Why do I love the hours between December 31st and January 1st so much? It’s because New Year’s Eve is arguably the one night out of 365 on our universal calendars when the entire world just wants to… well, PARTY! The first few hours of the newborn 2023 was indeed no exception. However, one of the wildest parties in New York City took place two weeks later, when the most exclusive soiree in town was at the East Village cabaret hotspot/restaurant Pangea on Sunday, January 15th. The occasion was the birthday of the self-proclaimed “Last Model Standing”, author-mother-performer-activist-entrepreneur (etc…!) Wendy Stuart. The epic event featured live performances (More about that later…), Wendy Stuart-inspired artwork courtesy of Albert Crocus Pena, and beats by New York City’s DJ JCLEF. In attendance were such celebrities as Rollerena, the roller-skating “fairy godmother” of New York City, and Felipe Rose, the original Native American of the Village People, And, being a birthday party, of course there was cake! (More about that later too…)
Known for her larger-than-life personality and equally larger-than-life list of accomplishments, Stuart was named as one of the ten most beautiful women in the world by The Hollywood Digest in 2021. But Stuart does much more than stand around and look pretty. She uses equal parts beauty, brains, and business sense to make a difference in the world, from North America to Africa. Married to visual artist Alan Kaplan, Wendy boasts a decades-long, unyielding allegiance to the LGBTQ community, both in her native New Yok City and in Pennsylvania, where she sits on the board of the LGBTQ pride center Triversity. During the pandemic, she was an unyielding advocate for struggling businesses owned by LGBTQ’s and their allies. She not only spread her own unique brand of, shall we say, “PSA’s” about keeping these businesses running during the lockdown, but she also practiced what she preached as well, grabbing a stylish face mask and frequenting those venues as soon as outdoor activities were permitted. If it seems like Wendy Stuart is a multi-tasker, it’s true: Her penchant for keeping busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week was even noted in the hilarious performance of Ike Avelli, who sang an original tribute to Stuart set to the tune of the famous Ladies Who Lunch:
“Here’s to the last model standing. Isn’t she the best?
Actress, Author, Host – does her own branding, and has a lovely chest!
Off to a gig, then to Pangea, She never breaks a sweat.
Uptown, downtown – Mamma Mia! I’m already soaking wet!
Off to a gay bar, then to another, Look at her flyin!
How does she get more gay men, Then the king of fashion Nick Lion?!?”
Yep, that’s our Wendy! So, back to the entertainment… Stuart recruited the diverse lineup from her vast network of talent from the worlds of comedy, music, cabaret, drag, fashion, and performance art– AKA the “Wendyverse”. All of these performers have long and impressive performance resumes, with almost all of them having headlined their own full-length shows int he past. Those performers included Maria Konnor, Jason Sturkey, Alexis Flame, Evan Laurence, Clover Honey, Bear Donna, Coby Koehl, Aviva Zafrin, Tym Moss, Darius Anthony Harper, Cecilē Williams, Ike Avelli, Gio Michaels, Brian Alejandro, and Fran Sisco with saxophone accompaniment by Baron Raymonde. Many of the performers chose numbers specifically with Wendy in mind, such as Koehl’s crowd-pleasing take on With a Little Help from My Friends or Brian Alejandro’s That Old Black Magic. Of course, being a performer herself, Wendy didn’t miss the chance to take the stage: She gave the audience a mirthfully musical ode to her love of edibles, set to Nena’s sole hit from the ’80’s 99 Red Balloons. Later on in the night, Stuart was joined for a duet with her longtime creative collaborator Tym Moss (The two host the talk show If These Walls Could Talk at Pangea.) for a deliciously decadent performance of Something Bad. (I’ll refrain from asking who was Carrie and who was Miranda…)
A partial list of those in attendance that night included: Nick Lion, Kyle Marie Kaplan, Joe Preston, Jack Phelan, Bethany Birkett, Cheryl Pierce, Brian J. Kaufman, Che Che, Jason Russo, Marlowe B. West, Wilhelminia Sparrow, Rob Poredos, Anahi Vladrich, Marlowe B. West, Casey Fowler-Steiman, Lothario DeAmour, Robert DiSanto, Graham Mills Neylan, Keyth Neylan, Laurie Towers, John Pietaro, Anu Singh, Joseph Aiello, Rose Trentman, Gina Pasqually, Jeremey-Stuart de Fishberg, Jeff Catlow, Victor Sciolto, Randy Koshinskie, and Jana Peri. Oh, and did someone say “cake”? There was not just one but FOUR cakes, in honor of Wendy’s fellow Capricorns Felipe Rose, Albert Crocus Pena, and Evan Laurence.
If Wendy’s Stuart’s birthday extravaganza is any indication, 2023 is looking pretty hot so far!
Just totally blown away! Boy did you capture the night!!! Thank you Jed Ryan. I could not have described it any better myself!
LikeLiked by 1 person