Queer Voices

July 10th 2024 Queer Voices

July 10, 2024 Queer Voices
July 10th 2024 Queer Voices
Queer Voices
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Queer Voices
July 10th 2024 Queer Voices
Jul 10, 2024
Queer Voices

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What does it mean to explore gender fluidity through performance? Join us as we unpack this and more in our enlightening chat with Paul Whitehead, the creative force behind his drag queen persona, Tricia Van Cleef. Inspired by the likes of David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Paul navigates the duality of his identity and the transformative power of self-expression. He opens up about how Tricia’s playful energy contrasts with his more intellectual and surrealistic art and shares candidly about the social challenges and triumphs he has faced.

Next, we shine a spotlight on Houston’s bustling entertainment scene, packed with events that cater to all tastes. There's excitement around every corner, from Tamarie Cooper's musical comedy show to the iconic Disney's The Lion King and the gripping mystery of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. We also highlight important community gatherings, such as the Trans Men Empowerment fundraiser, the Trans and Gender Queer Social, and the celebration of International Non-Binary People's Day on July 14th. To add to the richness, Congressman Al Green joins us, discussing his advocacy work for the LGBTQIA community and sharing his personal journey into politics. He reflects on standing up for individual rights and his own experiences of regret and redemption.

Finally, immerse yourself in heartfelt storytelling and advocacy with Houston-raised Tyce Green (no relation to Al), a versatile artist and founder of the non-profit performance group called Houston Broadway Theater, as he shares his passion for performing and producing. The company will produce Next to Normal at the Hobby Center for one weekend only, starting on July 26th. Join QUEER VOICES in our celebration of creativity, resilience, and the strength found in community. 

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

What does it mean to explore gender fluidity through performance? Join us as we unpack this and more in our enlightening chat with Paul Whitehead, the creative force behind his drag queen persona, Tricia Van Cleef. Inspired by the likes of David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Paul navigates the duality of his identity and the transformative power of self-expression. He opens up about how Tricia’s playful energy contrasts with his more intellectual and surrealistic art and shares candidly about the social challenges and triumphs he has faced.

Next, we shine a spotlight on Houston’s bustling entertainment scene, packed with events that cater to all tastes. There's excitement around every corner, from Tamarie Cooper's musical comedy show to the iconic Disney's The Lion King and the gripping mystery of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. We also highlight important community gatherings, such as the Trans Men Empowerment fundraiser, the Trans and Gender Queer Social, and the celebration of International Non-Binary People's Day on July 14th. To add to the richness, Congressman Al Green joins us, discussing his advocacy work for the LGBTQIA community and sharing his personal journey into politics. He reflects on standing up for individual rights and his own experiences of regret and redemption.

Finally, immerse yourself in heartfelt storytelling and advocacy with Houston-raised Tyce Green (no relation to Al), a versatile artist and founder of the non-profit performance group called Houston Broadway Theater, as he shares his passion for performing and producing. The company will produce Next to Normal at the Hobby Center for one weekend only, starting on July 26th. Join QUEER VOICES in our celebration of creativity, resilience, and the strength found in community. 

Queer Voices airs in Houston Texas on 90.1FM KPFT and is heard as a podcast here. Queer Voices hopes to entertain as well as illuminate LGBTQ issues in Houston and beyond. Check out our socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerVoicesKPFT/ and
https://www.instagram.com/queervoices90.1kpft/

Speaker 1:

Hello everybody. This is Queer Voices, a podcast that has grown out of a radio show that's been on the air in Houston, texas for several decades. This week, deborah Moncrief-Bell has a conversation with Paul Whitehead about his drag queen alter ego.

Speaker 2:

There's four of them, and they came up to me and they're saying ah, who's going to go first? You know all that kind of thing. And I realized that all I had going for me was the element of surprise. So when one of them touched me, I spun around and I whipped my wig off and in a very, very, very male voice I said you don't know what you're screwing with. And I ran through them, got in my car and locked the doors.

Speaker 1:

Brian LaVinca talked with Representative Al Green about his support for the LGBT community.

Speaker 3:

I remember Barney Frank making a comment that helps to illustrate why some people should not be as concerned about this as they are. Barney reminded some folk that you should not be as worried about gay marriage as you are because you probably won't get invited to the wedding.

Speaker 1:

And Brett Cullum discusses queer theater with producer Tice Green.

Speaker 4:

I just knew like straight away that I just wanted to make things happen, and in order to make things happen, I had to learn how to do them, and then I had to go out and do them. And that sounds really simplistic, but that's really how I learned to be good at business. Everything that I learned, I learned from just researching it myself.

Speaker 1:

We also have Brett's calendar of community events for the month of July. Queer Voices starts now.

Speaker 5:

This is Deborah Moncrief-Bell and I have the pleasure of talking with Paul Whitehead. Paul is well, he's not just Paul, he's also Tricia, and there's a documentary that's going to be out July 9th on Apple TV and other places called Paul and Tricia the Art of fluidity. His greatest creation was herself Paul. Everyone's going to enjoy very much your British accent, but I understand. You're in the States now and at the age of 77, you have had quite an experience of being two artists living in one gender fluid body. Your history is as a painter, graphic designer, writer and musician. You've worked at the art director for Time Out and with John Lennon you have created album covers for music icons like Genesis and Credence Clearwater Revival. How did you get started in performing as Tricia Van Cleef?

Speaker 2:

It was kind of a natural progression. I grew up and my formative years were in the 60s, late 60s, so, as you probably know, those days gender was not a big issue. We had characters like David Bowie and Mick Jagger that went backwards and forwards between their genders. So I kind of followed suit and it wasn't a big deal to me. I was quite comfortable growing my hair, wearing earrings, wearing kind of feminine clothes, you know pretty clothes, even shoes with heels, and it wasn't at all considered unusual. It was like that's what's going on, we wear eye makeup and maybe a little bit of lipstick, whatever. So that was my beginning of it and I was comfortable with that.

