Gateway Icons Class of 2011
Milk & Honey Harvey Milkâ€™s San Francisco
ICONIC DESIGN Around the House
This issue is dedicated to Complimentary Copy
PROUDLY CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF SERVICE TO OUR COMUNITY April, 2011
Dear Friends, Welcome to the ICON issue. As you’ve probably noticed, our publisher Darin “DSly” Slyman has taken a much needed issue off after carefully overseeing the complete re-design and re-branding of Vital VOICE since September 2009. Indeed—The Head Squirrel needed a break, and we were honored to step in. We are happy to be partnering with Cinema St. Louis and publishing the official guide to QFest, the 4th Annual LGBT Film Festival, April 14-17. Check out the marquee of movie titles that await you. And don’t miss the opening night event at the Hi-Pointe Theatre on Thursday, April 14th! Speaking of parties, we’re proud to be partnering with two important signature events this month. A Tasteful Affair 23: Dine Another Day is Food Outreach’s annual fundraiser at Chase Park Plaza on Sunday, April 10th. This year’s theme is spies and espionage (shhh!). And of course, Dining Out For Life will take place on Thursday, April 28th. Make your reservations now, and be a part of the largest fundraiser of the year for Saint Louis Effort for AIDS and HIV/AIDS organizations worldwide. This issue is packed with oodles of interesting and entertaining items. We are pleased to introduce our second annual Gateway ICONS series celebrating our community’s movers and shakers. Also check out Chris Andoe’s great piece on Harvey Milk and Steve Brawley’s tribute to the equally iconic Tennessee Williams. And finally, one of our favorite style section projects to date—our tribute to iconic characters and moments throughout history! Look closely—we’re sure you’ll recognize some of your community favorites. Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Editor Kristen Goodman – Executive Director of Business & Marketing, aka “CLO” (Chief Lesbian Officer)
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Volume 12, Issue 4
Index Darin Slyman Publisher/Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Colin Murphy Senior Writer/Web Editor email@example.com Jeff Kapfer Art Director JeffKapfer@gmail.com Kristen Goodman Director of Business & Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org Raj Tailor Writer rajeevTailor@gmail.com Joshua Barton Writer email@example.com
On Cover: Krista Versace. Miss Gay Missouri 1997
7 Gateway Icons 13 Iconic Nightlife: Herbiesâ€™ 17 Land of Milk & Honey 20 DOFL 23 Happy Birthday Tennessee 25 Miss Gay MO, America 27 Iconic Design 31 Iconography 38 A Tasteful Affair 40 Scene & Styling 42 Non-profit of the Month
Colin Lovett Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Andoe Writer email@example.com Dieta Pepsi On Air Hostess firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT Vital VOICE Magazine 4579 Laclede Avenue #268 Saint Louis, MO 63108 VitalVOICEmag@gmail.com 314.256.1196
ONLINE thevitalvoice.com facebook.com/TheVitalVOICE twitter.com/VitalVOICEmag youtube.com/TheVitalVISION
Doug Ruble Photography www.DouglasRublePhoto.com Lisa Mandel Photography www.LisaMandelPhotography.com Scott Lokitz Photography www.ScottLokitz.com Jimmy Lesch Graphic Design email@example.com Steven Brawley Writing & Photography www.SteveBrawley.com Alishia Alexander Writing firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVISORY BOARD William A. Donius Thom Halter Colin Murphy Jay Perez Pam Schneider Kellie Trivers Sharon Tucci
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Written by Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Editor Photography by Lisa Mandel
St. Louis enjoys a dedicated cadre of LGBT and allied individuals who enrich and empower our community each day. Indeed—from accomplished politicians to everyday advocates—we are the better for their efforts. To that end Vital VOICE is proud to celebrate this year’s class of Gateway ICONS:
In 1994 the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund announced with great fanfare that their recommended candidate, Tim Van Zandt had become Missouri’s first openly gay elected official. The Kansas City resident had won the 38th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives and would serve with distinction until term limited out in 2002. Since then three more out and proud legislators have been elected to the Missouri General Assembly where the trio presently comprises the LGBT Caucus in Jefferson City: Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D-59St. Louis) was elected in 2004 and is the Dean of the Caucus; Rep. Mike Colona (D-67-St. Louis) was elected in 2008 and serves as House Minority Whip; and Sen. Jolie Justus (D-10-Kansas City) was elected in 2006 and is the first openly LGBT state senator.
84 openly LGBT legislators are presently serving in state capitols across the country in 2011. Whether it’s fulfilling constituent service or championing pro-equality legislation, the Missouri LGBT Caucus makes a difference simply by showing up to work every day. “It is so easy for someone to make broad generalizations and stereotypes about our community when you don’t know someone who is LGBT,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “We saw that back in 2004 when the marriage ban made its way through the legislature and there were no out elected officials. Working side by side and across the aisle in Jefferson City, these three legislators have repeatedly broken down stereotypes and put a strong, positive face to our community that is not as readily demonized.” theVitalVOICE.com | 7
Pamela Merritt “Shall we?”
With those two little words Pamela Merritt (Shark Fu) invites readers to devour the latest helping of “bitchitude” on subjects ranging from LGBT equality and feminism to race. Merritt’s irreverent and insightful rants as the “Angry Black Bitch” have been entertaining and enlightening readers for the past six years. In 2008 the online sensation was selected by the Guardian UK as one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs. A prolific and prophetic scribe, Merritt is a staff writer for RH Reality Check, a contributor to the Shakespeare’s Sister blog, a contributor to Feministing.com, and a featured contributor on National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. Her work has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Salon.com, and featured in Salon.com’s Broadsheet. Merritt is an active mainstay in the St. Louis LGBT and progressive community having served as the PAC Chair for PROMO. She has been active with Black PRIDE, is a mentor through Big Sisters and teaches various classes at several shelters in St. Louis. Merritt is a former Vital VOICE staffer and since 2008 has served as the Statewide E-Organizer with Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri.
