The month of January promises not only the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday on Jan. 19, but also the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, when history will be made. It’s an exciting month for the world. Let’s hope change is truly in the works for 2009.
Marcus Hammond, who writes for Camp will be going to Washington for the inauguration and he’ll report on that for our February issue. Michael Lintecum and Josh Strodtman of The Lintecum Group event management firm have their hands full not only with AIDS Walk but also with planning two parties in Washington for the inauguration. I intend to get all the good details when they return from Washington, if they’re still sane.
Many in the LGBT and allied communities were very disappointed when the Rev. Rick Warren, who has compared gay marriage to pedophilia and incest, was asked to give the invocation at Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. I was pleased to see that Obama redeemed himself by selecting the Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, to give the invocation Jan. 18 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the opening ceremony to inauguration week. Obama is expected to attend the event, which is free and open to the public. How appropriate that this is the same place where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
KC Fitness Link
Darryl Olive, our good friend and a contributing writer for Camp, is dealing with the aftermath of a fire on Dec. 27 in the building next door to his that did significant damage to his business, KC Fitness Link, at 39th and Main. Olive, being the great goal-setter that he is, immediately made plans to move classes and other events to a temporary location on Jan. 3 and is continuing with all of his plans for Yoga Day USA on Jan. 24. He hopes to have his main office back open in early February. For more information, visit kcfitnesslink.com.
Swope Helps Kick the Habit
A quit-smoking research study for African Americans that is marking its 10th anniversary is being offered through Swope Health Services. They report some significant statistics:
• African Americans have similar rates of cigarette smoking as whites (20 percent vs. 22 percent respectively in 2004) and lower overall exposure to tobacco smoke, but are more likely to develop lung cancer and die from it. Black men are at least 50 percent more likely to develop lung cancer and 30 percent more likely to die from the disease than white men.
• In 2004, African American men were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease, as compared to non-Hispanic white men.
• African Americans are twice as likely to die from stroke as whites. The rate of first strokes in African Americans is almost double that of whites.
The press release from Swope Health Central and Kansas University Medical Center states that the program, called Kick it at Swope III (KIS III), is for African American people who smoke 1-10 cigarettes a day and are ready to quit. It offers individual counseling, health information and the chance to receive medication free of charge. All services are located in the Outreach Department at Swope Health Central, 3801 Blue Pkwy., Kansas City, Mo. 64130. Visit www.KickItatSwope.org for more information or call 816-627-2122.
Bears and Boys of KC Calendar
Chuck Brackett tells us that the latest copy of the 2009 Bears and boys of KC Calendar is available at Out There, 205 Westport Rd., Kansas City, Mo. It’s now only $5 while supplies last, and a portion of the profits is donated to the Good Samaritan Project of Kansas City.
AIDS Walk Kickoff Party
AIDS Walk will get the year started from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at 1911 Main St., the former bar Natasha location. For more information, visit aidswalkkansascity.org.
KC Rep Collects Donations
The Kansas City Rep’s artistic director, Eric Rosen, spearheaded the theater’s effort to turn to its Christmas Carol patrons and ask them to honor the Christmas message of hope and give back to the community. According to Laura Muir, director of communications for the Rep, “After every performance of A Christmas Carol, actor Walter Coppage, who played Bob Cratchit in the show, asked the audience to remember Kansas City’s AIDS victims by donating to the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The response was overwhelming: Patrons, actors and Rep staff donated $15,755 to assist and provide care for those with HIV/AIDS.” The Rep will present the donations to AIDS Walk at the Jan. 29 AIDS Walk kickoff party.
Two Shows at KC Rep Theatre
The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams’ classic play, will run through Feb. 8 at the Sprint Copaken Stage downtown. The show has already received great reviews. The Rep’s next play, The Arabian Nights, will run Jan. 30-Feb. 22 at the Spencer Theatre. The show is a co-production with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Mary Zimmerman, who adapted and directed the production, also created the Kansas City hit Metamorphoses. The Rep’s website describes Arabian Nights this way: “Zimmerman’s stunning theatrical event is a series of stories brilliantly woven by the beautiful princess Scheherezade to save her own life. As long as she can keep the king entertained with her magical stories of beauty, honor, love, and the search for wisdom, he will spare her. With Zimmerman’s famed fusion of gorgeous music, inventive staging, and highly theatrical storytelling, The Arabian Nights gives us an exhilarating view of the lush, rich legacy of the place we now know as Iraq.”
For additional information or to purchase tickets, call 816-235-2700 or go to kcrep.org.
‘Velvet Rut’ at the Unicorn
The Unicorn Theatre is presenting the world premiere of The Velvet Rut, a play by Kansas native James Still. It will run Jan. 30- Feb. 22 on the Jerome Stage.
Still, who grew up in small-town Kansas, has had his work produced all over the world. “Kansas City audiences most recently saw his play And Then They Came for Me on stage at the Coterie Theatre last fall. Other local productions of James’ work include the 2007 production of Iron Kisses at the Unicorn and Looking Over The President’s Shoulder and Searching For Eden at the American Heartland Theater,” according to the Unicorn’s press release.
As with other plays, the Unicorn will be offering special events.
Producing artistic director Cynthia Levin will lead a discussion about the play with the director and actors after the show for Talk Back Performances, which are scheduled Feb. 3, 8 and 10.
The Play Before the Play Party is set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5. This reception before the show is a great way to meet other arts-minded people. No advance notice is necessary. There is a $5 cover to attend the event.
The Unicorn Theatre is at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. To purchase tickets call 816-531-7529 or visit unicorntheatre.org.
Heartland Men’s Chorus ‘Soho and Song’ Benefit
Soho119 will present a performance by the Heartland Men’s Chorus ensemble, The HeartAches, and a reception to benefit the chorus at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26.
The HeartAches consists of 12 men singing in close harmony. Their repertoire ranges from comic to sublime. The group will present a mini-concert, followed by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception.
Soho119 is a unique shopping experience to Kansas City, offering designer clothing for men and women, as well as the 119 Vinotherapy Medspa and fine dining at 119 The Restaurant.
During the reception, guests will have the chance to purchase items from Soho119’s collection of clothing and accessories. Soho119 will donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the HMC, which is celebrating 23 years as Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus. The 130-member chorus is reaching out to new audiences to advance its vision: Our Voices Enlighten, Inspire, Heal and Empower.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the chorus to expand our reach in the metro area and make new friends with folks who, once they hear us, will want to experience our full concerts,” says Rick Fisher, HMC’s executive director.
“Community involvement and supporting the arts are cornerstones of Soho 119’s philosophy and you’ll see that reflected in the events we sponsor and host,” says Carmela Spinelli, chief creative officer of Soho 119.
Soho119 is at 4419 W. 119th St. in Leawood, Kan. For more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus, visit www.hmckc.org, and for more information about Soho 119, visit www.soho-119.com.
Filmmaker’s Works in Progress
Kansas City filmmaker Lisa Marie Evans reports that she is now collaborating on two new documentaries. “The first, Family Families, is a film exploring issues of discrimination and human connection between parents and children within gay families and entities,” she said. She asks anyone who would like to be portrayed in this film or who has referrals to contact her by visiting www.indyoutties.com.
“The second film, yet-to-be-titled, works to examine religion’s LGBT welcoming or non-welcoming status and how that relationship affects LGBT individuals,” Evans says. Both films are in the beginning phases and are in the process of attaining nonprofit status, she reports, which will make donations tax-deductible. “Your financial support helps to create these types of powerful films and get them to the masses,” she says. “And the masses need them. … You’re like a super hero, really. Please contact me.”