Q Live! goes up with full production of Reza’s ‘Art’

Recently, we wrote about Q Cinema’s new live-theater program, QLive! Well, the project’s first fully-staged production, Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play Art, opens Thursday, and runs five nights: Nov. 17-19, 25 and 26, all at the Firehouse Gallery, 4147 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth. Curtain is at 8 p.m. all nights.

“Our staging embraces Reza’s vicious wit but celebrates a new dimension . . . the folly and frequent luxury of youth,”  says Todd Camp, the group’s founder. Set in Paris, the play is about how three friends react to a strange painting: One that appears to be only a white canvas.

There will also be a showing of new works by local artists in conjunction with the play. All of the pieces will be auctioned off to raise funds for QLive!’s 2012 season. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students). There will also be a full bar with donations accepted.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tarrant County Pride starts Thursday

Suzanne Westenhoefer performs Friday night at the Sheraton Fort Worth as part of a full weekend of Tarrant County Pride events

You can catch our Friday issue for a complete story on Tarrant County Pride events coming up this weekend, but the fun actually starts on Thursday, before the Friday issue hits the newsstands. So here’s a list of events on tap to let you start getting your Pride on early.

The Sheraton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth is the host hotel for Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association’s Weekend Pride Stay package, and there are lots of events planned there on Thursday, beginning at noon. There’s the Fort Worth Trading Post in the Piney Woods Room on the second floor, from noon to 10 p.m., plus an art exhibit and the “Big As Texas Auction,” both in the second floor foyer from noon to 10 p.m.

A number of different community nonprofits are participating in the Community School House educational sessions on Thursday at the Sheraton: From noon to 1 p.m., AIDS Outreach Center presents “Stress Reduction;” from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Healing Wings presents “Safer Sex is Sexy: Take Responsibility for your Sexual Health;” Outreach Addiction Services presents “Sex: Safety the Gay Way” from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Stonewall Democrats present “Make Your Voice Heard” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Fairness Fort Worth presents “Grassroots Organizing: The Creation of Fairness Fort Worth” from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Trinity Metropolitan Community Church presents “Overcoming Spiritual Abuse and the Ex-Gay Ministries” from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

—  admin

From screen to stage

Q Cinema veterans tackle live theater with the guerrilla-like QLive!

CURTAIN UP! | Producing partners Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham have theater backgrounds, but QLive! is a departure from the movie-focused work their organization, Q Cinema, has done for a dozen years.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

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QLIVE: NONE OF THE ABOVE
Trinity Bicycles patio,
207 S. Main St., Fort Worth.
Sept. 23–24 at 8 p.m.
$15, QCinema.org

…………………

Anyone who’s ever wanted to start a theater company will tell you that the biggest hurdle is finding the right space. It’s no different in DF-Dub, where the opportunities seem endless, but affordable spaces that can work for the demands of theater are limited.

QLive!, a new theater company based in Fort Worth, is finding ways to work around that. Its first full production, for instance, is None of the Above , a two-person drama by Jenny Lyn Bader. It opens Friday on the back patio of a bicycle shop just west of downtown Cowtown.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is the immersive experience, where it’s not just that you sit down and watch a show, but you experience a show,” says QLive’s Todd Camp, who founded Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival, Q Cinema. “The three shows that we have lend themselves quite well to that.”

Those three shows, which run this fall, begin with Above, which deals with a parochial school student and her teacher. In November, there’ll be Yasmina Reza’s oft-produced Art, which will hopefully happen in a gallery space (they’re still negotiating). It will close out the year with Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi, taking place in a machine shop near downtown Fort Worth.

QLive! has been a project three years in the making, and will be led by Camp’s Q Cinema cohort Kyle Trentham, as artistic director. The group has already launched a successful Tuesday night open mike comedy event at Percussions Lounge, and in February presented a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening, the day before the musical based on that play opened at Bass Performance Hall. They also brought Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in for a one-night performance.

Like other arts groups with a large LGBT following that present works of interest to that community — including Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale — Trentham says QLive doesn’t want the label of “gay theater” … despite the big “Q” in its name.

“Young [audiences] don’t think in those terms anymore,” he says. “They just want to see theater they like.”

With Corpus Christi, Trentham says that creating an immersive experience will be crucial to the production. “It’s a working machine shop,” he says. “You walk in and the actors are working, getting their hands dirty. Then in the cleansing scene, they actually are cleaned.”

