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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 15, 2007

New entertaiment gives Cincinnati Pride a fresh flavor

Cincinnati--“When we started planning this year’s event, we wanted entertainment to be on the cutting edge, something you would normally not see at a Pride festival,” said Harold Keutzer, president of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati, which produces Pride Alive.

The city’s two-day gay pride festivities are being hailed as an unqualified success, in part because of the edgier entertainment.

“In the final review it paid off, the crowd was still partying and hanging out in the park long after the scheduled end of the festival,” Keutzer said.

This year’s Saturday show was emceed by drag diva Sity Hall, with XM Satellite Radio’s Joe Bermudez providing music and Quasi also performing, along with a series of fun pseudo-sporting events.

On Sunday, DJ Victim performed at the rally at Burnet Woods, and the after-parade entertainment was emceed by Ashley West, with performances by Vickie D’Salle, the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, Lourdes, the Futurists and Jackie, among other attractions.

While final figures are not available, Keutzer is estimating the attendance at Hoffner Park over the two days at 14,500 people, based on food and beverage sales and comparisons to the figures from two years ago.

He also pointed to a “demographic shift,” with more people in their teens and early twenties than in earlier years, “a lot in part to the rock bands that we brought in for the event.”

He was also intrigued by the presence of protesters this year, something he says he has not seen in 13 years of attending Cincinnati Pride.

Regardless, Keutzer was pleased to see the event come together, his favorite part of Pride Alive. Considering that just two years ago, Pride almost did not happen in Cincinnati, each successful event is a testament to the will of the city’s LGBT community.

In 2004, the Cincinnati Pride Committee announced its dissolution. Left without a firm hand at the rudder, doubts surfaced whether Pride would be held in 2005, until the Cincinnati LGBT Center, already under Keutzer’s leadership, stepped in to organize that year’s event.

Having Pride under the center’s banner has its benefits, Keutzer said.

“The key benefit is having the financial stability to fund and put on a larger event,” he noted. “When independently produced, the event is limited by funds that are available at the time, whereas the center can fund, if needed, the event’s prepaid expenses.”

“In addition, the center works with several of the other non-profits throughout the year on a consistent basis to pool resources for the event,” he continued, “along with a strong working relationship with the Northside Business Association, where we hold the festival.”

Despite the joy of the numbers and seeing the event come off, the most poignant part of the festivities was a more intimate one for Keutzer.

“The most emotional part for me was seeing one of our youth carry the lead banner in the parade, knowing that it meant a lot to him and would be a moment he would remember for the rest of his life,” he said.

 

 

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