Five queer alternatives to the Super Bowl

Yes, Yes… I know… plenty of gay men enjoy football, are fans even, and there are lots of LBT fans as well, but if you’re like me you greet all the hoopla over the Super Bowl with a resounding “meh.”

So if you’re looking for a way to avoid a (morning) afternoon (and evening (seriously, how long are football games supposed to be?)) of indecipherable sports jargon, over-hyped commercials and disproportionate passion for the accomplishment of moving dead pig parts 300 feet here are some alternatives with a decidedly queer bent you might enjoy (don’t worry, you can Tivo Madonna’s half time show):

1. ¡Women Art Revolution at The Museum of Fine Arts

Starting from its roots in 1960s in antiwar and civil rights protests, the film ¡Women Art Revolution details major developments in women’s art through the 1970s. The Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston presents this documentary at 5 pm on Sunday at the The Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Auditorium Theater (1001 Bissonnet). Artist Lynn Randolph and U of H art history professor Jenni Sorkin will be on hand to provide insight into the film

!W.A.R. features Miranda July, The Guerilla Girls, Yvonne Rainer, Judy Chicago, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, and countless other groundbreaking figures. Tickets are $7 and are available at mfah.org.

2. The Rape of Lucrecia at Houston Grand Opera

Written by gay composer Benjamin Britten and scored by Ronald Duncan, The Rape of Lucrecia is set during the decline of the Roman Empire. When a group of soldiers unexpectedly returns home to Rome they find that their wives have all been unfaithful, with the excpection of Collatinus’ wife Lucretia. Later that night the king’s son, Prince Tarquinius, accepts a drunken dare to seduce Lucretia. After she rebuffs his advances Tarquinius forces himself on her spurring Collatinus to rebellion against the king.

The dialogue of the Opera (which is in English by the way) is punctuated by two choruses, one male and one female, who engage the audience in the emotional responses of the male and female characters respectively.

The Rape of Lucretia plays at the Houston Grand Opera (510 Preston) at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets start at $38 and may be purchased at HoustonGrandOpera.org.

4. The Drunken City at the Rice University, Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts

“The city’s like a monster, like a sleeping dragon or some dark creature in the night that cracks open an eye, and whispers dark dangerous dark ideas into your ear.”

The Drunken City is populated by thoroughly unpleasant people, the kind of loud sequin-wearing party girls who can immediately turn a hip bar passe and the men who hunt them. Marnie, the alpha-female and soon-to-be bride, has taken her co-worker bridesmaids out on the town for a ladies night. Seriously inebriated, they soon run into Frank and Eddie. Frank quickly takes a shine to Marnie, despite her girlfriends objections. Eddie, on the other hand, isn’t interested in any of the girls but seems to know their shared boss quite well (if you catch my drift). The play is sprinkled through with warnings about human desire and the dangers of consumption.

The Drunken City is presented by the Rice University College of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Hamman Hall on the Rice Campus (6100 Main) at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or by calling 713-348-PLAY .

Steve Bullitt as Hay and Mitchell Greco as Gernreich

4. The Temperamentals at Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex

The off-Broadway hit The Temperamentals, by Jon Marans, explores the events surrounding the founding of the Mattachine Society, one of the first “gay rights” groups in America (although the Society for Human Rights has it beat by a quarter of a century). The story centers on Harry Hay (Steve Bullitt), a communist and Progressive Party activist and his lover Rudi Gerneich (Mitchell Greco), a Viennese refuge and costume designer. Set in the early 1950′s in Los Angeles, the play is an intimate portrayal of two men who created history and the epic struggle they overcame.

Sunday’s curtain for the Celebration Theater produced play is at 3 pm at the Barnvelder Movement/Arts Complex. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at buy.ticketstothecity.com.

5. Closing Night of Bring It On: The Musical at Theater Under the Stars

Bring It On: The Musical finishes up its run at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby Suite 300) on Sunday. Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) presents this musical re-imagining of the 2000 film with a matinee at 2 pm and an evening showing at 7 pm.

Two rival cheer-leading squads are out for the national championship, and neither is going to give up without a fight. The ensemble for the show features some of the nation’s most skilled competitive cheerleaders led by Taylor Louderman and Adrienne Warren as the leaders of the rival squads.

Tickets start at $24 and are available on-line at TUTS.com, by phone at (713) 558-TUTS (8887), or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office (800 Bagby).

—  admin

We Were Here, AIDS documentary at 14 Pews

We Were HereWe Were Here, the award winning documentary of the early days of the AIDS crisis, premiers at 14 Pews theater (800 Aurora) Saturday, November 20, at 4:30 pm. The film, from director David Weissman, will be proceeded by a panel discussion on the state of the AIDS crisis today.

