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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 2, 2006

Everyone is a superhero at Cleveland Pride

Cleveland--This looks like a job for . . . you!

Cleveland Pride is �Calling All Heroes� for this year�s Pride Parade and Festival, putting together a veritable Justice League of politicians, artists, entertainers and community members.

It will kick off on Monday, June 12 with a Pride event in the rotunda of city Hall at noon, with Mayor Frank Jackson and Ward 14 Councilor Joe Santiago, the first openly gay member of the Cleveland City Council.

Five days later, the parade starts lining up at noon on West 3rd Street between St. Clair and Rockwell Avenues. The parade this year will head north on West 3rd Street, then east on Lakeside past City Hall, turning north on East 9th Street before letting out at the festival site in Voinovich Park, where East 9th ends at Lake Erie.

A quintet of grand marshals for the parade exemplify the best of Northeast Ohio. They are Ron Buford, the director of the Still Speaking Initiative of the United Church of Christ, which puts the UCC at the forefront of liberal theology, and the denomination itself, fighting for LGBT equality from pulpits across the nation.

He will be joined by the triumvirate of heroes who made history last November, becoming in tandem the first openly gay and lesbian elected officials in Northeast Ohio: Lakewood councilor Nickie Antonio, Joe Santiago of Cleveland and Mark Tumeo of Cleveland Heights.

Tumeo introduced a resolution, passed unanimously on May 15, that declared June to be LGBT Pride Month in his city.

Finally, the celebrity grand marshal will be Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Connie Schultz of the Plain Dealer, whose writings illustrate her dedication to LGBT civil rights and whose husband, Rep. Sherrod Brown, is a staunch ally of the community.

The Queen City Rainbow Marching Band from Cincinnati will join the Cleveland Lesbian, Gay and Allies Concert and Marching Band to play as the parade ends at the festival, where the fun really starts.

Crowds at the gate will also be entertained by the reggae and calypso sounds of the local band Nuhu before the North Coast Men�s Chorus warm the gathering with their rendition of the national anthem.

Following the anthem, the Spiritual and Religious Leaders group will give an affirmation, welcoming everyone to the festival.

In addition to a seemingly never-ending array of vendor and information booths, there are three stages of entertainment to please every musical taste.

The main stage, running from 2:30 to 8 pm, will feature emcees Dana Austin, one of Cleveland�s top comics, and Bruce Daniels from Chicago, who has opened for Margaret Cho.

Then, in the immortal words of Shannon, let the music play!

First up on the main stage are Robbing Mary and Slack Jaw, followed by the Fundamentalists, Alexis Antes and Victoria, and a performance by Bruce Daniels.

At 4:30 pm, the Calling All Heroes Children�s Parade and Pet Parade will take place, followed by performances by Pamela Means, Nedra Johnson and Vicki Randle.

Starting at 6:30 pm, the headliners begin to take the main stage, starting with lesbian icon Sonia and Disappear Fear, dance divo Paul Lekakis, big, brassy babe Candye Kane and Thelma Houston, who still doesn�t want you to leave her this way.

The acoustic stage, which runs from 3 to 7 pm, will feature a performance by the North Coast Men�s Chorus, then the Cleveland Kings for some drag fun. Following them are Pamela Means, one of the performers doing double duty on two of the stages.

The Rainbow Idol semi-finalists will also perform, followed by the ever-busy Paul Lekakis and Nedra Johnson.

The Cleveland City Country Dancers and the Rainbow Wranglers will have themselves a little hoedown onstage before the Rainbow Idol semifinalists wrap things up.

The third stage features DJ Jerry Szoka at 3:30 pm and DJ Low Key at 5:30 pm.

Cleveland Pride will turn Voinovich Park into the Hall of Justice. One just feels sorry for any unsuspecting member of the Legion of Doom that shows up on June 17!��������������

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