Speaker 2:

And then, as I went on, I felt I want to manifest this character more than just playing. I wanted to see how she operates in the world and what is her personality, what are her interests? Are they different to Paul's interests? So I started to dabble. I was married and I started to dabble with cross-dressing and wearing some of my wife's clothes in private, not not going out in public. And I guess I gradually got braver and braver.

Speaker 2:

And of course, eventually the question occurred to me well, what kind of art does she make? Does she make different art, art that Paul's makes, and it turned out that she did very, very different and it's like two sides of one coin. Paul is is very sort of intellectual. His work is about ideas, expressing ideas, showing ideas, a lot of them surrealistic, highly finished, very realistic, able to see what it's all about. Tricia is completely spontaneous. She doesn't go into creating anything with an idea in mind, just see what happens. It's very playful, which I find is kind of a relief. It's a relief to all the technical perspective and working out of the poor images.

Speaker 5:

Did you receive any backlash from the people that you were associated with?

Speaker 2:

I've been doing a series of one-man, one-woman shows. The first one was in I think it was 2008, and I remember very clearly going through my mailing list trying to decide who to invite, because you go through your list and you go, do I invite Bob? Oh no, bob wouldn't understand at all, right, and it was a real thing for me. I went through it for like a week and eventually I asked one of my other transgender friends what do you think I should do? And she said invite everybody. So I said really that's kind of brave. He said well, I can tell you from personal experience you won't regret it and anybody that disowns you or doesn't want anything to do with you because of that. They weren't your friends to begin with, and you'll find also that you will gather a new circle of friends, and that's exactly what happened.

Speaker 2:

I had a, a few friends male friends that were kind of like what's going on here, paulie, are you a fag or something? Or what's going on? And I'd say no, no, no, and they'd disown me, they'd go away, they wouldn't talk to me for maybe a year or two, but gradually they'd come back and they'd say to me we were a bit shocked at first and it really shook us. But we realized because it's you, there's maybe something more interesting going on, so tell us all about it. So then I'd explain and they'd become. They wouldn't become converts, but they would be more tolerant, and so I didn't really lose any friends. It was interesting and of course, I gained lots of new ones.

Speaker 5:

In the UK. They seem to have a different attitude towards drag than what we have going on here in the States. I'm thinking of Paul O'Grady and his character, lily Savage, and he became quite renowned, was a TV presenter and well-respected. Do you find that to be the case?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's a much, much longer historical tradition in England of that, particularly in the old musicals. You know, in late 1890s, turn of the century, it was a huge thing and historically there was a lot of characters in English history that were well-known. You know, transgender, going backwards and forwards, there was princes and kings and so on, right. So I think that's where that comes from. In Europe as a whole, they're a lot more tolerant. It's not regarded as like a strange thing. It's like, yeah, well, people do that and there's been a lot of writers, a lot of creative people that had dual identities. George Sanders comes to mind, right.

Speaker 5:

Susan Eddie, is there Quentin Criss? Of course, he went through a history of being threatened as far as his career. He was a civil servant and in fact, you can watch the film. It's Quentin Crisp, the naked civil servant.

Speaker 2:

In the theater right in Elizabethan times, there weren't actresses. All the parts were played by men, and I think that goes back to the Greek times, so that's also a longtime tradition. You know, men playing women's parts. So it's not a longtime tradition. You know men playing women's parts, so it's not a new thing. In fact, I'm kind of surprised that it's as weird as it is by society. You know it's like catch up, guys, come on.

Speaker 5:

How did this documentary come about?

Speaker 2:

Just before COVID, I was doing a series of pop-up art shows, one-man, one-woman shows where we would take a retail space that was vacant for two or three weeks and we'd have an art show, have an opening, the art show, then we'd have a closing reception and move on. It was like the circus. I figured that what we needed was like a 20, 25-minute film that would play in the gallery on a loop that would tell you a little bit about my history, what the idea was behind the show and so on. Right, my friend, adam Adam Fisk, was my partner at the time and he said, yeah, we need to find a filmmaker. So his girlfriend, fia Pereira, was a filmmaker. So he said well, you guys get together and let's do this 20, 25 minute film. After a couple of interview sessions, it became quickly apparent that it was much more than a 25 minute film. After a couple of interview sessions, it became quickly apparent that it was much more than a 25 minute film. So she went to Adam and she said I think we've got the whole film here. So I said keep shooting, just keep going. So we established this thing where we'd meet once a week, she'd come and interview him and it went on. But we got into everything, we covered everything.

Speaker 2:

But I felt very comfortable with her. She didn't come to it like a lot of people come to interviews with preconceived notions. She was very open and willing to hear and listen to what I had to say and what my life was all about and so I felt very, very comfortable, kind of unfolding. You know, this is the way I live, this is what I do, this is why I do it. Uh, she also said to me she realized that I wasn't sort of confrontational, I wasn't in in your face about it, I was very low key. This is what's going on. I'm not afraid to answer any questions you ask me. Whatever you ask me, I'll answer it. So a great relationship developed. I felt very comfortable.

Speaker 5:

The documentary combines interviews, graphics, animation and lots of art imagery, which makes sense coming from your background, and you also reenact scenes from your and Trish's lives past, so this is kind of a look back. I mean, you've documented your life.

Speaker 2:

Well, if she asked me questions there'd be sometimes I'd say, she'd say to me in the course of doing this, have you ever had any danger? Have you ever been in danger? I'd say, oh, yeah, and I'd tell. She'd say to me, in the course of doing this, have you ever had any danger? Have you ever been in danger? I'd say, oh, yeah, and I'd tell her a story.

Speaker 2:

One night I was at an ATM machine at midnight and it was one of those machines around the back of the bank, not on the main street, and I was getting my money. And this car pulled in with a bunch of guys in it and they were going to rape me. They thought I was a woman. From behind there was four of them and they came up to me and they're saying, ah, who's going to go first? You know all that kind of stuff. And I realized that all I had going for me was the element of surprise. So when one of them touched me, I spun around and I whipped my wig off and in a very, very male voice I said you don't know what you're screwing with. And I ran through them, got in my car and locked the doors. So that was reenacted, we reenacted. So it was a good way to show you know little scenes that happened in my life. I mean, I've not had a boring life by any means.

