The Atlanta Pride Committee and The LGBT Institute at The National Center for Civil and Human Rights has partnered with the Fox Theatre to celebrate the 29th anniversary of the legendary Stonewall Riots. The first-of-its-kind event in Atlanta features a comedy show with Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, June 20 at 8 p.m. Peach got a chance to talk to Wanda Sykes about her sense of pride and the meaning of Stonewall today.
What do you define as the beginning of your career?
I’m from the Virginia, DC area where I started doing standup back in 87’. I caught my first break as a writer for Chris Rock on his show and then moved from behind the camera to being in front of the camera.
You have made a successful career in stepping from writing to performing yourself – are you still involved in writing?
Yes, I write all of my own material, I have my own production company and several TV shows including a show called Face Value on BET. I also work as a consulting producer on Roseanne, She’s a great writer too, and the show has a powerful cast.
As part of the lineup for the Pride Stonewall Celebration of the Fox, what does pride mean to you in this day and age?
Pride is very important for our community. The more we are on the same page, the better.
What relevance do you think Stonewall has today?
I think we see what’s going on with police brutality today resembles what went down with Stonewall – so even today, it’s very relevant. It’s not so much a gay issue but impacts black and brown people more, but as a whole, our community is impacted. We see the same policy continue.
What can people going to the Fox expect from the performance on June 20?
It’s brand new hour I have written, and I talk about race, the administration, and my family. It’s a lot of fun coming up with a new show even though I talk about a lot of uncomfortable things. Humor is great in that way because you can talk about these things, and it resonates more with the audience without it being a rant. It hits them more if they can laugh about it.
You are performing alongside Tig Notaro – what do you have to say about her?
We have the same sensibilities, and we get along great. And she is hilarious too.
How have you developed as a performer – has to be a member of the LGBTQ community changed anything?
No, not really. It just makes me more relaxed, and I feel more confident and comfortable with who I am. It has gotten better from a celebrity point of view, and people like me can be an example to the kids today.
What else is going on in Wanda Sykes’ world?
I’m doing a voiceover for a cartoon, and I have a few projects out there. The Roseanne writers meet at the end of the month, and I’m guest starring in a new show on Comedy Central called The Other Two.
Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro performs June 20 at the Fox Theatre as part of Atlanta Pride’s Stonewall Celebrations. Tickets at foxtheatre.org.
UPDATE: As a result of the insensitive tweets made by Roseanne Barr in late May, Wanda Sykes left her position as consulting producer and writer on the Roseanne show prior to it being canceled by the ABC network.
By Gregg Shapiro
Photo: Sony Classics
Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio (the acclaimed 2013 movie “Gloria”) is having quite a run. His latest film, the lesbian-themed “Disobedience” is now playing in theaters, just as his Best Foreign Language Film Oscar-winner “A Fantastic Woman” (Sony Pictures Classics) is being released on Blu-ray. Notable for the way it depicts a few days in the life of a trans woman in Santiago, “A Fantastic Woman” is at turns fabulous and heartbreaking.
Marina (trans actress Daniela Vega) is a waitress at a restaurant in an amusement park and arcade in Santiago. Her real ambition is to be a singer and when she isn’t singing nights in another restaurant, she’s training with her vocal coach (Sergio Hernández).
She’s in a loving relationship with Orlando (Francisco Reyes), a straight divorcee, who is several years her senior. At dinner in a Chinese restaurant, the night of Marina’s birthday, he presents her with a handwritten IOU “valid for two trips to Iguazu Falls” because he has misplaced the white envelope in which he put the tickets he printed out from his computer after a visit to a sauna.
Back at his apartment, after dinner and drinks, they make love. Orlando wakes up in the middle of the night feeling sick and disoriented. As they leave his apartment to drive to the hospital, he falls downstairs. Arriving at the hospital, with his head banged up and bruises on his body, he’s taken to the emergency room.
The ER doctor is uncomfortable around Marina, unsure how to address her. Regardless, he must deliver the bad news that Orlando has died of an aneurysm. Marina uses Orlando’s phone to call his brother Gabo (Louis Gnecco) and tell him what has happened. Unsure of what to do, Marina leaves the hospital after that.
