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Collection #154

Ben Sander (Brini Maxwell) Papers

Date:1969 - 2005 (Bulk 1993 - 2005)
Size:10 feet


This collection was donated by Ben Sander in 2006.

Scope and Content

This collection consists mostly of videos, scripts, shooting schedules and various records regarding the “The Brini Maxwell Show” about home decor, cooking, entertaining, housekeeping tips and crafting created by and starring Ben Sander on cable public access and later more professionally produced for the Style Network. Additionally there are promotional materials regarding personal appearances and merchandising promotions for the Brini Maxwell character.There are early personal journals and script and story ideas. There are also some photos and promotional material from a cabaret act Ben Sander under the name of Vivica Fairfax formed with two other drag performers, Philomena and Ruda Lenska. There are also some personal family photos and school records from his childhood as well as material from class projects when he was a design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.).

History or Bio

Benjamin Sander was born July 23, 1969 in Massachusetts while his father Peter was a teacher at Wellesley. His mother Mary Jane was a home-maker and pursued an acting career. The family moved several times during Ben’s childhood as his father taught in various theater programs that included Ohio University in Athens and the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He also did a stint as the Dramaturge for the Cleveland Playhouse. It was while the family was in Cleveland that 10 year old Ben first performed on stage at the Cleveland Playhouse. Ben performed in high school theater productions, but by his senior year his interest turned to costume design and he began collecting vintage clothing. After high school he attended Kansas City Art Institute and later F.I.T. graduating in 1993. His family was then living in Hempstead, Long Island where his father was chair of Hofstra University’s theater department. He worked in various jobs in the fashion world and was a volunteer for the Center Dance Committee at the LGBT Community Center where he met members of the Imperial Court of New York, became a member himself and began exploring various “drag” personas.In 1996 Ben created the Brini Maxwell character and with the help of his mother Mary Jane Wells, formed a production company, V.R.U.S.P. Inc. and produced a pilot for “The Brini Maxwell Show,” which his mother also directed. It first aired on the public access Manhattan Neighborhood Network on January 1, 1998. The Brini Maxwell character was a described as a pre-feminist 1960’s homemaker. Brini delivered housekeeping, handcraft and cooking tips from the 60’s and ran for five years. Ben cast many of of the drag queens he met at the Imperial Court to be characters on his show such as Thom Hansen (aka Panzi) and Philip Stoehr (aka Philomena).In 2001 Sander appeared as Brini in a documentary called Planet Plastic, produced by west coast based Termite Art Productions (now Creative Differences Productions). This led Amy Briamonte, their east coast director of development to contact Sander to develop a pitch for the Brini show for the Bravo network and they received an order for a pilot. The pilot was produced in the summer of 2002 for a show titled “Charming, Needs Work.” Bravo passed on the show, but a second pitch for the Style network resulted in an order for a 13-episode season.The first season of The Brini Maxwell Show for the Style network was taped in the summer of 2003 with studio production taking place on the main stage at Unitel Studios on West 57th St. in New York City. Location shoots for the season were taped over a period of 6 months in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The Brini Maxwell Show debuted on the Style network on Thursday, January 1, 2004. The second season went into production in the summer of 2004 and began airing in November 2004, but was not renewed.Sander is currently offering his services as an interior designer specializing in mid-century modern style.

Folder List

Box 1

1. The Brini Maxwell Show [script, shootlist, 3 Jan 1997]
2. Brini Maxwell Show [treatment, idea notes]
3. Shoot Lists
4. Brini Maxwell Show [show #20 notes, public access paperwork] 5. Brini Maxwell show shoot lists and scripts for 1st & 2nd season
6. New Season [various notes]
7. Scripts & Schedule sheets
8. Brini [misc. promo / show dialogue]