Speaker 5:

Does Tricia sound different than Paul?

Speaker 2:

No no.

Speaker 5:

You don't change your voice.

Speaker 2:

No, no, a lot of my friends do that no-transcript was the way people treat you.

Speaker 2:

People treat you completely different as a feminine manifestation of yourself, in a lot of ways kind of condescending, and of course you're a sex object, right. So it was kind of weird. It was the same and of course you're a sex object, right. So it was kind of weird. It was the same person, but just with a little makeup and different clothes. Their attitude and the way they treated me was so different. I found it very strange. But I'd say to people hey, hold on a minute, it's me, you know, why are you? Why are you acting like that or talking to me like that? It's me, I'm no different. That was probably my biggest surprise, yeah.

Speaker 5:

That's very telling, isn't it?

Speaker 2:

And I'll tell you something I would not like to be a woman 100%. I take my heart off to you, ladies. What you go through, I really do. It's not a pleasant experience sometimes.

Speaker 5:

What has been your greatest joy from all of this?

Speaker 2:

I think the realization that this film might be able to help somebody out there. If there's somebody going through a struggle with their gender and they're in a social situation that's not friendly, maybe my film here can give them hope, maybe give them some idea of how to work their way through it, maybe ask for advice. You know, uh, because I, you know, I've got lots of experience. I've got lots of experiences and lots of sort of reminiscences to share with people that might make their path easier. And I think already we've been doing uh film festivals and doing q a sessions. At the end I've already had some really profound questions at these, these sessions. You know, people have come out to me. Uh, there's a couple of mothers have said to me thank you so much for this film. You've helped me to really understand my son. So I think that's my biggest joy. Maybe we've helped somebody.

Speaker 5:

This is Deborah Moncrief-Bell and we're talking to Paul Whitehead and also Tricia Van Cleef, because Paul and Tricia are the same person in one gender, fluid body, and the documentary is Paul and Tricia the Art of Fluidity, and it's going to be available on Apple TV starting July 9th.

Speaker 1:

Coming up next on Queer Voices Representative Al Green talking about his career in Congress and support for the LGBT community. Tice Green no relation talks about producing theater and Brett Cullum's calendar of community events for July.

Speaker 6:

Hi, this is Brett Cullum and I've got your community calendar for July. If you're looking for theater this month, we've got a lot to pick from. Playing at the Match Complex right now is Tamari's Texas Toast. This is Tamari Cooper's annual show with the Catastrophic Theater. A lot of great musical comedy sketches and a lot of queer material in that one. It will run through August 3rd at the Match.

Speaker 6:

Disney's the Lion King from Broadway Across America. This is one of the big ones we've been waiting for. A great Broadway show over 20 years old with the score for Melton John. It opens on July 11th and runs through August 4th. If you're in the mood for something a little bit more spooky and creepy, main Street Theater has you covered. In Rice Village they will be presenting the Woman in Black. It opens July 13th, runs through August 11th. On the Verge Theater presents Dracula a comedy of terrors. This is a show that was recently on Broadway. It will open on July 18th and go through August 11th. It's got a lot of gender bending and specific comedy. It's a great show.

Speaker 6:

The Alley Theater presents their Summer Chiller. It's going to be Agatha Christie's classic. And then there were none. The act out. Performance date had not been announced at this recording but it is playing through August 23rd. It opens on July 19th, so definitely plan on seeing. And then there were none at the alley. If you want to support a new group, houston Broadway Theater presents their first production Next to Normal Now. This is a rock opera that talks about bipolar issues and examines a family going through struggles with psychiatric issues. It is going to be running only for one weekend. It opens on July 26th at the Hobby Center Again, that is Next to Normal from Houston Broadway Theater.

Speaker 6:

If you're looking for a fun event that is a fundraiser, trans Men Empowerment Area will be held at the Montrose Center on July 6th. It will start at 630 and will run until 10 o'clock. It's going to be an exciting evening of Mexican Lotteria. You can enjoy the fun and community spirit while supporting a great cause. You get two Lotteria cards for just $25 and all proceeds benefit the Trans Men Empowerment Gender Affirming Surgery Fundraiser. In other transgender events there is the Trans and Gender Queer or TGQH Social, which will be held Tuesday, july 9th at the King's Beer House on TC Jester at 7pm. This is a new event location for them and they're inviting all transgender, genderqueer people, allies and even family, that are supportive. They're all invited. Don't forget that July 14th is International Non-Binary People's Day, so definitely be prepared to celebrate the contributions of non-binary people and focus on the issues that are affecting them. Thank you so much. That's been your calendar for July. I will be back in August to tell you more about what's happening in the community.

Speaker 7:

This is Brian Levinka, and today I'm interviewing Congressman Al Green of the 9th Congressional District of Texas. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you very much for having me. I'm looking forward to the program and I thank your audience for participating by listening.

Speaker 7:

Congressman, who are you and how did you get into office?

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm the son of Alec Green and Pecola Green. I was born in Louisiana, new Orleans, at Charity Hospital, grew up in Florida, attended high school in Florida, various high schools in Florida. My family moved about a bit and I am a person who arrived here in Houston, texas, because of a fortuitous circumstance. I was traveling across the campus at Florida A&M University where I was a student, and I bumped into a man who was a counselor. His name was Cunningham. He asked me to go over and talk to a man who was interviewing people for law school. I rejected the offer initially, but he cajoled me and convinced me that I should go and talk to this man. I told Mr Cunningham that I was at the time minding everybody's business but my own. I was running for president of student body but I did comply. I went over. This man's name was Jethro Curry. He talked to me for about 30 minutes to an hour Don't know the exact amount of time and after the conversation he offered me a scholarship a Ford Foundation grant was what it actually was and an opportunity to come to law school at Thurgood Marshall School of Law without an undergraduate degree and pursue a legal education.

