Smith LOVES fags

Gay-friendly filmmaker Kevin Smith Phelps-bashes with his  satiric horror film ‘Red State’

THE HORROR | In ‘Red State,’ a family of homophobic, kidnapping maniacs get their comeuppance.

RED STATE
Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Ave. Sept. 25, 6 p.m. $20.
TheTexasTheatre.com

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Kevin Smith threw fans and critics a curveball with Red State, his horror satire about three teenagers kidnapped by a murderous Fred Phelps-esque religious fundamentalist and his virulently homophobic clan (Melissa Leo plays its matriarch). It represents a major stylistic and genre departure from Smith’s largely comic repertoire including Clerks and Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Smith confounded the film industry with Red State’s distribution scheme, choosing to take it on a national roadshow tour (with premium ticket prices); it plays, with Smith participating in a live online Q&A, at the Texas Theater on Sunday.

The dependable ally of the LGBT community — “I’ve got a brother who’s been married to the same dude for 20 years, I work in Hollywood so I’m surrounded by the gay community and I’ve always said I’m one cock in the mouth shy of being gay myself,” the bearish Smith has noted — executive produced queer-themed documentaries, Small Town Gay Bar and Bear Nation, and currently spends time interacting with fans of all sexualities via SModcast.com.

— Lawrence Ferber

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Dallas Voice: Why such a dark film, Kevin? What was its genesis?  Kevin Smith: It was a bunch of factors. I saw Michael Parks in From Dusk Till Dawn in 1995 and the dude blew me away. He was onscreen the first five or ten minutes and he’s making choices I’ve never seen any other actor make. He’s the truth. I said, “My God, I’ve got to work with that dude one day.” It took me 15 years to figure out what that would be because I didn’t want to get in touch with him and say, “Hey, man, you want to play Silent Bob’s grandfather?”

Cut to years later, my friend Malcolm Ingram makes Small Town Gay Bar. It’s about a gay bar in Mississippi and how tough it can be in a community where nobody really wants you there. In the midst of it, Malcolm speaks with Fred Phelps. Malcolm sat with the beast, had an hour interview with him and sent me the footage, and he came across as terrifying to me. This dude is a fucking villain. He looks like a grandpa or uncle and speaks with all the homespun gee-shucks-isms, and then the content of what he says … that’s what’s bracing. It’s all hate, divisive, God-hates-this-and- that, and very anti-gay. I don’t think you have to be gay to be offended by that sort of thing, to find someone like Phelps and his backwards fucking family deplorable. And you don’t have to be gay to want to do something about it. I can’t stop them from speaking but I can go out there and do to them what they do to Matthew Shepard’s family and soldiers coming home from Iraq. They essentially stand there holding a sign and make them feel like shit. So this is my version of standing there holding a sign and making the Phelpses feel like shit.

Is there any concern this would inspire the Phelps family to get a cache of weapons together? Oh God, no! I mean, I don’t think those people are violent in the very least. This movie isn’t them. We tee off on them. It’s a satirical take on them. One of their kids told me they pray for the deaths of others, but they would never do that kind of thing.

You had a pretty great counter-protest at Sundance. I saw that one of your group’s signs said Dick Tastes Yummy. That was fun, watching people’s creativity sparked by these animals. A bunch of kids who go to high school there in Park City, Utah, heard about the Phelpses coming to protest us and came out to counter-protest. These kids were holding up signs like God Hates Homework. One dude had a sign that said Why Did They Cancel Pushing Daisies? That one fucking blew my mind. That’s how you shatter a monster’s brain: You hold up a mirror. What they’re doing is ridiculous, dude, so when you show up and counter them with ridiculous shit like Thor Hates Straights and God Hates Rainy Days and Mondays, you defang them. That’s what Red State is. I can’t stop them from saying what they’re gonna say, “Believe” — I can’t and don’t want to; that’s freedom in this country. But if they’re going to make other people’s lives miserable, that’s what Red State is. And whenever they talk about the movie you can tell it bugs them. They stopped digging the fucking attention because we held up a mirror.

