By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 

The life, legacy, and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are worth commemorating, and throughout Atlanta, there are many events and celebrations happening on and around the National Holiday observed on Monday, January 15, 2018.

 

2018 Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner

January 13, 2018, The Hyatt Regency Hotel

The Salute to Greatness Award, one of the King Center’s highest honors, is presented during the Annual Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner, to individuals and progressive organizations in recognition of outstanding efforts toward building Dr. King’s Beloved Community. This year’s honorees include Senator Cory Booker (NJ), and  Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Chobani. More info at thekingcenter.org

 

King50 – 2018 Morehouse College Commemoration

Dr. King’s undergraduate alma mater hosts a variety of mostly free events from January 6 through January 31. More info at morehouse.edu/kingcollection/celebration.

 

Georgia Tech MLK Celebration

Georgia Institute of Technology presents a full schedule of events that will commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The lineup includes educational programs and service opportunities January 10 through 25. Learn more at diversity.gatech.edu/mlk-celebration-events.

 

MLK Day 5K – Let Freedom Run

Monday, January 15, Corner of Monroe Dr. & 10th St

The fitness event gathers diverse groups in our beloved community to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in the spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood with fellowship and fitness. More information on how to participate at mlkday5k.com.

 

Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast

Monday, January 15, 10 am, The Loudermilk Center

The event honors the lives of late Bayard Rustin and Audre Lorde and the ongoing work of Black LGBTQ and other people committed to social change. The breakfast engages people through fellowship and dialogue to support local activists. Participations and tickets are free. Contact InthelifeATL@aol.com for more information.

 

MLK March & Rally Atlanta

Monday, January 15, Peachtree and Baker Street

Take part in the traditional MLK March that celebrates, reflects on, and acts upon the teachings of Dr. King. Register at mlkmarchcommittee.com.

 

 

Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Monday, January 15, 10 am, Ebenezer Baptist Church

Each year a commemorative service pays tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The service is free, but seating is limited.

 

MLK Museum Day

Enjoy free admission to the Atlanta History Center, and Margaret Mitchell House.

 

Impulse Group’s #OWNU Campaign Launch

The multimedia campaign will launch during MLK Day and aims to highlight prominent Black LGBTQ leaders who embody values represented by the LGBT Color Flag. The Impulse Group participate in the Rustin/Lorde Breakfast, and support the rally and march with #OWNU flyers and banners. Learn more on the Facebook page @impulsegrpatl.

By Jamie Kirk

 

Not the non-violent protest. Not his ability to turn the other cheek, and for asking to be treated fairly. Not his eloquent manner and gracious approach to humanity. Not his begging and pleading to help gain black people the right to vote, to use the same water fountain, to ride the bus or just plain ol’ being treated with dignity and respect. The most important part of acknowledging Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day is that we don’t have to go to work, schools are closed, there is no mail, and the banks are closed. Now that I have your attention; allow me to explain.

 

The reason I feel it is so important to be “off” on this day, is so that we can be “on.”  Be turned “on” to reading about his legacy, be turned “on” to learn about the history of the King Center, to be turned “on” to the uphill battles he fought, that didn’t make the mainstream newspaper and TV stations. It’s our chance to be turned “on” to giving back to our communities.

 

We have lost our way regarding the civility that comes along with being a great nation, and even a great city.  We have turned every topic (sports, politics, neighborhoods, and even basic/common NORMAL language like saying Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays into an all-out debate with two very opposite sides.  We have turned into a bunch of hard-headed folks that feel everything is a black or white issue. And that is not the case. There are gray issues, purple issues, red issues, etc. The point is to focus on the issues, not the distracting noise around it.

 

Taking a day “on” gives us time to re-calibrate and focus on what is essential.  It’s a chance to educate our ourselves on the Civil Rights Movement, the successful (and unsuccessful) boycotts, and seek out information that will make us more productive and informed citizens of this great United States of America. Which has always been great, by the way.

 

We have to turn ourselves “on” to information, so it’s time to log off Instagram, log out of Facebook, stop texting and driving, put down our homework, and become more informed about MLK Jr. For instance, did you know:

 

  1. At the time of his death, even though he was only 39, an autopsy revealed that MKL Jr. had the heart of a 60-year-old likely due to the stress of his life.

 

  1. MLK Jr. skipped the 9th and 12th grades (because he was just that smart) and entered Morehouse at the tender age of 15.

