Proudly Presenting Jimmy Janowski!

Janowski dragJimmy Janowski is Buffalo’s foremost interpreter of gender bending roles, and we’re delighted to have him present at this year’s Buffalo Humanities Festival! On Saturday, Sept. 26th from 3—4pm at the Burchfield Penney Auditorium he will discuss his life in drag. Working with the avant-garde theater collective, Buffalo United Artists, Janowski has recreated female heroines from such film classics as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and The Birds, Imitation of Life, and The Poseidon Adventure.  In this Festival session, Janowski will talk about his career of tapping into the Golden Age of gay screen icons. The discussion will be moderated by theater critic Anthony Chase, Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities at SUNY Buffalo State.

Artvoice has featured articles on Janowski many times throughout his career, but if you aren’t yet familiar with his work, this interview by Anthony Chase will get you up to speed.

When asked by Chase what defines a Jimmy Janowski role, Janowski has this to say:

“Especially for gay people who had always veered toward the highly emotional and dramatic Susan Hayward and the Bette Davises, the early ’60s brought us a different kind of heroine . . . For me, there is burning hot emotion inside of Tippi Hedren’s cool veneer. I never really believed that Grace Kelly was vulnerable—not ever. I bet a lot of gay men feel the same way. We love her, but I would be surprised if any gay man chose Grace Kelly as a role model. Straight men love her. Susan Hayward? Gay men love her and straight men don’t even remember who she was! Not at all. She was a volcano waiting to erupt in films like I’ll Cry Tomorrow, Valley of the Dolls, and I Want to Live. I gravitate toward volcanic women who confronted incredible adversity, but with enormous emotion. Almost like Anna Magnani in their intensity.”

Janowski’s latest theater production, Bette and Joan: The Final Curtain, opens on July 24th at the Alleyway’s Main Street Cabaret and will run until August 16th. Get your tickets now and don’t miss this chance to see Jimmy Janowski at his best!

The Buffalo News calls Jimmy Janowski “One of the funniest men performing on Buffalo stages!”  He has been delighting local audiences with his “gender bending” characters for over twenty years.  The recipient of several Artvoice “Artie” awards, Janowski was named “Favorite Actor” by Buffalo Spree in 2013. Don’t miss out on what will surely be an entertaining and enlightening talk!

A Shakespearean Gender-Bender

shakespeareThe Buffalo Humanities Festival is excited to present a special performance and presentation by Shakespeare in Delaware Park! The performance will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26th from 1 – 2 pm in the Burchfield Penney Auditorium.

The presentation will, naturally, explore gender roles, in this case how casting different genders affects audience reception of Twelfth Night. William Shakespeare wrote some of the most exciting and complex female characters in the dramatic canon.  And yet, he wrote them for male actors at a time when women weren’t allowed on stage.  Does a male perspective on a female voice change the message?  Does a modern audience experience cross-gender casting differently than viewers of Shakespeare’s day?

In this presentation, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will explore such questions in a double take of Olivia and Viola scenes from Twelfth Night, once with an all-male cast and once with all women, to show how gender influences text, and ultimately, the performance experience.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park is a not-for-profit, professional theatre company dedicated to providing free, high-quality public theatre to the widest possible audience.  One of Buffalo’s most beloved cultural institutions, SDP is currently in its 40th Summer Season.

You can see its production of Romeo and Juliet until July 12th, which also features women actors in several traditional male roles. The official run of Twelfth Night is from July 23rd through August 16th, and will feature an all-male cast. We highly recommend that you see the performance before the Festival!

You can learn more about Shakespeare in Delaware Park at their website. Consider making a donation to keep this beloved Buffalo tradition alive.