Camping Out in Kansas City - April 13, 2007

Remember my last column when I lamented that I probably would not have enough to say to write every two weeks? Well, you can forget that!
Starting things off with a bang the weekend of March 24 and 25 was the Heartland Men’s Chorus spring concert Global Destinations at the Folly Theater. Joseph Nadeau and his boys really showcased their talents to the fullest in this musical romp around the world. From the opening number, “Past Life Melodies” -- in which only sounds were utilized, not words -- to the final notes of “Turn the World Around,” this was an outstanding effort by a group of talented gay men who have accomplished what many would have called impossible 20 years ago. I can’t wait for the next offering, The Pink Carpet, narrated by actor Leslie Jordan, which will portray gays and lesbians in Hollywood through the ages. Mark your calendars, girls, for June 9-10; this concert promises to bring the house down.
After that dynamite concert, I was privileged to have snagged an invitation to a trendy benefit for the now-defunct Late Night Theater held in honor of DeDe DeVille’s combination birthday and bar mitzvah held at Ron Megee’s fashionable loft apartment. What a fun party, complete with typical Late Night Theater gender bending and all taking place in Ron and John’s fabulous 5,000-square-foot loft with décor taken straight from the scenery and props at Late Night. There were many local celebrities, including our very own Melinda R., her lovely husband Kirk and Lilly White. The guest of honor looked fabulous as usual as she opened one of the many presents she received throughout the night (see photo). Ron has installed a complete stage with lighting and sound, and I can tell you Ron’s apartment was really rocking that night, with a crowd I would estimate at well over 200 people. I hope a lot of money was raised to help pay off the accrued debt from a loan for the improvements to the theater. John and Ron, you guys really know how to throw a party! Please include me on your guest list next time.
On March 30 yet another AIDS Walk benefit was held in the Crossroads District, hosted by Shawn M. and her company. Shawn is an integral part of the steering committee and really knows how to throw a party, complete with great food, drink and entertainment all in another wonderful loft environment. Michael L., chairman for AIDS Walk, joked with me that I must be tired of the AIDS Walk benefits that seem to crop up hourly, but I can say that every one of them that I have attended has been thoroughly entertaining and well planned and executed.
On April 1, a celebration of life of Monty Lemrick was held at Bootleggers, which is on the second floor of Missie B’s. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to one of the LGBT community’s most colorful characters, but a fitting tribute was given to Monty by all his friends from the old Dixie Belle Saloon, including one from Johnny Parks that brought tears to everyone’s eyes, including yours truly. Congratulations to Missy Koonce for putting everything together and to all who participated. Monty, you will be missed.
Finally, to conclude the festivities, the MAKIT Bowling Tournament was held over Easter weekend, complete with costumes and Easter bonnets. The tournament crew led by Julie R, did a fantastic job of coordinating over 135 bowlers who came from as far away as Milwaukee to help celebrate the 25th year of MAKIT. Please see my comments in the “Changes Around Town” segment for more on the bowling tournament.
Talk about change. This last two weeks has seen more rumor and change than the last 12 months! First, and this is not a rumor, ownership of the Fox Bar on the Kansas side will change hands on May 1 with on-again, off-again owner Butch G. turning over the keys to Bernardo and his partner, Tim. Bernardo apparently will be the front man for what promises to be some dramatic changes for the bar. They will be keeping Marcia as bar manager, and that would be a good thing, folks, and promise to update the bar with many innovations ahead. My hat goes off to Butch, who took that first step over 20 years ago to venture where no queen had gone before, Johnson County. We wish
him well and also the new bar owners.
It seems our local brew masters, John K. and John P. have hired former bar manager, George, fresh off a rather dramatic and abrupt departure from Outa Bounds Sports Bar last week. George will make a fine addition to the Miller Lite distributorship, which also recently merged with the Coors distributorship and moved to Overland Park to become Central States Beverage Company. We support anything that John K. and John P. are involved in, as they are two mainstays in the LGBT community. Best of luck with this new venture.
Sadly, Easter weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the MAKIT Bowling Tournament in Kansas City and also the last. The MAKIT board of directors voted to disband and not continue another year. Julie R, president of the tournament, made the announcement at the awards ceremonies Easter Saturday night. For those of us who remember the first tournament to be held at Mission Bowl with a banquet upstairs of the old Arabian Knights Bar, this marks the passing of an event that shall forever remain a part of LGBT history in Kansas City. MAKIT represented one of the first attempts at organized sports activities for LGBT men and women. Bowling began with Pete’s League in the early ’80s with 48 bowlers and now we have four operational leagues with more than 1,000 bowlers each season. My hat goes off to Julie R. and her board members who over the years have done a marvelous job with not only MAKIT but also bringing the International Gay Bowling Organization Tournament to Kansas City last year. They deserve a break and apparently no one has stepped up to fill their shoes, so we say goodbye to 25 years of great bowling competition and a lot of fun.
Well, that is all from here. I hope I will see many of my readers at the AIDS Walk in Theis Park on April 28. The pre-walk festivities are scheduled to start at 9 a.m., so drink plenty of coffee or other stimulants and let’s hope the weather cooperates. I have worn out my electric blanket from taking it on and off the bed every other day. Why, that blanket has seen more action in my bed than I have in the last three weeks, that is for sure! Please refer to the Gay Pride announcement in this edition to see who the national acts will be this year. I think you will be pleasantly surprised as I was in what John K. and his Pride committee has in store for the LGBT community for June 1, 2 and 3. Thanks for tuning in, and I will see you all at AIDS Walk ’07.

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