The Reading Salon had two films screening at the Kolkata Short Film Festival in India and “…When The Bullying Ends” got a Jury’s Special Mention Award! The documentary (film trailer below) looks at the life of Enza Anderson who continues to make international headlines for her work as an anti-bullying and queer rights activist. Yet behind the headlines is a trans woman who is being bullied out of living a normal life.
Photo by Ben Powless: Hamlet In A Hot Tub at Nuit Rose Closing Ceremonies, Pride Toronto (2015).
(1) You won’t learn a thing if you do it perfectly. There’s a difference between making a mistake in public and intentionally making a public mistake. We adapted the original production of Hamlet In A Hot Tub (HIAHT) so we could perform it in the washrooms during the Rhubarb Festival and despite weeks of rehearsals, performing out of the washrooms with an actual audience remained a theory right up until opening night. Lacking a model for how the show should work I had to give up trying to control our space so that the constant uncertainties became an expected part of our process, and to some extent, the show itself.
(3) A cast of theatre actors can be more reliable than your own family. Being there for each other can be as simple as always being on time because everyone involved in the show depends on everyone else, moving mountains to be at a rehearsal is just how the family grows tighter. In 2015 we performed Hamlet In A Hot Tub fourteen times and thanks to the dedication and shear madness of the cast and I’m proud to call this highly dysfunctional (surrogate) family my own, here’s to a steamy 2016!
Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude and Polonius are Hamlet In A Hot Tub in this outrageously funny and gender-bending adaptation of Shakespeare set in a modern day bathhouse. Written + Adapted by Brock Hessel, David Bateman also featuring Paul Bellini, Amy J. Lester, Directed by Raymond Helkio and Music by Stewart Borden.
What do Liza Minnelli, Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, and Ryan G Hinds have in common? They all love high camp, sequins, show tunes and they’ve each been guests to the historic Don’t Tell Mama, a cabaret piano bar in New York’s theatre district. And now Ryan (Hedwig & the Angry Inch; MacArthur Park Suite, A Disco Ballet, Starry Notions) will upstage them all by performing a one night show for the last stop on his three city tour. The Toronto premiere was met with a standing ovation at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, before mounting it at the Mainline Theatre in Montréal and now he’s headed to the big apple for what will be his cabaret debut performance.
#KanderAndEbb will no doubt be high camp both because Ryan is involved and because it’s cleaverly based on John Kander and Fred Ebb who were the famed songwriters behind Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Funny Lady, Zorba, The Visit and New York New York.
Expect some new arrangements of old classics plus experience some of Kander and Ebb’s lesser-known songs performed by the impossible-to-upstage Ryan G. Hinds. Ryan has performed with artists such as Todrick Hall, Debbie Reynolds, Lady Bunny, Sky Gilbert and yes, even Liza Minnelli. Go see #KanderAndEbb, you are guaranteed a great time. Musical director Mark Selby on piano, Jeff Deegan on bass and Julian “Fatsound” Clarke on drums.
November 15th at 8PM
Don’t Tell Mama
343 West 46th Street
Saturday November 15th 2105
8pm $10 (+2 drink min)
Tix: (212) 757-0788 or to reserve.
TORONTO: Buddies in Bad Times, October 4th at 8 PM
MONTREAL: Mainline Theatre, October 9th and 10th, 8 PM
NEW YORK CITY: Don’t Tell Mama, November 15th 8PM
SHOW REEL: HAMLET IN A HOT TUB (END OF THE WORLD TOUR, 2014)
Trip the light fantastic with Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude and Polonius in this outrageously funny, twisted gender-bending adaptation set in a modern day bathhouse. Written + Adapted by Brock Hessel, David Bateman and featuring Paul Bellini, Amy J. Lester. Directed by Raymond Helkio, Music Stewart Borden.
“A gay bathhouse version of Hamlet with
predictably wild and hilarious results”
“As sexual fantasies go, it is magnificently perverse,
as a theatrical adventure: irresistible”
“A queer-Shakespearian stomping ground… a gender bending adaptation.”
Stage Door News
“Literally the hottest show in town!”
