Join Justin Sayre’s Gay Agenda Meetings at the Duplex This Fall
Comedian, raconteur, performing artist, gay rights activist, sexual outlaw: I’m not sure Justin Sayre is classifiable. But having had the experience of seeing him perform this summer on Fire Island, I can testify that his shtick is unlike anyone else’s.
The veteran performer is on his way to becoming a Downtown Manhattan institution along the lines of Charles Ludlum or Charles Busch. He’s also been recognized by the city’s top media.
A New York Post critic called him "delicious and delightfully droll," the Village Voice "hilarious and sardonic," "poised, funny and frighteningly knowledgeable" by Out and "fearless, commanding and hilarious" by Sirius XM Radio.
Sayre’s will convene the first meeting of the International Order of Sodomites on Sept. 20 at the Duplex, the Greenwich Village cabaret landmark. Time Out New York has called "The Meeting" "a cult hit among a young, festive and culturally aware crowd. Sayre is an avatar of modern-retro cultivation." The magazine named it a top nightclub show one year. Last year, "The Meeting" received a Bistro Award.
Each month, "The Meeting" gathers "sodomites" for a blend of outrageous comedy, political and social activism, and cultural education. Sayre serves as chairman and offers up essential business of the day through musical performances, skits and trivia.
Yes, you’ve finally found it: that "Homosexual Agenda" everyone talks about.
In order to give testimony to the gay experience, each edition of "The Meeting" honors a different gay icon. Fall 2012 features tributes to disco chart-topper Sylvester on Sept. 20; the Streisand starrer "Funny Girl" on Oct. 18; and Marlene Dietrich on Nov. 15; plus, a Holiday Extravaganza Dec. 13.
There will be special guests for each show. At the show I attended, cabaret singer Molly Pope was the guest. Aside from heating up the Ice Palace with a medley built around the Cole Porter Song "It’s Too Darn Hot," she and Sayre did a hilarious skit based around deer in the Meat Rack nibbling on used condoms. Yes, it was gross and disgusting, and I loved it!
The I.O.S is the centuries-old secret organization of homosexuals and their friends that sets the Gay Agenda. "At the heart of the show is community," Sayre says, "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."
Past "agenda items" have addressed burning 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 to help Fire Island’s displaced hired hands, and the Twink Literacy Campaign, which is dedicated to educating today’s youth about classic gay culture.
If you want to do research prior to the meeting, go to www.InternationalOrderofSodomites.com. (But don’t tell anyone at the Family Research Council.)
Sayre realized early on when he was growing up in a (very!) small Pennsylvania town that he had an instinct for what he would later discover is called "camp." With an accent learned at the feet of the stars of old MGM movies like Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, he moved to New York, where he thought he’d find the same city as in those classic movies.
He persevered, however, and became an accomplished actor, writer and playwright.
If you’re still sitting on fence, Frank DeCaro, one of the most incisive people around these parts, put it best: "If you fancy yourself a smart, funny homosexual, you simply have to attend ’The Meeting.’ But while you’re sitting there sipping a Brandy Alexander, don’t imagine yourself to be smarter, funnier or gayer than host Justin Sayre because you’re not. He’s as sharp as they come, hilarious as all get out and even Oscar Wilde would have told him to butch it up."
The Duplex is located at 61 Christopher Street, at the corner of Seventh Avenue.
Tickets to "The Meeting" are only $10 (in advance; $15 at the door), with a two-drink minimum (which you would have had anyway, admit it). For tickets, go to www.BrownPaperTickets.com.