NOH8 The PROshop The Power of the Pink Dollar
This issue is dedicated to
NOH8 photos provided by
‘ n THiS ISSUE
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NOH8 Project STL PROshop “Pink” is the new “Green” LIVE + CREATE: Frances Glenn Photography Date Place: Lola Scene & Styling Non-profit of the month: River City Professionals
Volume 11, Issue 3 Contributors Index Pamela Raymond – Writer Darin Slyman – Publisher/Editor Colin Murphy – Writer email@example.com Richard Nichols – Photography Tess Tulley – Director of Business Affairs John Elkins – Photography firstname.lastname@example.org Frances Glenn Photography Jeff Kapfer – Design Amanda Wichern – Intern email@example.com Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor Chris Weiss – Intern firstname.lastname@example.org R. Lee Bond – Associate Editor RLeeBond@gmail.com Drew Baumgartner – Marketing/Vital VISION Dbaumgartner05@gmail.com Karla Robinson – Marketing KarlaRobinson12@yahoo.com
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CONTACT Vital VOICE Magazine 4579 Laclede Avenue #268 Saint Louis, MO 63108 VitalVOICEmag@gmail.com 314.256.1196
Friends, Welcome to the NOH8 Issue of Vital VOICE Magazine. We are so proud to be a media sponsor for the upcoming NOH8 Project St. Louis whose gallery exposition will take place April 8 – 9 at the Duane Reed Gallery in the heart of the fabulous CWE. NOH8 is a photo project and silent protest originally created by Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure and constitutional amendment which stopped same sex marriage. Our Senior Writer/Web Editor, Colin Murphy details how the NOH8 message has spread to the Midwest as NOH8 Project St. Louis. Money raised by the Project goes to support groups and agencies that fight for marriage equality and equal rights and privileges for all. Many thanks go to CJC Productions, LLC; participating bars that graciously lent their space for photo shoots; photographer Chris Weiss for starting us off; our Project photographer, John Elkins; and of course YOU for adding your photo to the fight for equality. The Human Rights Campaign and PROMO are indefatigable advocates who work to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. Through inspiration and engagement these organizations strive to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. For more information log onto noh8projectstl.com. One of our main goals at Vital VOICE is to always showcase everything and anyone who embodies the modern LGBT community. Our second feature by Amanda Wichern spotlights some of our community’s top creative business owners and industry toppers like Sauce Magazine’s publisher Allyson Mace and PR maven Sarah Thompson. There are so many people who make our community and the St. Louis business world go round and round. WE are happy to bring you this year’s Vita VOICE PROshop list.
It is no secret that the U.S. economy is on the mend, but as Pamela Raymond of “The Raymond Experience” explains in our third feature, it is the LGBT community who are leading the way. In this new decade, we at Vital VOICE felt it important to get the word out about the power of the “PINK” dollar. We are also honored to dedicate this March issue to our nonprofit of the month, “River City Professionals”. Scott Lapp works tirelessly to bring today’s smart, young, entrepreneur and business professionals together for great networking through their monthly cocktail hours and networking events! If you haven’t yet been to one please log onto rivercityprofessionals.org. Stay tuned—next month we are excited about bringing lesbian actress, comedienne and cabaret star, Lea Delaria to St. Louis. The Belleville native will be performing at NP April 16 and 17 so get your tickets today at brownpapertickets.com. Cheers,
Darin Slyman Publisher
NOH8 Project STL
Uniting Community Through Art
Written By Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor Photography By John Elkins
The NOH8 Campaign is now a phenomenon. In little
under a year’s time the photographic silent protest created by photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which stripped Golden State same sex couples of their right to marry, has taken the nation—nay the world, by storm. Fueled by Facebook and other social networking sites, the sleek portraits with the simple message have become all the rage. Subjects wear white V-Neck T-Shirts and are photographed with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar anti-equality legislation around the world. A black and red “NOH8” symbol is generally placed on one cheek and pops before the white background as the subjects, warmed in ivory light, reflect the rainbow of the human condition. “To me, it’s just a bold, striking statement,” stated Todd Alan, organizer of the NOH8 Project St. Louis. “It makes people think—it made me think.” Alan decided to replicate the NOH8 campaign late last year following the news of the St. Louis Archdiocese sending $10,000 to Maine’s Prop-8-style, Question 1 and the gay bashing of three men outside of an area nightclub. He immediately partnered with a website designer who put him in touch with photographer, John Elkins. “He’s just been amazing,” stated Alan of Elkins. “He volunteers his time and it takes roughly 15-minutes to edit each picture and we’re up to 750 pictures. No matter what we ask him to do, he’s like—that’s cool, that’s fine.” Elkins is the owner of St. Louis-based John Elkins Creative Company. His work as a photographer and creative director spans multimedia platforms including television, film, magazine and news publications. Known for his iconic imagery and exquisite detail, Elkins has proven a perfect fit for NOH8. “I am very proud to be a part of this project,” offered Elkins. “These images are smart, stylish and sometimes shocking. They cause conversations that need to take place, and I like that.” NOH8 Project St. Louis, whose presenting sponsor is vitamin water, was realized to combat inequality here at home with all money raised going to the Human Rights Campaign and PROMO. But the local project is not a carbon copy of the Bouska brand— indeed St. Louis has put its own, unique spin on the protest. “If you look at noh8campaign.com, it really is pretty generic with everyone perfectly-pretty,” explained Alan. “We are trying to actually have a lot more fun with it … because people have been bringing hats and scarves and the photographer brings a trunk full of props every time … we have more couples and groups—a broader representation than California.”