I read that you actually provided tickets to some members of the Phelps clan for one of the roadshow’s screenings and they walked out. Yeah, in Kansas City. I’m sitting there watching [the movie with the audience] and seven minutes in I get tapped on my fucking shoulder. I turn around and it’s Megan Phelps [Fred’s 26-year-old granddaughter] and I’m startled because you never want to see a Phelps that close. And she goes, “Oh, Kevin, this is filthy… but we just wanted to give you a gift before we get out of here.” At that moment for a brief second I was waiting for the gun to come flashing out like, “The gift is God’s mighty bullets!” But they handed me two protest posters. One said God Hates Fag Enablers — that’s what they’ve called me many times. The other was a bit more abstract, very fucking strange. They took our title treatment from the Red State poster and put it on a sign and it said simply, Red State Fags, and they all signed it, like they were members of a baseball team or cast in a movie. Megan wrote, “See you in hell… not really because I’m not going there and you are.”

How kind of them! What did you do with it? My wife goes, “You’re throwing that out;” I said, “You’re out of your fucking mind! I worked hard for this, I fought these fucking monsters for a year! This is a trophy, like Batman’s giant penny in the Batcave!” She’s like, “Well, you can’t let the kid see it.” My kid don’t know nothing from hate. We live in L.A. and there’s a hell of a lot of liberalism and tolerance out here. There is no difference between gay and straight, there’s no negativity to her. So we unloaded the bus after we got home from the tour and there it is staring at us in the face, Red State Fags. My kid stares at this poster and my wife is looking at me like, “You fucking idiot, I knew something like this would happen.” And our daughter turns to us and goes, “What is this? The sequel?”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

QUEER CLIP: ‘A Good Old Fashioned Orgy’

At first it struck me as odd that A Good Old Fashioned Orgy would be opening in suburban theaters (Mesquite, Grapevine, Arlington) instead of urban, sophisticated Dallas. Then I saw it, and understood: There’s nothing urban or sophisticated whatsoever about this mostly unfunny, post-adolescent take on American Pie, Porky’s, and the rest of sitcomovies about losers hoping to get laid. The difference is, these losers are yuppies who should know better. (They are all supposed to be high school friends now turning 30, but most appear to be pushing 40.) When ringleader Eric (Jason Sudeikis, pictured left with Tyler Labine) finds his dad is selling the Hamptons beach house he and his friends commandeer every holiday for drunken bashes, he gets the (contrived and formulaic) idea to hold a parting orgy — just a little casual sex among friends. First, he has to convince them all to do it. Then they have to go through with it.
If it sounds naughty, it’s not. These dilettantes could learn a thing or 30 about hookups from just about any gay man, and like most comedies of this ilk, the idea of girl-on-girl action is hot; a tentative kiss between two fellas? Gross. (That doesn’t stop it from showing full frontal, though of no one worth seeing.)

Films like this are usually so smugly coy about being sexy and clever they are neither; that’s about the only bull’s-eye this lame, Labor Day dreg release hits.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

One star. Now playing in limited release.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Frank Rich Bashes The Smithsonian Over Censorship

In a piece titled "Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian," Frank Rich writes about the institution's censorship of David Wojnarowicz' piece "A Fire in My Belly," which was quickly (and baffingly) yanked from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery a few weeks ago:

Like many of its antecedents, the war over Wojnarowicz is a completely manufactured piece of theater. What triggered the abrupt uproar was an incendiary Nov. 29 post on a conservative Web site. The post was immediately and opportunistically seized upon by William Donohue, of the so-called Catholic League, a right-wing publicity mill with no official or financial connection to the Catholic Church.

W Donohue is best known for defending Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism by declaring that “Hollywood is controlled by Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.” A perennial critic of all news media except Fox, he has also accused The Times of anti-Catholicism because it investigated the church pedophilia scandal. Donohue maintains the church doesn’t have a “pedophilia crisis” but a “homosexual crisis.” Such is the bully that the Smithsonian surrendered to without a fight.

