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Jay Adcock and The Laramie Project

Director Jay Adcock talks to About Magazine about his upcoming production of The Laramie Project, set to hit the Brazosport College stage this April.

1254_Laramie-Project155658_595_-226x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectIn 1998, Matthew Shepard (a gay student at the university of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming) was beaten and left for dead in Laramie in what would become one of the most well-known LGBTQ hate crimes ever covered by the media. Matthew was taken to a hospital alive, but died six days later due to severe brain injuries given to him by assailants Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Matthew’s death led to a spark of coverage worldwide, and both the community and the media had varying opinions on what the root cause of it may have been. While it is agreed upon near-universally that Matthew’s sexual orientation was a key factor in his murder, reactions to this tragedy have always been mixed. The Westboro Baptist Church even showed up to protest Shepard’s funeral. Nevertheless, the story also inspired people to take action to stand up against homophobia and crimes of hate.

In February of 2000, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Techtonic Theater Project premiered The Laramie Project, play written by them that took interviews of various members of the community, as well as journal entries and statements, to create this three-act series of scenes that explores the reaction to Shepard’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming.

Now, in 2018, Lake Jackson performer and director Jay Adcock is stepping up to the plate to bring the show to life at Brazosport College. In this production, Adcock hopes to put a spin on the show that will be uniquely his own, as well as to include the college’s LGBTQ-Straight Alliance in a particular scene. Adcock took the time to chat with About Magazine to discuss how this show came to him, his life in community theatre, and his thoughts on LGBTQIA life in the Trump administration.

Why don’t you tell me how this show fell into your lap?

I do a lot of community theatre. And, you know when the Pulse shooting happened? That affected me a lot more than I realized. It really got to me and I wanted to do something. And I’ve been acting in community theatre here where I live and have been testing the waters of directing. I’ve assistant directed and have directed a couple of one acts. So, I went to the college professor and told him I’d like to direct a show, because they have spots for guest directors each season. And when it was my turn and I was looking at shows to do, like I said, the Pulse shooting had really affected me personally. So, I saw the movie adaptation of this play and bought the script of the play online. So, I decided to do an unofficial survey with all my friends to see if anyone knew who Matthew Shepard was. I’m 47, and I knew who he was, as did my generation of gay friends. But the younger ones at the college and the community theatre did not know who he was. And that really bothered me. So, I thought that, This is a perfect time. Especially with the political climate being what it is now, I thought this would be the perfect show to do at this time. And with it being my first show, it’s a small cast and small set, and I thought that I could do it. And it really means something to me.

When you brought up Pulse, you said that this story is so relevant and that you were very affected by it. What’s your relationship with LGBTQ community?

13490878_1252702638103720_6817286160917849978_o-300x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectTo be very truthful, this is only my third year of being out. So, when I started living my life truthfully, my whole life changed. I came out in December of 2014, and in June of 2015, we got same-sex marriage legalized nationally. And then right after that, the Pulse shooting happened. So, I was trying to tell my friends who sort of said, “Yeah, this is a horrible thing,” that I live in southern Brazoria County, a very country-ish community; and while the Pulse massacre may have been an extreme case, I live with this fear every day. When I go out to the clubs and I walk to my car dressed to go out and find that someone is walking behind, I have to be aware. I have to wonder whether this is the night I’m going to get beat up. The Pulse massacre brought attention to this, but we have to live with this sort of fear every day. I don’t let it stop me, of course. But hopefully if we learned anything from that tragedy, it’s that this fear is still real and that gay people still live with this every day.

With this administration, and you came out at the tail-end of the Obama administration, has your insecurity increased since Trump took office?

I don’t know if insecurity is the right word. But I do have a heightened sense of awareness. My feeling of rights being taken away is always at the forefront of my mind.

We had 28 trans murders in 2017, and just into 2018, we’ve already seen trans people getting murdered. And with examples like the story behind The Laramie Project and like Pulse, do you think that we’re at a stronger chance for these sort of hate crimes to perpetuate?

Oh, yes. I definitely think so.

To have the opportunity to bring this show to life in community theatre in such a conservative area is great. Have you gotten any negative feedback? Are you afraid of backlash?

No, I haven’t really had any of that yet. I’m sort of hoping that because not many people really know what it is, that they’ll come and see the show and hopefully they’ll take something positive away from it and have a better understanding of this story. I don’t think that we’ll have any backlash or protestors or anything. Everyone has been very supportive so far.

The people that you’re going to get to work with on this project are going to get to carry this memory with them for a long time because The Laramie Project is such a powerful show regardless of where they go with their careers. Does that make you nervous?

It is a powerful show. I’m lucky enough that I’ve not seen any live productions of the show so far. I do love the movie. And it’s not so much that I’m worried about living up to any past productions, I am just so worried about my production, and I just want it to be good. I’m not going to compare it to any other productions. I just want mine to be good. I want it to reach people. I want to touch people. That’s the only thing I’m worried about. I’m not worried about living up to past productions.

Each cast and production brings something new to a show that may have been done a thousand times.

22195341_1945150795525564_5903683640674882301_n-1-298x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectAnd to take it even further, every night brings something new. I love theatre stories. I have a few of my own that are like, “Omigod!” I was in The Threepenny Opera. And there is a moment where I was supposed to give a toast […] but I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do. All the actors were like looking at me. And almost telepathically I was telling them, “I know it’s my line! I don’t know what you want me to do! I can’t remember.” So, I kept rearranging every dish and bottle on this banquet table in the scene. And finally one of the other actors looked at me and said, “Well, how about a toast!” And finally I yelled, “Yes! A toast!” and I got right back into the scene. It just felt like twelve hours of me rearranging a table trying to remember a line, even if it was only thirty seconds.

Auditions for The Laramie Project will be held Sunday, February 25th at Brazosport College at 2 PM, as well as on the 26th & 27th at 7 PM in the Seidule Drama Theatre (G-116).

The show runs from April 19th through the 21st, as well as the 25th through the 28th. For reservations, please call: (979) 230-3271

About Greenlights Three TV Shows

How to Break My Neck Lifelong Learning The Anthony Project TV Shows About

About Media greenlights The Anthony Project, How to Break My Neck, and Lifelong Learning

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Anthony Ramirez will write the three adaptations.

(HOUSTON) – About Media (the production company/sister-business of About Magazine) has ordered scripts for three original, scripted series to be streamed exclusively through About. Of the three, one is an original comedy written by About editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, entitled The Anthony Project. The latter two are adaptations of books published by About’s publishing company, About Editions. The first is an adaptation of Jessica L. Walsh’s How to Break My Neck, and the second being an adaptation of Zeke Jarvis’s forthcoming book, Lifelong Learning.

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Co-writer Rebekah Knight

The Anthony Project follows a gay writer who all in one week loses his grandmother to renal failure, finds out his boyfriend is cheating on him with a woman, and must take over a magazine after his boss abandons ship. Set in Houston, the series revolves around a fictional Ramirez and his group of eccentric friends as they navigate their love lives, trite homophobia, depression, substance abuse, and alcoholism. All the while, Ramirez must come to learn that no matter how badly he may want to, he can’t fix everyone’s problems … especially when he has so many of his own to work on. The series was created by Ramirez and is being penned in conjunction with Rebekah Knight and Kimberly Dyan. An open casting call is underway for roles on The Anthony Project, with city-wide auditions taking place Saturday, May 5th, at the Montrose Center in Houston beginning at noon.