Speaker 3:

Farenthal, better known as Sissy Farenthal. As her student assistant. I carried her books, I picked up at the airport, did a lot of things for her and she, of course, ran for governor and got introduced to Texas politics. I met a good friend, mickey Leland. I had an opportunity to travel to various places with him Cuba, among the many places we went to, and Africa. I had some sense of what Congress was all about, became the judge of a justice court and served there for more than a quarter of a century.

Speaker 3:

Then the opportunity availed itself to come to Congress, not for the 18th Congressional District. I went to bed one night in the 9th Congressional District and I wake up the next morning in the 8th pardon me in the 18th Congressional District. I went to bed and I wake awakened the next morning in the 9th congressional district, and it just so happens that the justice court that I had the honor of presiding over had lines that were similar to the lines in the 9th congressional district. I ran and I'm in Congress. I've been here since 2005. I've enjoyed every minute of it, and if they cut the salary to zero and allowed me to continue to work, I would Tell me about the 9th Congressional District.

Speaker 7:

Where is it and what are the borders?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's probably easier to tell you about it in terms of areas of town. It includes the medical center, it includes South Park, hiram Clark, a little bit of Aleaf now. It includes Fort Bend County's Missouri City, it includes Paraland, which is in Brazoria County, and it also includes Stafford, which is in Fort Bend County. So it's a pretty diverse district. It contains a diverse population in the 18th, the 9th Congressional District I have the 18th on my mind this morning. Let's just pause for a moment and say that I'm prayerful for my dear friend and colleague, sheila Jackson Lee, who is the congressperson for the 18th Congressional District. I'm going to assume that those snafus were some sort of reminder that I should let people know that we should keep her in our prayer. She's been a real champion. But, as I was about to say, the 9th Congressional District has the ballot printed in four languages English, spanish, vietnamese and Chinese. It is one of the most diverse districts in the country and I'm honored to serve the population.

Speaker 7:

And you talk about your work with the LGBT community in Congress.

Speaker 3:

This work is something that I've enjoyed in and out of Congress. I am an ally of the community and I'm proud to be an ally of the community. I'm an ally for many, many reasons, and among the multiplicity of reasons is the fact that someone was an ally for African Americans, someone was an ally for me, and I think it's a debt that we all owe to each other to be of service to each other, because no one does anything alone and everybody receives the benefit of someone else's labor, someone else's love, someone else's caring for us. So I'm proud of what I've done in Congress, but I'm proud of what I've done out of Congress and just standing up for the causes related to invidious discrimination as they relate to the LGBT plus community. So in Congress, I'm a proud sponsor of the original LGBTQIA Pride Month Resolution. This is where we chronicle a lot of the history of what's happened to the LGBTQ plus community, and one of the things that we did with that resolution was to incorporate the Honorable Barney Frank as an honorary co-sponsor of the resolution. For those who may not know, he was a person who was a member of the LGBTQ plus community, who actually acknowledged his membership and was the chairperson of the Financial Services Full Committee, a brilliant scholarly person who was a mentor to many of us and gave us the opportunity to understand more of what we ordinarily would have understood and to do more than what we would ordinarily not been able to do as members of the Financial Services Committee. So I'm proud to have him as a co-sponsor.

Speaker 3:

As I indicated, the resolution gives us some sense of important dates and events. Stonewall is, of course, mentioned. I don't know how you can have a Pride Month resolution and not Stonewall is, of course, mentioned. I don't know how you can have a Pride Month resolution and not mention Stonewall. But there are other dates. We've mentioned the fact that here in Houston, anise Parker was the first person from the community, and when I say the community and the future, please know that I'm talking about what I call the Pride community, the LGBT plus community. She was the first person to become mayor who was a member of the community. I'm proud to acknowledge this and many other circumstances.

Speaker 3:

I'm also a person who has voted for the Equality Act. Mr Cicilline was a person who worked tirelessly to get the Equality Act passed. It was HR 5, and it prohibits discrimination based upon sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and it does so as it relates to public accommodations. We had to do a similar thing for African-Americans in this country, and I think that invidious discrimination against any group of people is abhorrent and we all ought to do all that we can to eliminate it. So I'm a proud co-sponsor of HR 5, which was not voted on in this Congress but in a prior Congress. My hope is that it would be taken up in this Congress, but that's hope. The reality is that it is not likely to be brought to the floor for a vote in this Congress. I'm also proud to have sponsored HR 166, which is the Fair Lending for All Act, and this would protect people with a minority status, but it includes, where we've not previously included the LGBTQ plus community, and it includes this community as it relates to financing homes, acquiring loans. Many people are not aware of the fact that if persons from the community should go in to apply for a loan and they both happen to be males and they both happen to give some expression of affinity, affection for each other that they alone might be impacted by doing what other people do on a normal day without being in any way noticed. Well, we think that that kind of discrimination ought not be tolerated and we have a bill that would penalize persons for doing such a thing. I'm proud of my work in general in Congress as it relates to invidious discrimination.

Speaker 3:

I believe that invidious discrimination is something that we should address in a much broader sense than we currently address it. We address it now on a case-by-case basis, almost in terms of a community, community-by-community basis. I believe that we ought to have a Department of Reconciliation, a Department of Reconciliation with a Secretary of Reconciliation. We have a Department of Labor with a person who reports directly to the President, the Secretary of Labor, a Department of Commerce. I think we should have a department of reconciliation secretary of reconciliation reporting directly to the president of the United States, and I believe that this department ought to be financed with monies that are indexed to the defense budget. Why? Because we will always have a defense budget and if we index it to the defense budget, some percentage of it, not to come directly from the defense budget, but an amount that would be allocated to it, predicated upon a certain percentage of the defense budget, and this way it would have a working amount of capital that can be used to fight individualist discrimination Examples.

Speaker 3:

I think we still have work to do as it relates to the issue of the enslaved, the persons who work for some 246 years without a payday. They're the economic foundational mothers and the fathers of the country. They deserve to be respected. We don't respect them as we should. I think that the LGBTQIA community ought to be respected in a similar fashion. I think that we ought to honor people, regardless as to their station in life and regardless as to their ethnicity, their sexual orientation. All of these things are important and they all ought to be respected. As well as the indigenous Americans, the aboriginal Americans have been grossly disrespected. The Trail of Tears is a horrific example of how that disrespect caused many lives and relocated people.

