Thursday, August 21, 2008

NYC Events: Black & LGBT, protests of "Tropic Thunder"

Update: the link to listen to the WBAI interview is right here. It's about an hour long, but if you want to jump right to the Tropic Thunder protests, they're about 2/3 of the way through. This is worth the listen-to. I was agreeing with the protests for very surface-level reasons (I agree that "retard" is a very hurtful and insulting word) and this interview made me see some much deeper sides to the argument against the use of the term, and the treatment of characters with developmental diabilities within the film. One of my favorite parts is the discussion that a basic tenant of civil rights is the ability to name oneself. When people decide for you what you are to be called, it strips a person of their civil liberties. Amazing.

Last night I saw Aurin Squire’s new play “Submerged from All Sides…” for FREE at South Oxford Space. His play, which will be on tonight at 7pm as well, is part of the Freedom Train Productions’ 3-week festival “Fire!” which focused on new political plays featuring Black LGBT protagonists and playwrights.

[Image Description: The playbill for “fire!”. It is a long sheet of white paper with black and red lettering. “Fire” is in bright red with the exclamation mark in black, the word is centered on the top of the page. Underneath it, in red “Plays in development that matter” and in black below that “3 plays 3 black LGBT s/heroes All Free!” beneath that information on the space and times are in black and red. At the bottom of the flyer is a jumbled pile of the letters that spell “fire” in various fonts.]
I urge readers in the NYC area to see “Submerged” tonight! It was wonderful and free, with a 6-person case who really energized the room with their talent. What we saw were excerpts of a 3-hour(!) play which focuses on the character Me, a young Black gay man who is an aspiring writer. Surprisingly, the play was complex enough that throughout the reading I found myself both annoyed and pissed at the protagonist and chuckling with him as he bitterly joked through his encounters. Especially his encounters with drunk white frat boys and his double-faced agent. That said, I could have really used a bathroom break and I think perhaps another excerpt between the first and second halves of the play which seemed to somehow jar against each other a bit. Regardless, the play was very impressive and the energy of the audience was invigorating. Tonight there will be a talkback with Kai Wright, author of Drifting Toward Love and interim editor at Colorlines. I’m a little jealous that I’m not seeing this talkback myself.

“Submerged from All Sides...”
by Aurin Squire

138 South Oxf
ord Street, Brooklyn
The space and bathrooms are accessible
I don’t believe the subway stop is

(off of the C or the N,Q,R)

The night before, I randomly found about a reading at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture featuring Dr. LaMonda Horton-Stallings, Kimberly Q, and Dr. Herukhuti. Dr. Horton-Stallings was particularly amazing, and her book “Mutha is half a word” promises to be every bit as articulate and insightful as she is, while still being accessible. The reading was posted at the New York public library’s not-often-updated blog LGBT@NYPL which has great events…when they happen. The reading is part of an effort from the Black Gay and Lesbian Archives to showcase Black LGBT, Same Gender Loving, queer, questioning, and in the life writers’ voices, every three months there will be two back-to-back readings…so check out the blog in October for readings coming up! I hate to use the phrase again, but the energy in a room filled with Black Queers and allies is a force to be reckoned with, it’s overwhelming while incredibly comforting. I’m looking forward to the next in this series.

Finally, in a list of New York-centric things, the New York Disabilities Network’s own Lawrence Carter-Long appeared on WBAI Pacifica Radio (99.5FM) this morning to address the protests against “Tropic Thunder”. Also with Lawrence were Tim Shriver of the Special Olympics and Peter Bern from the ARC as well as representatives of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. I haven’t listened yet but I understand you can tune in on their website to listen to the show. People are protesting internationally, and I’ve heard conversations about the protests everywhere from my office to the subway so this is really becoming something big! I'm looking forward to what Lawrence has to say on the subject.

1 comment:

GeorgeR said...

Civil unions and same sex “marriage” is under attack everywhere and it will may not be long before Supreme Court decisions and even Constitutional amendments against them will be attempted much the way freedom of choice is being attack now. I want to tell you about one Progressive Democrat who supports civil unions/marriage according to whatever the LGBT community wants to call it.

A Progressive Democrat, Steve Harrison, running for Congress who supports LGBT causes, was endorsed by the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, is facing a very tight election bid in the 13th CD (Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn) against Mike McMahon who is far more Conservative than Democrat (he sought and almost got the Conservative Party nomination – not LGBT friendly at all). Harrison needs all the help he can get to win the Democrat Primary on September 9, 2008. You can help by spreading the word to all your friends and clubs and whatever to get the vote out in this district in that primary and vote for Harrison, and/or if you have the time to volunteer. Visit his site to learn more about him at the links below.
Marriage Equality
Steve supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. Marriage entitles couples to many federal benefits not extended to same-sex couples, not even to those in legally recognized civil unions or domestic partnerships. This creates a practical inequality and societal injustice for same sex couples that must be rectified. (

Stonewall Democrats Endorse Harrison
The Albany Project

The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a group that advocates for LGBT causes and supports candidates who are friendly to gay causes, has released their list of endorsements for the 2008 election.

The group backed Steve Harrison over Mike McMahon in NY-13. (

Thank you very much for your time.