Camp, who has led Q Cinema for 13 years, is no stranger to controversy. He was a critical player in the late ‘90s “Labor of Love” project at the now-defunct Fort Worth Theatre. That group presented shows like Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. A few times, there were protesters in front of the performance space, Orchestra Hall.

Considering the dust-up Corpus Christi caused in Texas last year when a Tarelton State University junior had his student production of it canceled, Camp is prepared for blowback.

“You are not going to tell me what I can and cannot do in my town, even if you’re the lieutenant governor,” he says. “This is an important work by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who’s from Texas. … It’s an incredibly pro-spiritual show. It’s not anti-religion or blasphemous. It takes organized religion, which has been used to club the gay and lesbian community for many years, and retells the story that makes it a little more compatible and open to them.”

For now, they’ll have to see how their audience deals with a show outside a bike shop.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Weekly Best Bets • 08.19.11

Saturday 08.20

Homecoming queenVial
This week’s cover story focuses on the reunion of Jane Doe, but let’s not forget that it’s a big night for Deborah Vial too. The singer returns to Dallas to host the CD release of Stages and Stones. It’s gonna be like a vintage night out at Sue Ellen’s in the ’90s but like huge. Yeah. They’re even playing the big room at HOB.

DEETS: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St.
7:30 p.m. $10. HouseOfBlues.com.

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Wednesday 08.24

‘Green’ screen
In The Green, Michael and David have the ideal suburban life in Connecticut. But an accusation turns their world around and Michael has to defend himself against suspicious coworkers and even his partner’s doubts. Q Cinema’s Fall Film Series returns with this drama starting Jason Butler Harner and Glee’s Cheyenne Jackson.

DEETS: Four Day Weekend Theater,
312 Houston St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $10.
QCinema.org

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Thursday 08.25

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED.

How’s this for a cast party?
WaterTower Theatre hosts a launch party for its WTT Pride series of three shows geared to LGBT theater fans. Theater, dancing, cocktails and disco? Will wonders never cease?

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 9 p.m.
Email GPatterson@WaterTowerTheatre.org or call 972-450-6227.

 

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition
August 19, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

An evening of illuminati(on)

You’d think that Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham would be busy enough with Q Cinema, Q Live! and Q Cinema’s weekly stand-up comedy shows. But noooooo!

The two Cowtown Q chiefs somehow managed to find the time to let their talents shine on stage in an offbeat little play that winds up its run this weekend.

The play, presented by Drag Strip Courage — “Producing the art that others won’t” — is called Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends (A Final Evening with the Illuminati), by Larson and Lee. It is, according to their press release, the story of Reverend Eddie, played by Seth Johnson, who is taunted by his archenemy, the Illuminati, as he waits for death. Trouble is, only Reverend Eddie can hear the Illuminati’s evil whisperings, much to the chagrin of his much-put-upon assistant Brother Lawrence, played by Michael E. Muller.

“The paranoid, pill-popping preacher experiences a handful of hallucinations after he and several townsfolk are exposed to nerve gas, and the audience is allowed insight into his visions as he gives several absurd sermons.”

Todd and Kyle get the fun parts in the play, sounds like to me, since between them they get to play all the nameless characters that populate Reverend Eddie’s hallucinations, including, the press release says, “a person approved for sainthood by a bitchy celestial servant, a pair of country singers on ukeleles and the Apostle Paul re-envisioned as ’70s gay icon Paul Lynde.”

(Todd seemed pretty happy about the fact that he gets to do his Paul Lynde impersonation on stage, by the way.)

The final performances of the show, directed by Justin Flowers, start at 8 p.m. each night Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 15-17, indoors at Arts Fifth Avenue, 1628 5th Ave. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10. And as an added bonus, Works Old and New — An Exhibit of Artwork by Lake Simons is also on display at Arts Fifth Avenue through July 22.

—  admin

Q Cinema announces festival winners

Gun Hill Road, a drama about a Latino man coping with his child coming out as trans (above), won the best overall features award from Q Cinema. The Dallas Voice Audience Choice Award went to eCupid, a comedy about an online dating service run amok (below). The closing ceremony was held Sunday night at the Rose Marine Theater.

Other winners at Fort Worth’s 13th annual festival of gay and lesbian films include a dramedy about a gay guy navigating the cutthroat world of Hollywood, Going Down in LA-LA Land (best gay film), Trigger (best lesbian film), about the brief reunion of former girl bandmates, the Castro District AIDS film We Were Here (best documentary) and Judas Kiss, a drama about a man given a second chance to shape his life, which took the Shawn A. Moore Prizes for Best Feature Debut.

