A Very Sordid Wedding Mirrors Familiar Same-Sex Themes

 ========= Old Image Removed =========1508973357 
1495609755

The sequel to Del Shores’ cult film and TV series Sordid Lives debuts in Birmingham Thursday at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. A Very Sordid Wedding catches up with the cast of characters from Winters, Texas, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage. The film touches on issues that may ring like wedding bells among the Alabama crowd.

ESTHER CIAMMACHILLI, BYLINE: In this scene, we meet the new pastor of Southside Baptist Church, Jimmy Ray Brewton. He’s young, he’s handsome and he has strong opinions about marriage.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, A VERY SORDID WEDDING)

LEVI KREIS: (As Brewton) We are gonna make Runnels County a sanctuary county for the institution of biblical marriage: one man, one woman, and to never have a gay marriage performed in this county.

Levi Kreis as Pastor Jimmy Ray Brewton in A Very Sordid Wedding.
Del Shores,A Very Sordid Wedding

Levi Kreis as Pastor Jimmy Ray Brewton in A Very Sordid Wedding.

CIAMMACHILLI: The church is holding a revival to bring parishioners into the proverbial light following the legalization of same-sex marriage. But what the good pastor wasn’t expecting was pushback. Latrelle is a god-fearing Christian and the proud mother of an openly gay son.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, A VERY SORDID WEDDING)

BONNIE BEDELIA: (As Latrelle) Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, how is this revival going to change things?

KREIS: (As Brewton) [The] Supreme Court’s not the law of this land. The word of God’s the law of this land.

BEDELIA: (As Latrelle) Well if memory serves me right, that’s not exactly true.

CIAMMACHILLI: This tale of art imitates life is based on fundamental challenges happening all over the country, including Alabama. Writer/director Del Shores grew up in Winters, Texas. He’s openly gay and the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. His sequel addresses the conflict between faith and family that often surfaces when LGBT people “come out.” Those familiar with the Sordid story will remember Latrelle wasn’t always accepting of her son Ty’s lifestyle. But after some soul searching, she becomes an advocate. Shores says, the relationship between these two characters is somewhat autobiographical.

Leslie Jordan as Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram in A Very Sordid Wedding.
Del Shores,A Very Sordid Wedding

Leslie Jordan as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in A Very Sordid Wedding.

SHORES: Yeah, I would be Ty in this and my mother would be Latrelle. My mother passed away, but she had already started doing a lot of research on my behalf. So, she was such an influence in that journey for me with Latrelle.

CIAMMACHILLI: One character whose mother never accepted him is Brother Boy. The troubled drag queen’s mama had him committed to a mental institution for being gay. Brother Boy is played by actor Leslie Jordan who’s best remembered for his role as Beverly Leslie on the sitcom Will & Grace. A down-home Southern son of an Army officer, Jordan says much like Brother Boy he was born wearing his mother’s high heels. However, unlike his Sordid character, Jordan says his mother embraced his fabulousness at a very young age.

JORDAN: My mother and my sweet maternal grandmother sort of circle the wagons and created a wonderful secret garden where it was OK for little boys to play with dolls and twirled a baton. But we just didn’t tell daddy.

CIAMMACHILLI: However, growing up, Jordan says he was still ashamed of his sexuality. He’d see famous gay men like Truman Capote and Paul Lynde on TV and would feel sick thinking he could be as effeminate as they were. But as he got older he learned to love and accept himself, which he says is one of the messages the Birmingham audience can expect to take away from this very sordid tale.