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Chris Pratt responds to Ellen Page’s criticism of his ‘anti-LGBTQ’ church

The actor says ‘nothing could be further from the truth’

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Chris Pratt. (Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson via Wikimedia Commons)

Chris Pratt is defending Hillsong Church after Ellen Page called him out for being a member of a church that is “infamously anti-LGBTQ.”

The controversy began when Pratt appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and mentioned he was on a biblical-inspired fast and delivered some advice his pastor gave him.

Page, who also recently appeared on Colbert’s show where she gave a passionate speech about LGBTQ hate crimes, sent a tweet that went viral asking “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?”

In an Instagram story, Pratt wrote that “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote. “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone. Despite what the Bible says about divorce, my church community was there for me every stop of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk. They helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.”

Pratt married actress Anna Farris in 2009 and the couple divorced in 2018. He is now engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger.

“My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life, and I am not a spokesman for any church or group of people. My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgement of their fellow man,” he concluded.

Hillsong Church pastor Brian Houston has stated that the church “welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles.”

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Theater

‘Amm(i)gone’ explores family, queerness, and faith

A ‘fully autobiographical’ work from out artist Adil Mansoor

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Adil Mansoor in ‘Amm(i)gone’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. (Photo by Kitoko Chargois)

‘Amm(i)gone’
Thorough May 12
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St., N.W. 
$60-$70
Woollymammoth.net

“Fully and utterly autobiographical.” That’s how Adil Mansoor describes “Amm(i)gone,” his one-man work currently playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. 

Both created and performed by out artist Mansoor, it’s his story about inviting his Pakistani mother to translate Sophocles’s Greek tragedy “Antigone” into Urdu. Throughout the journey, there’s an exploration of family, queerness, and faith,as well as references to teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations with his Muslim mother. 

Mansoor, 38, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and is now based in Pittsburgh where he’s a busy theater maker. He’s also the founding member of Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective and the former artistic director of Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQ youth arts organization.

WASHINGTON BLADE: What spurred you to create “Amm(i)gone”? 

ADIL MANSOOR: I was reading a translation of “Antigone” a few years back and found myself emotionally overwhelmed. A Theban princess buries her brother knowing it will cost her, her own life. It’s about a person for whom all aspirations are in the afterlife. And what does that do to the living when all of your hopes and dreams have to be reserved for the afterlife?

I found grant funding to pay my mom to do the translation. I wanted to engage in learning. I wanted to share theater but especially this ancient tragedy. My mother appreciated the characters were struggling between loving one another and their beliefs. 

BLADE: Are you more director than actor?

MANSOOR: I’m primarily a director with an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon. I wrote, directed, and performed in this show, and had been working on it for four years. I’ve done different versions including Zoom. Woolly’s is a new production with the same team who’ve been involved since the beginning. 

I love solo performance. I’ve produced and now teach solo performance and believe in its power. And I definitely lean toward “performance” and I haven’t “acted” since I was in college. I feel good on stage. I was a tour guide and do a lot of public speaking. I enjoy the attention. 

BLADE: Describe your mom. 

MANSOOR: My mom is a wonderfully devout Muslim, single mother, social worker who discovered my queerness on Google. And she prays for me. 

She and I are similar, the way we look at things, the way we laugh. But different too. And those are among the questions I ask in this show. Our relationship is both beautiful and complicated.

BLADE: So, you weren’t exactly hiding your sexuality? 

MANSOOR: In my mid-20s, I took time to talk with friends about our being queer with relation to our careers. My sexuality is essential to the work. As the artistic director at Dreams of Hope, part of the work was to model what it means to be public. If I’m in a room with queer and trans teenagers, part of what I’m doing is modeling queer adulthood. The way they see me in the world is part of what I’m putting out there. And I want that to be expansive and full. 

So much of my work involves fundraising and being a face in schools. Being out is about making safe space for queer young folks.

BLADE: Have you encountered much Islamophobia? 

MANSOOR: When 9/11 happened, I was a sophomore in high school, so yes. I faced a lot then and now. I’ve been egged on the street in the last four months. I see it in the classroom. It shows up in all sorts of ways. 

BLADE: What prompted you to lead your creative life in Pittsburgh? 

MANSOOR: I’ve been here for 14 years. I breathe with ease in Pittsburgh. The hills and the valleys and the rust of the city do something to me. It’s beautiful, it’ affordable, and there is support for local artists. There’s a lot of opportunity. 

Still, the plan was to move to New York in September of 2020 but that was cancelled. Then the pandemic showed me that I could live in Pittsburgh and still have a nationally viable career. 

BLADE: What are you trying to achieve with “Amm(i)gone”? 

MANSOOR: What I’m sharing in the show is so very specific but I hear people from other backgrounds say I totally see my mom in that. My partner is Catholic and we share so much in relation to this. 

 I hope the work is embracing the fullness of queerness and how means so many things. And I hope the show makes audiences want to call their parents or squeeze their partners.

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Out & About

The Rare Book Fair is coming to D.C.

Over 35 antiquarian booksellers from across the country to attend

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The Capital Rare Book Fair arrives in May. (Photo by aramanda/Bigstock)

The Capital Rare Book Fair will bring more than 35 antiquarian booksellers from across the country to D.C. from Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5 at the historic University Club at 1135 16th St., N.W.

This year, the fair will take over two floors in the illustrious mansion on 16th Street and showcase thousands of beautiful, notable, and rare books, maps, and historic documents from around the globe. Exceptional examples that will be offered include leaf 27 of a 40-leaf xylographic Biblia pauperum, a picture Bible from 1465 for $85,000 from Bruce McKittrick Rare Books, among many other intriguing selections. 

Tickets are $50 and more information is available on the event’s website.

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Calendar

Calendar: April 19-25

LGBTQ events in the days to come

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Friday, April 19

Center Aging Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more information, email [email protected]

Go Gay DC will host “Drag Pageant” at 8 p.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant. Net proceeds from this event will benefit EQUALITY NoVa, the local nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing equality in Northern Virginia. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, April 20

LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, ​​visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Sunday, April 21

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 7 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Monday, April 22

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected]

Tuesday, April 23

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Genderqueer DC will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary. Whether you’re bigender, agender, genderfluid, or just know that you’re not 100% cis. For more details, visit genderqueerdc.org or Facebook. 

Wednesday, April 24

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit [email protected].

Asexual and Aromantic Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected]

Thursday, April 25

The DC Center’s Fresh Produce Program will be held all day at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. People will be informed on Wednesday at 5:00 pm if they are picked to receive a produce box. No proof of residency or income is required. For more information, email [email protected] or call 202-682-2245. 

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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