NOH8 Project St. Louis has proven an unqualified success with organizers expecting over 1200 portraits to be taken by the time the first round of photography shoots ends in late March. A diverse cross-section of the Gateway City LGBT and allied community has participated including business and community leaders, openly gay Alderman Shane Cohn and Mayor Francis Slay. “I’m proud to have participated in the NOH8 photo shoot,” stated Slay. “We’re a city full of differences—differences in opinion, differences in beliefs, and differences in race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Our differences must be respected—and celebrated. Posing for the NOH8 photo shoot was a small-but-fun way to take a stand. More importantly, we must work every day to treat each person with the respect he or she deserves.” On April 8-9, 2010, a special exhibit of NOH8 St. Louis portraits will be on display at Duane Reed Gallery (4729 McPherson Ave.), who has donated their space. It will be a ticketed event showcasing over 200 photographs. “We’re not going to tell anyone whose picture is going to be in the exhibit,” stated Alan. “So in theory everyone will buy a ticket to the event to see if their picture is hanging on the wall. We’ll also be selling photo mosaic posters—from five feet away it looks like the peace sign but up close its hundreds and hundreds of the little NOH8 pictures put together by computer to generate the peace sign.” Organizers are hoping to raise $20,000 for HRC and PROMO following the exhibit. They also plan for NOH8 Project St. Louis to be an ongoing project with future rounds of photography sessions, including some in non-bar settings.
think this is going to be one of the most talked about, one of the most visible, and one of the unique charity events that St. Louis has seen in a long, long time,” explained Alan. NOH8 Project St. Louis Photo Shoot 6 and 7 will take place March 6 at Just John’s and March 26 at Atomic Cowboy. Photos are free but a $10 donation is requested. Previous photo shoots have been held at Just John’s, Bad Dog, Nancy’s Place, Erney’s 32, and Sub Zero. For more information check out noh8projectstl.com You can email Colin Murphy at email@example.com
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Following the Road to Sucess Written by Amanda Wichern Photography by Richard A. Nichols
Dorothy said it best when she sang to follow the yellow brick road. The five business professionals featured have done just that with the accomplishment of their careers through the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Vital VOICE Magazine is awarding these individuals throughout the St. Louis area into our PROshop. St. Louis is a city filled with entrepreneurs and business professionals; and the LGBT community and its allies have taken the business world by storm. From the arts to a success in the media world these fabulous individuals arenâ€™t ready to stop following that golden path just yet. We salute those who have supported the rights for the LGBT community and continue to fight for NOH8 within our community.