Box 2

9. Brini Maxwell Show Script/taping notes
10. Brini Maxwell Show shooting script
11. Brini Maxwell Show season 2 scripts
12. Brini Maxwell Show Season 2 inspirational images
13. Cue Cards
14. Title Cards
15. Brini Maxwell Collection
16. Brini Maxwell Promo Photos
17. T-shirts
18. Brini Maxwell 2nd Press release [Style Channel]
19. Press releases
20. Correspondence re. Brini Maxwell Show

Box 3

21. Commercial programming agreement
22. Macy’s (San Francisco) home sale promo 4/17/04
23. Participation Agreement Cooper Hewitt design museum
24. Podcast scripts
25. Audience Surveys
26. Leased Access Paperwork
27. Fan Mail – 1
28. Fan Mail – 4
29. Fan Mail – 3

Box 4

30. Fan Letters & Responses
31. Various letters, proposals, notes
32. Promotional flyers & cards
33. Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living [manuscript with notes]
34. Brini Maxwell’s Guide to Gracious Living [copyrighted manuscript]

Box 5

35. Brini Maxwell’s Book of Entertaining
36. Book signing poster
37. Felix Populi Catalog proof
38. Fez Cabaret show promo
39. Script, flyer, clips, program “The Lady Gentian Violet” [play]
40. Wire cover story [South Beach Weekly]
41. Article Manuscript HX Magazine
42. Newspaper & magazine articles about Brini Maxwell
43. Cabaret Show @ The Center to Benefit The March on Washington, 3 APR 1993
44. Boston Gay Men’s Chorus [appearance with]
45. Imperial Court of New York
46. Charming, Needs Work [show idea]
47. Notes on film idea: “Clinical Trials”
48. Model Sinner [script submission]
49. Margo Channing’s Christmas Party [script]
50. Transit by Mary Jane Wells Sander [play script]
51. Adults Only by Peter Boruchowitz [play]

Box 6

52. Website
53. Brini Maxwell Collection [promotional material, design drawings, price list, fabric swatches]
54. Who’s Who [Brini Maxwell Show Character bios]
55. Forms V.R.U.S.P. Productions
56. Apartment Renovation
57. Art Voice Marketing Proposal
58. Brini Maxwell Merchandise Orders
59. Tupperware Business
60. Correspondence re: Brini Show copyright/incorporation forms
61. V.R.U.S.P. Productions ad rates
62. Letter to Virgin Management
63. Script, production notes [Termite Art Productions]
64. Program licensing agreements
65. Travel, plane, train tickets
66. Daily Planners 1989-1997

Box 7

67. Daily Planners 1999-2000
68. Daily Planners 2001-2002
69. Daily Planners 2003-2004

Box 8

70. Daily Planners 2005-2006
71. Headshots – Brini, Ruda Lenska, Philomena
72. 35 mm Slides, Clothing details
73. Photos [Ben, Mary Jane (his mother), other actors]
74. Photos – Fire Island, Mosaic Counter
75. Photos of Ben
76. Photos [subject unknown]
77. Costume Collection Records

Box 9

78. Notebooks of misc. personal thoughts
79. Sketchbook
80. Various Patterns [sewing]

Box 10

81. F.I.T. Network [Alum Magazine]
82. Fabric Samples & Sewing Notes
83. Photobook [class project, possibly for F.I.T.]
84. Photos [class project, possibly for F.I.T.]
85. Sketches [school projects]
86. Dress Design Sketches
87. Journal 1984
88. B&W Photo [class project]
89. Photos from Family Album
90. Benji’s Movie & Script
91. Ben’s Accident
92. YMA Dream [story]
93. Portfolio Projects

Box 11

94. Drawings [unknown origin]
95. Sketches
96. Shoe Photos & Shoe Sketch Cutouts
97. Ben Sander ID cards
98. Personal Letter & Graduation Cards
99. Elementary School Papers & Photos
100. School Records [elementary, middle school]
101. Shower Curtain with Guestbook comments
102. Xmas Ornament Prototype & Brini Baby Prototype
103. Get Well cards from Album
104. Research & Inspiration Images [on disks]
105. Sketches [from school]
106. Portraits & other photos
107. Sketches & Collages
108. Photos of Shoes & Architecture
109. School Projects & Sketches
110. School Projects & Sketches


