What does it mean to be represented accurately in Theatre and Film?

There have been a great many voices raised about the current trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, which is in reality a biopic of Freddie Mercury. Without him there would be no band called Queen. Here is the official description from 20th Century Fox:


“‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet . The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid.”


Already we see some misinformation concerning his solo career. Freddie’s album Barcelona recorded with Montserrat Cabellé was used as the theme song for the Summer Olympics in 1992 and did very well commercially. He didn’t ‘suffer greatly’ without his band he was exploring other musical forms. This whole take on his departure sounds like a PR stunt to keep the current iteration of Queen relevant.


What do they mean by “darker influences”? Do they mean AIDS? Well, the press relentlessly hounded him when he was clearly ill. I would consider that “dark forces”, and he certainly didn’t get AIDS from Mary Austin his life long best mate. He did however get it from his sexual partners who were predominately male. Any biographic portrayal of Freddie Mercury that doesn’t address his sexuality is a fraud and an erasure of queerness to placate a heterosexual audience. Not to mention his death from AIDS shook the music industry and the popular culture of the time. His passing is considered a landmark in the history of the epidemic.


Queer erasure unfortunately has been the standard operating procedure for the American film industry for a very, very, long time. Lets look at a brief list.


Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy was not only alarmingly off with story line and plot involving some of the major Greek characters from the cannon of Greek theatre, but Patroclus wasn’t Achilles’ bestie, cousin, or comrade, he was his lover.


Shakespeare’s sexuality has always been a sticking point for many historians. The first half of the cannon of Sonnets are to a boy or youth and the first Juliet was in fact a boy. A fact Stoppard who penned Shakespeare in Love knows full well.


Richard the Lion Heart slept with both men and women and his marriage was childless. Never do we see this reflected in any film iteration of him, although we do see it in the play Lion in Winter.


The famous film Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole has him raped but doesn’t deal with his own sexuality. David Gerrold’s rendition of himself as a queer man adopting a kid in The Martian Child was transformed into a straight widower to appease the Mormon financier backing the film. The character Don Bernam in Lost Weekend is drinking because he is queer, in the movie it’s writers block.

Corporal Fife –Thin Red Line Jones the author of the work wrote that Fife has a sexual relationship with another soldier and the film took it out much to the protest of Jones and his family.


In Henry Fitzroy’s Blood Ties fiction-to-screen conversion we loose his bisexuality.


John Constantine the depiction of the character in Comic Book form is Bi and in the TV series straight.


This is just a sampling of past and present straight washing of queer, bi, and fluid people both of fiction and history in film. Representation matters both in fiction and in fact. Historical accuracy actually does matter because unfortunately people see it on the screen and believe that’s how it must have been.


This also occurs when representing trans, especially trans women, from Jarred Leto in the Dallas Buyers Club to Walter Goggins in Son’s of Anarchy Hollywood continually casts men to play what is essentially a woman’s role. Films want you to believe the authenticity of the characters. This has nothing to do with attraction or desire this has to do with the innermost concept of what you identify as. In the end it comes down to a major miss step by the casting agents, directors, and producers when they view Trans women, they see them as men.


This just doesn’t happen with queer characters and storyline but also with race as we have seen time and time again.


Why does it matter?


First off, as a queer man I am constantly having to read between the lines of anthropologists work who bring their own Christian, binary view that queer is other to their work in turn majorly misrepresenting the cultures they are studying. Important relationships that shift how people think and feel are swept to a byline or not reported at all. This has been used as a tool to say Queerness is an import of the evil west by certain Arab countries denying their own rich history of same sex relations. Chechnya’s round up, torture and disappearing of queer people is still happening with little to no outcry from any major country.

Even on our own soil we are constantly under attack from the right wing religious zealots who think the Handmaid’s Tale is an operating manual. Ignorance and denial, that’s what you support when you support straight whitewashing, when you support racial and sexual stereotypes you make it easier to make us other, and then it becomes easier to remove us.


Stage work and fiction are different from film. Theatre is very rarely about realism, even when it is, there is a separation that is always present. We have cross gender casting, racially blind casting and so on. This doesn’t mean that theatre is getting an A+ in this corner. There are works that simply need to be retired for their outdated two-dimensional portrayal of race and in some cases sexuality.