Robyn Carolyn Montague Robyn Carolyn Montague has worn many hats (and still does). A retired Aerospace Engineer, she spent 30-year’s at McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing charged with myriad duties ranging from electronic and software design to the test of high performance tactical aircraft. While still employed, Robyn came out in support of the St Louis LGBT Community as a volunteer for Pride St Louis in 2002, eventually becoming Director of Operations and finally Vice-President in 2006. All of this was “a previous life” for in late 2006 she took full, early retirement from Boeing and soon after resigned from her position with Pride St Louis to begin a sabbatical. It was at this time she began her transition and her advocacy for the transgender community was born. An unapologetic trans activist, Robyn also dedicates her time advocating for the greater LGBT community as seen by her near omnipresence within the community. She is the co-founder and Chairperson of TransHaven (founded in 2009)—an all-volunteer organization dedicated to ensuring Access, Safety and Respect in all aspects for the transgender community of Missouri and surrounding regional areas. Known for her singular wit and prolific Facebook posts, Robyn enjoys a following as a national trans* community advocate and activist. She is a former Board member of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis and a tireless advocate for Anti-Violence issues, the LGBT Homeless and shelters. Robyn is a frequent speaker at public schools, universities, organizations and LGBTrelated events—she is married to Carl Gustavsen and lives in St Charles County.
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Sherrill Wayland Sherrill Wayland embraced her lesbianism during the turbulent “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era of the Clinton administration. She lived a comfortable, quiet and closeted life—ever willing to let others fight for her rights—that is until November 3, 2004. For it was bearing witness to anti-equality Marriage Amendments passing by stunning margins in 13- states that proved the catalyst in awakening one of St. Louis’ most respected LGBT advocates. The MSW with 12-years in the fields of disability advocacy and education quickly became involved in queer equality issues, PROMO and was a founding member and secretary of the Gateway Stonewall Democrats. (The latter led to her desire to use her professional advocacy skills within the LGBT community.) It was while earning her Masters in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis that Sherrill first researched LGBT aging issues and started the St. Louis LGBT Aging Task Force. Upon graduation, she became the Founder and Executive Director of SAGE Metro St. Louis (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and coauthored the article, “Older Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adults: Tools for AgeCompetent and Gay Affirmative Practice” which was published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Service. Sherrill resides in St. Louis with her partner of 16-years, Kim Kopff.
10 | April, 2011
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Lewis Reed Segueing from his successful career in the private sector to a life of public service, Lewis Reed was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and then President of the legislative body on April 3, 2007. He is the first African American in St. Louis history elected to this position. Reed has championed many causes including founding Bike St. Louis and the rebirth of Washington Avenue. He is responsible for passing legislation addressing environmental sustainability, crime prevention in youth and neighborhood development. He is also a tireless champion of LGBT equality and an early advocate of same sex marriage and has spoken publicly of his position many times. “The City of St. Louis is fortunate to have a very strong and active LGBT community,” he explains. “Without such a community, it is unlikely that many areas of our City would have seen the redevelopment and investment that has lead to our current vibrancy.” Reed has received many awards including: St. Louis Magazine, Cool 13; Gateway Classic, Citizen of the Year 2008; Alive Magazine, Men of Style 2009; St. Louis Argus, 2007 Distinguished Citizen; St. Louis Port Council, Able Helmsman Award; 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Conference, Man of the Year; Cardinal Glennon Hospital, Champion for Children; St. Louis Business Journal, 2009 Inclusive Leadership and many others. “My core belief and something that makes our country great is the role that equality plays for all in the fabric of our nation,” Reed concluded. “Equality for all does not and never should exclude members of the of LGBT community. Our City, and furthermore our nation, only thrives through a diverse community that embraces and celebrates differences. We must tear down old walls and mindsets and be vocal and active in support of our LGBT brothers and sisters.” v
12 | April, 2011
1 Out of 10 Ain’t Bad!
HERBIES’ Written by Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Editor Photography by Adalaide Balaban
Just mention the name Herbies’ to LGBTers of certain age and eyes light up, smiles broaden and the stories start to flow like Bud Light at Beer Bust. Indeed, the iconic nightclub was St. Louis’ own Studio 54 where the beautiful people boogied late into the night on the trademark dance floor suspended from the ceiling. Herbies’ was an award winning restaurant from 4:30 til 9 p.m. and destination-disco from 9 til 1:30 a.m. and owned by the colorful Herb Balaban (of Balabans Restaurant fame) and managed by his wife, the irrepressible and equally lovely, Adalaide. The latter held court at the door complete with large, street-level windows. The glass and chrome hot spot located at the corner of Euclid and Maryland was the queer haunt of choice throughout the 1970s and early 1980s and ground zero for the Central West End Halloween celebration. The two story complex was the prettiest, the smartest and the most up-to-date facility in St. Louis and stood in marked contrast to the majority of LGBT bars. In short—people wanted to be seen there. Now Adalaide credits her life-long friend and former Balaban’s employee, John Sullivan with creating the magic that was Herbies’—the business venture had struggled at first. The city didn’t understand it, she recalled. They thought it was going to be a Balabans II and instead it was something so new and so different. It just never clicked with the straight community. Sullivan announced that he could turn things around in a hurry if he could hire new waiters and bartenders and put the word out in the community. I said honey you can hire anyone you want and let’s see what happens, Adalaide explained. So John went out and before you knew it I had a whole change of staff and the best looking young men working for me and in no time it was Rock n’ Roll. The only people who got what we were doing were from the gay community, she continued. They understood art deco and the music—they got what was coming up next.
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Herbies’ was the first bar I ever went to and I have never forgotten it. I often thought it was because I was young and just being around other gays was what was so special about it—but as I got older, I really came to realize Herbies’ was a special, one-of-a-kind place. Walking into Herbies’ truly was like walking into a fantasy where one had to keep reminding themselves that it was real. From the beautiful mirrored, painted murals and the deco light fixtures to the second story dance floor and the huge penguins holding serving napkins applied to the windows—magic—pure magic. I met my “Grace” as in “Will and Grace” at Herbies’. We still are friends some 35-years later. – Daniel Flier (Vanessa Vincent, MGM 1982) My “Will” is right—it was such a special place and so elegant compared to the other bars. It was a magical place where we danced away until they played “Last Dance” and then would go eat breakfast at Denny’s. Oh and Herbies’ was also a great restaurant. When we were underage we’d go there late for the dinner part—order a dessert and coffee—and stay until the disco part started. And then you had a great booth for home base. –Michelle Loftin - Design Consultant, Pierre Deux
benefiting Saturday, May 7, 2011
Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park 5620 Grand Drive. Saint Louis, MO. 63112
VIP Party 7–9:30pm | Main Event 9:30pm–1am
Buy your tickets online www.PROMOonline.org THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
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14 | April, 2011
I had the good fortune to live in a cheap, furnished apartment across the street from Herbies’. I had no car at the time and was working several part time jobs, so my favorite past time was to hang out in the vestibule of Herbies’ with Adalaide as she carded people. Herbies’ was a special place but part of the draw was undoubtedly Adelaide. She was so warm, funny and welcoming. It was one of the first places I had ever been to that drew such an eclectic crowd that mixed so well. But make no mistake about it—heterosexuals were in the minority, so they had to play nicely with the gays. How refreshing was that? –Joan Lipkin - Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company v
Tex t D par OFLS T tici pat L to ing res 30364 tau ran for a ts n ear list o f you !
