Riese-on-Haviland Stillwell: Life is an Upright Cabaret


I. Warm-Up to an Interview


Riese: WOMAN!
Haviland: RIESLING

Riese: What are you wearing?
Haviland: Sweatpants, obvs.

Riese: Really? Or are they tight yoga pants?
Haviland: No, they’re terry cloth Juicys! Are you gonna put my real AIM name in the interview? [Ed note: Haviland is always afraid that people are going to stalk her on AIM, and I have been scolded in the past for including her real AIM name in blog posts.]

Riese: No, I’ll be changing many things about the content of this interview to make myself sound smarter. And I will change your AIM name into your actual name, Haviland, instead of sexxyjuicygrrl69.
Haviland: Nice.

Riese: Are you focused on this interview, or are you doing many things right now?
Haviland: No, I’m focussssed.

Riese: How much time do you have right now, let me know what I’m working with.
Haviland: Like 20 minutes.

Riese: Do you feel this is a sufficient amount of time to grant your BFF? Barbara Walters gets an hour.
Haviland: HAHA! I’m not like, in a hurry.

Riese: A show I’ll refer to as “Tiger on the Hunt” that you’ll appear on later this week on AfterEllen gets an hour too I think, just saying …
Haviland: Look I know how much you love the AIM and how you just wanna be on here for HOURS. DAYS.

Riese: Speaking of days, what are you doing on April 23rd?
Haviland: Singing!


II. Beginning of Semi-Formal Interview Period


Riese: I’m going to make up these questions as I go along … um … what is the difference between an Upright Cabaret and other kinds of cabaret?
Haviland: Upright Cabaret is the name of the production company who is putting on the show and a cabaret is a a term for a concert of sorts.

Riese: How did you get involved with these characters and consequently decide to do a show?
Haviland: Schane Scheel — one of the guys who runs Upright — knew of me, and asked me to be in their December Holiday show when he heard I’d relocated to L.A.. After that we decided that we should do more! I’ve been wanting to do a concert like this for some time … it’s been a while.

Riese: How has the show evolved as you’ve been putting it together?
Haviland: I always wanted to keep it simple, because I tend to think a bit too much about everything and complicate it. I do want a big splashy show for my Carnegie Hall debut that involves a full orchestra and tech and costuming and dancers and etc etc etc … but for now, I’m keeping it simple. Having said that, of course my musicians are killer, and obviously, there is a costume of the day.

Riese: OMG! I was about to ask you “What is the costume of the day?” That was the next question, it’s the only pre-planned question I had besides “What are you wearing?” which I guess is pretty similar.
Haviland: Well, the title of the evening is “West Coast Debutante” because I’m playing on the fact that it’s sort of my “West Coast debut” of sorts, plus the fact that I am, as you know, a southern girl, who was expected to be a debutante. Debutantes wear fancy, flouncy white dresses, so I’m doing a camp version of that. All about camp.

Riese: Oh, like Desperately Seeking Susan?
Haviland: Well, you’ll have to come to the show to find out!

Riese: I can’t come though. Does it make you sad that I can’t come to the concert?
Haviland: I’ve been in an abyss over that.

Riese: Describe the abyss.
Haviland: Oh, it’s dark. Very dark.  But I hear lightness comes out of the dark places…I’m really hoping to channel that into my singing … you know, from the SOUL.

Riese: If I were coming, what do you think would be my favorite part?
Haviland: If you were coming, I think your favorite part would be “Borderline,”the Madonna song. For many reasons! LOL Really!


III. Tangent


L to R: Riese, Haviland, A;ex

Riese: I’m secretly good at interviewing people, but because you are my best friend I feel like I am trying to perform the role of interviewer.
Haviland: I know.

Riese: Which feels slightly campy to me, which I like … but I also know all the answers to the questions I’d ask you if you weren’t my best friend.
Haviland: Right. I’m rolling with it.

Riese: Except I didn’t know what you were wearing.


IV. Back on Track


Riese: How is the show structured. You told me you were incorporating quotes? Explain.
Haviland: Oh, it’s a concert – you know, I sing, I say cute things, I jump around in my costume, and sometimes I might say something devastatingly smart that changes someone’s life.

Riese: What are some of the best concerts you’ve been to?
Haviland: Melissa Etheridge. Lilith Fair, back in the day – which we should still have going — Kristin Chenoweth, Cyndi Lauper when I was five … and Renee Fleming.

Riese: Who’s Renee Fleming?
Haviland: One of the best opera singers in the world. She’s amazing – a voice like velvet. I saw her at the Met singing Violetta in “La Traviata,” – literally crawling on the floor…one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen/heard — I also saw her do a concert where she did SEVEN encores!

Riese: Wow! That’s more than the Indigo Girls do!

[brief tangent to discuss how awesome Lilith Fair is, etc.]


V. Back on Track Part Two


Riese: Are you going to sing any opera? Rumor has it you went to Opera School.
Haviland: I did go to opera school, and I am doing a couple of things that are more operatic, yes. The songs are seriously very versatile. I am basically doing every genre except hip hop? (Which is a shame, but don’t count it out for the future!)