Speaker 3:

This Department of Reconciliation would not resolve these problems overnight.

Speaker 3:

This Department of Reconciliation would not resolve these problems overnight.

Speaker 3:

It would perhaps take decades, perhaps even longer than decades, but at least there would be a department dedicated to getting it done and we would have a place that we can go to with our concerns as they relate to invidious discrimination in all of its forms. In all of its forms. That includes anti-Semitism, that includes Islamophobia, all of the various. That includes anti-Semitism, that includes Islamophobia, all of the various phobias, including homophobia. I'm a person who, in my opinion, has discovered something that is very important. I believe I have discovered what the French call my raison d'etre. It means your reason for being, not just the job that you do, not just the thing that some things that might be important to you, but something that you do because you believe, literally, that this is your purpose for existence. Members of the clergy are persons who have discovered their raison d'etre, but mine happens to be the elimination of invidious discrimination in all of its forms speaking of being honored, you were nominated for the male Grand Marshal for the new faces of pride parade.

Speaker 7:

Can you tell me about that experience and what does that mean to you?

Speaker 3:

oh, it means a lot to me. It really does. I'm so honored to to receive this, this honor. I am I'm of the opinion that it will allow me an even greater opportunity to be of service to the community as an ally. The community is doing great things. I have great respect for the things that are being done, but I think that there's a lot that has to be done and I think that in this position, people knowing that I'm aligned with the community there are many people who don't know that I'm closely aligned with the community as an ally and proud to be an ally. I think that knowing that I'm closely aligned will afford me greater opportunities to be of service.

Speaker 3:

I am looking forward to working to a greater extent with persons in the community to bring forth additional legislation. We had a breakfast just recently, as we are doing annually now with our Pride Month breakfast, and at that breakfast it was called to my attention that there are persons who are being discriminated against in a subtle sort of way by not having the pronouns properly utilized in terms of how we in Congress address each other as Congresswoman and Congressman, when we could say indicate that we are Congress people, congress persons. Little things like this make a difference and while they may not seem like a big deal to people who are without the community and who don't understand and who are not allies, it is a big deal for people who live in the community and who just want to be acknowledged in a fair way, a way that others are acknowledged. It will give me an opportunity to help to normalize life for persons who are from the community, such that their lives will just be as normal as anybody else's life. They can go on and do things without having concern for whether their normal activities would cause them to suffer some harm.

Speaker 3:

I don't think people ought to be judged by the color of skin. The content of character counts, but I also don't think people should be judged by their sexual orientation. I think that, again, it's character that counts. It's not the color of skin, it's the character within, it's not the sexual orientation. It's the character of the person that makes the difference, and my hope is that I'll be able to continue the work that I'm already engaged in.

Speaker 7:

I have a correction. I called you the male Grand Marshal. You are actually the honorary Grand Marshal of the New Faces of Pride Parade. Now can you tell me what has been your experience with pride?

Speaker 3:

Well, I've had great experiences with people. Pride is a concept and I appreciate the concept, but the people have made the difference and I'm honored to have had people who have been very supportive and have helped me to better understand the community itself. I don't pretend to have been a perfect person all of my life. I have had some times when I've not been appropriate myself, but I'm still a work in progress and I'm trying as best as I can to get the understanding required to be the best person I can be.

Speaker 3:

I recall a person that I knew, glenn Tellis, who was a wonderful person. He was of the community, but there wasn't a community for him to associate with when we were in high school and he was picked on and there were times when I could have stood up for him and I did not. And that's when I think of this time and I always think of it with a degree of pain because of my lack of standing up for someone who was being treated poorly, and he was treated very poorly. I've learned from that lesson that you have to stand up for people and make sure that your record, though it may never be published, but that your record that you have to live with is one that you can be proud of. So the community has been very kind to me and has been very supportive and I'm grateful for the support and I want to earn the respect and support of the entirety of the community.

Speaker 7:

Do you think that pride is still relevant today? Of course it is?

Speaker 3:

Of course it is. There are people making every effort to roll back the clock, and when I say roll back the clock, I can point to specific examples. What has been the case with Choice overturning Roe was an effort to roll back the clock, and they haven't stopped there. I think that we have to protect a woman's right to choose. It's her body. She can do whatever she chooses with her body, penalize and go so far as to criminalize persons from the community for allowing their children or allowing young people to receive the treatment, the medical treatment necessary so that they can properly identify with who they are, and it's very unfortunate that that has become the issue that it has. But I think that when you have the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association, all agreeing that it is appropriate for persons to receive gender affirming care, I think that this issue has been distorted and I think we've got to do what we can to prevent persons from penalizing and possibly criminalizing parents who simply seek gender-affirming care for their children after having conferred with appropriate medical professionals. It's just amazing to me that we, those who are conservative, have great respect for parental rights until we get to an issue like this and I'm of the opinion that we have to be very watchful. I think that, when it comes to the community, we've got to protect the right of people who love each other to marry.

Speaker 3:

Marriage is an important institution in this country and I compliment the community for not accepting something less than marriage. I remember when there was an offer not necessarily a formal offer, but an offer of civil ceremonies, but an offer of civil ceremonies and the community stood strong and said no, all we want is what the Constitution allows other people to have, and, as a result, the courts came through. But what was done can be undone. We have seen this with Roe Dobbs is what undermined it and arose. So we've got to be very careful and watchful to protect this precious right that people have to marry whomever they want.

Speaker 3:

I remember Barney Frank making a comment that helps to illustrate why some people should not be as concerned about this as they are. Barney reminded some folk that you should not be as worried about gay marriage as you are because you probably won't get invited to the wedding. That's really not the business of people other than the friends of the community. And I remember speaking to a group of folk who were associated with labor, and my comment was these were people that were associated with pipe fitting. They're the pipe fitters, and my comment was if a pipe fitter can fit pipes right, it's not our business who a pipe fitter sleeps with at night. People have the right and they're personalized with consenting adults to associate with each other as they choose, and I think that right can be taken away. What is?

