Sep 26, 2011 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
AIDS Community Resources staffers sang along a little and boogied a little setting up for a press conference last week as Age of Aquarius blared on the sound check and Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same filled the Palace Theater big screen. The wording, title of one of this year’s Sundance Film Festival award winners, was a teaser for the offerings upcoming at ACR’s eQuality Film Festival, Sunday, October 9, at the Palace. Proceeds from the first annual festival will benefit ACR’s Q Center, a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and their allies to gather, share, hang out, have fun and build healthy relationships with supportive adults and peers.
ACR Executive Director Michael Crinnin announced that the Allyn Foundation has provided funding to create a development position for Moe Harrington — SALT Award winning actor, last seen locally as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate — who has put the festival together with support from LGBT business owners and operators. Local film maker Erin Davies’ Fagbug opens the festival at 2 p.m., followed by Nottingham graduate Drew Emery’s Inlaws and OUTLAWS at 4:30 including a talkback with the director. Codependent Lesbian tops it all off at 7:30. Tickets, $10 for one film, $25 for all day and a VIP pass with reception and free popcorn for $50, can be had from ACR, 627 West Genesee St., Syracuse 13204. For information, call 472-6515.
Crinnin noted that bullying and harassment of LGBTQ youth make them three times more likely to drop out of school and is the leading cause of teen suicide, emphasizing the need to maintain the Q Center as a safe space leading to a safer community. His message was underscored the day after the press conference when The New York Times reported eight suicides in two years in the suburban Anoka-Hennepin school district, Minnesota’s largest, with four of them resulting from the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students.
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into what state officials have declared a “suicide contagion,” and the Southern Poverty Law Center has brought a lawsuit on behalf of six current and former students. Most of the district lies in Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann’s Congressional District, but the candidate has not spoken on the issue and did not respond to requests from the Times’ reporter.
Meanwhile, the Media Unit is still searching for a teen to play the male lead in Larry and Linda, an original music theater exploration of school stigma, scheduled for May at Syracuse Stage. Since its debut in 2002, the role has never been filled, with Larry a shadow figure or a voice on the phone (see “Stereotype stands in way of casting role of gay teen,” Post-Standard Opinion Section, July 17 of this year).
Media Unit members remain convinced that a Larry is out there somewhere, although some observers have suggested that a female should fill the role. If you could be Larry, or know someone who could, please call 478-UNIT (8648) to arrange an audition. Singing and dancing are a must. Genderal identification is irrelevant.
Three-time New York Press Association Writer of the Year, Walt Shepperd is a weekly columnist with The Eagle.