1.  Brini Maxwell Show pilot episode 2003 produced by Termite Art Productions for Bravo’s Style Channel, guests Kim Cattrall, Thom Hansen, Josh Martin, Dave Downing, Leon Bruer

2. Out at the Center 2006 promotional video w/ Todd Aiken [brief Brini appearance]  and interviews of Center Staff and program participants, Robert Woodworth, Louise Avanzato, Terry Boggis, Suzanne Sosa, Juan Battle, Marty Forth, Miam Yeung, Alexandra Delvalle, Jon Winkleman, Rich Wandel, Anisha Narasimham, Dom Delaney, Jake Krauss
3. Bewitched Presentation, 17 May 2012 [Brini discusses show and cast and 3 complete episodes from the TV series]
4.  In Bed with Butch, 14 Sep 2006, Butch Cordoro, local Philadelphia show with guests Brini Maxwell and Jason Cook
5.  Craft Corner Deathmatch Ep# 112 hosted by Jason Jones, judges: Brini, Hilarie Burton, Dustin Wedekind
6.  Craft Corner Deathmatch Ep# 113 hosted by Jason Jones, judges: Brini, Melinda Barta, Ivy Supersonic
7.  Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, The Visionaries PBS WYBE, Philadelphia, 2002, with chorus founders Jim Anderson, John Strumwasser, Richard Arsenault; Director, Reuben Reynolds,III, Executive Director Steven Smith, member Patrick West
8.  Brini Maxwell Show Tour of Homes Episode, with Thom Hansen, David Mandel, Tony Fiscina, Rod Fernandez
9.  Brini Maxwell Show Wine & Cheese Episode #27 with Thom Hansen, Philip Stoehr as Philomena
10.  Brini Maxwell Show Valentines Day Episode with David Mandel as Shonda Lear, Thom Hansen
11.  Brini Maxwell Show The Antiques Episode with Thom Hansen
12.  Brini Maxwell Show Christmas Special with Linda Simpson, Hedda Lettuce, Flotilla De Barge, Delta LeMans, Philomena, Thom Hansen
13.  Brini Maxwell Show The Bridge Party, Thom Hansen, Delta LeMans
14.  Brini Maxwell Show Birthday Party #24, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Philip Stoehr as Philomena
15.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-2  the Desk, Guests: Greg Clark, John Wood,Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Philip Stoehr as Philomena
16.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-8 Finishing, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Philip Stoehr as Philomena, Guest: David Halloran
17.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-8 finishing 1, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans
18.  The Brini Maxwell Show Episode 5-1 makeover, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Guests Stephen Dimmick, Blair Lawhead
19.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-11 carpet finishing, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans,
20.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode at Jon Cory Studios, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Guests: Rose Wood, Greg Clark, Christian Duva
21.  Best of Brini,Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen
22.  Brini Maxwell Show with Margaret Cho,Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Philip Stoehr as Philomena
23.  Ben on CNN reported by Bill Tush, MSNBC reported by Laurie Dhue and NBC with Anderson Cooper
24.  PSA Toys for Tots ’98
25.  Brini Maxwell Show 8-6-02, Termite Art Productions [duplicate of disk 1]
26.   “1st Session” 88 minutes Director Alain Cloarec [Brini appears in a segment, also his parents]
27.  Brini Doing Various segments of the Brini show with Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen
28.  Brini Maxwell Show unedited segments, Thom Hansen and John Burke as Sybil Bruncheon
29.  Report Brini Maxwell ZDF NY [German language NY TV network]
30.  Gay Pride Parade-Brini 1998
31.  Brini Maxwell Show, Night of a 1000 Gowns 1998
32.  Brini Maxwell Show “Womb with a View” Ep. #105, Guest Stephen Knoll
33.  Promo for Amy [poor quality, German voice-over]
34.  Philomena 2/28/00 [poor quality]
35.  Halloween Episode 2000 Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Victoria Weston
36.  Show 19 , Cooking Camera B [unedited overhead shots]
37.  P2P [acting class exercise?]
38.  Brini Maxwell Show #104, interview with Helen Gurley Brown
39.  Brini Maxwell Show #107′ Guest: Julie Reiner, John Pizzarelli
40.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-11-B, Hedda Lettuce Show 6 (Oscars)
41.  4th Season Episode 3, Tape A, [unedited]