Allyson Mace A Saucy Success
After working in the restaurant business for about 15 years, Allyson Mace, Sauce Magazine’s co-founder/publisher, noticed something was missing in the St. Louis community. There was no access for St. Louisans to read about the great offerings of the food industry throughout the city. In 1999 Mace launched the website saucemagazine.com with co-founder Catherine Neville to promote the restaurant world in St. Louis with a restaurant guide. As the followers of saucemagazine.com grew so did the resource. “We have a lot of great restaurants that I think people are surprised the quality is so high here,” Mace said. In October 2001 the first print issue of Sauce Magazine was released. But Mace released the issue in order to promote awareness of the website not expecting it to be so successful. Sauce Magazine was in full-force and on the road to expansion. A publication that started out at 15,000 a month has now grown to 80,000 and is available in over 950 locations within a 50 mile radius. Sauce Magazine is the largest distributed magazine in St. Louis and has held the top spot for many years. Mace’s intense desire to provide for the community and support from her team at Sauce Magazine allows her to take on many tasks of the business including finding new outlets to carry the brand. “My main goal as the publisher of the magazine is to make sure that the operation of the magazine continues to grow and is working efficiently. I wear many hats here,” Mace said while ironically wearing a black cap with “New York” spelled across the top. The New York native, who now calls St. Louis home, is looking to expand the business in 2010 and lives her life through the motto of Sauce Magazine, “Dine, drink and live well.” “I live my life by the quality of life, the quality of food, the quality of friends and having a good work life,” Mace said. Mace, along with her staff, has distinguished the important rules of running a successful business based on integrity, realizing the difference between editorializing and advertising, building strong relationships with clients and readers, and to always provide a product that is relevant to the community. “It’s very important that what we write is free of outside influence that way our readers know that it’s true. I’m really big on honesty.” Not only does Mace cater to the food lovers of St. Louis, but she has taken part in supporting many of the arts in the community. And as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community herself, Mace has provided Sauce Magazine as a media partner for the NOH8 Project St. Louis. Although Mace has a passion for food, the arts and the LGBT community she also shares a love for her animals which can be found by her side at the office. Mace lives and breathes food day after day, but she never tires of it. She continues to dine throughout the city.
Duane Reed Making Magic Happen
Abracadabra! Alakazam! When Duane Reed waves his business wand he makes magic happen in the art world for the LGBT community. The owner and founder of the Duane Reed Gallery has been working in the art profession for about 25 years and continues to pull rabbits out of his hat. Between juggling several shows for future exhibitions in the gallery, including a NOH8 photo display, and keeping the trust of his clients and artists, Duane Reed truly is a magician in the world of art. “You always want to be able to develop yourself into a presence that you have a magic wand,” said Reed about relationships with both artists and clients. Reed claims his goal in the art world is to get the attention of art collectors around the world through the exhibitions he so delicately chooses. “Collectors know that if our gallery has chosen someone specific it must be important enough that they should pay attention. That’s the goal. It’s all very magical,” exclaimed Reed. When Reed was a young boy and the other children were out playing ball he stayed inside looking at art magazines studying the works and identifying them like flashcards. But it wasn’t until studying pre-med in London when he discovered what his true act would entail. Reed’s opening act began in 1994 with the Duane Reed Gallery in St. Louis. The gallery began with exhibits of paintings and photography, but he has expanded his art showings to a different medium throughout the years to glass art. “Contemporary glass was a new medium that was exploring all kinds of new boundaries and was pushing envelopes,” Reed said. “It hooked me.” As a gay man Reed is a supporter and advocate for the LGBT community in St. Louis. He is spreading the word by hosting a show containing about 200 photos from the NOH8 Project St. Louis Apr. 8 and 9 at the Duane Reed Gallery. Reed is also an active supporter of Food Outreach. “We don’t label ourselves one way or another,” Reed stated. “We are just inclusive. When we were approached about the NOH8 exhibit it was an easy decision and not just because we have the space, but because it’s for a great cause.” Reed’s business model revolves around his relationships with his clients and his artists. He gains the clients trust by allowing them to experience every aspect of the industry; from the opening of the boxes when the art-work arrives to viewing the set-up of the shows. In May 2009 the Duane Reed Gallery moved from its beginning location in Clayton to the Central West End. The current space of the gallery is no stranger to Reed. The space is that of a gallery that Reed once worked for, the Elliot Smith Gallery before becoming an entrepreneur. “Moving was a celebration because it brought us back into the city. St. Louis has been very good to us and continues to be good to us,” Reed said.
COMMUNITY ACTION FAIR
WILL YOU CIVILLY UNITE WITH ME?
Saturday, MARCH 27 10am to 4pm • FREE Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park (314) 746-4599 • mohistory.org Connect with social justice organizations from around the metro area including Jobs with Justice, the ACLU, Diversity Awareness Partnership, and many more. • 10am — Presentation by Provident STL • 11am — Lecture and book signing with Herman Jimerson, author of Foreclosure • Noon — Panel discussion with Wash U. students about alleged discrimination at the Original Mother’s in Chicago • 1pm — Discussion with Cultural Leadership • 2pm — Presentation by members of the ACLU • 3pm — Lecture and book signing with Ralph Eubanks, author of The House at the End of the Road • 3:30pm — Discussion with author Clarence Lang Visit mohistory.org for complete details.
