scroll down for information on event participants
Rich and Ian of Prohibition have generously set aside some time for us and those who would come out to support us in this important effort. There will be a $25.00 donation at the door and a two drink minimum for the soiree which will include entertainment from Michael Clay, Ilene Kristen and Ken Lundie with appearances from some well known people from around town, Thorsten Kaye, Jeff Branson, BethAnn Bonner, Matt Walton, Mark Dobies, Melissa Claire Egan, Brian Gaskill, Jonathan Hare, Kelli Giddish, Chrishell Stause and, with the blessings of the television gods, a star or two from Prime Time
Appearances are dependent on filming schedules.
Circulation and Customer Relations
This effort has been a labour of love for all involved. The staff of Smart & Strong and POZ magazine would like nothing more than to make their mark contributing to New York’s most significant fund raising event which helps to make life productive for the HIV+ and people living with AIDS. This is that annual event where we can make ourselves heard, when we can love out loud.
Helping the cause
BethAnn Bonner was in the final three of Soapnet's I Wanna Be a Soap Star 3. While she didn't win, in 2006 she was offered the contract role of police officer Talia Sahid on the ABC Daytime’s One Life to Live, debuting in December of that year. [wikipedia] "BethAnn Bonner's Talia is a breath of fresh air. There is something unique and intriguing about this character … BethAnn is creating layers in Talia and compels me to want to learn more about the character. She is neither cookie-cutter nor easily forgettable…" [Denise]
Website: bethAnn bonner
Of course there is more to Jeff Branson than meets the eye and that's why All My Children kept him on as the deeply troubled Jonathan Lavery. His dulcet baritone gives evidence to a more than articulate actor who can give believable life to the unbelievable. His history of working in and around New York City as a struggling actor for ten years helped him hone his skills. Those skills can also be seen in the feature film The Big Bad Swim in his role as Noah Owens. The POZ team is very happy that he has responded to the invitation to join the fund raiser. There is no doubt that his rising to the occasion will be a boon to the effort.
Website: Jeff Branson
It wasn’t all that long ago that Michael Clay was one of Nashville’s noted heartthrobs. He is certainly a fine example of an impossibly handsome sensitive man. His music at the time was noteworthy in that it could not be pigeonholed. In the heartland of the Country Music Industry that can be a two edged sword. There was definitely nobody like him. No one else was playing his brand of pure American music with a strong positive streak. His loyal following was exactly that because the music was so uplifting. On the other hand being that unique made it difficult for major labels’ A&R people to take a chance on him. Still he stayed on and played and played.
Italian on his mother’s side and bred in the heart of Texas, Michael is furnished with an emotional base that propels him to perform and reach out through that performance. Nashville was graced with many a show at The Sutler, Caffe Milano, 3rd and Lindsley, 12th & Porter, and Wolfie's not to mention spontaneous performances that sprouted at parties, The Nashville Country Club, The Bound’ry and The Trace.
Those years brought him to Austin’s Saxon Pub more than once and reignited his attachment to his home State where he is now and where he continues to create.
Michael could tell you many a tale of his close friends from his Nashville years and more than one has inspired his original material. They were years full of creativity and connecting personalities. The list seems endless and certainly memorable.
Michael Clay’s signature song at one time was the incomparable Love Out Loud a paean to loving as one’s nature dictates. It arrived at the very end of the set starting out unassumingly with an autobiographical sketch of how the emotional struggles of youth brought the singer to musical expression a metaphor/simile for loving and living. It was that part of the show where everyone in the band had the opportunity for self expression. It was cathartic and exhilarating.
I was born with bugle horns and trumpets in my heart,
Mandolins, & accordions & voices in three parts
Pounding drums and guitar strums
And choirs singing out
I was born to love, love out loud
Michael plays on and Austin, Texas is the better for it.
Mark Dobies made some Daytime television history not that he played a gay male character on the down low but that he brought some pathos to a homicidal gay district attorney. He portrayed a less than politically correct character in a plot driven story line with depth. This multi-talented man is taking time out of his busy day to greet those in attendance. This is a varsity letterman who has come a long way portraying edgy characters that give the TV landscape a bit of colour and proving his creativity by writing a screenplay One Game, starring in The Normal Heart to rave reviews.
Website: The Official Mark Dobies Fan Club
Melissa Claire Egan
At the age of 12, Melissa debuted on All My Children as an extra only to return as the very adult Annie McDermott, mother to Ryan Lavery’s daughter and romantic interest for the handsome devil. Originally from Bedford, New York, Miss Egan grew up with an extensive background in musical theatre. While still a child, she began booking national television commercials and was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency. Ford did indeed have a better idea in the University of North Carolina Dramatic Arts major. Miss Egan made her mark while at Chapel Hill in Marvin's Room, How I Learned to Drive, The Birthday Party and Pippin. Not resting on those laurels, she also studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, England. Her television credits include One Tree Hill and Dawson's Creek, and she starred in the independent film Wrestling. We’re grateful that she intends to sweeten the atmosphere at Prohibition for the fund raiser meeting and greeting the fans in attendance.
Website: Melissa Claire Egan
Photo: Thomas Montalto Photography
Spring certainly has sprung on Guiding Light with the casting of Brian Gaskill as Dylan Shayne Lewis . The talented and much appreciated actor is no stranger to daytime dramas. He was All My Children’s Bobby Warner, As the World Turns’ BJ Green, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Oscar Marone and Port Charles’ Rafe Kovich the character that truly put him front and center in the minds and hearts of many fans. The New York area is once again his home following a sabbatical in Nashville where he and his wife had more than a passing acquaintance with the music scene. The POZ Team welcomes his participation in a musical evening where the acquaintance will be memorable.
Website: Guiding Light official site
Photo: Steven Bergman
Bio coming soon
Within the confines of Daytime TV there are hidden gems, jewels of the human race that are there for the discovery. When Kelli Giddish showed up at the AIDS Walk Fundraiser last Wednesday it brought a smile to many a face. What sets Ms Giddish apart among her contemporaries is not only a delicate beauty worthy of Hollywoodland's Golden Age but also a quality that indicates inner strength of a young woman who seems to know what she is about.
She recently acted along with Ilene Kristen, Kim Zimmer, Julia Barr and Bobbie Eakes in Laugh Lines; was recently a guest on Law & Order: SVU and also stars on an Internet sitcom: www.theburg.tv. All My Children's Di Henry is simply one of the things she does well.
She graced Prohibition with her presence, making it ever so slightly a classier place. There are those people who don't need to be cajoled to join in and Kelli's one of them -- the sweetest peach from Cummings, Georgia flourishing in Gotham.
An athlete and an actor with the heart of a poet: a description that fits international star Thorsten Kaye to a tee. He has presence and, therefore, his characters fill the small screen whenever he appears. Okay, maybe the word ‘grace’ shouldn’t be added, but his work with Alicia Minshew is noteworthy and has caught the notice of many a fan. Don’t hate him because he’s beautiful. Love him because he has subtlety in his delivery and can say more with a glance than copious words could descry.
Ilene Kristen a New Yorker through and through has lived in just about everywhere here. She found herself living on the Upper West Side for some of her formative years. As many an urban child, especially of that era, she and her sister were given directives regarding which streets could be traveled.
One street that had 100% permission for her young adventures was Broadway, which served as inspiration for the luminous and joyous noise she gave forth in a duet of Boogaloo Down Broadway after her show one evening at the Triad where she often performs.
Ilene’s shows are full of reminiscences in which she relates to her audience as if they were in her living room. She herself says so. Nonetheless her music is sultry, smooth and funky at one and the same time. Still this smoothness wraps itself around complex and sensitive lyrics in her original material. As fortune would have it, one of her songs “Flesh & Blood” is found on the Hurricane Katrina Benefit Recording One Life Many Voices that she and her co-stars from One Life to Live have put together.
“Hold on to the earth with your own two hands and never say goodbye” are the lyrics she wrote in response to The World Trade Center tragedy and the loss of her good friend Nancy Addison from Ryan’s Hope. Speaking of inspiration, Ilene Kristen’s fans would do her and themselves a great service in encouraging her to record more of her moving and intelligent sounds in a project all her own. It’s no wonder that this vibrant, diminutive powerhouse was the very first to commit to our fundraiser. To know her is to love her.
Website: The Official Ilene Kristen Website
Ken Lundie - Composer
Ken Lundie began his career with Disney during college as a scholarship recipient to the inaugural season of Disney World’s Kids of the Kingdom and Musical Theatre Experience. He has become a musician par excellence and the POZ team is very fortunate to have his talent on board. Ken spends much of his time at the famed Radio City Music Hall accompanying and arranging for the world famous Rockettes. He also plays for and coaches some of the country's finest talent. Last year at POZ’s fund raiser at Prohibition, Ken and old friend, Ilene Kristen, rediscovered each other. This year they will be put their talents together to make the evening even more special.
While living in Hollywood Ken appeared with Dolly Parton in the film version of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and with Mae West in her last movie Sextette. Ken has also served as Associate Musical Director for Jimmy Buffett on his Don’t Stop The Carnival. He is the musical supervisor for Westchester Broadway Theatre and its educational program.
Kentucky born Chrishell Stause wants to live in a world where imagination is the currency.
We’ve watched her on All My Children as the grown up Amanda Dillon since 2005 and she has put her own imagination to good use as Amanda evolved from temptress and conniver to sensitive young heroine with a troubled past. The character lived up to its pedigree because Chrishell brought certain panache to the portrayal. Of course, having a degree in theater from Murray State University helped a little too. She’ll join Jeff Branson who portrays her on screen love interest Jonathan. It’s not unheard of, i.e. Chrishell stepping up to the plate for a good cause.
Matt Walton usually invites the question of where he's been seen before and when more people got to see him in his incarnation as the evil Terry McDermott on All My Children they were reminded that he is simply a hard working guy who is one of those actors who keep you watching whether it’s in television, on film or on stage. One of his recent endeavors Montclair saw him as part of a very talented ensemble as well as an Associate Producer for a very creative and unique independent film project. He now has a recurring role on One Life To Live.
Website: Matt Walton Site