GSA supporters to protest outside Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi on Friday

Nikki Peet

A pro-equality demonstration is planned Friday outside Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, where officials say they’ll eliminate all non-curricular clubs to avoid allowing a chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance.

Paul Rodriguez, president of the GSA at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said he’s expecting more than 300 people to attend the protest.

Rodriguez has been working with 17-year-old Flour Bluff student Nikki Peet since November to launch the GSA. After the Flour Bluff principal refused to allow the GSA, district officials announced they’ll bar all non-curricular clubs from meeting on campus — including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — to avoid running afowl of the federal Equal Access Act.

“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Rodriguez told Instant Tea. “I couldn’t believe that an administration of a public school would actually go to that length to show hatred, to show intolerance. It’s just appalling.”

Rodriguez said supporters of the GSA have contacted both Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are investigating. But the goal of the protest is to convince district officials to change their minds.

“As far as Nikki and her supporters go, they were very nervous about going to school today, because they don’t know what kind of hostility or bullying they’re going to face,” Rodriguez said. “They’re afraid they’re going to get blamed for all the non-curricular clubs not being allow to meet. We’re hoping to redirect that anger to where it really belongs. If we can get all those people on board and join us in this fight for equality, that would just be awesome.

“We want equality to rein at Flour Bluff,” he added. “We want them to open their eyes and realize that everyone is human, everyone can co-exist. You don’t have to like us, you don’t have to agree with us, but you do have to co-exist with us.”

For more information on the protest, go here.

—  John Wright

Pink Noise: The Dallas Voice Podcast

In this week’s episode, Rich Lopez and I talked about former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s anti-gay tweet, the Oscars, Perez Hilton at SXSW, Equality Texas Lobby Day, the GSA controversy in Corpus Christi, and more.

—  John Wright

Equality Texas is looking for a few good board members, especially from places like Dallas

Last week we told you that in the face of staffing cuts, Equality Texas plans to rely heavily on active, volunteer board members to assist with lobbying duties during the state legislative session that began today.

Well, it turns out that the group is also looking for a few additional board members, and particularly people of color from Dallas, El Paso, Lubbock and Corpus Christi. An ad posted Monday on SmartBrief Jobs notes that Equality Texas board members serve a maximum of three two-year terms and have a fundraising requirement of $7,500 in 2011, which will increase to $10,000 in 2012:

This is a challenging opportunity with an emerging organization dedicated to the most compelling civil rights issue of our time. It may appeal to a younger person whose career would be enhanced by association with a high profile organization that can effect social change, as well as by the opportunity for building relationships with other business and civic leaders who serve as Directors. Alternatively, this might appeal to a more senior executive who has a strong personal conviction about the importance of addressing these issues in the state of Texas.

To read the full ad or apply, go here.

—  John Wright

QLive! announces 2011 season

QCinema founder Todd Camp decided to branch outside the bounds of the small screen and into live performance. As part of its 2011 season, the film festival announces QLive!, which presents live theater in addition to film. Like Dallas’ Uptown Players, it will concentrate on gay-themed plays and shows of interest to the gay community. The season includes:

Dying City (March). The brother of a man killed in Iraq confronts his widowed sister-in-law, and suggests something else may have contributed to his death. Christopher Shinn’s mystery play was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Men from the Boys (April; staged reading). A sequel to Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band catches up with the characters years later.

Brian Gallivan: The Sassy Gay Friend LIVE! (June). The creator of viral videos about the “sassy gay friend” performs a live comedy show.

None of the Above (September). A comedy about the relationship between a 17-year-old and her SAT tutor.

Art (November). Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning drama about how an all-white painting divides three male friends.

Corpus Christi (December). Terrence McNally’s controversial play finally gets its Fort Worth performance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Corpus Christi’ documentary trailer debuts

Earlier this year, the will-it-or-won’t-it production of Terrence McNally’s controversial gay apostle play Corpus Christi generated tons of local (then national) buzz, first with a student production at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, later with an imported production at the Cathedral of Hope. The team doing the touring show were in the midst of making a documentary about their experiences.

They’ve just released a trailer of the video, and it actually looks pretty good. You can see it here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Corpus Christi’ comes to Dallas

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—  Dallasvoice

DVtv: In wake of Tarleton State controversy, 'Corpus Christi' arrives at Cathedral of Hope

Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi” is set in Texas, but it’s never before been staged in the Lone Star State. That will change this weekend, when the Cathedral of Hope hosts a Los Angeles-based production of the play about a gay Christ-like figure named Joshua. This weekend’s shows grew out of the recent controversy at Tarleton State University in Stephenville. TSU student John Jordan Otte wanted to stage an excerpt from “Corpus Christi” as a class project, but the university canceled the production, citing security concerns. We later learned that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and even Gov. Rick Perry may have been responsible for cancellation of Otte’s project.

