Believe Out Loud Hosts Level Ground Film Festival In New York City

by James Rowe

“A drag queen, a lesbian rocker and a Catholic nun walk into a church…”

This might sound like the opening line of a joke, but on November 14, 15 and 16—that’s exactly what’s happening in New York City as Believe Out Loud joins Level Ground Film Festival to bring the Road Show to New York City.

Sponsored and hosted by The Collegiate Churches of New YorkMarble Collegiate Church, and Middle Collegiate Church, this groundbreaking festival will feature a variety of visual and performance art focused on faith, gender, and sexuality.

The festival kicks off on Friday, November 14th at Middle Collegiate Church, located in New York City’s East Village, with a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Paris is Burning, a raw and honest look at New York City’s ball culture in the late eighties among LGBT people of color. After the screening of this classic film, an expert panel moderated by Sarah Pulliam Bailey will examine the current state of queer homeless youth and how affirming churches can minister to these young people.

And that’s just the beginning!

Also featured at Middle Collegiate Church on opening night will be New York City’s legendary drag queen, comedian, producer, and celebrity interviewer, Jeza Belle. This Believe Out Loud blogger and author of the recently released best-selling book, A Harlots Guide To Classy Cocktails will offer up her own unique brand of humor, entertainment, and storytelling dispelling the age-old myth that you can’t be both Christian and Fierce!

On the second evening of programming Believe Out Loud is proud to welcome another one of our bloggers and a true advocate for the LGBTQ Christian community, Jennifer Knapp to the sanctuary at Marble Collegiate Church. Hot off the release of her newest CD, Set Me Free, Jennifer will share her inspiring music and ministry on Saturday, November 15, at 7 pm. And if that’s not enough Jennifer Knapp for you, she will be back on Sunday, November 16, at 2 pm for a book signing and intimate conversation as she discusses the release of her brand new autobiography Facing the Music.

Speaking of LGBTQ advocates, Believe Out Loud is honored to pay tribute to the work and ministry of Sister Jeannine Gramick as we present the 10th-anniversary screening of In Good Conscience, an inspiring documentary by award-winning filmmaker Barbara Rick. In spite of being silenced by the Vatican for her radical ministry of inclusion, Sister Jeannine is a nun with a mission, still standing strong decades later as she continues to champion the LGBTQ community within the Catholic Church. After the film, Sister Jeannine, filmmaker Barbara Rick, and Marble Church’s own Sister Carol Perry will offer an insightful and engaging discussion on the making of this important film, the unique role nuns have played in advocating for social change, and where the Catholic Church may be headed in welcoming the LGBTQ community.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the festival will also feature the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Shower of Stoles exhibit. This unique collection of liturgical stoles and other sacred items represent the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. Each stole contains the story of an LGBT person from one of thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, who are active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson. These profound symbols of faith and community support will be on display for the public in Marble Church’s Loft, located at 274 5th Avenue.

And those are just some of the highlights you will find at Level Ground’s New York City Road Trip.

Visit Level Ground’s website to check out the entire schedule of events and reserve your tickets today. While most events are by donation only, a ticket fee of $10 is required for Jennifer Knapp’s concert on Saturday evening. Due to a limited number of seats at certain events, we encourage you to RSVP to each event you plan to attend.

A drag queen, a lesbian rocker and a Catholic nun walk into a church…let the church say, “Amen”! 

Photo by Believe Out Loud

Comments (1)

wolfgang busch

It is unfortunate that
It is unfortunate that members from the community still think that Paris is Burning is a film to write home about. The director Jeannie Livingston was sued by Octavia St. Laurent, has miss-represented her to the community and ballroom historians have been rejecting this film since its release, because of its inbalance and for potraying the ball community as thieves, prostitutes and drug users, it is time that the community a) gets educated abut this film and b) stops to promote a film that is rejected by ballroom historians and educators, see links ,, if you guys want a positive filom about the ball community watch, a historic art film make by and for the ballroom community. Thank you, artistically and respectfully your Wolfgang Busch

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