Cardinal O’Brien and the recipe for disaster

“Doing the inner work gives us access to our own power. This creates the conditions for a transformed world”


Ade:
There has been a lot in the press over the past couple of days about Cardinal O’Brien in terms of him allegedly having ‘inappropriate relations’ with a couple of priests. Not sure if it is indeed true, but if it is, what came to mind for me was – here we go again with a closeted homophobic person who has unresolved shame issues. What thoughts and feelings came up for you?
Darren: A mixture of feelings. Partly I was sad at the idea of somebody being trapped in a role that demanded suppression of a central part of their identity and who then allowed this to find release in circumstances that were not consenting. Another part of me felt excitement that a silence was being broken, that some truth – however dark – was coming to light. How about you?

Ade: Yes, also a range of emotions. I felt sad that someone in a position like his was not using his life to help heal the wounds of others. This is a guy who has been very openly homophobic and infact last year was named Stonewall Bigot of the Year. He is someone who could help bring about change and help many gay men and lesbians heal their relationship with God. Instead, due to his unhealed stuff he has not helped at all.
Darren: Yes the ‘unhealed stuff’ can have a powerful and negative impact and when that is present in someone with power and responsibility it can be a recipe for disaster. For most of us – who do not hold these positions – I suppose we can look at the negative impact that our own unhealed stuff has not only on ourselves, but also on those around us. If we do this we can begin to understand – not condone – the behavior of people branded as bigots. Continue Reading →

Ghost Rider

~ Shame and Disclosure in the Curious Case of Lance Armstrong

A Personal View, by Paul Woodward

Lance Armstrong

The world recently watched with anticipation as the most successful championship cyclist the sport has ever seen perform an extraordinary series of disclosures in his highly publicised interview with Oprah Winfrey. Despite many years of staunch denial, supported by a mercilessly aggressive campaign of defence against almost all detractors, including libel actions upon both friends and colleagues alike, Lance Armstrong finally came clean to the world, and admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs to clinch the once legendary championship victories that had inspired so many.

I don’t know about you, but it was, for me, a uniquely unsettling experience. It wasn’t just due to the squirm factor of watching a publicly disgraced man attempt to seek absolution through trial by TV. Nor was it embarrassment at watching a man making a last ditch attempt to claw back some remnants of a career for himself. It was something else, something deep inside of me that stimulated these acutely uncomfortable feelings. Continue Reading →

Tenderness, Taboo & Togetherness

~ A Dramaturg’s Perspective on ‘Beneath The Surface: Real Life Stories’

As we await the next incarnation of The Quest storytelling performance inspired by The Velvet RagePaul Woodward, the production Dramaturg reflects here about how the original production Velvet Rage: Real Life Stories was shaped and structured, and the processes which brought the piece to fruition….

What is a ‘dramaturg’?

It’s a weird old word, German in origin (and boy does it sound it), which when I describe myself as such makes people check my breath, to see if I’m drunk and trying to say ‘dramatist’ or ‘director’ – in actual fact, its kind of a specialized combination of both of these things. I’m going to resort to Wikipedia here (the academic in me shudders at this of course) for the clearest definition I could find:

Dramaturgy is the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage. Dramaturgy is a distinct practice separate from play writing and directing, although a single individual may perform any combination of the three. Some dramatists combine writing and dramaturgy when creating a drama. Others work with a specialist, called a dramaturg, to adapt a work for the stage.

Dramaturgy may also be defined, more broadly, as shaping a story into a form that may be acted. Dramaturgy gives the work or the performance a structure.

And that’s basically what my role was for this project. I was the structure and shaper guy for the piece, the guy in charge of production design, and who took a co-directorial position, alongside Darren Brady, who was taking the reigns on this particular project, as facilitator. Continue Reading →

Gay Utopia

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in making this event happen……..

For decades, gay men around the world have been marching down our own proverbial yellow brick road with protest banners and candles, fighting for equal rights and acceptance into mainstream society. We’ve survived the heartache and prejudice of the HIV/Aids epidemic, and with the advent of effective HIV medications, we can truly say ‘We’ve passed through that darkness too.’

We are now standing on the cusp of the dawn of a new age — our own Emerald City, where we can raise families, wed our boyfriends, name our own streets, have our own television shows and strut our stuff proudly. We are courted by businesses, consulted by the influential and powerful, encouraged, accepted and celebrated.

Surely, this must be the Gay Utopia we’ve been fighting for?

Continue Reading →

Are gay men fucked up?

Interview with Stuart Haggas of FS magazine
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The Weekend Exploration – March 2012 Workshop

The emerging community of gay men who have been on the Exploration Workshop continues to grow.

The Workshop, inspired by ‘The Velvet Rage‘ (Alan Downs) will be running for the 4th time next month. It feels just like yesterday (June 2011) that we ran the first workshop. The initial workshop ran over a 6-week period in the evenings, in the upper lounge space of Barcode in Vaxhaull, with a group of 10 gay men; we have since changed location and the format of the sessions.
Continue Reading →