THE QUARANTINE QUARTET, Part 1: Four Nightlife Personalities Talk About Life During the Pandemic!

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Ah, the joys of isolation!  The greasy, salty take-out food.  The endless marathons of bad TV shows.  The lovely excuse to go to the liquor store because it’s open but to avoid the gym because it’s closed.  The infinite number of unsolicited naked pics you get sent from fellow lonely social media peeps… uh, never mind!  Of course, the pandemic is no laughing matter.  But if there’s a rainbow on this dark cloud, it’s that so many talented and creative souls have found ways to channel their creative energies during the era of “social distancing” and “self isolation”.  This is the first in a series focusing on life during the pandemic, spotlighting four colorful members of New York City nightlife…

IKE AVELLI

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Ike Avelli is a comedian, actor, author, radio host, and writer.  He is the creator and producer of ten original sold-out adult variety shows.  Check out this HILARIOUS video he made exclusively for Lavender After Dark!

Like Ike?  Follow him at http://www.IkeAvelli.net, on Insta @ikeavelli, on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/ike_avelli, and Facebook here. Ike Avelli and Tym Moss also have their own YouTube channel, The Tym and Ike Show.

MARGOH CHANNING

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JR: Hey darling!  Hope you are holding up well.  Thanks for speaking with me!  So, what was the last gathering or event you attended before the “social isolation” phenomenon took over?

MC: Where else? A gay bar! (Laughs) I scurried up to a gay bar up here in Providence called The Stable because my friend Len Irving was visiting his mother in the area . Len and I have been friends since the Dark Ages, so I had to see him . We both are “Gay Divorcee’s” and we may do a show about life after a long term relationship ends! That was the Friday before they closed all the bars and restaurants that coming Monday here in Rhode Island! Eek 😱 . Sending love to Len as he is a air stewardess 👩‍✈️ and still working, so I’m a little nervous about him– as I am about you, Jed, with your line of work… but sending you all the love for working on the front lines ❤️

JR: Awww, thanks!  Being a nurse can be rewarding, but is not as much fun as being a full-time socialite like MargOH!  So, how are you staying busy during the pandemic?

MC: Rum, Gin, Vodka , Tequila and Wine of course ! (Burp!) I do have a day job that keeps me busy. I work from home the majority of the time anyway, so I may not be as stir crazy as some: I’m just crazy in general! I am thankful for my job, as I know many are suffering by job losses . I’ve done more dishes as I’ve been eating like crazy.  I performed for a live Facebook show to help raise funds for the local queens that lost their income. Also, I’ve done a couple of “MargOH! Cocktail Hours!” The last one I did was to raise money for the Rhode Island Pride Food Bank! They are working hard and I wanted to help! I did do deliveries for them and will go back to assist again. I was going to run for Miss Gay Rhode Island on April 5, but of course it’s been postponed as well as Pride– which is just so upsetting.  But we’ll be back bigger and better I’m sure!

JR: We sure will!  What is the first thing you are going to do when the pandemic is over?

MC: Run naked into the street! What a visual! (Both laugh) No, seriously, I’m going to hit every bar I can in Rhode Island and boost business for the local bars and eat out as much as I can.  I’m also going to book a show back in New York City because you never know what may happen next, and I love to make people and myself laugh! It’ll be called “Simply MargOH!” So I’ll see you in the big Apple soon!

JR: I can’t wait– not just to see you running naked in the street, but to hang out with you in New York City again!  Thanks for speaking with me!

 

You can see more of MargOH! Channing on Facebook and at http://www.MargohChanning.blogspot.com!

TYM MOSS

PandemicTymPandemicTym2JR: Hey Tym!  Hope you are holding up well. Thanks for speaking with me! So, what was the last gathering or event you attended before the “social isolation” phenomenon took over?

TM: I was fortunate enough to attend and perform at a wedding before I had to go into isolation mode. My dear friends Jose and Albert got married. Jose had been diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live, so they couldn’t postpone it. It was an amazing ceremony and everyone came out. We all laughed, we cried, and then we sang and danced the night away. So it was a great way to enter isolation.

JR: Wow!  So, how are you staying busy during the pandemic?

