Kudos to the PROMO team for orchestrating a great Words of Love benefit and silent auction Feb. 9. This is an annual Valentine?s Day benefit for PROMO, with singers and artists performing at a midday brunch at bar Natasha. As always, the buffet prepared by bar Natasha was excellent. The entertainers included emcee Ron Megee, the bar Natasha singers, Marilyn Wood, Karen Errington, Lori Williams, the Heartaches ensemble of the Heartland Men?s Chorus, and a reading by Amanda and Joyce Cascio of Rainbow Legends.
It?s truly amazing to see the volunteerism of entertainers in this community who offer their time and talents at benefits like this and others throughout the year.
J.D. Mann and Missy Koonce, co-owners of bar Natasha, have been offering their venue for many of the AIDS Walk benefits and they donate a portion of their profits directly to AIDS Walk. If you haven?t been to bar Natasha, put it at the top of your list for great entertainment, dining and cocktails. J.D. told me that they will soon be hosting the Girl to Girl socials on Tuesday nights at bar Natasha. Look for more information in future issues of Camp.
The glamour of pageantry is now upon us! The Missouri Gay Rodeo Association (MGRA) launched its 2008 season with a Pub Crawl on Jan. 25. Leading in the festivities were the members of their 2008 Royalty: Zoe Kelly, Miss MGRA; Dennis Kitchen, Mr. MGRA, and Kevin Lynn, Mr. MGRA first runner-up.
?Things went well for us on Friday night. It wasn?t a major Pub Crawl by any means,? Chuck Kirkwood, rodeo director for MGRA reports. ?We gathered for dinner at Mama?s since they were one of the winners for the Zoey Awards last year [tied with Sharp?s>, and then went next door to Missie B?s. After Missie B?s we headed to Tootsie?s and then on to Sidekicks to wrap up the night. We were just out to build awareness of MGRA and what we do in the community. We plan on doing that throughout the year to show the K.C. businesses how we appreciate their support each year.?
Congratulations to MGRA trustee Andrew Goodman, who has been elected vice president of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). MGRA also reports that Linda Frazier, former president of IGRA,was elected to their state board of directors as an MGRA trustee.
Kansas City Gay Pride kicked off the 2008 season with its Royalty Court Pageant (see more photos on page 13) at Missie B?s on Feb. 7. It was a packed house, and many entertainers performed, along with emcee Desiree Luv. Their Youth Royalty Court Pageant will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at Spirit of Hope MCC, 3801 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo. The Rev. Kurt Krieger of Spirit of Hope MCC was one of the judges for the Gay Pride Royalty Court Pageant. Once again, thanks to Rev. Kurt for all he does in the community.
Gay Pride?s Web site, www.kansascitygaypride.org is up, featuring all the information about the 2008 season. The Pride Festival will be May 30, 31 and June 1 at Penn Valley Park. This is the 30th anniversary for Kansas City Gay Pride and organizers have lots planned, including the reappearance of the Gay Pride Parade after a hiatus of a few years. The parade will be Sunday morning, June 1. John Koop, president of Gay Pride, tells me that they have other new events, including more fundraising to help pay the bills for the expensive talent, staging, and other expenses in putting on the biggest LGBTQ event in Kansas City.
New this year will be 30 Days of Change to commemorate the 30th anniversary. Thirty businesses will collect change in jars at their establishment over 30 days, with a goal of $1,000 per business or $30,000 overall. Friday night?s Streetblast is still on, and Koop said they expected to add even more new activities to the festival, including hot-air balloon rides. They will also display panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, as they did last year in a beautiful tent and garden setting, which is a must-see for anyone who has never seen it or for those who wish to revisit this poignant honor to those who have passed from AIDS/HIV.
The Gay Pride Festival under Koop?s leadership has broken even over the years, but it has at least covered all their expenses with none of the bad debt of some Pride festivals years ago. I sat down with Koop and looked at their IRS filings for the last three years. I can honestly say they have amazingly covered the expenses for a festival ranging in cost from $130,000 to $170,000 over the years. This year they will have to charge admission for the entertainment, but that only occurs after 5 pm. It will be $5 admission for a wristband after 5 p.m., but if you?re at the festival before 5 p.m. it?s still free. This is really not that much different than previous years where you were required to buy a $5 wristband to purchase beers, but now the $5 fee will cover both the evening entertainment and the wristband.
Kansas City?s own Larry Horning moved to mid-state Missouri a few years ago and took over the Trailside Caf? and Bicycle Shop on the Katy Trail in Rocheport. He has formed a new nonprofit bicycle ride called Trail to a Cure. The ride will raise money for HIV/AIDS services in mid-state Missouri. His group will host its first bicycle ride/walk/run on the Katy Trail on May 4. This is a 100 percent volunteer group, so if you can help them out by volunteering, Larry would love to hear from you. Many of us have ridden on the Katy Trail for other fundraisers. It?s a beautiful trail, and May 4 should be a perfect time to break out of the winter doldrums and enjoy a bicycle ride for a very good cause. To register or get more information, visit www.aidstrailtoacure.org.
Do not miss out on one of the most fun events of the season for AIDS Walk: The AIDS Walk Open will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 1. I realize that this miniature golf tournament at seven bars will be a strong test of your liver. Each bar puts its own theme on the event, and it?s a great contest, with prizes. To register, visit www.aidswalkkansascity.org.
Another event not to miss will be a free showing of Brother, Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Spirit of Hope MCC, 3801 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo. Rustin was one of the first Freedom Riders in the civil rights movement and was denied his place in the limelight only because he was gay.
Tickets for Rent are on sale now. It will be March 14-16 at the Music Hall. This is another must-see musical with fabulous music and a great story that is now part of theater history. More information can be found at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com
Openly queer Philly-based songwriter and singer Chris Schutz and with Steph Hayes are bringing their brand of indie folk to The Brick, 1727 McGee, in Kansas City as part of their Out in the Cold acoustic winter tour. They take the stage at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1. Cover charge is $5 for this 21-and-over event (http://www.thebrickkcmo.com). Also appearing are Charles S McVey, of Lawrence, Kan. and Medicine Theory, of Kansas City, Mo.
The next meeting of the Kansas City Employee Resource Group (ERG) Regional Council will be held at The Cellar Rat, 1701 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo at 6 p.m. on February 18. Leo Walters, organizer of the event reports the agenda will be to: develop programming for 2008, introduce new council members and report on the status of the Out & Equal regional chapter application. Leo says, ?There will be a wine sampling and hors d?oeuvres waiting……Come in out of the cold. Find a new favorite wine, share some cheer, make friends, and let?s plan our future.?
Well, that?s all for this issue. Remember to send me news about your organization or business for future issues of Camp. Our next issue is Feb. 29, so send your news to me at email@example.com by Feb. 20.