18 th Annual
DINING OUT FOR LIFE® THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011 OZZIE SMITH, HONORARY CHAIR
MAKE A DIFFERENCE D I N E O U T. F I G H T A I D S .
On Thursday, April 28th over 130 restaurants will be taking part in DINING OUT FOR LIFE and will donate at least 25% of your bill to fund programs for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in our community.
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Have You Seen the NEW Website? TheVitalVoice.com Featuring: • Latest News • Lifestyle Stories • Hot Videos • Party Pics • Community Calendar of Events ...and MORE!!
16 | April, 2011
Tales From the Emporer
The Land of Milk & Honey: Harvey Milk’s San Francisco Written and Photograped by Chris Andoe Sitting in a quiet corner of a Tenderloin gay bar on a Wednesday night I began wrapping up a fascinating conversation with one of San Francisco’s most colorful and politically astute celebrities. We had been discussing Harvey Milk’s legacy. My final question was nothing more than an afterthought, but the answer left me stunned. “What’s your prediction for the future of Harvey Milk’s San Francisco,” I asked. “The Castro will no longer be a queer neighborhood in ten years. Probably less.” Last fall political activist and drag queen Anna Conda ran for San Francisco District 6 supervisor. While many dismissed her candidacy, she surprised everyone with a dynamic and substantive campaign. In a race filled with well funded challengers and a $300,000 spending limit she mobilized a large grassroots effort and finished strong while inspiring the left. She spent just $18,000. Anna Conda (Glendon Hyde) now serves as the outreach coordinator for the Harvey Milk Democratic Club. The organization had endorsed one of her opponents early on—but in the wake of the campaign—saw she was the perfect person to bring in new blood. We discussed Harvey Milk’s San Francisco vs. the San Francisco of today. When Harvey Milk arrived in the Castro, then known as Eureka Valley, in the early 1970’s the traditional Irish Catholics were moving to the suburbs and the big old Victorians were becoming white elephants, with many in disrepair. LGBT people were moving to the neighborhood from the pricier Polk Street, not unlike the migration of St. Louis’ LGBT community from the Central West End to Tower Grove in the 1990’s. But today the affordable Victorians of Milk’s era are long gone and Conda argues San Francisco is more expensive than Paris. “Because of rent control the average Parisian pays $800 a month” she began. Rents for a respectable one bedroom in San Francisco are roughly twice that figure. “It’s an unsustainable situation. Our police and firemen all live across the bay” said Conda.
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The affluent professionals and trust funders who are filling the condo towers are not only intolerant of the poor, Conda says, they’re increasingly intolerant of LGBT nightlife. The risqué Folsom Street Fair and Dore Alley Fair began when the Soma area was industrial and sparsely populated, but organizers are now forced to tame it down due to complaining condo owners. Gay bars have been banned from Polk Street, the original LGBT area. “They [Polk Street Neighborhood Assn.] say we’re all drug addicted hookers!” she said. And then there’s the Castro. Straight people continue to move in and push for the local mores to conform to their tastes. Many would argue the demands are not unreasonable. For instance they’re not fans of the public nudity. Conda’s position is that San Francisco has always been a place for personal expression and should remain so. Harvey, she says, would agree with her although many who throw his name around have taken the conservative side. “Harvey’s legacy has been bastardized by cash” she began. For instance Bevan Dufty, a gay man currently running for Mayor, initially endorsed “No sit No lie” laws designed to discourage homeless people from sitting on the sidewalk. Anna Conda pointed out that those same laws were originally used to target the LGBT community. Just as our community remade Eureka Valley into the Castro to suit us, those now moving to the Castro are tweaking it to fit their lifestyles, but an accelerating factor is how we ourselves are more mainstream. Most don’t feel the need to live in a “gay ghetto” and those who do are nearly as likely as their straight neighbors to complain about the naked man dancing in the street while we’re pushing our strollers (“Probably less”). The Castro Harvey knew where a working class guy can blow into town, open a camera shop and live upstairs has been gone for a while— but this recent St. Louis transplant doubts the Castro as we know it today is going away anytime soon. The Jews have Israel, the Mormons have Utah, and we have the Castro. It’s still our Mecca. St. Louis will celebrate the life and civil rights work of Harvey Milk with our second annual Walk for Harvey Milk. Last year 75 St. Louis walkers symbolically retraced the march Harvey took time and time again in San Francisco, from the Castro district to City Hall. Harvey marched for everyone: immigrants, the physically challenged, union labor, middle class, homeless, for human rights and his LGBTQ community. v 18 | April, 2011
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DOFL On Thursday, April 28th, 130+ restaurants will be taking part in Dining Out For Life, donating at least 25% of your bill to fund programs for those affected by HIV/AIDS in our community.
