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For the Love of House Music

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House Music is uplifting, joyous, and free. Queer and like to dance? You will find a dance/music community in place no matter where you are in the world. Grooving to House Music is my thing. I enter the sanctuary of House to re-energize. It’s been that way since we were introduced in 1979. She’s carried me over some rough patches, times when I felt like I was losing the ground underneath my feet.  

House Has Carried Me Through

In 2005, while ‘‘Cool Cat’ my daddy was in the Burn Unit of Detroit Receiving hospital, I’d go to Agave on Sunday’s after visiting hours to build up my faith. Even though Cool Cat didn’t make it out of Receiving alive, I danced for him to be at peace and out of unimaginable pain experienced through a comatose state. He left the day after my 41st birthday.House music and vibing with community helped me to make it through.

My love affair with alcohol ended, I would carry two bottles of ice-water in my backpack to avoid losing my space by one of the speakers, wasting time to go to the bar. I didn’t want to miss a minute of dancing. Agave, never disappointed, I’d dance for Cool Cat while sending up prayers.   

Dance Away The Stress

House spells relief for many people after a hard week on the grind. People who love good music come out to dance their cares away. House is as freeing as it is healing. House is a connector of people. At any spot where House runs deep, you will find a mixed crowd. House Music pulls diverse crowds. You’ll find an eclectic mix of queer and str8, along with various races and ethnicities jamming together.  They will be vibing and getting high from the beats banging through the speakers and the poetry flowing from tracks.

House is for beating back the blues, through verse that grabs your spirit reminding you that you’re worthy. Finding self and self-love are frequent in the songs that dare you not to feel empowered and encouraged. House is also fluid.  When master mixologists house cuts use tribal beats and anything 1970s, I go on a spiritual journey.  

Sunday Tea Parties

One criticism I have of the Queer community is that we don’t hang out enough. Sunday Tea Parties were prevalent in the 1970s and in some places they’re making a comeback. Tea Parties worked because they were open and welcoming to the queer community and allies. In Detroit, Michigan from 2000-2006  as a member of Sistas Providing Intelligence and Creativity (S.P.I.C.E.), I helped throw some stellar afternoon events. Mimosas flowed and the food was good. In between eating, laughing, and catching up we gathered on the dance floor to throw down to House music.

Giving It All Up To The Feeling

An extensive list of Detroit deejays has held my heart since 9th grade.  Growing up with music pioneers. and being exposed to alternative music stores shaped my music tastes. It opened me up to the Worldwide House Movement. House music keeps this “Queer Diva”, moving to the beat. House is cool for a plethora of reasons. If you can keep the beat, you’re good. Go where the music takes you without fear of judgment. You don’t need a dance partner. I’m far from shy and when a good song comes up, I’m on the floor. House allows that. Dance by yourself, in the mirror or next to a speaker to take in more bass (if you’re like me), whatevs — do you. You can dance alone without worrying about someone inviting themselves into your personal space. You can feel the love of community when a dope song drops. If it’s a throwback song, House lovers make eye contact with knowing glances and head nods.  A complete blast.

House is happy it’s liberating and it’s needed in the world we live in. House Music makes things a little better.

 

Originally posted 2017-07-30 18:00:18.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Nisa Dee

    August 1, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Facts! Excellent and exhilarating article! ??????

  2. Yacon Root

    September 8, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Amazing Website. Really enjoyed reading.

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A “Brief” History of LGBT Book Censorship

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A few weeks ago was banned book week, a time where we celebrate and fondly read, a little out of rebel instinct, such classic banned books as Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. However, it is a good time to look at what books still get banned today. Yes, even in the Good Ol’ U.S.A we still ban books.

The trend in banned books in the 21st century is a little disturbing. According to the American Library Association (ALA) Top Ten List in 2016, half of the books on the top ten list, the top five to be exact, were challenged because of LGBT characters and mentioning trans characters. Books like This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jenning.

This is not the first time that LGBT books and writers have been banned or challenged by the public, since the Renaissance. So, for LGBT history week, let’s take a look at some of the popular and extreme classes of LGBT censorship.

The Poetry of Sappho 570 BC (but censorship probably happened during the 14th century)

Oh, if you have not heard of Sappho my friends, you are in for a treat. Sappho was a Greek poet who lived on the island of Lesbos, which, fun fact, is where we get the term Lesbian, because her poetry was all about loving women, in every sense of the word. In her day, her work was extremely popular, being required reading for Greek Citizens and praised by Plato himself as the tenth Muse. It’s said that she wrote nine volumes of poetry. Unfortunately, most of that is lost, with only fragments and one full poem remaining.

So what happened?

Censorship, that’s what. Historians suspect that Sappho’s work had been censored or destroyed by leaders of the early Roman Catholic and Byzantine churches in order to destroy Sappho’s message of erotic female love, paganism, and just female empowerment. It also could be assumed that, until the invention of the Gutenberg Press, most Ancient Writings was copied out by hand by monks, who were bothered and intimidated by Sappho and her lady love and refused to copy it, or censored out all the gay parts.