 

  1. When MLK Jr. married Coretta Scott King, they were not allowed to stay in a whites-only hotel, so instead had to spend the night in a black-owned funeral home.

 

  1. Over 900 streets worldwide have a street named Martin Luther King Jr.

 

  1. MLK Jr. is one of ten world martyrs of the 20th Century who is depicted in life-sized statues at the entrance of the Westminster Abbey in London.

 

These tidbits of information are hidden gems that you can only know by seeking out the information. Not allowing the media to force-feed you information, but getting the facts for yourself.  We can’t allow a President, a friend, a family member, or anyone to dilute the fact that MLK Jr.’s work should not be forgotten and definitely should not be avoided.

 

When we get so busy with our hectic lives and watch mindless TV shows, we are indeed avoiding the teachings of MLK. Jr.  We are not doing the work of helping our neighbor, being charitable, or even paying attention to someone that may be “stuck” or in trouble.  We are simply distracting ourselves from what is happening right in front of our faces.   When someone like Roy Moore is even allowed to get as far as he has gotten in life, with his track record of immoral and unethical antics, we are indeed turned “off.”

 

Are there more people voting these days? Kinda. Are we more informed and paying attention to politics, not just at the national level? Kinda. Are we moving the needle towards equality for ALL? Kinda. This “kinda” approach needs to be more consistent and deliberate. We need to continually care-front those that feel any level of bias or a situation that lacks equality is “okay.”  We must do nothing but stay tuned in and turned “on” to issues that matter to us all.

 

Everyone knows someone that is a #metoo. This movement is about anyone and everyone impacted by ageism, sexism, or racism.  There is not one person reading this article that has not been touched by someone or impacted by discrimination because of who they are, who they love or how they look. It is up to each of us to start each day committed to doing more than using a hashtag. We need to commit to taking day after day after day after day, as a fresh start and be better human beings. Not taking Monday off, but taking it ON. Taking on this day and every day to help keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream stay alive and well.  We have the day “off,” let’s make him proud by deserving it through supporting his legacy and dream.  We cannot allow his dream to be deferred.

Jamie Kirk works for a software company and is a certified spinning instructor. He also enjoys yoga, swimming, bicycling and running. He aspires to start a blog about what we put in our bodies not only fuels our body but our mind and spirit as well. Follow Jamie on IG @tysonsdad

Twisted Broadway at Lips Atlanta

 

 

It’s the latest show installment at the popular drag dining restaurant in Brookhaven, and it is quite the hidden gem! Twisted Broadway shows are every Wednesday at Lips Atlanta, and it picks out Broadway’s best and most beloved characters to give them a proper drag treatment.

 

You’ll get a little Wicked, a touch of Dolly, a rendition of the ‘filthy’ Mermaid, an alternative Lion King, and many other numbers that all get that special camp comedy twist, so this is Broadway like you’ve never seen it before. Or rather, this takes you way off Broadway in the most entertaining way.

 

It is all hosted by the creative and comedic talent of Edie Cheezburger (pictured) whose background in the edgy Other Show has surely rubbed off on Twisted Broadway and given it its clever edge and surprise twists that go beyond catering to a mainly straight (but drag and gay-friendly!) crowd.

 

The drag dining concept remains unchanged: you book a table in advance for a 7:30 pm seating. You order food and drinks (don’t miss out on the frozen cosmo!), and finish your meal as the performers take the stage.

 

Other recommendable shows are Charlie Brown’s Glitz & Glam (Friday and Saturday), and Bubba Delicious’ Dragaliciouc Gospel Brunch (Sundays).

 

 

Twisted Broadway is every Wednesday at Lips Atlanta, 3011 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Check out atldragshow.com for more info, and call 404-315-7711 for table reservations.

The Santaland Diaries Starring Topher Payne

Photos: PR

The Santaland Diaries has returned to the Horizon Theatre as a Atlanta Holiday tradition spanning almost two decades. This year is a little different since the role of the satirical, sarcastic elf Crumpet in David Sedaris’ non-traditional and adult-only Christmas comedy will be played by columnist and playwright Topher Payne after Harold Payne has decided to hang up the green tights and pass on the elf hat and booties to a new leading actor.

The alternative Holiday tale has over the years turned into a Christmassy classic serving up a dose of seasonal spirit doused in Scrooge-like cynicism delivered by the character Crumpet, who hilariously depicts his stint as a Macy’s Department Store elf.

