NX35 Music Conferette ends today in Denton

Denton deals a pair of queens

The NX35 Music Conferette gets underway for a four-day music conference in little ol’ Denton. Little D’s answer to SXSW, NX35 gets way impressive with some pretty familiar names on the roster. The fest begins with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples and continues with outrageous sissy bouncer Big Freedia, pictured, on Saturday.

Visit here for Sunday’s schedule.

DEETS: NX35 event grounds, 110 W. Hickory St., Denton. Through March 13. 35Conferette.com

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 03.04

A true international male
Nikolai Alekseev has become the face of Russia’s LGBT community. He comes to Dallas to discuss the plight and triumphs of gays worldwide and how today’s community can work toward equality everywhere. Gay Liberation Network’s Andy Thayer from Chicago joins Alekseev talking about his experiences in Russia.
DEETS: Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. InterfaithPeaceChapel.org.

Saturday 03.05

Let’s try this again, shall we?
Caven celebrates Mardi Gras across its clubs with Carnivale VI. With Ricky Sinz at TMC: The Mining Company and aerial artist Amber Monson at Sue’s, the night is highlighted by the return of Cazwell at Station 4. We’re not expecting the same Super Bowl party debacle that canceled his last show here. We are expecting a major crowd, if it’s anything like his last S4 gig.
DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. $15–$20. PartyatTheBlock.com

Thursday 03.10

Denton deals a pair of queens
The NX35 Music Conferette gets underway for a four-day music conference in little ol’ Denton. Little D’s answer to SXSW, NX35 gets way impressive with some pretty familiar names on the roster. The fest begins with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples and ends with outrageous sissy bouncer Big Freedia on Saturday.
DEETS: NX35 event grounds, 110 W. Hickory St., Denton. 35Conferette.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Gospel according to gays

Tim Seelig and Cathedral of Hope put a queer twist on that old-time religion with the ‘Gay’ther Homecoming, a celebration of hymns and homos

M.M. ADJARIAN  | Contributing Writer mmadjarian@gmail.com

SAY  AMEN | Seelig, above, tapped dozens of gospel artists for his inaugural concert, including out singers Ray Boltz, below left, and Marsha Stevens, below right.

‘GAY’THER HOMECOMING
Cathedral of Hope,
5910 Cedar Springs Road.
Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. $15.
CathedralofHope.com.

………………………………….

Leave it to Tim Seelig to find a way to queer-up the straightest event.

The original Gaither Homecoming was started in 1991 in Nashville by gospel singer and impresario Bill Gaither.

“It’s a huge industry of straight gospel singers — I mean hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Seelig.

And that industry has not been gay-friendly. According to Seelig, too many talented LGBT gospel singers have been excluded from performing at events like the Gaither Homecoming. Many are not even allowed to sing in their own churches.

But there is no want of LGBT gospel music fans out there. So on Saturday, Art for Peace & Justice (which Seelig directs) and the Cathedral of Hope will present the first annual “Gay”ther Homecoming, a gala evening of Christian music and song. Proceeds will benefit the Interfaith Peace Chapel at the COH.

The show, the first of its kind in the nation, will feature 49 singers and six instrumentalists from across the country, singing solos and then joining each other — and the audience — to  sing hymns and gospel songs.

“The audience will know every single song performed,” says Seelig. “They will sing along, tap their feet, clap, and utter many ‘amens.’ I have no doubt there will be tears.”

“The initial idea [for the event] came from a staff member at the cathedral and was simply [intended] to host a celebration of LGBT musicians and their friends during gay Pride,” says Seelig. “It is not meant as a spoof or parody of the Gaither Homecoming industry; we just felt that by giving it that name, people would immediately know what to expect with very little explanation.”

It is, though, meant to be empowering for gay people of faith.

“Over the years, I have come in contact with literally hundreds of musicians who cut their teeth in the church but were completely cast aside once they came out,” he observes. “There is no room for them at the table of main-line religion. Period.”

Seelig faced similar discrimination when he came out in the 1980s, but has since achieved international acclaim as a singer, educator and chorale conductor. He’s also brought to Dallas, through A4P&J, speakers such as Maya Angelou and recently a performance of Terence McNally’s Corpus Christi.

His latest project has two aims. The first is to offer LGBT gospel musicians a welcoming space where they can let their talents shine. And the second is “to bring the audience to a place full of wonderful memories of their own journey with religion and, more specifically, the music of their youth.”

Among those slated to perform at the “Gay”ther Homecoming are LGBT gospel luminaries as Ray Boltz, Marsha Stevens, Mark Hayes, Susie Brenner and Pattie Clawson Berry. Local artists joining the line-up include Gary Floyd, Amy Stevenson, Danny Ray, Lonnie Parks and Shelly-Torres West, along with three LGBT gospel groups: Redeemed, Out 4 Joy and Voices of Hope. The show will be filmed for future DVD release.

“Our hope is that this will be something that LGBT people all over will purchase and enjoy,” says Seelig. “There are so many people all over the world who feel disenfranchised. This is just one way that the Cathedral of Hope and Art for Peace & Justice can help them know they are not forgotten.”

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

—  Michael Stephens