However, in 1960, Sappho was saved from obscurity when Mary Barnard, a poet, and English-to-Greek translator, reintroduced Sappho to the reading public by translating her work using fresh language that better reflected the clarity of Sappho’s lines, thus creating new interest in Sappho’s poetry, which you can find here.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1855)

Leaves of Grass is a collection of poetry which, just like Sappho, was censored for its homosexual themes and sexual imagery. So much so that Walt Whitman could not get a publisher for his work and had to self-publish his poems. During his lifetime, his poetry was heavily critiqued. When the poetry collection was first published, Whitman was fired from his job at the Department of the Interior when his boss read it and found it offensive. Literary critics thought the homosexual themes and images in the collection were “disgusting.” However, Whitman always believed that he would be accepted by the American people, and today Leaves of Grass is considered one of the most important collections of American poetry.

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (1895)

It feels like Oscar Wilde was legit the embodiment of the term “Too Gay to Function.” When Wilde first took his book The Picture of Dorian Grey to publishers, they thought the book was good, but a little too gay for sensitive Victorian readers. So Wilde cut out about 500 words from his already short novel. It was published which led to a huge public outcry because it was “still too gay.” It was taken out of print and Wilde rewrote a lot of his novel, changing it from 13 chapters to 20 and doing much more character development. It was published again and the Victorian people rioted, “It’s still too damn gay!”

Oscar Wilde was gay and as open about it as a person living in Victorian times could be about it. Because of this openness, Wilde was put on trial not once, but three times, for being gay. During his three trials, the opposing side read aloud from “Dorian Grey” calling it a “sodomitical book.” Wilde tried to defend himself by saying the book is about art for art’s sake, not to have some kind of meaning, and that an artist’s rights should be defended. Basically kind of saying, “if you think it’s gay then you’re gay.”

This didn’t work. Wilde was sentenced to two years in prison and died in exile at the age of 46.

An article from the New Yorker may have put it best: Wilde went to prison not because he loved young men but because he flaunted that love, and “Dorian Gray” became the chief exhibit of his shamelessness.”

Screen Adaptions to Tennessee Williams’ Work (1950’s-1960’s)

I think my favorite saying of all time is “That’s not what happened in the book!” We are all familiar with certain changes that happen when we adapt a book into a movie. White-washing is a very popular (though it shouldn’t be) trend that happens. There is also a thing such as straight-washing, where a gay character is made straight or their sexuality isn’t stated, and that’s what happened with Tennessee Williams’ famous plays A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when Hollywood got a hold of it.

Tennessee Williams was a gay playwright, active in the 1940’s-1970’s, where it was still not okay to be out. Williams channeled his own sexuality into his work, mentioning, or at least implying, gay characters in his work. For example, the main character, Brick, in the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof who was in love with his now-dead best friend, Skipper, and the play itself having heavy homosexual themes. There is a rather long monologue in A Streetcar Named Desire where Blanche talks about her dead husband who killed himself after people found out he was gay.

These plays were extremely popular, so Hollywood quickly snatched them up to make them big pictures. However, due to the Hollywood mortally code at the time, they couldn’t mention homosexuality in any of their movies. So Blanche’s husband was cut, and Brick was made totally straight.  

Tennessee Williams was reportedly so upset with the changes made in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that he told people “This movie will set the industry back 50 years. Go home!”

Tango Makes Three and Other Children’s Books (2000’s)

While books are no longer being banned on a government scale, they’re being challenged at the community level, in small libraries all over the country. Most of the books that are being challenged in America today are about gay families. The most famous example is the children’s book Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell, a story about two loving penguin parents that happen to both be male.

It’s number four on ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged books:2000-2009. Also challenged are the books “Heather has two mommies” and other stories that normalize LGBT families. To attack these books and try to get them out of libraries is an attack on the LGBT family.

Even though it’s 2017, we still have a lot of work to do to stop censorship. Because you can’t censor LGBT. Speak out against censorship, and read some banned books! 

Originally posted 2017-10-28 17:02:27.

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The Assassin Chronicles: Chapter 4 – Dreams of Dublin

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CONTENT ADVISORY:  Contains Strong Violence and Sexuality, Grisly Images, and Some Language

 

Smith had tried to stay awake all night, but the events of the past week had slayed him.

Edward knew it.  When he sat up in bed and saw his son sleeping upright, he decided that having another human being to worry about was simply not in Smith’s nature.  So, he took out a pen and pad from an oak drawer and scrawled a lengthy note on it.  He placed the note on his pillow.  With one last look at his boy, he crept out of the room as rays of sun began to settle on the floor.

That same sun brightened the lavish stateroom about an hour later.  Smith found the note before his butt ever left his chair.  He picked it up, balled it up, uncurled it, balled it up again, then finally smoothed it out to silently read it.

