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Letters From Abu Ghraib: Visiting the Middle East

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THE MIDDLE EAST – AUGUST, 29TH 2017 – Most of us know how horrible certain areas of this region can be to our community.  To say that the temperament towards LGBTQ+ people is hostile would be a severe understatement. Unfortunately, this is causing us to miss out on a myriad of fun and magical experiences. This article will share some top attractions from the Middle East (predominantly Dubai ) and give advice on how to remain undetected while visiting the region.  It will also detail the horrors that could happen to our community at any moment if we are not careful.

 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

Boasting a very modern feel for a hot spot most people think is nothing more than picking sand out of your trunks, Dubai houses only the top destinations.  

If you love to shop and play all at the same time there is the legendary Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping malls on Earth. It is home to some of the top name brands such as Armani, Versace, and Alexander McQueen. There are children’s parks and gourmet restaurants attached, too. The mall even houses its own aquarium containing over thirty thousand species of marine life1.

On the flip side, some may prefer relaxation and leisure over activity. Certainly then, you must check out the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. JW is a Five-Star hotel in the heart of the city and sports cutting edge technology in its business center and a legendary spa. Bars and a top of the line fitness wing complete the hotel’s elegance2. Interesting trivia: You might remember Tom Cruise climbing up one of the towers in a certain film… from the outside!

 

Cairo, Egypt

 

Perhaps you are one of the people that yearn for a more rugged experience. Look no further than Egypt.  The nightlife may be fantastic, but even more impressive is the Great Pyramid of Giza, only a short distance away. The impressive, massive structure is actually a burial tomb of the ancient pharaohs and is one of the world’s seven wonders3. Be sure to pose by the guardian sphinx for some memorable snapshots. To cool off, take a stroll by the Nile River that runs past the city. Careful though: You must show respect for the Nile’s bounty lest you upset it’s protecting deities Isis and Sebek.

 

Warnings from the Author

 

Low key is the key. With countless news stories showing beheadings, stonings, and even ISIS casting helpless victims off tall buildings, many people ask why no one has stepped in to end these atrocities. The answer is simple: Homosexuality is illegal in most of the Middle East. This is not just a government law, but a religious one, too. If you are still planning a trip to this region, please pay attention to the next section of this article and seek outside resources and/or protection. For more information on what it is like to be LGBTQ+ in this region, it may be beneficial to read Brian Whitaker and Anna Wilson’s book, “Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East” or another similar text4. I know many of us hate hiding who we are and if that is you, there is nothing wrong with that – but I encourage you to rethink your plans. I have a special word of caution for women: If you are travelling with men and they should happen to offend you in any way, do not let native Arabic men/women see any signs of an altercation. Address matters privately and quietly in the safety of your hotel room or living quarters.

 

Conclusion

Again, I urge you to seek additional help from others both inside and outside of the Community.  It only adds to your benefit.  Most importantly, though, enjoy your trip!

 

  1. “Revel In Retail At The Dubai Mall.”  Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing.  29 Aug 2017.  https://www.visitdubai.com/en/pois/dubai-mall.
  2. “JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.”  Marriott International Inc.  2017.  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dxbjw-jw-marriott-marquis-hotel-dubai/
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica.  “Pyramids of Giza.”   Encyclopaedia Britannica.  26 June 2017.  https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pyramids-of-Giza
  4. Whitaker, Brian & Anna Wilson.  “Unspeakable Love:  Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East.”  Amazon.com.  2006.  https://www.amazon.com/Unspeakable-Love-Lesbian-Life-Middle/dp/0520250176/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1504028713&sr=8-12&keywords=gays+in+the+middle+east+books

Originally posted 2017-09-22 12:50:33.

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5 Best Educational YouTubers for LGBTQ+ people

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Students are heading back to school, but why should young people be the only ones getting educated? With that in mind, here are my top five educational YouTubers for LGBTQ+ people, no matter your age.

 

Best for LGBTQ+ information: Ash Hardell

Everyone has questions about being LGBTQ+, even those within the community, and it can sometimes be hard to know how to get honest, reliable answers. Luckily Ash, who is genderqueer and pronoun indifferent, has answered a lot of the most burning questions for you.

Whether you’re interested in learning about a sexuality or gender identity other than your own (I had some questions about asexuality which I felt inappropriate to ask the asexuals that I knew in real life) or you’re still figuring out how you identify or you want to know how to be a better ally to your fellow queer people, they probably have a video for you.

