Camping Out in Kansas City

Since my May 18 column, I have been a busy beaver (pardon the expression)! May 17 marked the No Place Like Home luncheon at the Crown Center Hotel ballroom, a fund raiser for Save Inc., which helps find affordable housing for people with HIV/AIDS. The ballroom was filled with invited guests of the many hosts. My hosts, Larry R and Lewis G, graciously welcomed us to dine on a surprisingly good banquet lunch (banquet food is usually not my favorite), followed by a welcome address by Mark Anderson, director of Save Inc. Two Save Inc. residents gave a heart-rending talk on how their lives have been turned around by the organization, and a poignant video followed that outlined the programs and projects under the umbrella of Save. My thanks to my gracious hosts for inviting me and the speakers for enlightening me at an educational and worthwhile fund raiser. Also that evening, I was invited to a fashionable cocktail party given by the “Gay Travelers,” Donald Pile and Ray Williams, at the Writers Place, just off Valentine Road.
The next day, May 18, found me, my sister, her partner and my best friend Evie attending a concert given by the one and only Marilyn Maye, hosted by bar Natasha. Believe me, this Kansas City native can still belt out a song with the best of them. Being a devoted fan of Marilyn’s who remembers her beginning performances at the old Colony Steakhouse in the Ambassador Hotel, it was wonderful to experience her performance in a room that seemed to be “made for Maye.” JD and Missy, I hope you are listening and will invite Marilyn back again and again! The next evening it was time to dust off that white wine bottle I had been saving since the last round of Christmas open houses, and head on over to Marbelle and David’s home for their annual wine party. As usual, I ate way too much food and indulged in too much wine tasting, followed by a trek down the street to Missie B’s for a nightcap.
The following weekend, Memorial Day weekend, saw me, my boyfriend Jason, my sister Andy and her partner Helen and best friend Evie flying to Denver for the International Gay Bowling Tournament. The weather was perfect, the hotel we stayed at was grand, the food we ate was superb, but the bowling … I need to remember that my puny average of 141 pins per game will not win me any trophies, just a sore back! Two bowlers scored perfect 300 games, and one poor individual bowled a 299! We managed a side trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and the views were spectacular, with snow still in abundance. There was a beautiful lake where we had a bite to eat on the way to Black Hawk, Colo., to finish the trip with some gambling. This was another mistake for me and Jason as we lost, but my sister-in-law, Helen, managed to win $4,500 -- on a penny machine, no less! Needless to say, we made her pay for the drinks that evening. Speaking of that evening, we attended a wonderful drag show put on by the Demented Divas. These girls glittered up their mustaches and goatees and entertained us for over two hours. If you are ever in Denver on a Tuesday night, stop at the Clock Tower on 16th Street and catch their act. You won’t be disappointed.
The weekend of June 1-3 saw all of us celebrating our gay pride with Street Blast on Friday night and then the festival on Saturday and Sunday. In the words of the event’s chairperson, Flo, it was “flawless, my dear, simply flawless.” One small wrinkle occurred at Street Blast when the sky opened up and things got rather wet. Everyone scattered to find shelter until Flo took to the stage and had the DJ play Martha Wash’s “It’s Raining Men.” The crowd went wild, and everyone was dancing in the rain and having a gay old time. Leave it to Flo to find a way to make a rainy situation into a party. The festival on Saturday and Sunday went off without a hitch. The weather was almost perfect, even the families who brought their children had a great time. I hope that you were able to make it out to the Liberty Memorial to experience this event for yourselves, because there is nothing during the year that can top it. Here is a picture of those delicious boys called Nemesis, who entertained us not only with their voices, but also their gorgeous good looks (see photo). I cannot give enough praise to John Koop and his Pride committee for providing what has to be the best Pride ever for Kansas City. Entertainment the likes of Chaka Khan and Martha Wash headlined the Saturday and Sunday night lineup, but all the entertainment was wonderful, including the Heartland Men’s Chorus and the Freedom Band. The Rev. Kurt Kriger even performed a commitment ceremony for over 40 couples on Sunday. I was impressed with the way the quilt was displayed in a setting surrounded by lush evergreens and artwork. It really makes one realize that we have come a long way from the Stonewall riots.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16, for the Good Samaritan Project fund raiser, A Gourmet Dinner Under the Tuscan Moon to be held at the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ in Brookside. You can order tickets at The KC Waves will hold their second annual swimsuit fashion show at bar Natasha on Friday, June 22, and if this year’s event is anything like last year’s, you all are in for some serious eye candy. Also on tap for this month is a fund raiser for the KC Pride Democratic Club on June 29 at Side Kicks Saloon. On July 21, the first-ever Zoey Awards presentation and show will be held at the Athenaeum Club on Linwood Boulevard. This event will be a fund raiser for the Missouri Gay Rodeo Association, so let’s all support Zoe Kelly, the reigning Miss MGRA. Tickets are $20 at Mama’s Restaurant on 39th Street, or you can call 816-863-4974 to order.

Again, I cannot say enough about the fabulous weekend of Gay Pride this year. What a perfect opportunity to see old friends, meet new friends and do a little networking. Camp Newspaper is privileged to be a major sponsor of this event and also the Pride Guide. In this capacity, we handed out more than 5,000 copies of Camp over the weekend, in addition to the 5,000 distributed in advance of Pride. Attendance was estimated at over 50,000 people for the three days, breaking all attendance records for this event. All of the Pride weekend activities were absolutely free. I understand that Chaka Khan cost more than $100,000 to bring in for a half-hour stint on Saturday night. So please support your Pride committee’s efforts to raise money for next year’s event by attending the fund raisers throughout the year. Till next time…

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