“My darling David,” it began, “This is all on me.  Years ago, when I left your father for a tall, lanky American girl, he was heart-broken.  I had just found out I was pregnant, but Susan wanted to be with me even still.  Love is a wonderful thing.”

If you were to look Smith in the eyes, you might see a small puddle beginning to form in one of them.  The letter went on, “Somehow, you’re father found out about ya.  That’s why he’s after us.  He wants the family back I took away.  Jeremy Wolf, that cunt.  Yes, I suspect him of digging up old secrets.  If that’s true, it’s better to part ways love, at least for now.  I’m gonna collect Susan – sorry you won’t get to see us renew our vows.  Love always, Edward.”

The Assassin showed his first human weakness; he headed for the bar.  It’s funny how cruise ship bars look no different than high-class dive bars.  It amused him, at least.  He sat down on the cold, gold colored stool, anxious to taste something eighty proof.  His lips almost quivered.

A gorgeous brunette bartender with an overweight, yet desirably curvaceous figure sauntered over to him.  “Scotch man,” she asked in a sultry voice. She called herself Tracey to some men, Mandy to others.  Tonight she was Trixie.

Smith was born in Ireland.  He hated it.  That’s why he did, in fact, prefer scotch to standard whiskey and nodded at his new best friend.

“Neat.”  Trixie slid the glass over.  It didn’t contain an ounce of ice.

Smith tried to laugh.  Instead, a horrific cackle eked out of him.  It was like someone trying to talk while choking on their own esophagus and it disgusted Tracey, er… Trixie.

She tried not to give herself away, but in this case that’s like trying not to fall right to sleep after fucking your brains out.

Kowalczyk just smiled, then tapped the glass for a refill.

Langley, VA; unlike Palm Springs, was nothing to boast about. Tourists flocked here every year in a misguided attempt to catch clandestine agents running in and out, heading to secret dangers they hoped to one day experience themselves.  Langley was actually filled with CIA paper-pushers – at least to outside appearances.

In the basement of the CIA headquarters, however, Wolf was clinging to life on a medical gurney.  My God, he looked like hell.  A surgeon continued chipping away at his bottom jaw, ripping out teeth and broken bone fragments.  He was restrained, but he was awake.  The screams coming from his exposed throat weren’t human.

Graham came in, Frankenstein admiring his creature.  “Wolf, you’ve never looked better.”

Wolf gurgled.

“I’ll keep this short.  You and your friends cocked up a perfect operation and you’re gonna pay for it, boy.”

Wolf tried to push the doctor away.  He didn’t have the strength.

“The end of that operation, to capture Fred Phelps, meant the end of my promotion to DDO.”  Graham leant over the table.  He put a hand on Wolf’s shoulder.  “Unless you get me Hans.”

Graham’s helpless victim just stared up at him, wide-eyed.  He shook his head side-to-side with great effort.

“What makes you think you got a choice.  You’re my dog now, Wolf.  My bitch!”

Still on the ship, a very drunk, former pro-killer zig-zagged across a side deck.  Smith was plastered and zero shits were given.  He turned a corner and was horrified at what he saw:  Four young men were breaking bottles over the most beautiful nineteen year old boy ever seen.  He had caramel skin, deep brown eyes, an oddly attractive sinewy build, and nice natural waves in his hair.

Something triggered in Smith.  He was back in Dublin , a very built-up city in Ireland.  This was his hometown.  It was idyllic and sleepy.  Aside from a few domestic IRA scuffles, not a lot happened.  

Unfortunately for him, he surely didn’t have the luck of the Irish.  Growing up gay was not something the IRA tolerated.  A group of them turned down the same street Smith had one day, and found him giving a special birthday present to his boyfriend.  In fairness to Smith, his killer instincts had not kicked in yet, and this present required him to be on his knees.  He did not hear anyone approach due to the moaning.

The IRA snatched him up by the neck, smashed a piece of glass, and slit the other boy’s throat.  They made Smith watch his lover bleed out in that alley.  When he finally passed, the gang still needed more fun.  They dropped the bloody piece of glass, crushed it into slivers, and forced them all into Smith’s mouth.  After making him chew them a while, they held his nose and forced him to swallow.  The mystery of his speech problems had finally been solved.

Even drunk and swaying on the water, Smith managed to plug each of the four men with his handgun.  He tossed the men overboard and helped the boy up.  It seemed he was a stowaway – his clothes had not been changed and his feet were dirty.  To return the favor, the boy helped Smith sway back to his stateroom.

His name was Nick.  It took a while before he opened up to Smith, but when he did, he was frank.  Writing back and forth, the two exchanged a few words about who they were.  Nick was a professional thief and bankrobber.  Switzerland had proved too challenging for him.

