This past Thursday I organized and played in Women Who Rock, a show to benefit Empire State Pride Agenda through Drinking for a Change, my friend Peter Dunn’s organization which raises money for LGBT causes through hosting bar nights in NYC. Man, do I hate organizing shows, but luckily this one turned out great.
After a flurry of emails and months of stressing about it, Peter and I put together an evening of music hosted by my friend, soon-to-be theatrical/burlesque star Lady Killer, DJ’ed by DJ Ahomii, and featuring performances by Jené, Charlene Kaye, Anna Haas and me. As is the case with all show biz endeavors, everything seemed to be in a shambles one hour before the show was scheduled to start, but by 9:20 or so we had opened the doors, and our fantastic crowd was pouring in as the dance pop tunes blared over the sound system. Jené started things off with a bang with a short set that included a bit of a strip tease and some fierce belting, then Charlene Kaye kept it rockin’ with her fabulous band, then Anna Haas brought it home with her soulful belt and a wonderful cover of “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson at the end of her set, during which Charlene and I picked up our mics and spontaneously joined in on the background vocals while getting the whole crowd dancing and singing along. That was a great moment!
Finally, it was my turn to take the stage. I was initially a bit sad that my backup dancers weren’t able to do this gig with me, but once I got there and was reminded of how teeny-tiny the stage is, I realized it was all for the best since there would have been no space for them to dance. Everything happens for a reason!
This show went so well. The crowd was perfect, they loved my stuff, and I had plenty of funny things to say in between songs. I remember at one point saying, because it was an LGBT charity fund raiser and most of the crowd was gay, “Listen. I LOVE gay people. One time I was at a gay guy’s birthday party and it was just me and a bunch of gay guys, and I kid you not, we ACTUALLY ended the party by spontaneously singing “Seasons of Love” from RENT, complete with all the proper harmonies, riffing and backup vocals. You know that would never happen at a straight party, and it was amazing. So, if you guys ever get tired of being gay, just, you know, take a breath and keep going, because you’re doing the right thing. Don’t stop being gay!” Everyone laughed a lot at that. At another point, after singing a few songs, I was so out of breath and sweaty and exhausted from the last few days of running myself into the ground, that I just sat down and was sort of laughing uncontrollably at the whole situation, and said, through laughs, “I feel like an old, overweight drag queen who’s trying to prove she’s still got it. I am so exhausted, hahahahha,” and I did that thing where performers feel out a moment with the audience and get them to the point where they have to spontaneously erupt into applause, which was just what happened. It was SO funny and awesome and I don’t know if anyone caught it on tape, but if they did, you can bet it will be on this blog pretty soon.
About halfway into the set, people started to really get up and dance to all my songs and it was so fun to get down on the dance floor and jump around and sing with them. They really got into “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” as always, and at the end of the set, people were clamoring to sign my email list, and I sold some CDs, so it was quite a fantastic evening.
If someone else will do all the legwork next time, we should do it again! 🙂