HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
First up for this month was the annual Corks & Canvas art, food and wine auction to benefit Good Samaritan Project. It was April 27 at the newly added party room at the Boulevard Brewing Company. I knew we were in for a treat when they were turning guests away at the door without tickets because fire codes would only allow 400 participants into the building. What a perfect venue for this event, complete with a third-floor outdoor patio with wonderful views of downtown. Sprinkled among the three floors of silent auction items were wine and beer bars and a plethora of hors d’oeuvres donated by local caterers, including my favorites, Bob Salzman and Dick Siebolt. My dear friend, Evie had to restrain me from devouring everything that they brought out of the kitchen before she could even get a bite! Just kidding, there was plenty of food to go around. This was my first year to experience this wonderful fundraising event, which is one of the main sources of funding for Good Samaritan Project, according to Jimmy Woodcock, the project’s director. This gathering gave me a chance to see some of my old friends from the grassroots “emergency fundraising team” of the ’80s and ’90s. The former director of the Good Samaritan Project, Kathleen Cooper and her husband, Richard attended, and it was good to see them again.
April 28 brought the culmination of a full year of fundraising efforts for the AIDS Walk ’07 team, and what a perfect day for the walk. The air was crisp and the skies were clear. However, during the set-up day on Friday, the crew was deluged by rain several times. According to Michael Lintecum, co-chairman, more than 3,500 participants walked about 3.5 miles and raised more than $350,000 for the four AIDS service organizations. Next year promises to be even more spectacular as this will be the 20th anniversary of AIDS Walk. My contribution will be the complete collection of official AIDS Walk T-shirts from the past 20 years, so be sure to stop by the Memorial tent and see what Terry Newell has in store to mark that occasion. I was privileged this year to be able to carry a banner with the name of one of my partners, Willie M., who passed away in 1996 from AIDS-related complications. If you have a loved one who passed away from AIDS, please consider buying a commemorative banner and walking in next year’s event. Believe me, the experience is quite overwhelming and will leave you with closure and enrichment.
I don’t know what it is about the month of May, but two of my good friends have birthdays that represent the year before the turning point to, shall I call it, “middle age” or mid-life crisis. Eric B, my good friend and team captain for Team GE, the team that I walked with for AIDS Walk, turned 49 and celebrated at Missie B’s. Another AIDS Walk kingpin, Michael Lintecum, turned 49 and celebrated with an outdoor patio bash at Bistro 303. And last but not least, AIDS Walk steering committee member Brian P. turned the decade mark to 40 with a fabulous “Cinco De Brian” celebration at his lovely home which he shares with his partner Stuart W. Brian really does know how to make a “burro” out of himself. I understand that this same burro ended up in bed with the two weary partiers that same evening. Way to go guys, are we into “bestiality” now?
On May 6, just in time to follow one of our myriad downpours, JC cohosted a Pig Roast at his fabulous new Briarcliff digs with Tom and Craig, his good friends shown here in the next pic with the guest of honor, sans head (see photo). Apparently Craig wanted to insert an apple in the pig’s mouth, but the pig would not cooperate. Kind of reminds me of most of my dates! Thanks, guys, for hosting such a fabulous dinner party and for inviting me.
CHANGES AROUND TOWN
Transitions seem to be the norm around Kansas City these days. For those of you who are not regular “bar flies” like me, the building that houses Missie B’s has been sold to the same person who owns NV, the on-again, off-again, ex-gay bar turned straight dance bar down
town. All of us hope that this means a continuation of business as usual for Missie B’s, my “home away from home.” Rumor has it that a restaurant may be ready to move into the space vacated by Nichol’s Lunch earlier this year, possibly an existing restaurant from farther down 39th Street.
Another transition took place quietly this month: Ownership of Outa Bounds Sports Bar and Grill was sold by Doug and Allen to one of their managers, Darren, who is one of the hottest looking bar owners this writer has ever laid eyes on. Darren promises to bring a young fresh approach to the bar with friendly, eye candy in abundance everywhere. If Darren is any example, I will be spending more time bellying up to this bar drinking my signature Bloody Marys and eating those wonderful “Flea Market” inspired hamburgers.
Finally, another change is taking place two doors down from Outa Bounds, at the Boca Boca Restaurant. For those of us old enough to remember when The Other Side Bar was located next door to Sydney’s restaurant and Tootsies Bar was where Outa Bounds is now, there was a tiny restaurant in the middle called “The Grille” on Broadway. The restaurant gained somewhat of a reputation for feeding the bar patrons when they wanted to soak up all the alcohol but did not want to have a cholesterol attack at the same time. The Grille offered a wonderful alternative to Sydney’s standard fare. As it happens, the restaurant transitioned from The Grille to Poco’s and finally to Boca Boca with the same basic ownership. I am pleased to announce that as of this writing, the restaurant will transition back to become The Grille, with many of the same wonderful dishes that we have known and loved — the sea bass, crab cakes, rack of lamb, just to name a few. One of the owners, Steve H., whipped up some crab cake appetizer and rack of lamb for a photo shoot last week for their ad found elsewhere in this issue of Camp. Of course, someone had to eat the subject of the shoot, so yours truly stepped up to the plate, and I can tell you without hesitation that it was the most succulent lamb I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. The crab cakes were to die for, and, believe me, Steve, I will be back. You will not be disappointed at this restaurant and the atmosphere is very cozy for all you lovebirds courting a spring romance.
FUTURE HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
Just a quick mention of a special evening planned for May 19 at bar Natasha: the fabulous Marilyn Maye will perform in a special concert. I don’t know how many of my readers will remember her vocal renditions of “Cabaret,” but I am a huge fan and Marilyn is one of the most gracious performers I have ever had the pleasure to meet. This is certain to be a sold-out evening, so call down to bar Natasha and make your reservations today. At 7 p.m. the following Friday night, May 25, bar Natasha again plays host to the Gay Pride fundraiser Dress to Impress. This affair will give you fashion queens the perfect excuse to bring out your finest outfits and enjoy an evening that promises to be jam-packed with great entertainment, eye candy and many more surprises and all for a great cause, Gay Pride ’07. In another vein, mark your calendars for the annual Interfaith Service to be held at Spirit of Hope MCC at 7 p.m. May 31. The Rev. Kurt Kreiger will preside over this service, which brings together many of the participating faiths that will also be represented at the Gay Pride Festival on June 1, 2 and 3. The Spirit of Hope MCC will also play host to the Jason & deMarco concert June 24. You don’t want to miss this chance to not only hear some great music, but as is evident in their ad in this issue of Camp, they ain’t too shabby in the looks department either!
Since Camp’s launch for Gay Pride in June 2004, we have been a proud media sponsor as well as the official Pride Guide for this annual event. My heartfelt thanks go out to John Koop and his committee members for allowing us to be such an integral part of Gay Pride. Last year was particularly memorable as the mayor of Kansas City, Kay Barnes, graced the cover of Camp exhibiting her “Gay Pride” for all to see. Let us not forget those brothers and sisters who went before us to open the doors and lead us to where we are today, celebrating our heritage openly in one of Kansas City’s most treasured parks, the Liberty Memorial. As the saying goes, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” Please make your presence known on Pride weekend and attend the Street Blast on Friday night and the two days at the festival itself. I look forward to meeting quite a few of you, my wonderful readers, that weekend, so please come by the Camp booth and say hello. Until next time, have a great Pride.