Vital VOICE caught up with Ted Allen, renowned foodie and DOFL national spokesperson, for his thoughts on this important event. Ted Allen: “I think DOFL is an extraordinary fundraiser for HIV/AIDS. We raise approximately $4 million in a single day with virtually no overhead thanks to the amazing generosity of the restaurant community. I have a deep personal interest in food, so this event is a good fit for me. There are miraculous therapies available these days for HIV/AIDS, but the reality is that it is still a devastating disease.” Vital VOICE: Can you talk a little bit about how you identify as both a foodie and as a gay public figure, and how each of those plays a part in your career? TA: “I’m very lucky to have had the chance to be in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It was a life changing experience. I don’t have to come out to anybody anymore- I can be myself. Queer Eye also allowed me to hold a career around food. I feel blessed to have a job that I truly love. I get to spend all day talking about food with brilliant chefs!” VV: How involved are you in the political and social issues that affect the LGBT community? TA: “I’m extremely political. I’ve never missed an election in my life. I think it’s hard to be awake as an LGBT person and not have an opinion about politics. But, I try to pick my battles. My job is to be an entertainer and teach people about food and wine. Basically, I simply try to be good at being gay and on TV, and I use that as my own simple, subtle activism.” Ted Allen is going back to the studio in the end of April to begin shooting 39 more episodes of the popular Food Network show Chopped. He’s working on his second cookbook, Kitchen Adventure - coming Spring 2012. To read the full interview with Ted Allen, visit thevitalvoice.com. For more information about Dining Out For Life, visit diningoutforlife.com/stlouis. v
20 | April, 2011
The fourth annual edition of QFest will be held April 14-17, 2011, at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. QFest uses the art of contemporary gay cinema to spotlight the diversity and inherent complexities of living an alternative lifestyle in todayâ€™s society. The event will feature an eclectic slate of contemporary LGBTQ-themed feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Individual tickets are $12 each or $10 for students and Cinema St. Louis Members with a valid and current photo ID. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/49376. More information available by phone at (314) 289-4152. PRESENTED BY
My name is Chris Clark and I am the artistic director of Cinema St. Louis. CSL is a St. Louis based non-profit arts organization that annually produces the St. Louis International Film Festival, the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, the CinemaSpoke Scriptwriting Competition and Workshop, and my personal favorite shiny toy – QFest. QFest is a film festival that uses the art of contemporary gay cinema to spotlight the diversity and inherent complexities of living an alternative lifestyle in today's society. This year’s event features an eclectic and dynamic slate of contemporary LGBTQ-themed feature films, documentaries, and shorts. The participating filmmakers represent some of the most powerful and talented voices in contemporary queer world cinema. Many of the standard themes of “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” are certainly represented by the films in QFest. There is also a strong and wonderfully vibrant undercurrent of people who are comfortable in their own skin and confident of their place in the world. We no longer have to hide or insinuate our real identities. We simply are. It is always fun, rewarding and exciting to put together this event. I personally love movies and feel so very fortunate to have the job that I have in the first place. The fact that it is literally my job to seek out and share films about our community to the St. Louis area is an awesome gift that I take very seriously. To me cinema and the movies are pure magic. I love to read and spend a lot of time with my head buried in a book, but there is something so magical and powerful about experiencing the flickering light of a film washing over you. I am so amazed and extremely grateful for the generous outpouring of support from the individuals and businesses in the local LGBTQ community. The nature of the non-profit arts beast is that you have to have your hands held out a lot asking people for money or help. While not the biggest fan of this part of the job, my efforts here were pretty smooth sailing. Sponsors and supporters of QFest 2011 represent a diverse range of individuals and businesses including people that I barely know all the way to one of my oldest friends in the world. These are some of the many dedicated and dynamic souls out there that work tirelessly – with their sweat and with their wallets - to make our world a better place to live out our lives. I adore this city and am mega-proud of how we take care of each other. This year my intention with QFest 2011 is to share stories, voices and characters (whether real or fictional) that will inspire, validate, and hopefully make you very seriously laugh your ass off. It is a distinction that I must make though that the wonderful comedies sprinkled like fairy dust throughout the festival will hopefully make the audience laugh with us as opposed to at us. There will be over a dozen guest filmmakers visiting our city to share their stories with us. Please help make them feel welcome – St. Louis style. Turn OFF your smart phones and your preconceptions. Turn ON your love for queer cinema. Come out and get your Q on with us!
JEFFREY T. FORT
The Sons of Tennessee Williams
Thursday, April 14 th at 7:30 PM Tim Wolff, U.S., 2010, 75 Min.
Sponsored by Dennis Gorg, Coffee Cartel, West End Tan, Premium Lounge Mardi Gras, drag balls, and politics – where else could “The Sons of Tennessee Williams” charts the evolution of the gay Mardi Gras krewe scene, illuminating the ways in which its emergence was a seminal factor in the cause of gay liberation in the South. Having come of age in New Orleans in the 1940s and ’50s, gay krewe members reminisce fondly about being inspired by the opulence of the Mardi Gras festivities. Director Tim Wolff will attend.
Thursday, April 14 th at 9:30 PM Sponsored by PROMO
Bedfellows (Pierre Stefanos, US, 2010, 15 min.) Deidre (Cyra Polizzi, US, 2010, 15 min.) GaySharkTank.com (Guy Shalem, US, 2010, 15 min.) Masala Mama (Michael Kam, Sinapore, 2010, 8 min.) Never Too Late (Wendy Weinberg, US, 2010, 8 min.) The Queen (Christina Choe, US, 2009, 8 min.) Tech Support (Erik Gernand, US, 2009, 9 min.) Who Is Candy Bernardino? (Erin Li, US, 2011, 9 min.) Yes Man (Grant Reed, US, 2010, 11 min.)
See full descriptions online at cinemastlouis.org/qfest. “Diedre” director/co-star Cyra Polizzi will attend.
Friday, April 15 th at 7:00 PM Erika Randall Beahm & Daniel Beahm, US, 2010, 100 Min. Sponsored by Pam Schneider, Coldwell Banker Gundaker The Camparis are a trio of strong-willed women: Sheri, Tasi and Toni. On one fateful night, Toni’s best friend takes her to his favorite gay club, where Toni meets and unexpectedly falls for Mona. The night is cut short, however, when Tasi reveals to Toni that she’s pregnant, which has unexpected repercussions for all of the film’s “leading ladies”.
Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance
Friday, April 15 th at 9:30 PM
Madsen Minax, US, 2010, 72 Min. Sponsored by Robyn Carolyn Montague and TransHaven A trans-fabulous rockumentary, “Riot Acts” provides a firsthand perspective on transgender and gender-variant musicians, capturing their lives with the same complexity that the performers display both on and off the stage. Transgender bands and musical artists explore not just subjects related to music, but also body presentation, gender performance, spectacle, media representation, and notions about drag.
Saturday, April 16 th at 2:00 PM Laura McFerrin, US, 2010, 92 Min. Sponsored by Human Rights Campaign A documentary on the National Equality March, “March On” explores the dreams of representative attendees, recounting the reasons they spent precious time and money to travel to Washington, DC, and showing how the experience changed their lives. Weaving together their stories, “Move On” features a quintet of courageous, inspiring subjects and pays tribute to the queer youth who led the historic march on Oct. 11, 2009. Director Laura McFerrin will attend. Shown with: "Just Like Anyone Else: St. Louis After Stonewall" (Dawn Balk and Jen Rich, USA, 2011, 12 min.) The Stonewall Uprising was an amazing event in New York that is usually credited with the start of Gay Liberation. But, we're not in New York; we're in Missouri -- a state well-known for its rose-colored, political conservatism. Co-director/producers Dawn Balk and Jen Rich will attend.
