TALENT Profile: The Hip, Handsome Conjurer “Vanishing Vinny”

Events Performing Arts Talent


I have good news. Magic is cool again. Hip, young and handsome magicians such as our friends “Vanishing Vinny” and Patrick Terry are bringing a suave, contemporary vaudevillian aesthetic to this timeless craft. Patrick Terry is producing “Mysterious Delights” starring Vanishing Vinny at Galapagos in DUMBO on Sept. 30th. Enjoy the Women’s Mafia TALENT Q&A below and RSVP to me for a special rate…

Vanishing Vinny

Vanishing Vinny
Vanishing Vinny – Mysterious Delights PromoCard
WM: Soo… You are a bit cuter than your average magician – do you have groupies? Do you want some?
VV: Awww! Well thank you!
Sadly I don’t have groupies unless of course you count that one time after my high school talent show when my friend’s mom… actually that’s probably not appropriate.
Anyway, groupies would be nice. Wanna help with that?

WM: How old were you when you learned your first magic trick?
VV: I was six when my father finally taught me the vanishing hanky trick that came from his fathers old shoebox o’ tricks. Although he wouldn’t tell me for weeks he finally let me in on the secret. From then on, I enjoyed annoying my family. I still do. It’s great.

WM: You are known as an expert in illusions – what is the biggest thing that you have made disappear?
VV: The biggest thing I’ve made vanish besides my chances at being America’s next top model (long story), would probably be my six cast members from my last show. We all got into a cabinet and disappeared – it was fantastic. Oh and also my afro in the 90’s. Don’t ask.

WM: When did you realize that you could take your love of magic and make it a career?

VV: Just now! Thanks!
You girls have got some great ideas!

WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
VV: The only thing I’d like from the Women’s Mafia is your undying love and support ;) Oh, and maybe a t-shirt.

WM: Please don’t hold back now – what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you on stage?
VV: I would have to say when I brought up a 7 year old kid on stage and purposely stepped on her balloon animal dog while yelling “play dead”. She gave me a mean look and ran off stage. I then magically brought it back for her (I’m not that heartless) and she took it from my hands (still with a mean look and squinted eyes) and told me that it wasn’t funny. This girl is my set designers daughter and is currently in my new show Mysterious Delights on the 30th. She & her sister are quite talented and quite hilarious.

HISTORY STARTS NOW: Exclusive Invite for The Women’s Mafia for Sept. 21st

Causes Events Nightlife Performing Arts

History Starts Now is a very impressive and important group working to fight sexual slavery  and they are offering special $15 VIP admission for Women’s Mafia guests at their impressive semi-formal event: L.I.V.E JAZZ.
It sounds amazing! Who’s in with me? Please see more details below.


History Starts Now presents L.I.V.E JAZZ, a one-night semi-formal cocktail party to raise consciousness and funds to help fight domestic sexual slavery with our generation. L.I.V.E JAZZ will feature a series of performances by the Barranca sisters, as well as Julianne Park, a classically trained Opera and Jazz singer who has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, and New York City based Jazz/Afro-pop singer, Adesuwa. For the first hour, Pranna will offer complimentary HSN signature cocktails and a percentage of all bar sales will be donated to the charity. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will also be served to guests and a luxury raffle will be held, with all proceeds going towards fighting sexual slavery. This evening’s event is geared towards bringing in New York City’s most giving individuals who care about ending sex trafficking and who want to help make history.

What: L.I.V.E JAZZ
Who: History Starts Now
Where: Pranna Restaurant’s Wine Cellar, 79 Madison Ave # 2
When: Monday, September 21st
Time: 7-11 pm
Ticket information: $15 at the door exclusively for Women’s Mafia members
$20 general admission online. Gift bags for the first 100 attendees!

Women’s Mafia Endorsed Event: Woyzeck At the New York Fringe Festival


I had the privilege last night of seeing a modern classic at the New York International Fringe Festival: Woyzeck. This play, I found out through a friend, is the first play of record about a common man. Gangbuster’s Theatre Company adapts Buchner’s classic about a mentally challenged enlisted soldier who is provoked by his superiors to kill his unfaithful lover.

Gangbusters Theatre Company is dedicated to staging the modern classics with their original speed and violence, and they definitely do not disappoint! Their innovative work has previously been honored with L.A. Ovation and Backstage Garland Critic Award Nominations.


“Director Bob McDonald‘s adaptation of his visionary production bring it sharply into a netherworld of cultural timelessness, sometimes conjuring an impression of Buchner’s original time frame, sometimes as contemporary as anything created today,” hails Backstage.

