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One of the organizations I work a lot for is Forum For Equality. With hard work from former Foundation Board Chair, Marc Behar, and the Executive Director, Sarah Jane Brady, (among others) we were able to get Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to come out for a a staged reading of “8.” It is about California’s Prop 8 trial and includes courtroom testimony, journalist records and media interviews that he wrote after the anti-marriage advocates appealed the decision of Judge Vaughn Walker to the Supreme Court.

As Dustin Lance Black has said about this project: “This play is a community outreach project. I hope it’s entertaining and compelling, but it’s meant to bring individuals together, to get conversations started. I want ‘8’ to build on the essential storytelling effort of individual gay and lesbian people who have come out about the impact of discrimination in their lives. This is a movement built on storytelling. We get closer to victory every time someone comes out at home, at work or at church.”

The production featured a local cast and was performed in the freshly renovated Civic Theatre. Not only was this a great fundraiser for the Forum and other beneficiary organizations but it was a great teachable moment as a lot of local media covered the one night only event.

NOLA.com: http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2013/04/oscar-winner_dustin_lance_blac.html

Gambit even made it a pick of the weekend: http://www.wwltv.com/eyewitness-morning-news/Gambits-picks-for-the-weekend-418-47-203610741.html

After the show, Dustin came out for a talkback with the audience. He was pretty inspiring, even with the acknowledgement that Louisiana is not the most enlightened place to live, especially for the LGBT community, but for anyone interested in equality and justice. Here is a picture of him answering a question, with the cast in the background and Bryan Batt.

dustin talkback 2

I was very lucky to have brunch with him prior to the event at Arnaud’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. Here is a link to my food blog where I wrote up about the meal and a picture of me with Dustin. I think he enjoyed the meal, too!

mary dustin

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