LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

Friday, August 8, 2014

PIA ZADORA TAKES NEW YORK IN "PIA RELOADED"!




PIA ZADORA TAKES NEW YORK IN "PIA RELOADED"!
 
To say that multi-talented entertainer Pia Zadora has had a unique career through the years would be a major understatement... and, in the showy world of cabaret, understatement is rarely if ever welcome!  Thankfully, this diminutive diva knows how to put on a big show even in a small space.  The new show is "Pia Reloaded", and the venue is New York City's cabaret hotspot The Metropolitan Room.  Our chanteuse is adorned by a five-man band, and we soon believe that it would take at least five men to compete with Pia's energy! Shortly after she emerged on the stage in a shimmering white Bob Mackie gown, we were taken by both Zadora's enthusiastic delivery and by her unblemished vocals.  Her voice still has a generous dose of girlish effervescence and perkiness.  We learn throughout "Pia Reloaded", however, that this lady can also belt and hit notes in a way that only years of training and experience can allow.

Zadora's career, which started in childhood, has seen some moments of envied accolades as well as some merciless attacks by a few pop culture observers and critics.  Looking back, it seems that Zadora-- who now calls Las Vegas her home-- has a sense of humor about the so-called "low" points of her long and multifaceted journey of stardom.  We can't help but wonder if her choice of opening song, the priceless gem "But Alive" from the 1970 musical "Applause", was answering the skeptics before they even got to ask "Is she still around?":
"I feel wicked and wacky and mellow;
Firm as Gibraltar and shaky as Jello;
But alive, but alive, but alive!
I feel half Tijuana, half Boston;
Partly Jane Fonda and partly Jane Austen;
But alive... that’s the thing, but alive!"

That aforementioned sense of humor, we learn, is a big part of Zadora's stage persona.  Yet, if anyone in the audience entered the theater with any question about her musical skills (or whether she can expertly take on and hold those challenging notes...), they can rest assured after that dynamic kickoff. "But Alive", incidentally, is only one of many songs in the course of the show which seemed hand-picked for Pia.  Later on, she shifted from her trademark kittenish delivery to a feverishly romantic tone with the bossa nova "Day by Day".  She reached some awe-inspiring heights with the next one, "Summertime", which segued into the emblematic torch song "Cry Me a River".  Pia's voice took on an ethereal, almost narcotic quality-- starting out as hauntingly maternal and progressing to seductively world-weary.  She switched to an upbeat jazz tone for the beloved finger-snapper "All of Me", and then gave us the classic "The Man That Got Away".  She even took on Billie Holiday's "It's the End of A Love Affair".  It's at this point that this reviewer realized how Zadora frequently offers a refreshingly raw, earthy quality to the more mannered and restrained versions of these oft-redone classics.

We were then treated to a wardrobe change! This time, Pia took the stage in a sparkling black minidress and feather boa.  More songs followed, including a sexy, sassy "The Lady is a Tramp", and a musical tribute to the city she loves so much: a sound collage climaxing with the timeless Big Apple anthem "New York, New York"-- no doubt a nod to one of her mentors, Frank Sinatra.  With a wide variety of songs which included some jazz, some rock, and some standards, what else was left?  Opera?  Yes, boys and girls, we got to hear some of that too... with, of course, the story behind it!

The charm of "Pia Reloaded" is not solely Zadora's musical abilities. There's also her amazing rapport with the audience. She occasionally sneaks in some humorous asides about her life and career during her songs.  In between the numbers, she shares anecdotes about her childhood (She grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, when it was known as "the stinky place" before becoming "the new New York"!), her marriage (She's married to Las Vegas policeman Michael Jeffries, who was in attendance.), and much more. It's no mystery why Pia Zadora has stated that The Metropolitan Room is one of her favorite venues to perform; the intimacy of the space allows Pia to both sing and "hold court" with her fans.  And... how many shows have you been to where the singer starts a conga line with the audience?  I won't reveal the big encore of "Pia Reloaded".  However, I will say that the lyrics and the message behind the song which Ms. Zadora chose to leave us with was perfectly suited for this truly one-of-a-kind star.












