Staff & Board

ALL OUT ARTS, presenting the Fresh Fruit Festival

Louis Lopardi (Executive Director) is also Artistic Director of the 30-year-old A Company Of Players. He has directed such staples as Equus, Wozzeck, Three-penny Opera, Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, considerable Shakespeare, Brecht, and Dutch, German, and Russian theatre & opera, both here and in Europe. At the Chekhov Theatre he has directed Fassbinder’s Petra von Kant, Bad Evidence, Lysistrata, Cyrano de Bergerac, and his own plays The Frankenstein Journals and Visiting Grishka. Louis has received awards for Lighting, Sound Design, Original Music, Playwriting, Direction, and has been awarded by the AFM Musicians’ Union for “promoting live music for the dance.” Better known as a Director, Louis is a published poet and author whose other stage works include The Strange Case of Rudolph Hess, The Greatest Show On Earth, Aliens in Maspeth, a new translation and performing edition of Buchner’s Woyzeck, and the nationally acclaimed (and ongoing) Purgatory Project, in which the audience examines current mores by visiting great figures of the past in purgatories of their own creation.  – Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers.

Liz086wLiz Thaler (Artistic Director) is a director, playwright, producer, and native New Yorker. In 2008 she founded In Extremis Theater Company, which brought her queer fairy tale The Peddler’s Tale to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2010, and her feminist punk historical fanfiction play Courtney and Kathleen: A Riot Act to FringeNYC in 2011. She is a company member and sometimes-producer at Amios, which has produced a workshop of her BDSM rom-com Happy. She has also directed shows for ANT Fest (The President Plays, Part 1), The Flea (#serials) and IETC’s The Most Unkindest Cut series, which workshops bold new cuts of classic works (HMLT, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). She has been an assistant director at several professional theaters, including Soho Rep (born bad) and, most recently, Atlantic Theater Company (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner). She is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, and received her graduate diploma in Directing from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Danielle Hauser (Events Coordinator)


Jeffrey LeedsJeffrey G. Leeds (President) has been a member of the AOA Board since 2000. He studied acting at HB Studios with Michael Beckett; voice with Richard Hilty and Buddy Barnes; and Musical Comedy with Rita Gardner. After appearing in several New York City showcases, he produced two Off-Off-Broadway Equity Showcases and wrote a full-length musical comedy, The Woman They Love to Hate, with Nick Curto. A Baritone in the New York University Glee Club and, subsequently, the NYU Alumni Chorus, he also served as President of his alma mater’s Alumni Association for two years. Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Science in Public Administration from New York University.

Suellen RubinSuellen Rubin (Secretary) has been with the Fresh Fruit Festival since its inception in 2003. She was a facilitator and active member of the Bisexual Woman’s Group and the LGBT Center for many years. She has been involved in theater in one way or another most of her life and is proud to be part of a Festival that showcases LGBT artists.

Keith Angora (Founding Board Member)  has multitasked for the organization as performer: Fable, Finding the Wild Life Preserve, Judy’s Place; as playwright: At Sunset, Randolph, Coupons, The Brief Rages of GeeGee Schwartz; and as director: Blame Me.

Wendy Ann Gardner – is a composer, lyricist, author and graphic artist who lives in New York City. She has been nominated for two Gemini Awards for her animated TV show “The Naughty Naughty Pets” produced by CBC Canada, airing on Cartoon Network, CBC, BBC, in worldwide syndication, and now a musical with a Broadway level option. Her children’s books based on the characters are published by Disney’s Hyperion Books.

She is the founder and creator of Scary Stories Inc., which licensed her unique graphics to Target, Nylabone and others for branding and character art. Her illustrations of the Naughty Naughty Pets are licensed for product and accessory lines since 1998. In the theatre world she is a member of ACTRA, ASCAP and the Dramatist Guild, joining our board in 2017.

Wendy is an honors graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, and has been a guest lecturer at Parsons School of Design, School of Visual Arts, and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art among many others. She lives in Tribeca with her husband, her two children and her own, real life, Naughty Naughty Pets.

Jeff Goodman – an awarded real estate agent, grew up in Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn, and has lived in Park Slope, Boerum Hill, The East Village, (London, England), and now, Harlem, where he has served on his condo’s Board of Managers, including as president.

