Rare Charlie Parker Image Discovered!

Earlier this spring a rare image of Charlie Parker was discovered – it is the only known photograph of the jazz legend playing in Kansas City!  Get the entire scoop in an article by Chuck Haddix, published in the latest issue of JAM Magazine:   Bird-at-the-Jelly-Joint-JAM-2015-Aug-Sep-Oct

Charlie Parker playing at the Jelly Joint, a hangout frequented by students from the University of Kansas City (now UMKC).

Charlie Parker playing at the Jelly Joint, a hangout frequented by students from the University of Kansas City (now UMKC).

40 Years of Pride – Part 22

So, why Pride?  Hasn’t the LGBT community come so far that “Gay Pride” is unnecessary?  Granted, the achievements made in the struggle for civil rights have been breathtaking as of late, especially, of course, in the push for same-sex marriage.  But those accomplishments didn’t just happen.  They were the result of decades of struggle by known and unknown individuals seeking a life without persecution based on who they were and demanding to be treated equally as any other citizen of this country.  The fact that they achieved success is such a relatively short time is astounding.  We celebrate Pride to celebrate them.

It is because of them that, in one lifetime, we went from this:

Undesirable Discharge from military, given to thousands of gays and lesbians

Undesirable Discharge from the military, given to thousands of gays and lesbians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to this:

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one lifetime, from this:

1965 march at the White House protesting treatment of homosexual federal employees

1965 march at the White House protesting treatment of homosexual federal employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to this:

Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one lifetime, from this:

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, founders of the first lesbian advocacy group in the US in 1955

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, founders of the first lesbian advocacy group in the US.  At their first meeting in 1955 they made sure that the curtains were drawn so they wouldn’t be seen from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to this:

Martin and Lyon at their first wedding ceremony in 2004 in San Francisco

Martin and Lyon at their first wedding ceremony in 2004 in San Francisco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s plenty to be proud of.

Happy Pride, Kansas City!  Here’s to another 40 years!

40 Years of Pride – Part 21

So what do the next 40 years hold for Kansas City Pride Celebrations?  Recent years have seen the development of Pride for specific populations within the LGBT community:

Black Pride 2014 Poster

Black Pride 2014 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Pride 2015 Poster

Black Pride 2015 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latino Pride 2015 Banner

Latino Pride 2015 Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether these celebrations can be seen as positive or additional fracturing of the community is up for debate.  But as we move toward what we hope will be additional civil rights accomplishments in a post-same-sex-marriage world, how will Pride be affected?  Will we even need a Pride Celebration?

40 Years of Pride – Part 20

On this historic day in the struggle for LGBT rights, recall some of the important national figures in that battle who appeared at Kansas City Pride Celebrations.  They, and many others like them, paved the way for the marriage equality decision handed down today :

Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, 1997

Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, at Pride in 1997

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Cammermeyer was the highest ranking military officer to be discharged because of her sexual orientation.  Upon her discharge she sued, and won a victory in US District Court, enabling her to serve openly under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

 

Technical Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, 1978

Technical Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, at Pride in 1978

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergeant Matlovich received national attention as the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight its ban on gays.

 

Rev. Troy Perry, 1979

Rev. Troy Perry, at Pride in 1979

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverend Perry founded the Metropolitan Christian Church in 1968.  Kansas City’s chapter was formed five years later.

 

40 Years of Pride, Part 19

In addition to many different musicians, a number of comedians have trod the boards at Kansas City Pride, including:

ANT, 2011

ANT, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis Diller, 2000

Phyllis Diller, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Gless, 2002

Sharon Gless, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judy Tenuta, 1997

Judy Tenuta, 1997

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 Years of Pride – Part 18

As local Pride Celebrations became more commercial over the years, a wide variety of notable musical acts have performed at them.  Here is a sample:

C+C Music Factory, 1997 and 2000

C+C Music Factory, 1997 and 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

En Vogue, 2006, 2010

En Vogue, 2006, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Holliday, 2012

Jennifer Holliday, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaka Khan, 2007

Chaka Khan, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Lisa, 1999

Lisa Lisa, 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pansy Division, 2004

Pansy Division, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

CeCe Peniston, 1999

CeCe Peniston, 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RuPaul

RuPaul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jody Watley

Jody Watley, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chely Wright, 2011

Chely Wright, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 Years of Pride – Part 17

