The Tiger Lillies at Wortham Center

The Tiger Lillies

The Tiger Lillies

London-based band The Tiger Lillies are one of those groups it’s impossible to describe to someone who’s never experienced them. Their unique brand of concert/performance art takes elements of Wiemar Republic caberet, Bertolt Brecht, opera, Jacques Brel and your worst childhood nightmares and mixes them a soupcon of postmodern absurdism to cook up the kind of theater that Sally Bowles and the Kit Kat girls would be making, were they still around, all with a decidedly queer twist.

The Tiger Lillies bring their uniquely anarchistic sights and sounds to Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater, (501 Texas Avenue) Friday, November 4, at 8 pm. The show is co-presented by Society for the Performing Arts and DiverseWorks. This American Leg of their “Gutter’s and Stars Tour” features fan favorites and some new material.

Founded in 1989, the Tiger Lillies worked their way up from London pubs to the Piccadilly Theatre, finally achieving cult status with their masterpiece, the musical “Shockheaded Peter,” a series of grisly fairy tales adapted from the 19th century German book “Struwwelpeter,” in which all of the children die at the end.

—  admin

The uber-gay original ‘Fright Night’ (NSFW)

In this week’s edition, I review the remake of the 1985 cult hit Fright Night with Colin Farrell. Walking down memory lane to my childhood (OK, I was in college), I got to thinking just how gay the original version was. How gay? Well, in addition to the vampire being portrayed as pansexual if not outright queer (he’s very fey as portrayed by Chris Sarandon), here are a few other elements that make it still a Very Gay Movie:

• Other than Sarandon, the name-brand star of the film was gay actor Roddy McDowall.

• 1985 marked the film debut of co-star Amanda Bearse, who played the hero’s love interest. Bearse later went on to star in Married… With Children before coming out as lesbian in 1993.

• Stephen Geoffreys, the actor who played “Evil” Ed, is openly gay. How openly? Well, you might know him from some of his other screen performances — under the name Sam Ritter — in films like Cock Pit or Guys Who Crave Big Cocks. Yep, Evil’s second career is in hardcore gay porn, pictured below.

Ah, I miss the ’80s.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cult leader kills 4-year-old for being gay

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, right, faces capital murder charges after allegedly shooting to death 4-year-old Jaden Higganbothan, left, because Moses thought the child was gay. Moses lived in Durham, N.C., with several women, including Jaden’s mother, who considered Moses their husband and called him ‘Lord.’

A Durham, N.C. man is on trial for capital murder after he allegedly shot a 4-year-old boy in the head because he thought the boy might be gay.

Peter Lucas Moses Jr., 27, is also accused of murdering a young woman who tried to escape from the house where she had been living with Moses and several other women, who called Moses “Lord.” Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against Moses. Three of his “wives” are also charged with murder and with being accessories to murder.

According to information presented in court by prosecutors on Friday, July 8, Moses lived in a house in Durham with several women and their children — most of whom were fathered by Moses. But 4-year-old Jaden Higganbothan had a different father, who had left his mother, Vania Higganbothan Sisk, 25. Because Jaden’s father had left his mother and because Jaden hit one of the other children on the rear a couple of times, Moses decided the boy was gay and that they needed to get rid of him. In fact, prosecutors say, Moses had already told Sisk to get rid of Jaden at least once.

—  admin

Nate Phelps: Escaping the darkness

Son of infamous anti-gay crusader Fred Phelps offers a glimpse of what life was like growing up on the inside of the Westboro Baptist cult

Renee Baker  |  Contributing Writer renee@renee-baker.com

Nate Phelps
Nate Phelps

Nate Phelps has a unique identity, but an identity many of us can relate to on different levels. He’s a parent; he’s a partner; he has kids, and he has to come out of the closet regarding his family life.

But Phelps is not gay. Instead, you could say he comes from a family life that is spiritually haunting — one led by his father, Fred Phelps Sr., the infamous pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

Phelps, who is now estranged from his father, says he often feels “pulled in two directions.” On one hand, he wants to explain to the world how his birth family evolved into what it is. On the other, he has found from experience that people get uncomfortable learning who he is, and he has to “reassure them” that it is okay to criticize his father’s views.
Phelps Sr., at age 80, is well known for attacking the gay community and operating the website GodHatesFags.com. The WBC launched a protest at the Resource Center Dallas in July of this year, leading to a counter-protest that raised a record-breaking $11,000, according to RCD spokesperson Rafael McDonnell.

McDonnell said of the protest, “What struck me is how the entire community came together, saying, ‘We are not going to allow this in our neighborhood.’”

The younger Phelps, now 51, was not surprised by the event. Counter-protests are common, and even satirical filmmaker Michael Moore has been to Topeka with his Sodom Mobile to confront Phelps Sr.

