“Confessions of a Mormon Boy” at Theater LaB

Steven Fales

Steven Fales

Steven Fales (ironically pronounced “fails”) was born Mormon, sixth generation in fact, what he calls “Mormon DNA.” As a good Mormon boy he grew up, became a missionary, went to Brigham Young University, got married and had kids. The only problem being that Fales is gay. After a failed attempt at “reparative therapy” he was kicked out of the Mormon church, got divorced, moved to New York, became a prostitute and developed a crystal meth problem. If the story ended there Fales would be like any number of queer people injured by their intolerant upbringing and lost to a world only too willing to offer alternatives to healing, but the story didn’t end there. Fales, a trained actor, got his life together and started doing a stand-up comedy routine that eventually became his hit one-man play Confessions of a Mormon Boy.

More than just another tear-jerking coming out story, Confessions of a Mormon Boy connects the behaviors learned by growing up in an environment that tells people they will never be worthy of God’s love with the allure of chemical abuse. The play mixes pathos and tragedy with a very healthy dose of comedy (and it doesn’t hurt that former call-boy Fales is quite easy on the eyes).  Fales has written a story not just for the LGBT community, but also for the Mormon community of his youth (it’s played four times in Salt Lake City). For a play about prostitution and drug addiction Confessions of a Mormon Boy is neigh-on family friendly, containing no nudity or cursing.

Fales performs Confessions of a Mormon Boy at Theater LaB (1706 Alamo) Feb. 8-12. Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased by calling 713-868-7516.

After the jump watch Fales perform the opening monologue:

—  admin

Uptown Players among groups bringing “8″ to a theater near you

Last fall, we reported on the star-studded reading of Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black’s new play 8, which features readings from the transcripts of the Prop 8 trial in California, the Mormon-backed initiative that sought to ban gay marriage in that state. It was a one-night-only event full of celebs; George Clooney announced he’d do a West Coast version. But other than that, it seemed like something most of America would have to wait for.

Well maybe most, but not Dallas. Sure, we don’t have Clooney or Morgan Freeman, but we will have Uptown Players doing a reading of it, as part of a nationwide program. So far, 17 states have signed on for about 40 readings, include Dallas’ gaycentric theater company.

The play concentrates on the actual oral arguments made by lawyers and unlikely allies David Boies and Ted Olsen in opposing implementation of the proposition.

Uptown has yet released any details — the date, the cast, etc. — but we will post report new information on the project as it is announced.

Black, pictured above, won an Oscar for his screenplay to Milk and has J. Edgar in theaters now.

UPDATE: According to Uptown Players cofounder Craig Lynch, the company will stage 8 in September, to coincide with Dallas Pride. “We are proud to be selected by Broadway Impact as the North Texas theatre company to present a staged reading” he said.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ex-Mormons Sharing Truth about Mormon Faith

Ex-Mormons have been flocking to testify on a website, “I-am-an-exmormon.com” and YouTube as to why they’ve become ex-Mormons.

Mary’s story is a good example. She left the church because of retaliatory action taken against her and her husband, Peter, for their support of same sex marriage.“Hi, my name is Mary Danzig and I’m an Ex Mormon.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Book of Mormon: Filthiest, Funniest

Matt Stone390The Book of Mormon, a forthcoming original musical cowritten by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez, is the “filthiest, most offensive” and “sweetest” show bound for Broadway next year.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Mormon Handbook To Use Softer Language On Gays

The guideline changes in the handbook will be announced today during a large get-together of Mormon leaders. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Mormon The book, known as the Church Handbook of Instructions, lays out Mormon policies on everything from baptism to running a worship service to counseling troubled marriages.

The updated reference book, scheduled to be presented to thousands of Mormon leaders in a giant televised training session Saturday, will set the tone for church interactions for years to come.

The new handbook makes a clear distinction between same-sex orientation and behavior. It eliminates the suggestion, mentioned in a 2006 edition, that same-sex relationships "distort loving relationships" and that gays should repent of their "homosexual thoughts or feelings."

It also says that celibate gay Mormons who are "worthy and qualified in every other way" should be allowed to have "callings," or church assignments, and to participate fully in temple rituals.

The handbook simply repeats what top LDS leaders have been trying to say, but in more explicit terms that many members will understand, said David Pruden, president of Evergreen International, a support group that helps gay Mormons live by church standards.

Joanna Brooks of the website Religion Dispatches looks at the impact of the changes: "The new CHI does not offer institutional welcome or affirmation to LGBT people who want to live full lives as LGBT people. It maintains that 'homosexual behavior' is sinful. It does not create space for LGBT Mormons to attend church on Sunday with their partners, as I am able to do. But it does show institutional LDS movement on LGBT issues, most crucially—one hopes—for LDS LGBT young people who may have been brought up to despise themselves simply for having homosexual thoughts and feelings."

The changes in the guidelines are a start, but a very small one. You may remember that just last month the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boyd K. Packer, reiterated the church's anti-gay stance by declaring that "to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the Gospel must be wrong."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Mormon Church Mildly Ashamed Over Boyd K. Packer Saying God Would Never Intentionally Create Homos

Evidently not so proud that Boyd K. Packer claimed god would never punish mankind by making some people gay, LDS has toned down the second-in-command's anti-gay rhetoric in the official version of his Sunday speech. 'Cause who needs a historical record of Packer saying the lord would never let anybody be a fag?

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Queerty

—  John Wright

Tell Mormon Church Official to Make It Right

Mormon Elder Boyd K. Packer still hasn’t corrected his inaccurate and dangerous statements. Five days ago, in the wake of multiple suicides of gay teens who were “bullied to death,” the second highest-ranking official in the Mormon Church told an audience of millions that same-sex attraction was “immoral and impure” and can be “overcome” – something the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association both say is harmful.

One hundred thousand people have signed our open letter to Elder Packer asking him to make it right. But he still hasn’t expressed the truth, love and encouragement our kids need to hear. Sign onto our open letter today and then share this important action with your friends and family. Next Tuesday, HRC will present the Church with over 100,000 petition signatures calling on them to correct the record.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Gay Activists Protest Mormon Church

BoydPackerx180 (LDS Resources) | Advocate.comThousands of gay activists protested outside Mormon Church headquarters in Salt Lake City in response to recent antigay comments from church leader Boyd K. Packer.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

4,500 protesters ‘completely surrounded’ Mormon HQ in Salt Lake City

Very impressive turnout to protest the hateful, homophobic rantings of the Mormon’s President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also categorized as a Prophet), last night:

Organizers estimate a crowd of 4,500 people completely surrounded the two blocks of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints administration building and Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City in protest of Boyd K. Packer’s remarks during the church’s semi-annual General conference last weekend.

Organizer Eric Ethington addressed the crowd before the crowd walked to the protest area.

“We are every color of the rainbow,” Ethington said to the crowd. “And we are tired of watching our children die.”

Ethington, founder of PRIDE in Our Community, called the rally after Packer, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, made the remarks during a sermon against same-sex marriage and pornography. Packer stated that the LDS Church would always oppose same-sex marriage, said that gays and lesbians could change their sexual orientation to straight, and compared homosexuality to “a habit or addiction that is unworthy.”

Parker is a prophet in the view of his church. He wanted this attention. He brought it on himself and his church. Since the Prop. 8 debacle, the Mormon leaders have tried to hide their homophobia. But, Parker couldn’t help himself. So, the Mormons are back in the spotlight. So be it.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright