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Theatre, Music, etc.


June 17, 2011

3 stages bring a host of performers to Cleveland Pride

Cleveland--With the theme “Equality for All: Celebrating Our Allies,” the 23rd annual celebration of Cleveland Pride will feature the traditional parade, a rally and eight hours of festival at Voinovich Park, filled with enough entertainers to fill a season of America’s Got Talent.

Given the renewed focus on local performers over the last few years, it could be dubbed Northeast Ohio’s Got Talent, no offense to the acts coming in from Detroit and Los Angeles.

This year’s Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival will take place on Saturday, June 25, with the parade stepping off  at noon from West Third at Frankfort, heading north to Lakeside Avenue, then on to East Ninth Street before heading north to Voinovich Park, on the East 9th Street Pier behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

At the entrance to the North Coast Harbor, the parade will disperse at the annual rally, where speakers will discuss the progress made by Cleveland’s LGBT community and the further progress that needs to be made here and across the country. As marriage returns to court in California and faces the state legislature in New York, as “don’t ask, don’t tell” sees its final days, there is a lot to be proud of, and so much more work to be done.

Then it’s through the gates into Voinovich Park, where dozens of performers and scores of food and vendor booths will keep the party going for the entire day.

There will be three redesigned stages for entertainment (and looking at the lineup, they’ll need it), an expanded food court and enlarged lakefront beer garden, space for children, youth, seniors and more.

Performers include Bella Sin and Le Femme Mystique, bringing burlesque back to Cleveland and out of the red light districts. There’s also the Cleveland Kings and Girls and Wasted Productions.

There are also several out-of-towners, those strange interlopers who not only want to play Pride, but want to trek out to Cleveland to do so. Do you know why? Because, as the theme to The Drew Carey Show told us those many years ago, Cleveland rocks.

So, performing in the shadow of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will be Detroit’s (the) fundamentalists. They’ve been here before, way back in 2006, and loved it so much that they are braving that 2 ½-hour drive to Cleveland. Mixing electronic and rock, front man Chris Taylor says they’re returning because Cleveland has “one of the friendliest and enthusiastic audiences we’ve ever seen.”

Next is Lacey Conner, who sang on the Lords of Acid’s 2010 tour and fronts the band Nocturne. If you know her, however, it’s probably from her appearances on Rock of Love and Charm School on VH1, where she was a very, very bad girl. In real life, however, she is a very, very good person, running a dog rescue shelter and crusading for equal rights.

“I have always had a strong opinion that all people, regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation, deserve the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “And I will always be an advocate of the gay and lesbian community. I am extremely honored and excited to be performing at the Cleveland Pride Festival this year.”

Both the North Coast Men’s Chorus and the Blazing River Freedom Band are slated to perform at Pride, so one of the nation’s top gay choruses and hardest-travelling marching bands will be there.

Back for the third year in a row is Anthony Covatta, bringing his mix of folk, soul and rock music to the Pride stage. As the host of Bounce’s Union Presents Live Music on the first and third Thursdays of the month, he might not be used to sunshine any more, but he’ll be lighting up the festival nonetheless.

Carma DeLane brings her hot and heavy hip-hop to the festival, baring her soul through her rhymes. In addition to her music, she’s also done entertainment journalism and published her first novel, Charlotte’s Girlz.

Soneboy (pronounced “Sonny Boy”) blends Erasure, David Bowie and No Doubt in one cute package, using his gymnastic skills mentally as well as physically to become one of Cleveland’s hottest performers. He’s finishing up his debut album in the studio now, but you can hear much of it on the Pride stage before it hits the stores.

Folk songstress Rachel Shortt is a constant source of joy to anyone who has heard her music. She has been all over the country, but Cleveland is home, and Pride is her heart. Her baby face hides a knowing soul, and it comes out in every one of her songs.

Hard rock band Superego will also be performing at the Pride festival, proving that a love of arena rock doesn’t mean you’re not accepting of your fellow man, or an advocate of equality. Ted Nugent might just barely get it, but Superego grasps it perfectly.

Then there are the lovely ladies of Da Dollhouze, the all-female quartet that has opened for everyone from golden oldies like the Whispers to it-girl Nikki Minaj. Like Covatta, this will be their third year in a row gracing the Pride stage.

When your influences include Billie Holiday, Cat Power and Patsy Cline, you’ve got to be interesting, and that’s part of why singer-songwriter Corissa Bragg deserves your attention when she takes the stage. She rocks with bands, she performs solo, and her debut album, This is Everything I Own, will be available at the artists’ merchandise table.

A piece of Akron’s Live at Lock 3 festival will invade the stage at the Cleveland Pride Festival when 11After perform. In their five years of existence, the “bad girls of rock and roll” from Akron have toured the country and released three albums, but Cleveland Pride is one of their most anticipated shows.

“Of all the shows we’ve got lined up for 2011, Cleveland Pride is one of the ones we’re jazzed up for the most,” member Deanna Cruise said. “11After always has and always will support the LGBT community and they have always been there for us. It’s a mutual lovefest, as far as we’re concerned, and we can’t wait to show the love at Pride.”

Then there’s Melissa “Cha-Cha” Figueroa, the Latina songstress who has toured the world since her last appearance at Pride. She just released a new single, “Puerto Rico En Mi,” and will be hitting Cleveland Pride to warm up new and established material before heading back out for a promotional tour later this year.

Those are just the performers who were announced by press time. Given another week, there’s likely to be a slew more, plus the parade marshals, which were set to be announced after press time. So, be there on June 25, showing your unity for the 23rd annual Cleveland Pride.




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