Doin’ Time in Belfast

After about two hours of  interviews on BBC regional faith and ethic programs throughout England, I f lew into Belfast yesterday with Glen (my partner, boyfriend, guy) for a few days R&R and then to do some gigs later in the week. Today we traveled up to the North Coast where we visited Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Bushmill’s distillery (first granted a license to make whiskey in 1608) and some rope bridge that we didn’t get too close to because of the weather and the silly tourists (well the other ones).

This is my second time in Belfast hanging out with the Ikon Community.

Inhabiting a space on the outer edges of religious life, we are a Belfast-based collective who offer anarchic experiments in transformance art. Challenging the distinction between theist and atheist, faith and no faith our main gathering employs a cocktail of live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection in an attempt to open up the possibility of a theodramatic event.

This is a group of highly intelligent, passionate and cool people. It is a joy to sit back and watch them in action. Yesterday they discussed what they will offer at the Greenbelt Festival this summer (I’d tell you what they came up with, but they would have to kill me in my sleep.) I had a nice chat with Peter Rollins, one of the founding members of Ikon, about his future plans and some things we can do together later in the year when he comes to Connecticut.

Tonight Cary, Mark, Glen and I were joined by bassist Steve Lawson (who normally sports a faery coat, but tonight is too warm, but he flashed bright blue nail polish on his fingers over dinner). Check out his YouTube page.

On Wednesday night, Glen and I will do a joint presentation for Ikon’s Last Super series. Only 12 guests are invited to experience a presentation and then engage in deep conversation. Glen will read a chapter from his upcoming memoir The Jack Bank, and I will do, well, I am not yet sure. I have some poems and a new yet announced project that I have begun writing.

Thursday during the day I will offer some presentations at a Middle School here in Northern Ireland. We will look at identity, bullying and the effects of homophobia as play theatre games, and I do some performance work. Thursday evening I will give a “lecture” at Queens University here in Belfast.

Having spent 17 years and over $30,000 on three different continents attempting to change and suppress his gay orientation, Peterson Toscano presents a lively lecture about the ex-gay movement and the often-tragic outcomes of pursuing such a change.

Peterson will also explore issues of gender and gender variance by looking at transgender Bible characters in his play Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible.

There will be time for a Q&A Session

You can find my full schedule here.

This week I also began a month-long project called, “Jesus Loves You…” where I daily post a reflection on traditional and some not so traditional ideas about Jesus. You can see these pop up on my Twitter Feed over at the top right of this blog page.

Got to go Margret Atwood and her Blind Assassin is calling me.

This post has 11 Comments

  1. Aideen on May 25, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Mother-effers! I’m a Belfast lass but I’m in England at the mo finishing out my uni exams. Would looooove to be able to go to that, but alas, alack…

  2. ohchicken on May 26, 2009 at 12:44 am

    you were living my life circa 2002. please give kisses all around.

  3. GreenEyedLilo on May 26, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Oooh, good book! We’ll read Margaret Atwood’s grocery lists around here.

    The Ikon Community sounds incredibly interesting!

  4. iphy on May 26, 2009 at 7:28 am

    yay! atwood is one of my favorite writers! i have everything she’s ever written. 🙂

    not to be a nag…but… did you ever get to read my book? i really would love to know how you responded & what you thought…


    (renee altson)

  5. Avertedd on May 26, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Что ж… и такое мнение допустимо. Хотя, думаю, возможны и другие варианты, так что не огорчайтесь.

  6. Johanna on May 26, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is fun in good weather.

    Ahh, how I miss the North Antrim Coast.

    Please tell Belfast I said hi. Hopefully my friends still living there will show up at Queen’s.

  7. Sheria in SA on May 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I got to read a little about Glen Retief’s experiences as a child at a boarding school? I stalled through the first paragraph, I just couldn’t bring myself to journey with him back to his childhood experiences; the lashes, the humiliation etc. Glen’s experience is worth reading, yet am broken at the fact that I couldn’t take myself through his sad and horrific experiences. Children shouldn’t have to go through that, I think it does affect certain aspects of their lives. My prayers go to all children who go through this, so that they have the courage to face up to such adversity.

  8. Sheria in SA on May 26, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    That said, am still determined to read through to the end, so help me God. And, I didn’t mean to sound like a book critic here, I was just spilling my thoughts and opinion.

  9. paulwchambers on May 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

    love your post, your reflective spirit – did we meet in the beer tent last year?

    wished i had been with you all last week

  10. Anna Langlois on May 31, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Ah I can’t believe you met my friend Steve. Small world innit?

  11. p2son on June 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    and I got to hang out with your buddy William Crawley. he’s so sweet and wicked all rolled into one.
    Yeah, Steve was fun. I think he is everyone’s friend.

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