“I thought my father was going to punch him at any second,” Nate Phelps recalled.

It is a telling statement, as Nate Phelps said his father used to beat his 13 children, often with a long piece of wood — his Biblical rod. Nate’s brother Mark and sister Dot are also estranged from the family.

“Our childhood was full of abuse and violence,” Nate Phelps said, “and that was our sense of what normal was.”

He said his father taught them they were all “hell-bound sinners” and they could not say enough prayers to be saved. He said his father was “profoundly critical, destructive and violent towards us.” And he said the worst part was that his father was so strong and manipulative, that Nate began to “internalize it and believe it” himself.

As an example, Nate Phelps recalls an early memory when his father chopped off his mother’s hair. “When he took those blades to my mother’s head, he was making a powerful assertion that he had absolute control over her very salvation. So ingrained were these beliefs that I remember fearing that, by cutting her hair, my father had condemned her to eternal damnation,” Nate has said in a speech.

Nate Phelps subsequently went through two significant periods of counseling in his life, the first period focusing on the religious abuse. He found a counselor with a theological background and, he said, it exposed him to more information about religion and theism.

Ultimately, Nate found solace in an atheistic outlook. But in the background of his mind, he said, he will have to fight the religious programming for the rest of his life,  those expectations of walking in his father’s footsteps.

“The logical mind can dispute the expectations,” he said, “but the emotions — that is another thing all together.”

Nate, who has three children of his own, entered therapy a second time when he recognized that he “overreacted to events.” This time he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the extreme violence he experienced at the hands of his father.

With a deep sense of anxiety, Nate spent two weeks in a mental hospital trying to find peace and answers.  But he said, “Certainly, there were no answers to be had.”
Nate Phelps said it was all the “thinking about things” that caused the anxiety. He said he realized that there simply was no way to think his way through it, though he tried to rationalize life to block his emotions. He eventually found that more thinking just increased his anxiety levels and he has been learning to find closure with the various issues in his mind.

“My father is not a human,” Nate Phelps said.  “The official story around the household is that Dad was once balanced and even-keeled, until he found salvation. And then suddenly, he became aggressive.

“But I don’t know what made him so angry and hateful,” Nate added.

Perhaps it was because Phelps Sr.’s mother died when he was 5. Perhaps it was because his father had a violent job. Perhaps he invested so much energy in a runaway, run-amuck spiritual path that admitting a lifetime of mistakes is way too much for his ego to contend with.

Nate Phelps may never put all the pieces together from his childhood, but he is learning to live a life of peace now, in Alberta, Canada with his new fiancée, Angela. “Angela keeps me on my toes and keeps me communicating,” he said.

But Nate can’t help but be honest and share that he still sometimes wonders what people would think of him if they really knew him.

Today, Phelps speaks internationally about his life, about his belief that “things are good enough for now,” and about “living in the gray.” In fact, his usual speech is entitled “The Uncomfortable Grayness of Life.”

It is hard to live this way, between black and white, Nate Phelps said. But, he added, rather comfortably, there no absolutes anyway.

For more about Nate Phelps, his writing and his speaking, go online to NatePhelps.com. For more about Fred Phelps and WBC, go online to their new website, GodHatesTheWorld.com.

Renee Baker is a transgender consultant and massage therapist and can be found online at Renee-Baker.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Salon.com, Where Cult Theories On Homosexual Youngsters Thrive

Last Monday Salon published "Is that my son wearing a dress?: I'm a progressive, supportive dad. Why was I so troubled by the sight of my little boy dressed as Snow White?," which ended with Matt Cheplic insisting he is fine with his son cross-dressing, but other people might have a problem with it. ("But why? Did I see the dress as a threat to my legacy, an insult to generations of men who fought wars and presided over propane grills? No, I honestly don't believe that a 4-year-old's Halloween costume has the power to cement his sexual identity for life. I was not threatened by fears of a same-sex, vegan wedding ceremony or a rejection of power tools and the Super Bowl. A far more immediate evil loomed in my magic mirror: children who mock other children.") Today, Salon published "Why does my son keep coming out to me?: My 16-year-old tells me he's gay. Is it the truth, or a side effect of his recent brain injury?," where Drema Dial wonders whether her teenage son might be gay because after being a "healthy 16-year-old" he was hit by a minivan while on his bike and landed in a medically induced coma. Or rather, she wonders whether he continues coming out to her, repeatedly, as if he never told her before, because of his brain injury. One of these things make sense.


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Maker arrives at Resource Center Dallas

The Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Maker

Resource Center Dallas’ new ice maker arrived on Tuesday afternoon. The machine was purchased with the funds raised from the “Hell Freezes Over” fundraising counterprotest of the Westboro Baptist Church’s appearance at RCD on July 9.

