If you are coming to New York City during the holidays and you want to see a show - book some tickets to The 39 Steps. Based on the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, it is a comedic tour de farce with some of the best physical comedy I've seen live. Four actors play fifty characters at break neck speed with accents to match. Thank god for Velcro. Harriet Levy, my friend and Broadway producer maven, invited me to moderate the talk back after the show and I was honored to be close to such talent. Nearly speechless, actually.
Heck, while you're in New York, go to the Natural History Museum. You won't see Ben Stiller, but it's amazing. I was there to see the award-winning documentary Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement in the Margaret Mead Theater. The documentarians, Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir and Edie her wonderful self were there to answer questions. After the film, we rambled out through the museum and wondered why we don't go there more often. Or every day.
Since I was in New York, I had the honor of emceeing the outrageous 75th Birthday Party for Gloria Steinem at the Gramercy Park Hotel. It was good to be together with strong feminist women in the wake of the Stupak-Pitts amendment to limit abortion funding. But Gloria seems to sigh and soldier on; she's an inspiration. Historian Blanche Wiesen Cook spoke and then Ann Hampton Callaway improvised a kicker birthday song to Gloria. As an extra bonus, the party benefited The Ms. Foundation.
And again, because I was in New York, I was able to do a last minute fill-in on an over-populated panel Joy Behar's new CNN show. I got a few words in, but let me be clear that while Sarah Palin has been a comedy gift, she is dangerous and clueless about her folksy demagoguery.
I left New York to do the last show of my 2009 "Yes on K8!" Tour at the beloved Birchmere in Alexandria, VA just outside of DC. First I stopped at the Lambda Bookstore in DuPont circle, signed books and chatted with old friends and fascinating readers. What was a sad day in DC - the first Friday in forty years that the Washington Blade would not be published - was slightly improved by the appearance of "The DC Agenda" a thin broadside put out by the plucky Blade Staff covering news of DC City Council's defense of marriage equality in the face of mighty bishoprics.
I write this from Syracuse, New York where I just attended the 90th birthday party of my dear comic mom, Jane Heitzman. I've known her for almost fifty years and it was Jane who introduced me to Nichols and May, Moms Mabley, Bell Barthe and much more. She would make me do dramatic readings in different accents of the many Christmas letters they received. I did some of my best early performances for her. She is as hilarious as ever and still appreciates a champagne cocktail.
If you have read this far, and thank you, I know you're busy with holiday plans, you will look forward to my next blog with all the details of the White House State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India that I attended with my dear partner on Tuesday night. I almost tossed the invite by mistake. Note to self: if it's embossed, read it.