“Oh stop over reacting” or “You are ruining everything” or “That’s not that important” is what we hear when we bring this up and demand change. Here is where I get to use that word that is flying around a great deal at present, privilege. Dismissal can only come with privilege and status. It doesn’t affect you so why should you care?


Queer folk are not looking for special treatment. We are looking for accurate casting and storylines that reflect the entire story not just the bits that fit the hetero narrative.


So coming back to Freddie Mercury and why his sexuality is important. Thousands of little straight boys thought he was the bomb but they need to remember and acknowledge that one of their icons was bent. Mercury, along with David Bowie, Annie Lenox, and Grace Jones were the vanguard of pushing boundaries and challenging everything. It would do Mercury’s fans well to remember that Freddie was queer and they should perhaps think about that before they put on their Trump hat, use FAG as a slur, or queer bash. When you tell the full story you widen the definition of what we are and are aloud to be.





Boys in the band revival

The announcement of the revival of Boys in the Band featuring Jim Parsons, Zachary QuintoMatt Bomer, and Andrew Rannells. Co-stars will include Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins. Joe Mantello at the Booth Theatre will direct the 50th anniversary production.

In the YouTube video promo bellow they speak of the work as “ground breaking” and still important.




Zach Quinto talks about an “explosion of backward thinking today” At which point I had to ask have you read the play?


The work is nothing but a tired parade of self-loathing characters fulfilling every stereotype that was prominent in the 70s and in some cases lingers today. They fulfill the straight worlds concept of the time, that queer men were sad, sex starved, self- hating alcoholics.

Matt Crowley the playwright reinforces every fear that was heaped on the community at the time, no queer man would ever find real love, happiness, or acceptance.

There is a very good reason it is almost never done, its terrible. It has become a relic of the past and should remain there.

Quinto is right there is a backward movement so why do a work that adds fuel to that fire. This is 2018 we have had some amazing works produced both film and stage that far outshine this work, and look at the queer world with open eyes.


Here is where I am fed up with the machine of Broadway and the hype that will be piled on this undeserving play.

Use your bloody imagination! Stop with the endless revivals of mediocre works.

Take a real risk, and stop being creatively lazy.

Here we have a group of queer men ready to go on stage and work, give them something to actually work with.

So much is being done elsewhere in the field of queer theatre and gender casting, look to the work of Propeller Theatre, the RSC, and the National Theatre and follow their lead.

The RSC recent production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome with a predominately male cast, there is also a re-interpretation from the National of the same work. If you must do a revival pick something that has withstood the test of time, something that is malleable to change but still holds a clear message and is well written. There are heaps of queer stories, literature, and art that has contributed to the world and how we view it, look to Williams, Cocteau, Genet, Lorca, Orton, and Kushner to name a few.



The amount of talent gathered for this project will be left out in the cold by a work that in no way matches the artists involved. Nor does this work deserve a re-mount we have all move way beyond the views expressed and portrayed within Boys in the Band. We no longer should promote such blatant stereotypes. Just as we see Step and Fetch it as reprehensible so should we see this play as equally reprehensible. I can think of no real reason to mount this work again, not everything deserves to be preserved. There is no part of this work that reflects on where we have been and where we are, the real experiences of queer men and women from this time found much stronger voices.


Here is a link to an article in the Guardian concerning where Queer theatre has come from and where it could go.


Q is for queer theatre | Stage | The Guardian






Working in the world of Faire

Currently I’m working at the Great Dickens Faire in San Francisco CA. I am with the beverage department and will understudy Fred, Scrooge’s nephew in a Christmas Carol.

Before I talk about what I have learned let’s look at a little history.

My introduction to Faire came in the seventh grade when we had a group of performers come and work with us from the Patterson’s Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Black Point Forest. My class had a field trip out to the Faire, we got to come up with our own costumes and go through the Living History part of the Faire. I blame them for my love of period work.

The Patterson’s started something that took off in the US from early beginnings to the high points at Black Point. It was at the right time and place culturally and in CA has become the long-standing bar that is set for Renn Faires today. From this sprung the Dickens Faire. It had been a bit nomadic for a while but has settled into a home at the Cow Palace.

As someone who has produced theatrical work and been part of production teams I understand and have participated in the build and tear down of this event. It’s a monumental task watching a city come out of containers, put up, decorated, and worked in for five weeks, then put away again. Liz Martin is in charge of costume and quality control of all outfits worn by staff, and they must pass her requirements as to give the look of the citizens a cohesive feel. Decoration, plumbing, electrical, and carpentry all play their part. There at least 6 stages with constant performances that must be scheduled, live music, an amazing food court that must be plumed, vented and supplied with sufficient electrical power.

Why does it succeed? The Patterson’s have created a culture that they sustain in their approach to the work. Before we open, the vast crew of volunteers who come to work the Faire go through a series of workshops so that everyone is clear as to what we are trying to bring to life. They include history of the time, accents, manners, and improvisation techniques. What we build is a Dickens Christmas, not just a Victorian one. His characters and view of what London was is critical to how the work is presented. There are roughly about one thousand of us operating all aspects, many of these are volunteers. This is a great deal to manage and keep on an even keel. It works because they all want to be there, they are made to feel that what they contribute is vital to the Faire, and has created a community of its own. Something the production team is always aware of and works to sustain.

I’ve had the task of acting several times in this Faire and in a few Renne Faires, sadly not Black Point as this no longer operates. Many non-Faire performers look down their noses at what is referred to as “Faire Acting”. In many cases it is over-the-top, but not always. In the case of the Dickens Faire we not only have characters from his books, but the Adventurers Club featuring prominent historical figures of the time, art classes taught by performers playing the big hitters of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and so on. We even have a Queen Victoria and her brood of children that parade through the Faire.

How does it work? As a good friend of mine who plays Elizabeth the first at a local Renne Faire says “its all about how others respond to you, if you don’t give me status I’m just a lady in a big dress.”

It becomes a working exercise in giving and getting status from others, thinking on your feet, and knowing enough to respond according to the period and character you are playing. The minute the public enters you are onstage, it is basically an 8- 9-hour improvisation. This takes both physical and mental stamina.

What we build is a form of emersion theatre; you as the audience get to step into a set that has been carefully put together to sustain the illusion. We employ some of the simplest and basic theatre artifices and they are incredibly successful.

A few of my former company members have now been a part of this kind of work. When I produced Cymbeline for Butterfield 8 the theatre became a movie set so the performers had to play an actor playing a character in the play. They never left the public view, for some it was terrifying but a great exercise. So if you ever want to really challenge yourself as a performer, join the Dickens Faire for a season. It’s an amazing learning experience and will inform your approach to future work.

If you do come, make sure you attend the Morning Tableau as Mr. Dickens introduces characters you will meet on the streets. This takes place in Fezzywig’s warehouse and at the end Mr. Dickens tells the crowd “welcome to London” The curtain is pulled back to reveal the main thoroughfare of our London streets. Actors and street vendors are in place. It’s simple but still one of the most palpable moments of the Faire.

As a director and producer I have learned many lessons in this environment and employed them to different degrees within my own work. Faire has broadened my view of what theatre is and can be. If you come, say hello, I’m behind the bar at Mad Sal’s.


The State of Queer Film

The history of queer film and characters can be traced back to and before the Haze code as we have seen in the documentary The Celluloid Closet. In many ways we have progressed from these early portrayals and in many ways we have not.


Television has actually led the way with how we see queer folk. In the late 90s and 2000s it was the territory of soap operas before these dramas all but vanished in the U.S. and are still alive in some form abroad. In the U.S. queer storylines could be found in Days of Our Lives, and As the World Turns. In the UK we had queer characters in Hollyoaks, Eastenders, and Emmerydale. Wales gave us People of the Valley. Germany gave us Verbotene Liebe, Spain The Heart of the City, France Les Bleus, Argentina Botineras, New Zealand Shortland Street. When we compare the examples of those made almost everywhere else the U.S. falls short with what they felt they could display on screen. How long did it take queer couples to finally kiss on the U.S. soaps?


However, I wonder if they they paved the way for Sense 8, Brothers and Sisters, Transparent, Six Feet Under, Orange is the New Black, and Greys Anatomy?


Traditional American media is very much one step forward two steps back, it is the pay-to-view channels that are taking greater risks. With all of this in mind what is happening with actual film and the cottage queer film industry?


