My spring performance tour begins today! I woke up in New Hartford, CT at the home of my friends Fran and Mark. I feel like an happy daffodil ready to greet the world in hopes that there is no more snow and frost. Ok, that sounds corny, but really I’m excited.
Over the next month I will present at universities, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, Quaker meeting houses, and churches throughout New England.
Where will I be in New England?
- MAINE: Lewiston and Portland
- New Hampshire: Dover, Portsmouth, Concord, Hanover, and Rochester.
- MASS: Cambridge and North Andover.
- Rhode Island: Providence.
- Connecticut: Hartford, West Hartford and Middletown, CT.
- VERMONT: Burlington.
- (oh and there is a weird and wonderful diversion to New Jersey in there)
Check out the entire schedule, and if you are in the area, say hi!
Today I travel to Lewiston, Maine to begin with a short residency at Bates College tomorrow March 28. It will be a full day with multiple presentations.
Climate Justice Discussion
I will begin with a discussion: Race, Justice, and Climate Change. We will explore environmental racism and justice as witnessed in New Orleans in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina and today in Flint, MI. I will also bring my character, Marvin Bloom out to make the connections between asthma and race in NYC.
Homo No Mo
In the afternoon I will share about my sordid past pursuing gay conversion therapy and connect my experiences in churches with a class on Human Suffering. The class is actually looking at the Book of Revelation. After reading the following about my own apocalypse about my sexuality in a church that wanted to desperately fix me or else, she suggested we go with my personal narrative as a jumping off point.
“I was asked by a BBC reporter the odd question, ‘What if you are wrong and you approach the pearly gates only to discover that God condemns homosexuals to an eternity of suffering?’ I replied, Then that God is the worst tyrant that ever existed and does not deserve my worship or submission.
Perhaps not the most original answer, but lightyears from when I sat cowering in the seats at Time Square Church and Holy Furnace of Righteous Rage.”
As a class she wants us to then consider the following questions:
Do humans create images of/ideas about God in response to suffering? Do images and claims about God contribute to more suffering than they console? Console more than they cause? How so? What kinds of things can tip the balance of this equation one way or the other?
How can/do our attitudes and beliefs about suffering affect our willingness to inflict suffering on others? To tolerate or become complicit in the infliction of suffering on others? To resist or refuse the infliction of suffering on others?
In the evening I premiere my newest performance piece: Everything is Connected–An Evening of Stories, most weird, many true.
Here is a description
Experience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano. Connecting issues and ideas to bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson takes his audience on an off-beat mental mind trip. A shapeshifter, he transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion, and environmental justice. His unique personal journey led him into performance art.
I will do this show a number of times throughout the tour (and no doubt it will grow and change as I go along.) Another presentation that I will do a lot on this trip is A Quirky Queer Quaker Response to Climate Change. Also on this tour I will give two rare performances of Transfigurations. This show is being retired. I still need to figure out where to have the final performance before the DVD comes out. But you can still see it live in Providence, RI April 13 and West Hartford April 17 (where I will also do something even rarer–preach the Sunday service earlier that same day!)
Oh, and I just learned where I will be for next year’s spring tour: FLORIDA and the Southeast. I have been invited to be the 54th Annual J. Barnard Walton Lecturer for 2017 at Southeastern Yearly Meeting gathering next Easter. My theme: Discerning our collective calling: love, hope, and climate justice.
So if you are in Florida, Georgia, North or South Carolina, and want to host me with one of my presentations, let me know.