TM: I have surprisingly kept occupied. I thought, “Perfect. I’m gonna get caught up on sleep.” Well, the anxiety is keeping me from properly resting. Then I thought, “It’s a great time to organize my apartment.” Hasn’t happened. I usually get up in the morning and exercise. I either dance for 20 minutes (I do a Facebook Live for the first song.) or I go out and walk (sometimes over the George Washington Bridge).  But, I have several upcoming projects, both during the pandemic and afterward, that are keeping me busy.  There’s
JUNK, the movie I star in that you, Jed, came to the World Premiere of last year in Philadelphia. I will never forget that! We are planning a special night coming up and I’d love for everyone to see it! Details to follow… Stay posted at http://www.JunkMusical.com.
I have my cabaret show in mid June– it hasn’t been cancelled yet– that I’m doing in the Bronx for all my friends.  My weekly internet radio show Artists Exposed with Tym Moss, is episode #492 this week. It can be heard on BearRadio.net, RainbowRadio.fm, GayWiredRadio.com and Anchor.fm/tym-moss.  Red Sky: The Musical is in development and I have a sizable role with many layers. I’m also one of the producers. We are going to be having zoom rehearsals.  I have also been recording comedy sketches with Ike Avelli for The Tym & Ike Show.  Also, keep an eye out for THEALITY TV. That’s in post production but will soon hit the streaming airwaves soon. And, anything else I can get involved with!  I love to create and to keep myself busy. I’ve been very blessed and I’m very grateful for everything I get to do. You can follow me @tymmoss on all social media or my website at http://www.TymMoss.com!

JR: Damn, it sounds like you’ve really been turning lemons into gourmet lemonade!  That’s so awesome! What’s the first thing you’re going to do when the pandemic is over?

TM: First thing I’m going to do when I get out of here is have massive amounts of SEX!!
I am isolating completely ALONE!! My cat of 17 years died a few months ago. He was always here. And then my roommate, a Columbia University student, decided that since classes were online, that she’d go back to her family in Canada. Thank God for my phone, TV, Netflix and social media!! For anyone who knows me…. I’m always out at crowded clubs, performing on stages to full audiences, or in the middle of the crowded dance floor at a club. I am ANYTHING but an isolator. This has been an interesting experience for me though. It’s given me a chance for some solitude and to go within myself and do some inner work. I’m enjoying that… but I miss my SEX!! I have a feeling when the isolation is over, most of the gay community is going to go wild! I know I will be.

JR: (Laughs) Yes.  And I plan to be part of that wildness right along with you!  Thanks again, Tym!

You can get all the Tym Moss you want at http://www.TymMoss.com!  Visit him on Facebook here You can also see Tym on Insta at http://www.instagram.com/tymmoss

WENDY STUART

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JR: Good morning, Wendy! It’s 11AM. So, are you usually up this early? Are you a morning person now?!
WS: Oh my God, I’m going to forget that you said that! In my old life, I would go to bed at two o’clock and wake up at seven. But that was my old life. Now that my days have no beginning, no middle, and no end, I’m up. I can be up anytime. You said 11:00AM. So there you go. I’m here!

JR: Yay!
WS: It’s another day in paradise…

JR: Well, I’m sure it’s SOME people’s ideas of paradise, you know!

WS: I noticed that so many people have been saying, “If this is what retirement is, I’m never retiring!” Think about it! Even for those of us working at home, it’s just, you know… there’s nothing! You’ve got to just be so freaking self-motivated. Right?

JR: Yes! Or else, you don’t even have any pattern to the day at all!
WS: Right. There’s no pattern! You know what it is, Jed? It’s just an “ooze”. That’s what I call it. We just “ooze” through our day!
JR: I’m sure there are some people who don’t mind this “stay at home” way of life at all. But maybe for some of them, it hasn’t really kicked in yet. Another couple of weeks and then you really start to feel like you’re in “Rosemary’s Baby”: “This is not a dream! This is REALLY HAPPENNING!”
WS: That’s really what it’s like for performers. There’s this one girl who’s a performer who I am friends with. She’s an amazing drag queen.  She put up a post on Facebook that she had the coronavirus and she went through all the symptoms when she was sick. She had everything. Thank God she’s OK now. But she said that this left her without any motivation. No creative energy. Just so “blah”… I wrote back that so many of us who perform feed off of an audience. That is the kind of performer I am. And you know, Jed, I’m a social butterfly: I love having people around me, and I never run out of things to talk about. I love meeting new people.

JR: No!(Laughs)

WS: When you’re that kind of personality: when you’re a stage performer, and especially if you’re stage performer who does drag, you’re just so freaking “out there”! And now all of a sudden, you gotta get it up to do Facebook Live… You have to look into that little camera and pretend it’s an enormous audience, and it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to do.

JR: Yeah, it is! I just can’t wait to go dancing again. People ask me if I’ve gone to any of the “virtual dance parties”. My friend Kyle Supley does his monthly dance party “After Dark” at Julius once a month. And I used to love that! I can’t get into the virtual thing. Not yet anyway!
WS: You know we’re going dancing after this, right?! That’s my whole M.O. is dancing, and we’re definitely going dancing. It’s not going to be virtual when this is all over. We’re going to do it for freaking real! We’ll do Julius. We’ll go out to the clubs in Brooklyn. You know how many plans and tickets I had? I had plans to see Danny Krivit. I was so looking forward to that at the end of March. Look what happened!

JR: Yeah! To me it’s just not the same. But I admire people’s ambitions with finding new ways to entertain us and to express their creativity. But I prefer the “three dimensional experience”! Actually, dancing is probably four dimensions! No! It’s five dimensional, because it engages all five senses and sometimes even a sixth one! (Laughs)
WS: I support all of my friends. I love Tym Moss’ workouts in the morning. He’s so cute! He’s adorable, and I like the music he picks. And he’s a big personality, so he comes across. But it’s still hard watching all of these talented people on a computer screen. I’m keen on trying to be supportive, you know, but it’s like, “Arrgh! When will all this be over?” Oh, girl! So, what are we going to talk about today?

JR: Thank you for asking! So, first, what was your last memory of New York City nightlife before the big shutdown?
WS: I was out every night before the pandemic. I sucked the life’s blood out of performance on the Lower East Side. I went right till the end. Carol Lipnik was the last person I saw at Pangea before they shut down. I went to The Bitter End to see Edwin Vazquez’ solo performance. He was so amazing. It’s so funny because so many of these people did Reading For Filth or performed at my party. I went to see Michael C. Hall at The Mercury Lounge. He’s the guy who played “Dexter”. Who knew that he even had a band? The band was named Princess Goes To The Butterfly Museum. He was so amazing. I went to see him, and they cancelled the band that was supposed to be after him. It was not crowded at all. But the show I saw was just so great, and I got to talk with him afterward. Debbie Harry showed up that night.
JR: Wow!
WS: We knew what was coming. I knew. Even then, everyone said to me, “You’re going out? You better be careful!” I WAS careful. I really was. I was one of the ones who was careful for, like three weeks before everything hit. But I still needed to go out. I just, well… you know, how it is!
JR: Yes I do!
WS: And then of course I went to see Penny Arcade at Pangea. She was workshopping new stuff. With anything Penny does, she’s so unbelievable.  Her insight!  I have now subscribed to this channel for Pangea which has all of Penny’s archives on it. It’s called Patreon. I’m subscribing for $5 a month. It’s unlimited access to Penny’s material. I think that half of what you pay goes to Pangea to make sure they open again. You know how much Pangea supports the arts! They are an institution that’s been there forever. So, that was one of the last things I saw: Penny Arcade at Pangea. I love that she’s paying it forward: She really puts her money where her mouth is. She has been doing it a long time. And when people start to see her work from the ’80s, and then think about who she is now, the woman was a prophet. She really is a prophet. I’m totally convinced. A lot of the shit she called out then is what’s coming true now. I love her perception. I love her energy, and I just love the fact that she tells it like it is. I mean, she’s Penny— and she can call it.

JR: I agree! I saw Penny Arcade at the closing party for Mother in 2000. That party lasted all night long. It was one of those parties that you left in the morning when it was light out, and people on the streets were just starting their normal nine to five day!
WS: I love being in my club clothes walking home at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning! I do. I love that. It’s such a crazy feeling! Oh my God! Shit, I’m missing that so much! The following week, the very last performance– I swear to you, I’m calling it “the last performance in New York ever”– was Carol Lipnik. And that was like, “Whoa!” Jed, have you ever seen Carol before?

