Video Production in Gayland


I have blogged a few times about my video production gigs at the O’Neill Theatre Center’s Cabaret Symposium. It was a training for cabaret singers and without going into redundant detail I shot – single handed – fifty-nine hours of videotape in the nine day course about twenty-six of which were with two cameras. But that’s another story.

Speaking of stories; somehow this one got left out of my third memoir, Waiting for Elizabeth.

Because of the necessity of setting up all my gear, hanging mics and arranging my shooting booth I always got to the O’Neill on Thursday, a day before the thirty five or so “Cabaret Fellows” (as the students were called) arrived. Among the Fellows there were usually twenty-three or twenty-four women and the rest were men. In the five years I did the video production at the Cabaret Symposium there was maybe a total of seven or eight straight male Fellows.

Video production at the Barn

Barn at the O’Neill Theatre Center

My sleeping quarters were in the Farm House, one of the several original buildings arrayed across the sprawling campus. A two-story frame structure of pre-WWII vintage it had been converted into a sort of dormitory that could house about fifteen or so people. And for the first night I had it to myself. All alone in the downstairs bath room was my single, small bottle of shampoo.

If you have read my books you know that I have been in the entertainment business as a singer, actor, director, producer, first assistant director, cameraman and editor since 1957. I am straight but since the early days of my showbiz life I have known hundreds of gay folks and am close friends with many so this is not now nor has it ever been a problem in my life. I tell you this up front so you’ll understand that homosexuality per se is not at issue.

On Friday my house-mates arrived. This wave of newcomers precipitated an invasion of the farm house bathroom by the gay guys’ face and hair products. When I went in to shower before dinner Friday afternoon there was not a single square inch of flat surface (other than the floor) that was not covered with bottles and vials of every male cosmetic product in the known universe.

On sharing a bathroom with ten gay men, an excerpt from “Waiting for Elizabeth”: I now knew what a cute girl felt like when being ogled by the boys. However I took the salacious remarks with good humor and told the men that while I was flattered by their attentions I was definitely not inclined to change teams this late in the game.

For more stories of all aspects of the business of show – including video production – click here and get Waiting for Elizabeth.

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