In the last few years we have had two stand-out queer films take on the mainstream market; Carol and Moonlight. Runners up include Tangerine, a low budget film with a very nonromantic view of life as a trans girl of color trying to survive in LA−an unflinching perspective made on an IPhone with a brilliant sound track.

We also had Grandma with Lilly Tomlin, an out actor and theatre maker and The Danish Girl, which was problematic as to accuracy and casting.


When you scroll through one of the major carriers of queer film, TLA, we have an abundance of gay Rom-Coms, weird thrillers, and poorly made comedies. There is an endless supply of coming out stories and an endless supply of queer teens involved with prostitution and drugs. The voices are primarily male; primarily white and cis gender identifying.


Moving to Wolfe films we at least have categories for Gay, Lesbian, and transgender.

Breaking Glass Pictures website looks to carry primarily foreign queer films usually the strongest of the lot.


We still have a shortage of female voices, people of color, queer people over 30, and a plot line worthy of a full-length film.


Yes we have a ways to go to catch up with the amount of films out there representing queer themes, people, history and so on. Not every film can be Moonlight but do we have to have 6 sequels of Eating Out?


We started out with some amazing pictures in the renaissance of queer film. The UK took off with My Beautiful Launderette, Beautiful Thing, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, as well as Bedrooms and Hallways, and Another Country. The list is quite long.

Merchant and Ivory brought us Maurice, a major film with an A-list cast written by a queer icon E. M. Forester and brought to us by queer filmmakers.

Films dealing with the queer experience seen through race, Looking for Langston, Young Souls Rebel, Paris is Burning, the Watermelon Woman.


The films of Almoldovar not all queer themed, but always with a nod to queer culture and always through a queer lens. The Canadian films Lilies, and I’ve Heard the Mermaid Singing.


These were stories, ideas and performances that were worthy of the praise they have received and still hold up after all this time. There are some beautiful small films coming out of Spain, France, Germany, Mexico and the UK.


Where are the American Queer films worth watching?


We have a plethora of gym toned self absorbed white boys running around having some of the most superficial crises ever brought to film. These scenarios worked for the heyday of the Hollywood films driven by banter and personalities of the 30s and 40s. Most of the performances we get from these gay men are dead from the neck up. Bitchy isn’t a replacement for banter or wit, and if we wanted porn we would be watching it.


There have been some exceptions. Beginners deals with a man who is recently widowed and finally comes out to his adult son. Sordid Lives is a comedy whose main character is defiantly over 30. Also worth mentioning is Big Eden, and The Business of Fancy Dancing addressing what a queer native experience has been.


Topics that are being addressed in the bulk of American queer films is relationships and how the queer community navigates open relationships, and our own definition of family, that in many ways is a good thing. How we conduct our lives is different than the hetero-normative and we should be exploring this within our films and work


What this says is far more telling about queer culture in the U.S. The queer media, film, publications, and advertising are geared to white men of a certain age and financial demographic. This focus is on a group that looks to assimilation as some form of equality. Within these films we continue to minimalize those who do not fit the definition of passing in the hetero world: queers of color, lesbians, and trans, anyone over the age of 30 and certainly no gender fluid, gender queer folk.


As to age it’s not just the queer community that disregards anyone over the age of 30 as having a sex life, dreams and aspirations, or anything interesting to say it’s the media in- general’s approach to everyone.


We are smarter, wittier and much more creative than this. Especially now as we see the rise of the right again we need to stop navel gazing and start making work that looks outward with a queer perspective. As queer artists we need to be asking bigger questions of our audiences and ourselves. The time of making films just for the community is rapidly coming to an end. We need positive representations out there but at the same time we need to start addressing the things that create turmoil and disturbance within our own community. We should be brave enough to look at our failings in diversity and inclusivity. Where does this come from and what are doing or not doing about it? That would be a film I would go to see.






So I have responded to two blogs on this subject and felt like I needed to hash things out on my own turf. The subject has come up regarding several different productions and plays that I have either seen or directed myself.

First I want to address two Shakespeare works that Jeremy Cole addressed in his blog. I like Jeremy we have worked together before and I have seen several of his directorial works. He speaks of two works Shrew and Merchant. He states that both need to be shelved.