Right now though, he was in the shower.  Smith watched from the doorway, astonished at Nick’s total lack of boundaries.  The curtain was clear and Smith watched Nick soap every area of his body.  First his lanky arms, then his muscular chest.  When Nick got to his bare buns (of steel), he watched Smith watch him wash them.  They were so tight and firm; Smith couldn’t resist.  He disrobed, stepped into the shower, and shoved Nick against the wall.  Necking, kissing, groping, and when the foreplay was over, Smith opened Nick’s back door.  Nick grabbed one of Smith’s free hands and placed it on his lucky charm.  They got off together.

Smith had forsaken his values a second time.  This time, he prayed, he wanted it to last.

Neither knew that the cruise was nearing an end.  It was going to make port in a few days… in Tokyo.

FADE OUT.

I really hope you enjoyed this chapter!  Feel free to leave comments on ways you might like the story to evolve, and please continue supporting us at TravelPride.  We really appreciate it.  Thank you.  – Ryan MariK

Originally posted 2017-10-21 18:25:31.

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October PrideLight: Our Spotlight on Theatre and Entertainment

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PrideLight seeks 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.

Atlanta, GA

Who: Alliance Theatre Company
Where: Dad’s Garage
When: NOW PLAYING – November 12

http://alliancetheatre.org/production/2017-18/hand-god#section–venue

HAND TO GOD: Regional and community theatres can’t wait to get the irreverent puppet comedy Hand to God on their stages. (We covered the Portland production at Triangle Players last month.) Described as “darkly delightful” (The New York Times), Hand to God – Tony Award nominee, and the most produced play in American regional theater in the 2016/17 season – makes its Atlanta debut. After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry.  Jason’s complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and—most especially—his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason’s puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking personality all its own. Produced in association with Dad’s Garage and performed – appropriately? – in their new theater space in a renovated church, Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality, and the ties that bind us.

Alliance presents Hand to God at Dad’s Garage. Founded in 1995, Dad’s Garage is a non-profit comedy theatre located in the heart of Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. With award-winning improv comedy, scripted shows, and a fully-stocked bar, it’s a major part of Atlanta nightlife and a great venue for date night. Open Wednesday through Saturday, every week of the year, Dad’s Garage offers improv classes, theatrical plays, corporate workshops, private shows, video production, and more

More from Alliance Theatre in Atlanta:
Where: Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
When: NOW PLAYING – November 25

http://alliancetheatre.org/production/2017-18/crossing-delancey#section–venue

CROSSING DELANCEY: The play that inspired the hit film, Crossing Delancey is the story of Izzy, a beautiful, intelligent, single young woman, and her 80-year-old Bubbie, who is determined to see her granddaughter get married before she dies. Giving Cupid a nudge, this irascible granny hires a matchmaker and sets out to find her granddaughter the perfect mate. But will Sam, the neighborhood pickle man, be the kind of man Izzy has in mind? Performed at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s warm and intimate Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, this hilarious and heartwarming play takes a bemused look at the clash between traditional Jewish-American immigrant culture and the more modern aspirations of the next generation.

“The MJCCA is pleased to welcome the Alliance Theatre’s production of Crossing Delancey. This play’s themes of family, memory, and finding one’s soulmate celebrate and complement the mission of the MJCCA.” -Noah Aronson, Chair MJCCA Arts & Culture

The Alliance Theatre puts world-class work on stage, but prides itself as one of the most successful and respected acting education programs in the country. Devoted to theatre, arts, and arts education; Alliance has won awards for its work and advocacy.The company has become one of the leading theatres in the Southeast, creating the powerful experience of shared theatre for diverse people.

Boston, MA

What: 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show
Where: South End/Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
(presented by Sleeping Weazel theatre company)
When: November 3 – 11

3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show turns minstrelsy inside out and upside down in a blend of song, dance, video, and storytelling, at turns hilarious and terrifying, and sometimes both. A new piece inspired by Scruggs’ original 3/Fifths, which enjoyed a critically acclaimed NYC premiere in May 2017, this lean, mean theatrical machine features three high-voltage actors slyly performing this country’s racist history and ongoing need for dialogue and change. This show is dangerously fun!

Sleeping Weazel is a critically-acclaimed, Boston-based multimedia theatre company whose socially progressive, experimental work crosses and confounds the boundaries of “mainstream” and “avant-garde” as well as boundaries between art forms. The company has presented a dozen productions of original works and is currently a resident company at Boston Center for the Arts. They are also a member of the Resident Lab at Charlestown Working Theatre. Sleeping Weazel works from the premise that the best live theatre celebrates the ridiculous, the sublime, and the earth-shattering. Combining bold, experimental style with social justice ideals, the company motto, “Making Different Possible,” means “we dream awake” with audiences in Boston, and beyond. http://www.sleepingweazel.com/

What: A Guide for the Homesick by Ken Urban
Where: South End/Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
(presented by Huntington Theatre Company)
When: NOW PLAYING through November 5

Huntington Theatre Company brings together rising star playwright Ken Urban (Huntington Playwriting Fellow) and director Colman Domingo, a face many will recognize from his starring role on AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead.” The Story: On his way home after a year in East Africa, a young aid worker goes back to a shabby Amsterdam hotel room with a fellow American. The two strangers look for redemption from their pasts and confess their shared fear that they betrayed the people who needed them most. A passionate encounter becomes a chance to confront the truth in this new play.