 

Best for LGBTQ+ History: Tyler Oakley

They say that to know where we have to go, we must know where we’ve been, which is why it’s important to learn about LGBTQ+ history and celebrate it. Too much of history erases the contributions of LGBTQ+ people and it’s time to put an end to it.

Tyler is in the middle of a series where he talks about the trailblazing LGBTQ+ activists who inspire him; making sure to amplify POC  to avoid whitewashing our history and combat the vilification of their voices.

He also hosts a series called Stories of Queer Resistance, in which he discussed the Stonewall Riots which kicked off the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the USA (which I also covered back in July).

 

Best for Sex Ed: Sexplanations

I think most people would agree that their sex ed classes in school left a lot to be desired; using hetero-normative and cis-normative language, teaching abstinence-only, not teaching you about contraception for sexual acts other than penis in vagina sex.

Now when I began this piece I wanted to include all LGBTQ+ YouTubers but I ran into a slight problem with the sex ed section because gay men would talk about sex ed for MSM, lesbians would talk about WSW, trans people would talk about sex for trans people etc etc. However, I wanted someone who would address all facets of sex ed, so that no matter your sexuality or gender identity, you could become educated too.

Dr Lindsey Doe is a clinical sexologist who not only covers sexual health but also how to perform certain sex acts (giving a blowjob, cunnilingus, and eating ass) using inanimate objects to demonstrate. She also does her best to avoid problematic language- like associating penis with male and vagina with female- or shaming people for their sexual desires.

A strong advocate for consent, completely non-judgmental about sexual acts, and willing to answer your questions. She’s the sex ed teacher that I wish I’d had.

 

Best for Politics: Riley J Dennis

Riley, whom you may recognize from my podcast recommendations piece, vlogs regularly on trending politics and social justice issues, such as Drumpf’s firing of Comey, the Nazi riots in Charlottesville, and DACA.

She also breaks down complicated topics that rarely make it into the news cycle (like civil asset forfeiture and queer coding) into easily understandable segments without making you feel dumb, so if you think you could benefit from a more in-depth knowledge of the political issue de jour, then check out Riley’s channel.

 

Best for Mental Health:  MarinaShutUp

I don’t think it’s a secret that LGBTQ+ people have a higher rate of mental health problems than the general population (one of the unfortunate by-products of discrimination) so we should be honest about our issues and unafraid to voice them.

Marina, a queer woman of color, is very open about her struggles with mental health problems (like negative body image, depression, and social anxiety) as well as providing practical tips for self-care (look after yourself folks!). She’s honest about her own struggles, her mistakes, and her journey, which makes those watching feel less alone with their mental health issues.

 

So what did you think of these YouTubers? Who is your favorite on this list? Who do you wish I’d included? Let me know in the comments below.

Originally posted 2017-09-20 14:18:00.

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Introducing PrideLight: Our Spotlight on Theatre and Entertainment

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This week at TravelPride, we introduce PrideLight, your guide to recommended best bets in entertainment. Fall is a popular time for theatre companies to schedule season openings, so there’s a lot going on in almost every town across America, too much to cover in one pithy column. But this seems a fitting time to focus on some of the cities where foliage tours and the waning last days of outdoor amusement might take you hiking, biking, and exploring in the less urban centers. For example, Asheville and Richmond might not make the cut every week. While larger markets like San Francisco and leading LGBTQ-specific theatres will receive more consistent coverage, I’ll seek to guide you off the beaten path to seek out the best of regional and community theatre events that might not pique your curiosity at first glance.

The goal is exploration, after all.

Asheville, North Carolina

What: Carry On written and performed by Murphy Funkhouser Capps
Where: Asheville Community Theatre
When: September 29-October 1

Playwright Murphy Funkhouser Capps (great name, right?) expands on her award-winning one-act play with a new act and a fresh title. In 2007, Murphy Funkhouser Capps quit her job and hit the road with 500 pounds of luggage hooked to the back of her Subaru to take her one-act Crazy Bag on the road. The autobiographical one woman show about her journey from minister’s daughter to rebellion to redemption premiered at Colorado Theatre Festival and won numerous awards, including one recognizing Capps for her acting chops in the Festival performance and a nomination for Best Solo Performance of 2008 by the Denver Post.

