OK, so I know Christmas is over now— even if you celebrate all 12 days of it, Christmas is over. And I figure there are at least some folks who don’t want to hear another word about anything to do with Christmas for at least another 10 months.
But when I got an email this morning promoting a new book called Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes, I decided that a little more Christmas would be ok. Because I had to find out what this was all about. Well, one of the things I quickly discovered is that Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes is the second book in a series by fantasy/horror fiction writer Robert Devereaux. The first one is called Santa Steps Out: A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups.
First, a little bit about Devereaux: He has written eight novels, one collection of works that includes a novella and several shorter works, and scads and scads of short fiction. His first novel, Deadweight, has been described by a critic as “Stephen King meets splatterpunk” and “American Psycho with a heart.” And goth horror writer Poppy Z. Bright — a trans man whose name is now Billy Martin and a writer whose works often include LGBT characters — said of Devereaux, “I wish I could hope to ever attain one-thousandth the perversity of Robert Devereaux’s toenail clippings.”
For someone like me who is a Poppy Brite fan, that is high praise indeed for Mr. Devereaux.
Then I started reading summaries of Devereaux’s Santa books, both of which are available on Amazon.com.
Now, here’s the quick summary of Santa Steps Out: One day Santa starts remembering that in a past life he was the Greek god Pan, famous for his sexual powers. That leads him to revive his lusty ways, and he ends up having a fling with the Tooth Fairy, who apparently has also been involved with the Easter Bunny. I think that the Easter Bunny gets jealous and tattles to Mrs Claus and things end up with a big showdown between Mrs. Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Then there’s book two, Santa Conquers the Homophobes. In this one, Santa has a new step-daughter, Wendy, who can see the future of specific children, and share with them her visions of what’s to come. Santa and Wendy team up, with a little help from God the Father, to try and prevent the suicide of Jamie Stratton, a gay teen growing up in a homophobic environment who is bullied by homophobic classmates. Apparently, that effort includes Santa and Wendy visiting the bullies to try and get them to mend their bigoted ways, and also to eradicate homophobia entirely
Santa and Wendy also enlist the aid of the “persuasive” Easter Bunny to accomplish their goal, but the Tooth Fairy and her “loathsome imps” are on the other side of the battle, trying to keep Santa and Wendy from saving Jamie while also trying to make homophobia even worse than ever before.
OK. So those books both sound like something I would enjoy reading. And if the plot summaries weren’t enough to convince me, there’s the cover art for Santa Conquers the Homophobes, pictured above left, which depicts a hot, naked woman literally pooping gold. I think that may be the Tooth Fairy. Why are the hot girls who can poop gold always evil?
Anyway, both books are available at Amazon.com, and both books have downloadable Kindle versions. I think I’ll buy them and read them this weekend. If I do, I’ll let you know if you should read them, too.
But there’s one thing I am sure of, even before I read the books: This ain’t your grandma’s Santa Claus!
Volunteer Wanda Brown helps get ready for the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope on Chirstmas Eve
I have been out of the office, on vacation, since Dec. 22, and when I got back to work today and started wading through the thousands of emails in my inbox, I found one from Hank Henley, asking if we could include some information in Dallas Voice about BACH, the weekly Breakfast At Cathedral of Hope program in which church volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to the homeless.
So I am including Hank’s write-up about BACH’s Christmas Eve event here on Instant Tea, just as he sent it to me:
Use the words “Bach” and “cathedral” in a sentence this time of year, and most people will picture the “Christmas Cantata” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” But at a certain church in Dallas, BACH stands for “Breakfast at the Cathedral of Hope,” a program that just celebrated its four-year anniversary in November. On Christmas Eve morning, while most of Dallas was nestled all snug in their beds, a small army of volunteers was in the kitchen at the Cathedral of Hope whipping up a hot and hearty breakfast for the homeless and needy that would be coming through their doors by 7:30 a.m. Under the direction of Rev. William Baldridge, Associate Pastor for Community Outreach, this weekly breakfast has grown from serving just 11 guests at the first meal to an average of 200 guests each Saturday morning.
And guests they are: receiving a hot meal served on china plates and with silverware and glasses. The guests may also receive a haircut after they eat, if they so chose.
This week, in addition to the usual food and drink, each guest received a bag with a blanket, hat, gloves, toiletries, water and food coupons. The gift bags were the result of the generous work of Jan Okerlund and Leslie Frye.
Leslie Frye, one of the volunteer coordinators, when asked how the volunteers feel about the work they do, said, “The real blessing is in the cooking for and serving those less fortunate, not only during this Season, but all year long.”
This Saturday’s volunteers included members of the church community of the Cathedral of Hope, members of the Turtle Creek Chorale and a group of 14 students from “I-CERV,” the “Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering.” They are here once a month, all year long. Kenneth Campbell, the Interfaith Services Director Volunteer Coordinator of the Memnosyne Foundation, brought these energetic and focused youth.
The Memnosyne Foundation is a wonderful organization whose mission is “to help a diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution of themselves and for future generations by providing the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration.” The diverse crowd of leaders, volunteers and guests were certainly doing that on this morning.