See it now! Closing April 4!
A project of American Anthropological Association Funded by Ford Foundation & National Science Foundation National Presenting Sponsor
THE FOX THEATRE APRIL 30 - MAY 2
314-534-1111 • metrotix.com The Broadway Musical
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Original Broadway Cast Recording Available on Masterworks Broadway. AVENUE Q HAS NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN ANY MANNER BY THE JIM HENSON COMPANY OR SESAME WORKSHOP, WHICH HAVE NO RESPONSIBILTY FOR ITS CONTENT.
Sarah Thompson And the Emmy Goes to…
When Sarah Thompson was a little girl she never said she was going to grow up to be a successful public relations and media professional in her native St. Louis. But this little girl has become quite the success in The Gateway City. When she isn’t busy planning her wedding, Sarah Thompson is spending her time publicizing her clients through her entrepreneurial business, Sarah Thompson Productions. Thompson started her own business about a year ago in St. Louis, after working for Twist, LLC, but never believed during her years in college that she would be where she is today as a publicist or have a shelf of Emmy Awards to show for it. “Once you get into public relations it’s just so fast paced and projects just keep popping up. Before you know it it’s been one year, then two years and I just kept doing it,” Thompson said. Thompson’s current clients include well-known groups in the St. Louis area such as Gateway to Hope and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her past clients have included COCA and Dance St. Louis—both of which Thompson handled during her years at Twist, LLC. While Thompson lived in London after getting a graduate degree in history, film and production from the University of Birmingham she worked for the BBC as a researcher and production assistant. Between photo shoots, television shoots, meetings and everything else it takes to keep her clients happy, Thompson doesn’t allow the overwhelming aspect get to her. It is the core principles and the value of her work that reflects her success as a business professional. Finding creative work and telling people’s story is what drives Thompson in her work on a day to day basis. She works as a segment producer for HEC-TV’s arts and cultural program “State of the Arts,” produces STL TV’s 30-minute program “City Corner” and also serves as the “Stepping Out” contributor for KMOV’s program “Great Day St. Louis.” Her busy schedule aside, Thompson remains equally active in giving back to the St. Louis community. She donates pro bono public relation services and consultations to a variety of organizations. She also serves on the board of directors for a non-profit organization, the Independence Center, in the Central West End supporting adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses. Thompson runs her business on a no judgment basis and strives to take on clients throughout the community. “I don’t go after one type of business or one type of client,” Thompson said. “It’s more about what I believe are really good projects and what I think will help the community.” With many accolades under her belt and quite the impressive resume of clients, Thompson has achieved a professional standard for her business in less than a year. It’s sure to say that this business professional is not ready to stop anytime in the near future.
Christopher Granger Exploring his Way to the Top
When Christopher Granger isn’t sitting at his favorite coffee shop Foundation Grounds on Manchester or watching “Project Runway” at home on the couch with his life-partner Ben Granger, he is busy perfecting his craft and building his business. Granger began his business, Granger Home 10 years ago. He creates high-end hand woven fabrics out of materials that are all natural and has a great amount of passion for his art work. What makes Granger’s business unique from other weaving companies is that he uses recycled materials like stainless steel and the newest recycled objects, VHS tapes. He than takes the fabrics he produces and makes elegant one-of-a-kind scarves, neckties and handbags. The New York native holds a degree in mathematics but has found a way to take numbers to a more creative level. “I saw weaving and I said to myself, ‘that’s math with pretty yarn’,” Granger said. Granger’s inspirations for his textile creations come from traveling. Granger seems to find a little something he likes to bring to his work wherever he goes. Whether it is a color to use through the dying process or a specific texture that moves him he uses nature as his color-wheel. “I am very much a creature of geography. I become very tied into whatever land I am in,” Granger said. Granger’s newest addition to his business is using hand-woven fabrics that are created in Nicaragua and Myanmar. His traveling and connections with certain women’s groups in the two countries lead him to a great opportunity for a new addition to his business. Granger’s merchandise is available in boutiques throughout North America, particularly on the East Coast. In the St. Louis area he sells his merchandise strictly through art shows or through commission based orders. With the average scarf costing about $75 Granger’s designs keep customers coming back for more year after year. “I have a short attention span and scarves are short, quick and people are wearing them all year round now. It makes me very happy,” Granger said. While he is very much an environmental activist on the importance of the planet, Granger gives back to the community through donations to the Separation of Church and State and local food pantries. “I have a point of view. I love the planet and it’s the only one we’ve got,” said Granger. The Grangers are supporters of the fight for government recognition for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. “It’s not marriage that we are fighting for as a gay couple, I’m fighting for federal government recognition to civil contract. I’m married and nobody owns that word,” said Christopher Granger. Granger’s art is expressed through his soft sensual sexuality as a gay man. He describes himself as not just an artist but a gay artist. “I love fabric! Scarves are just little pieces of fabric that people have found useful and that is what I want to keep doing,” Granger said.