I came out in 1998, right at the tail end of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. I remember, with vivid clarity, the days of the walking wounded: when every other gay man I met would tell how their doctor said they should have died five years ago, when the community told time by recalling if an event took place before or after a certain person’s funeral.

Fortunately those days are largely behind us, but as new HIV infections continue to rise and we struggle to maintain funding for medications that are keeping people alive (at a cost of thousands of dollars a month), it’s important that we never forget the early days of the pandemic. For people of my generation and younger the mysterious “Gay Plague” that threatened our community in the early eighties can seem more like a fairy tale monster than the horrifying crisis it was, and is.

We Were Here tells the real life stories of five people who survived. Their mundane and profound recollections highlight, not only their personal experiences, but the broad political and social upheavals unleashed by the crisis. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories which are not only intensely personal, but which also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, and the terrible emotional toll. The film highlights the role of women – particularly lesbians – in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.

Tickets for We Were Here are $10 and can be purchased at 14pews.org.

After the jump watch the trailer for We Were Here.

—  admin

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

………………………..

Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

HRC Learns Precious 7-Year-Old Boy Can Drum Up Emotional Donations

Remember Malcolm, the adorable seven-year-old boy whose parents gave him $ 140 to donate to charities of his choice, and he decided to split the cash between the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the Human Rights Campaign? Over 1,000 of you shared our post on your Facebook walls, so it certainly resonated. Earlier this month the Center shot out an e-blast alerting members to Malcolm's story (including cute photo) and calling on its supporters to do as Malcolm did and throw some cash to a good cause. I can't be sure, but I'd wager a guess the Center collected a decent amount of cash from the campaign. HRC, the other organization Malcolm donated to, appeared to sit on this opportunity, but we knew it was coming: Two days ago HRC chief Joe Solmonese signed his name to an email asking, "Will you match Malcolm's commitment to equality by donating $ 70 as well?" For some reason, when the Center does it, it seems charming; when HRC does it, it seems exploitative. But maybe that's just because HRC is exploitative.


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

Emotional Disturbance Claim Possible in Gay Murder

John Katehis x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COMThe attorney who represents John Katehis,
the accused killer of gay journalist George Weber, says he may offer an
extreme emotional disturbance defense during the second trial for
the 18-year-old.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Watch: Oprah Gets Emotional Over Relationship with Gayle — ‘I Am Not a Lesbian’

Oprah

Barbara Walters offers up a preview of her upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she discusses her relationship with Gayle King, whom she calls "the mother I never had." Adding, "She is the sister everybody would want."

The HuffPost reports:

Oprah, who told herself she wouldn't let Walters make her cry, said that the reason those words brought her to tears is that she's never said them to Gayle herself.

"It's making me cry because I'm thinking about how much I probably have never told her that," she said.

Oprah also addressed the persistent rumors that she and Gayle are lesbians.

"I'm not a lesbian. I'm not even kind of a lesbian," she said. "And the reason why it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's number one. Number two: why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



To follow news on Oprah, check out our HUB. And "LIKE" it to follow updates on Facebook.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Parents are exposing their children to emotional abuse at a local Christian church

It all felt so joyous and loving at first that I almost forgot I was rubbing shoulders with parents who were endangering their own children’s lives.

At 9 am on September 5th at Canyon Hills Community Church, a young man poised drum sticks over a full kit.  Guitarists plugged their instruments into amps as the vocal team lined up behind the song leader.  House lights were dialed down and a 300-strong audience took to their feet.  The house began to rock.  

Giant screens flanking the stage cued up the lyrics and added to the rock concert vibe fostered by deep blue stage lighting.  The auditorium reverberated with fully voiced, energetic praise song.  It really got the blood flowing.

Oh happy day, happy day!

You washed my sin away

Oh happy day, happy day!

I’ll never be the same

Forever I am changed.

Through the applause the band segued into a power ballad, bringing the audience down to a more reverential mindframe.  Many palms were lifted heavenward.  The music and lyrics were emotional.

This is how we know,

This is how we know what love is

Just one look at Your cross

And this is where we see,

This is where we see how love works

For You surrendered Your all …

King Jesus we love You,

For we have been loved,

We have been loved.

This was the introduction to the day’s sermon “Should Christians be tolerant of homosexuality?”  Pamphlets in the lobby and a page on the church’s website state the answer to that question: “no”.  This means that the 20 minutes of joyous song about love that opened the service was a cruel set-up.

I could only guess at the confusion and heartache about to be experienced by the many kids in the auditorium as the pastor used his position of moral authority and the approval of nodding or silent parents to sew into their hearts the seeds of self-loathing and suicide.  I was about to witness raw, deliberate emotional brutality wrapped in the guise of love.  

