As we continue under our new monthly publishing schedule for 2009, we’re happy to report that many groups have their marketing plans well underway for the year. If your organization or business is not included in this column, don’t miss this opportunity for free publicity. Give me a call (816-221-0199) or send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we’ll announce what you’re doing in our next issue. Camp’s distribution is 5,000 copies or more – every issue – in more than 150 distribution locations.
Weekly Java With Justus
Missouri State Sen. Jolie Justus tells me she is now meeting with members of the community at 9 a.m. every Friday for coffee and conversation at Coffee Break, 5400 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Justus reports, “If you can’t make it on a Friday, I’ll hold events around the 10th District on one Saturday each month and you can always contact my office with your questions or concerns. I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions about the committee process or other topics related to state government.”
Twenty people attended the Jan. 23 meeting with Justus, an open lesbian. She wants to establish a dialogue with her constituency, much the way Charlie Wheeler, the former Kansas City mayor and state senator for the 10th District, did with his Friday afternoon happy hours. For more information and updated blog entries, check out http://joliejustus.blogspot.com.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Moving
The Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day committee has unexpectedly moved the annual parade to Westport. It had been on Grand Boulevard to the Power & Light District. Organizers say that the move was made to honor the Irish heritage of Westport. No doubt the downtown and P&L bars are not thrilled about this move. Many of us remember holding court outside of Balancas at 18th and Grand, along the parade route. This change will mean lost revenue for Laurie, but also some added sanity for her and her staff that day. This will obviously be good news for the Westport bars and the gay bars along Broadway, Main, Westport Road and Southwest Trafficway.
Plan ahead now for a designated driver, a cab or the very inexpensive and easy KCATA bus. I’ve done the bus for many years, and you can’t beat the convenience of a party bus on St. Patrick’s Day for $1.25 one way (if you get lucky) or $2.50 round trip if you’re ready to end the party before midnight.
Speaking of gay bars, even in this time of recession, we’ll soon have two new gay bars in Kansas City. The first is the Red Head Lounge, 529 Walnut, in the River Market area. They serve food and will offer dancing and drag shows.
I also hear that a new gay bar called Chrome will be opening the first week of March on Broadway in the spot where the former Copa Room and Aqua Lounge bars were. Let’s see, that will be only a week or two before the St. Patrick’s Day drunkfest, and Broadway is right along the parade route. Talk about trial by fire!
We’ll report more on both of these new LGBT nightspots in the March issue of Camp.
The organization that exceeded its half-million dollar goal in 2008 for the 20th AIDS Walk Kansas City is moving on to its 21st year of raising money for those living with HIV/AIDS. As we go to press, AIDS Walk is hosting its kickoff party on Jan. 29 at the site of the former bar Natasha. This year the walk will be April 25, and the organizers have a full plate of fundraisers between now and then. They are making some changes to their website, and it will soon list all the events. Check out
aidswalkkansascity.org and future issues of Camp. This great group is always looking for volunteers, too, so consider lending your talent and enthusiasm.
Gay Pride 2009
John Koop, Kansas City Gay Pride president, reports that the 2009 festival is well underway. Here’s a quick summary of what the group has planned:
• The biggest Pride pageant of the year, the Royalty Court Pageant, will be Feb. 19 at Missie B’s. Contestants will compete for the titles of King, Queen, and Mr. and Miss Gay Pride. Entrants can sign up for the Royalty Court Pageant at the gay bars and also by contacting Desiree Luv. Entry is free, and those who want to wear one of the many crowns can enter as late as 6 p.m. the night of the pageant.
• The Pride festival is scheduled for June 5, 6 and 7, 2009.
• StreetBlast will once again kick off the weekend that Friday.
• There will not be a parade due to the large expense and the difficulties in parade-float logistics. This year will feature a march instead.
• The AIDS Memorial Dinner will take place again this year, and for the first time it will be combined with Gay Pride’s Dress to Impress evening that was formerly held at bar Natasha and other Kansas City venues.
• Gay Pride has a new website design and address (gaypridekansascity.com), and Koop is enthusiastic about the website designer, Fore Front Technology. Check it out.
• The Pride festival will finally charge for the evening entertainment. The festival will still be free until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but admission for anyone attending the entertainment after 5 p.m. will be $5/person. Gay Pride has had a challenge over the years to host a major tourism event and keep it absolutely free. The group was not happy to report that the 2008 event ended up nearly $40,000 in the red. They were determined to hold post-Pride fundraisers and look for support from their major donors to pay off the debt. Koop reports that they were able to pay down the debt to only one vendor, who will be paid off shortly, due to the public support and corporate sponsors, especially Central States Beverage (Miller Lite).
• The group has even more activities planned for this year’s festival, including a new Pong for Pride pub crawl.
• Kansas City Gay Pride meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Missie B’s, 805 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo. If you are interested in volunteering, there’s no better opportunity than these monthly meetings.
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,
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 at 4419 W. 119th St. in Leawood, Kan. For more information about Heartland Men’s Chorus, visit hmckc.org, and for more information about Soho 119, visit soho-119.com.
Kansas City Cave Bears
The Kansas City Cave Bears (KCCB) report that their Jan. 17 dinner fundraiser was a huge success, raising over $250 as part of the group’s annual donation to AIDS Walk Kansas City. The event was at Daddy’s Backdoor Bar with Las Vegas comedian and singer Kris Francis providing the featured entertainment. This was the group’s first-ever dinner/show fundraiser to benefit AIDS Walk.
Tom Hampton, KCCB president, said the group was thankful for the support of the Kansas City community. Last year KCCB donated $2,300 to local charities.
The Kansas City Cave Bears are a nonprofit organization serving the bear community in the metropolitan and surrounding areas. The organization was founded in 1994 to promote friendship and camaraderie for area gay men identifying as bears, cubs and their admirers, as well as to provide an organized group to help raise money for charitable purposes.
LGCCKC Plans May Picnic
Chuck Brackett, event director for the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City reports that the group planned its kickoff meeting for Jan. 27. The community picnic is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 17. We will report more on their plans in future issues of Camp. To get involved in planning the community picnic or help the LGCCKC in other ways, contact Brackett at 816-914-8710 or email@example.com.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
The Kansas City chapter of Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG-KC) will hold their monthly meeting at 3 p.m, Feb. 8 at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Rd., Room 309, Prairie Village, Kan. The location is handicapped-accessible. The meeting will start with introductions, followed by a small group for visitors and a program. The rest of this year’s meeting dates are: March 8, April 19, May 10, June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13.
For more information, visit pflagkc.org or email Randy Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org.