As to Shrew I have only seen it twice live and once in film. The first was back in the golden age of American Conservatory Theatre ACT in San Francisco, this was back when they had a in house repertory company and the work reflected it. They did the work in the Commedia dellàrte style, everything was exaggerated and physical, at the time I thought it was very entertaining I was much younger then. I saw the film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; this was really more about their own volatile relationship then anything else. Then an all women’s cast which felt electrifying and subversive.

While at the helm of my own company Butterfield 8 Theatre, now B8 Theatre, we never produced this work, although several company members continued to push for it to be done. By this time in my life I could look at the work through very different eyes, here I agree with Jeremy I cannot find a way into the work and I cannot get past the perceived message of the work. I see it as misogynistic, no matter what spin I was approached with it still left a bad taste in my mouth.

I understand the argument of historical placement, cultural and so on, what does it say to an audience in 2017? I have yet to be convinced on any level that what we leave with isn’t what I want to put forward with my work.

As to the Merchant of Venice my view is quite different. I can only relate to how we as a company approached it. The work has so many different opportunities to frame the questions asked. What is the real cost of love, what are you willing to sacrifice?

I have always seen Shylock as the victim in the work; a man trapped in a world that on one level reviles him and the other uses his services. He is trying to keep his family and faith intact under a constant onslaught of violence and prejudice.

What is the true relationship between Bassanio and Antonio? Bassanio has always struck me as a player, but becomes a different person when he is faced with the fact a man he has used and most likely slept with will die because of the debt he caused him to take on. We had them kiss in the street scene after the courtroom and verdict release Antonio. Not as brothers but as what they had been, lovers.

Portia is an educated woman trapped in her own way to the verdict of her fathers decree. She is smitten with Bassonio but in the end does she realize that she may have picked the wrong casket? Her humorous rant about the ring in the last act has a sting of truth to it. The scene is playful but perhaps now she sees Bassanio as he truly is. In the script she exits alone, not on Bassanio’s arm, or even with him. Where as Nerissa and Gratiano leave together a more down to earth, no nonsense couple with less at stake.

This leaves Lorenzo and Jessica the two who have sacrificed the most to be together. Jessica has given up the most, her culture, family, friends, religion to be with this man. Lorenzo has gone against his culture, standing, and although not mentioned most likely the will of his family. They will never be truly accepted nor will their children. They have only each other.

The only thing we changed was Portia’s line about Shylock when she hands the pair the document giving them all Shylock’s wordily goods at his death. We changed it so that Shylock is in fact dead. I cannot see a point where Shylock chooses to live as a Christian.

This was, and still is my interpretation of the work. However the one point of view I cannot see it through are the eyes of some one who is in fact Jewish. Many feel that it is a stereotype and an overdrawn version of what it is to be Jewish.

My pale comparison is that of my own reaction to the series Will and Grace. Many straight friends, allies, and many queer folk love this show, think it is great and feel it changed perceptions. I find it to be the queer equivalent of Step and Fetch it. Broad stereotypes are paraded throughout the work and celebrated. If at the time of the work we had equal rights and representation across all media then perhaps there would be room for this form of humor. We didn’t and still don’t. This show was in no way ground braking.

So on some level I get it.

Next we come to Melissa Hillman a woman I hold in the highest regard for her writing and work in theatre. She recently posted on the upcoming production of The Glass Menagerie at Cal Shakes. First off it is an all black cast, the work is about family relationships and memory no race or culture holds a monopoly on these themes.

Secondly they have cast an actor who is physically handicapped as Laura; here is where I have a problem.

This echo’s the current production playing in New York; bellow is the New York Times review.

Review: Dismantling ‘The Glass Menagerie’ – The New York Times



For me this is the will of the director imposing his or her vision onto a work that cannot hold it. “My way no matter what cost” has never been a go to for me in directing. Will the text support your idea? If not find another text or devise your own.

Williams is considered to be one of America’s finest playwrights, his work is subtle nuanced and poetical. With all the talk about respect for the playwright where is the respect to his work, where do we draw the line when it comes to interpretation?

What is the play about? It is considered to be autobiographical on many levels and is called a memory play. William’s own sister was mentally fragile and in life is destroyed by a botched lobotomy he dedicated much of his profits to make sure she had a comfortable life outside an institution. Laura,  the theatrical representation of his sister in the play, we are told suffers from a limp brought on by a childhood illness that has also left her mentally fragile.

