There’s no place like home

By |2010-09-02T09:00:00-04:00September 2nd, 2010|Uncategorized|

It’s no secret that the LGBT and arts communities are intrinsically linked. From the studios of Hollywood to the community theaters of Michigan, from renowned artists throughout history to local up-and-coming art galleries, gay and lesbian men and women have always been tied to the arts, promoting them, supporting them financially and always, being a part of the creation of art in every form.
These connections between LGBT people and the artistic communities are visible in many ways – some quite subtle and others, well, flamboyantly obvious. Both sides come to play in this week’s issue of Between The Lines, where we celebrate both new, still-growing connections between arts and LGBTs and older, steadfast ones.
Now in its ninth year, the Wilde Awards showcases the LGBT community’s undeniable commitment to theater arts. The annual ceremony, held this year on Sept. 1 at Detroit’s Gem and Century Theatre, celebrates the past season’s best shows and bestowing honors upon Michigan’s best and brightest actors, directors, writers and other contributors to the theater scene. It is, among other purposes, our community’s way of showing support for local theater because theater has always supported our causes.
But there are other supportive events happening in the near future, too. Though it may not be as obviously connected to the gay world as the Wilde Awards, the Arts, Beats & Eats festival, held Sept. 3-6 in downtown Royal Oak, is forging a new connection to the LGBT community that has never before been truly tapped.
Much of this new partnership is due, honestly, to location. Plop a well-known event into a new city in the heart of southeast Michigan’s gay community and, lo and behold, local LGBT residents will adopt it as their own. Such is the case with Arts, Beats & Eats, which probably has more gay contributors this year than most local theater performances.
Gay-owned restaurant Pronto!, HIV/AIDS nonprofit Steppin’ Out, Five15 Media Mojo & More, Affirmations – even Between The Lines – are all getting involved in ABE for the first time. From raising money to hosting performances to our own unprecedented coverage of the annual event, the gay community is all over this festival. And the LGBT attendance? It remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that this will likely be the gayest Arts, Beats & Eats ever.
And why not? Festival organizers sure do embrace the idea.
“I know you probably don’t care,” ABE executive producer Jon Witz excitedly spilled to BTL last week, “but my brother is gay, and my wife’s brother is gay, too!”
And that’s what it’s really all about: the connections. Whether they’re the ones we’re born into or the ones we choose, it’s important to note when allies and LGBT people decide that they can work together on the same endeavors.
So Mr. Witz, we do care, because those welcomed connections and sense of worth are what makes the arts such a wonderful place for so many LGBT people to call home, whether it’s obvious to us or not.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.