Because of the condition in which Orlando arrived at the hospital, the police are called to bring her back. There is an awkward scene in which a policeman is questioning her, insisting on using her birth name because her transition is still pending. Fortunately, the sensible Gabo arrives in time to help with the situation.
Gabo is one of the few friendly faces Marina will encounter for a while. Orlando’s ex-wife, Sonia (Aline Küppenheim), still shaken by the divorce, becomes particularly nasty following his death. She’s initially civil to Marina, simply asking for the return of Orlando’s car. However, once they are face to face in the parking garage at Sonia’s office, she takes off the gloves and is cruel and offensive to Marina, even going as far as banning Marina from Orlando’s wake and funeral.
Orlando’s adult son Bruno (Nicolás Saavedra) is even more vicious. Showing up unannounced at Orlando’s apartment (he has his own key) where Marina is currently living (she was in the process of moving in with Orlando). Bruno stakes his claim to the apartment, as well as to Orlando’s dog Diabla.
Perhaps the worst of Marina’s encounters is with Detective Cortes (Amparo Noguera) of the Sexual Offenses Unit. The insensitive interrogation, which includes questions about their sex life and whether Marina was being paid by Orlando (she tells the detective that they were a couple in “a healthy, consensual relationship between two adults”) is only the beginning. Cortes insists that Marina submit to a physical examination, yet another in a series of degradations she must experience in the midst of her shock and mourning.
All the while, as Marina attempts to hold her life together following Orlando’s death, she is also intent on solving a mystery. She finds a key ring with a key and number disc attached to it. After discovering that the key is to Orlando’s locker at the sauna, Marina pays a visit to the spa, in one of the most powerful scenes in the film.
Without giving away too much, it’s safe to say that Marina emerges triumphant. However, what she has to go through in order to become the fantastic woman that she is is probably more than most people would be able to survive.
In short, “A Fantastic Woman” lives up to its name. Rating: A-
By Scott King
“Out and proud!”
Jodie Foster was in a prom dress, mocking 40+ years of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. The members of the Hollywood audience, most of whom were closer to her age than mine, were applauding her, were cheering, were in tears.
I was livid.
“Fuck you, you ungrateful hack!” I yelled at the telly. I was at a Golden Globes party, so such catty remarks weren’t uncommon. But my remark wasn’t catty; it was telling.
I think she hit a nerve.
I couldn’t understand why she still wasn’t coming out, why she was being so glib, why she was talking nonsense about eschewing one’s truth in order to pursue “the right to privacy.”
It’s in the Constitution.
I’ve seen every happy and sad documentary about the Stonewall riots and the early days of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement. I even read a book once. Back then, we were not referred to as LGBT. On a good day, we were referred to as gay and lesbian. Let’s just say the people who called us queer back then were NOT progressive.
These days, even pro wrestlers are “out and proud.” But the stigma still lingers, on both sides of the closet door. Both Jodie Foster and troglodyte pro wrestlers talk about how “mean gays” kept them in the closet. Resplendent, medal-winning Adam Rippon gets chastised in the comments section for talking about his sexuality. “Focus on your skating and keep your mouth shut!” they scream. It’s impressive that they find time to be freelance life coaches in between Trump voting sessions.
At the 2016 Republican National Convention, DT promised to protect LGBTQ Americans from radical Islamic terrorism. It got more than polite applause and more than its share of spilled ink.
But fuck you. What does that shout out with pseudo politically correct terminology mean? Is he suggesting that some other political candidate might NOT protect LGBTQ Americans from violence and terrorism? It’s almost as if we are actual Americans, worthy of our share of constitutional and civil liberties and protections.
I was shocked because I am for some reason consistently shocked by stupidity when PDT declared that doctors and other medical professionals could refuse care to LGBTQ Americans, based upon the doctor’s religious faith.
You can change the terminology, you can polish a turd, but the vitriol and ill-will of the right-wing will always be there, and it will always stink, no matter how many of them get drunk and cruise divorcees at our gay weddings.
Speaking of wedding singers, did y’all see the remake of “It” last year? Or Stranger Things? Although it was cute when Winona Ryder whispered it like it was verboten, I was happy and gay to see that they left in the F-word. As shocking these days as any of the plot twists or imagery employed in those two horror shows, use of the F-word and or even using “gay” as pejorative was as common as shoulder pads in that era.