Its beyond a leap of faith to go from a limp to being confined to a wheelchair or suffering from acute MS. It simply isn’t supported in the text anywhere. The play then becomes all about her physical impairments and not about the journey that Tom (Tennessee Williams) is on and what it reveals about him and his relationships.

This feels more like sensationalism then a well thought out approach

When a role calls for someone in a wheelchair go out and find an actor confined to a wheelchair, or deaf, one that is deaf, or blind. There are things that non-impaired actors simply cannot convey, as hard as they try. This holds true for trans characters as well. Its not about ability its about visibility and opportunity as well as having a visceral understanding to what is being asked.

So in the end my interpretation of this play does not see Laura so physically impaired that she cannot walk unassisted, no wheelchair, no walker, it pulls me out of the trajectory of the work, it is so jarring that I have lost what it is the work itself is trying to convey.

This also challenges me as an artist, what are the limits I put on interpretation and can I see past my own prejudice to view a work in a different way?








As this is actually Pride month I want to reflect on the state of the community, because some ugly truths are surfacing and we need not only to address them but also to grow up a wee bit. I promise to go back to writing about the theatre but this feels too important.


The truth is our tribe is made up of many different people. Some want to function and interact with the world they know, suburbia, middle class, house and kids and dog, others do not, nor do they live by these conventions. Several generations are now pushing hard on the binary system, as well as the western nuclear family model. A model used as a tool to deconstruct indigenous culture, and to control society.


No matter what path we take we will always be other, as hard as you try you will always be seen as outside the norm. Will this change? Possibly, but not in my lifetime.

So my request to other white male queer men, please step up and stop being a tool.

Pride has been turned into a safe event full of liquor stands and rainbow products. It is one giant corporate party. How did we let this happen?

Pride started as a riot, and in some ways should remain one. It has been about equality for all, not just those that pass. Remember, it is the black drag queens, trans women and dykes who threw the first brick, both at Stonewall and Compton Cafeteria in San Francisco. Stop treating fem men and the gender queer as pariah. Stop the blatant racism towards men of color; make room for the trans and gender fluid members whether or not you think they belong. The world puts them in our camp and it is our duty  to make room for them. Stop the ageist crap because you will all be in those shoes no matter how much surgery you can afford. Just stop and try to see the world through their eyes, and then let them speak. Do not speak for them. They have their own voice and their own words. Help them gain a platform for their voice and step back.


As a community we have gone through criminalization, to freedom, to the plague, to equal rights on marriage. The face and voice that has dominated these struggles in the media is that of the white gay man. Who, as time has passed, has consistently taken on an uber masculine front. “Look! We don’t behave like queer men, we are just as manly and, apparently obtuse, as the straight man”


Our difference is what sets us apart, it defines us. It is more than sexual attraction and love–it is in the way we view the world.


With the onslaught of AIDS we pushed a body image of strength, health, hairless and clean. There has always been body worship within the queer community, but we used to have room for many body types. Queer media pushes the buff macho man. The result of this has been a rise of body dismorphia and eating disorders in our young.


As to the response from a large part of the white queer world claiming it’s a “preference” referring to queer men and women of color being sectioned out of dating aps, it is about as transparent as it gets.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.

I say, ”whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.”

These are the words of Huey P. Newton the founder of the Black Panther Party. He knew, as many of my white queer brothers have forgotten, that no one is free until we all are free.

Stop trying to be law-abiding citizens, the perfect community member. Do you think we would have achieved lower AIDS drug prices, the right to marry, the right to be without fear of arrest had we been polite?

Does this make you uncomfortable? Good, because the fight isn’t even close to being over. Things to remember: the disgraceful and shameful petition put forward by queer white folk to exclude and disassociate from Trans people. This is a day that will remain a black stain on our community. (Look up Drop the T petition) started in 2014

Chechnya has installed death camps for queer men in 2017 and our government is not giving them asylum

Gay men in Chechnya are being tortured and killed … – The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com › Opinion › LGBT rights


The evangelical wing has poisoned much of the African nations and continues to spread and preach hate resulting in the persecution and murder of our brothers and sisters trying to live their lives.