McDonald leads a talented cast of seasoned screen and stage performers including Christian Levatino (2009 Backstage Garland Award Best Actor Nomination – Hamlet in HAMLET) as the title character and Sierra Fisk as his lovely but tormented mistress Marie. The remaining cast includes Jacque Lynn Colton, Robert Mollohan, Steve Hamm, Henry Hereford, Matthew Heron, Allen Andrews, Brighid Fleming, Mary Kelsey, Mancini Graves and Michael Laurie.

There are just three performances left: August 20th at 7:30pm, August 24th at 3pm, and August 26th at 9:15pm. Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased online at ticketweb.com. For more information, check out www.fringenyc.org and www.gangbusterstheatre.com. The Lafayette Street Theatre is located at 45 Bleeker Street.

Red Light Special: Living Measure Hosts an Evening of Music and Fun for the RedLight Children Campaign

Events Exploits Nightlife

By Saira Toppin and Marcy Clark

We had the privilege earlier this week to attend a Fundraiser for the RedLight Children Campaign, an exceptionally well put-together event hosted by Living Measure and Marie Claire magazine.

The fundraiser at Le Poisson Rouge was a moving evening with live entertainment and a great crowd, and also with a definitive purpose. Some of the super talented artists performing that night include violinist Itai Shapiro, singer and actress Alicia Witt, singer and songwriter Wes Hutchinson, and a great ensemble band headlined by the lovely signer Yuli. Miss Africa USA, Nyasha, was also in attendance and spoke briefly and passionately about the cause. She spoke on the necessity of supporting Guy Jacobson and RedLight Children Campaign, and how he risks his life working to shut down brothels and the child sexploitation industry.

New York socialites, artists, and professionals filled the popular music venue. The open bar and desserts by Tawny Ong were unforgettably good and hard to resist, and helped settle the room. We scored a drink and some red velvet cake and banana cream pudding once we found a place to sit and mingle with other guests in attendance. It was a decidedly well-dresses crowd. Some women were modeling dresses by Kibonen Nfi of KiRette Couture for a silent auction. Some of the bidding began at $200 for her exquisitely handmade and embroidered dresses.

Kibonen Nfi (right) and friends, some wearing her KiRette Couture line

Living Measure’s stated mission is simplified as “Party…Charitably.” Something we are very much in line with in the Women’s Mafia. We hope to work with them on more events soon!

We are sharing some more of our photos below, and you can see pics at Guest Of A Guest too. Learn more about Living Measure at www.livingmeasure.org and Red Light Children Campaign at www.redlightchildren.org, and learn how you can help!

An awesome band headlined by the talented Yuli
An awesome band headlined by the talented Yuli
Alicia Witt has a great set of pipes and beautiful songs - look out for a Talent Q&A with her soon!
Alicia Witt has a great set of pipes and beautiful songs - look out for a Talent Q&A with her soon!
Marcy Clark and Alicia Witt
Marcy Clark and Alicia Witt


Saira Toppin and Marcy Clark
Saira Toppin and Marcy Clark

Exclusive Rates for GIVE US BREAD and CleanPlatesNYC Event this Friday

Books Events Performing Arts

We’re Invited!

CLEAN YOUR PLATE – A Local Food Tasting and Evening of Theater
Friday, June 19 @ 7:30PM
Clean Plates NYC tasting with Author Jared Koch followed by a performance of Give Us Bread

Women’s Mafia Special Discount Code: BOGOWM – Buy One Ticket, Get One Free!
Tickets normally: $20/$15 (students/seniors)

Give us Bread

A letter from Melissa Fendell, Artistic Director of The Anthropologists:

Dear Women’s Mafia Members,

Your support and enthusiasm means the world to us – both by coming to the show and joining in on our Post-Show discussions!

Please join us at 7:30PM on Friday, June 19 for an exciting evening at the theater, hosted by Clean Plates N.Y.C.
Mix and mingle over a tasting from local restaurant Broadway East  before the 8PM performance of Give Us Bread, FREE with your ticket to the show!

At the event you can also meet Clean Plates NYC author Jared Koch and find out where you should be eating in New York. As Deepak Chopra says, “Jared’s nutritional advice in Clean Plates has the power to transform your individual health and our collective well-being.”

Will we see you there?

