This month's Cherry party, billed as a "lezzie shindig," has a Femme Fatale theme celebrating "all the bad girls that make life worth living," according to host Julie Wheeler.
They'll have the usual burlesque and drag show, but this time, there will also be a belly dancing performance. The party starts at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th, at Earnestine & Hazel's.
The show will star the current reigning Miss American National Star Jade Porchett (of RuPaul's Drag Race fame), plus drag performers Shannon "WillRyder" Herrada and Akasha Cassadine. The burlesque performance will include a Cherry debut by Fatima Fox. The belly dancers will be from Pyramid Dancers. There will be live music by Gina Sposto, and as always, Cherry will be hosted by singer/comedian Wheeler, who just returned from LGBTComedyfest in Michigan.
Since Earnestine & Hazel's only sells beer, guests are invited to BYOB for free. But beer and set-ups will be sold.
There will be two shows, and they begin at 9:30 and 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for VIP.
The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) will hold its fifth annual Gumbo Contest and Mardi Gras party this Sunday, February 8th at Bridges.
Each year, gumbo teams from across the city come together to compete in this fund-raiser for TEP. This year, there are 15 teams but 16 gumbos (because one team has paid to enter two different recipes). A panel of judges sample and rate each gumbo, but the public also gets a chance to rate their favorites through the People's Choice Awards.
Local and regional breweries High Cotton, Yazoo, and Memphis Made will be offering craft beer at the event, and the Hot Memphis 4 will perform live New Orleans-style jazz.
Also at the event, TEP will honor its "Champions of Equality" — Chef Kelly English (for standing up to Senator Brian Kelsey last year when Kelsey sponsored the "Turn the Gays Away" bill), Memphis City Councilmember Janis Fullilove (for sponsoring the city-wide non-discrimination ordinance), Senator Lee Harris (for sponsoring the city-wide non-discrimination ordinance when he was on the city council), and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham (for ensuring that all sheriff's deputies received LGBT Cultural Competency training last year).
Tickets are $25 for 21 and older and $15 for under 21. They may be purchased online here.
(Full disclosure: The Flyer's LGBT reporter Bianca Phillips is competing in the contest with a vegan gumbo.)
Although religion remains the biggest obstacle in the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community, not every faith can be blamed.
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) is hoping to showcase some of the local inclusive churches and faith groups in their first annual Faith Fair tonight (Tues., Nov. 11th) from 4 to 7 p.m.
"Our goal is to bridge the gap between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and the local Memphis religious community. We welcome you to help bridge that gap for those of us who have felt turned away from faith regardless of creed or denomination," reads the event's Facebook invite.
Ministers and faith leaders of various churches and organizations will be present. The event is open to any religion and every denomination.
Local marriage equality advocates will be protesting Thursday's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.
The "Rally for Equality" will be held in front of the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. this afternoon (Friday, Nov. 7th).
Participants are encouraged to bring signs with messages like "Equal Protection for All" and "Not Done Til DAY ONE," and "Marriage Equality NOW!"
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Photographer Mia Nakano has spent the last eight years documenting still images and video of queer Asian-American and trans women from across the country for her Visibility Project.
In the video collection, the women discuss everything from how they deal with pronouns, the process of coming out in their own families, and general issues of gender and sexuality.
Nakano is on a Southern tour promoting the Visibility Project, and she'll be speaking at Rhodes College on Friday, November 7th. The free event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Hyde Hall of the Catherine Burrow Refectory on campus.
Those with specific inquiries about the event can contact Dr. Evelyn Perry, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology.
Amanda Magdalena, a women's history PhD student, has been researching the influence of evangelical religion on lesbian identity and community formation in and around the Memphis area. She's giving a brief talk about her dissertation at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper) on Saturday, November 1st from 2 to 5 p.m.
After her talk, Magdalena is inviting local women to share personal stories and anecdotes from their own experience to help build on the southern lesbian history she has already researched.
She's especially interested in hearing from local lesbians who are 50 years old or older, either during the discussion or as part of an in-depth interview after the event.
Davin Clemons, a Memphis Police officer who works on the TACT unit and serves as the LGBTQ liaison for department, also happens to be a motivational speaker, an ordained church elder, and the founder of Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis, Inc.
He's a member of Clergy Defending Rights for All, which worked with the Tennessee Equality Project to push the non-discrimination ordinance for city workers that passed two years ago. Through his role as police liaison, Clemons said he helps educate his fellow officers on cultural sensitivity.
On Tuesday, October 21st, Clemons will facilitate the monthly meeting of Spirituality Group at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper). Clemons will deliver a presentation titled "Your Gift Is Calling ..."
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is hosting a health fair on Saturday, October 18th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Representatives from health organizations and service providers that are welcoming and open to the LGBTQ community will be on hand to provide health information, refer people to various doctors, and share alternative exercise options.
The event will be in collaboration with Healthy and Free Tennessee's "Voice Your Vote" event, so attendees are encouraged to bring an ID. There will be music, food, and an area for kids.
The city's annual gay pride parade is happening a little early this year, after the past two October parades were marred by cold snaps and wet weather.