Saturday, April 16 th at 4:30 PM Brian Pelletier, US, 2010, 84 Min. Sponsored By Van Ella Studios Girlfriends Trixie and Sulie are two of Los Angele’s hottest burlesque dancers. Their lives take a dark turn, however, when the girls witness a mob hit after a show. Trixie tries to be a heroine but instead ends up shooting one of the mobsters, forcing the girls to flee to Sulie’s parents’ home in Texas where they hide their relationship, and start a burlesque show at a local truck stop – not the best way to stay incognito. Director Brian Pelletier will attend.
Different From Whom?
Saturday, April 16 th at 6:30 PM Umberto Carteni, Italy, 2009, 108 Min. Sponsored by Mark Utterback A charming and timely Italian comedy stars three of Italy’s top film stars in a story about a gay man whose life is complicated when he runs for office in a right-wing town. Unexpectedly, opposites being to attract and a hysterical love triangle develops, threatening both Piero’s career ambitions and his longterm relationship with Remo: A delightful farce about modern sexuality, desire and politics in and out of the bedroom. (Italian with English subtitles)
Saturday, April 16 th at 9:15 PM Casper Andreas, US, 2010, 99 Min. Sponsored By Just John Forty-year-old Violet is gay royalty – one of Manhattan’s oldest and most popular fruit flies. Violet is the racy, raunchy, and fun-loving belle of the ball, but when the party ends, she always winds up at home alone. While handsome co-worker Riley struggles with a baby-crazy boyfriend and her roommate Luke considers this new thing called monogamy, Violet strikes out on a hilarious quest to change the woman she is in order to have a man of her own and no longer be the single gal of a certain age.
Sunday, April 17 at 2:00 PM Cheryl Dunye, US, 2010, 66 Min.
Sponsored by Cindy Walker
With a sly nod to the acronym for “Older, wiser lesbians,” Dunye’s neonoir head-twister brings together two fortysomething lesbian couples who share a convoluted incident in their past, an unexpected predicament in their present lives, and a seriously uncertain future as couples. A shared experience keeps the couples perversely connected to one another, until the arrival of a mysterious stranger causes their long-kept, dark secret to surface.
Out for the Long Run
Sunday, April 17 th at 3:30 PM Scott Bloom, US, 2010, 77 Min.
Sponsored by Bob Pohrer and Donnie Engle Gay activist / film maker Scott Bloom takes his camera into the campus locker room to record the stories of a new generation of courageous young people as they battle the stereotypes and homophobia that are still part of daily like for so many. Bloom mixes the intimate and personal with the bigger picture, showing that things are beginning to change for the better, thanks to young people with fortitude and strength to speak out. Director Scott Bloom and producer Larry Diamond will attend.
Sunday, April 17 th at 6:00 PM Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy, 2010, 110 Min.
Sponsored by Bill Donius and Jay Perez An outrageous comedy about family, love, and liberty, set in Lecce, a beautiful Baroque town. Tommaso is the youngest song of a large, traditional Southern Italian family that has operated a pasta-making business since the 1960’s. Tommaso decided to tell his parents the truth and free himself forever from the pasta business, with the help of his gay Roman friends at a riotous dinner party.
Sunday, April 17 at 8:30 PM Doug Langway, US, 2010, 100 Min.
Sponsored by Show Me Bears and Hibearnation It’s summer in New York City, and the gay-borhood bears are coming out of hibernation. A group of friends is getting ready for the annual weeklong celebration of all things bears, but plans keep getting turned upsidedown. Closet cub Tyler fantasizes about finding a daddy bear to do more than cuddle, but as he dives into the bear community, he finds that it can be hard for a hairless guy to get some fuzzy loving. Co-star and St. Louis native Blake Evan Sherman (Melvin) will attend.
Arrive in style on the red carpet and mingle with fellow fans of film.
$20 Admission Includes… Complimentary Beer From Stella Artois Wine from West End Wines Delicious eats from Pi Pizzeria Soda & Popcorn courtesy of the Hi-Pointe Theatre • Live DJ • PLUS your ticket to see The Sons of Tennessee Williams at 7:30 • • • •
Advanced tickets available at
brought to you by SATURDAY, APRIL 16th Official Pre-Movie Lunch: 11:00 AM @ Mango, 1101 Lucas Ave. 314-621-9993 Mention "QFest" Saturday for $5 martinis and Happy THURSDAY, APRIL 14
Hour bar prices. Show your QFest ticket stub all
Red Carpet Opening Night Celebration:
weekend in the bar to receive Happy Hour specials!
5:30 PM @ Hi-Pointe Theatre
$20 admission includes beer from Stella Artois, wine from West End Wines, food from Pi Pizzeria, popcorn, soda, PLUS your ticket to the 7:30 film "The Sons of Tennessee Williams"
Official Saturday Night After Party: Just John, 4112 Manchester Ave. 314-371-1333 QFest Stubs get Happy Hour prices all night! SUNDAY, APRIL 17th
Official Opening Night After Party:
Official Pre-Movie Lunch:
9:30 PM @ Pi Pizzeria, 6144 Delmar Blvd.
SubZero Vodka Bar, 306 N. Euclid Ave.
Ask about QFest drink specials
314-367-1200 Mention "QFest" for $2 infused vodkas and $4 infused vodka martinis!
FRIDAY, APRIL 15th
Official Sunday Night After Party:
Official Friday Night After Party
JJ's Clubhouse, 3858 Market St.
Premium Lounge, 4199 Manchester Ave.
314-535-4100 Get up close and bear-sonal with BearCity co-star Blake Evan Sherman. $15 all you can drink special 11pm-close (domestic & rail), plus fur-riffic BearCity shots. theVitalVOICE.com | 21
314-652-8585 Ask about QFest “Stella” drink special.
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Wine Tasting & Art Show Thursday, May 12th 6 â€“ 9pm
Dave Mungenast Lexus of St. Louis 13700 Manchester Road. Manchester, MO 63011 You are invited to attend Winearoo, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's Celebaroo Gala that will feature samplings of fine wines, art exhibits, jewelery vendors, hors d'oeuvres, and live entertainment. Both art and wine will be available for purchase. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.celebaroo.org, 314.286.8157, or at the door the day of the event.
