Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, May 4, 2001

David DeBlieck

DeBlieck airs ‘Beef’
before heading out


Love and intimacy are not the sort of subjects easily shared with the public, especially not if you're a self-professed "queer boy" from the Midwest.

For David DeBlieck, showing vulnerability was the most difficult aspect of staging his two-hour production "Portrait of a Sissy" two years ago. But since that production unleashed the memories, desires and fears dating to his childhood, the flow has been unstoppable. He's back with a new solo performance, "Real Beef," which opens tonight at the Yellow Brick Studio Theatre and continues for two weekends.

"Real Beef"

On stage: Performances by David DeBlieck, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 12; 4 p.m. Sunday and May 13
Place: Yellow Brick Studio, 625 Keawe St. (between Queen and Halekauwila)
Cost: $10 general, $8 students and seniors
Call: 538-1980

"Real Beef" blends fantasy and reality, along with theatrical storytelling and dance. Music by Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Culture Club and Billy Joel will create the nostalgic backdrop for a journey that explores the complexity and power of first, and even more potent, forbidden love.

In the first story, "Simply Dreamy," which premiered at the 2000 Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Festival, a teenage boy fuses an erotic wrestling fantasy with his bedtime grooming to create a comic over-the-top bathroom encounter.

While DeBlieck has long reveled in bringing his fantasies to the stage, he is working on more reality-based tales.

The segment titled "Mike" examines the courtship of two teenage boys, a science nerd and a farm boy, trying to find a way to have intimacy while growing up in the rural, conservative Midwest.

It is a subject close to home for the performer, who grew up in Byron, Minn., wanting to be a Sugar Bear, a member of the high school dance squad. It was considered to be an unusual aspiration for a boy in a farming town, who worked in his dad's lumberyard and hardware store.

While DeBlieck has long been "out" to friends, he never felt compelled to open his life to general scrutiny and, in some circles, rejection. The murder of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student in Wyoming, and Hawaii's vote against domestic partnerships two years ago changed that.

Recalling his experiences growing up gay, he said it is "painful to see our youths growing up in a time when they can be killed for being different.

"But we are where we are, and this is my response to that sort of thing, to say, 'OK, maybe you need to know more about me.'"

It is a message DeBlieck is ready to take to the world. "Real Beef" will be his last solo production in Hawaii. He will join former Iona Pear dancer Caroline Sutton in Austin, Texas, for a dance production, then will head to the Minneapolis Fringe Festival in late July to perform "Real Beef."

While in Minneapolis he will be working with Theatre de la Jeune Lune associate director Luverne Seifert to develop "Portrait of a Sissy" as a piece that will travel to colleges and theaters during the fall.

"Mostly, I want to establish myself as an artist in other cities across the nation," DeBlieck said, while acknowledging the economy has made it difficult to make a living as a performance artist here.

"I definitely hope to make it back to Hawaii in some capacity. I'm working on a show called 'The Mystery of Us' with singer/songwriter Kim Char Meredith, which we'll be performing in June. I also hope to work more as a guest artist with Iona Pear in the future."

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