Dan Savage spoke for nearly two hours at The Kessler last night to a standing-room-only crowd (OK, there were some chairs open) and the audience was putty in his beefy hands. The applause roared as he came out and instead of going with any kind of speaking agenda, he answered audience questions collected on notecards earlier in the night. Of course, most were sex-based questions and the show turned mostly into the live version of his Savage Love podcast where he doles out sex advice in hilarious, clever and poignant fashion. As you can see from the video after the jump, he even took on a question about sex robots.
At times, the show did get a bit more — serious is such a heavy word — enlightening, let’s say. Some questions brought up religion, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and his It Gets Better campaign, and the eloquent Savage would release these beautiful diatribes of realism that were more empowering as well as entertaining. Someone asked, “just what is the Gay Agenda?” and his basic response was letting everyone know gay people are just human. Savage never came off like a self-righteous Oprah spreading a message of “be strong.” Instead, it’s like the way he sees things just make sense and he only asks his audience to consider it and is quite fair. When someone disagreed with DADT repeal, people began to rustle negatively and he stood up for the guy to let him make his point (which actually was not a homophobic one).
He mentioned Fort Worth’s the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle and publicly thanked him for his It Gets Better video. Sprinkle was in the audience and received his own round of applause. I was a bit curious Savage didn’t mention Joel Burns’ video, but not overly surprised.
But really, the night was about sex in all its fun and exciting variations and perspectives — and Savage didn’t disappoint. It was a roller-coaster ride discussing three-ways, vanilla-attired dungeon parties, Facebook-friending hookers and his accidental (?) admission that his partner is a bottom. Actual questions from the audience finished the night off, although the lady touting herself as Dallas’ Kathy Griffin because she had red hair and gay friends was trying so hard to get her 15 minutes, but Savage was a pro and moved on. After, he signed his new It Gets Better book, took pictures and genuinely interacted with the fans. Good looking, well-built, smart, funny — geez, is there anything wrong with this guy?
Ummm, maybe? The curious thing about Savage is his use of the word “fag.” He said it maybe twice, but he’s used it before in his books and podcasts. I’m kind of fascinated by this because someone last night said that he doesn’t mind Savage’s use of it. But I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s OK being that the general consensus is “don’t say it,” and is there a contradiction in using it and also telling bullied youth that, “It gets better”?
Half Price Books and the local literary arts organization WordSpace sponsored the evening.