"Pia Reloaded" is now playing at New York City's Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd St., New York, NY 10010  through Sunday, August 10th.  Call (212)206-0440 or visitwww.MetropolitanRoom.com for more info and tickets!  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CHADLEY BRENNAN, MR. BOSTON BEAR 2013! He'll Make You "Boston Cream" In Your Jeans!






CHADLEY BRENNAN, MR. BOSTON BEAR 2013!
He'll Make You "Boston Cream" In Your Jeans!


Who doesn't love some nice Boston cream-- with or without the pie?! (Ahem...) So, here's some education, folks... it's indisputable that "Beantown" has been a cultural and historical center of the United States for centuries.  The city has also been notoriously famous for its history of being (Pick a word...) "prudish", "puritanical", or "snobbish"--up to to the point where the vintage term "banned in Boston" is still known to this day.  While Boston's prim and proper reputation may be exaggerated-- especially as we approach 2015-- some claim that the city's Puritan roots are the reason for the absence of, shall we say, "after hours" men's clubs in town... and why all the bars, whether gay or straight, stop serving booze at 1AM when the national "last call" average time is 2 AM.  OK, OK, the city may not share New York's or New Orleans' reputation for nightlife.  However, there is definitely a visible gay and lesbian presence in Boston... and there certainly doesn't seem to be a shortage of things to do either (which, according to my Bear brothers, include frequent road trips to nearby Providence, Rhode Island... where, for the record, there ARE "after hours" men's clubs.). Most importantly, there's a tight-knit Leather and Bear brotherhood in Boston.  One of the active groups in the region is MASSBEARZ, a furry fraternity who describe themselves as "a Bear, Cub, Chub, Chaser, and Admirer Group in Massachusetts" (How nice... I'm partial to all of the above!) The club holds several events throughout the year, including a monthly "Bearz Tea" at Club Cafe and "Teddy Bear Balls" around the holiday season.  Every September, MASSBEARZ also holds their annual Mr. Boston Bear Contest.   Chad "Chadley" Brennan is Mr. Boston Bear 2013.

  His equally woofy friend, Mr. Connecticut Bear 2014 Trell Walters (pictured above), stated it very well when he spoke about his fellow New England Bear brother: "I am so proud to have been a part of picking the man who became the current Mr Boston Bear 2013, Chad Brennan. He's a sweetheart and very loyal to his family and the community. I also had the opportunity of marching with him for Boston Pride and hosting a joint event for the annual  'Nuts and Bolts'.  I was very lucky to have him at my victory party and having him as a Judge for my event 'Furplay Madness'. He's been very active in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. He has been a great friend and supporter to me. I am very blessed to call him my brother".

And now, we get to meet the hot and hairy man ourselves...

JR: Hi Chad.  Do I call you Chad or Chadley?
CB: You can call me whatever you want! (Laughs) Chadley is fine.

JR: Thanks for speaking with me, Chadley.  So, how has your Title year been going so far?  What was the most memorable or most exciting moment so far?
CB: Jed, thanks for thinking of me to interview. I'm truly flattered. My title year has been going very well. I've tried to get to every event that my wallet allows me! My most memorable moment was definitely at my victory party in November. I had my best friends there, and my sister and her wife, and we were able to raise $740.00 for my charity of choice, Why Me & Sherry's House. (www.whyme.org)

JR: Did you find that you get a lot more attention, or get hit on a lot more since you won the Contest?
CB: There's definitely an influx on my Growlr and Scruff messages, especially when I am at an event where people may or may not know me. Also, I find it very interesting yet lame that some people who knew who who I was and previously had no interest in me, are all up in my space now that I am a Title holder! They didn't want me when I was simply Chad, but when I became Mr. Boston Bear it all changed.