Speaker 7:

your greatest achievement.

Speaker 3:

My greatest achievement is something that I cherish. I went to Florida A&M Howard Tuskegee Institute of Technology no undergraduate degree. I do have a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and my greatest achievement is very simply this In attending all of these institutions, I learned this one thing how little I know, how little I know, and how important it is to have a constitution that allows you to grow. I'm hopefully, 10 years from now, not going to be the person that I am today. I want to be a better person. I want to have grown and have a better understanding of the environment that I live in and the people that I associate with. So my greatest accomplishment is simply this knowing how little I know and having a desire to do better and to help to make the world a better place for all who will follow.

Speaker 7:

We've been speaking with Congressman Al Green, who is the honorary grand marshal for the New Faces of Pride parade happening on Saturday, June 22nd in downtown Houston. Thank you for coming on, Congressman.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for having me on. I greatly appreciate it. God bless all and let's keep the congresswoman from the 18th in our prayers.

Speaker 1:

This is Queer Voices.

Speaker 6:

Hey, there it's Brett Cullum, and today I am joined by Tice Green. He started his acting career here in Houston and ran off to New York City. There he became a model, an actor, a singer, and has tons of hits with his cabaret performances. He even made an album with legendary producer and writer Jim Steinman and has appeared on Project Runway as one of the male models for several seasons and, from what I know, one of his biggest and latest gigs was the tour for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. Well, now Tice Green is returning to Houston as a producer and founder of a nonprofit theater company called Houston Broadway Theater. They debuted their first production on the weekend of July 26th and it is the rock musical Next to Normal Tice. I'm exhausted just saying all of this, but welcome to Queer Voices, welcome back to Houston.

Speaker 4:

Hello, I'm exhausted listening to it in the best way. What a beautiful intro. Oh, thank you.

Speaker 6:

I think I got it. Tell us first about Houston Broadway Theater. What is it? What?

Speaker 4:

is its mission. So here we are, a brand new theater company in Houston and, like you said, I'm from Houston originally and I was in New York full time for the better part of about seven years, part of about seven years. And after the pandemic so many things changed and I just went you know what I like driving to HEB. So I'm spending about I'd say, spending about half my time here and half my time in New York, and it's really wonderful because I get all the wonderful, amazing things Houston and then I get the insanity, craziness of New York, but I don't have to be stuck in either of those places and they're so different.

Speaker 4:

When I started spending more time here after the pandemic in Houston I'm involved in so many things in theater, like I'm a performer, I'm a business owner, I'm a producer I started just kind of asking around like what does the theater landscape look like? And I spent about a year just kind of getting reacquainted and what I found was, you know, when I was still doing theater in Houston back 1011 years ago, you had like a couple of different theater companies and series and things like that that were going on that had really high production value in intimate spaces, that mixed Broadway artists and local artists. And then I came, I came back and I was like, oh, I wonder where that is, and that just sort of doesn't really exist anymore, except for Tuts, like Tuts and the Alley of course. Those are really like the only places in Houston now that you can go and see a mixture of Broadway folks and Houston folks. And I spent a lot of time doing shows at Zilka Hall, at the Hobby Center, and that is the small space at the Hobby Center you got the 2000 seat theater which is where most of the stuff happens, and you have this wonderful, amazing, intimate space next door.

Speaker 4:

Back in the day I was doing a ton of shows at tuts as an actor when they had that whole series in zilka, I was trying to figure out, like, is there a gap? Is there, you know, is there something to be able to fill here? And and through talking to a lot of really smart people and getting reacquainted, the answer was yes, and I kind of really just sort of bared my soul and told everybody about what my idea was. And I asked some really trusted people and said Look, hey, do you think this is a good idea, do you think there's a gap here and everybody was like yes, yes, please, please, please. Basically, you know Houston Broadway Theatre.

Speaker 4:

Our mission is to produce really high production value, the same that you would see if you were going to go see a Broadway show or an off-Broadway show in New York. And then we also have built into the mission Broadway professionals and Houston professionals, and that's on all sides. This is on the creative team, this is on stage, it's backstage, it's everything. We're sort of on a mission to kind of create the off-Broadway of Houston, and so we also wanted to do shows that you're most likely not going to see at other theater companies, so most likely not going to see at other theater companies. So that's why we landed on Next to Normal.

Speaker 4:

I think the last time Next to Normal was done in Houston was like 12 years ago. We're in the let people know we exist phase, but we have such an amazing cast and an amazing creative team and it is like half locals and half Broadway folks. I think it's gonna be really exciting and we've gotten a lot of really, really great buzz and excitement so far. You have to give a big, a big credit to the people at Tuts, because I mean, that's where I grew up doing theater and I have to give them a lot of credit because they really because they're not doing a show in the summer, we were able to hire a lot of the folks, a lot of the Tuts staff. I'm excited that we just happen to be another organization that's coming in to try to fill yet another gap.

Speaker 6:

Going back to Next to Normal. It's kind of a different show. It's a rock musical and it deals a lot with psychiatric issues. It's a heavy show. It's interesting that you picked this to launch your theater. I mean, what was it about this show? The message of it?

Speaker 4:

Here's the thing about Next to Normal and perhaps other theater companies might not take a risk on. Next to Normal is such an interesting and beautiful show. I remember seeing it on Broadway. It was on Broadway in 2009. It won the Pulitzer, won three Tonys. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama. When you win the Pulitzer Prize, you're competing against every piece of written material, not just plays, not just musicals. What is really amazing about the show is that, yes, it covers. There is a lot of talk about mental health. There is, there is grief. That's obviously covered in the show. But I call it a dramedy Because the thing about life is that even when we are going through some of the tough challenges in our lives, there is always humor in it.