 

JR: No, I haven’t. Not yet! I have to put her on my list.
WS: She’s really amazing. She’s a very seasoned performer: very Joni Mitchell-ish in approach, but definitely unique and hypnotic in her own voice. There’s an ethereal quality to her. I got turned on to Carol Lipnik because my friend Sweetie used to do songs that Carol did, and I was like, “Who is this woman?” Then I just started finding stuff that she did. She is amazing. And she was the last show at Pangea. Because this pandemic is so otherworldly, I’m thinking that it all makes sense now that Carol would be the last performer I saw. Of course it would be her– because it’s like she’s from somewhere else in a universe out there, you know? Certainly, what we’ve learned from this pandemic is that all the things that we thought was… just ISN’T. Our world ISN’T what it was, because something can change so drastically. And, Jed, that’s the freak-out. You have to say to yourself, “What can any of us control now?” It can all be gone like that, you know?
JR: Yes, this is beyond so much. This is beyond what’s going on in only America. This is beyond what’s going on in a specific community. This defies everything: ethnicity, economic status, religion…

WS: It defies every single border that you could possibly think of. I dealt big with AIDS. We were part of an AIDS organization in the 80s. We took care of the pets of anyone that had HIV or AIDS, and a lot of those clients– I hate calling them that because they became my friends… I would do fundraisers. I would have our clients come to the fundraisers, and have donors come to the fundraisers, and I’ve always given parties. That’s my thing. Certainly, it was to raise money. But the other thing I did was: We knew a couple of the doctors that did the Dallas Buyer Club drug thing in those days– you know, all the “off label” stuff. I was able to get some of the people that we knew to see those doctors. It was only a freaking handful, but they’re still alive. They’re still ALIVE! Even then, when it was “helter skelter”, I definitely felt there was more control. You knew there were safeguards you could take: You could practice safe sex. You were told, “This is what you could do.” If, if you can do it, you have control. But this, Jed: There’s honestly no control– even as I wash down every bottle, as I spray sanitizer, as I do all of these precautions: gloves, masks, everything that I’m doing. I have to do it. We all have to do it because we don’t know anything different. But there’s a part of me every day that says that it’s such fucking bullshit. They could have gotten this under control somewhat. Could they have stopped it? I don’t believe so. I don’t think you can stop a pandemic. You know, you can’t stop Ebola– but you CAN contain it. And that’s what people try and do. But with THIS… Flights to China should have been curtailed back in December. How dare we not have protective equipment for our healthcare workers.  Come on! How can we not? That to me is one of the most blasphemous things in the world, and yet it’s allowed. I have a weekend place in Milford, Pennsylvania, and there are spots out there where people are still resentful of having to take any precaution. Yesterday was a nice day. I heard there were groups of people hanging out with their friends with no masks on. They’re blaming the people that come from New York, or New Jersey, or Philadelphia for bringing this virus to them. This is the kind of thinking. And they’re still pro-Trump. How anybody can be is beyond me. I just can’t wrap my head around it. What did we have last night? I think that 700 people died in New York. Is that the statistic I saw this morning?
JR: Yeah, something like that, sadly.

WS: This is just wrong on so many levels. It’s bullshit on so many levels. And you know, for me, I’m such a person that’s always controlled their destiny and danced to my own drum for as long as I can remember. And now this is just like, “I don’t know.” I fucking float through my day. You asked me what time I get up. I’m up! I just won’t allow myself to do the “sleeping in” thing because it’s mentally not good. And as you know, I started a cooking show. So I have to be up. I gotta be ready to cook! (Laughs)
JR: (Laughs) It’s very difficult because as a nurse, I will give people healthcare advice if they ask me. I’ll tell them what they should eat and how they should exercise. I’ll teach them about medication. I’ll tell them what they should do to maintain their own health. But again, only if they ask me. If they are over the age of 18 and they are not my own children, all I could do is make gentle suggestions. They are going to have to make their own decisions about their own health, you know? But in a way, this is not the same thing. This is not the same thing as eating healthy, for example, because the choices you make by eating healthy, for example, are only going to affect you and your loved ones. These decisions people make about going out in large groups are going to affect ALL of us!