Donohue’s tactic was to label the 11-second ants-and-crucifix sequence as “anti-Christian” hate speech. “The irony,” wrote the Washington Post art critic, Blake Gopnik, is that the video is merely a tepid variation on the centuries-old tradition of artists using images of Christ, many of them “hideously grisly,” to speak of mankind’s suffering. Those images are staples of all museums — even in Washington, where gory 17th-century sculptures of Christ were featured in a recent show of Spanish sacred art at the National Gallery.

But of course Donohue was just using his “religious” objections as a perfunctory cover for the homophobia actually driving his complaint. The truth popped out of the closet as Donohue expanded his indictment to “pornographic images of gay men.” His Republican Congressional allies got into the act. Eric Cantor called for the entire exhibit to be shut down and threatened to maim the Smithsonian’s taxpayer funding come January. (The exhibit was entirely funded by private donors, but such facts don’t matter in culture wars.) Jack Kingston, of the House Appropriations Committee, rattled off his own list of exaggerated gay outrages in “Hide/Seek,” from “Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts” to “naked brothers kissing.”

It took only hours after Donohue’s initial battle cry for the video to be yanked. “The decision wasn’t caving in,” the museum’s director, Martin E. Sullivan, told reporters. Of course it was. The Smithsonian, in its own official statement, rationalized its censorship by saying that Wojnarowicz’s video “generated a strong response from the public.” That’s nonsense. There wasn’t a strong response from the public — there was no response. As the museum’s own publicist told the press, the National Portrait Gallery hadn’t received a single complaint about “A Fire in the Belly” from the exhibit’s opening day, Oct. 30, until a full month later, when a “public” that hadn’t seen the exhibit was mobilized by Donohue to blast the museum by phone and e-mail.

In response to th Smithsonian's outrageous censhorship, several museums and galleries across the United States have decided to showcase Wojnarowicz' video, including as the New Museum in NYC and CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Dallas Pride events for Tuesday

Dallas’ gay Pride parade is just 125 hours away, and last-minute calls for volunteers and marchers are going out. Visitors are undoubtedly starting to trickle in from out of town, and did we mention the parties? Among tonight’s bashes are the Round-Up’s Mr./Miss/Ms. Pride competition, with winners earning a spot on the bar’s parade float, and the Bare Chests and Bare Backs Night at the Dallas Eagle, which sounds like a hot way to counter this heat. Here’s a full list of Tuesday’s  Pride-sanctioned activities from the Dallas Tavern Guild:

Legacy 21st Birthday Bash
Monica’s Aca Y Ala
Join us as we celebrate the 21st birthday of Legacy counseling. Great food, silent auction, live auction, entertainment and a evening of recognition for this great agency.
2914 Main Street
Dallas, Texas 75205
214-520-6308 ext 1

Pride Showtunes
Dallas Woody’s
Show the world how gay you are celebrating the best in showtunes from classic films, broadway hits and the best of the TV hit show Glee.
$2.00 Wells from 9pm to 11pm
9pm to 1am – No Cover
4011 Cedar Springs
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.dallaswoodys.com

Mr/Miss/Ms Pride Contest
Round Up Saloon
Come out and support your favorite candidate for the Mr/Miss/Ms Pride Contest. Winners will ride on the round Up float in the Pride Parade. Cash prizes. No entry fees. Applications available at the front door.
9:00 pm
3912 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
www.roundupsaloon.com

Tyler’s Pride-Tastic Happy Hour
The Brick/Joe’s
$2.00 SKYY VODKA’S, food, fun & games
4pm – 9am
Pride Talent Search -11:30pm
IDA MAE WATERGATE’S Comedy & Variety Talent Search Competition
2525 Wycliff
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.brickdallas.com

Bare Chest and Bare Backs Night
Dallas Eagle
10:00 pm
5740 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75235
www.dallaseagle.com

Karlota & Her Divas Show at midnight (12am)
Kaliente
Karaoke starts at 9pm
Drink Specials – $2 wells / $2 domestic from 9pm – 11pm
No Cover
4350 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.kaliente.cc

—  John Wright