I had a great night in the theater on Saturday, it started at the entrance of LaMama where I ran into PR force James LaForce & husband Stephen Henderson along with interior designer Fernando Santangelo and it continued inside…. Maxim‘s Susan Kilkenny was my date and I had made a loose plan to meet up with comic Francesco Paladino, and there he was front row with his friend photographer Laura Desantis-Olsson at a table with two seats for us! I turned to my left and there’s Lady Bunny (Hi, honey!) one table over the legendary Robin Byrd and next to her photographer Patrick McMullan. Hey, the gang’s all here. I’m not telling you this info to name-drop, after all the reason we were all there was Nora and her one woman (+ one man, Billy Hough) show, David’s Friend.
I can’t possibly top the glowing notice she got in non-other than THE New York Times on Monday. Here’s the gist,
“Although its focus is the story of her fast (in all senses) friendship with the man named in the title, whom she met when they were teenagers in Boston, Ms. Burns’s show, performed only through Feb. 5 at the Club at La MaMa, is also a heady dip into the years when New York night life was at its dizzying, decadent height; when Bianca and Andy and company were thronging Studio 54 and Xenon and Danceteria; when Details was a magazine printed on unglossy paper and filled with, well, details about anything and everybody that was cool.
If you lived through even a part of it, you’ll be swimming merrily alongside her in memories — although, as Ms. Burns ruefully recalls, many of those wild, unforgettable nights may have been fogged to the point of obscurity by the ingestion of illicit substances. Oh well, clearly for Ms. Burns, it was worth it — and fortunately she kept a diary.
If you were too young, or too old, or too sensible to partake with the abandon Ms. Burns and her best pal did, her odyssey will bring alive the period and its pleasures (and poisons) with pungent animation. Recalling the story of her and David’s raucous years of dancing and drugging until daylight, she says: ‘We did not stay home. No one did, you did not stay home, ever.’”
So, sitting there watching this moving story about a time I lived through with some of the people I lived through it with was emotional, to say the least. But in the end it felt good. Nora is so self-effacing and charming that even after talking about herself and her friend for an hour, there was not a trace of ego really. Well, maybe just enough to get up in front of your friends and strangers and pour your guts out…
But in the end the main character wasn’t Nora or David, it turned out to be New York City, something we all had in common and still love. Even though as Nora said,
“That craggy, dangerous, exciting city we came to in the ’70s and ’80s to escape our families, tourists and the wealthy has become a safe haven for families, tourists and the wealthy…”
Nora and David met dancing on a speaker and the night he died in 1993, she was dancing on a speaker on Fire Island. Billy Hough doubles as the club DJ and plays “their song” at one point, Dance Away by Roxy Music. If you want to get in the mood, listen below.
After the show and hugs and champagne, the after party was at The Cock just up the street, where artist & DJ Scott Ewalt has memorialized David in all his glory in a mural on the club’s wall. Like that first and last dance, life came full circle again, with Nora there to tell us the story.
You can still catch Nora in David’s Friend through this Sunday. Fridays & Saturdays at 10PM, Sundays at 6PMm. The Club @ LaMama | 74 East 4th Street. Tickets here.
UPDATE: This just in, due to the rave reviews and ticket demand, the show has been extended. It will now run, Feb 10-11-12, Friday-Saturday at 7:30PM, Sunday at 2PM.