AID Atlanta Holds a "Sordid" Soiree and Gospel Brunch
Award-winning writer, director and producer Del Shores, with longtime friend and actor Leslie Jordan, will take a break from touring his latest film "Southern Baptist Sissies" to participate in "A Sordid Soiree," and gospel brunch. These fundraisers on Saturday, Nov. 23 at the 14th Street Playhouse and Nov. 24 at LIPS Atlanta will help raise money for AID Atlanta, the organization known for providing education and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
"I'm a gay man, and I buried the whole phone book back in 1982 and 1983. The one thing I learned back then is that gay people have to take care of their own," said the award-winning actor and playwright Jordan in his familiar Southern drawl. He added, "As a performer who has gotten some notoriety, it gives you a platform, and I choose to use it for good."
It has been five years since the two have been together, and both feel this is the perfect event to reunite them. Shores said he supports AID Atlanta and the work they do and was happy to come back to lend his time. He was a celebrity guest star during AID Atlanta's Cirque de Nuit, Atlanta Cotillion's annual charity event last year.
According to AID Atlanta Director of Development Joey Helton, he called on his friend once again to help with the highly anticipated event. Since taking over the role this year, Helton said he has been working to come up with creative and fun ways to raise money for the agency. It took no time for him to think of bringing Shores and Jordan back together again on stage. Both thought it was a great idea and were on board with the project.
Guests will get to witness firsthand some of Jordan and Shores' talent for comedy. Shores will open the show, followed by the hilarious comedy of Jordan.
Folks who purchase VIP tickets will also be invited to a meet and greet with picture opportunity before the show. VIP tickets are $125, $75 for preferred seating and $50 for orchestra seats. All tickets are subject to an 8 percent sales tax and service charge. But time is running out to purchase tickets. So far, there are only 100 tickets left, Helton said of the Soiree.
If you can't make the "Sordid Soiree" on Saturday, there is another chance to catch the duo at a gospel brunch held Sunday at Lips Atlanta, located at 3011 Buford Highway NE, Brookhaven, GA. Tickets are $50 per person and include brunch, choice of Mimosas or Bloody Marys and gratuity.
Shores’ Films Brings Hope to Outsiders
Jordan is most familiar for his portrayal of a cross dresser who dresses like country singer Tammy Wynette in Shores’ film, "Sordid Lives." No stranger to drag, Jordan said he’d done it in his younger days. But for the film they sought inspiration from an area near Hollywood Blvd., where the girls who work the streets wear shoes with big heels, Jordan recalled with a chuckle. Shores bought Jordan a pair of red high heel pumps, and that was all he needed to get him back into his once familiar drag role.
Because of his role as the cross dressing Brother Boy, Jordan said he has received a number of emails and letters from people who said that the film brought them so much strength.
"We do what we do, and we make a lot of money doing what we do, and sometimes I feel bad about that, but if we’re making people happy, making people laugh, then that’s the important thing," Jordan said.
Shores has been traveling and attending various film festivals and events, showcasing his latest film, "Southern Baptist Sissies," a film version of the GLAAD award-winning stage play. According to Shores the film, "is about the damage the church has done to so many of us."
Just as the stage play garnered rave reviews and awards, the film version has also been well received. It won the Best Atlanta Men’s Film in Atlanta during its screening during an Out Atlanta Film Festival held last month. It has also won a host of other awards in different cities where screenings have been held in cities and Pride festivals.
The film tackles the issues of religion, homosexuality and suicide. It’s a theme all too personal for Shores, who was raised by a Southern Baptist minister father.
"The response I’ve gotten over the years is there is so much damage that the church has done," he said.
According to Shores, most of the suicides taking place among young people in the South have connections to the church. For many, the play has been a source of inspiration, but he knew the people in isolated rural areas would never get to see the stage play, so in an effort to reach a larger audience he decided to turn the stage play into a film.
"I know a lot of people in those pews were feeling lonely and isolated in the rural communities," Shores added.
"Southern Baptist Sissies" is about four boys who are raised in a Texas Baptist church and how the church affects them as they grow from boys to men.
"It shows how you can be sitting in those pews and you’re thinking it’s helping and it’s not," he said. "A kid sits there thinking they can pray the gay away, but the film ends with a message of hope."
It’s a film that is important for people who are still guarding a secret. Jordan agrees that "Southern Baptist Sissies" is an important film for those who are still coming to terms with their sexuality and religion. Like his friend Shores, Jordan recognizes the damage the churches have done to LGBT people.
Like many of those he has received emails and letters from, Jordan said he was once spoon-fed the Bible, and it took time to rid himself of the thoughts that he would be punished by God to eventually find a God of love. Recalling a line of Shores’, Jordan said, "In a pew of a church is where we learned to hate ourselves."
Years ago, Jordan said he met a Jewish housewife from Brooklyn, NY who said she was told by Christ in a vision to "teach all way because all way is my way." Jordan recalled her adding, "If someone tells you their way is the only way, honey: run the other way."
Now, said Jordan, "The only organized religion I embrace is the religion of kindness." When he attends church with his mother he says, "I listen. I garner what I can and the rest I leave under the pew in front of me."
To purchase tickets to the Soiree, visit http://www.woodruffcentertickets.org/village2/ticket/production_detail.aspx?perf=+70262 or to purchase tickets for the Gospel Brunch, visit https://www.aidatlanta.org/gospelbrunch
For those interested in future events or in making a donation to AID Atlanta, please visit www.aidatlanta.org. To volunteer, call Helton at 404-870-7731.