Winners from Monday night’s OutMusic Awards

Chely Wright at the OMAs. (Photo by Andrew Werner)

Those OutMusic Awards people are something. They are something else. After coming off a Twitter onslaught from the Billboard Music Awards the day before, I expected to at least find out who the winners were from the ceremony as it happened. This wasn’t the case and as I scoured the social networks and interwebs, not a word of who won was available. Even this note from their site didn’t help my hopes for quick information: Stay tuned as OUTMUSIC revamps its look with a new website in the midst of the 7th Annual OUTMUSIC AWARDS. Sure it looked better, but with old press releases and 18-hour-old tweets, the realization came late that I was going to have to wait to find out who the winners were. And the wait is over — at 3 p.m. Central time the following day.

Of course, we had some personal interest vested in this year’s crop of nominees. We’ve mentioned repeatedly that local musician Gary Floyd was up for three nods and our homegrown appreciation kicked in. But this turned out to be his “glad to be nominated” year. Floyd was nominated with some primo artists like Ray Boltz and Rachael Sage, so at least we know he can hang with the some of the top names in the LGBT music scene.

The night also honored some big names in LGBT music as well. Chely Wright appeared last night to accept her Vanguard Award. Other honorees included Melissa Etheridge for Lifeteime Achievement and Sylvester for the Icon Award.

The winners list is after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

OutMusic Awards countdown: Album of the year

The wait is over and tonight is the OutMusic Awards ceremony. And there is a possibility that three awards could go to one local. We keep mentioning that only because, um, it’s cool. Gary Floyd is going into the night with three nods. He talked with us a bit about it here. One of them could be this award, which would be huge. But let’s look at what Floyd is up against.

—  Rich Lopez

OutMusic Awards countdown: Single of the Year

The OutMusic Awards are a week out and this week we continue our mini-series with the nominees for the OutStanding Single of the Year. A couple of them you’ve likely heard of because we’ve featured them here before. The rest — well, you’re about to be introduced.

See the nominees after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Gary Floyd lands 3 OutMusic Award nominations

For 20 years, the OutMusic Awards have recognized openly gay musicians who not only make great music, but music that speaks to the gay community. And one of the frontrunners this year is Dallas’ Gary Floyd.

Floyd has been a staple in the Metroplex for more years than he’d like to admit, performing cabaret, musical theater and a host of other styles. But it’s for his languid, inspirational songs, represented on his 2010 album The Gospel of Zen, that he’s most recognized — locally, of course, and now nationally.

“Behold” is in contention for best contemporary spiritual song. (Last year’s winner in this category was Tony Award winner Levi Kreis.) Better still, the CD itself is nominated for best album — and we mean best overall, against such heavy-hitters as Hunter Valentine, Ray Boltz, Rachael Sage and the Heartland Men’s Chorus. Not bad for a six-song, independently-released disc.

In addition, Floyd’s composition “Love of My Life” is up for the prestigious Martin Bello Love Song Award, which comes with a cash prize. (“It’s not on the album, nor even recorded commercially [by me], though Marvin Matthews did a cover,” Floyd says.)

The nominations came out of the blue. Floyd was counseled to submit the album for consideration by his booking agent, but didn’t expect it would actually nab two major noms.

The awards, voted on by the LGBT Recording Academy, mean a lot to Floyd, as does the chance to attend the gala ceremony in New York on Dec. 1 — it will be hosted by Carol Channing, with Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge and Chely Wright set to attend.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

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

StoryCorps records gay grandfather's tale of coming out

I woke up to this bit on NPR this morning. Tony Perri tells his story about living his “straight” life until deciding to come out. I won’t say much more because I hope you’ll listen. It reminded me a lot of Ray Boltz’s story where he talked about living the life he thought he was supposed to only to let years slip away.

The story was being recorded for StoryCorps, a nonprofit agency with the mission of recording an oral record of American lives. The recorded conversations are then archived in the Library of Congress. It was hard to tell if it was coincidence or great timing but it was a nice way of starting off this Pride weekend.

—  Rich Lopez

Ray Boltz at the Rose Room Saturday night

I have to admit, I was a bit excited to see this show. I’m not a huge Christian music fan but after speaking with Ray Boltz for my article, I was curious how the show would play out. And the stuff I heard online wasn’t bad. Plus, when we spoke, his music was taking on a different tone lyrically. He came out exactly a year ago on Saturday night to the Washington Blade. He told me his music had changed from religious or “Christianese” (his word) to more spiritual. For sure, his new stuff was geared toward his newfound LGBT audience.

—  Rich Lopez