Smoking, Health Insurance and Hogan Gorman

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As approximately 400 new Yorkers are facing unemployment due to the cities World War III mentality in regards to the smoking ban, I give you Hogan Gorman. Hogan is one of the countless thousands who support themselves in bars, restaurants and clubs, as they pursue an artistic career. It’s easy for Mayor Mike not to grasp what life is like for mortals trying to create something and eek out an existence in this very tough town. He and his pals live in palaces. His people’s shoes barely touch the pavement, as fast cars and helicopters whisk them about. People are not statistics and someone has to get this man to understand that as he tries to make life better for all of us, a lot of us ants are being crushed by his bureaucracy. So much of the vibrancy of New York is being destroyed by this benevolent, but very out of touch, despot. I believe Mayor Bloomberg is a brilliant and good man. I also believe in banning cigarettes. The enforcement of laws should not fall on citizens, but on city agencies. Unfortunately these agencies are bereft of everything, save for short sightedness, because of budget restraints. Stiff fines to violating patrons given by undercover cops will soon dissuade smokers from smoking in bars. Closing down joints and putting people on unemployment and welfare seems harsh. Hogan Gorman has worked in the clubs and now has achieved one of her goals–a one woman show.

Can you tell me a little about your one woman show? I am doing a one-woman show called Hot Cripple from February 3rd-21st. I won the 2008 NYC Fringe Festival “Best Actor” award, and I am putting it up again because it seems like this is the perfect time, considering the debate over health care in this country. It’s the true story of what happened to me, as an ex-model turned actress/cocktail waitress, who was hit by a car going 40 MPH walking to work at Pangea. I had no medical insurance at the time. Don’t worry, though, it’s not a sob story. It’s a wild ride with crippled hand jobs, a stalker ambulance driver, short term memory loss, forgotten food stamps, a hot doctor, a crazy judge and a fashionista’s suggestions on what to wear to the welfare office. And at the core of the story is a look at what happens to the uninsured in this country when they’re sick or injured. I think Hot Cripple echoes the story of millions of Americans who slip through the cracks of our failed health care and welfare systems.

Were you acting while you were working in night clubs? Yes, I moved to New York to be an actress–sorry actor. I know everybody is PC these days. My first job was in a restaurant, which was murder. Firstly, the hours made it impossible for me to audition, due to this little thing called lunch. Secondly, People’s food issues where a nightmare. The whole “I’ll have a bowl of air, with a cup of steam, with the dressing on the side.” Agh! A fellow actress was working at a nightclub and her life was what I wanted. She was supporting herself and had her days free to pursue her acting. So long story short ,I started working in night clubs. I worked for Serge, Noah T, Jeffery Jah, Scott Sartiano and my last job before I got hit by the car was for Michael Alt.

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Were a lot of the waitresses and bartenders also artists at the night clubs you worked? Yes, I would say. 90% of my fellow employees were artists, 9% were students, who were trying to supplement their student loans, and the other 1% were figuring it out. I heard recently that the Mayor is trying to shut down a lot of night clubs in New York, under the guise of a smoking ban. If he is successful it will not only kill the night life of The City That Never Sleeps, but it will more importantly hurt young artists. It’s a hell of a time to be unemployed in this country. I don’t mean to get on my soap box, but maybe the Mayor’s time would be better spent on promoting the night life in New York, since that’s what the tourists want and it brings revenue to the city. Then he can concentrate on health care and making sure all waitresses and bartenders in this fine city have affordable health insurance. Honestly, if Bloomberg shuts down the night clubs in New York it won’t hurt the owners—they’re all smart business men and women and they will move their business to Vegas or where ever. Who he’s really going to hurt are the young artists of this city who make their bread and butter in the clubs, until their art can support itself.

Didn’t we work together? Oh crap! I forgot you in the list of night club gurus that hired me. Sorry, I’m a blonde. I remember you’d come back when we were counting our tips and you’d tell stories about the old clubs. You’d look at the other waitresses and say, “You won’t get this, but Hogan would have loved it.” I lived for those stories of when New York was all about the night life. I think you should do a one man show Steve, I’ll help you write it.

I’ll think about it. So do you go to night clubs now? I probably go about three times a year, when friends come in from out of town. I’m embarrassed to say I’m a bit of a homebody. But those three times a year when I bring the Out Of Towners they are always shocked that I can part the sea of the velvet rope guest list. I have to let them know, “Well, this was home for many years, these are the people that supported me and I might not see them very often, but they are family.”

Where can people check out your one woman show Hot Cripple? Just go to hotcripple.com for tickets and info. I hope to see you there. And please spread the word.