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Created by Mac & Pomegranate Arts, event set for Dec. 12
COVID-era virtual reinvention of popular seasonal variety show follows Nov. 13 release of ‘Holiday Sauce’ album
Virtual local VIP after-party to celebrate Western New York LGBTQ+ community, honor Buffalo artist Ari Moore – proceeds benefit Artpark, Pride Center of WNY, Pride Niagara
On Dec. 12, Artpark & Company will join other prestigious theaters and cultural institutions around the world in presenting the Pomegranate Arts production “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!” The special, live-streamed event reimagines for this time of social distancing Mac’s celebrated “Holiday Sauce” show, which The Los Angeles Times praised for its “freewheeling love and generosity,” and called “a present from the island of misfit toys ... and a Christmas miracle.”
The program comes on the heels of – and celebrates the release of – Mac’s “Holiday Sauce” album, another opportunity for home-bound audiences to experience Mac’s singular artistry and approach to the holidays.
“Holiday Sauce… Pandemic!” was commissioned by The International Ibsen Festival, The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and The National Theatre of Oslo, who present it with additional support from Artpark, ASU Gammage at Arizona State University, Berliner Festspiele, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, Curran-San Francisco, Firstworks/Brown Arts Initiative, The Guthrie Theater, The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, Live Arts Miami, OZ Arts Nashville, Park Avenue Armory, Seattle Theatre Group and On The Boards, Stanford Live at Stanford University, Teatros del Canal Madrid, TO Live, UtahPresents, and Wexner Center of the Arts at the Ohio State University.
Artpark stated, “For Taylor Mac, there is more to the holidays than rampant capitalism and gift giving, and imagination is its own spirituality. This holiday season will be bittersweet for so many. ‘Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!’ reminds us of the collective power of our chosen families, a message that is particularly resonant this year, when so many have lost so much. Conceived as a virtual vaudeville, ‘Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!’ blends music, film, burlesque and random acts of fabulousness.”
Mac dedicates “Holiday Sauce” to Mother Flawless Sabrina, Mac’s drag mother, who passed away three weeks before the live show made its world premiere at Town Hall NYC in December 2017. As a tribute to her, each institution presenting “Holiday Sauce...Pandemic!” is honoring a local elder who has made a significant contribution to nurturing the queer community in their city. Artpark has selected Buffalo artist Ari Moore.
Artpark stated, “Ari is Buffalo’s first prominently out Black trans woman who has established herself as a leader and matriarch of the local movement for decades.”
Moore owned and operated the Inner City Art Studio before joining the Buffalo Police Department, where she served as an officer for 25 years. Collectively, these elders make up a group Mac is referring to as “The Queens”; their names will be mentioned in the show, featured on the “Holiday Sauce” website, and amplified on social media.
“Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!” will be presented at 7 p.m. Dec. 12. Immediately following the streaming performance, Artpark and the LGBTQ+ community – with emcees Anthony Chase and Javier Bustillos – will host a local party via Zoom, during which Moore will be honored. Members of the “Holiday Sauce” community will “stop by” the party to join the festivities.
Tickets for the streaming performance and VIP after-party are $20, while tickets for the streaming performance only are available for $10. Tickets can be purchased at www.artpark.net. Proceeds benefit Artpark, Pride Center of WNY, and Niagara Pride Inc.
“Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!” is intended for mature audiences.
Following the live-streams on Dec. 12, the show will be available on-demand for $10 from Dec. 13 through Jan. 2, 2021. Visit www.artpark.net for more information.
Also on Dec. 12, in a ceremony streamed at 1 p.m., Mac will receive the International Ibsen Award, given every two years to an individual or company that has brought new artistic dimensions to the world of drama or theater. Mac is the first American to win the honor. Previous recipients include iconic artists such as Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, Heiner Goebbels and Forced Entertainment.
To create “Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!” Mac has joined forces with longtime creative producer Pomegranate Arts (Linda Brumbach, founder and director; Alisa E. Regas, managing director, creative), director Jeremy Lydic, designers Machine Dazzle and Anastasia Durasova, and cinematographer Rob Kolodny. The presentation features a full band led music director/arranger Matt Ray and including Colin Brooks, Viva DeConcini, Antoine Drye, Greg Glassman, J. Walter Hawkes, Marika Hughes, Dana Lyn and Gary Wang; special guests Thornetta Davis, Stephanie Christi’an and Tigger! Ferguson; and performers who make cameo appearances: Dusty Childers, Sister Rosemary Chicken, sidhe degreene, Romeo-Jay Jacinto, Glenn Marla, Travis Santell Rowland (Qween) and Timothy White Eagle.
A press release said, “The ‘Holiday Sauce’ album celebrates the time of year we hate with unique renditions of songs we love. In addition to traditionals including ‘God Rest Ye Gentlemen,’ ‘How Can I Keep from Singing?,’ ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ and ‘Silent Night,’ the recording features an original titled ‘Christmas with Grandma’ and covers such as Graham Nash’s ‘Cathedral’; the Velvet Underground’s ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ and ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’; and Frank Ocean’s ‘Super Rich Kids.’ ”
“Holiday Sauce” is produced and arranged by 24-Decade music director Ray and features Mac on lead vocals and ukulele and a band including Ray on piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, glockenspiel, bells, and background vocals; Bernice “Boom Boom” Brooks on drums; Christi'an on vocals; Davis on vocals; DeConcini on guitar; Drye on trumpet; Glassman on trumpet; Hawkes on trombone; Hughes on cello, Lyn on violin; and Wang on bass.
“Holiday Sauce” is mixed by Grammy-winner Fernando Lodeiro (Esperanza Spalding, Vampire Weekend, Lady Gaga) and mastered by Grammy-winner Emily Lazar (Beck, Lou Reed, David Bowie). It is released by Favorite Fruit, a new company established by Pomegranate Arts. A portion of the album proceeds benefit the LGBT Asylum Task Force.
For more information about the Holiday Sauce album and the “Holiday Sauce...Pandemic!” event, visit www.TaylorMacHolidaySauce.com.
The Earl W. Brydges Artpark is operated by nonprofit organization Artpark & Company Inc. in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, visit www.artpark.net.