[OutVoice] Fire Island, NY: "Versatile Jade Esteban Estrada Celebrates Our History..."

TheChorusBoy at aol.com TheChorusBoy at aol.com
Thu Aug 9 22:37:52 EDT 2007


 
Q OnStage 
VERSATILE JADE ESTEBAN ESTRADA CELEBRATES OUR HISTORY IN  ‘ICONS’ 
by  Bruce-Michael Gelbert 
August 7, 2007 
Read it  online: 
_http://www.qonstage.com/QOnStage_articles/Icons-Gelbert/art_tpl_w-437.html_ 
(http://www.qonstage.com/QOnStage_articles/Icons-Gelbert/art_tpl_w-437.html)  
FIRE ISLAND - Versatile and talented playwright, singer,  choreographer, 
dancer and raconteur Jade Esteban Estrada brought his celebratory  and political 
solo musical comedy "ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the  World, Vol. 1" 
to the Community House, under the aegis of the Arts Project of  Cherry Grove, 
for two performances on August 4. Jade has also completed Volume 2  and Volume 
3 and someday, with luck, we'll get to experience those as well. Jeff  Wills 
directed; Matt Baney and Alison Brackman were responsible for sound and  
lights; and Sherri Rase was stage manager.

Playing Sappho, "the first  lesbian," in a white robe, curly wig, and 
assorted leaves, Jade offered a gently  sung and danced ode to "the greatest female 
poet of the Classical age" ("Plato  called me the tenth muse"). This Sappho 
punned on the words lyre and liar and  wondered why we put ours in the White 
House; looked ahead to the Middle Ages,  when the church leveled first allegations 
of homosexuality against  heretics-including "my girl" Joan of Arc-and burned 
them at the stake; and  explained the terms "bugger," derived from Bulgarian, 
and "crime against  Nature," formulated by Thomas Aquinas.

Jade's Sappho morphed into  Michelangelo Buonarotti, who wants to "kiss all 
the boys" and "paint the Sistine  Chapel" as well ("I believe that mankind is 
beautiful in all forms-and that is  the word of God"), and heralded the 
Renaissance in a rock power ballad, with  baroque musical overtones ("I want to 
sculpt humanity/I want to paint life's  destiny"). As Michelangelo, Jade informed 
us that, while  Japan reveled in  the publication of "Comrade Loves of the 
Samurai," gay lovers were being  executed in  Prussia.

Jade's  Michelangelo took us up to the Victorian Age in England and left us 
in the hands  of his flamboyant Oscar Wilde, an "in your face" "superstar," in 
a black suit,  cape and top hat, with long hair and a walking stick, telling a 
tale of life "On  the Wilde Side" in a music hall-cum-rap-style song and 
dance.

Jade  forsook Wilde's dandified finery to become an aged, dour Gertrude 
Stein, equally  sure of her genius and her love for Alice B. Toklas, and noting 
that the  publication of her "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" and her departure 
from  France for a lecture tour of America took place at about the same time 
as the  rise of Hitler in Germany and introduction of the pink triangle to 
identify gay  prisoners in the concentration camps. Jade's Stein turned her 
deathbed  statement, "What is the answer? Well in that case, what is the question?" 
into a  sensitive, moving love song that asked, "What is the answer, my  
Alice? What is the question, my  dear?" and juxtaposed the tender intimacy of 
their love with the tragic chaos,  violence and destruction engendered by the 
Nazis.

Jade shed Stein's  understated black to don high heels, a glitzy red and 
green outfit leaving the  midriff bare, a headband, hoop earrings, and rainbow 
bandanna at the bosom to  celebrate Sylvia Rivera, "Street Transvestite Action 
Revolutionary-a STAR!" of  the Stonewall Rebellion, as she declared in a proud 
rock number. Sylvia's sister  Marsha P. (for "Pay it no mind") Johnson put in a 
brief appearance here,  too.

The final ICON of the evening was Ellen DeGeneres, the comic who  became a 
lesbian symbol when she and her television persona Ellen Morgan both  came out. 
In a propulsive solo, Jade's Ellen held a coming out press conference  ("Hey, 
hey, hey/Yep, I'm gay") and determined that she would "make the cover of  Time 
magazine" and conquer the networks. 

Jade has many other LGBT historical/herstorical figures in his repertoire  
and the half-dozen we met in "ICONS ... Vol. 1" served to whet our appetites to  
see and hear the ones he treats next. 
_www.getjaded.com_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 



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