How Uganda was seduced by anti-gay conservative evangelicals …

http://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Africa


Why Africa is a hotbed of homophobia | World news | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com › World › LGBT rights


The Christian right, as well as targeting women’s reproductive rights, are removing the rights we had fought for and marched for here on US soil.

Why President Trump Isn’t Anti-Gay Enough for the Religious Right


We have all gotten way to comfortable. Time to sit up, band together, and make a stand. And if Citibank feels like their float isn’t the “message” they want to support, fuck them and their float, this is about our lives and our freedoms.






The perks of cross casting

So no its not a fad its been going on since theatre started. There are many arguments and stances about how we cast regarding gender especially concerning Shakespeare. The Globe wants to do what they refer to as traditional or historical casting of the female roles If they stayed true to historic accounts they would be casting boys no older than 17. We do not cast in this way so we say we are casting in the “spirit” of the Elizabethan theatre. Fine, and then do the same with an all female cast. The audience can come and see the work in two very different ways and find something new in each rendition.

What does casting in this way open up or allow the actor to experience? And again why not start to do it in reverse as several theatres have done and continue to do.


Shakespeare Trilogy review – Donmar’s phenomenal all-female …

https://www.theguardian.com › Arts › Stage › Theatre

Smooth Faced Gentlemen: the all-female Shakespeare co.



How do we apply this concept to contemporary theatre? Currently the company that I founded and now is in the process of moving forward in a new space is about to launch an all female cast of Glengarry Glenn Ross by Mamet. The stipulation from Mamet is that they present themselves as women and not portray the characters to be men. So this is cross casting in a contemporary setting.

Keri Gudjohnsen the director has been wanting to do this project for more than just a little while. I asked why, as those who know me know my views on this playwright, her answer was very clear. “No one writes this way for women.” She is right no one does, there are some great women playwrights out there and some write very gritty and forceful roles for women but nothing to my knowledge of this veracity.

Viewing this world through a different gendered lens opens up a great deal of the content and relationships and brings fresh life to the work.

What does this accomplish? It gives us a window into how we view gendered behavior and what that says about us as a whole in society. Our self imposed gendered boxes get pushed out of shape for the evening and we have to listen and adapt to the work being offered.

The concept of a binary gendered system is being broken down by a new generation of human beings who do not see themselves or the world in a two-color palate. As artists we should be embracing this movement not only to keep theatre relevant to the world we function in, but also to challenge the actors to explore their craft with roles and concepts that challenge them and make them stronger artists, and hopefully people.

As to the production of Glengarry Glenn Ross I have great faith in Keri’s ability to bring this to life, she is driven to do so. I have had the great opportunity to work with her not only as a company member but also under her direction in film. She is focused and clear, I have no doubt the production will be as well.



RSS notes 4 stage blog

  • What does it mean to be represented accurately in Theatre and Film? May 27, 2018
    There have been a great many voices raised about the current trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, which is in reality a biopic of Freddie Mercury. Without him there would be no band called Queen. Here is the official description from 20th Century Fox:   “‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their […]
  • Boys in the band revival February 5, 2018
    The announcement of the revival of Boys in the Band featuring Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, and Andrew Rannells. Co-stars will include Robin de Jesus, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Tuc Watkins. Joe Mantello at the Booth Theatre will direct the 50th anniversary production. In the YouTube video promo bellow they speak of the work […]
  • Working in the world of Faire December 5, 2017
    Currently I’m working at the Great Dickens Faire in San Francisco CA. I am with the beverage department and will understudy Fred, Scrooge’s nephew in a Christmas Carol. Before I talk about what I have learned let’s look at a little history. My introduction to Faire came in the seventh grade when we had a […]
  • The State of Queer Film September 5, 2017
    The history of queer film and characters can be traced back to and before the Haze code as we have seen in the documentary The Celluloid Closet. In many ways we have progressed from these early portrayals and in many ways we have not.   Television has actually led the way with how we see […]
  • Interpretation July 10, 2017
        So I have responded to two blogs on this subject and felt like I needed to hash things out on my own turf. The subject has come up regarding several different productions and plays that I have either seen or directed myself. First I want to address two Shakespeare works that Jeremy Cole […]