His Taste is Out of this World Baker is his name and cooking is his game. Tony Baker, sous chef de cuisine, is the newest addition to the team of chefs at Eclipse in the Moonrise Hotel in the Loop. He joined the cooking team in November 2009 as the late-night dining chef. Baker’s long-time love with food and cooking has brought the St. Louis native back home to his roots. His passion for food has led him on quite a tasteful business path full of sugar and spice and everything nice. Baker’s forte is with classical French preparation with a contemporary flair. “I do fancy the classical French preparations. I like to change it up a little bit to make it look more current,” Baker said. Baker realized he wanted to pursue a career in cooking while in high school. His first job was at a small family run restaurant that was close to home. Baker soon realized it not only was it a nice job because of the convenience factor of being close to home, but he began to have fun with cooking. “I began to enjoy cooking and could see a lot of potential down the road,” Baker said. Baker began learning the different aspects that goes into the chef world other than just cooking at an early age. He learned the process of management, the organizational skills needed and the financial aspect of it all. Having never attended a culinary school of any kind Baker has still found his way to success as a professional. “I am very strong in my abilities,” Baker said about his cooking skills. “I have worked with a lot of people who have gone to school and I have had to re-train them on the practicalities of preparing a meal.” He has traveled through Europe with a chef from Ireland to learn the ropes of cooking as a fellowship. Baker’s career was anything but overdone. He went on to becoming an in-home private chef to cooking for royalty and past presidents. “I hate specifics, but I have worked with some pretty predominant people,” he said. Baker has brought his smock and cooking utensils and delicious dishes to Eclipse for the late-night menu running from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Drive thru is no longer an option. Baker has written the late-night menu himself and taken it to new heights. Baker kicks off his new menu at Eclipse on March 1 with options like lamb-chops, pouched duck eggs and much more. Baker hopes to pursue a restaurant of his own in the future that will gear towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. But for now he is happy with the improvements of the menu and the atmosphere at Eclipse. “Eclipse is a unique place. It’s a grown-up version of a space atmosphere.” Strap yourself in for lift off and prepare your palette because it sounds like thanks to Baker we are all in for a tasty ride.
Rachel McCalla– arty Perfect and
P.U.R.E.* Genius: People Using Renewable Energy are those making smart decisions about the future by supporting renewable energy – like local wind power. This helps keep Missouri’s air clean, strengthen the local economy and protect natural resources for future generations. That’s why Rachel McCalla enrolled her weddings, events, and floral design business, “Lucky You Productions,” in AMERENUE PURE POWER® program. Pure Power makes it easy for Rachel to support renewable energy sources right here in Missouri... and easy for her to recommend it to her clients. “I care about the environment. Almost every time Lucky You stages an event, we use electricity. The generation of that power is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions today,” says McCalla. “I can do all sorts of things to make an event sustainable – like using real china vs. paper plates or locally raised flowers in centerpieces – but offsetting the electricity through Pure Power is the easiest and most effective way to help an event move closer to true carbon neutrality.” P.U.R.E.* Genius – that’s Rachel, Pure Power and a Lucky You event. GO GREEN! Check the PURE POWER box on your monthly power bill or call 1-866-665-PURE (7873) to start supporting clean energy. To sign up online or learn more about Pure Power, visit
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“Pink” Pink i th¢ $
n¢w“Green” Green As the economy shakes from dramatic dips and turns, businesses are taking a pointed look at its advertising budgets and seeking ways to maximize its effectiveness to those still willing to spend their hard earned dollars. This leads companies to start thinking about how it “speaks” to its best consumers or how to cultivate new awareness amongst the general consumer pool. One consumer pool that has gotten more attention is the LGBT segment. With a projected buying power to exceed $835 billion by the year 2011, according to a study by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, it’s easy to see why this group is becoming highly sought after.