Hope to see you at the theater!
Melissa Fendell Moschitto
The Anthropologists


The reviews are in!
“…a thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking play, mixing elements of realism with dance and stylized movement to create a piece that is wholly within its own hybrid Anthropologists genre.”        – nytheatre.com

“The company has effectively resurrected a lost revolution from New York’s past and given it a chance to shine in such a way that it will never be forgotten again.”     – OffOffOnline

Only 6 Shows Left!
Now through June 21!
Wednesday & Thursday @ 7:30PM
Friday @ 8PM
Saturday @ 2PM & 8PM
Sunday @ 3PM
The Milagro Theater at CSV
107 Suffolk Street
F/J/M/Z to Delancey/Essex
Women’s Mafia Special Discount Code: BOGOWM – Buy One Ticket, Get One Free!
Tickets normally: $20/$15 (students/seniors)



Theatre! Live! On Stage! Starting tonight!

Events Performing Arts

by Marcy Clark

In New York one has the opportunity to be a part of many, many communities and worlds. For better or for worse, I am a card carrying member of the Theater Community (actually, I don’t have a card, need to get one of those…).

This weekend there are some exciting possibilities to explore this world, or just escape the bar schene, and be thoroughly entertained while getting your much needed shot of culture.

Opening Thursday:


My dear friend Laura Rohrman is a very talented playwright. And it’s not just me saying that, lots of people agree. She has been a Finalist and Critics Choice for the Samuel French Short Play Festival in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and also gotten accolades from the O’Neill Playwriting Conference, the Princess Grace Fellowship and the Weissberger Award.

The Looking Glass Theatre’s Women’s Writers and Directors Forum is featuring her play “Without” in their lineup. The dates are June 4th-7th. You can get tickets and read more about the shows on their website: http://www. lookingglasstheatrenyc.com

Laura says: “Without is a one-act play about a young woman who gets attacked in Paris and then has to solve the mystery of how and why it may have happened.”

I’m a sucker for mysteries. Sounds pretty enticing, right?

God Tastes Like Chicken

www.godtasteslikechicken.com – I have the pleasure of performing in an improv group that performs every 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of the month at 10:30 at Theatre Under St. Marks. People seem to like us and we have developed an only slightly-creepy cult following. Tickets are $5 at the door, or $3 with a religious costume.
Opening This Friday June 5th and Running through June 21st

At one time in our city’s history a loaf of bread would have cost nearly an entire day’s salary for an immigrant woman. Give Us Bread, a new play by The Anthropologists and artistic director Melissa Fendell Moschitto, takes us back to that time and celebrates the activists and ordinary citizens who organized themselves to protest steeply rising food costs.

Give Us Bread is a riveting, visceral and beautiful play about the food riots of 1917 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Rich in evocative movement and featuring historical and devised text, Give Us Bread tells the stories of immigrant women, their journey to America, the struggle they faced in 1917 to feed themselves and their families, and how they came together and succeeded in lowering food prices.

Premiere of Give Us Bread: June 5th, 2009 @ 7:30PM
Followed by a reception to benefit the NYC Coalition Against Hunger
The Milagro Theater at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center
107 Suffolk Street, New York, NY 10002

Performance Schedule: June 5 – 21, 2009
Wednesday & Thursday @ 7:30PM
Friday @ 8:00PM
Saturday @ 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Sunday @ 3:00PM

Tickets for “Give Us Bread” On Sale Today! www.smarttix.com

We will post more on Give Us Bread and their highly innovative and intriguing cultural programming, THE FOOD RIOT PROJECT, soon. Check out http://www.theanthropologists.org/The_Food_Riot_Project.html to see the full schedule for both.


TALENT: Q&A with Penny Pollack of Penny’s Open Mic

Performing Arts Talent

by Marcy Clark

Penny PollackPenny hosts New York’s most popular and yet inclusive Open Mike in town every Tuesday at 9pm at Theatre Under St. Marks and this Tuesday May 12th all proceeds benefit NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

Pre-show sign-up by lottery . 7 minutes maximum per act. 5 hours of art only $3.00

WM: You run what can best be described as a New York Institution. How did Penny’s Open Mic get started?
PP: Well after being deported from England they sent me on a plane to New York, with out a job, money or a place to live I made the very logical decision to stay to do theater. Within the first month I found myself managing a bar which was renovating the basement. I suggested to put a stage down there instead of a pool table. Bada bing bada boom we built a small stage and history was made. Less then a year later we moved into the finest black box theater in NYC, UNDER St. Marks Theater. We’ve been with horsetrade ever since and thank god we found them. They are art over profit and truly support what we are really about. It has also given the mic a very theater feel which makes performance art and monologues a very natural progression.

WM: How did you get involved in the NYC Against Sexual Assault Fundraiser? This is an important issue to the Women’s Mafia as well.
PP: The 12th marks a year of a very personal liberation. This is my way of trying to heal. I want to raise the voices of those who feel no one is listening. There is a place for us all to speak and be heard. There are people who want to change things and want all women and men to be able to recognize abuse so that it doesn’t escalate.