Performances run Tuesday through Saturday evenings with matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Approximate running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Tickets range from $20-$85 with discounts offered for students, people under 35, and seniors.

“Ken Urban is one of the most exciting writers and most generous of human beings. The Huntington is a theatre where I’ve created groundbreaking work with Mary Zimmerman (Journey to the West) and with Lisa Kron (Well). What an exciting time to dive into the deep end of the pool with Ken’s latest work A Guide for the Homesick. A home that is built to examine our inner human struggles and global crisis. I am thrilled to be at the helm of this collaboration,” -Director Colman Domingo

Peruse other upcoming Boston productions and purchase tickets for both of the shows mentioned above at www.bostontheatrescene.com.

Previously Recommended in PrideLight:
What: Wicked Queer (a series of films with a queer perspective)
Where: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
When: Ongoing
Tickets, Titles, and Show times: www.wickedqueer.org

Chicago, IL

What: Hard Times adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company
When: NOW PLAYING through January 14

The Industrial Age is in full swing as the citizens of Coketown stumble through the smoke-choked streets. But when a small traveling circus comes to town, a ray of hope flickers through the gloom. Artistic Director Heidi Stillman adapts and directs this timeless, Dickensian tale of haves and have nots, toil and greed, beauty and hope.

The Lookingglass Theatre Company combines a physical and improvisational rehearsal process with training in theatre, dance, music, and the circus arts. We seek to redefine the limits of theatrical experience and to make theatre exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all. Recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Lookingglass has built a national reputation for artistic excellence and ensemble-based theatrical innovation. Notable world premieres include Mary Zimmerman’s Tony Award-winning Metamorphoses.

It’s really not enough to merely read about this theatre company. Check out the visual feast of imagery and movement that Lookingglass typically serves up in Chicago. I’d recommend planning a trip to see this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=0cgK7SGdJzk

“Heidi Stillman—in her finest, most nuanced work as both adapter and director—has crafted a show of tremendous grace and heart, darkness and light. She has brought to life a Victorian-era epic that bursts with wit and whimsy, and all the outrage, hope, severity, and sentimentality of the novel.” – Chicago Sun-Times

Previously Recommended in PrideLight:
What: A Perfect Arrangement
Where: Pride Films and Plays at Pride Arts Center
When: NOW PLAYING-October 22
Tickets: www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

What: Life Sucks by Aaron Posner “sort of adapted from Checkov’s Uncle Vanya”
Where: Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth
When: NOW PLAYING through November 12

Life is, like, really hard. It’s tough being the gorgeous woman desired by all but understood by none. Or the homely girl with a heart of gold. Or the middle-aged man insightful enough to see the cavernous depth of his own failings. A quirky and deeply human new installment in the Chekhov cycle in this regional premiere from the playwright of Stupid F*cking Bird – full of all the delight and charm that love and longing can inspire.

Stage West has risen from modest, storefront beginnings to a highly-respected place among American regional theatres. Over the years, the theatre has produced a wide range of works – classic American and world drama, Shakespeare, Shaw, contemporary Broadway plays and musicals, as well as new works by aspiring playwrights, including 12 world premieres.

Previously Recommended in PrideLight:
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: NOW PLAYING-October 22
Tickets: www.DallasTheaterCenter.org 212-880-0202

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.

This show is getting rave reviews. Here’s a taste in this “making of” mini-documentary about Dallas Theatre Center’s Hair at the Wylie Theatre in Dallas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1YBOO_Pp1Q

Guthrie, Oklahoma

What: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Where: The Pollard Theatre Company
When: NOW PLAYING – October 28

You’re thinking, “Where in the world is Guthrie, Oklahoma, and why would I want to go there?” Believe it or not, there’s a thriving theatre community in the Oklahoma City Metro area, and this city has had quite a passionate love affair with Hedwig.

Starring as “Hedwig” at The Pollard will be Matthew Alvin Brown who performed the role in its self-produced Oklahoma premiere at OKC’s StageCenter in 2002, then soon after at The Nightingale in Tulsa, The Opolis (Norman, Ok), the IAO Gallery (OKC), and The Sooner Theatre (Norman, OK), then again at The BOOM drag club and dinner theatre in 2008. When a group of Hedwig aficionados decide you’re going to see Hedwig, it doesn’t matter how “red” your state is; you are going to see Hedwig, thus the Wig was introduced to Oklahoma.