Imagine ten years before that. Or twenty.
Now, do you see why Jodie Foster may have been hesitant to come out? She was born in 1962, years before the Stonewall riots in 1969. Before the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1973. Before Newsweek magazine published a groundbreaking story on “The American Homosexual” in 1975. Before Harvey Milk beat back Anita Bryant’s Briggs Initiative in California in 1978. Before the AIDS crisis decimated a generation of gay men and brought the remaining generation out of the closet and provided a path for succeeding generations to come out as well.
I was born in 1981, along with Jake Gyllenhaal, Britney Spears, and MTV. We are not quite Millennials, but we are the beginning of what they call the post-Stonewall generation.
Despite the fact that my generation, the 80s babies, are the brokest in history, I feel very fortunate to have been born when I was. I understand and appreciate the difference between the olden days and the new smartphone era of the illusion of ubiquitous acceptance. I know that just because most of my friends are liberal and queer or queer-friendly, that does not mean that we are living in a safe space.
The haters, the portion of the citizenry who feel they are entitled to a white, heterosexual, gender-conforming country, they can all go fuck themselves. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t engage with them.
When I post an m4m missed connections ad on Craigslist and receive a reply from someone sending me a comic strip about how anti-gay Americans are oppressed because they can’t protest a pride rally without being charged with a “hate crime,” I return their email. If they are capable of responding in language that they haven’t stolen from the telly, I will take them even further down the path of dialogue. I don’t see how it could possibly make things any worse.
I am here. I am queer. Come talk to me. I will tell you my story. I will live my truth. I will smash your illusions.
Out and Proud.
Aaron Armstrong moved to Atlanta in 2010 after a ten-year stint in Athens, and now divides his time between Atlanta and his hometown Asheville, NC. He works as a web developer and an Airbnb hospitality manager, and also enjoys working out, complaining about working out, traveling abroad, and a steady diet of pop music, superhero films, and video games. He lives in OW4 with his husband, David, and his toothless cat, Bonk. You just missed his birthday, but you want to get him something, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @craftybast.
– We’re queer and pride month is here
Learn your queer history!
Support your local LGBT businesses
Update the LGBTQ policies at work
Talk to your fellow LGBTQ peeps
Go to a pride event
Support LGBTQ youth
Have a LGBTQ movie night
Support/volunteer with LGBTQ nonprofit
By Jamie Kirk
I am writing this article literally as news is breaking about the insensitive public comments made by Roseanne Barr. So, forgive the tone and the lack of political correctness. She is a raging idiot. Let me be perfectly clear; I don’t care what she said, she just said it publicly. She may have tweeted what many folks think, the issue is, you moron, they are NOT (well was) a top female comedian with the highest-rated network show. Keep your racist and unkind comments to yourself. Your apology fell flat and was likely just an elementary act of damage control.
Obviously, I am on social media, and obviously, I have a TV, so obviously, I can’t ignore what happened or not read the differing points of view based on what Roseanne said. This short and sweet article is not about me using this forum to express “my” point of view, it’s simply to highlight we are not nearly as far as we think we are when it relates to racial equality, gender equality, or behaving like a decent human being.
How in the world do people feel they can call the POTUS a lunatic on a new program? How in the world do people fee it is acceptable to make fun of children with special needs? How in the world do people think it is acceptable to abuse their position of power? How in the world do people feel it is “okay” to run a commercial by which you insinuate you will shoot someone if they don’t treat your daughter right? Killing an innocent teen because you “thought” he had a weapon? All of these examples are recent – very recent even – and show a lack of sensitivity, a lack of human decency and are actually just plain dumb.
Here in Atlanta, more importantly in Midtown, we are excited by seeing same-sex couples at a restaurant, we think it is cute for a transgender to be working at the local Starbucks, and we even do a secret “awwww” when little Johnny has two mommies. However, if we go about 12 miles in ANY direction, those same feelings of love and acceptance are countered with angst, discord, anger, disbelief, hatred and disdain. In many areas outside of the metro city limits, that includes Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, (okay, maybe not San Francisco), Dallas, DC, Asheville or Nashville, they are less than impressed with liberation, tree-huggers and folks that appear free-spirited. They tend to stop and stare at anyone that does not have a Volvo, 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and a four-legged animal running around the perfectly manicured lawn.