Corporate America Courts The Dominating Spending Power Of The LGBT Community By Pamela Raymond
The “pink dollar” or the “Dorothy dollar” as it is commonly known, refers to the purchasing power of the LGBT sector in the United States with incomes over $50,000 a year. This group is also identified as DINKs, “double income, no kids”, and has more disposable income to spend on higher end goods and services. “Pink” is the new “green” for many companies and organizations that seek out the brand loyalty of the LGBT consumer and hope to translate that to cold, hard cash. National marketers are jumping on the LGBT bandwagon at noticeable rates. Gay and lesbian cable station, LOGO, has over 80 major brands sponsoring various programming and events as well as digital entertainment is gearing itself more towards content and relevancy for the LGBT market. Target marketing within this community is hitting a bull’s eye for many corporate brands. With so many dollars up for grabs, the LGBT segment has become so powerful and influential in spotting trends and setting trends that companies want to get a piece of the action. According to a study of in 2008 by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, a premier collaborative in tracking LGBT tastes and behavior triggers, of the gays and lesbians taking the survey, 48% said they follow the latest trends and styles compared to 38% of heterosexual adults. Lifestyle products from liquor to linens see the vast potential in catering to the LGBT consumer. 17
Adoption of the emerging online communications tools is more popular in the LGBT community. 55% of gays and lesbians read blogs and 55% use the social media site, Facebook, compared with 38% and 46% of heterosexuals, respectively. 23% of LGBTs are members of the professional social media site LinkedIn. Only 13% of heterosexuals claim membership with LinkedIn. As corporations strive to maximize its presence and relevancy online, the LGBT community is already utilizing the various social, professional and personal engagement tools offered by the Internet. Successful online advertising and awareness campaigns targeted to the LGBT segment will impact the ROI of many companies set on capturing the valuable “pink” dollars as the economy evolves. Online communications statistics are based on a 2009 study by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications. Established entities are going one step further in its courting of the LGBT community by developing specific campaigns to engage the community directly. ABSOLUT Vodka introduced during Pridefest 2009, the limited edition Pride ABSOLUT bottle to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The packaging featured a rainbow design to honor the men and women who fought back on the streets of New York City in 1969. ABSOLUT Vodka is also a major sponsor of the LOGO television show, RuPaul’s Drag Race with heavy product integration including a signature lounge utilized by contestants during deliberations. Is this a bold move for ABSOLUT? Not according to Jeffrey Moran, Vice President of Public Relations, Event Marketing, Sponsorship and Multicultural Marketing at Pernod Ricard USA, distributor of ABSOLUT Vodka. Moran states, “We don’t consider it to be a bold move. ABSOLUT was one of the earliest major advertisers to participate in LGBT media with ads dating back to 1981. So you see, we’ve been honoring pride and celebrating the achievements of the LGBT community for many years. Through communityspecific advertising, promotions and charitable contributions, ABSOLUT is of the most consistent marketers to the LGBT community and continues to be synonymous with vodka at gay and lesbian bars and living rooms from coast to coast.” Moran also commented, “In today’s marketing landscape, it’s not enough to just roll out TV ads or run bar promotions and expect consumers to notice and call for the brand. We need to engage the consumer and do something experiential, something relevant to their lifestyle. We have a long-standing relationship with the LGBT community, but we don’t take it for granted. We have to constantly innovate if we want to stay relevant. As the first spirits brand to offer an LGBT-specific bottle at retail stores, ABSOLUT continues to show its innovation and relevance.”
In this economy, target marketing to groups of similar consumers is on the rise. Dr. Mary Albrecht, Professor of Marketing at Maryville University St. Louis explains the desire behind companies taking a targeted approach. Dr. Albrecht remarks, “Target marketing is seen as more efficient because it potentially reduces the waste in marketing efforts especially in advertising and promotion. Waste is reaching someone who is not in the target market with your ad message. Target marketing is also considered more effective because the company can customize the marketing program specifically to that homogenous target market. However, as the company develops different marketing programs for different target markets the marketing cost is likely to increase.” Dr. Albrecht goes on to say, “Companies seek markets that present good opportunities. Companies like Procter & Gamble can cherry pick the most attractive market segment opportunities. They carefully select the product-market combinations that have a high probability of success and those segments become their target markets. Companies choose target markets that are substantial enough to be profitable, accessible to the company through channels of distribution and communication, and have needs that fit the company can satisfy with its product mix.” The LGBT market would certainly qualify as a substantial and profitable segment with estimates of population growth to reach 16.3 million by 2011. The “pink” dollar rules in this economy. Brand loyalty is becoming more important to stable sales and potential growth. The LGBT community is a powerhouse in impacting corporate bottom lines. Jeffery Moran of ABSOLUT Vodka sums it up best when describing why the LGBT dollar is so important, “Our mission is to be the coolest vodka on the planet – so there’s no way to be cool unless you’re doing great things for all your consumer segments, and since the LGBT consumer is clearly the coolest, we wanted to be sure that we celebrate all the milestones together. In an ABSOLUT World, everyone is encouraged to be true to themselves. That world is more colorful, diverse and respectful. As people celebrate Pride this year, we want them to be proud of who they are and let their true colors shine.”