And one guest, who guest shared his story quietly and privately with tears streaming down his face, personifies the spirit of sharing and giving. This time last year, he was on the street, living under a bridge and depending on the generosity of others to survive. He told me he could always count on a hot meal and being treated with respect when he came to BACH. This year, he is able to draw social security and is donating $25 a month to BACH. “They always fed me and helped me get through. Now I want to give back whatever I can. God blessed me and it’s what I want to do.”
Across the room, his hands deep in a bucket of soapy water, volunteer Jamie Rawson, spent the morning scraping plates and glasses, getting them ready for the dishwashers.
“There a few things a person can do which so clearly put Christmastime in perspective as doing something to help others. It is has been said so often as to become a cliché — but it is no less true for being a cliché. It is heart-warming to see so many people gathered to help provide for those in need. It is especially affirming to see so many young people from such a diversity of backgrounds. This has been the most fitting and rewarding way to truly start my Christmas.”
When the guests were finished with breakfast, finished visiting with friends and volunteers, finished with their haircut, and picked up their bag of supplies for warmth and comfort, they left the cathedral and headed back into the rain and the street.
As they left, Richard Boule greeted each of them and wished them a Merry Christmas.
“As I watched those people leaving the Cathedral after breakfast this morning, I could not help wondering where they were going and what each one of them had to look forward to this Christmas time. But I had the feeling that they were grateful for the humanity they were shown, so many left with a smile. May they be blessed.”
If you would like to help with BACH, please call Rev. Baldridge at the Cathedral of Hope at 214-351-1901.
You can see more photos from the Christmas Eve Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope after the jump.
In the liturgical calendar of the Christian church twelfth night is the last day of the Christmas season. (Remember the 12 days of Christmas? They start on December 24 and end December 5) Twelfth night also kicks off the carnival season that culminates in the celebration of Mardi Gras. The Krewe of Olympus, Houston’s own predominately gay Mardi Gras Krewe, welcomes the season in style with “Pretty in Pink:” a twelfth night fundraiser benefiting the Montrose Counseling Center. The festivities are Saturday night, January 7 (’cause who wants to party on a Thursday?) starting at 7 pm at the Counseling Center (401 Branard) and include traditional king cake as well as an open bar, hors d’oevres and a Mardi Gras mask auction. In keeping with the theme guests are invited to wear their best outfits in shades of pink (be it blush or bashful).
The Krewe of Olympus started in New Orleans in 1970 before moving to Houston. According to their website:
We are one of the largest predominately gay Krewes in the United States, although our membership is open to all. Our principal aims are to present theatrical and educational events that perpetuate and continue Mardi Gras traditions and to raise money for community charities. Since moving to Texas, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Houston and Dallas Charitable Organizations. We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization.
Tickets for the event are $35 and are available at the door.
After witnessing Jackie Hall’s performance at Twist Dallas earlier this year, we couldn’t wait till she got her voice down to the gayborhood. And that happens tonight. The Jackie Hall Experience welcomes in Christmas tonight with a slew of rock, R&B and of course, Christmas carols for the night. Do all that Christmas Eve stuff early and hit up the club for a voice to remember. Seriously, how she’s not a bigger star is beyond us.
DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. SueEllens.com.
Maximum Christmas overdrive Whether you’re staycationing or visiting the Gaylord, prepare for a glorious onslaught of holiday cheer. If the million-plus lights and 52-foot tree aren’t enough, how about the resort’s famous ICE! show featuring Shrek the Halls which they keep at nine degrees? Don’t worry, they provide coats.
For many, Christmas is a time for family, but as we all know, not everyone in the LGBT community is on the best terms with their family, and for others financial concerns keep them from traveling during the holidays. For those of us spending the holidays alone (or those of us who just enjoy a good potluck) the Houston GLBT Community Center, in cooperation with the AIDS Housing Coalition Houston, is hosting a Christmas potluck at the Center’s offices at the Historic Dow School (1901 Kane). There is no charge for the Potluck and Turkey and Ham will be provided. Those attending may bring a side dish to share but should not feel obligated to bring anything if they are not able.
“The Center family is thrilled to partner with Matt Locklin and AIDS Housing Coalition Houston on this Christmas luncheon,” said Tim Brookover, president of the center. “We hope people will join us who don’t have plans for the holiday — or maybe need a break from the plans they have! Christmas and your GLBT family. Now that’s festive!”
If you would like to volunteer or make a contribution to offset expenses, contact AHCH executive director Matt Locklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We heard from our friend Phyllis Guest that the Oak Lawn Library is really in the Christmas spirit and wants to share it with you.
Following an exceptionally large recent donation that includes hardcover and paperback fiction, non-fiction, business texts and computer books, as well as VHS movies and music (including LPs), the library is having a big sidewalk sale today and tomorrow … or until all the stuff is gone. Except for three especially large albums, everything is $1 or $2 (and even the big stuff is only $5). There will be someone manning the tables from now until closing time at 6 p.m., and again tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you know a collector, it’s a cool way to get something for them.