Topher Payne brings his own presence and wit to the character, which has grown into an alternative Christmas cult figure. About the part, Topher says: “Taking on the role of Crumpet in The Santaland Diaries is a bold, thrilling challenge I’m eager to face. I’ll be spicing up this iconic role by creating a new atmosphere while providing the same mischievous, ludicrous behavior that continuously brings new and loyal audiences out to see the show!”

If you need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle, this crazy Christmassy comedy is the laughter-inducing remedy.

 

When: The Santaland Diaries will run November 17 – December 31

Where: Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Tickets:  horizontheatre.com or 404.584.7450

By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

The Atlanta Holiday season kicks off most spectacularly with the Toy Party on Dec 2. We caught up with Lynn Barfield, the President of For the Kid In All of Us, amid preparations for the big night to talk about the mission, the party, the impact, and the future of the Toy Party.

 

Tell us – in your own words – about the mission of For the Kid In All of Us?

Our mission is to bridge communities and to brighten the lives of Georgia’s children in need. Our beneficiary organizations range from Lost-n-Found Youth, Eastlake Foundation to AID Atlanta and Safe Path. They may have funds for their programs, but not to add to a child’s quality of life. We do that by offering our ability to garner resources like backpacks and toys in the community.

 

Many people probably don’t know this – tell us how the idea for the Toy Party came about?

For the Kid In All of Us was started in 2003 by City Councilman Alex Wan and a small group of concerned citizens. The Toy Party was born out of a need that the group saw in our community, and the wish to give back in a meaningful way. It’s an 18-member board of volunteers. People who are passionate about underserved and unprivileged children. The board has its roots in the LGBTQ community, but welcome all to volunteer and participate with us. We do this with no paid staff, a lot of heart, and a storage facility.

 

It is always impressive – and quite frankly very touching – to see the toys pile up at the party. Can you share some of the successes of the event?

In 2016 the community donated over a little over 4,000 toys, and our silent auction raised 40,000 dollars. Being held on a Saturday night, the atmosphere and vibe of the party is most certainly different. It’s full of revelry, terrific music, and the most handsome crowd at any holiday event in the city! Attendance has gotten better and better.

 

What can guests expect at this year’s event on Dec 2?

This year we have the Other Show led by Edie Cheezburger, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, Danceography and Dance Atlanta are joining us for a few numbers that will get everyone’s booty shaking. DJ Liz Ellis is spinning for the crowd this year and, well, that man in the red suit, Santa Claus, is going to make an appearance.  Svedka is a presenting sponsor along with Peach ATL. Other sponsors include Coca-Cola, EPS, Epic Events, and All Scripts. The Atlanta Apparel Mart is our long-time, and much appreciated location and event spot.

 

Looking beyond the party – how do the donations help in the community?

Our impact is far-reaching. The toys we collect will go to children whose parent may not have the (mental, physical, financial) ability to provide for a child. Money may need to go to essentials like a mortgage, rent, bills, and food. We impact the family by providing toys and giving that household a feeling of betterment. So, it’s not only a material definition but a happiness definition too.

 

Can you share a story of impact?

Last year, our volunteer Dwight Minio and his team at All Scripts provided us with some gently used and refurbished laptops from their company. The program manager at Eastlake Foundation, Jennifer McCrary, told us about how a young lady, who got surprised with one of those laptops, experienced a significant impact from that gift. She always had to stay late to do her homework at the education center because her parents didn’t have the money for a laptop. Getting a laptop meant that she got a better study environment, and the pressure of completing her work during a time frame was lifted.

 

Looking ahead – what does the future have in store for For the Kid and the Toy Party?

The future holds expansion – non-profits of our type that serve as bridge resource organizations are becoming more and more relevant in these already tough financial and political times. We live in a state that sees so many youths in our metro and rural areas living in poverty. The organizations we work with are seeing an influx of needs, and we hope we can rise to help meet that. We need more funding and more support, and we will listen to our beneficiaries and grow with them. We can’t thank the organizations and businesses that already support us enough.

Next Up!

In 2018, Back Pack in the Park returns to Piedmont Park in July, and a community challenge will be incorporated into the Toy Party.

 

Volunteer with For the Kid In All of Us

If you or someone you know would like to get involved with For the Kid either as a board member or general volunteer, please email volunteer@forthekid.org

 

Toy Party & Silent Auction

December 2, 6:30 pm

 

Admission: Bring an unwrapped toy valued at $20 or more $10

VIP Admission: Please visit forthekid.org – VIP includes unlimited drinks, food, and elevated views of the event and dance floor in a unique environment.

Location: America’s Mart 3: 75 John Portman Blvd NW

Suzanne Westenhoefer Performs at Out Front

The kid from Amish Country who began her comedy career on a dare is celebrating a quarter century of out, open, no-holds-barred comedy.

 

Suzanne tells the truth. The truth in life is funny, especially when it’s fermented in Suzanne’s mind. That’s why she could never be in the closet, making her a trailblazer when she started doing stand-up in the 1990s. She was the first openly lesbian comedian with an HBO Special and the first openly lesbian comedian on “Late Night with David Letterman.”

 

Her shows are always a mystery mixed with delight as she never does the same show twice. She never writes anything down, but boldly takes the stage and lets her hilarious truth-telling begin in a beautiful mixture of candor, courage, and charisma.

 

When: November 29, 8:00 PM

Where: Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Tickets: $25 General Admission or $40 Prime Seating (Includes Meet and Greet after the show). tep.ticketleap.com

By Mik Hyldebrandt

 

Photo: Nalegé Diaz, PR

 

Ryan Roemerman – Executive Director, LGBT Institute

As an essential civil rights landmark in Atlanta, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, opened its very own LGBT Institute in the summer of 2015. Ryan Roemerman has led the institute since its inauguration, and he has effectively made LGBT rights part of the center’s educational programming. Other vital initiatives launched under his leadership are the first Southern Survey of LGBT people and annual symposiums and forums dedicated to exploring LGBTQ issues.

lgbtinstitute.org

 

 

Mary Edith Pitts – Drag and Makeup Artist Extraordinaire

With over 25 years in drag, she is known as Atlanta’s camp queen of comedy. If you’ve been fortunate to see her perform at one of Atlanta’s many drag queen venues, including the Starlight Cabaret, East Point Possums, and the Armorettes, you know her performances have bite, raunch, and a lot of humor. Mary Edith Pitts is also known for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthy, local nonprofits by merely donating her tips. When she doesn’t perform as MEP, her alter ego, Richard works as a makeup artist for the booming film industry in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Westbrook – Executive Director, Lost-n-Found Youth

Since Lost-n-Found Youth was born in 2011, Rick Westbrook has been involved with the nonprofit that provides crisis support and transitional housing for LGBTQ youth between the ages 13 to 25. Notable accomplishments under Westbrook’s leadership include the renovation of a Juniper Street house to be used as transitional housing for LGBTQ youth facing adversity, an expanded street outreach program, and a thriving thrift store on Chantilly Drive.

lfny.org

 

 

 

 

Nicole Roebuck – Executive Director, AID Atlanta

As the Executive Director, Nicole Roebuck heads the largest HIV/AIDS service organization in Georgia. Under her leadership, AID Atlanta has expanded its services to include not only individual case management but also mental health, housing and clinical care services for over 3,200 members annually. She also leads numerous initiatives that deal with breaking stigmas and provide training and education for people affected by HIV or AIDS. The AIDS Walk & 5K Run in October is the primary fundraiser for the organization.

aidatlanta.org

 

 

 

 

Tyler – Rapper

In a genre that is rarely associated with gay, J. Tyler is making his mark as an out and gay rapper. His style is fast-paced, witty, and edgy, and you should definitely check out his YouTube where he shows off his incredible talent with his takes on hip-hop and rap tunes. And more importantly, you can download his excellent EP “Prelude” on iTunes and Spotify!

jtylermsic.com

 

 

 

 

Jim Farmer – Atlanta’s Out on Film, Festival Director

The ever-expanding film festival chronicles our history, our struggles, and how we still fight in the present for our rights, our freedom, and our lives. As the leader of Out On Film, Jim Farmer has effectively helped to put Atlanta on the queer map of America and continues to bring an even broader and more prominent range of LGBTQ-themed movies to the city.

outonfilm.org

If you are looking for a local animal rescue to support, the popular Puglanta Pugfest returns in November for its second annual fundraiser and pug meet-n-greet.

The second annual event celebrates all things pug with the goal of raising funds for the Puglanta Dog Rescue, a local Atlanta 501(c)(3) charity. The fundraiser features cute and clever contests including costumes, themed raffles with great prizes, and a silent auction. For the pug lovers and their people, there is a Pug Paraphernalia Pickers yard sale, you can have your picture taken with Santa and The Grinch, kiss a pooch in the pug kissing booth, and get your pug microchipped.  There will be plenty of treats available for all dogs, and food trucks selling food for humans.

Most importantly, there will plenty of pugs there, and even though no adoptions will take place at the Puglanta PugFest, many of the Puglanta pugs will be on site for meet-n-greets.

What: Puglanta Pugfest

When: Saturday, November 18, 11 am – 4 pm

Where: Loving Touch Animal Center, 1975 Glenn Club Dr., Stone Mountain, GA

How Much: $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and free for dogs (must be leashed)

 

Visit facebook.com/puglantadogrescue for more information.

Kwanza Hall Believes in the Diverse Identity of Atlanta

By Mik Hyldebrandt

Photos: McCall Studios

As the race tightens before the primaries in November, mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall releases his comprehensive plan to put Atlanta on the map – and he is convinced that the LGBTQ community is at the center of a new ATL identity.

With 15 years of experience as an elected official to the city of Atlanta, mayoral candidate, Kwanza Hall, is known as a man who likes to get things done, and always has a comprehensive plan of action when proposing legislation to the city.

His latest victory is the newly signed marijuana legislation in Georgia, which will help balance many racial disparities that have existed for years and have law enforcement focus on other types of crime instead of making arrests for minor possession. He has also proposed and passed legislation for a major criminal justice reform package, which among other things includes the Pre-Arrest Diversion program which redirects many offenders into social services instead of into jail. The latter also means added protections for transgender people who often experience an unnecessary level of harassment when they’re arrested for petty crimes. And, of course, he was a leading player in getting the rainbow crosswalks installed permanently at the 10th and Piedmont intersection just in time for Pride last year.

He has always participated in conversations around LGBTQ issues. In fact, he is convinced that his parents taught him not only to be a passionate civil servant but also to be on the right side of history when it comes to civil and human rights. “My leadership style is one of inclusion and seeking equity,” he explains, “and I think I inherited that from my parents who were both civil rights activists. My dad was the youngest member of Dr. King’s staff from 1963-1968.” So, to say that politics runs in his veins is an understatement, and as the only one elected to office with an openly gay chief of staff, he is also extremely well-versed when it comes to LGBTQ issues.

The Business Side of Things

Kwanza Hall is thoroughly convinced that Atlanta’s thriving LGBTQ community is a tremendous asset to the city and its people. He attributes neighborhood developments, leaps in school reform, and a flourishing business community in part to the city’s LGBTQ citizens – and furthermore, he thinks that the message of inclusion and diversity on all levels should be part of the city’s legacy.

So, at a mayoral forum sponsored by the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC), he hinted that he was going to do something “big for the LGBTQ business community related to the airport that would propel the city’s image to new heights.”   He believes it’s a moment to revisit diversity and inclusion in the airport.  In light of the recent corruption scandals, why not have that conversation as well. Kwanza Hall thought it prudent to roll out legislation that will be better at offering the contracting and bidding process to LGBTQ businesses. As Kwanza Hall observes, “opening up the bidding process to allow LGBTQ businesses to participate specifically makes so much sense to me. There is already a program for minority participation, but there’s no special callout for the LGBTQ community – so this is an opportune time to call for more diversity at the airport but also in the broader city”.

To back this particular piece of legislation, and to demonstrate that as mayor he will ‘put the money where his mouth is,’ he is proposing a space at the airport dedicated to LGBTQ businesses. As a man who likes to get things done, he already has complete renderings of the proposed area (see the full renderings at peachatl.com), a prospective business plan, a list of potential businesses, and, of course, a pretty solid concept of what such a space could entail: “This could be a Human Rights café that celebrates the diversity of the city, and a wonderful testament to the legacy this city holds. It is also us not just talking about it, but showing it – you actually see us being inclusive!”

Architecturally he is open to letting it be anything potential LGBTQ vendors or contractors would like it to be. Whether it’s going to be a café, restaurant, gallery, retail space, or all of the above with Atlanta-specific products is entirely open to interpretation, as long as it would have a component of storytelling that would show and tell the city’s diversity and inclusion.

The proposed space at the airport also holds a great deal of symbolic value to reflect Atlanta as the hub of the state’s LGBTQ community in the middle of the world’s busiest airport and most important travel hub in the American Southeast.

Next Big Steps for the ATL

The legislation for a renewed and LGBTQ-inclusive bidding process along with the space at the airport is being proposed as we speak. The process from idea to completion is to create a standard by seeing if other cities have similar legislation or contracting programs, and initiate a study on the concept of LGBTQ procurement standards and guidelines.

Kwanza Hall is convinced that the concept of making the bidding process more accessible for LGBTQ businesses and the airport retail space will go far because of the way it could help shape the future of Atlanta. He firmly believes in opening from an inclusive position, and as he says, “Even though we haven’t figured out all perspectives, it’s about starting from a positive place and stay in that place.” The same attitude applies to the vision he has for future Atlanta should he be the one taking the mayor’s seat. “Obviously, I love the city. Who knows what we might be able to do? We’re not huge like Chicago and NYC, but we have all the same attributes and success platforms that they have,” he explains, “but we do struggle somewhat with our identity. We keep saying ‘we should be it’; but we just don’t know what that ‘it’ is yet!” He sees the next 4-8 years as genuinely formative – especially if Kwanza himself should be at the helm of the city – where Atlanta could indeed build a new perspective and identity for itself.

Much like a tween going through all the phases towards adulthood, Atlanta is not quite there, and just like a closeted gay person, Kwanza believes Atlanta should come out on its own! “As mayor, it’s going to be wonderful to help people, because people matter most and I believe in people-focused, people-centered leadership because it will do the soul of Atlanta good,” he explains. The grand vision is to develop a city that can take care of all of its people and be better about loving its people, “It’s not about giveaways but about empowering everyone to participate and to benefit and grow together. That’s what this city needs to be about.”

How will he build this vision of Atlanta? Well, apart from proposing comprehensive and well-researched legislation and getting things done instead of just talking about them, Kwanza returns to his roots to talk about doing well and simply having the need to help people: “I really did learn to become an honest public servant. My parents put that in me. I didn’t know growing up that that was what they were doing, but my dad always took us places to help people – and it’s hard to stray away from what has been given to you!”

The non-partisan mayoral election for the city of Atlanta will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed is ineligible to run for re-election as he will have served two terms. If no candidate receives an absolute majority, a runoff will be held between the top two finishers on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. No matter who will claim the title as mayor of the city of Atlanta, Kwanza Hall describes best what the city needs: “Atlanta doesn’t need a white, black, gay, or straight mayor – Atlanta needs a great mayor.”

Disclaimer of Endorsement: The views and opinions stated in this interview are solely for the reader’s convenience. PeachATL Media does not endorse a single candidate in the mayoral campaign or election.

These are conceptional drawings provided to Peach Atlanta exclusively.
Copyright 2017: Provided by Kwanza Hall For Mayor. All rights reserved. Exclusive Peach Content. Do not distribute, copy or repost with out permission.

 

by Mik Hyldebrandt

 Pride is full of fantastic events and parties, so we’ve asked a few people from the scene about what they’re up to during the busy rainbow weekend!

Join the Dancefloor Revolution

DJ Neon the Glowgobear lights up the DJ booth and packs dancefloors across the Southeast with his upbeat music style!

My Pride Plan

I’ll kick off my Pride by DJ’ing at TEN Atlanta on Friday 13, and Saturday night I will spin at the Atlanta Eagle alongside DJ Pat Scott for their “Indivisible” party. On Sunday, I’m hoping for some great weather to hang out with my family and friends at Piedmont Park during the day, and I’ll finish my weekend at the Atlanta Pride Official Closing party at Opera where one of my favorite DJs, Tony Moran, will be spinning.

My Pride Love

As a DJ, I have been so fortunate to meet an amazing cast of friends and chosen family. Atlanta Pride gives so many people the opportunity to visit, frolic, laugh, and celebrate all of our diversity in the city I am proud to call home.

My Pride Tip

Our events get crowded, so remember to say excuse, please, and thank you – the latter especially goes for all the police security, and volunteers who are making sure Pride is safe and enjoyable. Oh, and remember that CASH is KING when it comes to busy nightlife events!

Passion for Pride

John Walker is one of the major forces behind the official Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium. 

My Pride Plan

Since I am working the event, I will be at the Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium. I also try to make an appearance at every event across the city – Heretic, Jungle, Deep South, GA Boy – to show my support of our community. You will also find me at the festival and the parade.

My Pride Love

I stumbled onto my first Pride by accident on the weekend I moved to Atlanta in 1998 with my husband. It was very emotional seeing everyone living their best lives. Since then, Pride has become my passion, and I love seeing the diversity of our community shine bright for three days of the year.

My Pride Tip

Rest up the week of Pride as you will need the energy! Lighten up, and let others do what they want to do. Let your freak flag fly high. You do you!\

Appreciate the Fun

Jaye Lish lights up the stage at venues across the city and hosts the ‘off-dragway’ The Other Show at Jungle Atlanta.

My Pride Plan

My Pride weekend will start at The Other Show on Friday night. With Jungle closing this November, we try to have as much fun as possible. Sunday I will watch the parade with friends before I perform again at the Starlight Cabaret.

My Pride Love

So many people come to Atlanta from other cities and states. It gives us visibility and a chance to inspire someone to celebrate themselves in a way that they may not feel comfortable with or be allowed to in their day to day lives.

My Pride Tip

Have fun and be respectful of the space you are sharing with gay/straight/bi/queer/whatever people. Everyone is working hard and doing their best to give the weekend 110%, so give back that effort in appreciation.

Go Deeper

With 30+ years of DJ experience and an incredible energy, Vicki Powell is the uncrowned queen of the Atlanta queer underground music scene. She spearheads the amazing Deep South collective and hosts Sunday Service at Sister Louisa’s.

My Pride Plan

I’m throwing six parties in three days, so my Pride is busy! Friday night is Latin Discoteca at Mary’s, Saturday I’m presenting an all-female DJ lineup along with a female-only-presenting list of hosts at Deep South at the Music Room, plus a secret Deep South after-hours party. Sunday I’ll be DJ’ing at Henry’s Pride Parade Viewing Party, and later at Sunday Service at Church. I’ll end it all with a secret Sunday Service after-hours party.

My Pride Love

I love being able to create visibility for under-represented music, artists, and clubgoers. I seek to create spaces that are not homophobic, transphobic or racist and which provide an alternative to the more official Pride lineup – I want all of Atlanta’s diversity to shine!

My Pride Tip

Pride brings everyone out of the shadows so have an open mind to whomever you may encounter. Be respectful and accepting – and let your energy and love flow! Kindness is everything.

Afterhours Supporter

You have probably heard Robert Ansley spinning at both Midtown ‘gayborhood’ venues and underground events. He is a part of both Cardio ATL and Deep South – DJ collectives and music lover communities that are rooted in the underground music scene.

My Pride Plan

I’ll start my Pride at the Official Atlanta Pride Kickoff at the aquarium. Saturday, I want to show my support at the Trans March in Piedmont Park, an often overlooked part of our community that face very real struggles. Saturday night I’m excited to be at Deep South, and Sunday I’ll be carrying all day for the parade, the park, Tossed Salad and Vicki Powell’s Sunday Service at Church. Oh, and I may be playing some after-hours parties sprinkled across the weekend …

My Pride Love

Atlanta Pride has always held a special place in my heart. Since our celebration isn’t until October, we don’t have to worry about “competing” with Pride festivals everywhere else. This means our weekend has become a destination for queer folks from all over, and it really does feel like a family reunion.

My Pride Tip

You probably shouldn’t listen to some of my advice, but I recommend pacing yourself!! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Oh, and make new friends!! All sorts of people come out for Pride so talk to that new cutie across the room. And then get their number…

Prepare Yourself!

Mike Woodside is a well-known figure in the Atlanta nightlife scene, and he is the man behind numerous events for his charity Ready4Hope.

My Pride Plan

I’ll be at the incredible Pride Kickoff at the aquarium and then go to the Heretic to where DJ Shane Stiel is spinning. Saturday I’ll be hosting the Kween on the Green gathering in Piedmont Park, and later it’s Xion after a short rest. Sunday I’ll be watching the parade from Zocalo’s and finish the weekend at the closing party at Opera.

My Pride Love

I love getting to celebrate diversity and equality in our community and having fun with my partner, local friends, and out of town friends.

My Pride Tip

Come prepared, leave the drama at home, and have a good time. Get tickets in advance, and dodge lines at Heretic, Jungle, and Xion – the aquarium party sells out every year, so don’t be that last-minute guy. If you are coming to the park, come prepared with everything you need like cash, gum, sunscreen, drinks, etc.