Fahari Arts kicks off 4th season during Pride

Harold Steward

Fahari Arts Institute Artistic Director Harold Steward announced the 2012-13 season that begins on Sept. 15 with Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales, written and performed by E. Patrick Johnson.

The dramatic reading is based on oral histories collected in Johnson’s book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History. The histories are from black gay men who were born, raised and continue to live in the South and range in age from 19 to 93. The stories range from religion and sex to transgenderism, love and coming out.

The show takes place at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 Fitzhugh Ave. on Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The program is free.

That will be followed on Oct. 5 with Queerly Speaking PRIDE Edition in conjunction with Dallas Southern Pride. Poets Ronamber “Flo” Deloney and Marvin K. White are scheduled to appear. That takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dallas Downtown, 1015 Elm St.

—  David Taffet

South Dallas AIDS Walk holds volunteer orientation

South Dallas AIDS WalkVolunteer orientation for the second annual South Dallas AIDS Walk takes place Wednesday from 6–8 p.m. in the Oak Room at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. The walk is set for March 24.

The 2.1-mile South Dallas AIDS Walk raises HIV/AIDS funding support and awareness in the South Dallas area. Last year’s inaugural event had 300 registered walkers and a total of 500 participants. This year’s goal is 1,000 walkers.

The walk begins at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. Registration on March 24 begins at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Live entertainment and activities take place after the walk.

The beneficiaries of this year’s event are AIDS Interfaith Network, The Anthony Chisom Foundation, The Movement and Abounding Prosperity.

For information email or call event chair Auntjuan Wiley at 214-455-7316. You can also register for the walk online.

—  David Taffet

Stream Fahari’s “The Bull-Jean Stories” with Q-Roc Ragsdale live from Tampa

Back in March, Fahari Arts Institute snagged two Readers Voice Awards for its production of The Bull-Jean Stories. Harold Steward won for directing and Q-Roc Ragsdale took away the best dramatic actress prize for her role portraying a black lesbian in the rural South of the 1920s. The one-woman multi-media show by Sharon Bridgforth has brought Fahari enough attention that it will be performed in Tampa, Fla., at the National Performance Network’s annual meeting on Saturday.

Missed it when it was here? No worries — NPN is streaming all of theirlive  performances on the Internet. NPN has collaborated with #NewPlay TV to present all the performances in real time. Fahari announced in an email today that the piece, co-commissioned by DiverseWorks with the South Dallas Cultural Center and the NPN, will stream Dec. 10 at 7:30 EST, so 6:30 p.m. our time. Just click here to watch then.

—  Rich Lopez

Pam Grier talked movies, relationships and even ‘The L Word’ on Saturday in South Dallas

In the triple-digit heat, Pam Grier proved she still has drawing power. Her book signing event filled the auditorium Saturday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, where she talked about her life and Hollywood and followed up with a gracious and patient book signing/photo session.The gay contingent present was far outweighed by the men and women who obviously watched Grier throughout ’70s cinema.You could literally see the men falling in love all over again with Foxy Brown and the women remembering the heroics of Coffy as inspiration.

She ran a bit late, but Grier received a standing ovation upon coming out. She looked both casual and elegant as she took the mike. I overheard earlier that she would be reading from her book, but instead she just let loose and began talking about her life. As a speaker, Grier was a little disorganized. She went on tangents about organic gardening and the economy. There were mini-moments where she had lost the audience, but magically, she would tie it back to her career and get back on track. She discussed her romances with Richard Pryor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar which are also in the book. She was never salacious about her recounts. Instead, she painted quirky, funny memories of her with Pryor and detailed some major inner conflict with Jabbar’s request for her to convert to Islam. When it came to her own life, she painted distinct pictures.

Ears pricked when she discussed film director Quentin Tarantino and their film Jackie Brown. After her initial meeting with him, he told her he had a script. Later, she received a notice from the post office that a package was waiting for her but 44 cents postage was due. She got around to picking it up three weeks later and discovered the script. She read it and loved it. She acknowledged that it was going to be low budget because “heck, it didn’t even have enough postage!”

During her speech, she didn’t mention her role as Kit on The L Word, but for that matter, didn’t discuss a big chunk of her acting work, but thankfully a woman asked about the role. She reiterated much of her answer in Mark Lowry’s article this week that she got much of her LGBT education from doing that show and how enlightening it was for her. It was nice to hear her talk up lesbians in a positive fashion to a crowd in which the topic might not have come up otherwise. Some heads nodded, some wondered and some shut off — but it was moving to see a celebrity admit to not knowing much about LGBT issues and people and then embracing it. On a personal note, she seemed to dig that I asked her to sign for my boyfriend.

She was funny, she was cool, she was down but by the end of the event, Pam Grier wasn’t just an iconic celebrity — she was also a regular person. And that made her even more foxy.

—  Rich Lopez