Crazy Bag went on to rave reviews in Breckenridge, Aspen, Denver, Albuquerque, and Oklahoma City and was accepted into the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival. The journey brought her back to Asheville where her story began two decades before. Do not be repelled by the “community theatre” stigma that can sometimes haunt the small-town playhouses of middle America. This performance is a must see for those who love to discover that unexpected gem, and support original work by talented artists. The performance is one weekend only, and tickets are available at www.ashevilletheatre.org and range in price up to $50. The company website provides detailed travel and parking directions and advertises free parking after 6 pm.

What: Listen to This hosted by Tom Chalmers
Where: Asheville Community Theatre
When: October 26, November 30
What to do? You just missed Carry On at Asheville Community Theatre. If it’s a Thursday, head to the theatre for the 7:30 performance of Listen to This staged in ACT’s intimate black box space 35below every Thursday. Quickly becoming Asheville’s most popular series, actor/comedian Tom Chalmers hosts this collection of stories and songs from Asheville’s most interesting writers and performers, a fresh theme and new performers each week bring to mind a good old fashioned southern potluck. Fair warning: the show could be hit or miss depending on the featured artists chosen, but for an admission price of only $15, I’d say it’s worth the risk. The company encourages you to enjoy refreshments in the theatre but also cautions that seating is limited and punctuality a must, both for parking availability and choice seating (even for those with tickets in hand). Purchase tickets in advance at www.ashevilletheatre.org. Arrive and park earlier in the day and check out the Tom Wolfe Memorial, downtown shops, and other sites of the quaint downtown area.

Atlanta, GA

What: Atlanta Black Theatre Festival
Where: West End Performing Arts Center
When: October 4-7

A diverse lineup of artists drawn from around the globe to around the corner. The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival is “40 plays in 4 days,” hardly enough time to preserve and share the stories of the African diaspora. But whether you’re a lover of Tyler Perry, August Wilson, or world-class Black Art, the amazing shows and international vendors’ market will make this popular fall festival one of your favorite things to do in Atlanta. Don’t just pick a play; pick a DAY (or all four) and immerse yourself in a marathon of bold, exciting theatre. Produced by Micah 6:8 Media “a professional management company.”

Boston, MA

What: Faceless by Selina Fillinger
Where: Zeitgeist Stage Company at Boston Center for the Arts
When: NOW PLAYING through October 7
With especially positive reviews in The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Broadway World, and Boston Arts Review for its solid performers and the visual impact of its set designs, founder and artistic director David Miller has lead this smaller fringe company in exploring contemporary plays and rediscovering historic works for 17 seasons. In Faceless, eighteen-year-old Susie Glenn is on trial for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, and recent Harvard Law grad and practicing Muslim, Claire Fathi, has been brought on to prosecute. Though pitted against one another in the courtroom, these two young women are fighting a similar battle to defend their morals, motives and religious freedoms in this riveting and timely new drama. An explosion of identity politics, questions of faith, and a face-off between two seemingly diametrically-opposed women drives this compelling narrative.
Faceless is presented at the Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts. Purchase tickets and peruse other upcoming Boston productions at www.bostontheatrescene.com. Tickets for Faceless are reasonably priced at $20. Count on having an intimate theatre experience in the 90-seat black box, expect thought-provoking subject matter, and enjoy excellent performances from the play’s two strong female leads.
What: Wicked Queer
Where: Boston Museum of Fine Art
When: Ongoing
While in Boston, also check in with Wicked Queer: the Boston LGBT Film Festival housed in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston. The group sponsors ongoing events and film screenings. Check the user-friendly calendar prior to your trip at www.wickedqueer.org for titles and showtimes.

Boulder, CO

What: The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson
Where: Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company at Dairy Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING through October 8

You may think you know Marie Antoinette. You don’t. You may believe you can outsmart Charlotte Corday. You can’t. You may have never heard of Olympe de Gouges. You will. In this irreverent, girl-powered comedy, these women live, die, and dare boldly in revolutionary Paris.
Producing Artistic Director Stephen Weitz shared his thoughts about the programming for this season “…as things were unfolding over the last eight to 10 months, we had some internal conversations about who we wanted to be in this climate.” This season, the company has assembled the most diverse ensemble in the company’s history. For the season debut of The Revolutionists, for example, BETC assembled an all-female production staff to complement the show’s all-female cast, and a majority of the plays in their 6-show lineup are written by women or persons of color. Tickets range from $20-$45 (most tickets priced at $36.50). The $45 ticket on opening night September 16 includes admission to the post-show reception. Purchase tickets at www.thedairy.org and investigate more about BETC at www.betc.org.

