Saturday, June 21, 2008

For The Bible Tells Me So, Brother

Time for a little public relations work. Next weekend, Tallahassee’s witty, weird, and way-out-there cabaret troupe, the Mickee Faust Club, will be wrapping up its first-ever Queer As Faust festival with two feature-length films. Friday night’s movie is called “Brother to Brother” and stars Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby). The story follows an African-American gay male college student and his journey to understanding himself and his culture through a friendship with a homeless poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Its won awards at OutFest, and LGBT film festivals in LA, San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia. I saw the film last fall in Austin and loved it.

Saturday night’s movie is “For the Bible Tells Me So”, also an award-winning film, and a documentary that follows how five American, Christian, God-loving families face the reality of having a loved one who is gay, and having to reconcile this reality with their religious beliefs. It is a moving narrative on a topic that many in the world of “straight church-goers” are not comfortable talking about, or even acknowledging as a topic worthy of dialogue. The movie features the families of Bishop Gene Robinson, and also former House Majority leader Dick Gephardt among others and has commentary from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I also saw this film last fall outside of Washington, D.C. And it’s a movie that should be a must-see for anyone who professes a belief in God. And as someone who knows Bishop Robinson, I am happy to "host" him and his sweet parents in Tallahassee...even if it is only by the magic of celluloid.

So isn’t it interesting that such feature-length films are getting their debut at the Mickee Faust Club’s digs in Railroad Square…especially one dealing with religion?

Actually, it makes sense to me…especially the showing of “For the Bible Tells Me So”. Because if there is one thing that is fact about the Mickee Faust Club it’s that the Faustkateers push boundaries and test people’s comfort levels. In the case of FTBTMS, Faust is putting itself to the test by bringing in an audience that I would venture a guess most troupe members would rather not see. After all, it is far easier to characterize all Christians as gay-bashing bigoted Bible-thumpers than to accept that, just like in any large segment of society, there are some who aren’t hateful, and live out their lives in accordance with their Christian beliefs that God loves us all….in all our perfect and imperfect ways.

But I will be interested to see what kind of an audience we do draw to this movie. As one of the co-producers of this festival, I have been trying to generate enthusiasm within church communities to announce the film’s show date to their congregations. Some are doing it. Some I have had to remind a couple of times. I believe it will be mentioned during services tomorrow in my own church which will be a step forward for that particular parish which underwent a rift thanks to a homophobic rector determined, and yet thwarted, in his attempts to take St. John’s out of the Diocese of Florida. Still, I’m aware that many of the participants in the Pridefest Interfaith service will be out-of-town on Saturday the 28th, and I’m just hoping that doesn’t mean we’ll be playing this film to me and 10 other people who couldn’t resist a free religion movie on a Saturday night (it’s actually not *free*; Fairness for All Families is sponsoring this event and accepting donations to defeat the anti-marriage amendment in November).

I’ll keep y’all posted on what happens. And in the meantime, I have another Queer As Faust event to attend to this evening, and will be pondering more some thoughts I had recently on the story of the Syrophoenician woman and her talk-back at Jesus in Mark’s gospel. Stay tuned.

No comments: