WIND ENSEMBLE’S CABARET CONCERT TO FEATURE CAREY
The Hillcrest Wind Ensemble presents its 2017 Cabaret Concert, “Pops! Goes The Weasel” on Friday, June 23 at 8 p.m. The band will perform a mix of pop music, called by organizers a “pop-pourri,” with some added jazz in the Mississippi Room at the historic Lafayette Hotel, located at 2223 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park.
The evening will include music from movies, popular band literature, as well as a classic ’60s symphonic rock piece. Ria Carey, a popular local performer of both musical theater and nightclubs, will be featured as a special guest, joining the ensemble for some jazz and a musical number from “The Little Mermaid.”
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served at 7:30 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. A no-host bar will be available during the concert, with a 50/50 raffle offering a variety of prizes to add to the entertainment. Tickets are $20 and available at sdartstix.com; The Windsmith, located at 3875 Granada Ave. in North Park, and also at the door.
The 45-piece Hillcrest Wind Ensemble is in its 30th year of performing and is a program of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, acting as a musical ambassador to the community as a whole. For more information, call 619-692-2077 x814 or visit hillcrestwindensemble.com.
‘SOAKED SUNDAYS’ LAUNCH AT THE CALIPH
San Diego’s gay bars have a popular tradition of hosting wet underwear contests, where guys (and some gals) strip down to their underwear and dance underneath a stream of water while the crowd cheers on their favorite contestant.
One of the most popular such events was held for decades at the now-shuttered Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in University Heights, where crowds flocked to the bar’s indoor-outdoor area to watch the show every Thursday night, hosted by a rotating cast of community figures.
A new event, called “Soaked Sunday,” has launched at The Caliph, a longtime San Diego gay bar that is working hard to bring in new events and entertainment to attract an expanded crowd alongside their longtime regulars. Organizers of “Soaked Sunday” were able to acquire the original shower stall that hundreds of people danced in during the previous event’s reign at Bourbon Street, and then for a short time at Numbers. “Soaked Sunday” is hosted by community activist Benny Cartwright, who also writes the “Back Out With Benny” column in Gay San Diego.
The event includes a live DJ and dancing inside the bar, with the water works taking place on The Caliph’s back patio. Sign-ups for the contest begin at 9 p.m., with the contest at 10 p.m. The Caliph is located at 3100 Fifth Ave. on the Hillcrest-Bankers Hill border. Visit thecaliph.net.
LGBT CENTER FAMILIES INCLUDED IN ‘CREATIVITY DAY’
The New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego is hosting its fifth annual Mass Creativity Day event, with a new theme centered on promoting cultural diversity. Six workshops were held around the county at various community and recreation centers and with the help of the museum’s creative team, workshops used “the art of storytelling” to celebrate the diverse communities within San Diego.
One of the six workshop locations was the San Diego LGBT Community Center.
“Our workshops are stemmed around diversity,” Baltazar said. “Our artists create the content, develop it and host a variety of workshops from making instruments to painting and watercolors, poetry and writing all celebrating people’s individual stories and diversity.”
Each of the six workshops held over the last few weeks had a subtheme of “Celebrate your story” and the completed works of each location were melded together to create a community display, which will be presented at the actual upcoming event.
“Mass Creativity Day expands the art experience well beyond our walls,” said Kara Baltazar, manager of community programs and the event’s organizer, in a press release. “It’s a day to celebrate diversity, art and community with all of San Diego.”
Held June 24 from 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Mass Creativity Day will be hosted at the Children’s Museum site, located at 200 W. Island Ave., as well as its adjacent park, with Island Avenue closed so participants can walk freely.
The event will include hands-on art making, food, music, live performances and more. In addition, artwork created at the six various workshops will be exhibited at Mass Creativity Day and free transportation for participating families from those six community centers will be provided by the museum to the event.
For more information, visit thinkplaycreate.org.