Unfortunately here in Atlanta, we get disillusioned by the perceived freedom we see because it appears to be – what’s the word I’m looking for – normal. Newsflash: the definition of normal is the usual, average, or typical state or condition. Seeing a same-sex couple in a fine dining restaurant with a happy anniversary cupcake is not normal in Loganville, Georgia. Nothing against my peeps from Loganville, but the above is not a typical state or condition. I am not using the word normal as right or wrong, good or bad; our normal is far from the definition of our friends and family members 12+ miles away.
Okay, I will not go down a rabbit hole and mention how the all too frequently police brutality instances are beyond comprehension. I am not going to go on-and-on about how certain neighborhoods have had occurrences of inappropriate graffiti on their homes. Maybe I’ll write a full article about the homeless problem and lack of empathy from some small business owners that don’t want a certain element within 50 feet of their awning. There are just so many examples of how disappointing we are in our fight for equality and human rights.
Even though lots of folks are fresh off a trip from Pensacola, heading back from DC or crossing the border from their first international trip of the season, we must come back to reality. And the reality of the situation is that we have lots of work to do here at home. As a community, we have to take action. We can’t continue to be comfortable because things appear to be “okay”. Things are still fucked up, continue to be fucked up and will stay fucked up until we consistently call out the Roseanne’s of the world and let them know ‘no more’. Your ignorance is going to cost you everything you love. Be it racial, gender, age, or sexual discrimination (comments or actions), you won’t win. Love will win, you won’t. Not now, not ever.
By Branden Lee
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say they prefer older men because they’re more mature. That’s not been the case in my experience.
Age doesn’t directly correspond to maturity. Some older guys are immature, and younger guys are more mature. Some men can go their whole lives without any regard for anyone but themselves. Some younger people have had to take care of themselves from a young age and grow up fast. Some older people have never had to struggle, and some younger people’s entire lives have been a struggle.
Lately, I’ve been more into younger men. I was skeptical when they messaged me. My age filter on apps is set to no younger than 24. I’ve always preferred guy closer to my age. Usually within three years older or younger. I like someone that understands my pop culture references and is just at a similar point in life. Perhaps it’s because my parents are only two years apart, so that’s how I grew up thinking couples should be close in age. Maybe it’s because in school all of my friends were in my grade. In college, all of my friends graduated at similar times. I just relate better to those closer to my age.
I’ve hooked up with much older men, and I’ve enjoyed it as much as hooking up with guys my own age. But I can’t fathom a relationship with someone much older. Intergenerational relationships just don’t seem pragmatic to me. They just remind me of gold-digging or mid-life crisis. I want someone that’s going to grow old with me, not grow old much before me. Granted we can all get ill and die at any age, but I’d still prefer to marry and plan my future with a guy that’s close to my age.
The guys I’ve been seeing lately are 23 and 21. A four and six-year difference. I thought I was done with college boys by the time I graduated, but I’ve been so deprived of meeting guys with degrees it seems like a bonus to get with a guy that’s still working on his higher education as opposed to one without one at all. Plus the 21-year-old just graduated, and the 23-year-old is still working on his degree. Ironically, they’re both in law school. I never had good dating experiences with lawyers, since they tend to be the biggest liars.
I’m enjoying these younger men. They’ve chivalrous. Paying for dates, paying for my Ubers home, picking me up for dates, etc. Some guys I hooked up with recently my age and older kicked me out of their hotel in the middle of the night with no regard for how or if I made it home.
These younger men have been inviting me on trips, holiday functions, and introducing me to their friends. All things I never even got to experience with my ex of six months who was older than both of these guys.
It doesn’t matter how old they are; it matters how they treat you. Don’t dismiss younger men because of stereotypes. Granted a lot of them are fuckboys, still figuring themselves out and learning what they want. That can be said for older men too.
