Friday, February 22, 2013

MOVIE DEAREST - Cinematic Views and Reviews for Gay and Gay-Friendly Movie Fans

My colleagues at Movie Dearest, Chris Carpenter and Kirby Holt, have locked horns and decided which films they would choose for the major Academy Awards. And they have some stunning poster designs on display as well. Enjoy.

MOVIE DEAREST - Cinematic Views and Reviews for Gay and Gay-Friendly Movie Fans

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Berkshire Churches More Accepting to LGBT community

I don't write here very often, but some wonderful news recently arrived for LGBT folks who have wanted to reconcile their personal spiritual beliefs with the hatred inflamed by misguided Republicans in search of a few votes from those that hate and revile gays.

Joe Durwin reported on progress being made here in the Berkshires on accepting a broader spectrum of humanity into their churches. Recently Pittsfield's Congregational Church issued a stunning affirmation of welcoming diverse worshipers.

The First Congregational Church statement reads as follows, and there are reactions from me and others.:

"Following the spirit of Jesus, we embrace the diversity of God's creation. We welcome people of any sexual orientation, gender identity, family structure, race, ethnic, or cultural background and ability. Everyone is invited to participate fully in the worship and ministry of First Church."

Jason Verchot, president of the LBGT advocate organization Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition, said he applauds First Church "for stepping forward and promoting a message of acceptance."

"I think it's reaffirming to see religious institutions change their views in order to be more accepting of diversity. As their statement says, Christ promoted acceptance of all God's children, and if you preach Christianity, then I believe you should embrace the entire message, not just the parts that are convenient for your world view," he said.

Larry Murray, who pens the blog Gay in the Berkshires, said that Pittsfield's First Congregational had been identified to him earlier as one that welcomed same-sex marriages.

The full story by Durwin has just been posted on iBerkshires and you can read the article here:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why are those Smiling Mormons so happy to take away our rights?

I've met those happy, smiling, deluded Mormons many times over the course of my life. My first experience with their Stepford Wives style bliss was when I was in the Navy, and let me tell you, it was a lot like that wonderful movie, Latter Days. Only back then, Mormons treated not only gays as sinners, but black folk were not fit to be part of their church either. But this is not about a religion that discriminates, it is about a cult that tries to make LGBT second class folk, as they did with their energetic support of banning gay marriage by funding the Proposition 8 campaign in California. Not only did they provide most of the money for the misleading television ads that led to the electoral disaster for us, but they provided the boots on the ground to sway the public which had been supportive prior to the involvement of the Mormon church and its supporters.

In the Berkshires we can see two aspects of this epic battle between the gay community and that church in two upcoming events. They document the Mormon role in gay oppression, which when combined with the hostility from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, continues to give bigots cover for their ongoing discrimination against hard working, tax paying LGBT's.

8:The Mormon Proposition

The first of these is a March 17 screening of the Dorian Award winning documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition at Mass MoCA with the filmmaker, Reed Cowan, present for a follow-up Q & A afterwards. It should be a fascinating evening. Full details of this event can be found on our main site, Berkshire on Stage.

As California's anti-gay marriage proposition 8 languished in the polls, Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson issued a call from Salt Lake City to millions of Mormons all over the world. His was an order to action containing the secret code language of the highly secret Mormon temple ceremony. The action alert commanded Mormons in and out of California to do all things necessary to insure the passage of California's Proposition 8. Within days, hundreds of thousands of Mormons all over the United States funneled thirty million Mormon dollars in to California coffers to purchase the passage of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.

Before the Mormons and their participation in the passage of Proposition 8, evangelicals were flopping in the fight. After Mormons got involved, the fight flourished.

During the fight, the Mormon Church media-engine, including mega-million dollar public relations and political consulting firm support, barraged Californians with a suffocating number of misleading television and radio ads and door-to-door campaigns manned by the Mormon NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE.

When Prop. 8 passed in California by a slim margin, Mormons were quick to take credit for the success. But when backlash from LGBT citizens targeted Mormon temples throughout the United States, the Mormon Church was the first to complain that they were the ones being persecuted.

In the wake of it all, documentary producer Reed Cowan was collecting secret recordings, secret documents and never before seen footage exposing Mormon efforts to quash ANY rights for LGBT citizens anywhere in the world. 'As a former Mormon missionary, I am appalled in knowing that a church which itself worships the practice of alternative marriage (polygamy), would become so vehemently involved in the marriage debate,' he said.

Mormons, Mothers and Monsters

Happy Mormon Missionaries
Meanwhile on a lighter and more sympathetic note, there is the new Will Aronson musical Mormons, Mothers and Monsters that will receive its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company this summer. The tale of a young, emotionally tortured Mormon with a secret, it has a wholly new score with some delightful songs in the spirit of Broadway musicals. I was fortunate enough to hear some of them last Labor Day weekend, and was so impressed I wrote about them in Berkshire on Stage. You can find lots more information on this important event from the Barrington Musical Theatre Lab in this article.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Visit me at Berkshire on Stage

As Berkshire on Stage has grown in size and scope, it is also claiming more of my available time. Please visit me there, and if you wish to see articles, interviews and stories with a LGBT focus, just select that category.

Thanks for your readership and support.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Colonial's LGB lineup: Kate Clinton, Tommy Tune and Ani DiFranco

Tommy Tune is an idol for aspiring Broadway actors.

November at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield is going to be a rare and special month with three great artists - and members of the LGBTQ community - slated to hold forth on their stage. First up is Broadway's legendary Tommy Tune who at 6' 6" is likely the tallest song and dance man to ever grace the Broadway stage. Winner of many Tony Awards he brings the Manhattan Rhythm Kings plus a backup trio with him on Friday, November 12 at 8:00 PMas we detail in this advance story in Berkshire on Stage. Tommy came out in his memoir, Footnotes.

Kate Clinton is Lady HaHa.

The next night the funny and thought-provoking Kate Clinton brings her Lady HaHa tour to the Berkshires for a taste of the Provincetown Women's Week club scene in the naked Berkshires. (I am talking about the trees post-foliage season.) We had a wonderfully revealing chat with the former school teacher turned stand-up comic which you can also find in Berkshire on Stage, and she said she loved being the second oldest living lesbian comic, while naming the first. She also talks about her pal HIllary Clinton, Arianna Huffington and Al Franken, and speculates on the health of Dick Cheney, admitting she combs the obits every day looking for good news. Her November 13 9=8:00 PM performance at the Colonial sponsored by the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition and The Rainbow Times is only her second appearance ever in the Berkshires. She will be appearing with Roy Zimmerman. More about him in this second Berkshire on Stage story.

Ani DiFranco and her daughter. Courtesy Parenting Magazine.

Then there is the bisexual Ani DiFranco who probably loves her guitar more than any particular partner, though not as much as her daughter Petah Lucia who is now approaching four. Her fluid sexual identity is as famous as her independence in the music business. My story on her is in the works, and will appear shortly. She is at the Colonial on November 16 at 7:30. She will be appearing with special guest Melissa Ferrick.

For tickets to any of these concerts, visit the Colonial Theatre website.