Committed to bringing New York’s architectural history to life, Jeff hosts a series of historical walking tours titled “Rediscovering New York.” Before joining the All Out Arts board he served on the boards of Out Professionals, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

Janice PembertonJanice R. Pemberton, aka Cookie, a 41-year-old Caribbean-American social worker with children, doubles nightly as an arts junkie from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She is a committee member of the Lesbian Cinema Arts (LCA) film series at the LGBT Community Center. She has volunteered for several years at NewFest and Tribeca Film Festivals. She has been Volunteer of the Month for GO Magazine – A cultural roadmap for the city girl, by representing the free publication whenever necessary. She volunteered enthusiastically for the Fringe Festival in 2006 and 2007. Her current performance is Love Is Spoken Word. She attends national and international poetry events around the country, and produces the annual slam poetry showcase for Fresh Fruit Festival. She is a mean bowler, having bowled since she was seven. Best game: 238.

Harry WiederHarry Wieder (Board Community Liaison, Emeritus) was killed while crossing a street in lower Manhattan. He had been active in the Disabled Community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community for over twenty years. His dedication to the fight for the disabled, LGBT rights and the battle against AIDS won him honors from many community organizations. His unstoppable fight for disability rights earned him a featured profile in Jimmy Breslin’s column. He was a very active member of NYC Community Boards 2 & 3, and has recently had a street named after him in Lower Manhattan. He was a towering presence in All Out Arts, and will be missed.


Carol Polcovar (Founding Artistic Director, retired) is a poet, with an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College where she studied with John Ashbery; a playwright whose plays have been produced Off Broadway and in Italy; a director of more than thirty shows; a producer whose best know production Ray Fox’s musical Take It Easy ran for 103 Off-Broadway performances; a teacher who has taught various subjects on grade levels from nursery school to post-graduate. Since the 1970’s Ms. Polcovar has been active in the LGBT and the Women’s Civil Rights Movement. She is the Founder of The Fresh Fruit Festival dedicated to fighting prejudice and homophobia through the arts.

Dirk McCall, a transplanted Southerner living in NYC for over 17 years, was raised in a military family, growing up on Army bases throughout the South. A longtime resident of Astoria, in Western Queens, Dirk was one of the Grand Marshals for the 2005 Queens Pride Parade. He serves on the board for the local Democratic club; is active with Astoria Kiwanis, and is the President of the Church Council at Trinity Lutheran Church. His involvement in the local political scene, especially in LGBT politics, is ongoing and extensive. Organizations that have received the benefit of his services include the Board of the Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC; the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens; the Powhatan Regular Democratic Club of Astoria; the Board of Advertisers for the League of Humane Voters; the Board of Government Affairs Professionals; the HRC Steering Committee; and the Steering Committee for the National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce, New York Chapter. He is a founder of the LGBT Caucus of the New York State Young Democrats and co-founded Out Astoria and Drinking Liberally Steps Out, the monthly drinking/networking social.

Frank Calo (Production Manager) is the Producer of Spotlight-On Festivals since 1999, and a former Artistic Director of All Out Arts. He has produced numerous large-scale festivals in NYC as well as smaller events including variety and specialty shows throughout the tri-state area. He is also the co-founder of NY’s Planet Connections Festivity and co-produced its first season in 2009. As a stage director, his work has appeared at the Theatre De Nesle in Paris and numerous other venues.

Jack Schlegel had a 26-year career with Saatchi & Saatchi during which he created international print and television advertising for several industry giants. His firm, Jack Schlegel Communications Marketing, creates marketing materials for clients in diverse fields. He helped found the New York Advertising and Communications Network, now known as Out Professionals, and until his retirement edited and wrote Newsbreaks, the group’s monthly guide. He created and publicized fundraising events for Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund. He is a Founding Trustee of Signature Theater Company. He has worked with Dancers Responding to AIDS on its signature event, the Fire Island Dance Festival, now a constituent of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. He is the recipient of awards from the Pines Conservation Society, Lambda Legal, the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, and SAGE USA, an organization dedicated to services and advocacy for LGBT seniors.

Tom Smith has spent his life working for nonprofit organizations. A registered nurse for 30 years, he has spent the past 28 working for the Visiting Nurse Association of Brooklyn and runs its Long-Term Aids Program. A list of his affiliations and achievements fills many pages. He is a board member and former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club; former spokesperson for the Coalition for Lesbian & Gay Rights; co-founder of Family Diversity Coalition; founding member of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; former board member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Brooklyn; co-founder Outlooks, an LGBT radio program on WBAI; co-founder of All Out Arts; co-founder of the Stonewall Business Association; co-founder of The Wall Street Project; co-founder of Equality Project; former board and founding board member of Manhattan Mustangs; former board member of Truitte Educational Center; advisory board member of Family Matters. He is president of the Brooklyn Community Pride Center. Assisted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, this group is dedicated to building an LGBT Community Center in Brooklyn.