Monday, December 8, 2008

Bottom Monologues Organizers Seek Men’s Narratives

Play will reflect diversity of gay, bi, trans, and queer men’s lived experiences as bottoms

December 8, 2008: The organizers of The Bottom Monologues invite gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer men to log-on to, where they can submit their stories to be used in the production of a groundbreaking play about – you guessed it -- bottoms. In the spirit of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, The Bottom Monologues will feature provocative and challenging stories from GBTQ men about sex, desire, identity, and the politics of men proudly proclaiming their desire to get fucked.

To bring the play to life, The Bottom Monologues is asking GBQT men from around the world to log-on to and submit their thoughts through an anonymous online questionnaire. “We’re hoping to get stories from men who identity as top, bottom, versatile – or not at all. Any queer man who has something to say about bottoms is welcome and wanted,” says one of the project’s organizers, Trevor Hoppe. Questions range from the basic (“So… what’s a bottom?”) to the more complex (“Are tops, bottoms, and versatile guys all that different?”). Guys who log-on can choose to respond to the questions as-is, or step outside the box and develop their own prompts.

The Bottom Monologues began at the recent 2008 Gay Men’s Health Summit in Seattle, where the project’s three organizers – Alex Garner, Trevor Hoppe, and Erik Libey – met for the first time. In Seattle, Garner organized a reading of the late Eric Rofes’ screenplay, Test / Positive / Now, a beautiful collection of stories from gay men who have recently tested HIV-positive. The next day, Hoppe presented his research findings on bottom identity in a session title, “What Makes a Bottom?” During the Q&A, Garner commented that bringing the narratives described in Hoppe’s research to the stage would be a much needed public proclamation of bottom desire – a topic typically seen as taboo even for many GBTQ men. With some encouragement from Libey after the summit wrapped, the project was born.

Once the stories are collected, the organizers will sift through the submissions to look for common themes, major differences, and particularly exciting stories. “We’re basically going to take a few hundred submissions and distill them into a handful of composite characters,” Hoppe says. “In this way, guys who log on and submit their story will have a direct hand in the stories well tell on stage.” The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2009. Those interested can log on to the project website for more information about the project and to submit their story.

Organizer bios can be found here.

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