Pamela Raymond is a freelance writer and owner of The Raymond Experience® with articles appearing in Sauce Magazine, ALIVE Magazine and Uptown Magazine. Pamela is also a business blogger for Girls Guide To The Galaxy and St. Louis Business Commentary Examiner and holds a Masters of Business degree from Maryville University St. Louis. Follow her on Twitter @RayExperience.
live create Frances Glenn Photography. Capturing the Art of the Illusion
& Live + CREATE
Written by Colin Murphy. Photography by Frances Glenn Photography
Live| CREATE “Our greatest reward is when one of these individuals will call us in tears and thank us for making them beautiful. It’s really a pleasure because it’s something that people need to see —they need to see themselves that way.” Pat Gouzien (right) and Kate O’Brien (left) of Saint Charles-based chíc Photography have made quite a stir over the past year with the debut of their Frances Glenn line. From the reigning Miss Gay Missouri to the recently crowned Miss Gay America, the duo has photographed a marquee of female impersonators much to the delight of their discriminating clientele. “The heterosexual community has the drag queen perception but they don’t have the female impersonation aspect down,” offered Gouzien. “They don’t understand what it involves—and we have taken a different spin on things in trying to present these individuals as who they really are, which are artists.” As a native of New Orleans, the world of sequins, painted faces and “hair jacked to Jesus” was old hat for Gouzien. But for O’Brien, who came out later in life and was at one time very involved in a conservative evangelical church, 2009 marked her first introduction to the illusionary arts. “It is extremely personally rewarding,” said O’Brien. “We love doing it and it’s so much fun having these entertainers come to our home and they love what they do.” Gouzien and O’Brien first met in 2000 through the Metropolitan Community Church choir. With a shared interest in photography, the partners in both business and life embraced the creative outlet and joined the St. Louis Camera Club. There, they took courses, began competing, and winning awards.
It soon became clear that their calling was portraiture. “Concentrating on the human soul—the human person that you have in front of you,” explained Gouzien. To that end they began investigating the professional side of the business through Wedding and Portrait Photographers International and the Portrait Photographers Association, taking training courses through both of those organizations. After building their skills and purchasing equipment, Gouzien and O’Brien founded Women with Lenses in 2005 and began doing business as chíc Photography out of their home-based studio. The women quickly made a name for themselves producing portraiture under two tag lines: “Fine Art of Cherished Children and Posh Pets” and “Fine Art of Joyful Occasions.” Early last year their portfolio caught the eye of friend and hairdresser, Daniel Flier who is better known as Vanessa Vincent, Miss Gay Missouri 1982. “He asked if we would be interested in taking photos of female impersonators,” recalled O’Brien. “And we both thought about it and said—wow, wouldn’t that be fun!”
After working with Flier at his Miss Gay Metropolitan pageant, Gouzien and O’Brien realized that it was an area where they could help the LGBT community. Accordingly, they founded their third line, Frances Glenn (a combination of their middle names), which would be devoted to the art form. Over the past year the duo has photographed many community events, including the Miss Gay Missouri pageant and the national Miss Gay America pageant, of which they were a First Tier Sponsor. Frances Glenn has offered over $10,000 in prize packages in way of professional portrait sessions and last month took the official portrait of Miss Gay America 2010, Co Co Montrese. As word of their work spreads, Gouzien and O’Brien continue to have entertainers come to their home for sittings. Such sessions can take up to 6-hours depending on wardrobe, wig and makeup changes. With two unique but complementary styles, the couple play off of each other’s strengths and are known for their attention to detail. “Male skin, whether you have a ton of makeup on or not, is still going to be male skin,” said Gouzien. “The way that we shoot female impersonators is a little bit different.” The way the entertainers are lit is one of the main differences—softer lighting is required. There is also a great deal of work done in post-processing from smoothing color and lines to even adding a sparkle or two. “We spend a lot of time on details,” concluded O’Brien. “We magnify and zoom and spend time fixing pores, blemishes, make up, stray hairs in the eye brows and wig lines—we spend a lot of time on wig lines.”