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22 | April, 2011
Tennessee Written by Steve Brawley Photography by Colin Murphy Tennessee Williams may have had great disdain for St. Louis, but the city would have a profound impact on the famed literary giant – including his name. . His childhood memories here probably justified his complicated relationship with our city - a troubled home life, a low-level clerical job at a shoe company, dropping out of Mizzou and Washington University and a stay at Barnes’ psych ward. But all of his St. Louis’ drama would eventually serve as a catalyst for Williams’ famed works throughout his life. Born in Mississippi a century ago on March 26, 1911, Thomas Lanier Williams would arrive in St. Louis with his family in 1918 when he was seven years old. St. Louis would be his home for more than 20 years. When asked why he moved to New Orleans he is reported to have said “St. Louis.” During his time here, St. Louis was one of the five largest cities in America. St. Louis would afford Williams exposure to a wealth of cultural attractions. He would attend the Muny Opera, see films at St. Louis’ many opulent movie theatres (including the Tivoli) and go to the Zoo and the Jewel Box in Forest Park with his sister. Williams would attend both Soldan and University City High Schools. During this time he formally adopted the name Tennessee, possibly the result of kidding by classmates for his heavy southern drawl. In 1927, at age 16, Williams won third prize (five dollars) for an essay published in Smart Set entitled, Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport? A year later, he published The Vengeance of Nitocris in Weird Tales. During the mid 1930’s, he was part of several local acting groups – the Webster Grove’s theatre guild and the St. Louis Mummers. Later in life, Williams would acknowledge that his formative years here, from age 7 to 26, profoundly shaped his writing. It’s where he came to know the female psyche through his Southern belle mother, Edwina, and beloved sister, Rose, and where he came to idealize and hate the male persona embodied in his bully father, Cornelius. St. Louis would indeed be the semi-autobiographical inspiration for his most acclaimed work. In 1944, Williams’ The Glass Menagerie had a successful run in Chicago and then opened on Broadway. This “memory play” contained several aspects of his family life in St. Louis. Amanda was modeled after his mother, but the other main characters were also people from his real life. The shy, handicapped Laura is William’s sister, Rose, and her loving, protective older brother is Williams himself. As one source says, “Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life.” Many consider this play to be his finest and it received the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award when it opened on Broadway.
St. Louis also must have inspired elements in Street Car Named Desire – given his exposure to St. Louis’ famous street car system and the lead character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is reported to be loosely based upon one of William’s co-worker’s at a St. Louis shoe factory. Williams was outed by Time Magazine in the 1950s. During his life, he battled depression and alcoholism. His long time partner Frank Merlo died in 1961 from lung cancer, devastating Williams leading to a stay in 1969 in Barnes Hospital’s psych ward. He discussed his homosexuality openly on television and in print in the 1970s. He released his autobiography Memoirs in 1975. Tennessee Williams was the victim of a gay-bashing in January 1979 in Key West, being beaten by five teenaged boys, but was not seriously injured. Some of his literary critics spoke ill of the “excesses” present in his work, but these were, for the most part, merely attacks on Williams’ sexuality. The circumstances surrounding Williams’ death in 1983 in New York City at the age of 71 continue to be debate – did he choke or die of drug and alcohol abuse, or a sad combination of all three. At his brother Dakin’s insistence, Williams’ body was interred in St. Louis’ Calvary Cemetery. Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as Hart Crane, a poet he considered to be one of his most significant influences. Williams’ would have some pretty impressive neighbor’s in St. Louis who would also have great international literary fame – T.S. Elliot (rumored to have been bi-sexual), William Burroughs (gay), Josephine Baker (bi-sexual) Sarah Teasdale and Kate Chopin (both of which have strong lesbian themes in their works). Today, St. Louis is home to many Williams’ landmarks: • Glass Menagerie Apartment, 4633 Westminster Place • Apartment, #5 South Taylor • Eugene Field Elementary School • Soldan and University City High Schools • Grave at Calvary Cemetery • Star on St. Louis’ Walk of Fame on Delmar v
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24 | April, 2011
Miss Gay Missouri, America
Written by Alishia Alexander The 38th Annual Miss Gay Missouri, America Pageant will get underway April 28-30 in honor of Miss Gay America 2011, Coti Collins. This year’s theme is “Burlesque”. The state’s oldest female impersonation pageant will be held at The SoCo Club in Columbia, MO. The host hotel is The Wingate by Wyndham Columbia. Preliminary competition for the 16 qualified contestants from throughout the state will take place April 28-29 with final night competition unfolding on April 30. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. each night. The winners of the Miss Gay Missouri pageant will receive up to $3,500 cash and other grand prizes. Joining Coti Collins will be a host of former Miss Gay Missouri title holders. The storied pageant is produced by the Miss Gay Missouri, America Alumni Association. For further info check out mgmpageantry.com.
Coti Collins, Miss Gay America 2011 theVitalVOICE.com | 25
26 | April, 2011
This section sponsored by
ICONIC DESIGN AROUND THE HOUSE Written by Raj Tailor Icons are everywhere. We have our local icons, our national icons. We even have a few icons around the house (or at least a few we’d LIKE to have around the house). Icons don’t just happen—there is always a story that transforms a person or an object into an image, a symbol that has universal meaning and appeal. Here’s a rundown of a few design objects you most likely know and love…their background stories just might surprise you!
In Your Closet Little Black Dress
Thank you Coco (as in Chanel) for creating this fashion icon. Lifetime Television recently captured this in their horrifically bad made-for-TV movie about the iconic designer (Shame on you Shirley for agreeing to do it). The little black dress simply referred to as “LBD” is significant not just in its versatility in an individual woman’s wardrobe, but also in its ability to adapt to changing cultural trends. Visionary for its time, it was introduced to the public way back in the 1920’s, offered as a type of uniform for women of various tastes. It endured through the Great Depression due to its purposeful nature. (Hollywood simply loved the way it looked good while other colors come off a little funky with the newfound Technicolor aspect of filmmaking.) The LBD effortlessly made the transition from the sexual conservatism of the 1950’s to the mod generation of the 1960’s and then to the fitness crazed inspired fashions of the 1980’s. Even the grunge style of the 1990’s adopted it, pairing it with combat boots or sandals. With slight alterations here and there, the LBD is an enduring fashion icon.
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On Your Man The Tuxedo Although we think of it as the ultimate formal attire for men, the Tuxedo was originally born from the advent of the modern day suit (originally called a “lounge suit”) and the smoking jacket. Both those garments came from a desire to create a more comfortable and relaxed dress attire for men. Can you imagine what they were wearing before? Legend dictates, a guy wore a jacket with no coattails for the first time at the Tuxedo Club at the Autumn Ball in the late 1800’s. When a guest asked, “Why doesn’t that man’s jacket have any coattails?” he misinterpreted the response, “He is from Tuxedo Park”. Thus, the term Tuxedo was born. A couple of years later, Britain referred to the new garment as the “dinner jacket”. And in true American form, we now use the term tuxedo-which is really just a type of jacket-inaccurately often including anything loosely related to the original garment (including black tie, which is actually a dress code not a garment).