For the DVtv segments previewing this weekend’s shows, we sat down with the Los Angeles-based co-producers of “Corpus Christi,” Nic Arnzen and James Brandon (who also plays Joshua); with Otte and with the Rev. Jo Hudson, senior pastor at the Cathdral. Our interviews with Otte and Hudson are after the jump. Showtimes are Friday through Sunday at 7 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets are $32–$52 and can be purchased at the door of the Cathedral, 5910 Cedar Springs Road.

—  John Wright

Shocker! Dewhurst ignores request for meeting from student behind gay Jesus play

John Jordan-Otte
John Jordan-Otte

John Jordan-Otte, the Tarleton State University student whose production of the gay-themed play “Corpus Christi” was cancelled amid controversy in March, issued a press release last night alleging that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is ignoring his request to meet and discuss how to prevent a similar episode in the future.

Otte says he submitted a letter to Dewhurst’s office last Thursday, letting the lieutenant governor know that he’ll be in Austin this weekend and would like to chat. Dewhurst has been accused of prompting cancellation of the “gay Jesus play” by issuing  a press release condemning it and possibly contacting TSU administrators and threatening their jobs. It’s also been suggested that Dewhurst was merely doing the dirty work of his buddy Rick Perry.

“The torrent of media and political attention changed my life forever, and I don’t want another student to face the same criticism,” Otte wrote in his letter to Dewhurst.

Last week, Dewhurst claimed he was exercising his right to free speech when he squelched Otte’s free expression. Dewhurst also said he would have intervened regardless of what religious leader was portrayed as gay, even Buddha, because the school receives state funding and shouldn’t be allowed to “denigrate” anyone’s faith. Read Otte’s full letter to Dewhurst after the jump.

—  John Wright

Dewhurst says he was exercising free speech when he stifled free expression and got the gay Jesus play canceled at Tarleton State

I rushed into the office at 8 a.m. this morning, hoping to catch The Texas Tribune‘s interview with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, because I knew they’d ask about his recent decision to issue a press release calling for the cancellation of a gay-themed play at Tarleton State University. As it turns out, The Tribune doesn’t broadcast its live chats live, but they have now posted Dewhurst’s response to the question on YouTube. Above is the video, and below is my transcript.

Dewhurst: First of all if that particular play had been in any other venue, a private school, some theater, none of my business. None of my business. I exercised my First Amendment right to say something when a lot of people were calling all around the state of Texas saying, “What in the world is going on at a state school that receives state money?” That was the only reason I said something. There were two elements. One, it was at a state school that was receiving state money. Two, it was ridiculing, in my judgment, you may not agree, but ridiculing one religion. It doesn’t make any difference to me — on this, and I want to use this word carefully, I’m agnostic on this — it doesn’t make any difference, in my judgment: If a play ridiculed anybody’s religion, I would have reacted the same way.

TT: So a play about gay Buddha would have received the same press release?

Dewhurst: Yes, it would have, because I don’t believe it’s right to denigrate anybody’s religion.

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—  John Wright

A&M chancellor called Tarleton State officials on same day gay Jesus play was canceled

Last week, Dallas Voice online editor John Wright posted this blog (“Rick Perry killed the gay Jesus”), citing a note from Conservative Republicans President Steve Hotze thanking Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for pressuring Tarleton State officials into cancelling a student class project production of Terrance McNally’s play “Corpus Christi.”

John Jordan Otte, the student who was presenting the play for his project, suggested at the time of the cancellation that “jobs had been threatened,” and that’s why it was canceled.

School officials and representatives for both Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry, however, continued to deny Dewhurst and Perry put any pressure on school officials and reiterated their claim that the play was canceled over security issues in the face of planned protests.

But now Fort Worth Weekly has published a wire service article by Rachel Dudley with Texan News Service claiming Texan News Service has obtained phone records that appear to support the claims that elected officials pressured the school. Fort Worth Weekly reports:

However, records released this week show that, in the hours leading up to the cancellation decision, Dottavio received five calls on his cell phone from top officials in the Texas A&M University System, of which Tarleton is a part. …

Records reflecting the calls — but not their content — were released by the university in response to a request by the Texan News Service under the state’s open records law. The calls, totaling 35 minutes, were placed between 4:29 and 8:15 p.m. on March 26, the day Terrence McNally’s controversial play, “Corpus Christi,” was canceled. According to one person present, who asked not to be named, university officials met for about an hour during that same period to discuss the fate of the play, scheduled for performance the following morning.

Dottavio reports to A&M system Chancellor Dr. Michael McKinney, who, records show, placed one of the phone calls. McKinney reports to the A&M Board of Regents, whose members are appointed by the governor.

At the end of the lengthy article, Dudley points out:

Tarleton has also suspended student journalists’ access to its YouTube channel. Students had used the channel to post Texan TV News newscasts, including stories about the play and its aftermath. Officials said they were suspending access to the channel  until policies governing its use can be promulgated. They later authorized the posting of a two-week-old news broadcast.

The university also temporarily suspended journalism students’ access to post Texan News Service print stories on the university web site but lifted that ban for the remainder of the semester.

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—  admin