“Once again, a big thanks to everybody who donated and showed support! Resource Center Dallas would also like to thank Caven Enterprises, Cathedral of Hope, Buffalo Wild Wings on Lemmon Ave. and Kroger on Cedar Springs Rd. for allowing us to get ice after our old machine broke,” said RCD spokesman Rafael McDonnell. “Also, special thanks to Congregation Beth El Binah for their long-standing support of the Center. We will hold a formal dedication of the machine either late next week or the week of August 9.”

The fundraising total from “Hell Freezes Over” has neared $11,000. McDonnell joked that he would welcome a return visit from the Phelps cult, but asked them to time it for the next fiscal year.

—  David Taffet

‘Hell Freezes Over’ tops $10K

Rafael McDonnell of Resource Center Dallas reports that the final total for “Hell Freezes Over,” the fundraiser held in response to the Fred Phelps cult’s visit last week, topped $10,000.

The “Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Machine” was ordered Tuesday and was paid for with proceeds of the fundraiser.

With several hundred dollars collected at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the money raised in Dallas may be a record for fundraising at a Phelps counterprotest.

McDonnell shared some of the notes that accompanied the donations. One of his favorite came from Gary Duncan of Jani-King:

Rafael,

Love the idea of the name of your campaign. Very clever. Those Westboro people make my blood boil! Best of luck with your campaign.

Others donations were made in memory of or in honor of members of the community:

Hello good people.

I am a lifelong friend of Paul Doolan.

Take good care of him; he is precious.

Please use the enclosed check for the “Hell Freezes Over” campaign.

There was this beautiful note in memory of a son who died of AIDS:

In memory of my son, Mark D. Raymond, who would have been 50 years old had he lived. And my protest against the so called “Christians” in this land who manage to get so much media coverage. Congratulations in keeping your heads up and making the event positive for the Center.

And this one from someone who read about the visit:

Please accept this small donation to help you raise money for the much-needed ice machine.

While I do not live in the area of the Resource Center, I do know about the work the Center provides to citizens of the Dallas area, especially those living with AIDS. I commend you for asking people to donate up to one dollar for each minute of protest time. I am sure the article in The Dallas Morning News moved others as it did me to act and support your cause.

One donation was made in honor of activist Latisha McDaniel’s work in the community:

We wanted to make this contribution in your honor b/c of the selfless dedication w/ which you have continued to help others move past their own prejudices both within & outside the GLBT community. You actively seek to create positive change in the world around you, not to merely complain about the problems you see. You have also continually sought to build bridges between the straight & GLBT communities so that we can progress together, respecting each other’s contributions to society. You have challenged those around you to talk about difficult subjects in a safe & open atmosphere. You have become an inspiring voice of reason, compassion & passion on human rights issues that many have come to respect. We anticipate you becoming one of our city’s great leaders in the future & look forward to continuing to serve a supportive role in your dreams towards making a difference in the lives of others.

Diane Litke is president of Congregation Beth El Binah, the target of the Phelps clan picket at RCD.

“I’m glad being a target could be so productive for the Resource Center,” Litke said.

—  David Taffet

RCD’s Phelps clan fundraiser may have set record

Counterprotesters braved the rain outside Resource Center Dallas — and the donations poured in. To view our slideshow, go here. And to watch our video, go here. (Eric Dickson/Dallas Voice)

Resource Center Dallas has now brought in about $9,600 for “Hell Freezes Over,” which reportedly makes it one of the top-grossing Phelps clan counterprotest fundraisers of all time.

According to RCD’s Rafael McDonnell, a New York visit from the crazies at Westboro Baptist Church once netted $10,000 for an LGBT group. Phelps-a-thon.com, a website that tracks fundraising around the cult’s pickets, reports totals from $250 raised at a JCC in Indianapolis to $4,500 for Driving Equality during a Boston visit.

Before the group arrived at Resource Center Dallas, the agency had collected about $5,000 for “Hell Freezes Over,” designed to raise money for a new ice maker. During the rainy half hour the clan spent outside RCD on Friday, another $2,700 poured in. Donations collected later at Congregation Beth El Binah, the Phelps clan’s intended target, as well as money sent over the weekend, increased the total. Another $1,800 is pledged but not yet received, bringing the Resource Center total to $9,600.

In addition, the target of the Phelps clan’s first picket on Friday, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, raised money, gained new members and set a one-day attendance record.

With the museum’s total, fundraising for Dallas may have surpassed the New York total. The museum’s development department says they will update us later today.

In their quest to always find new and bizarre targets, the cult recently announced they will picket Comic Con in San Diego on July 22. The reason? Idol worship.

And the reference to the group as a cult, rather than a congregation, refers to a quote from an interview with Nate Phelps in April with the Canadian news show “The Standard,” where he called his father a sociopath and Westboro Baptist Church cult-like.

—  David Taffet