Speaker 4:

There is it's not just one thing right, we're not just like the little Zoloft cloud that's, that's fucking around. You remember those commercials of that little sad cloud. It isn't just like that all the time. Right, and anytime that like, I've had moments of sadness or whatever, we're always trying to find the positive. We're always trying to get out of that right.

Speaker 4:

All this show is written in such a beautiful way where you really see just like an uninhibited, raw display of what happens when a family is going through grief. You have the mom character, who is diana, who is diagnosed with bipolar, and there are these challenges that happen within their family. It's mom, dad, son, daughter and you're you're seeing them just try to get through the day. But then also, how do they help this person that they love? But then also, how do they just you also have to, like, get up and go to work and you also have to remember to eat, and sometimes, when people are going through really rough things, they do very funny things and it's funny and you have to laugh out loud. It is such a beautifully written show. Certainly, what we've been trying to explain to folks is that when you come and see this, it's not just going to be a little sad balloon. That's not what the show is at all. It's extremely relatable. They're going to watch this and go oh, I can relate to, I can relate to the mom that is dealing with mental health but is also just just trying to be there for her, is just trying to be there for her son, is just trying to be there for her husband. It's just such a wonderful show about a family coming together in spite of their challenges but really, really wanting to get along. And then, of course, when things really go wrong and when people get upset with each other and they make mistakes, and then how they resolve those. So I think it's an incredibly relatable show.

Speaker 4:

Who all is in the show? Tell me about your cast a little bit. In the cast, the two leads in the cast are Mary Faber, who Broadway's Mary Faber, I should say, who, if folks are familiar with Green Day's American Idiot Mary, was in the original cast of American Idiot Dan. The husband is being played by the incredible tony ward nominated constantine maroulis, who most folks would know from american idol. He's the long-haired rocker guy from american idol on carrie underwood season.

Speaker 4:

Then we also have so the, the son and the daughter. The son is actually being played by yours truly tight screen and then the daughter's played by mary caroline owens, who's a wonderful, wonderful actress. And henry, her boyfriend, is being played by josiah thomas randolph, who just recently is literally coming off of the hairspray tour. The doctor is being played by manuel stark santos, who is a houstonian originally. You would know him from west side story on broadway. He just finished touring with Hamilton and so he comes to us directly from Hamilton. It's an incredible cast. It really is. Tell us about where we can get tickets. You can get tickets at Houston Broadway Theatre. That's theatre with an R-E theatra houstonbroadwaytheatrecom. You can also get tickets on the Hobby Center website.

Speaker 6:

Well, let's talk. Tice a little bit. Tommy jesus christ, superstar next to normal, collaborating with jim steinman, you're doing a lot of rock stuff. How did that kind of trajectory hit you?

Speaker 4:

I mean, I've always been a theater kid, so I grew up loving theater.

Speaker 4:

But I also grew up being obsessed with Ann Wilson from Heart. When I was trying to learn how to sing, I would just listen to her sing like Barracuda and then I would just sing it in that same key as loud as I possibly could in the shower every single day until I could hit the notes. And I don't know, somehow I ended up figuring it out. Who knows, biology is bizarre like that. So I I've always, always, always, had an affinity for, for rock music, and that that's also what was playing in the car at all times, like, like you know, with with my family and stuff, like it was always, always 80s rock, and so that is the kind of music that I learned how to sing. Yeah, I always was drawn to to these, these shows, like you know, like Jesus Christ Superstar back in the day, even before I was, I was in the tour and Tommy, when I work with Jim Steinman and Jim Steinman, by the way, if people don't know, is he's the writer of some of the most the biggest hits of all time Total Eclipse of the Heart, celine Dion's, it's all coming back to me Now all of the Bad Out of Hell albums, air Supply, making Love Out of Nothing at All. So I mean, it's just the hits. Go on and on and on. I was very fortunate to work with Jim Steinman back in the day and unfortunately he's no longer with us, but he produced an album for me which was just unbelievable. When I was doing that and we were going out and we were promoting the album, I was actually able to open for some incredible bands. So I opened for Nancy Wilson of Heart, I opened for Air Supply and I opened for Berlin. And if y'all don't remember who Berlin is, berlin was take my breath away before Jessica Simpson. I'm out there doing like the band gigs.

Speaker 4:

But yeah, I love rock music and I just I'm going to talk about Tommy really quickly. So, as I I mentioned, I've always been a producer, I've always been a performer, I've always been an entrepreneur I mean really ever since, like the moment I could breathe, I just like doing things and getting things done and just making art in any possible way that I can, and I feel very grateful that I happen to have these different skill sets. What we know with Tommy what happened was I was a producer on another Broadway show this. This this last season called how to Dance in Ohio. Financially, broadway is just a really. It's just a hard space. There's a bazillion shows out there.

Speaker 4:

I had such an incredible time on that show and as a producer and the producer of Jesus Christ Superstar that I performed in for three years on tour, I found out that he had gotten the rights to Tommy to do a revival of Tommy on Broadway and I and we were talking kind of back and forth and he was like, yeah, I'm going to meet Pete Townsend in the UK and I was just like, can we work on this? Like what? Like what's, what's the deal? It felt like a really great project to be involved in. I was to get on that project and we were nominated for a tony this this year's because I'm a huge jim stymond fan.

Speaker 6:

What is your favorite song of his that you?

Speaker 4:

like to. I think objects in the rearview mirror is my favorite, is my favorite song to sing, but I will say my favorite song that we recorded on the album was actually I'm gonna love her for both of us since this is queer voices, how do you identify within the LGBTQIA plus community?

Speaker 4:

I have this conversation with my friends all the time. What I love about our world right now in terms of identity and stuff like that, is that the terms and the labels and the it's getting it's getting so much more fluid and so much more like you don't have to just be labeled one thing, you don't just have to be you know, you don't have to put yourself into one box. I feel like my sexuality is like on a spectrum for the longest time. I mean I would just say that like I'm just gay right, I present as gay right, but I have conversations with friends sometimes where they'll be like, oh yeah, well, like I mean they're like I'm kind of I'm open to trying something else or trying something with a different identity and and someone who who identifies as female, someone who identifies as trans male or trans female.