42.  4th Season Episode 3, Tape B [poor quality unedited overhead cooking shots]
43.  4th Season Episode 4, Tape A [unedited footage]
44.  4th Season Episode 4, Tape B [unedited footage]
45.  4th Season Episode 5, Tape A [unedited very poor quality]
46.  The Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-13-A Accessorizing, The Hedda Lettuce Show 3 [poor quality]
47.  Brini Maxwell Christmas Special [duplicate of video #12]
48.  Brini Maxwell Thanksgiving Episode with Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen
49.  Brini Maxwell Authenticity Conference Tape [clips from Brini Show with voiceover commentary]
50.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 19 Gifts from you kitchen with Chad Evans as Delta LeMans [poor quality]
51.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 9 (Jeffrey Kiser) [poor quality, partial episode]
52.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 12 (tour of homes) [poor quality, duplicate of video #8]
53.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 14 (the garden episode) Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Rod Fernandez as Nana [poor quality]
54.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 17 Verina Birdsong [very poor quality]
55.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 15 (Morning Show) Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Rod Fernandez as Nana [poor quality see #68 for better duplicate]
56.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 21 Picnic episode, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Philip Stoehr as Philomena
57.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 20 The Celebrity Show, Philip Stoehr as Philomena, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans [poor quality]
58.  PBS-Souls of New York, _David Daniels, Gene Rurka, Marla Kirban, Jonathan Zizmor, Steve Light and Brini Maxwell segment selling Tupperware
59.  Show segments, Jennifer Cohen [unedited w/ ticker #s visible]
60.  Brini Show [from Style Network show]
61.  various clips for Brini show promotions [some of poor quality or no sound]
62.  Style Network Red Carpet Show [’05 Academy Awards]
63.  Brini Maxwell Show #212 – Renovation Hell, 3rd Cut [Style Network, 10 Dec 2004]
64.  The Brini Maxwell Show Episode 5-1-B, The Hedda Lettuce Show 4 [poor quality]
65.  Commercial for HX, various clips [very poor quality]
66.  Brini in Connecticut appearance on local show 12News
67.  Party Planning Segment, WYNW Fox 5 News
68.  Brini Maxwell Show The Morning Show, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Rod Fernandez as Nana, V.R.U.S.P. Productions 1990 [better quality duplicate of #55]
69.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-10 The Fireplace, Jon Cory Studios, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Guests: Rose Wood, Greg Clark, Christian Duva [duplicate of #20]
70.  The Brini Maxwell Show Episode 18  Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans (mothball episode)
71.  Brini Maxwell show #102 Country Mouse 7 Jan 2004, Adam Perry Lanf, Katie & Steve Purtee [poor quality]
72.  Delta LeMans, aka Chad Evans [poor quality]
73.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 4-13-B The Hedda Lettuce Show Episode 4  [poor quality]
74.  Brini Maxwell Show Promo Reel [various unrelated clips from the show]
75.  The Brini Maxwell Show Christmas Show with Delta, Philomena and Mary Ellen
76.   Xmas Show Tape B [poor quality]
77.   Termite Art Productions, The Brini Maxwell Show Season 1 #106, 5 MAR 2005, Jennifer Cohen
78.  The Brini Maxwell Show Episode 9-12-A, the Hedda Lettuce Show Episode 1 [poor quality]
79.  Brini Maxwell Show Promo Reel August 22, 2003 [various clips including Helen Gurley Brown, John Pizzarelli, Stephan Knoll]
80.  Fez [Cabaret show]  [very poor quality]
81.   raw footage with Margaret Cho and Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen
82.  Ben Sander as Brini Maxwell, Thom Hansen as Panzi and Eva Pendleton discuss men in drag  “Metro Woman” with Susie Essman, Metro Learning Channel 9/15/98
83.  Termite Art Productions, The Brini Maxwell Show Pilot 09/05/2002 [duplicate of disk #1]
84.  Opening Sequence raw footage [no sound]
85.  raw footage of interview with Front Runners members Ken Majoris and Blain Roberts [sp?]
