Uptown Players adds Dan Savage to Pride Fest

Dan Savage for Intiman by LaRae Lobdell | PhotoSister.comUptown Players has added queer advice/sex columnist Dan Savage’s one-man show Savage Love Live to the lineup of its fourth annual Pride Performing Arts Festival, which runs in September. In addition to his column and books, Savage is best known as co-founder of the It Gets Better Project.

UP had already announced several of the shows, but today came out with the full schedule, which adds Savage and Steven Jay Crabtree’s Dysfunctional Divas.

Opening the festival on the Kalita Humphreys mainstage will be the concert version of The Last Session, a revival of a show first produced in UP’s inaugural season. It will kick off the fest Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. Savage Love Live will bring up the rear, closing the festival on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.

Here’s a list of the rest of the shows, including performance dates. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.

Mythical Beastie. Former college roommates Mark (a gay architect) and Greg (his straight friend) find themselves living together again after years of estrangement. Greg, a serial womanizer, invites his latest crush Wendy home to meet his best friend and to make an announcement that throws everyone and everything into a tailspin. Written by local playwright Bruce R. Coleman. Performances: Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 20 at 2 p.m.

From White PlainsA 2013 Off-Broadway hit, it  follows four men, straight and gay, as they attempt to take responsibility for past actions and move beyond them, aided and frustrated by celebrity, social media and viral videos. The play examines how male relationships change as boys grow into men and asks who speaks for a victim of bullying when he is no longer here to speak for himself. Performances: Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 2 p.m., Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

CommencingThe beautiful Kelli can’t wait for the blind date her friends have set her up on, until it turns out to be one very disappointed lesbian named Arlin. Mutually appalled, yet appallingly intrigued, they proceed to pull the screws loose on both straight and gay women’s culture, to find the common ground beneath in the search for love and self. Performances: Sept. 13 at 2 p.m., Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Falling Man. This play examines the lives of a diverse group of gay men from various backgrounds. Join Brandon Simmons in a tour-de-force performance as we meet a former drag queen, a young hustler who is taken over by the spirit of Tennessee Williams, the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, and a former cha-cha champion who just wants to be remembered. Performances: Sept. 13 at 8 p.m., Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.

Dysfunctional Divas. Steven Jay Crabtree presents yet another evening in the lives of his outrageous characters: the drama queen of lip-sync, Trayla Park; the superhero, Warrior Woman; the bombastic screen vixen, Martini Glass; plus other of Steven’s weird, wigged alter egos! Crabtree switches from boy to girl and boots to heels while playing his collection of kooky characters.  Rated R for adult language and humor. Performances: Sept. 13 at 9:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay bars dump Russian Vodka across U.S., Canada — but not yet in Dallas

dumprussianvodkalogoLGBT advocates are calling for a boycott of Russian goods in light of the recent anti-gay laws the country’s leadership has championed.

Recent violence highlighted by BuzzFeed and the arrests under the gay propaganda ban have also spurred activists to push for a boycott of the Winter Games scheduled to take place in Russia in 2014.

But instead of boycotting the games, others called for a boycott on products, mainly Stolichnaya Vodka.

Dan Savage wrote an article urging gay bars to stop serving the alcohol. Several Chicago gay bars have already said they won’t serve it anymore, along with bars in San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto.

Howard Okon, owner of The Brick and Joes’s, said he’s heard about the boycott but isn’t ready to make a decision about the bar carrying it.

“We will be looking into it today and remove it if that’s what people are doing across the nation,” he said.

—  Dallasvoice

Dan Savage on sex at Texas Tech

“We met cowboys in Texas — like, for-real cowboys. And some of them were really hot. But I’m an old fag, right? I don’t want to be the creeper on campus! There was one cowboy that we talked to and I just walked away chewing my hand. Oh my god he was so beautiful. …

“I have a bi friend from Lubbock, a refugee, an escapee, and he never had anything nice to say about this Texas town so I thought it would be the scariest one — but it was sort of great. …

“We randomly went out with cameras on campus and started talking to people and the first two or three people we ran into were gay guys! I was like, ‘what is it like here to be gay? Is it terrible?’ And they all said it was a great place and people were very supportive and folks were tolerant.”

— Sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who’s been touring universities for his new show Savage U, offering Buzzfeed his perspective on the sex life at Texas Tech University in Lubbock

—  John Wright

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Rick Santorum in N. Texas

Rick Santorum speaks at Fairview Farms in Plano on Wednesday night. (Photos by Patrick Hoffman/Special to the Voice)

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum rolled into Plano on Wednesday night for a campaign rally at Fairview Farms — a corral barn normally rented out for parties — in a Central Expressway mini mall next door to Party City and Duke’s Roadhouse.

In the 41-degree weather, a mostly white crowd in coats and knit caps stood huddled outside the Fairview entrances, standing on tip-toe, angling their cameras in the air and peering through window lattices to get a peek at the Pennsylvania senator.

WBAP Talk radio host Mark Davis, who hosted the rally, announced: “I am not here to introduce to you the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. I’m here to introduce to you the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.” (Incidentally, Davis was recently a guest speaker at a meeting of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, a gay GOP group.)

It seemed oddly fitting that Santorum should spill into Plano the day after his ideological opposite, Dan Savage, spoke at the University of North Texas’ 12th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference. Nine years ago, after Santorum compared homosexual relationships to bestiality, Savage led a successful campaign to redefine Santorum’s surname to mean a frothy by-product of anal sex. Both men call the others’ action vulgar.

“He’s not running for president,” Savage told Dallas Voice last week. “He’s running for a Fox News contract just like [Mike] Huckabee.”

—  Daniel Villarreal

Dan Savage: Every time a gay youth commits suicide, our enemies celebrate

Dan Savage speaks at the University of North Texas on Tuesday. (Patrick Hoffman)

DANIEL VILLARREAL  |  Contributing Writer

DENTON — “Every time LGBT bullying kills a kid, Tony Perkins gets up from his desk and dances a jig,” sex-advice-columnist-turned-LGBT youth advocate Dan Savage said of the anti-gay Family Research Council president during Savage’s keynote speech at the 12th Annual University of North Texas Equity and Diversity Conference on Tuesday.

“Every LGBT youth suicide for them is a victory, a rhetorical and moral victory,” Savage added.

When some LGBT teenagers come out to their parents, Savage said, the parents do “what the Christian right tells them to do”— cut them off financially and emotionally, disown them, turn them out into the streets or send them to camps meant to “turn them straight,” often repeating the lies spread by so-called Christian groups like the Family Research Council — which say that LGBT people are child-molesting sexual predators whose mere existence threatens families and the very survival of the planet (a line uttered by the Pope just this last month).

Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, hoped to counteract the lethal effect of such anti-LGBT attitudes when they started the It Gets Better (IGB) video campaign in September 2010. They thought that user-created videos encouraging LGBT youth to keep living might stem the epidemic of bullying-related LGBT suicides that killed 10 teenage boys that month alone.

As the number of user-uploaded videos for IGB quickly rose from 200 in the first week to the current count of more than 30,000 videos (viewed more than 40 million times internationally), Savage came to realize that IGB had effectively placed an LGBT youth support group in the pocket of every teenager with a cell phone — no matter their geographic location or their family’s prejudices.

But while applauding the program’s success in potentially saving lives and giving children hope that their parents might one day accept them as other parents in IGB videos have, Savage admitted to the crowd made up mostly of students that the It Gets Better project can’t end bullying.

“[However, that] does not excuse or preclude us from doing more …” Savage continued, “from confronting bullies, from holding schools and teachers and preachers and parents responsible for what they do or don’t do or fail to do for LGBT kids in pain.”

That’s why Savage’s project has supported Sen. Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act as well as the efforts of groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the Trevor Project and the American Civil Liberties Union.

“[The Trevor Project] is there to talk kids off the ledge,” Savage said, “GLSEN is there to make sure there are fewer kids in our schools climbing out onto that ledge and the ACLU is there sue the crap out of schools that push kids onto that ledge.”

Citing studies from the University of Illinois and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Savage said rates of teenage suicide (LGBT and straight) and sexual violence against girls is much higher in schools where anti-LGBT bullying is tolerated — in short, that anti-LGBT bullying makes schools unsafe for everyone. And yet the religious right continues to oppose campaigns against anti-LGBT bullying as “indoctrination.”

Quoting Johann Hari, a writer with UK-based The Independent, Savage said:

Being subjected to bullying and violence as children and teenagers makes gay people unusually vulnerable to depression and despair. The homophobes then use that depression and despair to claim that homosexuality is inherently a miserable state – and we shouldn’t do anything that might “encourage” it.

