This week I was performing at a spoken word event in New York City that was produced by a well known person who has a formula for doing these kind of events. He produces just under ten a month and has kept up this schedule for nearly a year, so I would say in general he has a good plan, executes it well and knows how to get folks out. He also charges ten dollars a head for admission, and people pay it.However, this was the first event for the LGBT community that he had done, and although he wants to make a series of it, I think he hasn't quite figured it how to do it. He pulled in a co-producer, a cool queer identified writer who did a great job curating and emceeing the event. He also picked a great venue, a so not cool that it's cool place in one of the West Village basement basements.
The mistake he made was inserting an open mic into the event and opening it up to straight people. The first guy who started was an alleged comic (meaning he was allegedly funny) and he started his set with “um, I didn't know about this gay thing so I just um, I was going to talk about how much I hate the Catholic Church um but...” and then he went out to trot out every stupid stereotype of gays he knew, and added in some weird stereotypes I had never heard of. The audience attempted to boo him off stage but the producer kept him on for his whole time, citing “free speech.”It reminded me of why we need space and time of our own. We can't trust straight people to have our backs. We can't trust them not to be idiots. I'll all for coexisting side by side, but there is clearly a time and place for queer separatism.