NEW ‘IMPRIDE’ FESTIVAL ADDS IMPROV TO PRIDE FESTIVITIES
The inaugural LGBT Improv Comedy Festival — held in partnership with San Diego LGBT Pride — will be held Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8, from 7–11:30 p.m. Called “Impride” for short, the unique comedy festival will be hosted by Finest City Improv and bring two days full of live improvisational comedy to San Diego and benefit San Diego Pride’s youth arts program beneficiaries.
Founded in 2011, Finest City Improv is located at 4250 Louisiana St. in the basement of the Lafayette Hotel. The local comedy troupe hosts improv shows every Thursday and Saturday night and also offers classes and coaching workshops for beginners and pros.
“Finest City Improv has worked hard to consciously establish an inclusive and safe environment for all,” said Impride co-chair Jesse Suphan, in a press release. “What we create here is a space where people feel comfortable being themselves.”
Impride will feature local and national talent as headliners, including Celeste Pechous, Impride co-chair and founder of Dosage Improv Workshops in Los Angeles; Suphan, who in addition to his co-chair duties is also the operations manager at Finest City Improv; Second City comedy school alum Tim Paul; and comedian and Martin Garcia, an Improv Olympic comedy school alum.
Friday night will kick off with “Gay Jam,” where anyone can jump on stage to participate, and continue with “The Absolutely Fabulous Improv Show,” a team of local improvers who present a mixup of various hilarity staged on the spot and based on the life of a local member of our LGBT community; “Double Pretty,” a Portland, Oregon-based improv trio; and “Musical the Musical,” a song and dance improvisational performance.
On Saturday, the event starts with the Lip Sync Battle, where 10 contestants offer up two-minute routines and the audience votes on the winner; “The Gay Mafia,” an improv/sketch comedy group from Logo; “Queerwolves,” a team from Chicago and Los Angeles; “Purdy Twins,” vaudeville performers Prudence and Pervis who hail from Chickopee, Tennessee; and “Novices,” another team with a mix of comedy and acting. In addition, Finest City Improv will also premiere the return of “Twistered!,” a sketch comedy inspired by the “Wizard of Oz.” With a sold-out performance last year, “Twistered!” is an interactive show that features audience participation and gender-bending comedy.
Tickets to the Impride Festival are $20 per block, $15 of which will be donated to San Diego Pride LGBT youth programs. For the full lineup and more information, visit finestcityimprov.com/impride.
ATKINS GETS TWO ACTS THROUGH SENATE
On Tuesday, May 30 two bills, SB 179 and SB 310 — both authored by Democratic Sen. Toni G. Atkins and aimed at increasing rights for transgender California citizens — were passed on the senate floor.
SB 179, also known as the Gender Recognition Act, would allow people to identify as non-binary (neither male nor female) on state-issued identification cards.
“Most of us use our ID on a daily basis and take it for granted,” said Sen. Atkins in a press release. “SB 179 will make what should be a simple task much easier for our transgender and non-binary neighbors.”
If passed, this act would make California one of the first states to have a third gender on state-issued identification documents like driver’s licenses and birth certificates.
“We need to make it easier for transgender and gender nonconforming people to live their lives as who they are, not who society says they’re supposed to be,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who is a joint-author of the act, in the release. “In particular, our LGBTQ youth need to know that we support them and want them to succeed as their authentic selves.”
Passing the senate with a vote of 26-12, the act has gained support from California organizations like Transgender Law Center and Equality California.
The second bill, the Name and Gender Act, or SB 310, gives those housed in state prisons or county jails the right to access the courts to obtain a name or gender change. In addition, the bill would require corrections officials to address these individuals using the new name if they have successfully obtained the name change.
“Transgender people who are incarcerated should have the same right as anyone else to legally change their name or gender and to be recognized for who they are,” Atkins said in the release. “In addition to providing transgender prisoners with a sense of dignity while incarcerated, SB 310 will give them a better chance to reenter society successfully.”
Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California and a supporter of both bills, noted the challenges already facing a transgender person before they apply for a name or gender change.
“The last thing they need is for the government to throw more obstacles in their path,” he said. “These bills would make a difficult process easier and help protect the basic dignity of transgender and non-binary people.”
Both bills have now moved on to the Assembly for consideration.