86.  Raw footage for promotion of Brini’s Cabaret Lucky Cheng’s [no sound on first part]
87.  raw footage of promotion, Dating Gaym at the Stonewall  [poor quality]
88.  Inside Edition 03/05/04 [Brini segment @ 14:43]
89.  CNN 3/12/2004 Elena Miklaszewiski [Brini segment @ 09:43]
90.  Access Hollywood 04/27/04 [brief Brini segment @ 20:45]
91.  James Purcell Fashion Show 15 Sep 1999, raw footage and interview with Mr. Purcell
92.   Brini Maxwell Show “Girls Night In” Ep.113, 19 Dec 2003, Guest: Daylle Deanna Schwartz
93.  Brini Maxwell Show “You Need A Shower” Ep. 108, 13 Nov 2003, with Jennifer Cohen
94.  Planet Plastic: The 4th Kingdom, segment about Tupperware with Brini
95.  The Brini Maxwell Show It’s A Rental Ep.#111 with Jerome Barth and Rip Taylor
96.  Camera B show 1505 18 cooking [poor quality]
97.   Camera A Show 13 [poor quality]
98.  Girls Day Out Camera B [over the counter raw cooking footage]
99. With Margaret Cho making fondue [raw unedited]
100.  Brini singing and promoting the show at The Web [bar]
101.  Brini Maxwell Rough cut [duplicate of #1]
102.  Brini Maxwell Show Rough cut of first show for Style Network 8-27-02
103.  Raw over the counter footage Camera B
104.  Ellie & Robert Camera B [raw overhead cooking shots]
105.  Brini Maxwell Show Christmas Special Musical Numbers Master with Brini, Philomena, Mary Ellen [poor quality]
106.  Show #13 Camera A [poor quality]
107.  Picnic Show raw overhead  Camera B
108.  Picnic Show Camera A [very poor quality]
109.  Wine & Cheese Camera B [overhead cooking footage]
110.  Bridge Camera B [overhead cooking footage]
111.  Christmas Special b roll overhead footage [poor quality]
112.  Unedited unmarked footage [poor quality]
113.  Unedited unmarked footage [poor quality]
114.  Farmers Market unedited b-roll footage [poor quality]
115.  Susan Brown (photographer) cocktail party footage [unedited poor quality]
116.  Unedited unmarked B-roll footage [poor quality]
117.  Susan Brown (photographer) [unedited poor quality]
118.  unedited footage mostly Mary Ellen (Thom Hansen)
119.  unedited footage with Sybil Bruncheon (John Burke) and Mary Ellen (Thom Hansen)
120.   unedited footage with Sybil Bruncheon (John Burke)
121.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
122.   unedited footage with Brini and Mary Ellen [poor quality])
123.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
124.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
125.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
126.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality] Asian/Jewish (dirty dishes)
127.  still shots for promo [poor quality]
128.  unedited footage with Brini and Mary Jane Wells [poor quality]
129.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
130.  unedited footage with Brini [poor quality]
Mini DV
131.  The Brini Maxwell Show Ep. 4-10 Master with Rose Wood, Greg Clark, Christian Duva
132.  Show 4/5/02 Hedda Lettuce Show [sound drops out, poor quality]
133.  Brini Maxwell Cabaret Act [taped live performance]
134.  Episode 4-8 Mini master and Hedda Lettuce show [poor sound in Hedda section]
135.  Show 5/24 5/31 with Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Stephen Dimmick, Blair Lawhead
136. unedited Brini [poor quality]
137.  Blair Hair, unedited footage
138.  Episode 4-13 Scenes w/ May Ellen (Thom Hansen), raw footage
139.  Delta (Chad Evans) interviews Julia, the lazy Cross dresser, Needlepoint [raw footage, bad sound in beginning]
140.  The Brini Maxwell Show 4-11 Master with Mary Ellen (Thom Hansen)
141.  unedited footage with Margaret Cho
142.  The Brini Maxwell Show 20-22-09 Episode 5-1,with Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Chad Evans as Delta LeMans, Stephen Dimmick, Blair Lawhead
143.  Pebbles & Lisa Cook [raw footage, poor sound]
144.  Fireplace, interview with John Waters at video store appearance [raw footage]
145.  EP 4-10 Blair Hair and fireplace [raw footage]
146.  Cooking Camera #2 Show 25 Christmas [overhead shots]
147.  Episode 4-12 Room Tour [raw footage]
148.  HX promo clips with Hedda Lettuce, Scenes w/ Marry Ellen (Thom Hansen) [raw footage]
149.  Travel Show Honeymoon Commercial [raw footage]
150.  Carpet Installation Hedda Interview with Yolanda [raw footage]
151.  Ep 4-11 Fireplace 2 [raw footage]
152.  Carpet Care Needlepoint [raw footage]

