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15 Minutes with Justin Sayre

May 12th, 2017 Comments off
Justin Sayre (Photo: Kevin Yatarola via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre (Photo: Kevin Yatarola via The Broadway Blog.)

The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre — the monthly gathering of the International Order of Sodomites, the centuries-old organization which sets the mythic Gay Agenda — will conclude its acclaimed eight year run this Sunday, May 14 with two performances at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. Both shows are sold-out but will be broadcast globally online for the first time with Joe’s Pub Livestream, which is available at www.youtube.com/JoesPubNY.

The acclaimed comedy/variety show is known for its audacious humor, trailblazing political discourse and button-pushing cultural exploration. Special guests will be announced soon. Lance Horne serves as the evening’s music director. The Broadway Blog had a chance to catch up with Sayre before his final soiree — this is what he had to say…

Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

How did The International Oder of Sodomites come to fruition? And are there any charter members besides yourself? 
The original organization was founded in 1205 as part of the medieval guild system and since then we’ve been behind the scenes manipulating and maneuvering the lives and legacies of the LGBTQIA community.

Back then we were just all sodomites, which seemed easier to say but had perhaps harsh consequences. For many years, I worked with the organization in private and then in November of 2009 we had our first public meeting at The Duplex. We celebrated my patron saint, Edie Bouvier Beale. The membership is wide and extensive, celebrities, people who work with cheese, garbage men, real and figurative, we’re not choosey. Once you say the magic words, “I’m ****something besides straight****” you’re in.

Has honoring a celebrity always been part of the line-up?
Always. It’s a way to get people talking. If you were told you’re going to an event about gay culture and politics, snoozeville. But if you’re told you’re going to a night celebrating Diana Ross, and there will be discussions of politics and culture, I’d say sign me up. It was a way to reach out to the membership and celebrate that which has touched us, moved us, given us strength to be ourselves. That brings all sorts of people together, and that is at the heart of what The Meeting* is, a community event.

What is your inspiration for choosing the season of notables?
We have an extensive list, and we rack our collective brains. We try to mix it up a great deal, selecting artists from all over the map. It’s all about inclusion, so we try to vary the lineup from month to month. The final shows was a grouping of people we’ve loved and always wanted to do. The last show will be my favorites. I think it’s only write after 7 years, don’t you.

In one of your recent shows, which paid tribute to Michael Bennett, there were some terrific guest appearances, including his famous “Turkey Lurkey Time” choreography from Promises, Promises. Have you ever attempted this dance in the privacy of your own home? If so, what might you compare it to?
I’m more of a drunken Fosse girl myself. I love a kitchen into bathroom Rich Man’s Frugue.

It’s the last season of The Meeting*. How else are we to get our fix of hilarity draped in a sensible shawl?
I will still be making shows and still making work at Joe’s Pub. It was simply time to end this side of it. Being the Chairman of The Board has been a rare and unbelievable joy in my life for sometime, but I think it’s time to try new things.

You’re very funny. But you also have a sense of gravitas when it comes to our current political climate. Has this recently influenced your work or have you always drawn inspiration from the end of the world as we know it?
I have always been talking about politics and the way we treat each other as a community. It’s the guts of the show for me.

Can we expect to see you at the Equality March in Washington this June? Do you have some tips for creative signage? Because, as you know, any protest is all about the accessories. 
I will certainly be. But I’m very bad with signs. Just look for the bellowing floor length pashmina and you’ll find me.

Justin Sayre

The Lamentable Tale of a Dog; as told by Beppo, formerly of the Castaglioni company of Padua — Sayre’s new solo work — will debut on Thursday, May 18 at 9 p.m. as part of the High Line “Out of Line” event series. The show, which features sets by Sully Ross, costumes by Allan Herrara and artwork by Adam Michael, will take place on the High Line at 14th Street. Melody Berger is featured on violin. The event is free but reservations are suggested. Visit TheHighLine.org for tickets and information.

 

 

The Meeting* You Won’t Want to Miss: Justin Sayre

January 28th, 2017 Comments off

by Jon L. Jensen

Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre’s The Meeting* of the International Order of Sodomites convened again on January 22 at Joe’s Pub. The performance marked the beginning of the final season of Sayre’s hit comedy/variety show, at a time when performances like it could not feel more essential.

Sayre is big in every sense of the word. His bearish looks are matched by a giant wit and intelligence. While many gay performers and icons prize cattiness and cynicism, Sayre is big-hearted, warm and generous. He took the stage at Joe’s Pub two days after the inauguration and a day after the International Women’s March.

“We’re coming in hot,” said Sayre, adjusting his giant amethyst ring, attired in a flowing sweater ensemble, red-sequined pumps and a pink “pussy” cap.

His show featured tributes to two deceased gay icons, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds, but Sayre spent much of the evening processing contemporary events—especially the Women’s March.

Sayre called on the members of his “International Order of Sodomites” to be active participants in a resistance that reaches far beyond the concerns of the LGBTQIA community. Inspired by his participation in the Women’s March, Sayre argued that gays should unite with women, men, people of color and children against America’s new nationalist/isolationist leadership. “We have to come together because it’s too important,” he said.

The Meeting* paid tribute to George Michael who passed away on Christmas Day. Nadia Quinn, channeling a Christian camp counselor circa 1983, sang “Faith.” Julian Fleischer crooned “Kissing a Fool.” And Drew Brody called on the audience to sing back-up for “Father Figure.”

George Michael (Slavko Sereda : Shutterstock, Inc.)

George Michael (Slavko Sereda : Shutterstock, Inc.)