A few years after The BOOM production, there was a growing fan base and enough of a buzz among Oklahoma Wig-lovers to bring the show to the Freede Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall. OKC Theatre Company did a two-week run of the show at the Civic Center with Brown, director Christopher Castleberry, costume designer Christopher Sieker, and most of the original band and cast reassembled including Renee Anderson as “Yitzhak.”

Brown switches seats and climbs into the co-director’s chair next to artistic director Jerome Stevenson in The Pollard’s Hedwig (with Tulsa Project Theatre). He’ll perform the role through the first half of the run, then hand off the Wig to local favorite Jared Blount for the second half. (Clever marketing, guys. Now, I’ll have to see it twice!) Get your tickets here: https://tickets.thepollard.org/. You can sit/dance/sway/fist pump next to me.

(Full disclosure: I live in Oklahoma and am darn proud of the arts scene here. People that persevere to make art – queer art – happen in middle America have to be a dedicated and passionate bunch. In other words, we like our theatre down here.) Expect an energetic, immersive, and passionate performance of Hedwig in Guthrie, but don’t wait to get your tickets. The shows typically sell out.

Now here’s the “where” and “why” on Guthrie, Oklahoma. Located approximately 40 minutes from OKC’s Will Rogers World Airport, charming Guthrie is the town that time forgot (in a good way…ok, ok… In some ways, admittedly). You are venturing into “red state” country, but be not afraid. Chances are, you won’t be the only fabulous person there.

While just over a century old, the state of Oklahoma and Guthrie (it’s Territorial Capitol) has a surprising selection of antique malls and boutiques that will tickle the fancy of pickers and collectors of every stripe. The historic town’s ongoing restoration efforts make its downtown area the largest Historic Preservation District in the nation. Take a trolley tour through downtown to find fascinating history, one-of-a-kind stores, and more than a dozen Bed & Breakfasts housed in charming Victorian-era buildings or in a lovingly restored Victorian home, some within walking distance of the theatre. Discover the diverse collections of Guthrie’s many museums, including the Oklahoma Territorial Museum.

The Pollard Bed & Breakfast is located next to The Pollard Theatre and consists of 12 beautiful guest rooms, each with a private bath and individual temperature control. This B&B is decorated with a Victorian flair and is filled with antiques and historic charm. The Eager-Hirzel building was built in 1904 and originally housed the Guthrie Savings Bank. The hallways and suites are full of beautiful antiques and histories of past influential people of Guthrie and Oklahoma. Check out, https://www.pollardbb.com/. If they’re booked or fall outside your budget, there are several other top-rated Bed & Breakfasts in Guthrie, and autumn is a lovely time to visit this part of the country.

London , U.K.

What: The Exorcist
Where: Phoenix Theatre
When: NOW PLAYING – March 10, 2018

Inspired by true events, The Exorcist is William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel, which captured the attention of an entire generation. Adapted into a highly controversial 1973 horror film, the terrifying tale is unleashed into the West End for the first time ever, in a unique theatrical experience that is bound to petrify London audiences.

Award-winning film and theatre director Sean Mathias leads the production, which is set to play at the Phoenix Theatre throughout autumn and winter. Widely considered to be one of the scariest stories of all time, William Friedkin’s two-time Academy Award-winning masterpiece shocked audiences into fainting, and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time. After a hit season at Birmingham Rep, the majority of the original cast transfers with the production. Now, The Exorcist creeps on to the Phoenix Theatre stage for a strictly limited season, just in time for a very chilling Halloween.

Performances are at 8pm Monday-Thursday, with two showings at 4pm and 8pm on Saturday. Friday performances are at 6pm and 9pm.

Find tickets at https://www.phoenixtheatrelondon.co.uk/the-exorcist/ and see a glimpse of the terror here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxlgo4X1JGk

What: Of Kith and Kin
Where: Bush Theatre
When: NOW PLAYING – November 25

Daniel and Oliver are about to have their first baby with best friend Priya as surrogate. They’ve turned the study into a nursery and the bottles are sterilized. All that’s missing is the bundle of joy they’ve been pining for. But when Daniel’s chaotic mother crashes the baby shower, the cracks in Daniel and Oliver’s relationship begin to show. Are they as ready for this as they think they are? Everyone knows you can choose your friends. Chris Thompson’s gripping new comedy takes us to the heart of what happens when we choose our family too.

The Bush Theatre co-produces Of Kith and Kin in association with Sheffield Theatre. Now in its newly renovated space, the Bush Theatre invites you to come for a drink in the Library Bar, discover plays in their Reading Room, or see a show. It’s a one-stop destination (for theatre nerds, but yes, for you as well). For tickets, call 020.8743.3584 Mondays-Saturdays from 10:00am-6:00pm. Bookstore is open until 11:00pm. Purchase your tickets here: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/

Los Angeles, CA

What: Bright Colors and Bold Patterns written and performed by Drew Droege
Where: Celebration Theatre at The Lex
When: NOW PLAYING through October 25

Written and performed by Drew Droege (Drunk History, Bob’s Burgers, and the internet’s “Chloe”) and Directed by Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, Modern Family, and Logo’s Cocktails & Classics), Bright Colors And Bold Patterns is a riotous new solo play that storms the stage with ferocity and wit, called a “sidesplitting rant on gay marriage” and “hilariously expressive minimalist perfection” by critics (Annenberg Digital News, Stage Happenings LA) when it last ran in Los Angeles.