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PLACE: Written by Amanda Wichern. Photography by Chris Weiss.
LOLA Imagine for a moment you are being whisked away by that special someone to a place with the sweet southern French feel of New Orleans, blended with the chic, yet alluring surroundings of Los Angeles. The mood lighting is just low enough to see the twinkle in your date’s eyes when they look at you from across the table. It’s the hot new date place that you have been waiting for. Well wait no longer, this new hot spot of date perfection can be found in our very own downtown St. Louis on the corner of N. 14th Street. Its name is Lola and it’s not a showgirl—not to be confused with any glitzy glamorous female impersonator. This romantic setting of elegance is the perfect place to woo any date. St. Louis was given the excellence a la resistance in January with the opening of Lola by owner Chris Hansen. A little of the Lou’s downtown flair is exemplified through the loft-like interior of the restaurant. The large open space allows guests to explore all levels of a dining experience.
Offers a Little Bit of Everything
If you prefer the bar atmosphere than take a seat at the bar extending across the entire back wall displaying all of the specialty drinks above the bar. Lola is even equipped with a stage to host live bands and djs.
For an entrée try the Chicken Cordon Blue Brochette glazed with Lola’s own flavorful white sauce. Lola also offers many options of crepes for that French cuisine lover.
A place like Lola is more than meets the eye. It has a spectacular menu with food that will keep your taste buds screaming for more. Many of the choices on the menu are perfect options for any date— whether it is a first date or your significant other. Their portion arrangements are just right for two.
Lola doesn’t stop at the food. Their wide variety of drink choices is sure to keep you asking for more. For those dates with a stronger personality preferring whiskey or bourbon try the Ely Walker. And if it’s a fruity twist you’re craving than try the Paristyle. You and your date will be drinking in Cosmo-couture.
One of the many options my date and I enjoyed off of the “Nosh” menu was “Lola’s Duet”—perfectly titled for a date meal. The duet consists of two miniburgers. You and your date will discover two different flavors through these gourmet bites: one garnished with bacon and blue cheese and the other, a Swiss burger designed with mushrooms, onions served on sourdough bread.
If you’re just not sure about that person and don’t want to spend an arm and leg but want to get your bang for your buck than Lola is your place. Sandwiches offered at Lola are $8 and all sides come in at $3.50 each.
For dessert grab two spoons and share the warm and light Lavender Crème Brulee.
The DRUNKENTRUNK show Tired of the winter blues? Vital VOICE teamed up with cult label, The Exquisite Corps for the “Drunken Trunk Show”. Designer Michael Drummond tended to his 40+ guests during the festive evening of red wine and fashion. Contemporary urbanites favor Drummond’s knits wear line. Vital VOICE is proud to support such a creative LGBT designer.
RED 2010 On Broadway
“They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway”...the star power shined just as bright at “RED 2010”. Over 400 patrons packed the Hilton at the Ballpark for an evening of show tunes and dancing. Bravo TV celebrity and Vital VOICE January cover boy, Andy Cohen served as the event’s MC. RED 2010 benefits Doorway Housing St. Louis. For more information log onto doorwaysmo.org 25
Vital VOICE dedicates this issue to our Non-profit of the month
RIVER CITY PROFESSIONALS River City Professionals are the young entrepreneurs and fresh thinkers of St. Louis. We exchange ideas and leads, form partnerships and friendships, vent and tell stories. Most importantly, we enjoy experiencing the people and places of St. Louis. Our events take place every third Tuesday of the month at various locations and each month we team up with a different charity organization to raise awareness of the importance of community involvement for personal and professional growth. In over 7 years RCP has grown to over 6000 diverse members from various professions and backgrounds. Together we have experienced some of St. Louisâ€™ most exciting venues from the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to the City Museum, Mandarin, Mike Shannonâ€™s and Lumen. In addition, our members have shown their support to amazing St. Louis organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Food Outreach and Stray Rescue. For more information and to see where we will be for our next event, visit us online at rivercityprofessionals.org.