WM: My first time performing in front of a crowd was a bit traumatic. When was the first time you got up and performed in front of people? Was it a raving success or a bit uncomfortable for all those involved?
PP: I believe I was the rose in Alice in Wonderland…pretty sure no one was harmed.

WM: What experience do you hope people come away with from an evening at Penny’s Open Mic? Is it REALLY open to all?
PP: Penny’s Open Mic is Open to all artists who are in it for the art. People who are not only there to share their work but to listen and watch others. It really has become a welcoming, open and supportive community.

WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
PP: The subject of sexual assault is very important to me and I am so thankful for the Women’s Mafia taking an interest in spreading the word and raising the voices of those who too often silenced.

WM: Lastly, what is the best and/or most surreal moment so far from an evening at Penny’s Open Mike?
PP: Watching an artist have a break through on stage is thrilling. The entire room feels it!

Reviews of Penny’s Open Mic:

“Spoken-word artists, musicians and other creative folks are invited to share their talents at this weekly gathering hosted by Penny Pollak.”

-Time Out New York- (Four time Books and Poetry Critics Pick!)

“Head on down to Pennies Open Mic for a supportive crowd to urge you on to greater vocal heights. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

-The New York Press- (24/7 Things to do in NYC)

Penny‘s Open Mic Night at Under St.Marks Theater… Readers are chosen by lottery pre-show, and those lucky few get 7 minutes of open-mic. Sessions interspersed with raffle prizes, special guests, fancy beer, and a musical hootenanny!”

The L Magazine

Daydreaming about next week…

Events Nightlife

I think I have swine flu. Except, probably not because I don’t have a fever and I do have an appetite. I do have a cold at least, and staying in all day is having me daydream about what to do next week when I feel better! Here are a few things I’m considering:

Happy Hour at The Dove Parlour on Wednesday Night
228 Thompson St., nr. 3rd St.
My friend Clarissa loves this place, and it definitely helps that we can walk there from our apartments. Happy Hour DAILY with yummy $6 drinks from 4-8pm. Enough said.

Penny’s Open Mic on Tuesday Night
Penny hosts New York’s most popular and yet inclusive Open Mike in town every Tuesday at 9pm at Theatre Under St. Marks and this Tuesday all proceeds benefit NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault. Pre-show sign-up by lottery . 7 minutes maximum per act. 5 hours of art only $3.00

Later on Wednesday – After Work Party and Charity Event
From 7 PM To 10 PM at Overlook Lounge – 44 Street between 2nd & 3rd Ave
My friend and party co-conspiritor David Shapiro is hosting this event so I know it will be a good crowd and 100% of amounts donated will go directly to finding a cure for Chrones and Colitis! RSVP at www.davidshapiro.net

Gym & Rehearsal for my Improv Group on Thursday Night
www.printinghousegym.com – Best city views and nicest people of any gym ever. Seriously! I mean, who plugs their gym??
www.godtasteslikechicken.com – My improv group performs every 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday at Theatre Under St. Marks. People seem to like us and we have developed a non-creepy cult following.
Cocktails and Dinner on Friday Night
Thinking Lesly Bernard’s new place Mr. Jones. My friend, fellow PR and fab inspirational speaker Gabby Bernstein, introduced me to his groovy comfort food restaurant / sleek bar Tillmans, where I came back for my birthday party earlier this year and my friend Sara Clemence, the founder of the surpisingly fun www.recessionwire.com, introduced me to his gorgeous new cocktail lounge and Yakatori restaurant Mr. Jones. And this week I virtually met Mr. Bernard himself so hopefully we can connect for a cocktail soon. www.mrjonesnyc.com
Gallery Night in Soho on Saturday
I need to check out the latest show at Russian Art Gallery Mimi Ferzt, where my exquisite friend Rene Melchor is one of the gallerists. Their new show As Seen In Black and White looks very dark, sinister and intriguing. www.mimiferzt.com
Brunch on Sunday
I’m hoping I can catch up with my brother and some friends I’m missing seeing recently – like Larisa, Lisa Jaycox and Njeri Semaj. My favorite choices of late are Essex (www.essexnyc.com) or Tre (www.trenewyork.com) in the Lower East Side for a boozy brunch, Perry Street for a fancy, gourmet brunch (www.jean-georges.com) or ‘Snice, my favorite local hang in the West Village, for a healthy veggie brunch.
Perry Street is now offering $24 three course lunches or brunches
Perry Street is now offering $24 three course lunches or brunches