Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941

Performing with the Civilians for their next Let Me Ascertain You cabaret alongside some other really great songwriters like Grace McLean, Cesar Alvarez, Michael Friedman, Tim Acito, Jill Sobule, and others. Should be a pretty wild show.

More info below:

Let Me Ascertain You: Sex Variants 1941

Do you consider yourself a “Sex Variant?” Don’t know what that is?

Well, dig out the skeletons from your closet and join us for the next Let Me Ascertain You. Joe’s Pub is having us back on Monday Feb 3 at 9:30 pm for a stimulating look into America’s secret sexual past. Get your tickets HERE!
Ever heard of Havelock Ellis? Magnus Hirschfeld? … no? How about Alfred Kinsey? They are the forefathers of a global sexual liberation movement started in the late 19th century toward the acceptance of people who identify as something outside the norm: Sex Variants.
Another less known (perhaps less liberated) pioneer in the field of sex research is Dr. George W. Henry of Cornell University. In 1935, he teamed up with the Committee for the Study of Sex Variants to publish the subject of next month's LMAY cabaret. "Sex Variants: A Study of Homosexual Patterns" hosts 80 interviews with volunteers who ran the risk of losing their jobs, blackmail, or arrest. We hear everything from the early childhood exploration of the body to orgies. Sometimes funny, often shocking, these stories illuminate the myriad of ways that humans have always explored and expressed the most animal of our instincts.
Here’s a little bit of what we’re talking about...
Nathan T’s personal sex history:
“Since puberty I've had a vague sex interest in dogs. For more than ten years I used to get them to lick my penis. I still feel vaguely sexy about dogs I like… If I saw anybody having sex with a dog I would think it rather nice.”

Rowena K on her endurance: 
“Sex averages four or five hours. We just stop and wait and keep feeling good all the time. It takes her that long. In five or ten minutes I have an orgasm but I continue feeling good. I can have ten to fifteen orgasms and still feel good.

Henry divided the subjects of his study into three groups: Homosexual, Bisexual or Narcissistic. He was determined to make progress on the treatment and prevention of “sexual maladjustment,” so he evaluated the family history, psychology and physiology of the subjects hoping to find a pattern, maybe even a cause. And there are graphic physical examinations too and diagrams to prove it.

Yes: in the book, you can see a gay vagina compared to a ‘normal’ vagina; there’s a cross-section showing how a dildo works; you can witness studies of dozens of labial folds and areola.


Myrtle K: “My clitoris enlarges when I get steamed up...My clitoris natural is two inches long. Enlarged it’s three inches and the thickness of a little finger. I think it’s grown half an inch in the past year. I’ll have to get a jock strap if it gets much more.” 

Salvatore N: “I often ask myself whether I am really a homosexual or merely a person who performs homosexual acts through association. I never want to have an affair with another homosexual. Taking the penis in my mouth does not satisfy me. Homosexual practices disgust me. Men who speak with an effeminate voice, who refer to each other as “she” or who make feminine gestures, are repugnant to me." 

Join us on Monday, February 3rd at 9:30pm at Joe's Pub as we transform these graphic first-person accounts into a provocative, pansexual cabaret of monologues and songs about first times, dreamy fantasies and excessive fetishes. 

The evening will feature original songs written from material in the book from these exciting 8 composers:
Tim Acito, César Alvarez, Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato A. Kremmyda,  Michael Friedman, Andrea Grody, Grace McClean, Jill Sobule, and Max Vernon.


The View UpStairs in Chicago

The View UpStairs will have a staged reading in Chicago in May with Pride Films and Plays.

more info here:



New Drawing (I Wanna See Yr Peacock)


out magazine Tastemakers 2013

Thrilled to be included in Out's tastemakers portfolio for 2013. You can pick up the copy on newstands now.


Tastemakers 2013: Max Vernon


By Jason Lamphier

Playwright, Composer, Artist.

Photography by Andy Ryan

Max Vernon would describe his enduring relationship with show tunes as more of a reluctant love affair than a calling. He announced to his family that he wanted to be on Broadway when he was just 5, but by the time he was 13, he’d grown ashamed of his aspirations. “Musical theater can really suck sometimes,” Vernon says, “so I threw myself into punk and fashion.”

By the age of 18, the Brooklyn-based composer and pianist was playing solo shows around Manhattan and designing his own costumes. His artistic skills also landed him a spot in Scholastic’s Art.Write.Now. program, in which he painted for a live audience in a glass storefront at the World Financial Center. His surreal, schizophrenic drawings (e.g., Leigh Bowery’s head attached to a spider’s body) were showcased in the Halloween 2010 window display at Patricia Field’s flagship store.

Now, however, “the pendulum is swinging back,” says Vernon, who finally succumbed to his weakness for musicals and wrote two of his own. The first, Wired, about a robot pop star struggling in a dystopian future, was a finalist for the 2011 Eugene O’Neill Center Musical Theater Conference and the 2012 Drama League New Works grant. The second, The View UpStairs, is based on the little-known true story of a 1973 arson attack at a New Orleans gay bar that killed 32 people. To commemorate its victims, Vernon presented a concert version of the show this past June on the 40th anniversary of the tragedy, which remains the deadliest LGBT massacre in U.S. history. In a poetic twist, the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down two days after the performance.

Vernon hopes both works will reignite a genre that he thinks is gasping for relevance and ingenuity. “It’s about finding a way to create musicals that people in the downtown club-kid scene would think are cool,” says Vernon, who was recently commissioned by Disney to compose songs for possible use in future stage productions of Disney and Pixar films. “I want to hear LCD Soundsystem in a musical; I don’t want to hear other people’s take on Sondheim. I think I can be the black sheep and piss people off by doing what you’re not supposed to do—but hopefully do it well enough that people forgive me.”


Max Vernon named Dramatist Guild Fellow 2013-2014!