Josh and Brennan are about to get married in Palm Springs on a lovely Saturday afternoon. However, the night before becomes a drunken, drug-fueled scream riot, because their friend Gerry has arrived, furious that their invitation says “please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns”. In the struggle for equality, what do we really want? What do we lose? And is there any cocaine left?

Celebration was founded in 1982 by gay rights pioneer and co-founder of the Mattachine Society, Chuck Rowland, and continues to provide a safe and supportive forum for professional and emerging LGBTQQIA writers, directors, designers, and performers, giving voice to the full experience of gay culture. And in the past decade, the theater has expanded outreach into its own community, offering educational and family programs, as well as partnering with numerous community organizations, like the LA Gay & Lesbian Center and Congregation Kol Ami. Over 30 years later, Celebration remains the only professional theatre with the mission of creating an outlet for LGBTQQIA voices in Los Angeles.

Bright Colors and Bold Patterns is selling out fast. Here are some other titles with tickets still available that are NOW PLAYING at Celebration Theatre So Long Boulder City starring Jimmy Fowlie, and The View UpStairs a new musical by Max Vernon. Explore various ongoing events and purchase tickets: https://www.celebrationtheatre.com/

If you’re headed to Celebration Theatre, here’s some helpful hints on parking and getting to the theatre: https://www.celebrationtheatre.com/faq

What: Head of Passes by Tarell Alvin McCraney directed by Tina Landau
Starring Phylicia Rashad
Where: Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum
When: NOW PLAYING through October 22

An astonishing, deeply moving new drama about family, acceptance, and the power of faith from MacArthur “Genius Award”-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays, Oscar® winner for Moonlight), featuring Tony Award® winner Phylicia Rashad.

At the mouth of the Mississippi River, Shelah’s family and friends have come to celebrate her birthday and save her from a leaking roof. But in this contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job, unexpected events turn the reunion into the ultimate test of faith and love. As her world seems to collapse around her, Shelah (Rashad) must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s greatest challenges in this poetic and piercing new play.

As one of the nation’s most influential nonprofit theatre companies, Center Theatre Group proudly continues a 50-year tradition of using the art of theatre to broaden horizons and illuminate new perspectives.

Find tickets ranging from $20-$99 for Head of Passes at Mark Taper Forum: https://www.centertheatregroup.org/

New York

What: KPOP conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim,
book by Jason Kim, music and lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon
Where: Ars Nova at A.R.T
When: NOW PLAYING in an extended run through October 21

Have you been sitting on a plane all day on your way to New York? Does the thought of sitting in a theatre seat make you want to run? Ars Nova has the antidote. This show moves, and so will YOU! Ars Nova presents the world premiere of KPOP, and promises that America will never be the same. Inviting you into an immersive performance with the Korean pop music factory where stars are made…and broken, they describe the show as an “all in” experience. Zachary Stewart of Theatremania calls KPOP “the most ambitious off-Broadway musical of the year.”

Ars Nova is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Dubbed by The New York Times as a “fertile incubator of offbeat theater,” Ars Nova blurs genres and subverts the status quo. Ars Nova gives voice to a new generation of artists and audiences, pushing the boundaries of live entertainment by nurturing creative ideas into smart, surprising new work. Ars Nova has been honored with an OBIE Award and a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for sustained quality and commitment to the development and production of new work.

Ars Nova want you to be aware of the following:
-All audience members will be standing, walking, and climbing stairs. We strongly suggest wearing comfortable shoes.
-For your convenience and the safety of the performers, there will be a mandatory, complimentary coat-check.
-There is no late-seating or re-entry. Please arrive early, use the restroom and take advantage of the cheapest drinks in midtown!
-KPOP is wheelchair accessible. If you require accessible seating or have mobility issues, please purchase Wheelchair Accessible tickets. Please note, there is no Transfer Arm Seating for this production. If you have questions about accessibility, please reach out to Christopher Pritchard.