Gay pride weekend kicks off with the "Big Gay Art Show" at Crosstown Arts Gallery on Friday, September 26th from 6 to 9 p.m. The show will feature work dealing with themes of sexuality, gender identity, and contemporary queer issues by regional artists in mediums ranging from painting and photography to video and performance art. Storyteller Elaine Blanchard will perform, and there will be a screening of the film Underage by artist Ohm Phanphiroj. The show is curated and hosted by Thomas Everett Green and Kevin Mitchell, faculty members of Memphis College of Art.
The annual Mid-South Pride Festival begins off at 10 a.m. at Robert R. Church Park downtown on Saturday, September 27th and runs through 6 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Seeing Red, male illusionist Spikey Van Dykey, Tori WhoDat, Incredible Hook, and others.
The pride parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Beale and Fourth and will proceed toward Second, where the parade ends. The grand marshals for this year's parade are Arkansas-based LGBT rights activist Laura Phillips and Jonathan and Dwayne D. Beebe-Franqui, a gay military couple that have become role models for LGBT service members.
With domestic violence making both local and national headlines, including the recent murder of transgender woman Alejandra Leos by her boyfriend, representatives from the Family Safety Center are taking the opportunity to let the LGBT community know their services are available to victims of any sexual orientation.
Vernetta Eddleman and Debbie Coffman from the Family Safety Center will speak at the monthly Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) meeting on September 24th from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper).
The Family Safety Center, which combines civil, criminal, health, and social services for victims of family violence, has worked to make sure their services are LGBT-friendly. The staff has trained with the TEP, and they partner with the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center and HIV/AIDS nonprofit, the Red Door Foundation.
Sister Jeannine Gramick, founder of three Dignity USA chapters and the Conference for Catholic Lesbians, will be coming to Memphis next week to lecture on sexual identity from a faith perspective. She'll be speaking at Marian Hall at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (1695 Central) on Wednesday, September 24th from 7 to 9 p.m.
Gramick is also the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT-positive ministry of justice and advocacy, that she launched with Father Robert Nugent.
Gramick conducts spiritual retreats, workshops, and pilgrimages to holy places for the LGBT community and their friends and family.
The annual Outflix Film Festival started last Friday, but screenings continue through Thursday. The festival benefits the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center. All films are shown at the Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill.
A few films to watch this week:
Monday, Sept. 8, 8:30 p.m.
Gerontophilia — Lake, an 18-year-old man, discovers he has a strange attraction to elderly men. He volunteers at a nursing home and starts a relationship with the elderly Mr. Peabody. Lake helps Mr. Peabody wean off the meds the nursing home is giving him, and then he hatches an escape plot.
Tuesday, Sept 9, 8:30 p.m.
Truth — A psychological thriller about two men who meet online and fall in love, only to end up with one being held captive.
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Lady Valor — Documentary about Kristin Beck, a former US Navy Seal who came out as transgender in 2013.
Thursday, Sept. 11, 8:30 p.m.
Test — Set in San Francisco in 1985, Test tells the story of two dancers in a modern dance troupe during the start of the AIDS epidemic.
This month's Cherry party, billed as "a lezzie shindig," will feature a burlesque show, a charity drive, and a ghost hunt at Earnestine & Hazel's on Saturday, August 30th.
Choices, Community HIV Network, Planned Parenthood, and Friends For Life will have tables at the event, and attendees can learn about each charity's mission and how to donate or volunteer.
The burlesque show will feature LadyDoo Moi, Shannon Will Ryder Herrada, Requi Emma, Macc Onner, and Kitty Wompas. And as always, the party is hosted by singer/comedian Julie Wheeler. Afterward, there will be an informal ghost hunt in the famously haunted bar.
Doors open at 8:30 p.m. There will be two burlesque shows, one at 9:30 p.m. and one at 11:30 p.m. The cover charge is $10 for general admission or $20 for VIP.
Local law enforcement has assigned two officers to act as liaisons to the LGBT community.
Detective Barbara Tolbert of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and Officer Davin Clemons of the Memphis Police Department will be on-hand at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (892 S. Cooper) on Thursday, Aug. 21st at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting is intended to be "a safe place where members of the LGBTQ community can express concerns candidly or ask questions pertaining to any past or current issues that are related to our local law enforcement authorities," according to the MGLCC announcement about the meeting.
It sounds like the premise for a reality TV show challenge: Put a bunch of art lovers in a room with just as many pieces of art, serve them cocktails and snacks, and then set them loose to dash for their favorite pieces. Everyone gets to take home a piece of art, but whether or not the contestants get their favorite depends on how fast they are.
That's basically the idea for the first-ever Friends for Life Art Dash. For the $100 ticket price, each participant will have their shot at grabbing their favorite piece of art, all of which was donated by local artists. Everyone who purchases the $100 ticket is guaranteed to leave with a piece of art.
Those who would like to attend but can't spare the $100 ticket price can get an Art Dash Friends ticket for $25. Both the $100 and the $25 tickets come with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, wine, and beer.
All proceeds will benefit Friends for Life's work to provide education, housing, food, transportation, and healthy life skills training to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Tickets may be purchased here.