Connect with us

General

Life Is a Cabaret (and Alan Cumming Is Tending Bar) – Entertainment – Pulselive.co.ke

Published

on

Loading...

[ad_1]

He wove his way through the packed, narrow bar, dispensing hugs and hellos, then took the tiny stage and belted out a ballad, “What More Can I Say?” from the musical “Falsettoland.”

The place erupted in cheers and calls for another song, but Cumming peered over to the bar and saw it three-deep with patrons putting a strain on a team of hustling bartenders.

“I feel I have to bartend,” said Cumming, who doffed his blazer and began serving.

“Alan will be at the bar,” announced his pianist, Lance Horne. “Get a drink, everyone.”

It was another Monday night at Club Cumming, which opened a year ago in the East Village. Cumming lives nearby and is a frequent presence, whether performing, bartending, DJing or simply socializing.

Cumming, who has appeared in scores of films and stage productions, is currently starring in the CBS series “Instinct,” which he had been shooting all day before showing up at the club.

He said the idea to open Club Cumming, which has the feel of the Kit Kat Club from “Cabaret,” grew out of the post-performance parties he would throw for friends in his dressing room during the 2014 Broadway production of “Cabaret.”

“At the time, I was so busy that I had to make the fun come to me,” he said, “and it’s the same with the bar.”

As he poured drinks, Cumming danced and occasionally pulled out his phone to record performances onstage. All the while he chatted with patrons, some of whom were regulars. Others were first-timers eager to get waited on by the celebrity bar owner.

Cumming said it was important for him to be accessible and not just make cameo appearances at the bar.

“I don’t come to my bar to hide,” he said. “I make sure I don’t just come and stay for a second. When I’m here, I want to represent. Why would you want to have a bar otherwise?”

The fact that everyone wants to talk to him hardly seems to be a problem, though it does cut into his bartending.

Cumming, who started working professionally when he was quite young and never stopped, claimed that he had always wanted to be a bartender, a staple job for many struggling actors.

“Now that I have my own bar, I finally get to be a bartender,” he said, adding that he is still sometimes baffled by some drink orders.

“If someone asks for a tequila sunrise, I might say, ‘How about a tequila and soda?’” he said.

Still, he has learned how to work the register and to open tabs on credit cards. He has mostly mastered the soda gun, but can still mix up the buttons to dispense the correct mixer, including the C-button for Coke and the other C-button, for cranberry juice.

“I’ve made a mistake of giving a whiskey and cranberry to someone who ordered a whiskey and coke,” he said, adding that many fans do not seem to mind a messed-up a drink made by a movie star.

“I asked them if it was OK, and they said, ‘Of course,’” he said. “I have great license to make a mistake and say, ‘Well, it’s not my main job.’”

A man approached and thanked him for being outspoken as a gay activist and “representing who we are.”

Loading...

The man, Michael Strachan, 60, of Manhattan, grew emotional and tearfully told Cumming about his battle with cancer. Cumming hugged him and supplied him with bar napkins for his tears. He listened soberly for 10 minutes as the fun and singing raged all around them. (A singer, Xavier Smith, was rocking Sade’s “Smooth Operator.”)

Afterward, Strachan was visibly moved by the conversation. “He’s a celebrity,” he said, “and here I am, some stranger coming at him with all this pain, and he was like, ‘Bring it.’”

As singer after singer took the stage to deliver raucous, melodramatic renditions of pop and show tunes, a mix of patrons danced, including hairy men in dresses, straight women and a woman in a wheelchair — Mary Mimms, age 103 — pumping her fists to the music.

Although Club Cumming is known as a queer bar, Cumming said he opened it a year ago with the “edict” of inclusiveness for all ages, genders and sexual orientations.

The bar has managed to pull it off, said Horne, who runs the Monday-night open mics. There is no cover charge, and it tends to lure Broadway performers, since Monday is a dark night for most theaters.

“Plus, you’re going to get a strong pour from Alan,” Horne said, “because he’s Scottish.”

For the record, Cumming prefers vodka-and-sodas to Scotch. Performance-wise, he may shimmy with the club’s go-go dancers, or lead the bar in a singalong of “Tomorrow” from “Annie,” as he did recently.

On this particular Monday night, he slipped from the bar to the stage around midnight and reeled off a dramatic version of “Mein Herr,” from “Cabaret.”

This was the same man who had just slipped lemon wedges into two bottles of Corona and slid them over to Emma Williamson, 26, a British tourist.

“I had no idea he was going to be the bartender,” she said, taking the beers. “It definitely made my day.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Corey Kilgannon © 2018 The New York Times



[ad_2]

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

Loading...

However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Drastic life changes affecting mental health

Published

on

Loading...

Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

Loading...

Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending