A ‘sweet’ play in the Triangle

DURHAM, N.C. — “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South” will be mounted from Feb. 13-22 at the Psi Theatre at the Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris St.

epatrickjohnsonPresentations on Thursday through Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. An after-party will be held opening night at Alley Twenty-Six, 320 E. Chapel Hill St. on Feb. 14, attendees can engage in conversation with Mark Anthony Neal, professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, after the performance. On Feb. 16, an engaging talkback will take place with Mark Simpson-Vos (editorial director for the University of North Carolina Press), Della Pollack (professor of Performance and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Rachel Seidman (adjunct assistant professor and associate director in the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of History). On Feb. 20 and 22, a post-show conversation will take place.

A special pay-what-you-can preview will be held on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the preview are available at the door.

“Sweet Tea” is written and performed by actor and activist E. Patrick Johnson, a North Carolina native, and is based on his award-winning book. It is directed by Joseph Megel. This play explores blackness, sexuality and southern hospitality, as well as the unique experience of this minority-within-a-minority. Equal parts funny, touching and enlightening, the play is based on interviews conducted by Johnson with men across the South presented with honesty, warmth and love. It is presented by Jane M. Saks and Project&.

The production was originally developed by Saks and the Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College in Chicago, Ill. It received partial support from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill.

Admission is $20/general, $10/students. Tickets are available online.

info/tickets: sweettea-theplay.com. 866-811-4111.

— L.M.

Crape Myrtle holds drag brunch

RALEIGH, N.C. — Want to be a Valentine? Then head out to the Drag Brunch on Feb. 16, 12:30 p.m., at Solas, 419 Glenwood Ave.

Tiffany Bonet, Lauren Scott, Valerie Rockwell, Dana St. James and Tasha Michaels join Emcee Candis Cox to help raise money for the Crape Myrtle Festival 34.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Music will be provided by DJ Fred Livingston.

Call 919-755-0755, ext. 1, for reservations.

Cost is $10 exclusive of meals and drinks. For an extra $10, attendees can enjoy a southern gourmet brunch.

info: crapemyrtlefest.org.

— L.M.

Christian network hiring staff

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Gay Christian Network is on the hunt for two new staff members to join their organization.

They are seeking a director of communications and a director of operations. Both positions are full time and include benefits.

The communications director should have good English and public relations skills, plus have experience with social media, writing press releases and other marketing elements, as well as be able to communicate through email, phone calls and more. Candidates would be expected to maintain the organization’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as have strong proofreading, as well as organizational and time-management skills. Experience in a related field is a bonus, but those with a formal education in English or other relevant subjects will be considered.

The director of operations should be a strong leader and motivator who is able to coordinate volunteers, budgets and logistics. Creative problem solvers and effective listeners are encouraged to apply.

To apply, send a cover letter and resume to jobs@gaychristian.net.

For a full explanation of both positions, visit the network’s website.

info: gaychristian.net.

— L.M.

Center nets grant

RALEIGH, N.C. — The LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 S. Harrington St., became the recipient of the 2014 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant from the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association based out of Chicago, Ill.

The center’s library plans to use the money to serve members of the LGBT community in the Triangle community. It will provide networking opportunities and an affirming space for LGBT and ally families with children, ages 0-6, in addition to increasing the use of the library’s space and circulation of materials, the awards committee said. They added, “As librarians we always hope to create a place that is reflective of our communities. With this grant we are proud to support a program that celebrates this traditionally underserved population. This grant will give the LGBT Center of Raleigh Library an opportunity to develop a collection of materials that supports and resonates with the community and that can light the way for other libraries as they build their collections and provide outreach services.”

The grant honors Newbery medalist and Geisel winner Kate DeCamillo.

info: lgbtcenterofraleigh.com. ala.org.

— L.M.

Study seeks participants

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine has been contracted by the National Institute of Health to conduct a study that focuses on the reduction of high-risk sexual behavior among young black men who have sex with men between the ages of 18 and 30.

HealthMpowerment.org, the name of the study, seeks to provide information for public health intervention, including the social and psycho-social aspects of the data gathered.

Principals conducting the project are Lisa Highpow-Weidman (primary investigator and associate professor), along with Kate Muessig (assistant professor) and Sara LeGrand (assistant research professor, Duke Global Health Institute and the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research).

Nationally and statewide, there has been a rise in new HIV infections. If the study is found to be effective in reducing high-risk behaviors for contracting HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases and supporting mental health of the participants, then it will be made available to the public via a website.

Researchers are engaging 426 subjects through recruitment which began in November 2013. They will continue until they meet their desired numbers. Currently, they average 10-15 new participants per month and they project that it will take a year to fully transition its subjects through the process. There is a short screening at the beginning of the study to assess age, sexual behavior, etc., for eligibility. Participants must be born biologically male, but there may be opportunities for trans women. Once approved, subjects will take three surveys: one as a baseline at the recruitment office; a second one at the three-month level online at one’s leisure; and a followup at 12 months online at one’s leisure on the sustained effects of intervention. Each survey takes about 30 minutes to take.

Once the data has been accumulated, they researchers hope to have preliminary results made available in early 2015 at targeted conferences. It will be made available to the public once complete through peer review journals and online.

Oversight for the study is handled by a research advisory committee at various institutions, a program office at NIH and an Institutional Review Board at the university.

Subjects can earn up to $210.

info: 919-843-4722. healthMpowerment@med.unc.edu.

— L.M.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.