WS: The scary thing about this is that you can be positive and a carrier with no symptoms.  So let’s say three people are negative, two are positive, and those five people get together. So now at that get-together, the other three become positive, right? ‘Cause this thing just fucking spreads. And they all have people that they’re in contact with. Maybe they are not necessarily going out to meet people, but they have a partner or family or whatever. I mean, people don’t get that this is how the numbers multiply.
You’ve got to isolate. Even for myself, I could have been more vigilant. My isolations were started… I think it was March 8th. It was that weekend that I knew the envelope had been pushed a little bit. I gave an event out in Pennsylvania. I run LGBTQ events with my Executive Director for an organization called TriVersity. I gave a community event called First Friday. We weren’t masked or anything. We knew about the virus, and it was when people were first starting to say, you know, “Don’t hug or kiss.” or whatever. There were people coming in who were not necessarily part of our community, but they were locals who wanted to experience the band. I always book really great bands. When people were wanting to meet me and say hi and introduce themselves, they would extend their hand, and I would jump back and go, “No!” and namaste, or nod my head, or air handshake, you know? Every person says to me, “What’s wrong?” I’m like, “Well, there’s the virus.” — and this is what I got from everybody: “Yeah. But it’s really just like a flu.” or “Oh, but that’s over in other places. It’s not here yet.”
JR: I’m sure some of them thought, “Oh, only old people get it.”
WS: Right. It was like it didn’t have anything to do with them. I still kept vigilant. The next day I went on a hike with a bunch of my New York City friends who have homes here who I hadn’t seen in a while. We all met in the parking lot to go on this hike, and they got out of their cars. The first thing people wanted to do was extend their hand or give a hug. And my reaction, of course, was the same. Their reaction was the same too. They, they looked at me like “What are you talking about?” I said, “There’s the virus. You have to be really careful.” And then the answer was, “Oh, you know, it’s just like a bad flu.” and “It’s not going to be spread through shaking hands.” I remember saying, “But we don’t know that. We just don’t know that.” A lot of my knowledge has come from working in places like Africa. In the last place I shot in Cameroon, so many people have malaria. I’m like, “Fuck, I’m on malaria pills! Why does everyone have malaria?” Well, the female mosquitos in the area I was in were resistant to Malarone. Well isn’t that just great? I freaking prayed a lot when I was there, because my chances of catching a lot of things were really great. So, I’ve dealt with situations of things spreading before– and trying to be careful with handwashing and all of that. But maybe that’s what was in my head on March 8th when I did my pullback. I’ve been masked since March 8th, even when they said you didn’t need to wear masks back then. I’ve either put a covering over my face, and I’ve got some of those cloths masks now. Initially they said, “Oh, it doesn’t do anything.” But I am a common sense kind of person. It makes sense to me just to have a barrier. I don’t touch my face anyway. It’s common sense: you know as a healthcare worker that all our germs are on our fingers. So don’t go poking around on your face, your nose, your eyes, your mouth. It’s a great way to get sick– even a great way to spread a cold. I started taking these precautions back then. I’m taking ALL the precautions. I know people aren’t gonna want to hear this. But, it’s there. We all have to think this way. You’ve got tons of people walking around that are positive that don’t know it. So, if they don’t have a barrier in front of their face, then what the hell? Someone who is compromised can pick it up at up at the drop of a hat. When I walk in Central Park and I’m not near anyone, I feel fine with that. But I can’t get groceries delivered now. There’s no slots anywhere today. I’m going to have to make a run. I call it the “food death run!” (Laughs) That’s how I think of it. For the food death run, I have a couple of pairs of gloves. I have the gloves I put on to wear out, to go to the store to buy the stuff. Then, everything gets deposited in my hallway. Then I take my shoes off, I run inside, and spray everything with disinfectant. This is before it even goes into my kitchen and gets run under hot water! And then a third pair of gloves. This is fucking crazy. It’s crazy! And what if I miss a spot?