The show runs 2 hours 30 minutes with an intermission. Shows are Mondays through Wednesdays at 7:00, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00, and check to see if a 3:00 pm matinee is offered during your NYC excursion. Tickets are $25-$100. Buy them at http://arsnovanyc.com/KPOP. If the show is sold out online, don’t despair. Ars Nova wants to fill the house each night and get as many people in to see this show as possible. “Stand by” tickets are typically available. The Waitlist forms outside the theater every night to scoop up the seats vacated by cancellations and no-shows. Thirty minutes prior to every performance, names are taken in the order of the line. First come, first serve, and no guarantees. (Worth the risk in my opinion. If you get through the door on this hot ticket, can I be your date?) Starting October 9, Ars Nova is holding 10% of the house at $25 for audiences under 30 years of age. No advance sales on this deal, so show up early ready to line up and grab yours at least 30 minutes prior to curtain.

What: Jesus Hopped the “A” Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Where: Signature Theatre (Irene Diamond Stage)
When: NOW PLAYING through November 12

Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy) begins his Residency at Signature with a new production of his darkly comic meditation on redemption and faith, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, directed by Obie Award-winner Mark Brokaw. Angel Cruz is a 30-year-old bicycle messenger awaiting trial for the death of the leader of a religious cult. Inside Rikers Island, a terrified Angel is befriended by a charismatic serial killer named Lucius Jenkins. Lucius has found God and been born again, and now, Angel’s life and the course of his trial will be changed forever.

Signature Theatre  invites you to a chat after the show with the cast and creative team about their process creating the production on October 12, 12; November 7, 9. On November 5, at 4:30pm, come together with fellow audience members to discuss the play with each other. Have your questions answered, explore the play’s themes, and discover where the conversation leads you!

Find tickets and read about upcoming shows at Signature.

Previously Recommended in PrideLight:
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
Tickets: Check www.theclementecenter.org for upcoming titles in this exciting series. Admission is $15 per performance.

What: Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein, Directed by Moises Kaufman
Where: Second Stage Theater at Tony Kiser Theater
When: NOW PLAYING
Tickets: 212-246-4422
The theater 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: NOW PLAYING through October 28
Tickets: $40 general admission. Explore www.rattlestick.org to purchase tickets and find out more.

Portland, OR

What: Insignificance by Terry Johnson
Where: Defunkt Theatre Company
When: NOW PLAYING – November 18

Award winning playwright Terry Johnson imagines a 1950’s hotel room in which The Scientist and The Actress (who look suspiciously like Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe) meet and discuss the universe, guilt, regret, America, and the meaning of life. They are interrupted by two Joes: The Senator and The Ballplayer (looking an awful lot like McCarthy and DiMaggio), who bring with them the menace and mayhem of the outside world. Co-Artistic Director Andrew Klaus-Vineyard follows last year’s celebrated production of HIR with this searing evening of theater that the London Independent says “transports us to the birth of celebrity culture” and “has a rare quality of timelessness about it” that has grown timelier with age.

Known for imaginative productions of bold, provocative material, Defunkt is Portland’s destination for theater that makes you think and feel and talk about afterwards. The Oregonian described their 2010-11 season as “fearless and unflinching” and writes “Defunkt Theatre reminds us why risky theatre is worth our time,” while Kevin M. Thomas (San Francisco Examiner) says “If you want exciting theatre in Portland, I would race right now and get tickets to Defunkt Theatre.”

Located in the heart of the vibrant and historic Hawthorne district (with an entrance located inside Common Grounds Coffee Shop) , Defunkt is a distinct presence in Portland’s arts community. No other company offers more to the public at such a low cost. With a deep belief and commitment to the idea that theatre should be accessible to all, Defunkt recently embarked on its first “Pay-What-You-Will” season, but you can reserve tickets here: http://www.defunktheatre.com/show-seats/

San Diego, CA

Previously recommended in PrideLight:
What: Homos, OR Everyone in America by Jordan Seavey
Where: Diversionary Theatre
When: NOW PLAYING thru October 15
Tickets: www.diversionary.org
This show is getting great reviews, so if you’re in San Diego this weekend, put this at the top of your “to do” list.

San Francisco, CA

What: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Where: Davies Symphony Hall
When: October 31, 8:00pm

Kicking off a long-awaited eight-city tour, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra are headed to the States for a soulful series of concerts that calls for peace in this unsteady world. Conducted by its Music Director for Life Zubin Mehta, and exciting triple program awaits patrons at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. (Click the link for tickets to this and other music events at Davies Symphony Hall.)

The concert kicks off with noted film composer Amit Poznansky’s Footnote Suite, followed by Beethoven’s celebrated Symphony No. 3 Eroica, which has remained one of his most popular works. Next will be Ein Heidenieben by Johann Strauss. The program features Grammy Award-winning Israeli-American pianist Yefim Brohfman.

Formed in 1936 at a time when many Jewish musicians were being ejected from European orchestras, its inaugural performance took place in Tel Aviv in December of that year.

Tickets range from $124 – $260. Helpful hints on getting to Davies Symphony Hall and parking.

Previously Recommended in PrideLightDrop by Un-Scripted Theater Company Saturdays at 10:00pm 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

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!

Read last month’s PrideLight.

 

Originally posted 2017-10-19 16:35:23.

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