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    HomeCulturePlaywright David LeBarron Retells Myths Through a Queer Lens

    Playwright David LeBarron Retells Myths Through a Queer Lens

    David LeBarron received a WEHO grant in 2017 for his show The Complete History of Drag and a Few Momo. The sold-out runs in Los Angeles lead to a tour in Florida, and bookings in New York, but COVID cancelled its run. LeBarron is a multi-talented artist working in numerous genres and mediums. He has a children’s book, “When Carrots Ruled The World” and has written three books of fantasy erotica under the name D. Barron, “An Elf To Live For”, “Jeremiah: The Magical Slut of Midgard”, and the soon to be released, “Folly’s War”.

    This month, LeBarron has staged a 7 show run at Hollywood Fringe Festival with his most ambitious project to date, “MONSTERS Re-Queering Tales Told”. The play focuses on 4 myths through a queer lens. After the run in Los Angeles, he will be touring it for 3 years. To learn visit: https://davidlebarron.com/

    What is role the of myth and how does reimagining them as queer change their function?

    Shake up the narrative! They keep telling us we’re monsters! Then we should ROAR and GROWL! They fear our power, so they villainize us to keep us down and quiet. They try and shame us by telling their myths of us being wicked perverts.

    What was the inspiration for Monsters?

    The final monologue I tell is a personal story. It’s one I’ve been shaping for a very long time. I think I may not have been brave enough to tell it back then or not quite ready. Covid sucked so hard. I lost a lot. I felt so damaged, like I wasn’t going to make it. I remembered the monologue about a time when I almost didn’t make it 30 years ago, in the thralls of addiction. I reread it and was like ‘oh yeah I can do this. I did it before…. I got this.’ and I got a handle on life again. I felt the responsibility to share that moment.

    Myths were initially an oral tradition and Monster brings that back. What was it about theater that felt like the perfect medium?

    I’ve been asked repeatedly to do these streaming. I have a lot of online stories, but these? These are for the folks in the room with me. Around the campfire. I want to tell you, and retell you, the lies you’ve been told. Face to face.

    There are hundreds of myths. How did you narrow down to just these four? What was it about their stories you found so compelling?

    Actually the first story I was to tell was Persephone! Her story is a lie we were told. Originally she wasn’t a victim but a hero. Greeks got all Fox News on her and took away her power. I’ve told that story a lot. However, she didn’t make it into the final edit. It didn’t click. She’s probably act 2 at some future point. The first three monologues are all monsters. The Minotaur, Loki’s wife, and Pan. A beast and villain and the devil! They represent me at different times in my life.

    The right has scrutinized the stories we tell by banning books and who reads them aloud (Drag Queen Story Hour). Why have myths seemingly escaped such examination.
    I think people underestimate the power of myths. They are unaware that all the silly stories we were told as children shaped the very fabric of who we as individuals and a nation.

    You have worked at eastside gay bar Akbar for years. Can you say a bit about your time there?

    Decades ago I worked in WEHO at The Factory and Love Lounge. Soon after I started my tenure at Akbar. It is a breeding ground for creativity. I am very proud to sponsor and support that. I’ve been creating a creative space at Akbar for over 20 years. I’ve also been a mentor at Hollywood Fringe, which helps new, typically underrepresented talent create theatre. It’s a tricky and empowering thing to be there to guide someone else’s voice and help them find footing.

    For those of us who know your theatre work, how would you describe your foray into erotica?

    I’ve often been told I cast my “net” too wide. As though I should stick to one theme or style and brand that. That’s so not me. I love that I can do mushrooms in the desert as a huge hippie and the next day wear a suit to LA Opera. The thing is, as an artist, I have a lot to say to a variety of people. I used to do a lot of children’s stories and theatre. I do storytelling for adults. I write and love sci-fi fantasy. I even write erotica. Obviously not all to the same audience but it’s always about good stories. Themes of freedom. Personal power and humor leading to joy. My brand has never been genre-based but seems to always have the message of, “Let me tell you how fabulous you are.”


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    Steven Reigns
    Steven Reigns
    Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles poet and educator and was appointed the first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. Alongside over a dozen chapbooks, he has published the collections Inheritance and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat. Reigns holds a BA in Creative Writing and a Master of Clinical Psychology. He edited My Life is Poetry, showcasing his students’ work from the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors. Reigns has lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks. His newest collection A Quilt for David was published by City Lights in September 2021 and is the product of ten years of research regarding dentist David Acer’s life. www.stevenreigns.com
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