However, Savage asserts that he isn’t hostile to religion, citing his good relationship with his Catholic father and the fact that his last act of love for his mother as she lay dying in an Arizona hospital bed was to find a priest to initiate her last rites.

But instead of letting kids act out the violence of their adult role-models who bash gays at the pulpit and the ballot box, Savage called on school members to actively oppose anti-LGBT bullying and on liberal and more progressive Christians to stop “the complicit silence … aiding them and abetting [the religious right] in their crimes.”

—  John Wright

Dan Savage, Rick Santorum to make back-to-back appearances in North Texas

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Rick Santorum

The stars have truly aligned this time. As we mentioned last week, sex advice columnist and It Gets Better Project creator Dan Savage will speak at the University of North Texas on Tuesday. Savage is famous for, among other things, bestowing upon GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum a “Google problem.” Well, guess what? Just a day after Savage’s appearance, the “frothy mix” himself will be in North Texas. From Santorum’s campaign website:

Wednesday, February 8:

9:30am CT: Senator Santorum will host a forum with area pastors in McKinney, TX.

Location
Bella Donna Chapel Adriatica
401 Adriatica Parkway
McKinney, TX

5:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will meet with local Tea Party Activists in Allen, TX.

Location:
Courtyard by Marriott
210 East Stacy Road
Allen, TX

7:00pm CT:
Senator Santorum will hold a campaign rally, with special guest radio host Mark Davis, in Plano, TX.

Location:
Fairview Farms
Corral Barn
3314 North Central Expressway #100
Plano, TX

—  John Wright

Dan Savage to appear at UNT in February 2012

The North Texas Daily posted today that the University of North Texas will bring in Dan Savage as the as the keynote speaker for the 12th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference. The one-day conference is set for Feb. 7 at the campus and will also feature Grammy-winner John Legend. Along with his morning appearance, there will also be a book signing with Savage later that day. From NTDaily.com:

The theme of this year’s event is “The power of peace is the harmony of inclusion,” chosen to address current issues faced by many students, said Uyen Tran, director of organization development for equity and diversity.

“Dan Savage came up a lot when we were deciding who to pick,” Tran said. “He’s really at the forefront of things and how to deal with the problems in society.”

During his speech, Savage will address the bullying epidemic of the past year, as well as his personal clash with cultural conservatives because of his homosexuality, according to the event’s website.

“The Multicultural Center believes no matter what your beliefs are, everyone does need to be treated with dignity,” Tran said. “There have been so many suicides because of a lack of this.”

Savage appeared in Dallas this March at The Kessler but mixed heavier topics of coming out and bullying and his It Gets Better project  with relationship advice made famous from his syndicated column and show Savage Love. For more information on the conference, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

Cubs to make ‘It Gets Better’ video

Associated Press

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have agreed to make a video for an anti-suicide campaign geared toward gay youth.

The Cubs announced Friday that they’ll make a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign when they return from their current 10-game road trip.

The Cubs are the second professional sports team to participate in the campaign. The San Francisco Giants released a video this week.

Seattle writer Dan Savage launched the “It Gets Better” project last year amid several highly publicized suicides by gay teenagers. It provides messages of hope to counter the despair of bullied or rejected teens.

Cubs owner Laura Ricketts is urging other professional sports organizations to make their own videos.

Ricketts and “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks headlined the team’s float at last year’s Chicago Gay Pride Parade.

—  John Wright

Phew!!! Old Navy gay Pride T-shirts will be available at Galleria, Park Lane stores in Dallas

Old Navy plans to sell gay Pride T-shirts (above and below) at 26 stores nationwide from Wednesday through June 30 — or until they sell out — and 10 percent of the proceeds will benefit Dan Savage’s Its Gets Better Project.

But some LGBT advocates aren’t satisfied and have launched a petition calling for the retailer to make the T-shirts available in all 50 states.

According to the company’s Facebook page, stores where the T-shirts will be available include two in Dallas — the Galleria and Park Lane. Barton Creek in Austin is the only other location in Texas where the T-shirts will be available. Dallas is one of only three cities, along with Chicago and New York, where the T-Shirts will be available in more than one store.

—  John Wright