Adrian D. Varnedoe
Imagine this: You're a very faithful person in your religion.
You go to mass regularly, observe every holiday, and read the scriptures daily.
But what you read says that what you're feeling is sinful, and death is the only punishment. You see, you're also gay.
Trembling Before God, a documentary by Sandi Si-mcha DuBowski, starting Feb. 28 at the Castro theatre, is a compelling look into the struggle of the split between one's faith and one's sexuality.
The documentary focuses on gay and lesbian Hasidic and Orthodox Jews from around the world.
Most of the people that spoke did so by using a different name or not having their faces filmed, but you're still able to see the pain in their hearts from having to hide their sexuality from their families and religious community.
"I feel like an outsider," said Michelle, a Hasidic Brooklyn lesbian was one of the brave souls in the film. "There's no place for me."
Mark, young Orthodox Jew in London, was sent to Israel by his father, a rabbi, to keep him from coming out. He became more open there, and now has AIDS.
Despite the seriousness of the film, there were some funny moments.
One man told about the day he told his rabbi that he was gay. The rabbi didn't know what that was. The man told the rabbi that he didn't have anal sex.
The rabbi didn't know what that was. The rabbi asked what he had done. The man told the rabbi that he kissed and had oral sex. The rabbi didn't know what that was either.
Trembling Before God is a powerful, moving and eye-opening documentary that should be seen by all.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a two stepping, tale of the true and legendary Chicken Ranch Brothel in La Grange, Texas.
Mona (Ann Margaret), the Madam and owner of the brothel is an soft-spoken women who projects a motherly, caring and concerned personality, but lays down strict rules that she expects her ladies to adhere to.
For example, they are not to kiss any customers on the lips; they can only have one menstrual period a month and no long personal telephone calls.
Sheriff Earl Dodd (Gary Sandy), the man Mona loves, is a foul-mouthed, high-temperedman trying do his job with out doing his job.
His friendship with Mona goes back to when she worked at the brothel before taking over.
Melvin P. Thorpe (Rob Donohoe), is a flashy, funny TV preacher who is set on getting the brothel shut down for his own gain.
He uses every means necessary to carry out this dastardly deed.
In one scene, he is in the streets preaching using a gospel choir who sings songs of evil and wrongdoing.
In the background (on a raised stage) are the whores in the act of serving their customers, presenting an extremely funny contrast that recurs throughout the play.
Thorpe uses the power of the press to call attention to the brothel and expose the sheriff and the governor. Puts which pressure on them to close the house.
If you like good boot-kicking music, great choreography, humor, glitzy costumes, and good ole' southern charm and vernacular, then this play is the one for you.