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Theatre, Music, etc.
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June 15. 2012

Cleveland Pride steps out to embrace our diversity

Cleveland--Cleveland Pride 2012 sets out its goal right in its theme for the year: Embracing Our Diversity.

Everything about this year’s parade and festival on Saturday, June 23 reflects that theme, from its location across the lake from a foreign country to its grand marshals to the entertainment line-up, running the gamut from drag kings and queens to exercise dance to child-friendly music to rock and roll to DJ-supplied, dance-inducing hysteria.

In fact, just about the only thing that lacks diversity is the parade route, the basic foundation of the day. Too much variety there is not the spice of life, it simply breeds confusion, so the parade will head north on West 3rd Street to Lakeside Avenue, then turns right, heading to East Ninth Street. From there, it’s a quick jog north to Voinovich Park on the shores of Lake Erie. Just stop before you get to Canada, unless you remember to bring your passport. They’re very strict about that now.

The parade steps off at noon, and the festival begins at 1 pm with a rally greeting the incoming parade.

This year’s festival encompasses two stages, one of which is by the beer garden, the other on the main grounds. The Triangle Stage, in the main area, will have the presentation of the grand marshals. The celebrity parade marshal is Broadway baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell, who will be singing with the North Coast Men’s Chorus at their Pride concert that evening. He just appeared on Glee, where his character’s husband was Jeff Goldblum. The other grand marshal is Dr. Michelle Nicopolis of Cuyahoga Community College, the faculty advisor for the school’s Lambda Gay-Straight Alliance and the coordinator of the college’s Safe Zone program.

Also appearing on the Triangle Stage will be DJ Dan Spurlock, and Zumba Cleveland Pride will be providing a workout, hosted by Justin Rancher.

The stalwart Melissa “Cha Cha” Figueroa will return to Cleveland Pride to add her unmatchable sabor latino to the mix, a perennial favorite wherever she plays.

From there, we go to the toe-tapping rock of Less Than 88, and indie-rock band Kid Tested. The last of the bands on the bill is Robin Stone Presents Dirty Little Rock Stars, the be-all, end-all of tribute bands. DLRS doesn’t emulate one band, it emulates all of them!

Solo acts playing the triangle stage include Corissa Bragg’s reflective girl-pop, Polina Kourakina’s bluesy soul, Anthony Covatta’s soulful blues and Alan Madej’s faintly psychedelic rock, kind of like the Beatles before they got too far over the edge.

The Performance Stage will feature the finest in burlesque and drag performances, featuring Liquor Box, Wasted Productions, Cleveland Kings and Girls, Miss Ohio National Pride Family April Evangelista, DJ Saint, Eclectic Circus and another performance by Melissa “Cha Cha” Figueroa.

Also featured on the Performance Stage will be the Brionna Brooks show with Diamond Devine, Robyn Hearts, Brionna Brooks (obviously), Maya Tack, Stevie Reese Desmond, Nevaeh Brooks and Helen Hatch. Later, Desmond returns with the Stevie Reese Desmond Show, featuring Deja Dellataro, Sonshine Laray, Naomi Ray, Stefanii Shears and Mia Tack.

The full line-up and links to all the performers, along with additional information, is available at www.clevelandpride.org. So come on out on June 23 and Embrace Our Diversity.

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