Short film winners include Bedfellows (dramatic short/men), Waiting for Goliath (comedy short/men), Slip Away (dramatic short/women) and Tools 4 Fools (comedic short.women).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Q Cinema selection ‘We Were Here’

Getting its Southwest premiere at this year’s Q Cinema film fest, We Were Here documents the recent history gay San Francisco and the impact of “the gay plague” HIV/AIDS had on the community. David Weissman compiled a group of men and women recounting their stories of SF in the ’70s. It’s hard to believe this is the first documentary that takes such a look at this chapter of both the city and the LGBT community.

In a way, the film could be a sequel to his 2001 doc The Cockettes, which focused on the hippie gay culture burgeoning in 1960s San Fran. Now we’re seeing how the ’70s played out and the tragic fate that awaits. Without a lot of fanfare, Weissman points the camera at five old-school SF denizens and lets them tell their stories in timeline fashion. The interviews are spliced in with archival footage and photos of the survivors and their friends along with fascinating, rich images of gay history, as well as some of the darker moments. Public figures at the time railing against the community and AIDS still rile up anger.

Weissman handles each component of the interviews and the footage with the gentleness of laying out the fine china for the perfect place setting. The stories are tragic enough that Weissman lets them unfurl rather than piecing together an unnecessary, sensationalistic dramatic arc. If anything, though, the film actually echoes another documentary. Almost the same timeline structure can be seen in the compelling KERA documentary Finding Our Voice: The Dallas Gay & Lesbian Community.

Regardless, these are stories that need to be told and passed on. We Were Here may be a hard watch for those who were around at that time. It will likely bring up tough memories, but that’s not the overall message here. The strength and humor that lie within each of these survivors is also a testament to the resilience of the gay community, which is tested even to this day. Weissman didn’t create just a documentary in Here, he instead fashioned an heirloom that belongs in the entirety of LGBT history.

90 min. 3.5 stars.

Rose Marine Theater, 1140 N. Main St. June 5 at noon. $10. QCinema.org.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Get Lucky’ with Q Cinema and great drag talent

The 4th annual Miss QCinema Pageant — “a movie-themed drag pageant extraordinaire” — is being held tonight, beginning at 8 p.m., at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster in Fort Worth.

Paul J. Williams

The event, benefiting Fort Worth’s top-notch, year-round LGBT film organization (QCinema — duh!), will feature local — and gay cruise circuit — favorite Paul J. Williams as host and emcee, along with performances by last year’s Miss QCinema Jessica Paige-Jennings and other former Miss QCinema titleholders. Plus, there will be some “sneak peeks” of the film line-up on tap for QCinema’s 13th annual film festival set for June 2-5.

Pageant coordinator Stuart Himmelstein says this ain’t gonna be your typical drag show: With our giant screen projecting each of the performers and contestants, amazing special guests and a terrifically funny host, this promises to be the best show in town.”

Admission to the pageant is free, but seating is limited. So you will want to get there early to get a good seat and enjoy the show in comfort.

—  admin

Q Live! debuts with ‘Spring Awakening’ at McDavid Studio

Q Cinema branches out
Frank WederkindQ Cinema debuts their spinoff this week with some precision timing. QLive!, the new theater branch presents a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1893 play Spring Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy.  The show’s two teens struggle with homosexuality, suicide and rape. Wederkind’s work is a dark contrast to the the musical which opens on Tuesday.

DEETS: McDavid Studio, 301 E. Fifth St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $10. QCinema.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Q Cinema and the Lone Star Film Society make a nice pairing this month with screenings

It’s going to be a super team-up tomorrow in Cowtown. Q Cinema partners with Samaritan House and the Lone Star Film Society to screen ‘And the Band Played On,’ the landmark HBO film that chronicled the early history of AIDS in the U.S. The screening is free and starts at 7 p.m. with a reception before at 6 p.m.

Dennis Bishop will be on hand for a Q & A after the film. He is the director of the Lone Star Film Society but interestingly enough he was the VP of production at HBO during the film’ airing in 1993. It will also be introduced by Bob Ray Sanders. Visit here for details.

Q Cinema teams with LSFS again for the upcoming Lone Star International Film Festival. They host the screening of Tierra Madre depicting the true story of Aidee Gonzalez who struggles to keep her children and female partner above water. The film in in Spanish and scheduled for Nov. 14.

For a detailed list of films from the festival that runs Nov. 10 –14, click here.

Tierra madre from Dylan Verrechia on Vimeo.

—  Rich Lopez