God Hates Kirk Read at the Garage
Totally kidding, of course. God LOVES Kirk Read.
At his show This Is the Thing last night, the local author (How I Learned to Snap) stepped onstage and said "Let us pray." Something about the way he said it was not fucking funny: This is a man who was raised in an evangelical Christian community by a military family, yet who was so much himself that he just went ahead and arranged to have his high school's prom date policy changed to allow gay couples anyway. If you know Kirk at all, as plenty of us in the audience did (I sat directly in front of Armistead Maupin! While we're talking talent in the audience, I also sat one over from Sarah Fran Wisby who's really, really not as famous as Maupin, but who everyone should be enamored of anyway.) then you were expecting to see him naked, and making you nervous by maybe-torturing himself, and climbing on people in the front row, and like that, which of course happened.
But during the by turns tender and sarcastic opening ode to all that's disappearing (radio DJs, AOL, day planners, pennies, unscripted political speech) he repeated the phrase. "Let us pray." It helped that he was wearing a white suit, of course. But the quality of his voice was reverent in a way I don't know atheists can muster. For a man who doesn’t take things very seriously – later in the show, the "Hotel Hooker Haiku" series includes "While client showers/ Free pens and stationery/ I rarely take more." – the word "pray" bubbles up from somewhere deep in Kirk Read, and it's genius.
And this is a psych-out! You can't see the show! It's sold out. You must look at Kirk's Web site to see when his next book is, or just try to bask in his pants at one of the two open mics he hosts: K'vetsh, first Sundays at Sadie's Flying Elephant, or Smack Dab, third Wednesdays at Magnet.
Alternatively, you can hope to run into him at another event affiliated with the National Queer Arts Festival.
P.S. I also got to meet the great Joe Landini, who runs the Garage and who is a tireless supporter of other people's fantastically whacked performance habits. --Hiya Swanhuyser