JR: It’s good to take common sense precautions! I’ve changed my behavior too. I do go jogging, but now I wear a mask and I stay on the empty or minimally populated streets, of which there are now many in my neighborhood. You can’t be too cautious, unless it gets to the point where you lose your head! (Laughs) It’s better to be too aggressive than to look back and say, “I should have done this, this, and this!” So… let’s talk about the cooking show!
WS: (Laughs) Here’s the deal with this show. I don’t cook. That’s the biggest joke on the face of the earth. But I’m a performer and I’m an entertainer, and with not being able to do my thing anywhere and having things canceled, what can I come up? I’m a stupid, funny kind of performer. You know what I love about your burlesque? It’s stupid funny. I love that, because that makes people laugh, and it’s warm, and it’s engaging, and we’re funny just as people. That’s what we do! We’re clowns in a sense.
JR: I agree!
WS: Right, right. So what was the funniest thing I could come up with, something that nobody would expect? Oh yeah, a cooking show! This is like the biggest joke. Because I’m not home a lot and I’m out all the time. I have modeling bookings, I have auditions, I get bookings for other things, I interview people on panels, I’m an author and a speaker. So, there’s so many things that I do with the whole New York nightlife thing. I don’t have freaking time. And why would someone like me want to cook? It’s a waste of my time. It’s so much easier to just order the food in, eat it, and then go to a club, right? So to get through this time, I thought a cooking show is a great idea because it’ll be funny and entertaining– and more than that, it will make people feel really good because it’s just silly and stupid. I was going through recipes before you called. (Laughs) Oh my God, that’s so funny. My life has come to this! Recipes! Something that would never enter into my language. I’m looking at these messages and I’m like, “Fuck! How do people do this? It’s so boring!” But you can’t imagine the comments, the calls, and the texts I get from people. They’re like, “I was feeling really down and then I saw your episode for the day!” First of all, I try and come up with a funny costume. For my very first cooking segments, I’d say that I was looking like a “normal girl”. But now it’s definitely moved into my New York nightlife. And I love that. You know this about me: I love hairpieces, extensions, glitzy clothes– anything that will pull out my inner drag queen. So that’s the direction I’ve gone in with the show. It’s an entertaining thing for people to watch. I’ve got friends that are sick and they say, “You make me smile.” To have somebody tell you that! I know you’ve had people say that to you. Jed, I look at you and you make me smile. What could be better? What could be more satisfying?
JR: Awww, thanks!
WS: So you asked me about other things I’m doing. This is really great: Eileen Shapiro and Jimmy Star are my PR people. Both of them are outrageous bundles of energy. They are exactly like the rest of us, you know?! Of course, they came from Nick Lion. He made the intro, and they’ve continued to get me podcasts and radio shows. The beauty of it is that I can do it from the corner of my couch, and I can be on Skype or Zoom, or I can just be on the phone talking if it’s just audio. I have all different options open to me. These shows are long! I did one the other day that was like 85 minutes with a radio host in Oklahoma. Great guy! He’s completely frustrated by watching people in places like Oklahoma, where it has hasn’t yet started to skyrocket out of control. People are not masked, they’re not gloved… How cool it is to be able to share what is going on here with somebody somewhere else for 85 minutes? You know me, Jed: I can talk about anything. If anybody wants to interview me about anything, they could come up with any topic and I will have over an hour’s worth to say on it. Fashion, music, cinema, health, beauty… all of it, because it’s all part of my world. This guy was into extra terrestrials and Bigfoot. That was some of the stuff we covered besides my book, and me, and all of that. But I love talking to him because I’m into all of that too. My curiosity is insatiable. I don’t have fear. I’m willing to jump in there, try anything, do anything, experience anything… I don’t care about rejection the way a lot of other people do, because I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve been rejected. Lord knows! In my book, She’s The Last Model Standing, if you really look into those stories, it was about, one horrific modeling or acting experience after another, or about trying to claw your way from the very bottom of rejection all the way up– and not letting anything stop you. What I’ve learned about myself is that the only thing that can stop me is me. That’s it! I’m going to be a force no matter what. I’m going to get through this pandemic. I’m going to do this cooking show because people are really loving it. And then I have another show where we’re going to start bringing guests using Zoom. It should be interesting to see how it works. Not my favorite cup of tea of course, because I love having a human being there. I work off of a human being, but in this pandemic we have to be responsible. I’m looking to get the dynamics of other guests on the show. And the only way to do it right now will be through Zoom. So we’ll see how that works out. To me, live performance is just where it’s at. That will never die. But we need to learn how to use these technologies. Let’s fast forward to when the pandemic is over. Okay. Are we going to need Zoom? We might use it for a corporate meeting or whatever, but are we gonna really need it in our lives? I know I won’t need it. I’m not going to have modeling jobs on Zoom. I’m not going to be performing on Zoom. But that’s assuming everything’s gonna go back to normal. Right now, Jed, I don’t know anything. All bets are off. This really threw me for a loop. It took everything that I knew in the world, everything that I knew from the time I was born, and blew it the fuck up. It wouldn’t have been anything I could have even wrapped my head around. I said that about 9/11 and that was true. But this?! People say to me, “How do you stay motivated, to be out there and do this cooking show to, and going on radio shows and all of that?” Well, that motivation is who I am. I’m going to be that person no matter what. But I know that this is killing the psyche of so many people, and that’s the tragedy behind it.  This is the thing that bothers me a lot: Everyone’s so cavalier: “I’ll be working from home now. We’ll all be working from home?” Really? Well, maybe YOU will be, but you know what? My friends are performers. I chose that world. They’re not going to be working from home, and they’re going to have to figure out how they can make money. It’s very selfish to say we’ll all be working from home now. I heard that the other day. I’m like, “That is such bullshit.”