After a prayer asking God to help teachers lead children to God, one of the pastors angled the congregation for volunteer Sunday school teachers, saying

We as a church, Canyon Hills Community Church, we value children.  If you’ve been in this building, you know that we have an investment in the lives of our children.

“We value our children”?  What a sick joke.
Canyon Hills Community Church is a tenant of the Canyon Park Business Center, a high-tech office park located in the north Seattle suburb of Bothell, WA.  I took notice of the church when the email to the right was circulated company-wide by my wife’s employer, which is also located in Canyon Park.  CHCC’s website made clear that the enterprise angling for new members by offering free lunch is dangerously homophobic.  The hazards of blindly forwarding solicitation emails company-wide was explained to the HR department of my wife’s company, and to their credit they’ve since tightened their policies.

The story would have ended there, but at the time the church’s main web page (left) happened to be advertising a series of upcoming sermons including the one titled “Should Christians be tolerant of homosexuality?”.

I decided I had to witness this service for myself.  Although I’ve heard and read plenty of anti-gay rhetoric from public religious figures, I’ve never attended a service where gays were attacked from the pulpit.  I figured I owe it to the kids here in my own neighborhood to understand as best I can what they are facing.

Pastor Jeff Geise stepped to the pulpit after the opening music and announcements were over.  For over 45 minutes he

* quoted Bible verses

* belied his stated compassion for gays by choosing to use terms like “natural reflexive recoil”, “homosexual” and “gross”

* chastised his gay brother-in-law for leaving a heterosexual marriage rather than recognize that his own sermons compel gay people to pursue false heterosexual lives.

* quoted fake statistics, saying “the consequences often include physical damage, disease and death” and “over a third of professing homosexuals say they would get out of the gay lifestyle”, and

* evilly promised “salvation” through “ex-gay therapy” scams like Exodus International and, even more shockingly, “Pastor Ben’s own thesis that he wrote for his schooling.”.

It was horrible to witness, but well worth the discomfort to experience first-hand the soul-crushing ton of bricks being dropped on children.  I am now even more motivated than before to do what I can to let such kids know they are beautiful, perfect and whole and do not need “saving” a la Pastor Jeff’s cruel and impossible plan.

Sitting a few seats from me was a teenage girl who clearly had been dragged to church by her mother.  The bathroom slippers, sullen slouching and refusal to participate in even the “greet your neighbor” exercise were dead giveaways.  Her brave, defiant presence more than anything else prompted me to question not what the pastor was saying, but to question why children were present in that service at all.

LOVE YOUR CHILDREN TO DEATH

You can watch a video of the sermon here if you’re curious.  I’m not providing a transcript because I don’t think the particular Bible versus cited or arguments made by Pastor Jeff are surprising or even the most important thing.

What is important is that parents are choosing to subject their children to this emotional abuse.  By exposing a gay or maybe-gay child to a church like this, parents make a clear choice to prioritize dogma over their child’s life.  Because make no mistake, for some children the choice between being true to themselves and living up to the impossible heterosexual expectations placed on them by their parents, pastor and church is untenable and so they kill themselves.  Does anyone need reminding what a rocky emotional time adolescence and young adulthood is anyways, without adding to it?

Parents, don’t subject your children to this emotional abuse.  It can kill.

IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS

You are not alone!

* If you live in Washington state, here is a list of places by city and county where you can find help dealing with emotional crisis, get emergency food and shelter, etc.

* The Trevor Project‘s Trevor Lifeline is a national 24-hour free and confidential toll-free suicide prevention hotline specifically aimed at gay or questioning youth, geared toward helping those in crisis or anyone wanting information on how to help someone in crisis. All calls are handled by trained counselors who are familiar with gay and questioning youth. Phone: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).

* A huge list of other toll-free local, national and international hotlines can be found here at the Safe Schools Coalition website.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

TX: Joel Burns, gay councilman, gives emotional testimony against bullying

WFAA:

Burns began by showing photographs and names; suicide after suicide of young teenage boys who are dead because of bullying about their perceived homosexuality.

His voice thick with emotion, Burns told their stories:

Asher Brown, a 13-year-old Cypress, Texas boy who shot himself.

Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old Minnesota boy who hung himself.

Seth Walsh, 13, whose mother found him hanging by a rope from a tree at their California home. Doctors couldn’t save him.

And then, Council member Burns talked about what happened to him when he was 13… years before he came out as a gay man.

“I was cornered after school by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a fag, and that I should die and go to Hell where I belonged,” Burns said, adding that he had never told anyone before that moment that he had considered taking his own life.

Hat tip, GayPolitics.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright