qFLIX Fridays Features “Southern Baptist Sissies” at Tavern On Camac’s Ascend Lounge

Let’s face it, religion and homosexuality have never mixed well no matter what organized church and set of beliefs you were raised or now practice.

This month, qFLIX Fridays, the ongoing film premiere series, held the Fourth Friday of the Month, will present Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies at 7 PM, on April 24, at Tavern on Camac’s Ascend Lounge.

The ongoing monthly series is cooperatively produced by qFLIX Philadelphia 2015, July 7-12, the city’s and region’s premier LGBTQ film festival, Breaking Glass Pictures, a leader in gay and mainstream indie film distributor, and T.O.C., a presenting sponsor of qFLIX Philadelphia, along with QUEERtimes.net, the online media sponsor.

The Friday evening parties will be offering drink specials, and door prizes, film feedback, and will be hosted by festival producers James Duggan and Thom Cardwell, all in an informal but inviting way to share movie going with people who love movies, is open to the public and free of charge.

Del Shores, playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, should ring a bell with you. If not, I’ll quickly remind you that the creator of Southern Baptist Sissies, the play and film, has entertained audiences for decades with record-breaking popularity of Sordid Lives, the play, film and TV series, and also writer and producer of many episodes of the cutting-edge Showtime’s Queer As Folk.

Shores often tackles semi-autobiographical issues, themes, topics, and even relationships that he has experienced firsthand.

With Southern Baptist Sissies, set in Texas (where Shores was born and raised), the story line follows four boys from childhood to their early twenties as they struggle with their gay sexuality and how they try to justify, resolve, or reject the teachings of Southern Baptist Chruch (Shores was raised in this tradition).

The portrayals of the four boys ranges in the extremes, comparing and contrasting every reaction and development in their respective lives, from embracing gayness and becoming a drag queen to total denial, marrying a woman and feigning the hetreosexual life to the most conflicted of the four boys, Andrew, played by Matthew Scott Montgomery (an out actor who is a veteran to queer indie cinema), wrestling with the demands of his faith and his sexuality that ends in tragedy.

Even when exploring subjects of a serious nature, Shores adds the element of humor. In Southern Baptist Sissies, he casts Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace,” “Sordid Lives”) as Peanut and Dale Dickey as Odette, two barflies who serve dramatically as a sort of Greek chorus commenting on the four boys’ lives and loves and losses.

Hollywood Reporter wrote: “The powerful message of . . . Shores’ [work] has unfortunately not diminished in importance since the play received its premiere in 2000.” But they continue: “There are also many amusing moments, including a series of confessional monologues by the young men about their burgeoning sexuality.”