Wednesday, January 13, 2010

QComedy at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory: The New Queer Decade Starts With a Bang

Nick Leonard, Clam Lynch, Maggie Dunn, Lisa Geduldig, Ben McCoy and Khalil Sullivan

The new queer decade stated off with an entertainment bang when QComedy’s producer and MC for the last 10 years, Nick Leonard, presented an extravaganza of a show on Jan. 4, 2010 at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory. Leonard expanded the usage of the word “comedy” into a new dimension with the inclusion of a performance artist, a musician, and spoken word performers in the spectacle. But Leonard works in unusual brain-twists in the comic arenas of standup, improv, and sketch, and much of his material is unpredictable. He is endearing in his self-deprecation, though there are audience members with a serious pant-on for his handsome bear-ness. And one of his finest moments was to use his sarcastic dry with on yuppies in their haunts during an anti-gentrification march through the Mission with his then-partner Larrybob Roberts.

Spoken word artist and headliner Ben McCoy was a delight in many ways. McCoy toured with Sister Spit, the talented all-girl group of novelists, zine-stars, spoken word types, fashionistas, and activists who have provided some of the best shows across the U.S. and abroad. McCoy does not identify as either male or female, and wears women’s attire and makeup, and resembled a tasteful Middle-European princess in a black dress, pearls, and tiara. Then there was the hilarious account of the high-tension family party where nothing was said about McCoy’s appearance by the adults — something that happens all too often to gender-benders.

Singer Khalil Sullivan spread his uplifting enthusiasm through the audience with the powerful surge of his two original songs Take Me Down and Peace of Mind. He also sang Between the Bars by Elliott Smith and Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel, with a clear melodious voice. And he gave the gift of song before the show started, as the audience was squeezing into a packed event. Sullivan has written an operetta and composed music for drama productions, and he has a transcendent talent for going full-tilt when he is singing with a beat and then he is lyrical when singing a ballad. His warm generous nature was extended to the throng when he offered free CD’s.

Performance artist Clam Lynch was a tour de force of crazed self-help lunacy. His presentation began with him in 1D in an instructional video, and then him in 3D as he invited the audience to join him on an adventure to achieve happiness. He outdid the Mormons with his striped sacred underwear with an added phallic watering accessory, and a front row guest eagerly helped with the cutting-edge satire of feel-good gurus. There was widespread wonderment as to whether this scene was enacted when he worked with Roseanne Barr and on Nickelodeon.

Comic Maggie Dolan has been with QComedy since the beginning, and she is a host of Lipstick Lounge and is on display in the new distinctive Handjob Nail Salon in the Castro. She described the business as an inventive lesbian party that provides a public service. Marga Gomez, who was a show guest, has emoted about how femme the Los Angeles lesbians are when they treat her like a man since she does not routinely use the services of a salon like Handjob.

Lisa Geduldig was the other comic in the show, and her East Coast humor is distinctive but not universal. She is known as the producer who brought manic performer Charo to San Francisco for some successful concerts, and she also produces Funny Girlz and Kung Pao Kosher Comedy shows. Geduldig drew smiles when she said that she gets her news from Facebook and when she talked about the crotch bomber and the 72 virgins he expected to deflower.

Spoken word artist Tara Jepsen was a surprise guest when she appeared to have a suspenseful, lively conversation on stage with author/spoken word type/sex worker activist Kirk Read. Jepsen has also been on tour with Sister Spit, and she and Read related their offbeat views on Read’s recent weekend antics at a silent retreat.

There is a rising displeasure with bait-and-switch by performers who appear shirtless or even naked in their publicity and then are covered up on stage, and a fully clothed Read ran right into it at Mama Calizo’s. One disappointed fan saw Read shirtless on the QComedy flyer and expected more, especially since he and a naked activist at the other side of the room had seen Read perform naked — which they said enhanced the stage moments immeasurably. Read is well known as a novelist, an organizer of a gay men’s health conference with the late Eric Rofes, a consultant to help sex workers with their physical and mental health, and as one of the few gay men to graduate from San Francisco Sex Information classes.

Coordinator Nick Leonard deserves much credit for being able to present such a rich tapestry of talent, and the audience’s applause for each act showed their appreciation.

The QComedy Showcase repeats every first Monday.
Mama Calizo's Voice Factory
1519 Mission Street (@ 11th St.)
San Francisco, CA
COST: $8–$16 Sliding Scale, NOTAFLOF

[Photo caption: 1/4/10 — QComedy host and comic Nick Leonard with performance artist Clam Lynch, comics Maggie Dunn and Lisa Geduldig, spoken word artist Ben McCoy and singer/songwriter Khalil Sullivan.]

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