Of all the musical performances, none was as rousing (or envelope-pushing) as Bridget Barkan. The singer came out in an Obama mask and began an electric rendition of Michael’s “Freedom 90.” Soon she stripped of the blackface mask, to reveal a bad comb-over wig and began to sing the song as the new orange-faced POTUS. For the final verse, she stripped off her tuxedo and released her own long, auburn hair—her breasts taped with black gaffer’s tape, the word FREEDOM emblazoned across her chest.

Although the evening would have benefited from more music, Sayre remained the star of the show. He talked warmly of Debbie Reynolds, clued the audience in on this YouTube gem, and sang Reynolds’ “Tammy.”

One of the most poignant moments of the evening, however, came as he teared up recounting his interaction with a small child and her mother at the March. The moment epitomized what makes Sayre such a treasure. Here is a comedian who is not afraid of appearing earnest and vulnerable. According to him, children cannot tear their eyes off of him. “I don’t know if they’re drawn to me out of fascination,” he said, “or an intense fear that they might become me.”

The Gay Agenda - Album Cover (1)I cannot speak for the children, but I share in their fascination with Sayre. This reviewer ended up kicking myself that I showed up to the Meeting* seven years too late.

If you are like me, a little behind the times, do not miss your chance to catch The Meeting*’s final performances at Joe’s Pub. The final shows will tribute:

Michael Bennett (February 19)
The Velvet Underground (March 19)
Patti LuPone (April 23)

The final celebration will be held with two performances on Sunday, May 14 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. You can also download Sayre’s comedy album, The Gay Agenda, on iTunes here , or subscribe to his podcast “Sparkle & Circulate” here.

Jon L. Jensen is a poet and educator. His forthcoming novel-in-verse attempts to give his native Wyoming an epic makeover.

 

 

 

Don’t Miss: Justin Sayre’s Final Season of The Meeting* at Joe’s Pub

January 22nd, 2017 Comments off
Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre (Photo: Ricardo Nelson via The Broadway Blog.)

The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre — the monthly gathering of the International Order of Sodomites, the centuries-old organization which sets the mythic Gay Agenda — has announced the themes of the Winter/Spring 2017 season.

Each month, the I.O.S gathers to honor an artist or a cultural work that is iconic to the gay community. Justin Sayre, the show’s creator, writer and host, serves as the Chairman of the Board of the International Order of Sodomites and brings his singular wit to essential business of the day through such regular features such as ”Letters to the Chairman” and “New Rulings from the Board.”

After seven years of audacious humor, trailblazing political discourse and button-pushing cultural exploration, the acclaimed comedy/variety show is being presented for the eighth and final season at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, which concludes its run in May 2017. The Winter/Spring 2017 shows are Sunday nights at 9:30 PM and will feature tributes to:

George Michael (January 22)
Michael Bennett (February 19)
The Velvet Underground (March 19)
Patti LuPone (April 23)

The final celebration will be held with two performances on Sunday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tracy Stark serves as the season’s music director. Special guests will be announced for each show.

The Meeting* has been called “delicious and delightfully droll” by The New York Post and “hilarious and sardonic” by The Village Voice. After originally opening at the historic Duplex in the West Village, The Meeting* has also enjoyed successful runs at the Broadway nightclub 54 Below in New York, the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles and  Oasis in San Francisco. Sparkle & Circulate with Justin Sayre, the official podcast of the International Order of Sodomites, was recently named among “10 Comedy Podcasts You Should Listen To” by Backstage.

Justin Sayre and The Meeting* – known for a signature blend of outrageous comedy, politics, culture and everything in between – were named among the Top nightclub shows of 2013 by Time Out New York, and received the 2012 Bistro Award for “Comedy Artistry” and a 2011 MAC Award nomination for Best Male Comedy Performance.

Justin Sayre Returns to Joe’s Pub for Final Season of ‘The Meeting*’

August 2nd, 2016 Comments off
Justin Sayre (Photo: Kevin Yatarola via The Broadway Blog.)

Justin Sayre (Photo: Kevin Yatarola via The Broadway Blog.)

The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre — the monthly gathering of the International Order of Sodomites, the centuries-old organization which sets the mythic Gay Agenda — will come to an end at the conclusion of its upcoming season.

After seven years of audacious humor, trailblazing political discourse and button-pushing cultural exploration, the acclaimed comedy/variety show will be presented for the eighth and final season from September 2016 through May 2017 at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. The Fall 2016 season shows are Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. and will feature tributes to gay icons Beyonce (September 18), Bette Midler (October 23), and Angela Lansbury (November 20), with the 8th Annual Holiday Spectacular! being held December 18.

The Meeting* has been called “delicious and delightfully droll” by The New York Post and “hilarious and sardonic” by The Village Voice. A story for Slate.com called the evening “so deliciously icy that it left me shivering with fear and delight.” Last season’s shows sold out after a profile in The New York Times “Arts & Leisure” section. Tracy Stark serves as the season’s music director. Special guests will be announced for each show.

“The Meeting* has been a tremendous gift to me for these past seven years,” said I.O.S Chairman Justin Sayre. “It’s given me a voice and a platform to talk about all the things that weighed on my mind and for that I am eternally grateful. But sometimes you need to know when to say goodbye. Being the chairman of the IOS has brought me so much joy that I feel like if I continued to hold in my hand it would melt away.”

“I will still be around,” continued Sayre. “Performing, writing, singing the occasional song, but I think for right now, The Meeting* will be officially adjourned. We’ve formed a family and that was always at the heart of the show. But families change and grow and that’s what we are looking forward to In the meantime, for our last hurrah we’re going to present a dazzling array of guest stars and many of your favorite performers who have graced our stage over the years. We’re tackling all the major icons we haven’t gotten to yet. Kids, we’re going out with a bang!”