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By Jim Larkin
Out ‘N About may be taking a summer break, but committee members have a full slate of LGBT events this fall and are casting an eye on what its role should be once the year of activities end this year.
Among the more recent activities scheduled are the Flint AIDS Walk at 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at the University of Michigan – Flint Pavilion, an LGBT film series from Sept. 26-28 at the Flint Institute of Arts, an exhibit of LGBT artists at the Greater Flint Arts Council from Oct. 10-Nov. 7 and a reading of “The Little Dog Laughed” by Douglas Carter Beane at the Flint Youth Theatre on Nov. 9.
And still to be scheduled is a showing of Swartz Creek filmmaker Antonio David Garcia’s film “Fences” at Woodside Church, a reunion celebration of “Face the Music,” a feminist radio show on WFBE from 1980-97, and a display of LGBT books and videos at the Flint Public Library.
“What we’ve got so far I’m pretty happy with,” said Out ‘N About Chairman Jack Lesage, “and we’ve got some (other) things I really would like to see go through.”
Among the other possibilities are the publishing of an ONA LGBT glossary of terminology and points on being LGBT allies, a forum on LGBT issues, concerts and other events still in the planning stage.
The Flint Institute of Arts’ LGBT film series in one of the newest entries on the Out ‘N About schedule. Movies to be shown will be:
“Chris & Don: A Love Story” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25. The documentary chronicles the relationship of Don Bachardy and the 30 years older writer Christopher Isherwood, whose “Berlin Stories” served as the basis for “Cabaret.” Bachardy, initially dismissed as a “boy toy,” gained renown as a successful portrait painter.
“Vivvere” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27. The 2007 German film weaves the stories of three women on a bleak Christmas Eve. Sent to fetch a runaway sister, a woman stops to rescue an enigmatic older woman, played by German screen legend Hannelore Elsner, who has had a car accident.
“XXY” at 2 p.m. Sept. 28. The drama focuses on a 15-year-old hermaphrodite who is being raised as a female but has to self-determine a sexual identity.
Greg Fiedler, founder of Out ‘N About, has asked members of the Out ‘N About marketing committee what, if anything, should happen to the program once it ends this year. Committee members have opted to make that decision after planning for the fall events has concluded.
LeSage, who became chairman after former chairwoman Joann Downing became ill, said he does not wish to remain as chairman after this year but added he “would hate to see this end.” And Fiedler said he would like to continue encouraging a better understanding of the LGBT community through the arts.
But the marketing committee meetings have not been well attended and Fiedler, LeSage and Downing have all expressed frustrations over convincing some in the Flint community to join the Out ‘N About efforts.
Still, Downing said Out ‘N About’s efforts to “break the silence” about gay and lesbian’s contributions to the community remain a goal worth championing.
“Many people mean well but they don’t realize how society has programmed them,” Downing said. “Everyone should be allowed to be a whole person and to bring themselves to the table.”