Gay in Appalachia Archives

10th Annual Gay in Appalachia



Date: October 25, 2014 at 1:00p.m.
Location: Lyric Theatre

Revelations is a live theatrical presentation written and produced by folklorist Carrie Nobel Kline, who weaves a dozen oral histories into an artistic tapestry that focuses on resiliency in the LGBT Appalachian community.

Kline, owner of Talking Across the Lines, LLC, a folklife documentation and audio production company, “saw common threads in people’s stories. Most talked about being raised to be stubborn and independent as well as deeply religious and attached to the land… The characters, whose names have been changed, talk to each other and the audience.”

Characters share memories of discovering they were different, dealing with family and community, and eventually accepting themselves.

The LGBT Caucus brought this provocative piece here eight years ago and it played before a standing-room-only crowd where an intense and empowering discussion ensued for 90 minutes following the performance. Audience members will glean a fresh perspective on concepts of gender from people who have broadened their own views through complex intellectual and spiritual journeys.

Kline, owner of Talking Across the Lines, LLC, a folklife documentation and audio production company, will devote six days in creative residency at Virginia Tech.

Carrie and Michael Kline will start the afternoon with incredible harmonies about songs that celebrate the resiliency of the human spirit, the art of neighborliness, and the drive to preserve natural beauty in fast-changing times.

9th Annual Gay in Appalachia

Gaye Adegbalola


Date: November 7, 2013 at 7:00p.m. (Doors open at 6pm)
Location: Lyric Theatre

Gaye Adegbalola and her backup group Wild Rutz will headline the 9th Annual Gay in Appalachia event at Virginia Tech on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7pm, at the Lyric Theatre. Doors will open at 6pm.

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8th Annual Gay in Appalachia



Date: October 11, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Lyric Theatre

8, a play chronicling the Federal trial for marriage equality by Dustin Lance Black.

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7th Annual Gay in Appalachia

An Evening of Poetry


Date: October 14, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: VBI Auditorium

An evening of poetry, brings two award-winning authors to the 7th Annual Gay in Appalachia celebration at Virginia Tech.

Poet Stacey Waite, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, will join Virginia Tech’s own Jeff Mann of Pulaski, Va., an associate professor in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. The winner of the 2010 Snowbound Prize in Poetry for “the lake has no saint,” Waite is also the recipient of the 2006 Main Street Rag Press Chapbook Prize for “Love Poem to Androgyny” and the 2004 Frank O’Hara Prize for Poetry for “Choke.” Her first full-length collection, “Butch Geography,” is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2012.

Waite’s other honors include an Andrew Mellon Dissertation Fellowship Award, the Elizabeth Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award, two nominations for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, and a National Society of Arts and Letters Poetry Prize. Waite has also published essays on the teaching of writing in “Writing on the Edge” and the journal Feminist Teacher. Waite holds an M.F.A. in poetry and a Ph.D. in composition and pedagogy from the University of Pittsburgh. An acclaimed poet, Mann has had a prolific year, publishing three different genres of work in 2011. “Ash: Poems from Norse Mythology” was followed by a book of short fiction entitled “A History of Barbed Wire,” and his first novel “Fog: A Novel of Desire and Reprisal.” A frequent participant in poetry readings across the United States, Mann teaches courses in Appalachian folk culture, creative writing, poetry, American literature, and satire. Mann is the first repeat presenter at Gay in Appalachia, having also appeared in the inaugural event in 2005.

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6th Annual Gay in Appalachia

Inlaws and Outlaws


Date: October 28, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Graduate Life Center Auditorium

Inlaws and Outlaws, award-winning documentary weaves together the true stories of couples and singles – both gay and straight – into a collective narrative that is both humorous and  heartbreaking. At the top of the film, the cast of “real” people is introduced one by one, and the audience does not know who’s gay or straight or who’s with whom. As stories unfold, stereotypes fall by the wayside, and the audience ends up rooting for everybody.

Writer, director and filmmaker Emery has created a body of community-centered work while living in Seattle for the past 15 years. After receiving his MFA in playwriting from the University of Virginia, and winning a clutch of playwriting honors, including the Virginia Playwriting Prize and the Howard Scammon Drama Prize, Drew moved to Seattle and began working with the late great Alice B. Theatre.

In addition to co-directing the nation’s first national lesbian and gay theatre conference, Drew collaborated with various artists to create Hidden History: True Stories from Seattle’s Lesbian & Gay Elders; and Language of One, the personal odyssey of a Deaf gay man. Language of One went on to a successful Equity showcase production at New York Deaf Theatre, which Drew directed, and a run at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, produced by Australian Theatre of the Deaf.

Emery, the founder of True Stories Project, LLC, says, “The central belief to all my work is that story is transformative” and the true story has an unassailable appeal. Authenticity is increasingly being sought out by audiences – and they know it when they see it.

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5th Annual Gay in Appalachia

Dorothy Allison


Date: September 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Studio Theatre – Squires Student Center

Best-selling author Dorothy Allison, a Greenville, SC, native who now lives in California, referenced her Appalachian roots in her presentation on “resiliency” to the greater Blacksburg community.

An award-winning editor for Quest, Conditions, and Outlook – early feminist and Lesbian/Gay journals, Dorothy Allison received mainstream recognition for her novel “Bastard Out of Carolina,” a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award.  That national best seller was also an award-winning movie with the book translated into more than a dozen languages. Allison’s “Cavedweller” became a NY Times notable book of the year in 1998 and was adapted to both stage and cinema.

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4th Annual Gay in Appalachia

Dr. Cindy Burack


Date: November 14, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Old Dominion Ballroom – Squires Student Center

Cynthia Burack, associate professor of women’s studies at Ohio State and author of  “Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Antigay Rhetoric and the Christian Right” (SUNY Press) headlined the 4th annual “Gay in Appalachia” event, continuing the discussion on religion with an election year flair.

As an LGBT individual or ally, it is helpful to have an understanding of how the antigay ideas and rhetoric of the Christian Right change over time. It is a topic of significance and central to the academic study of politics and the cultural practice of politics. In the evening lecture, Burack analyzed some of the Christian Right’s antigay speech and argued that the movement remains as opposed as it ever was to gay rights and equality.

Burack’s background is in political theory/women’s studies/sexuality studies, and her current work focuses on the sexuality politics and the dynamics of leadership, identity, and ideology in the Christian conservative movement. Her recent book explores the Christian Right’s use of tailored rhetorics to advance the movement’s various antigay political projects.

3rd Annual Gay in Appalachia

For the Bible Tells Me So


Date: November 28, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Lyric Theater

Caucus Sponsors Second Artist-In-Residency.
Daniel Karslake’s award-winning film plays to a packed house

The screening of “For the Bible Tells Me So” with director Daniel Karslake packed the 477-seat Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg late in November 2007.  Sponsored by the LGBT Caucus at Virginia Tech, close to another 100 people had to turned away for this moving film event.  The powerful film returned in March as part of women’s month, courtesy once again of the LGBT Caucus, where donations were also raised to support the Rebecca Wight resources room at the Women’s Center.

“It was a powerful film followed by an equally powerful response by the director,” wrote one audience member.”

“I liked the emphasis on love,” wrote another.

“We were so fortunate to have the director with us for two days,” said Jean Elliott, co-chair of the caucus.  “Besides creating a brilliant film, Daniel was articulate and passionate, and able to interact with everyone – students, faculty, clergy and the community- in an incredibly engaging manner.”

Evaluations praised the scholarly analysis of the BIblical interpretations, the research findings, and the process each person and family went through. Film-goers also appreciated the socio-economic and religious diversity represented by the different families.

“For the Bible Tells Me So,” a First Run Production, won nine audience awards at film festivals across the country and was nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Award in 2007. Healing and transformative, Dan Karslake’s provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture. Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families-including   former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson-we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, and Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg, For the Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

2nd Annual Gay in Appalachia



Date: December 1, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Torgersen Hall

Revelations,” a theatrical presentation about Appalachian resiliency in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, was created by playwright and guest artist, Carrie and Michael Kline, who served in a weeklong residency. Comprised of young and old, black and white, gay and straight, student, faculty, and community “actors,” the final reading was presented in front of a standing-room only crowd of 200 people. It received print publicity in The Conductor, New River Free Press, and the CT, as well as several listservs. A deeply moving discussion followed the close of the performance, and conversation continued well into the reception. Overall, it received outstanding evaluations. The Klines worked with three classes, graduate students and various professors, and also moderated a Community Discussion at the Women’s Center on recent political issues.

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Gay in Appalachia



Date: October 21, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Torgersen Museum

Carol Burch-Brown’s  multi-media presentation of original photographs and audio clips from a documentary project about The Shamrock Bar, highlights a working class gay bar located in the historic downtown district of Bluefield, West Virginia from 1964-2001. The project recorded the last few years of the bar’s existence, including drag performances. Owner and founder, “Miss Helen” Compton was a colorful and raucous figure who had the in-your-face tenacity to keep a gay bar in business for 37 years. Burch-Brown, a professor and visual artist in drawing, painting, and photography in the art & art history department, has been on the Virginia Tech faculty since 1979.

Jeff Mann, award-winning poet and southwest Virginia native, read from his  book “Loving Mountains, Loving Men” which was just hot off the Ohio University Press. This is the first full-length book that discusses the treatment of gay life in Appalachia. Mann has also published a full book of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine; a collection of essays entitled Edge; and a novella, Devoured, which was included in an anthology called Masters of Midnight. A graduate of West Virginia University, Mann teaches courses in Appalachian folk culture, and creative writing (fiction and poetry), and gay and lesbian literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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