Bridget Everett, Ben Rimalower, Xavier, Justin Sayre
The Meeting* hosted by Justin Sayre - the acclaimed gay comedy/variety show - will open its fourth season on September 20, 2012 at The Duplex in New York's West Village. According to Time Out New York, "The Meeting* has become a cult hit among a young, festive and culturally aware crowd. Sayre is an avatar of modern-retro cultivation." Each edition of The Meeting* honors a different gay icon; the September show will pay tribute to Disco chart-topper Sylvester with special guests Bridget Everett, Ben Rimalower and Xavier.
The Meeting*, the monthly gathering of the I.O.S. (International Order of Sodomites), has become a downtown sensation with its signature blend of outrageous comedy, political and social activism, and cultural education. Justin Sayre - the show's creator, writer and host - serves as the Chairman of the Board. Each month, the I.O.S gathers to educate the membership on essential business of the day through musical performances, skits, trivia and regular features such as "Letters to the Chairman" and "New Rulings from the Board." Justin Sayre and The Meeting* were named one of the Top 10 nightclub shows of 2011 by Time Out New York, received the 2012 Bistro Award for "Comedy Artistry" and a 2011 MAC Award nomination for Best Male Comedy Performance. The remainder of the season will celebrate the musical "Funny Girl" (October 18), Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich (November 15) and the annual Holiday Extravaganza (December 13).
The I.O.S is the centuries-old secret organization of homosexuals and their friends - modeled after The Mattachine Society and other groups - that sets the mythic gay agenda. "At the heart of the show is community," Justin comments, "something that even with all our advancements, we still find hard to create or to maintain. But the thing that has been amazing to me is the reach of the show. So often, straight men and women, fathers and girlfriends, tell me they have had the best time. Comedy can really show people that we are all funny, fallible human beings stumbling around trying to do the right thing. There are differences of course, but by accepting them and celebrating them we show a pride in our common humanity that is infectious. The Meeting* is a gift: not something that I give, but something that I get. A chance to share my thoughts and ideas but also a great opportunity to celebrate gay culture. That's pretty good, huh?"
Below are the dates and themes of the Fall 2012 Season:
Thursday, September 20
The season launches with an exploration of one of disco's most fascinating figures, who helped launch modern-day queer culture. Though best remembered for the #1 hits "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)," the flamboyant pop/dance star was among the first to challenge the traditional gender roles in the music business.
Thursday, October 18
Among the classic musicals of the last 50 years, "Funny Girl" may be among the most iconic - and gayest - with its towering breakout performance by leading lady Barbra Streisand, infectious score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and juicy theatrical lore. This edition of The Meeting* will feature songs from this seminal backstage musical, in addition to special trivia.
Thursday, November 15
The essence of Deco glamour, the international film legend donned a tuxedo and top hat to pioneer androgynous fashion at a time when Hollywood's gender lines were rigidly defined. Privately bisexual, she flirted with onscreen lesbianism. Also a noted song stylist, she introduced the famed torch song "Falling In Love Again" and the camp classic "The Boys in the Back Room."
Thursday, December 13
The annual Christmas show - always filled with musical merriment and comedy shenanigans - both lampoons and celebrates the happiest time of the year, with that special gay twist. Past features include "The Nativity of Quentin Crisp," "Serving in Silence: The Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Story" and the famous "Truth or Dreidel" game.
Past "agenda items" have addressed current issues such as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, the romantic saga of gay penguins at the San Francisco Zoo, and a guide to the so-called "Gay Panic" defense. The organization's valuable Public Service Announcements have included the Houseboy Relocation Program, helping Fire Island's displaced hired hands, and the Twink Literacy Campaign, dedicated to educating today's youth about classic gay culture (soon to be a digital short).
The monthly events have featured popular guest stars such as Lea DeLaria, Christian Campbell, Frank DeCaro, Molly Pope, Lance Horne, Lady Rizo, Tituss Burgess, Natalie Joy Johnson, Kenny Mellman, Randy Rainbow, Maude Maggart, Jack Ferver, Murray Hill, Jeffery Self and Cole Escola, Bridget Everett, Steve Hayes, Poor Baby Bree and more. Previous shows have paid tribute to singers such as Dolly Parton and Diana Ross; films like "Valley of the Dolls" and "Beaches"; actresses such as Bea Arthur and Molly Ringwald; as well as playwrights and filmmakers like Tennessee Williams and John Waters.
On June 18, 2012, The Meeting* presented their second annual all-star Night of A Thousand Judys concert at Playwrights Horizons, honoring the iconic entertainer Judy Garland. The sold-out evening was a benefit for The Ali Forney Center - the nation's largest organization dedicated to serving homeless LGBT youth - and starred Tonya Pinkins, Michael Musto, Nellie McKay, Karen Akers, Howard McGillin, Ashley Brown, Daniel Reichard and more. The 2011 edition at Joe's Pub featured performances by Jackie Hoffman, Daisy Egan, Paul Iacono, Gay Marshall, Jeff Hiller, Emily Bergl, Ryan O'Connor, among others.
This summer Justin headlined his own show as part of Daniel Nardicio's Icon Series at the Ice Palace on Fire Island, in a season that also featured Liza Minnelli, Alan Cumming, Sandra Bernhard and Margaret Cho. Yale University presented a special edition of The Meeting* in 2011 as part of their Pride Month. The new website, www.InternationalOrderofSodomites.com, was recently launched with podcasts, videos, blogs and more.