In the last 40 years, Kansas City’s Pride Celebrations have been held throughout the city.  Here’s a list of most of those venues:

1975:  Gay Community House, 3825 Virginia

1978, 1979, 1994, 2004-2009:  Penn Valley Park/Liberty Memorial

1988-92:  Southmoreland Park

1993:  Roanoke Park

1995-2003:  Barney Allis Plaza

2010, 2015:  Berkley Riverfront Park

2011-2012:  Power and Light District

2013:  Westport

2014:  West Bottoms

Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without a t-shirt, so here are the logos from a random assortment of Pride Celebrations:

1990, front

1990, front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1990, back

1990, back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1991

1991

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1997

1997

 

 

 

 

 

1998

1998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000, featuring the fabulous Flo, beautiful Belle Starr, and legendary Melinda Ryder

2000, featuring the fabulous Flo, beautiful Belle Starr, and legendary Melinda Ryder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undated

Undated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undated

Undated

 

 

 

 

 

40 Years of Pride – Part 16

By the 2000-teens, Pride Celebrations in Kansas City were on the decline.  Perceived focus towards a target market group rather than the entire community, uneven production values, and ongoing concern around fiscal responsibilities have all contributed to a sense of frustration and apathy about Pride.  Indeed, there have been attempts at offering what some might consider competing Pride events.  For these reasons, this 40th anniversary year brought a new emphasis on improvements to the Celebration, resulting in the largest crowds of the decade so far.

Pride 2015 volleyball game

Pride 2015 volleyball game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride 2015 Human Rights Campaign Booth

Pride 2015 Human Rights Campaign Booth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HASL Booth

HASL Booth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missouri Air National Guard Booth (!)

Missouri Air National Guard Booth (!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartland Men's Chorus

Heartland Men’s Chorus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local drag legends Flo and Melinda Ryder

Local drag legends Flo and Melinda Ryder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Clifford, one of the "First Ladies of Disco"

Linda Clifford, one of the “First Ladies of Disco”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kit Bond Bridge showing its Pride

The Kit Bond Bridge showing its Pride

 

40 Years of Pride – Part 15

The trend towards making a profit from the Pride Celebration that started in the 1990s continued into the new century.  Various entities were formed to manage production of the event, some with greater success than others.  Pride Celebrations in Kansas City during this time were plagued with real or perceived financial malfeasance, which soured the event for many.

The scale of the events, however, continued to benefit from the influx of funds and grew as the decade progressed.  The location was shifted from Barney Allis Plaza to Penn Valley Park, which could accommodate more attendees, more vendors, and a larger stage for entertainment. Several years saw a Street Festival in what is now the Crossroads District prior to the weekend’s main events in the park.  Exhibitor booths expanded to include a much greater percentage of commercial vendors, further contributing to the move towards a greater corporate feel to the Celebration.  Marketing seemed to be a goal, not community-building.

Support from politicians for the LGBT community and its concerns was another facet of the Pride Celebrations that expanded during this time as well.  Proclamations for Pride were regularly issued by city, county, and state leaders.  But nowhere was this support made more memorable than the cover of the June, 2006 issue of Camp, Kansas City’s primary LGBT news periodical.  Mayor Kay Barnes, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, appeared in a blond wig and 1950s housewife garb holding a iced rainbow cake:

Mayor Kay Barnes in 50s drag

Mayor Kay Barnes in 50s drag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a masterful and unforgettable depiction of growing political support for Kansas City’s LGBT communities.

40 Years of Pride – Part 14

The mid- to late-1990s saw a shift in the evolution of Kansas City’s Pride Celebrations.  Organizers noted the size of crowds in attendance, and realized that the Celebrations could turn a profit if presented appropriately.  The first evidence of this transformation in GLAMA collections is in 1996.  While the Celebration was presented for the second year by Project Pride, a new initiative of GLSN, it appears to have been the first time a fee was levied on attendees.  The one-day festival was held at Barney Allis Plaza in downtown Kansas City, preceded by a parade.

1996 Parade flyer

1996 Parade flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1996 Parade Route

1996 Parade Route

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 1998, a for-profit corporation was responsible for the Pride Celebration, again held in Barney Allis Plaza with an accompanying parade and admission fee.  In 10 years, Kansas City’s Pride Celebration has gone from a grassroots, community-driven effort to a profit-driven event.

1998 Pride Guide

1998 Pride Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1999 Pride Guide

1999 Pride Guide