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Montrose Voice, No. 159, November 11, 1983
File 013
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Montrose Voice, No. 159, November 11, 1983 - File 013. 1983-11-11. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 1, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/25/show/12.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1983-11-11). Montrose Voice, No. 159, November 11, 1983 - File 013. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/25/show/12

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 159, November 11, 1983 - File 013, 1983-11-11, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 1, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/25/show/12.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 159, November 11, 1983
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date November 11, 1983
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 013
Transcript 12 MONTROSE VOICE / NOV 11, 1983 Pop Culture and Gay Rights Gay Community By Dan Siminoski For a long time, I have believed that the expression of views on "public" issues in media like film and music offers a special way for political activists to build support for their causes. If "culture" can be called "political," it is most powerfully so in three senses. First, it can bring attention to existing problems in a way usually ignored in mainstream political discource, and thus involve us emotionally in the search for solutions. Second, because of the artist's freedom of expression, he or she is not limited to the practical political agenda, solutions or views of the future. An artist defines problems more freely and has greater latitude to define alternate policies, institutions, lifestyles and moral codes. Last, and most urgent, the artistic address to an audience is more direct than a political one, it aims to the heart and emotions, rather than the head and reason. The result is that though the politician may be more "correct" in analysis, the artist strikes a deeper cord, creating pain or fear or self-identification, urging us not only to see the problem, but to live it for awhile. Hopefully, this submersion into the realm of the artist allows us to emerge more sensitive to the problem, more open to its discussion, and more likely to participate in its solution. Were Karl Marx to comment, he would surely agree that "consciousness raising" is a necessary part of any revolutionary program. I contend that it plays an important role in gay rights at the moment. If we agree for a moment that culture can speak politically, and its expression can be used to promote a political movement, we are still left with a towering question. What is "gay culture?" The answer seems to elude all of us. Whether or not there is a unique gay aesthetic, the creation of a truly unique people or whether it is only the product of a ghetto-ized sub- community, are issues too large to tackle in this column. Happily, though, another standard offers itself for this discussion, one not based on who the artist is, but how effectively that person portrays gay life. This You're Reading the MONTROSE VOICE One of America s Major Gay Community Newspapers standard is the language adopted by the Alliance for Gay Artists in the Entertainment Industry, which recently presented its third annual media awards. They are given to actors, writers and production staffs in film, TV and theatre for "the realistic portrayal of gay and lesbian characters and issues in the entertainment media." As did the earliest Oscars and Tonys, these awards celebrated honesty and accomplishment without nervous nominees or declarations of best anythings. Instead, they celebrated the works that allowed audiences to experience three-dimensional gay and lesbian people, that invited non-gays to experience our richness and difficulties and that gave us the chance to see ourselves onstage as we are in our private lives. Among the most emotionally received theatrical tributes were the late Jane Chamber's play, Last Year at Bluefish Cove, and the ensemble of actresses who played it, Pat Carroll's solo performance in Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Vincent Price's powerful version of Oscar Wilde in the one-man Diversions and Delights, and Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine, all productions of the Los Angeles Theatre. For what I consider the best film yet made about the pains and rewards of coming out, John Sayles' Liana won, and received special recognition for, the performances of Linda Griffiths and Jane Har- aren. In television, award went to Dynasty for the honest and routine way in which the gay character Steven Carring- ton was portrayed, and to PBS for its production of The Fifth of July, with Richard Thomas and Jeff Daniels as the stable gay couple—and probably the most "normal" people in the play. The awards evening was produced, written and directed by members of the Alliance and was easily more entertaining and crisply presented than the more familiar awards shows. I felt proud to be part of the family. The Alliance numbers about 250 members, its main percentage made up of gay professionals. In addition to the awards, year-round activities include monitoring productions that focus on gay life and working to eliminate stereotypes. There are risks to open members of the Alliance, as chairperson Chris Uszler reminded the audience, the same risks faced by every person who chooses to reject the closet. Speaking for himself and the Alliance, Uszler affirmed that he would not be intimidated: "I am not discouraged.. .no, far from it, for I see a new generation of gays and lesbians emerging in our history.... People who are willing to take risks, refusing to pay the emotional price of the closet, individuals who say 'I can be myself, openly and freely, and I will work in this town again!" Whatever their background, sentiment or sexuality, most artists speak to their audience in metaphors rather than political tracts. If they are forced to create stereotyped charaters, most audiences will believe them and extend them to the real world. How short a time it is since any gay character found in the media was ridicu lous and disturbed! But if gay characters were once one-dimensional and false, that is less true each year. The characters honored by the AGA were complex, honest and wholly within their dramatic context. Some were extraordinary gay icons, like Stein and Wilde, but most were ordinary people, like you and me. Their sexuality was merely an aspect of their makeup, not a constant source of struggle and conflict. When Americans can begin to see us in the media in all our richness and variety, we begin to close in on our political goals. Dr. Siminoski is a political scientist and has been active in the gay rights movement for about a decade. He may be written at 1221 Redondo Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019. ©1983 Stonewall Features Syndicate. • San Francisco only $329 Round Trip • San Diego only $270 Round Trip • Miami & Ft. Lauderdale Gateways to Key West as little as $229 Round Trip (daily non-stops to Ft. Lauderdale eff. Nov. 1) Certain travel restrictions may apply. Call your travel agent or Eastern Airlines in Houston at 738-8615. EASTERN, Houston's oldest and largest major carrier serving you since 1936. EASTERN America^ favorite way to fly.
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