I think visibility is important. There’s a line in a song I’m singing- “Visibility’s a warning, or an invitation, and it never tells you which. What’s visible will either feed you, mate with you, or kill you.”

Riese: If you could do a song with any hip-hop artist … who would it be?
Haviland: Ooh, good question! There are so many … I’d probably do a song with a bunch of women – like that “Lady Marmalade” remix with Christina and Missy etc. I think it would be fun to work with Lady Gaga, obvs. The bubbles, omg. Her costumes are so camp and fabulous. She SO gets it!

Riese: Speaking of “Moulin Rouge” or howevs you spell it — you were on Broadway for a long time while living in NYC, and now you’re in LA, land of the silver screen and also smaller digital screens, etc. Do you want to keep singing and performing live or do you want to be on the teevee? What do you want is what I’m asking … what a girl wants, so to speak.
Haviland: I want to be on the teevee, and also I want to sing. We can do that now. It’s exciting — having more flexibility now, like the performers from the 40’s and 50’s, who kind of did it all.
I would love to be in a show where singing was an element of my character.


VI. Riese Loses the Interview


Riese: Do you feel that people who see your show will be able to tell that you are a homo?
Haviland: RIESE.

Riese: Are you going to be wearing cargo shorts, talking about pretty girls, etc.?
Haviland: Cargo shorts, a bandana, a beater … and then a costume change into skinny jeans, oversized sneakers, a hoodie and a fedora. Oh and Sam Ronson, maybe?

Riese: You’re gonna be representing the entire country.
Haviland: For sure … I like to represent. And by that I mean … I’m a West Coast debutante!

Riese: Do you think it’s important for pretty girls in the public eye to admit to the world that they are lesbians?
Haviland: It’s tough, because I don’t think it should be made into “an issue,” but I think visibility is important. There’s a line in a song I’m singing called, “Snake,” “Visibility’s a warning, or an invitation, and it never tells you which. What’s visible will either feed you, mate with you, or kill you.” Either way, you gain experience.

Riese: I like that.
Haviland: I think the more people who just live their lives without shame, the better. That’s across the board.


VII. Riese Attempts to Make the Interview Awesome, Haviland Resists


Riese: Are your underclothes going to be visible during the show?
Haviland: RIESE!

Riese: And if so, will they feed you, mate with you, or kill you?
Haviland: :-/


VIII. Riese asks real professional questions, Haviland talks nonsense


Riese: Your show claims to be at times “out of control” according to the website copy. Please explain what elements of the show will be out of control.
Haviland: You’ll just have to be there. It’ll be absolutely OOC.

Riese: Is that a new abbrev?
Haviland: Ohhh … “double oh see” is an old one … from college.

Riese: I would think that meant like “Double Orange County.”
Haviland: Yeah, that’s why i don’t use it aloud anymore … but this was pre-The O.C.


IX. Talking About How Awesome Autostraddle Is


Riese: What do you think of Autostraddle? Is it the coolest website you’ve ever seen?
Haviland: The coolest, for shizzle. I’m actually really proud of you, of the vision you have and how it’s developing — it reminds me of Sassy, but with a modern twist.

Riese: We have big plans, there will be a lot of moving and shaking. Except unlike Sassy we hope to stay afloat forevs and evs.
Haviland: It’s smart, innovative, diverse and it has unREAL potential. Except, of course, that it’s so very real. And that’s thrilling!

Riese: Thankssss!!! I think you’re innovative and diverse too, and … pretty smart.


Wrap-Up Attempt Part One: The Advice Column


Riese: You know how when we do vlogs, we’ll talk crazy a lot and then I’ll be like “Did we answer anyone’s questions?” and you’ll be like, “Yeah!” And I’ll be like, “Are you sure?”
Haviland: Yes. Have we done that just now?

Riese: That’s how I feel right now … did we actually talk about the concert?
Haviland: Have we explained anything or just talked crazy?

Riese: Here let me ask you an advice column question: “So, there’s this girl and she’s doing a concert, and I think she’s really pretty, does that mean I’m gay?”
Haviland: Probably.

Riese: “My best friend is gay, but I’m not gay. If I go to her concert, will I become gay?”
Haviland: You should def come to the concert to find out.

Riese: Communicate, is what you’re saying.
Haviland: Totally, just communicate, get it all out there.

Riese: “I’m gay, and my best friend is gay, but she moved to LA.. Does that mean I’m not gay anymore? ‘Cause now I can’t go to her amazing concert.”
Haviland: You might lose your toaster oven over that.

Riese: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever put in the microwave?
Haviland: I knew this one girl who put her popsicles in the microwave.

Riese: But then you’re just like making juice.
Haviland: Ooh, like a juicer!


Wrap-Up Attempt Part Two


Riese: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you miss me?
Haviland: Horribly waaaaah!

Riese: Who killed Jenny?
Haviland: Ilene Chaiken?

Riese: Who killed Lara Palmer?
Haviland: Was that the chef?

