The Boys Behind the Girls
Irwin was born into a family of professional musicians in Chicago, and studied clarinet and piano as a kid. But his interests were varied and he blithely followed a bunch of them. He studied linguistics and Near Eastern languages at University of Illinois, University of Chicago and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before noticing that very few people actually make a decent living off of Aramaic. Hightailing it over to University of Chicago Law School, Irwin set about getting some legal training and putting it to good use. He authored Chicago's gay rights ordinance, which was passed into law in 1989. He served for years as the Executive Director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel of the San Francisco Bay Area, while sidelining with the Sacramento Opera and Berkeley Contemporary Opera. In 1993 he co-founded the Kinsey Sicks along with Ben Schatz and two other friends, originating the character of Winnie, and writing many of the musical arrangements in theKinsey repertoire. In his non-Kinsey time, Irwin serves as the lay rabbi of Congregation Ner Shalom, a small Reconstructionist synagogue in Cotati, California. He lives with his husband, co-parents and two kids in a quasi-kibbutzlike setting in rural Sonoma County.
Photo by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
While an undergraduate at Harvard College, Ben was torn between pursuing a career as a gay activist and a career in theater. Eventually he decided that activism was more important and that he didn't have the talent to be a performer. Ben went on to attend Harvard Law School and, upon graduation, started the first national AIDS legal program. He later served as Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and was appointed to President Clinton's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Eventually Ben discovered that (a) activism and theater are not mutually exclusive; (b) talent is overrated; and (c) making people laugh is much more fun than suing them, and no less effective in making them think. As chief lyricist for The Kinsey Sicks, Ben is largely irresponsible for the lyrics that have made tens of thousands cringe.
Jeff originated the lead role of Henry Tahara in the critically acclaimed play Bronzeville, nominated for both an NAACP Theatre Award and Ovation Award, with Robey Theater Company in Los Angeles. Favorite stage credits: Oberon/Theseus (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Lun Tha (The King and I), Agrippa (Cleopatra: the Musical). Previous a cappella experience includes singing with, writing for, and directing the UC Men's Octet from the University of California at Berkeley, which won first place at the National Competition of Collegiate A Cappella held at Carnegie Hall. He joined The Kinseys in 2004, where he continues to write many of the vocal arrangements and is responsible for the entire group’s hot couture.
Spencer is graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and currently lives in Kansas City where he is known for his other drag alter ego, Daisy Buckët (pronounced 'bouquet'). Daisy is a current member of the Kansas City Society of Burlesque. Favorite credits include writing and starring in a stage adaptation of the 1979 film The Rose, Riff Raff (The Rocky Horror Show), Chicklet (Psycho Beach Party), and Sue Snell (A Scarrie Carrie Christmas Carol). His work for AIDS organizations in Kansas City has raised over $33,000 in the past several years. He has been singing and mugging shamelessly with the Kinsey Sicks since October 2008.