The board of directors for LIKEME Lighthouse-KC, 3911 Main St., has announced a new identity and changes in its leadership. The organization is celebrating five years as the LGBTQ+ community center in midtown Kansas City, Mo.
Originally formed by Kansas City-born country music star Chely Wright, LIKEME Lighthouse opened in 2012 to provide a safe and welcoming place for the area LGBTQ+ community and their friends, family and allies.
In a May 15 news release, LIKEME Lighthouse officials wrote that the organization “formed to fill a void after the original Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City, located at 207 Westport Rd., closed in 2008.”
“In renaming our community center and becoming independent from the nationally focused LIKEME organization, we have an opportunity to expand on Chely Wright’s original vision for our organization, while being able to now focus more on inclusion and the challenges facing Kansas City’s diverse LGBTQ+ community,” said Darin Challacombe, board president. “Our new name underscores our commitment to remaining local, to keeping all funding within the Kansas City area, and to mentoring and fostering leadership even more for the people we serve.”
A team of 15 volunteers, board members, and Kansas City community voices from outside the board chose the new name – the Kansas City Center for Inclusion – and the domain name inclusivekc.org.
The name became official May 15, as center volunteers begin to redecorate the building with updates to signage. The center will begin converting web and email domain names to redirect to the new name, engaging with new advertising efforts and conducting other rebranding activities.
“Chely Wright and the national LIKEME organization got us off to a great start and helped all of us make positive, meaningful impacts to hundreds of people who engaged with us in the last five years. We are forever grateful for that, and it allows us to bring her vision to life,” said Lora Ceperley, board member.
Challacombe said, “We are committed to Kansas City and maintaining a center for all of the Rainbow Community. We are ready to fly from the nest now to make the organization even more attuned to everyone we serve.”
The center reports some significant facts about the services it has provided to the Kansas City LGBT community since 2012:
● In 2016, LIKEME Lighthouse-KC served more than 2,500 walk-ins, including more than 2,000 individuals at Pride KC 2016 and over 100 youth at the 2016 Equality Teen Prom.
● The center is operated almost entirely by volunteers, with an annual operating budget of less than $20,000.
● Annually, it has sponsored the Equality Teen Prom and National Coming Out Day and has participated in area events such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, AIDS Walk Kansas City, and PrideFest Kansas City.
● The center has more than 1,500 LGBTQIA books in its lending library.
A group of individuals and organizations in Kansas City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community will participate in the #HonorThemWithAction Campaign, a nationwide June 12 commemoration of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida.
At the national website, www.HonorThemWithAction.org, the organizers of the national memorials describe the horror of that day: “On June 12, 2016, our community was rocked by the massacre that claimed the lives of 49 people. The horror unfolded in the middle of Pride month on Latin night at Pulse Nightclub, a popular gathering place for young LGBTQ people of color.”
Miguel Morales, Kansas City-based Latino activist, writer and journalist, said: “If anything is to come from this horrible tragedy, it’s that this is the opportunity to have these conversations with other members of the LGBTQ community. It’s not enough to mourn the 49 lives lost in Orlando. Make the effort to be part of the conversations LGBTQ people of color are having by listening to us. Join our efforts. We were part of social movements long before we prompted the Stonewall riots. We can help you, and you can help us.”
Details of the Kansas City event on June 12 were being worked out at press time. For more information about the event, please sign up at: https://goo.gl/forms/2yuZSYLnUy0apipE3
Spirit of Hope MCC, one of Kansas City’s largest welcoming congregations for LGBTQ people, has announced that its congregation has chosen the Rev. Jeremy Alexander to be senior pastor after a search of several months.
Church officials report that Alexander’s most recent position was as interim pastor for Cornerstone MCC in Mobile, Alabama. He brings extensive experience in pastoral ministry and service as a chaplain in medical center and hospice facilities. Alexander holds a master of divinity degree from Portland Seminary in Oregon and is now completing his master’s degree in organizational leadership with Colorado State University.
“Together, Pastor Alexander and the congregation will continue to expand the church’s mission to celebrate God’s love with inclusion, acceptance, diversity and integrity while engaging the community and beyond,” a statement said.
For more information about Spirit of Hope MCC, visit www.spiritofhopemcc.org.
Johnson County resident Matthew Calcara has announced his run for the 30th District seat in the Kansas House that is now held by Randy Powell, a Republican. Calcara, a Democrat, would be the first openly gay member of the Kansas Legislature. He has also announced on the Facebook group “LGBT in KC” that he will be working with the Kansas-based Voter Registration Project and Missouri-based PROMO to staff a voter-registration table for two days of Kansas City PrideFest at Berkley Riverfront Park – June 3 and 4. He wrote that they welcome volunteers to help staff the table. https://www.facebook.com/events/1893229077596428.
Mamma Mia, June 23-25.
Jersey Boys, June 27-July 2., An American in Paris, July 11-16
Something Rotten, July 25-30, The Bodyguard: The Musical, Aug. 8-13, Motown: The Musical, Aug. 22-27
Fun Home, May 30-June 4, Kauffman Center.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical, May 31-June 25. (Details below.)
‘Dykes of Hazzard’
Late Night Theatre’s reprise of last year’s Dykes of Hazzard, a parody of the classic TV show with an all-female cast, has been playing to packed houses. Here’s how they describe it: “The Dyke Girls are in trouble! Someone has stolen the General Roberta Lee, and they need to make a moonshine run! Will the Butch Boss Hog destroy their plans? Will there be a car chase? Will Daisy Duke sing in cut-off shorts? You just need to tune in to our show to find out!”