Chicago, IL

What: A Perfect Arrangement
Where: Pride Films and Plays at Pride Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING-October 22

In Topher Payne’s comedy A Perfect Arrangement, it’s 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There’s just one problem: Both Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other’s partners and moved next door to each other as a carefully constructed cover. Set amidst the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two “All-American” couples are forced to stare down the closet door.
This relatively new theatre company in the Chicago theatre scene is housed at Pride Arts Center. Pride Films and Plays, seeks to bring theatre to the Chicago area that is “essential viewing” for all audiences. The Huffington Post has called this, “A powerful and empowering entity.” Tickets are on sale now www.pridefilmsandplays.com.
What: The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier, music & lyrics by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, book by GLAAD Award nominated writer/producer Jay Paul Deratany
Where: Stage 773 (Permoveo Productions)
When: NOW PLAYING through October 15
This new musical, set between 1862 and 1915, tells the astonishing, “timely, essential, insightful” and true story of “an amazing figure from [our]history” -The Windy City Times. In The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier, Albert Cashier is a Civil War soldier with a secret that resonates with today’s modern world. Detailing the soldier’s life fighting in more than 40 engagements during the Civil War, the musical follows Cashier through retirement and the onset of dementia, when a life-long secret was discovered: That Albert was born Jennifer Hodgers. Causing an uproar in the small southern Illinois community where Cashier lived, Cashier was prosecuted for impersonating a soldier, requiring fellow soldiers to return once again after 60 years to detail Albert’s heroism and life.
Stage 773 acts to embody the vibrant spirit of Chicago off-loop theater. The group strives to present excellent and affordable theatre and provide a foster home for emerging artists and creative groups. The theatre hosts various companies and acts throughout the year. See Bullets over Broadway or choose from a list of other current shows now playing. Tickets for The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier are $40. Visit www.stage773.org or www.theatreinchicago.com.

Dallas, TX

What: In the Tall Grass written and directed by Paul Kalburgi
Where: TeCo Theatrical Productions at Bishop Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING through September 24
In the Tall Grass, produced in association with Transgender Education Network of Texas, follows the harrowing true story of the murder of Shade Schuler, a 22-year-old Dallas transgender woman. The community is left asking “why” and fearing who could be next. Told through the first-hand testimonies of trans women of color in Dallas, the world premiere of In the Tall Grass explores the circumstances which force many to exist in the underworld – ignored by society, cut off from support and legal systems.
TeCo Theatrical productions, an award-winning multi-cultural “oasis for the next generation” of artists, was founded in 1993. The company offers a full season of theatrical performances, jazz concerts, a speaker series, and year-round arts education programs. Tickets range in price from $12-$25 and can be purchased online at www.bishopartstheatre.org.
What: Hair: the American Tribal Love Rock Musical
Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Music by Galt Macdermont Directed by Kevin Moriarty
Where: Dallas Theatre Center
When: September 22-October 22

Dallas Theatre Center is aptly named as it is truly the center of the Dallas Theatre Scene with a long-standing record of excellent professional entertainment. They just won a Regional Tony Award in case you missed it. If you’re a resident or frequent visitor, you already know about them. Granted, their offerings are a little more commercial, a little more mainstream, but this production is somewhat of a diversion for them and really caught my eye. People in red states are just dying to rip their clothes off, apparently. I was about to scroll on by until I saw this:

WARNING: This production will include Hippies cursing, smoking pot, getting naked, mocking societal conventions, meditating, taking LSD, flaunting their sexuality, celebrating their race, creating a happening, singing and dancing. Also, there will be audience participation. Consider yourself warned, and come to the Be-In.

Ok, so if you haven’t already seen Hair, besides just assigning you a failing grade in Musical Theatre class, I’m going to push you through the doors to see this production. Find tickets and more at www.dallastheatrecenter.org. (TravelPride is not responsible for any STDs you acquire during this performance.)

