20th Annual HOT! Fest Debuts at Dixon Place

A quartet from BARDS belts out a harmony from their gay Shakespearean adventure.

New York City journalist and television producer Barbara Simon reports from a momentous opening on the Lower East Side last night:

Scenes from “Some Like it Hot” flickered on the wall and the sweet melody of “Summer Wind” floated out of the piano at Opening Night of the 20th Annual HOT! Festival at Dixon Place on Friday. We got a taste of the annual celebration of queer music, dance, comedy and performance art coming out for HOT! as performers delivered a few minutes of their acts to be featured between now and August 6.

There were insights on the gay man’s popular cruising app (Sahil Farooqi in COFFEE GRINDR), a Shakespearean harmony (a quartet from BARDS) , and hilarious and irreverent predictions for the sex lives of the newly-married gays (Jessica Halem in BAD FEMINIST) among other dance and spoken word performances.

Comic Jessica Halem busts up the house with observations about gay dating, marriage and sex.

Jessie Mann (L) and Liz Liguori (R),hosts of the ultimate mixer cocktail party at Dixon Place, ANTI-DIVA.

Anti-Diva hosts Liz Liguori and Jessie Mann shook up drinks for the crowd that matched the spirit of their usual last-Friday of-the-month parties: a mix of women and men, gay and straight, New Yorkers and even a few Canadians, all welcome and all together, side-by-side at the Dixon Place bar and in the lounge.

“We like to create a place for everybody,” Jessie told us.

“Anti-Diva: no attitude,” Liz explained.

Downstairs in the theater, Tom Judson performed his new cabaret show, THE TOM JUDSON SHOW, in which he sang summer standards and unspooled summertime tales, warming things up with “Let’s Just Have Fun” and the Sinatra classic “Summer Wind.” Judson has a second show at Dixon Place on Saturday the 25th before taking his show to Provincetown, MA.

Adding to the festive feel, the crowd cheered the historic news that the New York Senate had secured the votes to make same-sex marriage legal, becoming the 6th and largest state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, 42 years after the gay rights movement was born at Stonewall.

“Happy Gay Pride weekend!” Judson sang out to his audience.

You can see the complete schedule for the HOT! Festival and purchase tickets by clicking on this link. The Lo-Down is Local Media Sponsor. We’ll have more coverage throughout the festival run.