The returning cast includes: Stasha Case as BoAnn Dyke, Katie Gilchrist as Luke Dyke, Ashley Personett as Daisy Dyke, Shannon Michalski as the Evil Boss Hogg, Jessica Dressler as Rita P. Coltrane, and Annie Cherry as the lovable Aunt Jessie.
Performances are at Missie B’s Stage, 805 W. 39th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: http://www.latenighttheatre.com. Must be 21 or over to attend.
Through June 25
‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical’
Based on the cult film, Priscilla is the heartwarming adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love, family and the best of drag. The show features Ron Megee as Bernadette, with dance-floor favorites from Cyndi Lauper, Donna Summer and more.
The musical is directed by Cynthia Levin and Missy Koonce, with Francisco Javier Villegas as Tick/Mitzi; Dashawn Young as Adam/Felicia; Marc Liby as Bob; Damron Russel Armstrong as Miss Understanding/Jimmy; Colleen Grate, Shon Ruffin and Lexi Poindexter as the Divas; Vanessa Severo as Cynthia; Laura Jacobs as Marion; Thomas Delgado, Vincent Wagner and Molliann McCulley as the Ensemble; and Aiden DeLaHunt-Villegas as Benji.
Performances will be on the Unicorn Theatre’s Levin Stage, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Previews are May 31-June 2. Opening night is June 3. Featured Friday pre-show events are scheduled for June 9 and 16. Talk-back performances, where patrons are encouraged to stay after the show and discuss the play with the actors and director, are scheduled for June 6, 11 and 18.
For tickets, call 816-531-7529 ext. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person at the box office, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Discounts are available for seniors (65+), students, and patrons under age 30.
Kansas City PrideFest
The city’s biggest LGBTQIA festival of the year is just days away. Organizers have lined up activities for young and old alike, vendor booths, children’s outdoor activities and great entertainment at Richard Berkley Riverfront Park, Kansas City, Mo. Entertainers will include Frenchie Davis, Betty Who, David Hernandez, Well Strung, DJ Citizen Jane, Material Girl, and more.
Festival hours will be 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, June 2; noon to midnight Saturday, June 3; and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 4. Tickets each day are $10; from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday will be free admission. Children 12 and under are free. For tickets, visit https://goo.gl/9v0iD9. Parking is available on site for $5, or you can park in River Market and walk across the bridge. Public transportation is available through RideKC buses or the Kansas City Streetcar to River Market. For more information, including what is allowed inside the grounds, pet policies and water bottles/cooler policy, visit www.gaypridekc.org.
June 10 & 11
Heartland Men’s Chorus ‘Show Tune Showdown’
When Broadway collides with the Heartland Men’s Chorus, the result is “part game show and part sing-along!” the HMC says. Audience members can join in on some of their favorite Broadway hits, then hop onstage and show off their knowledge of musical theater trivia.
The history of Broadway wouldn’t be complete without the music of Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Schwartz, and Kansas City native John Kander, to name just a few. And just when you think we can’t come up with another tune to sing, we’ll ramp up the “Showdown,” our game show portion of the evening, where audience members get to show off their own musical theater chops.
Game show host Brian Ellison will challenge participating audience members on their knowledge of musical theater trivia and history. Contestants will play iconic TV show games with lifeline assistance from the Chorus during musical interludes.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. June 10 and at 4 p.m. June 11 at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets available at www.hmckc.org.
Heartland Men’s Chorus annual Garden Party
The annual Garden Party to benefit Heartland Men’s Chorus will be from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Thundering Oaks, the gracious Independence estate of Peter Sunderman and Curt Thomas. Enjoy delicious beverages and hors d’oeuvres while socializing with HMC supporters and members.
HMCKC says that “You can leave the driving to us” and reserve a seat on a chartered motor coach to transport you from Kauffman Gardens, 4800 Rockhill Rd., to Thundering Oaks in Independence. Garden Party Patrons will depart at 2:30 p.m. to arrive in time for the private reception. Garden Party Guests will depart at 4 p.m. and may purchase a round-trip ticket in advance for $25 per person. The motor coach will leave the party at 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. Call 816-931-3338 to reserve seats on the coach.
Tickets to the party are available at http://hmckc.org/garden-party.
Hope Care Center is hosting its inaugural event, “The Queen’s Garden Party,” from 1 to 6 p.m. on the center’s beautiful grounds. They say this party will be “an afternoon playing croquet and other lawn games, enjoying food trucks and signature drinks … all to the soundtrack of local bands and talents hosted by Dirty Dorothy. This is a family-friendly occasion with an epic children’s area.”
Hope Care Center is a skilled nursing facility providing care exclusively to HIV-positive residents who are 18 or older. They report that: “Our facility doesn’t treat HIV and AIDS like a terminal disease. Our trained staff of medical professionals has years of experience treating this illness. At Hope, we create an environment that is more like home than an institution. Hope Care Center is unique – there are only a few centers in the United States that provide the same service we offer. … In just over 20 years, we’ve served more than 350 residents, most of whom have returned to independent living.” For information, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-queens-garden-party-tickets-33292024341
OUT HERE NOW: The 2017 Kansas City LGBT Film Festival
The Midwest’s most fabulous film festival returns to Westport for eight days of LGBT film premieres and special screenings. More than 40 new films from around the world will be presented at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport. Watch previews, get tickets and more at www.OutHereNow.com.
Mark your calendars for more June Pride Month events!
June 8-12: Pridefloat camping trip. Reserve your spot at www.pridefloat.org.
June 11: National Pride March-Kansas City. 1-2 p.m. On the sidewalks in front of Ilus Davis Park and City Hall. https://www.facebook.com/events/1975830125977838.
June 16-17: St. Joe Pride. Coleman Hawkins Park, St. Joseph, Mo. https://www.facebook.com/MEEC16