New York, NY

What: Fearless: Art in the Face of Adversity
A series of performances by LGBTQ artists
Where: The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center
When: Ongoing throughout 2017-18, Next event opens September 29

Artists at The Clemente created this series of works in direct response to the tragedy in Orlando and continuing attacks against the LGBTQ community. Connected by the theme of understanding and unity, these events are spread throughout The Clemente’s 2017-18 season. See Tjasa Ferme’s “The Female Role Model Project,” directed by Ana Marginaunu September 29-October 1. The artists describe it as a “scientifically enhanced multimedia-devised theatre piece built by an ensemble of female-identified artists about recreating modern female role models in the world of cataclysmic climate change, cataclysmic political change, and possibility of reprogramming our brains.” Check www.theclementecenter.org for other titles coming up in this exciting series. Admission is $15 per performance.
Since 1993 The Clemente has focused on “cultivation, presentation, and preservation” of Puerto Rican and Latino culture. Equally “determined to operate in a multi-cultural and inclusive manner,” the organization promotes artists and performance events that “fully reflect the cultural diversity of the Lower East Side and the city as a whole.”

What: Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein, Directed by Moises Kaufman
Where: Second Stage Theater at Tony Kiser Theater
When: Opens September 26

Torch Song takes place in 1979 in New York City. Arnold Beckoff is on a quest for love, purpose and family. He’s fierce in drag and fearless in crisis, and he won’t stop until he achieves the life he desires. Now, Arnold is back… And he’s here to sing you a torch song. The Tony Award-winning play that forever changed the trajectory of Broadway returns for a new generation.
Second Stage Theater produces an adventurous range of premieres, musicals, bold new interpretations of contemporary plays, and unique theatrical experiences from America’s most dynamic writers of the 21st century. Through the discovery of emerging talent, the commissioning of new work, and the creation of a training base for directors, Second Stage reflects the diverse city and the world we live in today and reaches an ever-growing audience through its Broadway runs, national tours and regional productions.
Torch Song runs 2 hours and 20 minutes including intermission. Ticket are limited and prices vary, so we recommend contacting the Box Office at 212-246-4422. The theater also offers student access tickets one hour prior to curtain to full time students and $30 under 30 tickets will be available in advance for patrons under 30 and for limited performances before October 19. (Valid ID required.) Find out more at www.2ST.com.
What: {my lingerie play} 2017: The Concert and Call to Arms. Story, Music, and Lyrics by Diana Oh
Where: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre
When: September 27-October 28

What drives an artist to stand in her black corset in Times Square on a soapbox? It began for Diana Oh at 17 with her first shoplifted f*ck me bra. Over the course of this unfiltered and soul-baring, performance art event, Diana Oh’s personal collection of unmentionables comes on and off as she and her band ignite the audience to create a saner, safer, more courageous world for us all.
World premiere {my lingerie play} is a play, a protest, a concert, and an installation all at once. Through this concert-play, Diana and her band explore mainstream culture’s relationship to the body and the deep and complex dynamics that exist regarding sex and gender politics. This culminates in a genre-bending soulful rock and R&B concert-play and final installation of {my lingerie play} 2017: 10 underground performance installations in lingerie (as supported by the Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation for 2017) staged in an effort to provide a saner, safer, more courageous world for women, trans, queer, and non-binary humans to live in. Tickets range from $10-$30 (preview performances) and $40 general admission after October 13. Rattlestick is on the cutting edge of art and theatre. Explore www.rattlestick.org to purchase tickets and find out more.

 Portland, OR

What: Hand of God by Robert Askins
Where: Triangle Productions (The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza)
When: NOW PLAYING through September 30
Nominated for 5 Tony Awards including Best Play for its Broadway production, Hand of God is a must see. If you missed this dark comedy in New York, don’t worry. Regional theatres across the country are jumping at the chance to produce it. The plot follows Jason who finds an outlet for his anxiety through the Christian puppet ministry in a conservative town in Texas, but when his puppet Tyrone takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality of his own, Jason’s life is thrown into upheaval. Based on Triangle’s 27-year history and consistently positive reviews, expect a solid production of Hand of God in Portland. Presented in The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, Hand of God couldn’t be a better choice for this company that produces “rich stories told through diverse perspectives, particularly the gay perspective.” Audience members sit in church pews! A full bar and bistro with a limited dine in menu opens an hour and a half before show times and stays open after the show. The company’s website offers other nearby dining recommendations that range from Asian to American BBQ. There are two free parking lots and free parking on the street close to the theatre, a rare find in Portland. Tickets are still available from $15-$35 (no handling charge) and can be purchased online through the company website www.trianglepro.org