In Your Den Barcelona Chair
The now iconic chair was designed by architect Mies van der Rohe (of “less is more” fame) for the German Pavilion constructed for the International Exposition of 1929, hosted in Barcelona. Unlike many modern designs of the time, which were designed for the commoner, this chair was designed for royalty. It is said Mies drew inspiration from folding chairs used by Ancient Roman aristocracy. Knoll is currently the only licensed manufacturer of the chair, which is almost entirely hand made. Despite efforts to keep replicas from being marketed, they are quite prolific. I guess everyone wants a royal throne of his or her very own.
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In Your Kitchen Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
Truly a kitchen countertop icon, this stand mixer is one of the few consumer appliances trademarked for its unique shape. When it was introduced in 1919 (as the Model H-5), an executive’s wife called it “the best kitchen aid”, which spawned what would be an entire brand. The original mixer weighed 69 pounds (they are a bit lighter now) and was designed as a countertop alternative to commercial stand mixers. Today, each mixer is assembled by hand in Greenville, Ohio and is offered in various colors and motor wattages. Much has stayed the same; an attachment bought today will still fit the original model. And even if you never use it, it looks good on the counter.
In Your Pantry Campbell’s Soup
A chemist created the now famous soup back in 1897 by figuring out how to condense soup by removing water, the heaviest of all its ingredients. A company executive convinced the company to utilize the now iconic red, white and gold label design, which was inspired by the Cornell University’s football team uniforms. The label introduced at the Paris Exposition in 1900 is very much the same one used today. Famous American artist Andy Warhol, inspired by the label design, did a series of pop art silkscreens, which themselves are now iconic. At an auction in 2006, one of these famed pieces fetched $11.8M! While at first Warhol produced faithful representations of the soup can, later he varied the color compositions. This lead to the company releasing a limited run of Warhol-inspired labels, which is the only time the company significantly modified its well-established label design. All this from a soup can!
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In Your Living Room George Nelson Bubble Lamp
Along with Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson is credited with founding American Modernism. He stated in foray into architecture was a bit of a happenstance (he ducked into the Yale School of Architecture for shelter during a rainstorm) yet went on to be an influential modern designer, serving as Director of Design for Herman Miller. His bubble lamps are instantly recognizable and are evocative both of space race and paper lanterns. Designed in 1947, they incorporate self-webbing plastic, initially developed for military use (storing all ships of all things). Utilizing military materials in domestic products was commonplace during the postwar WWII era. The resulting design was more durable than a paper lantern, less expensive and easier to produce than a silk lantern (which he said he was inspired by) and feature a warm, soft glow. Although certainly born of their time, they are also completely timeless.
On Your Arm Louis Vuitton, aka “LV”
Founded back in 1854, the brand built its prestige on innovating a flat bottom trunk that could be stacked. Until then, all the trunks were rounded to mitigate water seepage. The trunks became instantly popular and many other companies copied the design. The company would be forced to change its logo a few times in an effort to keep counterfeiters scrambling. The popular LV logo generally associated with the brand was introduced in 1896, following a trend of taking inspiration from Japanese and other Asian motifs, common in the late Victorian era. Even though the brand is favored by the most modern of celebrities and high society members, the handmade luggage is still made very much as it was back in the early 1900’s. However, don’t covet your friend’s LV bag too much; it is rumored that 97% of them out there are fakes. v
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Iconography Andy Warhol once proclaimed that everyone will have their 15-minutes of fame and we at Vital VOICE couldn’t agree more! Each of us has an “Icon” within us and to that end we set about placing LGBT and allied St. Louisans in the middle of some of the more iconic images ever committed to print. Please join us for a special Gallery Event on Tuesday, April 26 at Broadway Bean (7619 Broadway) featuring these and a host of other iconic images featuring Gateway City queer faces. Proceeds to benefit the Shakespeare Festival. Visit www.thevitalvoice.com for more info. Photography & Art Direction by Doug Ruble
Additional Art Direction by Kristen Goodman Special Thanks to Josh Barton, Retro 101, Vintage Haberdashery, Alamo Military Collectibles, and Connor Murray & Shear Sherrie at Studio 16 Salon
Andy Warhol & Edie Sedgwick. Matt Kveton- Material & Specification Analyst at Purina, Bartender at Just John, and Model with Centro Models. Tyler Cross aka Siren- Entertainer and Co-Founder of GlitterBomb Productions, creator of weekly events at The Complex. Matt’s shirt, jacket and glasses and Siren’s white dress, shawl, and earrings: Retro 101 on Cherokee. Hair: Connor Murray, Studio 16 Salon. Make-up: Siren. theVitalVOICE.com | 31
Models are there to look like mannequins, not like real people. Art and illusion are supposed to be fantasy. Grace Jones. Alishia Alexander. Vital VOICE Writing Intern. Journalism Major at Webster University. Black dress: Retro 101 on Cherokee. Hair: Connor Murray, Studio 16 Salon. Make-up: Shear Sherrie, Studio 16 Salon.
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A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing.
Marilyn Monroe. Randy Bryant aka Krista Versace. 18 years as a female impersonator. Drag Show Director at Novakâ€™s Bar. White Dress: Vintage Haberdashery on Morganford. Hair: Krista Versace. Make-up: Krista Versace & Darin Slyman. theVitalVOICE.com | 33
Rosie The Riveter. Sable Sinclair. 17 years as a female impersonator. 2010 Queen of Pride. Work shirt and Bandana: Retro 101 on Cherokee. Hair: Connor Murray, Studio 16 Salon. Make-up: Sable Sinclair & Shear Sherrie at Studio 16 Salon.
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WWII Kiss. Antonio Nunez & Dan Burgess. Together 2 years in July. Vintage military garb: Alamo Military Collectibles.
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I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffanyâ€™s. James Dunse aka Jessica Leigh Foster, Patient Educator at Planned Parenthood. Bartender at Just John, Drag Entertainer. Black Dress, gloves, cigarette holder, pearls: Retro 101 on Cherokee. Hair & Make-up: Jessica Leigh Foster.
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American Gothic. Franni Goette & Kim “Jester” Toenjes. Together 4 1/2 years. Black farmer jacket, farmer’s wife apron and broach: Vintage Haberdashery on Morganford.
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Monday Lunch Crew. They participate every year, raising funds for Food Outreach.