Riese: It was Twin Peaks, grasshopper. But good call, Lara was the chef’s name.
Haviland: Ohhhhhhhhhh, wow, if they don’t know the toaster oven reference, they will not know Twin Peaks.

Riese: Well, I’m hoping we have a lot of readers who are much older than either of us, which is obvs like 85% of the population.
Haviland: We’re so young and everything’s so bright! So bright!

Riese: That’s what you said when you were on drugs. [Ed. Note: by “drugs” I mean a small behind-the-ear patch intended to cure motion sickness]
Haviland: RIESE!

Riese: OK tell me five celebrities that are gay but in the closet. GO NOW.
Haviland: Haha … You. Your mom …

Riese: That’s true.
Haviland: Tinkerbell.

Riese: No … Tinkerbell doesn’t believe in sex.
Haviland: Littlefoot.

Riese: Tinkerbell doesn’t believe in sex, she only believes in Littlefoot. Tinkerbell is a girl and Littlefoot is a boy. They have the kind of marriage that is appropriate for children, the only kind of union that G-d prefers — the union between a puppy and a dinosaur.
Haviland: Except in five states and like half the countries in the world that aren’t the USA.

Haviland: No! What is it?

Haviland: This is real?

Riese: Wait you haven’t seen these ads? You should read autostraddle, it’s a good website.
Haviland: Scroll up to see my thoughts on autostraddle. [ed. note: This is a typical exchange for me and Haviland]

Riese: Oh is there anything else you want to say about the show?
Haviland: Just how to get tickets, put the link up, etc. …

Riese: How do you get tickets, who do you have to blow?
Haviland: InTickiting

Riese: So no blowing necessary?
Haviland: Are we good to go? i have to go run around in West Hollywood now.

Riese: Ok go run around, ILY!
Haviland: Will you send it to me before you post?

Riese: Blergh! So you can CENSOR ME!
Haviland: Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

Riese: You’re taking advantage of our friendship. I won’t stand for it!
Haviland: Ok, so send it to my manager.

Riese: Okay Haviland Stillwell DIVA. You’re crazy. FYI.
Haviland: ILY!

[Ed.note at publication time I had not sent this interview to Haviland for her perusal. TRY AND STOP ME!]



Haviland Stillwell and Kristy Hanson “Manage”

and check out Kristy Hanson‘s website and Haviland’s website!


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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3212 articles for us.


  1. Do you feel that people who see your show will be able to tell that you are a homo? – Best.Question.Ever.

    I love how many times she said “RIESE!”

    Also, this is the cutest interview ever. It makes me want to buy a plane ticket, fly to LA and see the amazingness that this show will be.

  2. Aww, you guys are cute. I’ll be at the show in spirit. Going down to LA is just SO unrealistic for me right now. It is most unfortunate.
    ALSO, I srsly love how Hav decided to answer one of the questions with an emoticon. AN EMOTICON. Words cannot describe her feelings but a clever arrangement of punctuation marks sure can.

    • I hope so! It’s hard ‘cos we’re not in the same state, and I have no moneys to fly to the city of angels, sigh!! But i have some old footage I will get to one of these days … or Helena Peabody will pick me up in her jet, fingers crossed!

      • !!~*Crossing fingers*~!!

        And while I’ve got you guys here this site needs a “lesbian Joan Rivers.” I in living in East-Ka-Bum-Fuck Canada and not know what’s hip. I need the new trends and hair styles!! I can’t find any lesbo site with that! Hook me up Reise!!!!!
        You do that, and I’ll call my girl Helena Peabody ;-) Oh oh…What about if the 2 of you Skype?

  3. Who knew anything on this earth would be more entertaining/enjoyable than your vlogs.
    Wait for it folks…
    What could it be?
    An interview! For the win!

    I am nearly convinced to buy a plane ticket to go see the show. But alas, I cannot.
    Break a leg.

  4. you two are seriously hilarious together. ps…way to stick it to them by not sending the interview for review, riese.
    good luck haviland!

  5. I can’t believe Hav hadn’t seen the ‘HERE COMES THE STORM’ video. omg Hav, please, its awesome. Just like this interview. God, I wish I could make it to your show.

  6. i want to go! will there be video clips for those of us who can’t attend? PLEASE? if i don’t see this campy flouncy dress I’LL DIE. i’m serious.

  7. Loved it! Riese, when is the next Riese and Haviland vlog going to be out? I’m having withdrawl! Good luck with the show Haviland!!!

    • I know I’m having withdrawal too! We haven’t been in the same state lately, but I do think I have some footage left over from previous shoots hopefully on my hard drive that I can start playing with once i finish TLW WTF #2, which it taking up my whole computer right now, ’cause Max said a lot of silly things. Holler!

  8. You guys are cute and hilarious. This made me laugh so much. Seeing Haviland on Cat on the Prowl and then reading this interview was the perfect end to my all-nighter.

    Hope you two somehow end up in the same state sometime soon so you can make awesome vlogs again. And good luck with the show!

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  10. Many LOLs were had when I read this. Break a leg, Haviland!

    I actually got the Twin Peaks reference but not the toaster reference. I don’t know what that says about me.

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