Richmond, VA

What: Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill
Where: Richmond Triangle Players
When: September 27-October 3
Hailed as the best professional theatre in Richmond of any style or stripe, Richmond Triangle Players is taking a big bite out of the queer theatre anthology in its 25th season. If you took a modern theatre class in college, you’re probably already familiar with at least one play by the illusive, reclusive playwright Caryl Churchill who is known for evading questions about her plays preferring that each audience member decide for themselves what “it” (fill in the blank) means. Graduate students could write tomes on any one of her plays. Cloud 9, the surreal, gender-bending, ethnic cross-casting comment on feminism, colonialism, and gender identity was decades ahead of its time when it first premiered in the 80s, but the show still feels futuristic to today’s audiences. This theatre fare is less for those seeking a delightful theatrical diversion, but more for those who love provocation, to think and to discuss long after the final curtain goes down. Look to be challenged, enlightened, dumbfounded, and entranced. You’ll wake up the next morning still thinking about the ins and outs of this one. Look for a feature column on this exciting company in TravelPride next week. RTP’s 25th season is well-chosen, thought-provoking, joyous, and balanced with a little something for everyone (everyone except Granny Kate, that is). Go to www.rtriangle.org for more information and to purchase tickets in advance.

San Diego, CA

What: Homos, OR Everyone in America by Jordan Seavey
Where: Diversionary Theatre
When: NOW IN PREVIEWS, open September 23-October 15
Founded in 1986, Diversionary Theatre provides quality theatre for the LGBT community with a vision for amplifying the next generation of LGBT voices. By exploring stories of what sets our culture and history apart, as well as stories that focus on LGBT people’s humanity rather than their sexuality, Diversionary bridges the gaps of cultural understanding. Homos, Or Everyone in America a new play by Jordan Seavey follows a Brooklyn couple attempting to navigate the complexities of contemporary gay life together. Hopscotching back and forth over the timeline of their relationship, a sensual, hilarious and compelling story of their bond emerges. This brave, new play confronts the lingering dangers and interconnected values of our nation, and the way our future may be found through our past. Previews began September 15 with a September 23 opening. Look for a feature on this ground-breaking company, the 3rd oldest continuously producing LGBT theatre in the United States. Diversionary’s decades-long track record of collaboration and new work development has solidified the company’s status as a leading queer theatre- a must see if you’re in the San Diego area.

San Francisco, CA

What: The Legend of Pink by Kheven LaGrone
Where: Theatre Rhinoceros at the Gateway Theatre
When: NOW PLAYING through September 30
GLAAD Media Award Winner Theatre Rhinoceros now in its 40th season and the longest running queer theatre in the world presents the world premiere of a new play The Legend of Pink, a local story set in West Oakland. The time is the late Twentieth Century. Drug wars rage and the lovely African American transgender woman, Pink, does her best to bring a bit of beauty to the harsh environment. But people are watching Pink as she tries to form a connection with a beautiful young man, and they don’t like it.
All shows produced at the Gateway Theatre (formerly Eureka Theatre). Tickets are $20-$40. Call the 24-hour box office hotline at 1-800-838-3006 or link to Brown Paper Tickets. If you miss The Legend of Pink, find information about future shows at this leading queer theatre company at www.therhino.org.
What: Dash Improv: An hour of free-form comedy chaos
Where: Un-scripted Theater Company
When: Saturdays at 10 pm
If you don’t get your act together in time to catch The Legend of Pink at the Rhinocerous, drop by Un-Scripted Theater Company Saturdays at 10 PM and enjoy all the fast, funny, fearless hilarity the company can jam into an hour for an admission price of only $10. The fact that this show is offered weekly is testament to the company’s depth of talent and audience demand. Un-Scripted bills the weekly show as “a seamless, spontaneous, and continuously morphing spectacle of excitement and laughs.” www.un-scripted.com

