Building Bridges of Love and Compassion between Diverse Communities through the Power of Inspirational Entertainment.
“A charming personality. Full of light and love up there. Pure joy. The band is superb. The harmonies were sharp and right on target." ” - LUCIE ARNAZ
“The fact that Rev. Yolanda is dressed as a woman, with a large red wig ("the higher the hair, the closer to God") and black platform shoes with 6 inch heels is completely irrelevant to her goal of delivering a totally legitimate, soulful Gospel Hour of inspirational music (and a few dance steps) that could successfully play before the most Christian Conservative audience in the nation and still get a standing ovation." - Dr.Thomas Stevens For the entire review, click here:http://drtomstevens.blogspot.com/2015/03/applause-applause-review-of-rev.html?m=1#comment-form” - Dr.Thomas Stevens
“Salon Spotlight To combat the Mizerable state of affairs on stage, our Salon Spotlight was quite the antidote: The Reverend Yolanda, who is now in her second year of performing Reverend Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour at The Duplex - the next performance of it will be October 20th, and other dates will include November 17th (for which a documentary filmmaker will be on hand to film the evening!) and December 15th. Accompanying herself on guitar, The Reverend first sang "I'll Fly Away," a rousing and fun traditional gospel song that had us all singing along with her. She then related how she just recently traveled to North Carolina and experienced how other audiences react to her message. To reflect the universal struggle of wanting the same things despite life's challenges, Yolanda sang "We Are Angels," an original piece of her's that has one of my favorite lyrics: "We are angels and we're struggling to be human." As part of the GLBT Hall of Fame, Yolanda's music is always inspiring hope, love, and acceptance. She finished her set with another original, a rocking, self-affirming song simply called "Freedom," which has a toe-tapping and hand-clapping beat that we all took part in.” - Sierra Rein
“By far, the most outrageous part of Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour is its sincerity. Sure, there's good music and fantastic wigs and plus-size amounts of humor: It's a drag show, after all. But the Reverend Roger Anthony "Yolanda" Mapes isn't skewering faith -- the Rev. is living out his/her beliefs on stage. This mix of camp and candor attracts a wide crowd, including those who would never consider attending a drag show and those who wouldn't be caught dead at a gospel concert. Moreover, Yolanda is a serious musician who, along with skilled collaborators, plays everything from spirituals to original compositions. In fact, "Home," a track from the Rev.'s latest album (Country Gospel Kirtan) has already reached #1 on the OutVoice Music Charts. Time passes too quickly during the hilarious sermonizing -- and effortless harmonizing -- of Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour. -GOLDSTAR ” - GoldStar
“I just saw the most brilliant cabaret show; A Drag Queen whose character is a southern country gospel singer. In real life, he is very connected to his faith, and the show is presented with amazing bluegrass arrangements of so many songs we have sung in Church. I had such a conflict with Church because of certain beliefs, but this character allows us to enjoy the music and see someone praise God in a unique beautiful way, which ironically, in the end is the way it should be. Although I'm not a huge listener of gospel, there was a piano, banjo, harmonica, bass and fiddle and each musician had a great voice too. It's where religion should come from! And I am not religious- but I have worked in Churches on and off. The show was was such a cool concept and way to peacefully demonstrate love through religion. Thank you to Reverend Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes for such a great perspective and for being so deeply moving onstage.” - Carly Ozard
“I don't think there's anyone who isn't an ABBA fan; I just think there are people who aren't out about it," says Frank DeCaro at the opening of What's the Name of the Dame?, a film that is part documentary, part music video. The movie is the result of a years-long multimedia project that also saw the release of an all-drag ABBA tribute CD, ABBAlicious!, and a slew of stage shows around New York City. It's one of those projects that defines itself as you're making it, " says director and producer Allan Neuwirth, who got involved with the project through his friend Jack Chen, the creator of the tribute album. "It kept organically growing and blossoming into something bigger and bigger. Neuwirth interviews a wide array of commentators, from drag historians Esther Newton and Joe Jeffreys to Joan Rivers and ABBA's own Benny Andersson. It's no surprise, then, that the documentary comes at the sensational Swedish group's legacy from some unexpected angles. The performers each do a unique interpretation of their chosen song, including a country-western "Dancing Queen" by The Chixie Dicks (YOLANDA and Hedda Lettuce) and an R&B crooner take on "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by a queen named Sade. Although the live aspects of the project had been packing New York clubs for months, the rights necessary to release the film were delayed by the enormous success of the film adaptation of the ABBA musical, Mamma Mia! After some frustration, however, the delay worked in the film's favour, giving it yet another lens to consider the group's legacy. This change brought Mamma Mia! star Christine Baranski into the fold. When asked why the drag and LGBT communities might connect so strongly with ABBA's music, Baranski laughs, "Two words: Dancing. Queen. Indeed, there is something natural about this connection, which was also prominent in the recent musical Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. "The emotions are wrought large in ABBA songs, and drag queens are bigger than life," says Wolff. "That's very attractive to the gay community. We love to be enveloped by the music. Between celebrity interviews, outrageous musical interludes and a dash of history, What's the Name of the Dame? is barrels of fun. For those who haven't come out about their love for ABBA, this film's Canadian premiere at Inside Out is sure to tear off the closet door. ” - Jonathan Valelly
“Yolanda (Outmusic's "Outmusician of the Year" 2003) goes solo with "Lay All Your Love on Me". The stripped-down, raw feel of the track-- featuring only Yolanda's hard-hitting, strong, Southern-twanged voice with guitar by her friend Robert Urban-- packs a wallop: Yolanda unleashes no less than 20 different emotions with that song.... Jed Ryan (commenting on Yolanda's cover of the ABBA classic "Lay All Your Love On Me" from the cd ABBALICIOUS)” - Jed Ryan