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June 6, 2008

Cincinnati has two full days of festivities and a parade

Cincinnati--The Queen City is “Celebrating Our Diversity” for Pride this year, the theme for the annual Pride Alive celebration.

Once again, Cincinnati has two full days of Pride festivities at Hoffner Park, with the rally and parade stepping off from Burnet Woods on Sunday.

The festival at Hoffner runs on Saturday, June 14 from 4-10 pm, and on Sunday, June 15 from 1-7 pm.

The Burnet pep rally, featuring DJ Victim again this year, will start at 11:30 am, and the parade steps off at 1 pm, heading to the festival site at Hoffner Park.

Once there, attendees will have a plethora of entertainment over the two-day period.

Along with such stalwarts as the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, the Queen City Rainbow Band, the Rainbow Jazz Ensemble, Sity Hall and Vicki D’Salle and Her Perfect Gentlemen, drag troupes Black Monday and the Lixgood Family will provide some king-and-femme action for the crowds.

DJ and composer Maurice will head up the entertainment, showing the skills that have spread his music across the country. He’s composed pieces for television, he’s got gold records for his behind-the-scenes efforts, and now he’ll be spinning for the crowd at Pride.

Cincinnati’s “King of the Blues,” Mr. Keith Little and his Blues Body, will perform at Pride as well, bringing their soulful sounds to the stage.

Supporting their first album, Waiting, the Green Room will hit the stage with their euro-trash, indie, darkwave hard rock/Brit pop sound, probably inducing waves of confusion throughout the crowd. But it will be a good kind of confusion. You know, when you can’t quite figure out why the song sounds familiar, but you decide to dance to it anyway.

A little more familiar might be the sound of Pike, reminiscent of ’90s alternative powerhouses like the Pixies, harmonies like the B-52s and the sheer guts of punk pioneers like X. Two girls, two guys, one big sound.

Americana band One Horse will also be playing at the festival, with a sound caught somewhere between the sins of Saturday night and the mournful regrets of Sunday morning. Which is kind of appropriate, given the weekend timing of the Pride Alive music festival.

Combine that with the technical skills of Charee, the musical ability of Therapy and whatever other surprises might be in store, and that’s two fun-packed days of Pride!

An honor roll of grand marshals

Of course, Pride is not just an excuse to have a party. It might be mostly an excuse to have a party, but not entirely.

There is the serious side to it, a look at where the LGBT community has been, where it is going, and who gets it from Point A to Point B. That’s where Pride Alive’s incredibly strong slate of grand marshals come in.

Phebe Beiser and Victoria Ramstetter should need no introductions. The driving forces behind both Crazy Ladies Bookstore and the Ohio Lesbian Archives should be household names for the Cincinnati LGBT community. Those may be their two best-known accomplishments, but their full baskets of laurels would fill an entire newspaper three times over, including writing, founding women’s pagan groups and simply being what was once a rare thing: visible lesbian faces in Cincinnati.

Rev. Paula Marie Jackson, “Mother Paula” to many, is the rector of Church of Our Saviour, and a longstanding advocate for LGBT inclusion in church life.

Jackson once invited a visiting minister, a friend of hers, to speak at her church. But the visitor made homophobic comments from the altar, unaware that there were many gay men and lesbian in the congregation.

What did Mother Paula do? She took a sabbatical to develop a workshop and theological paper called What Does the Bible Say About Being Gay? Probably Not What You’ve Been Told!

Listing her accomplishments, appointments and awards would take far too long, but she is one of the most influential Episcopalians in the diocese.

Worley E. Rodehaver is the founder and publisher of Greater Cincinnati GLBT News, which has placed him in the center of the battle for LGBT equality in southwest Ohio for years. He was also a founder of the LGBT Episcopalian group Integrity in Cincinnati and the advisor for the Great American Youth group at Church of Our Saviour.

Larry Wolf was already in his 50s when he came out in the late 1970s, but he has made up for lost time with his unceasing advocacy ever since.

Already a veteran of World War II and of anti-war protests during Vietnam, Wolf taught geography at the University of Cincinnati, where he was active in the Lesbian and Gay Academic Union. He also took part in street demonstrations with the March Activists, and appeared on television and in newspapers, writing for a number of now-defunct LGBT publications.

Emceeing the parade will be Cheryl Eagleson, who has led the Queen City Careers Association, sat on the board of the Cincinnati Youth Group and graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy, among her many other plaudits.

With entertainers and leaders like these, Cincinnati’s Pride Alive celebration doesn’t need to claim they’re “Celebrating Our Diversity”--they’re showing it.

See www.prideisalive.com for more information.

 


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