Speaker 4:

What I really love about the world and how it has certainly made my mind open.

Speaker 4:

What I love about being being sort of more open with with how the world is changing is that I just feel more open minded is really what I'm trying to say. Like I mean, I certainly I remember a time like 10 or 15 years ago or something, where I could hear or feel myself subconsciously being like, oh, I'm not, I'm not really into that, or I I'm not sure that I could really do something with somebody who identified as trans. Right, I feel totally different now. I feel I'm totally open to that. I mean, I would just say that I identify as gay, if I was just putting it in like a little box, but I don't know that I even have a label for myself Because I think sexually, I feel so much more open to so many different things and because of that I've been able to meet so many wonderful people and be able to make connections with so many wonderful people in ways that, like a previous cultural or societal bias, would not have allowed me to do that.

Speaker 6:

It's interesting because I think when I look back on my history, I identify as gay and I present to the world as a cis gay man, but I've dated women. I've dated trans men, I've dated trans women. I'm somewhere I just kind of call this the year that I embraced queer. This is the question I always wanted to ask another former houstonian who is now a producer, a big time you know ty blue from houston, and he produced the celine dion, musical titanic, and now we have Tice Green.

Speaker 6:

I'm convinced I'm changing my name to Tyler Yellow and I'm coming for y'all's gigs. But I think it's interesting that both Ty and Tice I saw as very electric performers, and Ty, I bought his albums and I bought your albums and I thought, oh, if they make it, it's going to be as a singer or as a performer. But then here you guys are out crushing it as producers. So what made you choose that? I mean, is it the not a lot of artists are good at business?

Speaker 4:

first of all, ty Blue is a rock star. I and, just by the way, he and I aren't, we're not like good friends or anything like that, but I, I mean he, he's just, he is killing it and you're exactly right, I mean he's definitely somebody that is. You want to call it like a triple, quadruple, quintuple threat. Right, if you want to include business, you want to include, you know, producing, right? You are right. That oh, they're the, the business and performer thing is unusual. You know, these days I think people would call that a multi-hyphenate. I think that's sort of like the new word for those kinds of things.

Speaker 4:

I knew like I just knew like straight away, that I just wanted to make things happen. And in order to make things happen, I had to learn how to do them, and then I had to go out and do them. And that sounds really simplistic, but that's really how I learned to be good at business. Everything that I learned I learned from just researching it myself. At a certain point, when I was growing up and I grew up with a single mom we did not have a lot of money. We weren't poverty level, sucking on fumes, necessarily, but we couldn't afford for me to take a bunch of expensive voice lessons and workshops and things like that, like creatively for acting and things like that. So all so all of that stuff I had to go out and just try to figure out. I had to ask friends for help. I had to. I had to look up to the other people that I was just in the room with and observe and take notes and try to emulate that and and do it for watching TV and stuff like that.

Speaker 4:

I learned very early on that. Anything that I wanted to learn how to do I had to just figure it out In my head, kind of popped into my head one day that said well, tice, actors don't make a lot of money. If you want to be able to have the freedom to do the things that you want to do, you've got to figure something else out. I can't ignore the fact that when I wake up in the morning, all I want to do is be on stage. I can't ignore that, because I think that's like, as Oprah would say, divine order, right, when that's instilled in you, you can't let that go, you can't suppress that.

Speaker 4:

And so I said, well then, great, I've got to work around it, I've got to put myself in a position where I can do that and also do this other thing and first business that I ever started I was really good at at finding repertoire for people, and this is like you know, you think like 2011 or something like that, right, so like, yes, you had the internet. It wasn't quite as easy to find things like they are now, and I became known in both in high school and in college of having this like really crazy wide knowledge of musical theater repertoire and shows that like ran on broadway for five performances and then closed and then like, and I was able to also like find sheet music from all these different shows. I started, someone told me they were like well, you need to. You know, you should charge like as like a consultant for like repertoire or something. I was like, okay, it was like 20 and students started coming to me for like college audition help, and then I was like wait a second, I can make, I can make some extra income doing this kind of thing, and over the years, those different ideas have just blossomed and blossomed, and blossomed, you know, so I do a lot of things.

Speaker 4:

I just think that if somebody wants to do something, just do it. I know from my own experience that everything that I learned, I just I don't know. I just went out there and I just went to Google and I opened a book. I know it sounds really silly, but that's what I did. I just tried something just to see. Then I failed at a whole lot of things. Then suddenly I succeeded at something and I went oh cool, this seems to be working. So let me stay down this path.

Speaker 4:

I was doing it on purpose, because I always knew that I wanted to put myself in a position where anything that I wanted to accomplish creatively, to put myself in a position where anything that I wanted to accomplish creatively I never wanted to feel stifled by a financial burden. I love business. It allows me to be able to make things happen for other people that I know things should be happening for. I love being in a position where I was able to start a not-for-profit organization and be able to work and be able to have autonomy over choosing people that are in the cast and working with a team that I want to work with, because I know that those people are going to respect each other. I think it's just a really wonderful thing to be able to put on the oxygen mask for yourself, so that you can put it on for other people Next to normal.

Speaker 6:

One weekend only, july 26th through the 28th. Tickets are available through the Hobby Center site and the Houston Broadway theatercom. And remember, theater spelled the European way R-E, not American E-R.

Speaker 1:

This has been Queer Voices, which is now a home-produced podcast and available from several podcasting sources. Check our webpage queervoicesorg. For more information. Queer Voices executive producer is Brian Levinka. Andrew Edmondson and Deborah Moncrief-Bell are frequent contributors. The News Wrap segment is part of another podcast called this Way Out, which is produced in Los Angeles.

Speaker 8:

Some of the material in this program has been edited to improve clarity and runtime. This program does not endorse any political views or animal species. Views, opinions and endorsements are those of the participants and the organizations they represent. In case of death, please discontinue use and discard remaining product.

Speaker 1:

For Queer Voices. I'm Glenn Holt.

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