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Stuffed toy prompts playwright’s reflection on LGBT equality

Theater

An inanimate child’s toy becomes the source of family crisis in the new gay-themed play “The Boy and the Pink Bear,” making its world premiere June 20 here in Atlanta.

The second play by local writer Ted Johnson turns on an innocent act: A five-year-old African-American boy starts playing with a beloved possession, a pink bear. His father, Jake, does not react well, projecting that this means that the kid will grow up to become gay.

What Jake doesn’t realize initially is that his brother Bill is dealing with his own household issues – his star football player son is involved with another man. The two brothers do not have a strong relationship and there’s an eventual tragedy before the entire family is able to come together and make some sort of peace.

“The Boy and the Pink Bear” is based on a real experience where Johnson’s own son — 16 months old at the time — started playing with a pink bear. 

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Cirque returns with ‘Totem’

Theater

With large, international casts, Cirque Du Soleil productions almost always feature LGBT performers and “Totem,” now playing in Atlanta, is no exception. Under the Grand Chapiteau at Atlantic Station, “Totem” stars openly gay Joe Putagnino as the leading character, Crystal Man, who officially brings the show to life decked out in a stretch velvet leotard.

“Totem” deals with the evolution of an amphibian form to that of an adult ready to fly away, on a stage resembling a turtle. Putagnino calls Crystal Man the “spark” who literally opens the show, figuratively and literally, and creates life.

A competitive gymnast growing up, Putagnino got sidetracked.

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‘Wolves’ takes an edgy look at gay relationships

Former Atlanta playwright Steve Yockey’s “Wolves” is anything but a standard boy-meets-boy gay romance. Making its world premiere at Actor’s Express this weekend, the gay-themed “Wolves” has a dark, edgier side – as well as some eventual bloodshed.

Set in an unidentified large city, “Wolves” finds two former lovers – at different stages of their lives – still living together. Clifton Guterman plays Ben, a young man who has been a loner most of his life, starting in the small town where he grew up.

When Ben moves to the big city, he gets swallowed up and still feels isolated, Guterman notes. He meets Jack (Brian Crawford) and they start a relationship, but when they break up, they are still forced to live together for financial reasons. 

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Out on Film: 2012 festival ‘largest ever’

out on film

Organizers behind Atlanta's annual LGBT film festival announced today this year's festival, held Oct. 4-11, was the largest in the event's 25 year history.

Festival Director Jim Farmer praised the Atlanta community and sponsors for a successful festival.

“‘More’ was the word for 2012 – more screenings, more visiting filmmakers, more days, more patrons,” Farmer said. “From the sold-out opening night screening of ‘Gayby’ to the packed house for ‘BearCity 2’ closing night, attendance was tremendous. Our attendance on Super Saturday – Oct. 6 – was a record, with crowds beginning at 11 a.m. in the morning through our late night screening of ‘I Want Your Love.’ Our VIP lounge next day at Apres Diem was also extremely popular. We thank Atlanta for that, as well as our sponsors for making it happen.”

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Pride: Starlight Cabaret ends Pride on glamorous note

Starlight Cabaret

The Starlight Cabaret ends Pride weekend on a particularly high note, closing out the Coca-Cola stage at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.  For many, it is one of the highlights of the entire weekend of activities, as Atlanta’s drag queens and kings bring out their best performances for their largest audience of the year.

Tony Kearney, who handles programming for the Atlanta Pride Committee, has been involved in putting the cabaret together for the last five years.  It’s the largest celebration of its kind in the Southeast and retains much of the day’s crowd.

“It’s amazing to see how many people are still in the park after Pride,” Kearney said. “Last year there were around 5,000 people enjoying the show.”

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Pride: Community Health Expo includes HIV tests, wellness info

Yogaga

New to Atlanta Pride this year and bound to draw some interest as part of the Community Health Expo is YoGaga, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. at the athletic fields at Piedmont Park.

It’s the brainchild of yoga instructor Neda Honarvar, who has started her own studio, Tough Love Yoga, in town. Earlier this year she decided she would like to bring her brand of yoga to more of an LGBT audience.

Honarvar and colleague Garrett Cockayne approached Pride earlier this season and the committee liked the idea.

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Out on Film thrives after 25 years

out on film

World premieres, special guests and great lineups are just a few of the keys to the success of Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film fest, which celebrates its silver anniversary this year Oct. 4-11.

“First and foremost, I’m glad we’re still around. So many festivals, especially gay and lesbian festivals, are now gone or have to take a break,” says Jim Farmer, festival director of Out on Film.

When Out on Film began in 1987, it was managed and produced by the Atlanta Film Fest. In 2008, the Atlanta Film Fest decided it was time to give Out on Film “back to the community,” Farmer explains.

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Fall in love with movies at Out on Film

Cloudburst film

Love is in the air at the 25th Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, Oct. 4-11 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema. I don’t know when I’ve seen so much romance in a queer festival.

There’s young love, old love, lesbian love, gay love, baby love, kinky love, married love, platonic love, coercive love, transformative love... Oh, there’s politics too, but that’s mostly confined to the documentary section, or woven in with the love stories.

All films (with exceptions noted) screen at Midtown Art Cinema (931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta GA 30308).