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Jessica L. Walsh

How to Break My Neck is an adaptation of Jessica L. Walsh’s collection of poetry of the same name. The series invites us into the life of Jessica “J” Cato, a poet with the ability to see people’s pasts when they are near. However, when J denounces her gift, she finds herself with a sever bout of writer’s block, realizing all the poetry she’s ever written was inspired by the lives of women she’s met and clairvoyantly come to know. But what’s more is the discovery that her poems, when read aloud, have the ability to affect change. The series will be written by Anthony Ramirez & Anthony Project co-writer, Rebekah Knight.

1799987_10102605363622478_6530090371478837177_o-e1518206052286-300x293 About Greenlights Three TV Shows
Zeke Jarvis

Lifelong Learning is an adaptation of Zeke Jarvis’s forthcoming collection of short stories of the same name. The series exists in a world of strange rules: when a relative dies, you must cook and eat their remains; teenagers of impoverished families may commit suicide on camera to earn extra income for their families; blood sacrifices must be made to appease the Darkness; and when the Overlord says something, it is law. But the question remains: why are the rules in place? And who made them so? Following the lives several strangers as they navigate through the rules of their post-apocalyptic world, Lifelong Learning postulates questions about life, death, Heaven, Hell, God, Satan, and how society can fall into a world where nothing really makes any sense. The series will also be written by Ramirez.

The Anthony Project is slated to premier on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. Learning and Neck have not yet set premiere dates, but are anticipated for early 2019.

RuPaul’s Werq the World Tour Lands in Houston

RuPaul's Werq the World Tour Houston Jones Hall Drag JR's

The event will be held at Jones Hall tonight at 8 PM with a queen-filled after-party at JR’s

(HOUSTON) Tonight is the night that the lovely queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race will stop on their Werq the World tour tonight at Jones Hall. The show, which begins at 8 PM, features performances by RuPaul favorites,Detox, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Peppermint, Shangela, Valentina and Violet Chachki. This is the second time a set of RuPaul queens has dropped by Houston since Hurricane Harvey, with the AAA Girls (Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Willam) having played Fitzgerald’s in the fall of last year.

In related news, owner of JR’s Bar and Grill in Montrose, Charles Armstrong, has released a statement that the queens themselves will be dropping by JR’s tonight.

Valentina will perform on the JR’s stage tonight following the RuPaul’s show at Jones Hall. Most of the queens will pop into JR’s tonight for the Official After-Party. Don’t miss this epic party. As always, never a cover.

-Charles Armstrong

About Magazine’s entertainment correspondent, Morena Roas, will be covering the event. About has also secured an interview with drag favorite Latrice Royale that will be available in the coming days. You can get your tickets to the event here.

Vincent Powell ‘Rockstar’ Video Debuts

Vincent Powell 'Rockstar' Video Debuts

Former American Idol and Houston native Vincent Powell drops a new video for ‘Rockstar’ off his upcoming EP ‘Venting Season.’

(Houston) — Thrills and excitement surrounded the release of Vincent Powell’s latest video this afternoon exclusively on social media. The video is for Powell’s single Rockstar that features Julian Caesar. The video can be viewed on Facebook and Youtube, and available on all media streaming sites shortly.

About-Magazine-Vincent-Powell-Rockstar-Video-Debuts Vincent Powell 'Rockstar' Video Debuts
Vincent Powell

Rockstar is a vibrant, upbeat masterpiece that is mixed with dance music and an ode to soul. The electrifying vocals by Powell and vibes mastered with the great video production will have you dancing all night.

“That was a good old-fashioned. It was a sexy old-fashioned. That hit me somewhere.” -Nicki Minaj

Powell, a Houstonian originally from Austin, was
29-years-old when he landed a prized spot on Fox’s American Idol. It was his style and soul-bearing performance of Lenny Williams’ hit Cause I Love You that earned the attention of American viewers. That performance generated a standing ovation leaving Nicki Minaj in awe. “That was a good old-fashioned. It was a sexy old-fashioned. That hit me somewhere,” Minaj yelled.

You can check out Rockstar here. You can find more work of Powell’s on his social media:

Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: @vincentai12