I do think the whole age not corresponding to maturity indeed impacts gay men because we all come out at different ages. We’re all on different stages of our journey of becoming comfortable with our sexuality and finding our place in the gay world. Maybe the guy you like just came out and is in his slut phase. Maybe you’ve done that already, and you are ready to find a partner. Find someone you love, that loves you, and wants the same things. Regardless of their age – well as long as it’s legal.
By Gregg Shapiro
Now that most of the country has thawed out from one of the lengthiest winters on record, everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. The following titles are suggestions for reading on a park bench, at the beach or anywhere the sun is warmly shining on you.
Thanks for the memoirs
Not only is Jake Shears a talented singer/songwriter and all- around magnetic performer who is, shall we say, easy on the eyes, but he’s also a marvelous writer as he proves with his first book, Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir (Atria, 2018).
Following the extraordinary success of his epic 2016 bestselling novel Queen of the Night, Alexander Chee returns with the essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner, 2018) in which he touches on his own personal evolution, as well as love and loss, including the AIDS crisis and the 9/11 tragedy.
Anyone who has ever read any of memoirist and educator Barrie Jean Borich’s previous books (Restoring the Color of Roses, My Lesbian Husband and Body Geography) knows that the arrival of each new one is an event, and Apocalypse, Darling (Mad Creek Books, 2018), which ventures into toxic landscapes and wastelands, both personal and environmental, is no exception.
Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives (Dey Street, 2018) is queer actress/playwright Tina Alexis Allen’s “audacious” story in which she untangles the knot of her upbringing, closely tied to a shared secret with her strict and religious father.
I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé (Atria, 2018) is Michael Arceneaux’s timely, humorous and deeply considered essay collection told from the perspective of an African-American gay man.
In Michael Goddart’s unique memoir In Search of Lost Lives: Desires, Sanskaras and the Evolution of Mind & Soul (Epigraph, 2018) the writer shares the details of his recovery of more than 80 past lives, including more than 10 homophile lives.
As seen on TV
You’ve probably seen Claire L. Evans give a TED Talk or in music videos by YACHT (she’s one half of the musical duo) and now is your chance to read her writing in her Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet (Portfolio/Penguin, 2018).
Marion Ross, who played everyone’s favorite Midwestern TV mom on Happy Days, and later made an appearance on the gay `80s Showtime series Brothers, tells her story (with help from David Laurell) in My Days: Happy and Otherwise (Kensington, 2018).
LGBTQ folks have long been a presence in and fans of reality TV shows, from PBS’ An American Family to MTV’s The Real World and Bravo’s The Real Housewives series, and Lucas Mann’s Captive Audience: On Love and Reality TV (Vintage, 2018) gives them something to read about.
Just in time for Pride month, and ideal for readers of all ages, the colorful Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (Random House, 2018), written by Rob Sandersand illustrated by Steven Salerno, tells the story of social activist Milk and designer Gilbert Baker.
Almost everything you need to know about Feminist Weed Farmer: Growing Mindful Medicine in your Own Backyard (Microcosm Publishing, 2018) by Madrone Stewart, featuring sections on “Creating A Good Growing Environment”, “Protecting your Plants” and “Harvesting your Medicine”, can be found in the title of the book.
Arriving on bookshelves around the same time as Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s RBG doc opens in theaters, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: In Her Own Words (B2 Books, 2018), edited by Helena Hunt, features a multitude of quotes from the trailblazing Supreme Court Justice, including those on the subject of same-sex marriage.
Also focused on legal issues and the LGBTQ community, Gay Priori (Duke, 2018) by Libby Adler is “a queer critical legal studies approach to law reform”.
In addition to a couple of pages on “homosexuality”, Mark Kurlansky’s Havana: A Subtropical Delirium (Bloomsbury, 2017), queer folks such as Reinaldo Arenas, Allen Ginsberg, Josephine Baker, and Federico García Lorca, as well as the gay film Strawberry and Chocolate, also appear in the book.
The aforementioned poets Ginsberg and Arenas are also written about in Orchids, Rosebuds, and Sweet Flags: Reflections on Gay Poetry (Lethe, 2018) by Drewey Wayne Gunn, along with notable gay poets such as Mark Doty, J. D. McClatchy, W. H. Auden, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes.