Sunday, April 11, 2010

Under the Gay Big Top - climACTS 2010 in Boston April 27

Backstage with Michael Lanphear (R). Thomas Olsen photo.

Have you heard about climACTS which happens each year in Boston? It is the anything-goes event, known for it’s unusual antics, and in previous outings has featured everything from glittery drag shows, caged go-go dancers and outrageous auction packages. In a word, it is unpredictable.

The crowd gets into the act, too.

On tap for this year is an exotic martini bar, circus sideshow acts and a live auction featuring City Year's Charlie Rose as auctioneer. The big ticket auction item will be VIP tickets to the Amfar benefit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival as guests of Mr. Cummings, valued at $8800.

Considering his continued support, it's a special evening in which the Tony Award winner will be honored, and some amazing circus acts will be enjoyed under the Big Apple Tent at Boston's City Hall Plaza. The glitterati of Boston LGBT community will be in attendance. And “Project Runway” winner and designer to the stars Christian Siriano will accept the award on Mr. Cumming’s Behalf since Cummings will be filming in South Africa that evening.

Project Runway winner and bon vivant Christian Siriano will accept an award for Alan Cumming.

Currently in it’s 11th year, climACTS, the annual gala benefit for The Theater Offensive will be held on Tuesday April 27th and promises a showstopper under the big top with performances by a dazzling aerialist, Massachusetts native Michael Lanphear (fresh from appearing on Britney Spears World Circus Tour), contortionist Viktoria Grimmy (also on the World Circus tour) and honors for film and theater star Alan Cumming. Christian Siriano, “fierce” winner of season four of Project Runway and designer to stars such as Lady Gaga, Estelle, Whoopi Goldberg and Tori Spelling, will accept the award on behalf of Mr. Cummings.

The action will take place under the Big Apple Circus’ tents on City Hall Plaza beginning at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $150 and all proceeds benefit the Theater Offensive. For more information, call 617.661.1600; tickets can also be obtained online at

Honored at the event will be Alan Cumming, best known for his villainous roles in Goldeneye and Spy Kids 1, 2 and 3. He won a Tony for his role in Broadway's Cabaret and is currently filming alongside Kristin Bell, Stanley Tucci, Christina Aguilera and Cher in Burlesque, a musical set for a Thanksgiving 2010 release. Alan also has a recurring role on this season's hot new show, The Good Wife.

Michael Lanphear, a graduate of Bridgewater State College does "silks" among other things. It's when the aerialists hang from those long sensual silk ropes flying, spinning and falling. It's awesome.

Aerialist Michael Lanphear trains with the Gemini Twins of Cirque Du Soleil fame and focuses on three aerial apparatuses: straps, hoop and fabric. As a performer Michael captures audiences with breathtaking displays of strength and flexibility.

The Theater Offensive has driven ambitious programming to the cutting edge of queer culture and politics since 1989. Grounded in their commitment to build an activist-based artistic forum, their groundbreaking programming has become a vital arena for the unique voices of diverse queer cultures, and has led to lasting coalitions between the varied communities under the queer umbrella. It is a commitment to debunking assumptions both from inside and outside the queer communities that directs all Theater Offensive work.

Ringmaster for the evening will be Boston arts and culture critic Joyce Kulhawik.

The Theater Offensive mounts and produces festivals and individual productions by national and local queer performers, and also serves as a development environment for new theatrical work. Among the programs developed by The Theater Offensive are The True Colors OUT Youth Theater troupe (formerly Teen Theater Works) which generates original productions written and performed by its young actors, Plays at Work, which develops and presents new, local theatrical productions in staged readings and workshops and A Street Theater Named Desire, a guerilla AIDS activist theater troupe, that enters gay cruising grounds and presents performances that promote safe sex and AIDS education.

ClimACTS is chaired by Eric Georgi, Faith Soloway and Donald Vaughan alongside Honorary Chairs Harry Collings, Tony Corey and Joan Parker. Tickets to the event are on sale now at

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