Sunday, April 9, 2023

Reportage: Night of Oh, So Many Stars: Wendy Stuart’s Birthday Feted at Pangea


Night of Oh, So Many Stars: Wendy Stuart’s Birthday Feted at Pangea

By John Pietaro

The scene was unmistakably Pangea, that home of outsider hip, as the bar and club overflowed with a timeless sense of bacchanal. The occasion on Sunday January 15 was the birthday fest of Wendy Stuart, actress, model and comic, tenacious social activist, deliberate night owl, planetary traveler, author, and host of her own television and radio shows. Stuart is also highly active in the Imperial Court of New York, so the opulence of birthday cake and libations paled in comparison to the surplus helpings of camp.

Rapidly, the space filled with well-wishers and others of glitter and glam, including fashionista Nick Lyon, as both front stage and cabaret room swelled with performers from on- and off-Broadway. Joe Preston, a friend of Stuart’s and the official guardian of Jackie Curtis’ estate stated: “There’s no more magnificent place to be than right here, right now”, adding that Pangea alone stands as “the new Max’s” within a sea of venues in the city.

Stuart initially took on MC duties, wryly informing the room, “I’m still trying to figure out why I’m not famous yet.” She then performed an original send-up of Nena’s “99 Luftballons”, exchanging its Cold War disconcert for coronavirus anxieties. But the message was far from grave, in fact, Stuart--who began by assuring all that she’s no singer—burnt through the parody with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Stuart added: “In 2020 we were set to produce a sit-com and it turned out to be covid. So, instead, I wrote a book about not being famous” (her Last Model Standing remains a favorite in such quarters).

Among the performers was powerhouse vocalist Darius Anthony Harper who took time off touring (was that with Kinky Boots?) to set this house on fire. Others on hand included Tym Moss, singer-songwriter and red carpet reporter who is Stuart’s co-host on If These Walls Could Talk, sensational young vocalist AVIVA who belted out Four Non-Blondes, stand-up comic Ike Avelli (also serving as host), vocalist/dancer and a founder of the vogue movement Coby Koehl, celebrated drag artist Gio Michaels lampooning Judy, recent cabaret sensation Cecile Williams and off-Broadway vet Brian Alejandro who sang a dazzling rendition of “That Old Black Magic”. Stuart’s husband, fashion photographer and artist (whose paintings adorn the walls of Pangea) could be seen out front, shooting the performers and surrounding merriment. ICON Magazine’s Lothario DeAmour, commenting on the honoree: “What can I say about Wendy? She’s old school in modern times.” And one pair of revelers, Peter and Zach added that “The range of people Wendy brings together, every shape and face, everyone being themselves, it’s just amazing.”

If These Walls Could Talk, Wendy Stuart and Tym Moss’s weekly one-hour entertainment interview show with celebrities, authors, cabaret artists and personalities, airs Wednesdays at 2pm EST on , and is also broadcast on UBC TV and Glewed TV  

Stuart’s radio program, Triversity Talk can be heard each Wednesday evening at 7pm EST: . For more information on these shows as well as Stuart’s many ongoing projects visit



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