Seattle, WA

What: Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts
Where: Fantastic.Z
When: September 29-October 14
Named last year by Playbill as one of “15 Regional Theatre Companies Leading the Charge in Gay Theatre,” may I introduce Fantastic.Z. An artist founded and run company presenting quality theatre focused through a queer lense, Fantastic.Z’s presence in the national queer theatre scene has been growing in recent years. With a commitment to producing new plays in the Puget Sound area, the company produces an annual New Works Festival of 10-minute plays and also seeks out new full-length plays to be considered for its mainstage season. Upcoming production Next Fall takes a witty and provocative look at faith, commitment, and unconditional love. This timely and compelling new play forces us all to examine what it means to “believe” and what it might cost us. Tickets available www.fantasticZ.org.
When you see any of the shows on our list, please share your thoughts about the experience and the welcome you received. Did we get it right or miss the mark? Do you have a favorite theatre company or performing arts group in your area? Tell us about them!

Originally posted 2017-09-19 14:35:02.

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Fictional LGBTQ Characters That Would Make Great Travel Buds

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If you’re anything like me, you’re a MAJOR pop culture junkie, reading and watching anything you can get your hands on.It’s like taking a trip without spending a ton of cash, or dealing with actual humans. I spend a lot of time living in a fictional world, because let’s face it, reality is pretty lame (I mean, we don’t even get superpowers). We go on adventures with characters all time through the power of books, movies, and TV, but what would it be like to go on a road trip with your favorite fictional character? I’ve logged countless hours (insomnia for the win!) into coming up with the best LGBTQ characters that are #travelsquadgoals.

 

The Crystal Gems (Steven Universe)

*Singing voice* We…are the Crystal GEMS! Okay, serious we cannot go anywhere without our lesbian rock space moms, taking care of us and keeping us out of trouble and taking us to awesome places throughout the universe. Also making sure we have plenty of Cookie Cat ice cream sandwiches is a MAJOR plus for this #squad. Plus, since they don’t sleep, they continue driving for hours, and can teleport us to places or chill in Beach City. Low-key already coming up with my gem name.

Diana (Wonder Woman)

Wonder Woman is now canonically bisexual (throws confetti) and as awesome as ever.  She would be the perfect travel partner, I mean she has an invisible jet! How cool is that? She could also destroy men who try to catcall us, making her the best person to go clubbing with. With the lasso of truth, she can find us the best prices on hotels, and the best and cheapest restaurants to go to. Win!

Todd Chavez (Bojack Horseman)

Oh Todd, my little asexual cinnamon roll, so sweet, so pure. Todd is the perfect person to bring on the trip. He has the most positive attitude and sunny disposition that makes even the frustrating part of travel seem brighter, and makes us feel better when things go wrong. Todd is also super creative, coming up with Cabracadabra which is genuine and should be real. Also, who wouldn’t want to ride around with Todd on the Drone Throne eating kettle corn? Sounds like the perfect day to me.

Kurt Hummel (Glee)

How can we not bring Kurt on our trip? He’s the one who’s going to make sure that we’ll all wearing our colored coordinated outfits and make sure we have several outfits to wear for different occasions. Who else will come up with the perfect road trip playlist from all the best musicals? Can you imagine how fun carpool karaoke is going to be? Sure he might have a couple diva moments and bring far too much luggage, but at the end of the day he’ll bring a lot of laughs, and that’s what’s important in a traveling pal.

Nina Zenik (Six of Crows)   

Okay if ya’ll haven’t read Six of Crows do so now, I’ll wait. If you have, you know that Nina Zenik is a complete BAMF and I personally will travel to the ends of the Earth with and for her. She’s a Heartrender which makes her perfect for healing people if an emergency happens, or making us fall asleep easier when we’ve had a long day. She’s loud, bold and hilarious and always up for something new. She’s skilled in dozens of languages so she’s the perfect tour guide, and charming to boot.  Plus, she probably knows the best places to get waffles, which is a major plus in my book.

Sailor Neptune (Sailor Moon Manga)

If you’re not familiar with the history of Sailor Neptune and the history of her relationship with Sailor Uranus, click Here to learn all about it. Anyway, any good adventure needs a Sailor Scout to help defend the world with and Sailor Neptune totally fits the bill. Not only is she a kick-butt warrior, she is also very intelligent and cultured. She would know all the best art galleries, classical music concerts, or just the best beaches to swim out. Elegant and classy, she can give you a taste of high-class travel in between saving the day.

Who are some of your #travelsquadgoals?

 

Originally posted 2017-09-19 14:30:25.

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