Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Pink Lady Speaks

Two recent stories about dumb, censorious Christians really disturb me. The first comes from Paul Wilczynski, who reports that at least 100 Christian pastors have signed a petition against gay actor Chad Allen appearing as a Christian in a project called (hold your snickers, please) "End Of the Spear:"

http://www.paulwilczynski.com/

I know these dimwits think that homosexuality is catching, but I had heretofore believed that the perceived danger was if your kid had exposure to an actual homo, not just one playing a Christian on television. Honestly, these people get more ridiculous all the time. How many people did they manage to insult and embarrass with this latest bit of activism?

Hmmm. Let's count 'em up:

Of course, as rampant homophobes, they insult all God's homosexual children, and especially actor Chad Allen. They insult and damage the reputation of the wider Christian community. They insult the integrity of the supposedly impressionable young people whom they assume will turn insta-gay by being exposed to Chad Allen's performance (because of course the actor will be using this role as a way to convert thousands of kids to Team Gay! That's why he took the role!). And from non-zealots, they earn yet another huge eye rolling sigh of disgust.
WAY to go!

In a similarly upsetting story, Philocrites reports another group of Mad Stoopit Christians who can't have their tender progeny exposed to smoking and drinking and the wearing of babydoll pajamas:

http://tinyurl.com/7p4zy

The offending drama project is "Grease," which only every single teenager ever created since the late 1970's has known about, and loved as either kitsch or as one of their earliest introductions to John Travolta as a singing and dancing hottie. My Mom saw it on Broadway about five times in the late 70's and took us to see it which caused my friend Lee Grogan's mother to be appalled, because it involved mooning and characters named Danny Zuko grabbing the breasts of one of his gal pals and saying, "boola boola." It involved greasers and girl gangs! And a nefarious car known as "Greased Lightning" with a back seat where bad girls got pregnant!

I thought it was slightly shocking, but more because the actors sang into hand-held mics for the first time in Broadway history. I was in the fifth grade.

You can imagine -- or maybe you can't -- the absolute hysteria when our high school became the first in America to get the rights in 1980, and how outrageous the auditioning process was. EVERYONE wanted to be in this show: the drama "fags" (sorry, that's what we were called), the jocks, the nerds, EVERYONE. The director announced that freshmen were not going to be cast, but I snagged a leading role as one of the Pink Ladies and my friend Little Stevie T. also got in. (He's now a minor cable celebrity, and we had a falling out several years ago, and I have nothing good to say about him. So I won't tell you his last name but it's not Stephen Colbert, who's a fine old bean of an old college pal).

I was fourteen years old and looking back, was fierce hot as Marty, "the beauty of the Pink Ladies" (or so it says in the script, a description that carried me through many moments of massive insecurity during my teen years):

marty.jpg.bmp

The director actually taught me how to smoke, 'cause it was 1980 and we were willing to suffer for our art, even in high school. My parents could not have been prouder of me in my tiny pink baby doll pajamas singing "Freddy My Love."

Sure, some parents wrote letters to the editor of the local paper expressing their shock that the high school would mount such a salacious show. And then other parents wrote in saying nonsense, it was a delight, get over it. Those of us who had been involved in the production were absolutely thrilled by the controversy.

What didn't happen was that the superintendent of schools was so cowed by the response that he took it upon himself to take creative control of the Drama Department, as happened in Fulton, Missouri.
Our theater teachers would never have tolerated that. Never. And they would have had full community support, too.

It should be noted that I later went on to play Rizzo in a Minneapolis production of "Grease" in 1996 (much too old to hand jive at thirty) and that I suffered no ill effects to my virtuous Christian life. I don't think it counts that I was living in sin with a man at the time. After all, there are worse things I could do.

I have written a letter of support to drama teacher Wendy DeVore, and I invite you to do so, too. She may be out of a job for choosing such shows as "Grease" and "The Crucible" for her student performers, and she can be reached at Wendy_DeVore@fulton.k12.mo.us.

Pink Ladies forever!

4 Comments:

Blogger Chalicechick said...

From Marty to Rizzo

---shakes head----

CC

18:01  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

can ya stand it? My career as a great beauty lasted about one weekend, after which I promptly moved into fat and sassy character roles. Funny story: our Teen Angel got fired the night before we opened and so I (as Rizzo) got to do "Beauty School Dropout" in a leather jacket, shades and a halo. And 4" heels. I slunk around looking hip, but the truth is, I could hardly walk and hold the mic at the same time.

18:51  
Blogger Happy Cindy said...

I have to give a head nod to them thar Xians. Myself, I sat in a darkened movie theatre with my dad, and watched Olivia Newton John and John Travolta with some little interest, but nothing worth taking note of. I was particular to Rizzo (and to Stockard Channing to this day).

Until The Scene.
ONJ in head to toe leather, twirling and spinning and elongating those incredible legs...

Deep Sigh.

Yup. that's the exact moment in real time that I knew that I wasn't maybe a little tomboy-ish with lesbian potential,
I was a Big Dyke.

So IMO we should support the performance of Grease for all the reasons you mention and, quite possibly, for the exact reasons these folks want it banned.

13:31  
Blogger boyinthebands said...

Happy Cindy gets my vote of the day for the comment that made me laugh out loud. What was the pic that proved me to be the Big Homo I Am?

Not "The Boys in the Band."

Oh, heck, my utter love for Rizzo should have been enough.

20:54  

Post a Comment

<< Home