153.  James Purcell fashion show

154. Wolfgang [Busch] Handheld, Margaret Cho, Thom Hansen [raw footage]
155.  Elements Grafix
156.  Episode 4-13 [raw footage, poor sound]
157.  Show for 4/19, Margaret Cho, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen, Hedda Lettuce Show with Candis Cayne, Raw Footage Jewelry Show with Delta (Chad Evans)
158.  Blair Hair, Delta’s 24-10 Peb, Stephen Dimmick, Thom Hansen as Mary Ellen [raw footage]
159.  Crafts 27 [overhead shots, raw footage]
Hi8 tapes not copied to DVD
160.  Brini Maxwell Show 1703
161.  Intel Computer Survey
162.  B-Roll Pebbles & Lisa Cook A
163.   B-Roll Pebbles & Lisa Cook B
Betacam SP [not copied to DVD]
164.  Brini Maxwell Show, Triangle Version, Pilot Episode
165.  Brini Maxwell Show, Triangle Version, Episode 6 – Susan Brown
166.  Brini Maxwell Show Episode 7
167.  Brini Maxwell Show Triangle Version Episode 9
168.  Show Open & Closing Credits
169.  Ben Sander dub audio transfers
170.  Brini Maxwell Show #107, #108, 109
171.  Brini Maxwell Show #110, #111, #112
172.  Brini Maxwell Show #113
173.  Brini Maxwell 2 DVCam Bump Ups
174.  Brini Maxwell Remote #211
175.  Brini Maxwell Dubs
176.  Unsolved History- JFK
177.  History Caught on Film Apollo 11
178.  The Brini Maxwell Show #101, #102, #103

179.  The Brini Maxwell Show #104, 179.  The Brini Maxwell Show #104 #105, #106.


1. Cabaret Act, Ben with Philomena (aka Philip Stoehr)

2. Demo of Ben singing with orchestra track

3. Ben singing “Entertaining at Home” [on CD]

4. Home Wizards 12 Nov 2005 KRLA Radio Los Angeles @ 37:43-47:31

5. A Very Brini Christmas Featuring the Dave Downing Trio [8 tracks in separate audio files]

6. Early Vocal Demo [4 tracks in separate audio files]

7. Vocal Demo Tape [DAT format not copied to audio file].