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41 MIN READ TIME

Ready Player One

Craig and I found ourselves playing catch on the baseball field one evening. We had been college roommates and had reunited when I moved with my daughter, Amanda, to the same town that Craig lived in. His passion for sports had carried through to adulthood: he trained the school baseball team that his twin daughters, Briar and Hazel, played in, while carrying his one year-old, River, in a papoose.

The two of us (and River, of course) had managed to get some time alone during the victory party for another of the team’s successful matches. Notoriously clumsy as I am, one of Craig’s throws hit me in the forehead. He rushed over and, in his words, “did the dad thing” as he examined my head. “Don’t tell me you’ll have to kiss it to make it better,” I teased. “You would be so lucky,” he responded with a smile on his face. I called his bluff : “I mean, I feel I deserve it,” and felt the blood rush to my face as he leaned down and kissed me on the forehead.

It’s important to note at this point that neither Craig, nor this entire scenario, is real. Craig is one of seven dateable dads in Dream Daddy - a queer dating simulator videogame. Dating sims are a sub-genre of visual novels: games in which the story is told largely through text, usually with stylised illustrations of the characters and scenarios. Players take control of an avatar character and choose how the story progresses by selecting options at narrative forks throughout the game. If you ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book as a child, they’re essentially an interactive version of those. There are no controls to remember, nor complicated gameplay mechanics to learn: just a button press or mouse click to progress through the story.

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About GCN

Welcome to our celebration of the LGBT+ artists and queer creatives making dynamic and compelling works. We highlight some of the stunning shows in the Dublin Fringe Festival including our very own collaboration with the festival - The North Is Next. Fringe stars Vickey Curtis, Seán Kennedy, Maia Nunes and Beth Hayden from Glitter HOLE all feature prominently. There’s a fabulous photospread of the ultimate queer art and music festival - Love Sensation and we take a deep dive into the world of queer dating sims. You’ll find essential interviews with queer drag artist extraordinaire - Avoca Reaction, multi-talented artist Dylan Meade and Dylan Coburn Gray, the writer of the diverse and inclusion new National Youth Theatre show - Ask Too Much Of Me. The community speaks, with the launch of Outcomers Drogheda, the manifesto for Black Pride Ireland and a HIV Positive activist with ACT UP Cork speaks about the need to share the U=U message. To all the artists, creatives, writers, performers, singers, illustrators and dreamers - this one’s for you.

Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
Welcome, dear reader, to our September issue of GCN celebrating
Community
by Chris Noone - Chair of NXF Research Subcommittee
Black Pride Ireland is a movement created by queer Black people, for Black LGBTQIA+ folks on the island of Ireland. We were founded in 2019 with the aim of creating spaces safe for, accessible to and centring all Black LGBTQIA+ here
Nine Weeks, the new show by Seán Kennedy is a deeply heartfelt exploration of the relationship between Seán and his mother during her final weeks of life. It’s also a rage against male oppression and a celebration of those who overcome
HIV and art go hand in hand. Times of great
Pathfinders, a new photographic exhibition soon to open in Dublin Castle, celebrates pioneer LGBT+ activists through a stunning series of portraits
Will Kennedy is a member of ACT UP Cork. As a person living with HIV, he talks about the continued existence of stigma in the gay community, the importance of sharing the U=U message and his efforts to create a peer mentoring support programme for others who have been recently diagnosed. Portrait by Hazel Coonagh
With Outcomers Drogheda, a new support service has just become available for the LGBT+ community. Anthony Kinehan relayed to Peter Dunne their plans for the future. Images by Dini Photography
Opinion
Big Little Lies season two was one of the TV events of the summer. Aſter a critically acclaimed first season that seemed universally adored, it wasn’t surprising that all involved wanted to go back for more. But was it the right decision?
Feature
In advance of a potent and timely collaboration highlighting Northern Ireland’s drive for reproductive and queer rights, Managing Editor of GCN and co-creator of The North Is Next, Lisa Connell, relays the necessity for solidarity and the transformative power of art
Breaking new ground in LGBT+ representation in gaming culture both on screen and behind the scenes, Chris Rooke leads us through the brave new world of queer dating sims
Arts
Dublin Fringe Festival is about to explode across the city, showering us with the best talent the scene has to offer. From inventive plays to pulsating parties, jaw-dropping performances to stunning displays of physicality - you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice. Never one to turn down a challenge, we took a dive into the programme and hauled up the best of the best LGBT+ lovelies for your delectation
Interview
The unstoppable drag performer, and one of the incredible stars of GCN’s online series Beducation, Avoca Reaction shares with Ranae von Meding the future of their inclusive and diverse queer cabaret
As the National Youth Theatre production prepares to open in The Abbey Theatre, Cassia Gaden Gilmartin speaks to writer Dylan Coburn Gray about the particular set of challenges faced by today’s teenagers
Dylan Meade opens up to Oisin Kenny about pushing back against the title ‘queer artist’, the creation of his distinct art style, and playing with pornography. All paintings by Dylan
Photo Feature
Over two days in mid-August, one area of Dublin burst into rainbow-coloured life as queers and their allies took over the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham for the mighty music and arts festival -Love Sensation
Vickey Curtis and Áine O’Hara will present GAA MAAD, a love letter to the national sport, as part of the upcoming Dublin Fringe Festival. In a GCN first, Vickey created a bespoke poem to give a unique taste of what audiences can expect. GAA abú!
Conversation
Maia Nunes and Beth Hayden both have shows appearing as part of the upcoming Dublin Fringe Festival. Maia’s Incantation looks at intergenerational trauma while Beth will present Púcaparty along with her Glitter HOLE troupe. Maia spoke to Beth about art, impulses and the creative process All photos of Maia by Brian Teeling
Community chest
Have you ever thought about your first love? Did you
Outhouse on Capel Street will soon play host to a
Get those sticks at the ready! The recently formed Oscar