know. I thought I wrote a straight up (well gay up) narrative feature. But if all these little touches really happened then this film is going to be the most fun thing to come out in 2012 before the world ends.

We really do have so much good stuff to share. But we want you to be surprised. None of it would have been possible without a seriously dedicated crew of talented perfectionists. These people need a shout out right now. Thank you to: Producers Amy Hobby and Anne Hubbell, Executive Producers Zeke Farrow and Laura Heberton, DP Clay Liford, Production Designer Cat Navarro, Costume Designer David Tabbert, Hair and Make Up Artist Liz Coakley, Editor Ann Husaini, AC Marie Travis, Gaffer Lauren Wolkstein, Script Supervisor Christopher Radcliff, Sound Mixer Micah Bloomberg, 2nd AD Laura Terruso, Coordinator Alex Curran, the hardest working PA’s ever Mandy Lawrence and Chernoh Sesay, Wardrobe Dept Doug Hiller, Art Dept Sage Bartow, Asst. Editor Dave Miller, everyone else who came and helped on the days we needed it, and my personal best boy and husband Alex Ross.

We can’t wait to share with you all what we have come up with. To those of you who have donated thank you so much. To those of you who are considering it, thank you for pulling the trigger as soon as you read this, cause you know want to. We need these funds to complete this film. And trust us you want to see Gayby finished.


Jonathan Lisecki and the whole Gayby Crew.


We need just a little over $4,000 to raise the funds needed to finish this film.  No amount is too small (nor too big!).  Just click on the Kickstarter Page and kick in a few bucks.  You will be rewarded with a KickAss Film that will make you feel good and laugh at the same time....BONUS!

Countess Bedelia 9/03/2011 01:45:00 AM | 0 comments |