JR: Whoever said that probably wasn’t thinking about what they were saying too intelligently.
WS: You just said it: “Not thinking about”. Let’s talk about “not thinking about”. Not thinking about the other people in the world. Not thinking about how if a virus is in China, what makes you think it’s not coming here? We really have to START “thinking about”. We can’t always be like, “How is my own ass doing?” You know, I think we’ve all been so selfish for so long. We really have to become aware of how everybody else is doing. That is my say. I really believe that.
JR: That’s why when they say “Think globally”, it’s not just a catchphrase. It really isn’t. You can see how much we are really all connected with this. So yeah, you’re not just missing a show: “OK, I’m going to cancel my tickets because I’m not going to go see this.” No!  THE VENUE IS CLOSING! And that means a lot of people out of work. How many people are involved in a Broadway show or even an off-Broadway show? LOTS of people: people that are going to be affected by this. It’s not just a matter of whether or not you missed the show, or whether you can’t go to the gym….

WS: That’s exactly right. And that’s how people have got to start to think about things. It’s so cliché, but you know the words: I am my brother’s keeper. People really have to start to follow that.

JR: Agreed! So, lastly: I know that we both said that one of the first things we are going to do when it’s “safe to go outside” is to go dancing! But what else do you have planned when the pandemic is over?
WS: I have an open slot for another gay husband! So I’ll be interviewing, ’cause it’s always better to like interview live. I don’t want to do that on Zoom– although that’s kind of funny when you think about it: potential gay husbands coming up like Hollywood Squares! (Laughs) The other thing I’m going to be doing, which I’m working on now, is a film called Working Dogs: A Love Story. My husband Alan Kaplan and I have been shooting it for the last year. It is mostly shot. This film is very important to us. It’s about service dogs and therapy dogs, and how they’re affecting the people that they’re helping– and how the people that they’re helping make such a difference in the dog’s life as well. This is one of the documentaries that was a passion project for me that I really wanted to get out there. I’m hoping to be able to do the editing during the pandemic safely, and that hopefully by the time the smoke clears, this project will be ready to get out there and go to film festivals. We’re also looking for sponsors for it as well, because I think the whole human/animal bond thing is now, more than ever, going to become one of the most important things to keep us together as a human race. That’s what I feel.
JR: It’s also worth mentioning that during the pandemic, pets are important companions for people who live alone.
WS: Oh my God!  Absolutely. I have little Nugget next to me. He’s just about as sweet as anything, and he sticks to me like glue. I think that he instinctively knows that there’s something very wrong out there now with the pandemic.  So, I have that project I’m working on. Then of course, hopefully I’ll have modeling jobs. I’m actually on hold for gigs for May. I think that clients who are putting me on hold are very optimistic. I don’t see this being over that fast– but we’ll see. We’re changed permanently. I have a very good PR team behind me to get my brands out there. There’s a lot of reality-based things in television that I would like to host and that I could do with my background, like traveling and hosting in remote parts of the world– as well as the whole fashion thing. I don’t think the Food Network is going to be knocking a path down to my door for the cooking show! (Laughs) But I want to be able to use all the things that I am to make my life and my career as good as possible. And then, of course, there’s what we had started back in January: myself and Nick Lion and, at the time, Eileen D.: We were going to throw these big extravaganza parties.  Nick and I, of course, are planning a huge extravaganza when this is over. We’ll have performances, and just an amazing party. I want to be able to do more of those. I’m very well-placed out there, and I love hosting these kinds of events– because again, to come full circle, it’s about bringing people together!

JR: I am SOOOO looking forward to that! Thank you again, Wendy!

wendy5

You can see Wendy’s cooking show, “Pandemic Cooking With Wendy Stuart”, on Vimeo here!  Visit Wendy Stuart on http://www.WendyStuartTV.com, Insta, Facebook, and YouTube. 

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