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The Next Edition of Dead Darlings Is a Gay Extravaganza Featuring John Early and Cole Escola

The Next Edition of Dead Darlings Is a Gay Extravaganza Featuring John Early and Cole Escola

Getty Images for IMDb

"We’re still here. And we’re not rolling back anything. Nothing about us has changed."

On December 14, the salon-style show Dead Darlings returns with a "Gay Apparel"-themed extravaganza. Hosted by feminist writer and podcaster Amanda Duarte, who created the show three years ago, Dead Darlings invites artists of all kinds to perform work that never made it to air--songs, scenes, auditions, drawings, and the like that for one reason or another never found a public spotlight.

This month's show brings comedians John Early and Cole Escola to the stage, performing bits previously scrapped from their respective acts. They'll also be joined by entertainment journalist Brandon Voss and author Alexander Chee.

Dead Darlings takes place at Judson Memorial Church, a space known historically as a hub for arts and activism. While free, this latest installment asks for a suggested donation of $10 to The Trevor Project in support of LGBTQ youth. More info is available here.

Duarte is most recently making headlines with her "November 8th, Pussy Grabs Back" T-shirts and social media blasts. The "Pussy Grabs" image, complete with a hissing cat, went viral after Donald Trump's leaked remarks on Access Hollywood about groping women set the internet and media aflame.

Several weeks out of the election, Duarte's message is as loud as ever. We caught up with the host to get her thoughts on her upcoming show and the current state of the world's political climate.

Out: How did the "Pussy Grabs Back" T-shirts come about?

Amanda Duarte: The image went viral really fast. My friend Jessica Bennett is a journalist for The New York Times--I had friended her on Facebook two weeks before Pussygate happened. I thought she was cool, but I didn't even know her. And then that Friday night those Access Hollywood tapes came out, all of the feminists were on social media posting, and I went on Facebook and posted "November 8th, Pussy Grabs Back." Jessica commented on the post and said, "Oh, I made you something," with the image of the cat. I made it my profile picture, and made it a hashtag. The next day Lena Dunham posted it on Instagram...and Elizabeth Banks, and it kind of went everywhere.

Is it still big?

A lot of people have continued ordering the T-shirts. My brother, who's a high school teacher in California, texted me yesterday that one of his students wore the T-shirt to school that day. Three weeks after the election, we're still rallying, and still reminding everyone that sexual assault survivors are not forgotten, and not abandoned.

Tell me about this show, Dead Darlings.

I host it once a month at Judson Memorial Church--they do a lot of political work with Gays Against Guns, pro-immigrant stuff, needle exchanges. It's a really amazing place. I'm not religious at all, but I find myself going there for services, even though I'm a total atheist. The show, though: there's the saying "Kill your darlings," and sometimes the stuff you cut when you're writing is the stuff you love the most. So people bring in pieces of their work that never made it to fruition. Really cool people bring a lot of great stuff: Justin Vivian Bond did this cut number from their show; Doug Wright, who wrote Grey Gardens, brought in this play he wrote in fifth grade, and of course it was awesome; Todd Oldham, the designer, brought in this crazy pilot he worked on with Spike Lee's brother and sister in the '90s.

Is it all performance-based?

The people who do the show aren't always performers, per se. There are illustrators and designers...there's a New Yorker cartoonist who brings in cartoons that didn't make it into the magazine. And this time around John Early is coming in, which is very exciting. And Cole Escola. I find it especially funny when comedians bring in things that didn't work. It's very brave. We had a really fun one last month--Michael Cyril Creighton, the actor from Spotlight, he replicated an audition for a potato chip commercial he didn't get, where he had to be shirtless, eating potato chips, having an orgasm in a bathtub during the audition.

Related | John Early's Best Year Ever: Search Party, Little Lies, & Kissing Famous Boys

Any general thoughts on this post-election world we're living in?

I had this show the night after the election--and it was planned as a fundraiser for my friend with breast cancer, and we had always envisioned it as this celebration, after the election. No one thought it would go as south as it did. That night, all of us just felt like zombies. It was such a perversion of our reality. It just seemed unthinkable that this could happen. I went home after election night and I remember being surprised that my cat was still in my apartment, that things were still there...that we hadn't been thrown into the Upside Down. So what I keep reminding everyone is, we're still here. And we're not rolling back anything. Nothing about us has changed. And everyone is so concerned about having conversations with these people who are bigoted and ignorant. No, we need to stop gerrymandering and stop voter suppression. That's what we need to focus on.

Duarte will next appear on the new podcast "Girl Friday" from as its co-host--the episode coming out this Friday interviews writer Nell Scovell, who created Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

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