QUEER ON THEIR FEET
Friday May 21, at 7pm
Community Arts Center/Hannah Block USO
$15 in advance or $20 at the door
Frank Harr Foundation celebrates another year of its namesake’s long contributions to Wilmington with Family Fest 2010. Harr was a lifelong resident of southeastern NC, who advocated human rights on all levels, which led to his rise in local politics and his numerable contributions to our city, including founding the St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church and the AIDS benefit in Wilmington. Since his unfortunate death in 2008, Family Fest has been thrown to continue in Harr’s admirable footsteps in making our community more united and compassionate. From May 21st through May 23rd, 2010, the events gets underway throughout Wilmington, all of which will benefit the foundation and bring the gay community and its supporters together.
The kickoff event features the return of Queer On Their Feet, a national comedy tour featuring the best in stand up and improv with Diana Yanez, Jennie McNulty and Daniel Leary on May 21st at 8p at the Community Arts Center/Hannah Block USO and tickets are $15 in advance at FrankHarrFoundation.org and $20 at the door:
Bambi Weavil: Diana and Jennie: you are returning for Queer On Their Feet in Wilmington once again this year! Welcome back!
Diana Yanez: It’s fantastic to be back. We have very good memories of Wilmington! I remember we had pizza at some bar/grill place afterwards where we got to talk to the locals and that really impressed me.
Jennie McNulty: Like Diana said, we were in quite a hurry last time and I remember wishing that we had more time as it seemed like a beautiful city. I remember liking the architecture of the areas we were driving through and the trees, flowers, etc. I also remember having a super fun time with the crowd and the people. And, I remember that, as we were in a huge rush getting there, we didn’t stop for lunch, so I remember being really hungry (smiles).
BW: You all are returning for Queer on Their Feet in Wilmington once again this year! What are your memories of your first trip here?
Diana: I remember that last year we were running late as we drove into Wilmington. It was like (Disneyland’s) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! My impressions of Wilmington itself had to happen after the gig, because before everything was just whizzing by us. I remember being so grateful when we arrived to find a big room full of nice, warm, cheerful people to play with!
BW: And, Daniel, this is your first trip to Wilmington we’re assuming—what are you looking for in your trip to our Port City?
Daniel Leary: It is my first trip to Wilmington! Cape Fear, here I come! I grew up in New York and spent my summers on the Atlantic shore, so I am looking forward to some East Coast weather! (My hair does a lot better in it.) I’m also excited to see the museums, and by museums I mean the shooting locations for “Dawson’s Creek”!
BW: For all of last year’s attendants—as well as newbies who plan on coming in 2010—tell us what to expect?
Diana: First and foremost, expect to laugh! Each of us does a set of stand-up—it’s great fun—because we come from different walks of life, and so we have unique perspectives and experiences to share. Then, there’s improv at the end, and that just blows everyone away because the audience now knows us. They heard our stand-up so they know where each of us is coming from when we bake our nutty scenes. Jennie: [It’s going to be] a really fun show. Ours is truly unique and to my knowledge the only one in the country that features stand-up and improvisation, by the same people in the same show. The audience will get to know and appreciate our humor, individually, and, when we play together, it gives everyone in the room a better background and feeling, like we all know each other already. So, it’s kind of like everyone is in on the inside joke.
BW: Jennie, you’ve entertained the troops throughout your career. What was that experience like for you?
Jennie: Those shows are, without question, the most rewarding shows I do. Those folks overseas make you proud to be an American. They all come up and thank me for being there. “Thanks for taking our minds off of where we are!” is something I hear a lot. Them thanking me—crazy! They are doing so many fantastic things over there that you don’t hear about on the news. You don’t hear about the soldiers helping to rebuild schools and hospitals. You don’t hear about them bringing toys and things to the children in the area. But they are. And, they’re risking their lives while they’re doing it.
BW: How important is it to you to support nonprofits, such as the Frank Harr Foundation, with your talents?
Daniel: In Los Angeles I volunteer for The Trevor Project, a 24-hour suicide and crisis line for gay teens. The issue LGBT youth in crisis holds a special place in my heart, and I really admire the work the Frank Harr Foundation has been doing. It’s great to get to be there in person and help out in any way I can. I’m glad they were excited about having a comedy show because I am terrible at filing. Jennie: I think it’s extremely important. People doing things just because they should be done is what “The American Way” used to be all about. That’s what nonprofits are—or can be. Our economy and government are in such a state now that it’s really hard to get things done. And the dedication that groups like the Frank Harr Foundation have is not only impressive but very effective. We have to be the change we want to see.
BW: Jennie – tell us about your series on AfterEllen.com.
Jennie: I really enjoy doing that show. It’s a “walking talk show.” Instead of interviewing someone while sitting at a desk, I take a walk with them. And, I encourage the viewer to download and walk along with us. I’m trying to get people up and moving. We’ve become such a ridiculously sedentary society and it’s, quite literally, killing us. But people think that they don’t have time to exercise or that they hate exercise based on high school gym or some hard core trainer they’ve worked with. I’m just trying to get people up and moving. “Just do something” is my motto. And, I feel, that once they get up and see how good they feel after a walk they become a little more conscious about health in general and “movement” (people hate that “exercise” word). Get out and dance or garden or ride a bike do something that gets you moving. It’s how are bodies are built.
BW: What projects are you all working on this year?
Jennie: Well, I’m about to start production on the 3rd season of “Walking Funny With…” and I’m writing a new show for this summer in Provincetown. I want to include stand up, of course, but I also want to play around with some video ideas and include an improv portion to my show there this year as well.
Diana: This year, I return to NY with my my one woman show, “Viva La Evolucion!” The subtitle is: “Growing up Cuban and Queer in America. Don’t tell my mom about my one-woman show.” Literally, this show started as sort of a dare, I won the Los Angeles Drama Queens Competition with 15 minutes of this proposed show, imagine my surprise when I realized the prize was a 1 hr show at a nice theater in LA. You know that’s how things happen – it forced me to write the one hour version. Voila! the response has been positively overwhelming and I’m thrilled to start presenting it nationally this year.
Daniel: I am working on a fun new gay show that I can’t talk too much about yet, but you can watch a couple of episodes already on my Facebook page!
BW: Daniel – tell us about your show on LOGO, “More for Gays”.
Daniel: It started out as a hit video blog for their website After Elton and now airs late nights on LOGO! The show is about modern gay etiquette. I spend about as much time offering sound advice as I do learning what I have been doing horribly horribly wrong.
BW: Where do you get your entertainment fix when you aren’t providing it to the masses? I can’t be the only one addicted to Celebrity Apprentice this year…
Diana: I toured with Cyndi Lauper in 2007 on the True Colors Tour. Let me tell you: She is a doll! A crazy, wacky alien! A gem of a person! I do not watch “Celebrity Apprentice” because I have a Donald Trump allergy, but I hope that people are getting a realistic taste of my coco-nutty friend.
Actually, I think the best reality show on television is “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s amazing no one thought of it sooner! It’s “Project Runway” meets “Make Me a Supermodel”—plus drag queens! Come on—that is a glittery righteous train wreck! The stuff of really great reality shows. This year my favorite queen is Raven. Daniel: Don’t even talk to me about “Celebrity Apprentice.” My boyfriend is addicted and now has me hooked, too! We just finished a move, and our TV isn’t hooked up yet, so we huddle around my laptop and watch. It’s pathetic. Holly Robinson Peete has it in the bag.
Jennie: At the risk of sounding horribly cliché—cue the “Da Na Na, Da Na Na” music—I watch Sports Center—or some other sporting type of thing.