By Jeremy Martin
Adam Carter is gearing up to co-MC Kalamazoo Pride 2011 and he has every intention to be seen, even from a distance. The Kalamazoo-based actor, activist and educator has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping organize this year’s festival, and that includes finding the perfect pair of shoes.
“Planning a pride outfit is really intense so I looked online and found 5-and-three-quarter inch concealed platforms that are completely rhinestone studded. Walking in heels has never been an issue for me, but these are taking some practice,” Carter concedes.
Now in its fourth year, and second at the outdoor Arcadia Creek Festival Site, Kalamazoo Pride, which is organized by the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, will showcase a litany of local musicians, entertainers, artisans, and food vendors, all with the goal of celebrating the strides towards full acceptance that the Kalamazoo LGBT community has made – and also to highlight the long road ahead.
“This is a community that has developed leaps and bounds. The people that we have here are really special. The way they have embraced the LGBT community is just phenomenal,” said Zachary Bauer, communications director for the center.
Carter, besides being an in-demand local actor who also educates area students on the importance of self awareness and open mindedness, believes that much change has come through outreach programs and the instilling of patience and acceptance in today’s youth.
M.C-ing events like Pride help Carter to spread that message to an even larger cross section of the community.
“I never thought of myself as an LGBT activist, that wasn’t anything I necessarily planned on, but it just sort of happened,” said Carter, who will be co-hosting the event with Jennette Maddock, a drag king who performs under the name “G.Q. Joe.”
One person who made a very conscious decision to become not only an activist, but also a figurehead in the LGBT community, is Ignacio Rivera, this year’s keynote speaker.
Traveling from Brooklyn, N.Y., Rivera, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” is a multi-faceted artist, poet, filmmaker and storyteller. As the founder of Poly Pateo Productions, or P3, Rivera produces sex-positive workshops, films, activities and performances in and around the Brooklyn area. They have also been a regular on the national lecture circuit for more than fifteen years, speaking on college campuses and at festivals like Pride.
The resource center will also be on hand to inform festival-goers of issues and actives in which they can partake.
“We put a lot of pride in ensuring that the programming we participate in is up front at the site,” Bauer said. “So whether it be our youth programs, the triangle mentorship, or other activities, all of these are going to be up front for everyone there to learn and to understand what the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Recourse Center is doing.”
Education and activism will be just one facet of the day. Also on the docket will be musical performances by Ann Arbor folk duo Nervous but Excited, Kalamazoo’s Dunyua Drummers and Pop Goes the Geo, a Chicago based variety group that has appeared on Logo TV and MTV’s “Making the Band.”
“It’s important to just be able to celebrate. It’s a very uplifting day, completely family friendly, at least up until the nighttime hours – then it gets a bit racy,” Carter said.
Enter Dollhouse Productions, the festival’s closing act. The local drag company will perform two sets: one titled “Dollhouse invades Pride” and the other “Dollhouse pops Pride,” the themes of which are both top secret.
Corporate funding for Pride 2011 comes from a number of local and national organizations, including PNC Financial Services and the Kellogg Corporation of Battle Creek, which will add to the family friendly atmosphere by hosting a children’s area.
Kalamazoo Pride 2011
When: Saturday, June 11, 2 p.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Arcadia Creek Festival Site, downtown Kalamazoo
Cost: free to enter
Contact information: http://www.kglrc.org, 269-349-4234
Welcome Address 2:00-2:15
Community Showcase 3:00-5:00
Nervous But Excited 5:00-6:00
Sean McCann 6:00-6:15
Ignacio Rivera – Keynote Address 6:15-7:00
Dunyua Drummers 7:00-8:00
Doll House Invades Pride 8:00-9:00
Pop Goes the Gio 9:00-10:00
Doll House Pops Pride 10:00-11:00
Childrens activity tent all day