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Opening Night

October 13, 2010

Strange time for me to be posting, but then again I am in New York now, the city that never sleeps, or at least doesn’t let you go to bed at 8:30 Pacific time like I do back home. 

I once wrote an article openly contemptuous of the publishing world’s insistence on publishing all gay novels at once – in June, because it was “Gay Pride Month.”  See, the idea was that the media would be so full of gayness (the only time of year it could be counted on to be back then, yea these ten or more years gone), that the hunger for content would suck all our novels up onto the pages of magazines and newspapers.  The problem was, exactly that it was Gay Pride Month – gay people weren’t interested in books in June, unless of the “And Then They Fucked: A Biff McHotness Fire Island Mystery” variety, when there was so much sex to be had and so much sunning to do.  (Someone even once wrote a letter to the Bay Area Reporter complaining about all the books we’d reviewed in the Arts section in a June issue, because after all “nobody reads books in the summer!”)

In fact, what ended up happening was that pretty much *all* the books got ignored in the non-gay press, in a manner that would have been harder to accomplish had their pub dates been spread out over the year. 

The problem with New York is, everything happens at 8 pm – so each day, you’ve got to make one choice, save on matinee days when you can get in a play and a concert/reading/whatever.  Then you get out of the event, and that’s it, that’s the end of your day, unless you’re going to hit the bars or hang in a café with friends or whatever.  If only a play like the one I saw tonight, The Divine Sister, had say an 11 o’clock showing, though I have to say that given the energy the players put into it I can’t imagine anyone being able to muster that up twice a night.  Vegas has two shows a night, but there’s a reason those showgirls are walking around with their arms out and not dancing their asses off – gotta save something for the next show.  Still, it’s the kind of thing that, even as you have to be glad that the play’s success is getting Busch his John Waters moment in the semi-mainstream, it would be nice to see later on at night, an antidote to something more serious, as I believe his older creations were scheduled back in his East Village days.

Busch’s creation is a takeoff on a lot of old movies that (take away my gay card) I haven’t seen, though it’s easy enough to recognize his Roz Russell imitation as the Mother Superior of a convent school that’s in real trouble, gee whiz!  Pretty much all of the excellent and hilarious cast is channeling someone:  Alison Fraser as “Sister Walburga” is a little bit Sally Bowles and a whole lot of Frau Blucher and Nurse Diesel; Julie Halston’s Sister Acacius reminding me of both Lucy Ricardo and, in moments of silent mugging early on, Patsy Stone; Jonathan Walker looks and acts like a young Dean Stockwell suffering occasional demonic possessions by Steve Martin; and Amy Rutberg calls up Amy Adams on demand.  (While some of Busch’s Swansonesque one-shot imitations are a little flat, his Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius is perfect.) 

Anyway, a bit rambly but my writerly brain parts rarely get much use this late.

 

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