ORIGINAL CAST & CREW, 14 performances
Brock Hessel is finishing his BA in English Literature & Sexual Diversity Studies and was recently accepted into an MA program at UofT continuing his undergraduate disciplines. Awarded the Bronfman Gold Scholarship from Woodsworth College, He is a poet, performance artist, and founder of Queer Writes an LGBTQ creative writing group on UofT campus. With his Facebook group, Social Abjects Unite, he was asked to take part in Jordan Tannahill’s #queerdeathdrive mini-exhibit during the “Fan the Flames” edition of First Thursdays at the AGO last summer. His academic essays, journalism, and poetry have appeared in VOX, Hardwire, Nest Magazine, Zhush Redux, TOZ, The Gargoyle, and The Buzz.
David Bateman is a performance poet, playwright, and visual artist. His four collections of poetry have been published by Frontenac House Press (Calgary) and his performance work has been published by Blizzard Press and Ordinary Press. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary in English Literature with a specialization in Creative Writing. A new collection of short stories and creative.non fiction, entitled A Mad Bent Diva, will be published by Hidden Brook Press in the spring 2016.
Paul Bellini has worked on some of Canada’s foremost television comedy series, including The Kids in the Hall (1989 to 1995), This Hour Has 22 Minutes (1995 to 1999), and Death Comes to Town (2010). Other noteworthy assignments have included the novel Buddy Babylon (1998, Dell Trade Paperbacks) and the independent films Hayseed (1997) and doUlike2watch (2002). He has garnered three Gemini Awards and three Emmy nominations for his television work. Currently, he teaches at George Brown College and the Second City Training Center.
Amy J. Lester actor, stand-up comedienne and clown living and working in Toronto. A graduate of Ècole Philippe Gaulier she is a frequent performer on the city’s cabaret circuit in addition to her full time gig as the stunning Ophelia in Hamlet In A Hot Tub.
Stewart Borden is the bassist for Men In Suits (MIS), what The Globe & Mail calls “Bay Street’s hardest working band.” As a charity band, MIS has played hundreds of live gigs including some unforgettable performances with superstar talents like Rick Emmett (Triumph), Amy Sky, Mark Jordan and Toronto’s own Dave Dunlop. Stewart was also a founding member of the bands Thurston Howell and the Lovies, Mr. Christie and the Good Cookies, and The Bulge. You can find him playing bass at semi-regular gigs at The Orbit Room. You can hear more from Stewart on SoundCloud.
Raymond Helkio is an alumni of the Ontario College of Art & Design and is a practicing artist, film maker and author of The Great Meeting Room. As a producer for The Reading Salon his videos document queer art culture, human rights and free speech. Hamlet In A Hot Tub has brought him immense fame and fortune, mostly in his head. “I was gifted this genius cast so I get to focus on bringing the audience inside each show. By dismantling the space between the stage and the audience we’re able to create an emotional experience unlike anything you’ve been to. And yes, there’s a happy ending.”
September 19, 2015
Glad Day Bookshop
End Of The World Tour
July 25, 2015, two shows
The 519 Community Centre waterpark
June 21, 2015, two shows
Nuit Rose Closing Ceremonies
BIA Church Street Stage
Pride Toronto, 2015
From the washrooms at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
February 17–21, 2015
Nightly cameos included: Keith Cole, Enza Anderson, Rolyn Chambers, André Prefontaine
PROMO VIDEO FOR NUIT ROSE, THE 519 WATERPARK
BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE: HOW DOES YOUR SHOW FIT THE THEME TRANSGRESSION?
PROMO VIDEO FOR RHUBARB FESTIVAL
ORIGINAL PROMO VIDEO, PARTIALLY SHOT AT SPA EXCESS IN TORONTO
OFFICIAL VIDEO: ROUND ROOM (A MOMENT WITH GERTRUDE) BY DATE BATEMAN, MUSIC BY STEWART BORDEN, DIRECTED BY RAYMOND HELKIO
PRESS FOR HAMLET IN A HOT TUB
My Gay Toronto, Bellini’s 8 1/2, Hamlet at the Tubs August 20, 2014
Crew Magazine, Shakespeare By Way Of Gender Bending, Video, and Bathhouses, February 16, 2015
Photo above: Ben Powless during Nuit Rose Closing Ceremonies, Pride Toronto (2015)