CMU School of Drama

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Gay Histories, Close Enough to Touch. (But Don’t.)

The New York Times: On most nights, the subterranean sex club Paddles in Chelsea is home to patrons — straight or gay, depending on the hour — absorbed in threesomes and other adventurous behavior. But on a recent afternoon, as dozens of men and women explored its low-lit rooms, the only sex was in the storytelling.


Sasha Schwartz said...

I definitely agree with the quote from Fierstein at the end of this article, “You need to know your roots”. Being gay now means something completely different than being gay 10, 20, 30, etc years ago. The social and political landscape is ever- changing, and I think that now, it’s more important than ever to understand the implications of your identity and understand where we came from in order to know where we are reaching towards. Even though we are not living in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and are not as worried about gay hate crimes, the truth is that we are not as far away from these things as we wish we were. AIDS is still in high percentages amongst the LGBT community due to lack of gay sex education in schools and lack of health care resources for those of lower incomes. In addition, as the article points out, the Pulse nightclub shooting was very recent, and there have been countless cases of hate crimes, slurs, and other examples of anti-LGBT violence, mostly incited/ continuing off of the Trump/ Pense campaign/ win (from the shooting of the Equality House, to people being assaulted on the streets, to cruel notes being left on people’s front steps). The Boston Mayor just decided to stop his support of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade after a group of gay veterans were told they weren’t allowed to march. I think that shows like these ones- immersive, intimate, polarizing- are incredibly important in order for people to understand gay sexuality as being a normal part of everyday life for many people, and to not see it as “other” or “dirty”, because that’s how a culture of fear is created.

Lauren Miller said...

I have surprisingly mixed feelings on this production. So much of LGBT+ history is lost or just hard to find so there is sadly a paucity of young queer people who are aware of the stories of the older generation and what happened before the 1980’s. There are other productions and art that focus on the political aspect of LGBT+ history. There’s even a museum (the GLBT Historical Society) that collects the writings of various members of the LGBT community in an effort to preserve their stories. A number of documentaries and bio-pics have been published recently which focus on the pre-1980’s gay community. But none of them really talk about bar culture within the gay community. And, honestly, bar culture is a huge part of the history of the movement and culture that is usually ignored because it’s considered “ugly” or “inappropriate” by those outside of the community. So I’m happy that someone is portraying this aspect of queer culture, But at the same time, I worry about how this production will be received after so openly discussing sex and bar culture.