Local Philly sci-fi inspired performers team with Gaaays in Spaaace

Dan Deevy was compelled to create the nonprofit, Gaaays in Spaaace, to celebrate the inclusion of LGBTQ-plus characters in pop-culture storytelling — particularly sci-fi tales “hopefully prophetic for the future,” so to “empower and inspire LGBTQ-plus youth through Star Trek’s utopian vision of that same future.”

Aligned with Deevy’s vision is Philadelphia’s, The Roddenberries, a wild, Trekkie musical performance-art ensemble. With a new album on the horizon, “Eat the Roddenberries,” the group will throw a party to celebrate on June 27 at World Café Live, with its own Klingon rainbow warrior, Scrotch Whiskey.

Together for over six years, The Roddenberries have “boldly gone to Las Vegas, embraced the queer-dimensions, and invited Dan Deevy and Gaaays in Spaaace to come to Philly and be represented at our upcoming showcase so that they can bring their ‘rainbow-tribbles’ out for love and fellowship. Together, we are fighting the good fight. Every effort to change society’s minds requires allies. We are Allies.”

Deevy met The Roddenberries at a J.G. Hertzler (Deep Space Nine) event. He said, “I was supposed to follow them and talk. There was no way I could follow that. I couldn’t describe what they did, but I loved … it. That’s how I feel every time they perform.”

So auspicious was their introduction that Deevy used an image of Roddenberries’ Scrotch Whiskey as part of the Gaaays in Spaaace’s logo. “That image is one of my favorite photos ever taken anywhere,” said Deevy,

Captured at one of Deevy’s Vegas parties, the photo featuring Scrotch Whiskey perfectly depicts the relationship between the gay community and Star Trek. “We have seen gay Klingons before, but swishier,” said Deevy. “We love swishy Klingons, but presenting the character as a traditional badass — a tough, strong Klingon warrior but gay — was awesome.”

Scrotch Whiskey believes that each of the Star Trek series comes with a message of humanity and acceptance of our differences. “We are a work-in-progress,” states the Klingon. “Star Trek began as a very progressive, socially conscience and highly liberal series. For its time, the late ’60s, it walked ahead of much of pop-culture.”

With Scrotch Whiskey’s roots in rock-n-roll cabarets traveling with a Rocky Horror troupe, his varied characterizations with-and-through The Roddenberries come as second nature.

To love The Roddenberries means to share the ideal set by Gene Roddenberry of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, “Or IDIC, as the kids say,’” noted Scrotch Whiskey.

Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s creator, had a future-forward vision where humanity overcame its problems and outran its differences: “They found a way of doing so by coming together, not against a common enemy but rather a common good.”

Deevy said there are so few pieces of fiction that have an optimistic vision of the future. “The most celebrated stories of today are dystopian, ones where humanity doesn’t prevail. Zombies and evil aliens are out to destroy us,” and Star Trek is different.

He added, “With the recent inclusion of gay characters in Star Trek’s universe — John Cho’s Sulu in the J.J. Abrams’ film cycle, Anthony Rapp’s Lt. Stamets in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ — every minority group is represented. For 50-plus years, we weren’t there. Representation may often be overlooked as not so important, but I believe it is of the utmost importance. Any chance for people to look up on screen and say ‘There I am,’ is necessary.”

Additionally, Star Trek’s actors have been supportive of the LGBTQ community and gay friendly. Famously, television’s original helmsman Lt. Hikaru Sulu, George Takei, came out in 2005, and Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the rebooted film franchise, came out in 2011.

“But it’s not the same as having gay characters within an author’s story, telling us what the future will be,” stated Deevy. “The gay characters in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ were the most talked about relationship on that show.”

Even so, Scrotch Whiskey noted that within the Trekkie fandom, “there are still vestiges of bigotry and intolerance. Yet, when we take the stage, we let our freak-flag fly: Gender-swapped heroes, and rainbow-Klingons singing parodies of Star Trek songs seems to be a uniting-force. We hope that our efforts at celebrating IDIC principals has some small effect at advocating equality to the larger body of fans who need to be exposed to such progressive messages via showbiz.”