JR: (Laughs) I'm surprised and I'm not surprised!  So, a lot of people think that being a Bear just means being a big guy and/or having a lot of body hair... but as we all know, it's really about more than that.  As a Bear role model, what makes a Bear a Bear in your opinion?
CB: Bear is definitely a state of mind. There are skinny, hairless guys who identify with the Bear community because they feel that's where they best fit. Everyone wants to belong to a community. Sometimes the gay community is too definitive. Bears, at least to me, should be all inclusive. The foundation of Bears was that it was made up of the outcasts: the guys who didn't fit in with twinks or muscle guys. When I hear someone say "he's just not Bear enough" it breaks my heart. We should be embracing everyone who identifies with our community!

JR: Yep!  So, one of the responsibilities of a Titleholder is to raise awareness of a particular cause or to raise money for a particular charity.  What cause or issue do you feel most passionate about?
CB: Through my work, we have been fortunate enough to contribute to a kick-ass charity based out of Worcester, Massachusetts-- Why Me & Sherry's House.  This charity houses, cares, and financially supplements families who have children going through cancer. Through work I've visited Sherry's House several times. I've seen how strong and courageous these children are. And I've seen how strong the families are. I'm touched by the outlook of everyone. Even with all the chemo and the pain, everyone is laughing and smiling and playing cards. It puts everything in perspective. My problems are not so bad. I'm not fighting for my life. We've all been touched by cancer. Sometimes everything turns out fine, sometimes it turns tragic. But one thing is for sure, these little faces don't deserve to go through what they're going through. This is why I get very passionate about my charity.

JR: That's awesome!  So, for those readers out there who are planning a trip to Boston, where are some essential sites and places for the gay guys-- especially the Bears-- to see and hang out?
CB: Bears definitely need to check out the Alley Bar, located in Downtown crossing, 14 Pi Alley. It's the official Bear bar of Boston. I can often be spotted there on a Saturday or a Sunday night. Bears have been flocking to the newly opened Cathedral Station on Washington Street in the South End. If it's the third Sunday of the month, Bears can be spotted at Club Cafe (5:00-10:00pm) for Bearz Tea Dance. Other places to check out for sure is the Ramrod/Machine in Fenway, Trophy Room in the South End, and Paradise in Cambridge for great dancing!

JR: When you're not on the home front, what's your favorite town or city to visit?
CB: I love to visit a lot of places! If only I could travel more. I, of course, love New York City!  I always have a blast whenever I go. I'm also a huge fan of Fort Lauderdale. My best friend lives in Chicago, and Chi-town is an awesome city! And I mustn't forget that Providence is also a great place to get to!  And because I'm gay, P-town will forever be on this list.

JR: How true!  So, what do you like to do in your spare time?
CB: In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, seeing my friends, karaoke ("Private Dancer" by Tina Turner is my "go to"), spending time with my family, swimming in my pool, vodka, and trying to solve world peace. OK, maybe not the last part.

JR: (Laughs): What do you personally find sexy in a guy?  Do you have any celebrity crushes?
CB: Celebrity crushes was my interview question at the Mr. Boston Bear competition. Seth Rogan is high up on my list. Tyler Florence of the food network fame is very high as well. Joe Manganiello from "True Blood" is my Muscle Bear "go to". And don't forget Zach Galifianakis! That would be my dream orgy!  I find a lot of things sexy. Beards are sexy, eyes are sexy, bellies are sexy, muscles are sexy, smiles are sexy, lips are sexy. I love a man who can make me laugh. I love a man who can challenge me. I like men who know what they want in life. Ambition is hot!

JR: I always thought so!  Lastly: What events do you have in store in the next few months, and where can we find out more about them?
CB: We have an exciting few months coming up.  August 23 I'm hosting a new event, "Bears in Heat" Pool Party at the Randolph Country Club in Randolph, Massachusetts.  Also stay tuned for the Mr. Boston Bear 2014 Competition in September. For any information on my events or whereabouts, please "Like" my Facebook page: ;www.Facebook.com/MrBostonBear2013.

JR: Thanks, Chadley!  And WOOF!!!