Culture

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True Colors explores life of bisexual blues legend

‘Gut Bucket Blues’ examines the life of unapologetic early blues icon Bessie Smith

The lives of two music legends come to Atlanta stages this week in two new productions, one directed by a gay man and the other starring a gay actor.

The warts and all life story of blues singer Bessie Smith is presented in True Color’s world premiere production of “Gut Bucket Blues.”

Smith was regarded as the most famous female blues singer of the ’20s and ’30s, but her life was anything but straightforward.   The musical is directed by former Atlantan David H. Bell, who served as the associate artistic director under Kenny Leon for a number of years at the Alliance Theatre.

The openly gay Bell says he has long been a fan of the singer, but his research gave him a new appreciation.  He had been working on a Bessie Smith show for a while when Leon called him about collaborating — and the musical became a reality. Bell left the Alliance roughly around the time Leon did. The two had formed a great partnership and always vowed to work together again.

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Queer Literary Fest writers think globally, act locally

Ana Božičević and Cary Alan Johnson headline this year’s Atlanta Queer Literary Festival

Queer writing has come a long way since the scholarly secrets of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Walt Whitman’s naked bathers, and the scandalous behavior of bad girls like H.D. and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Post-Stonewall, post-AIDS, and post-big-box bookstores, the changing landscape of queer lit offers perhaps the greatest diversity of writers, audiences, and venues ever.

It is in this context that this year’s Atlanta Queer Literary Festival shows signs of real growth.

Like New Orleans’ Saints & Sinners litfest in May, Atlanta’s AQLF in October has offered both local and national queer literary audiences a strong forum in the Southeast — something that had been missing until less than a decade ago.

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Out gay Christian musician finds new path

Gay Christian singer Ray Boltz

Editor's Note: Unfortunately, GA Voice learned after our press deadline that Ray Boltz has canceled his concert over Atlanta Pride weekend due to a scheduling conflict. However, this is a great interview with a gay gospel singer and the ramifications he faced coming out. We hope you enjoy it.

Christian musician Ray Boltz brings his “Living True” tour to Atlanta for Pride weekend, with an Oct. 8 performance at First MCC with Azariah Southworth and Lynn Loosier.

Boltz sold 4.5 million recordings and won two Gospel Music Association Dove awards before rocking Christian music fans by coming out as gay. Southworth hosted “The Remix,” a Christian TV show, before acknowledging he is gay, too.

“Since both artists came out within months of one another in 2008 they decided to take their story on the road together,” the pair explains on the website for their tour, www.raylivefromatlanta.com.

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Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray on new projects, the duo’s success, and why she stays in Ga.

Indigo Girls in concert

Amy Ray has been speaking out for social justice as long as she has been a musician. But the lesbian folk rocker, one half of the beloved duo Indigo Girls, was still brought up short by a recent news report.

On Sept. 21, the U.S. Senate voted against moving forward on a measure to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay service members.

“I am amazed that we are so backward about something that is already as complex as war and military service,” says Ray in an interview the next day from her North Georgia home, in advance of Indigo Girls’ Oct. 15 show at the Buckhead Theatre.

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Pride: Plenty of options for dining near Piedmont Park

Festival food

Showing Pride can make you hungry. If you’re from out of town, you’ll see there are hundreds of places to eat in the Atlanta metro area. As a native Atlantan, here are some good choices around the periphery of Piedmont Park. Food snobs may not agree, but if you’re hungry at Pride, listen to me.

Some festival food carts at Pride are really delicious but not the healthiest and prices can be high. My weakness is corn dogs dipped in jalapeño cornmeal batter and fried in front of you. Yum. There are also those fried mushrooms and onion blossoms.

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Out on Film: Festival celebrates LGBT culture on the big screen

‘Ella Undone’ will screen at the 2010 Out on Film festival

One way to get ready for Pride is a week of total immersion in LGBT cinema. Fortunately, Out on Film offers that opportunity from Oct. 1-7 at two venues, the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas (LMAC) and the Ansley Park Playhouse (APP).

With 31 features, four programs of shorts and other events, you’ll be able to visit exotic locations (Rio, Buenos Aires, Peru, Nassau, 19th–century England) or spend endless hours in New York bars. Nine of the features are documentaries — and the doc is “in” these days — but fictional films offer a dose of the reality of homophobia in the Bahamas, the Marines and other places.

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‘Real Housewife’ Zolciak releases snippet of new single

Atlanta's own Kim Zolciak of Bravo's “Real Housewives” fame has released a clip from her second single “Google Me” and it's no “Tardy for the Party.”

Maybe it'll grow on me. After all, “Tardy” was built with a major storyline during the popular television series that made Zolciak a star in the first place. Listening to her monotonous drone in the studio made “Tardy” an instant classic, almost regardless of the outcome, and maybe seeing a piece of that with “Google Me” will do the same.

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Happy holidays

The staff from GA Voice wishes you a happy holiday season ...