A Tasteful Affair Written by Alishia Alexander Food Outreachâ€™s A Tasteful Affair 23: Dine Another Day will bring together nutritional support and art pieces during silent and live auctions on Sunday, April 10th, 2011. The event will feature over 300 auction items, 40 plus top culinary crews with delicious eats, and a cash bar. The theme for this yearâ€™s A Tasteful Affair is spies and espionage. All attendees are encouraged to dress according to the theme. The affair will be held at the Chase Park Plaza-Khorassan Ballroom at 212 N. Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63108. There will be a VIP preview from 1:00 to 2:00 pm and the main event from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Tickets for the event are $50 for the main event, $65 for the main event and the wall ball, and $123 for the VIP preview and main event. The tickets can be purchased online at www.ata23.eventbrite.com. All reservations are held at the door. 38 | April, 2011
Co-emcees Maggie Crane of KMOV and Heidi Glaus of KSDK.
All-U-Can Eat Easter Brunch • 10-2pm Gospel Girls Show with Bonnet Contest and Basket Giveaways • 4pm Easter Egg Hunt • 5pm Easter Dart Off • 6pm Beer/Rail Bust and Great Drink Specials All Day Long! Open 11am to 1:30am • 7 Days a Week Facebook .com/RehabSTL • (314) 652-3700 4054 Choute au Avenue, St. Louis, MO
Someone you know is quietly freaking out. HIV & STD testing and treatment, and more. www.plannedparenthood.org/stlouis | 800.230.7526 theVitalVOICE.com | 39
Soulard March 5, 2011 Thousands of dedicated partyers let the good times roll at Mardi Gras despite the freezing weather. Soulard was packed with revelers enjoying beads, beer and boobsuh, booze, that is. The Mardi Gras Parade, the Soulard Oktoberfest party in the Franklin Room, and the high-heel drag races were just some of the must-see events the day. And many wise drinkers took advantage of shuttles to and from The Grove. Chilly temperatures didnâ€™t put a damper on what has become one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country. Photos courtesy of Scott Lokitz 40 | April, 2011
A Tasteful Affair 23 Kickoff Party
Private Home in Clayton March 8, 2011 Supporters, sponsors and event partners came together to celebrate the kickoff of Food Outreach’s A Tasteful Affair: Dine Another Day. The main event, coming up on Sunday, April 10, 2011, marks the 23rd annual event for Food Outreach, which has grown to become one of the most anticipated events of the year. The theme this year is spies & espionage. For more information, visit www.foodoutreach.org/ata.
Urbanaire Host Committee Event
Private Home in the Central West End March 8, 2011 Host Committee members, board members and friends gathered to learn about this year’s exciting plans for Urbanaire, PROMO’s annual signature event coming up on Saturday, May 7, 2011. This year, Urbanaire will take place in the jewel of St. Louis City: Forest Park- at the beautiful Dwight Davis Tennis Center. Guests will enjoy cocktails, food and entertainment provided by Kim Massie and Lamar Harris all in a chic garden party atmosphere. For more information, visit www.promoonline.org and click on Events. theVitalVOICE.com | 41
Vital VOICE dedicates this issue to our Non-profit of the month
Stonewall Democrats of Eastern Missouri
By popular demand, a new Stonewall Democrats affiliate started forming in summer 2010, following the demise of a previous chapter a couple of years ago. The new affiliate is called Stonewall Democrats of Eastern Missouri (SDEMs for short), and our website (http://www.stonewalldemocratsofeasternmissouri. org/) and Facebook page keep members and friends updated on our activities and news important to political active members of the LGBT community. (And shouldn’t we all be active?! It’s a matter of life, liberty, and justice.) SDEMs is dedicated to advancing equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. SDEMs supports the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates who are committed to fairness, equality, and social justice for all LGBT persons. In the November 2010 elections, SDEMs endorsed 25 candidates, and 20 were victorious. We are forming a Legislative Affairs Committee that will keep members posted on important political issues as well as setting up an endorsement process for future elections, and we welcome your participation. In February 2011 we hosted a forum on local control of the St. Louis Police and were addressed by St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay, Sen. Joe Keaveny, Rep. Tishaura Jones, and Alderman Shane Cohn (Ward 25). Mayor Slay also briefed our membership on the vote regarding the City earnings tax and asked for our help in defeating its elimination, since the earnings tax provides almost 40% of the city’s revenue. In March our topic was the Obama Administration’s change around the Defense of Marriage Act (recognizing it as unconstitutional and ceasing to defend it in court), as well as updating members on the Missouri Senate hearing on the Safe Schools Act. We believe there are important differences between the Democratic and Republican parties and other parties, and we seek to educate the LGBT community about what progressive Democrats are doing to promote social justice and end heterosexism and transgenderism. At the same time, we hold Democrats accountable when they let our community down, visiting with these elected officials to make sure they know we were watching and demanding improved performance. We look for ways to collaborate with allies to make an important difference on the broad array of human liberation issues, standing against racism, sexism, transgenderism, and oppression 42 | April, 2011
in any form. We will stand in solidarity with local, state, or national organizations and Democratic clubs, including the National Stonewall Democrats, that share this mission. As our name, Stonewall Democrats of Eastern Missouri, implies, we are trying to build a strong regional presence. We presently have members and friends from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, but we believe we will find partners as well in Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln counties as our organizing continues. We welcome contact from those even farther out, acknowledging that distance will pose challenges. Still with commitment and creativity, there is much we could do together. Locations for our meetings revolve so that no one county is consistently advantaged or disadvantaged. It is important to those forming the new affiliate that no person feel unable to participate due to lack of income. Dues have been set at three levels - $10 for a basic membership; $35 for a general membership; and $100 for a sustaining membership. All dues levels may be paid in installments, and a member has standing to vote at a meeting as soon as a membership application has been submitted and all or part of the annual dues have been paid. Members have 12 months to complete paying the annual dues, if paying in installments. Our legislative priorities for 2011 include: • Gaining additional support for the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act to end legal discrimination in employment, housing, and public accomodation. • Fighting for passage of the Safe Schools Act to end school bullying, whether based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristics (religion, appearance, ethnicity, etc.). • Advancing toward an anti-discrimination policy related to sexual orientation and gender identity in St. Louis County. • Thinking strategically about other municipalities where nondiscrimination policies may be won with good organizing. Volunteers are needed for a variety of committees, including making plans for activities in connection with the June and August Pride Festivals. To join SDEMs, see the membership tab at www.stonewalldemocratsofeasternmissouri.org or call 314.771.8882.