Issue 390

On the Townsend

Celeste & Starla Save Todd & Win Back the Day
Through May 15
Theatre Garage
711 W. Franklin Ave., Mpls.
(612) 227-1188

Francesca Sanders says her whimsical gender-bending detective play “is supposed to make you think about how we laugh in society when men dress as women, but squirm when women dress as men.”

Director Claire Avitable notes Celeste (Danielle Siver) “woefully learns that her ‘future husband’ is actually in love with a handyman. While she is sad that she did not, in fact, find her soul mate, she is simply jubilant that two other people in her life have found love.”

Celeste also must reflect on her gender prejudices.

With this production, 20% Theatre Twin Cities continues its strong commitment to queer-themed work. Read the rest of this entry »


Features Remarkable GLBT Artists and Works

The 15th annual Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis, presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), features some remarkable GLBT artists and queer-oriented work. Over the weekend of May 14-16, check out various studios and galleries at your own pace for a vast range of new painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, mosaics, and more.

Cody Kiser
Northrup King Bldg. • 1500 Jackson St. NE

Van Gogh meets Picasso in Cody Kiser’s lush brushstrokes and vibrant colors. Even the mundane—for instance, a rocking chair by a window—teems with energetic life. He has been with his partner for more than a decade.

Kiser calls his work “a bridge between the perceptions of what it means to be gay and in a relationship in a home you have created.”

Jon O. Erikson
Svedberg Studio • 3359 Tyler St. NE

Sculptor Jon O. Erikson draws from his experience as a props maker, much of it at the Guthrie Theater. Human and organic forms combine. He makes soft sculpture more rigid in the gay-themed A Nice Young Man… with drapery fabric, resin, and wood.

According to Erikson, his style is “anthropomorphic realism from a homocentric vantage point.”

Reynaldo Diaz
California Building • 2205 California St. NE

Reynaldo Diaz created the stained-glass design Awakening at the Loring Park Community Arts Center. He paints primarily with acrylics.

Diaz says, “Through my paintings, I strive to create inner harmony. I use colors, symbols, and indigenous features that come from my heritage growing up in Nicaragua. I feel a close connection to Mayan, Aztec, and Spanish heritage. Throughout my life, being gay has helped me to connect more easily to my inner feelings, which developed through my life’s experiences. I knew that as I grew up, fear of being rejected from society was one of the factors that opened up those inner feelings. This has made me more spiritual. Some people talk or write about their spirituality. I use color and symbols to communicate, which I consider to be a universal language. And I use geometrical forms in my work, because those forms speak to me.”

Karl Reichert
California Building • 2205 California St. NE

Diaz’s partner is photographer Karl Reichert, whose subject is Miss Richfield 1981. The artist shares that he has been buds with Russ King, Miss R’s alter ego, since college days in Bemidji in the mid-1980s.

Rachel Rodenborg
Eastside Food Co-op • 2551 Central Ave. NE

Ecologically conscious Rachel Rodenborg started collecting mismatched blue and white china when she was in high school, in hopes of learning to create mosaics. That interest has evolved notably. Whether it’s a female torso—as in Pastiche—or a simple ball, she casts a magic spell with her mosaics. Rainbow families may want to make a point of seeing her work, because she currently is launching an in-school art program for K-6 kids.

Rodenborg explains, “My creative philosophy centers around creating accessible art out of recycled, repurposed, and vintage items whenever possible. I want the average person to be able to afford a piece of my work if it inspires them.”

Gail Wallinga
Casket Arts Building • 681 17th Ave. NE

Another lesbian-identified artist is Gail Wallinga of the Rain Collective. As a percussionist, she feels connected to rhythm and beat. That musical concept informs her painting, and vice versa. Her work is reminiscent of sand paintings from tribal cultures of eons ago and of geological layering—with the look of elements under a microscope. It definitely has a sense of nature’s unity and tranquility.

Wallinga states, “Nature has her own pulsing intricacies. I spent years taking close-up photographs, studying the shapes and textures, fascinated by the exquisite designs present in that world. Nature is where I feel most whole and at peace. In painting, I narrate stories of internal and external relationships, and connect them to a sense of well-being. There is the freedom to depict the illusive shadow side as a part of light, the life force in us all.”

Caitlin Karolczak
Rogue Buddha Gallery • 357 13th Ave. NE

Those who want their art to be bold and edgy must catch Caitlin Karolczak, who is in process of creating a GLBT series. She cuts the edge with stark, despairing images that reflect intersex themes, as well as issues of torture and rendition.

Karolczak remarks, “My paintings explore the fragility of the human mind and body, often inspired by my collection of vintage medical photographs in regard to sexuality and gender. I attempt to confront the viewer with an intersection of beauty and distress, hoping that they can get past the initial stigma of what I’m portraying to find a personal connection with the individuals in my paintings.”


Various Locations, NE Minneapolis
May 14, 5-10 PM
May 15, Noon-8 PM
May 16, Noon-5 PM

Making a Difference Is a Walk in the Park

Show Your Support for the Minnesota AIDS Walk

For 22 years, the Minnesota AIDS Walk has brought awareness, provided education, and created a sense of community in the Twin Cities. As well, it has raised important funds for the HIV/AIDS cause. What started as a grassroots pledge walk has evolved into one of Minnesota’s top 25 fundraisers. The Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) is mounting its 23rd Walk on May 16 in Minnehaha Park Minneapolis. Read the rest of this entry »

Queer As Folks

Hennepin Theatre Trust Announces 2010-2011 Season

Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2010-2011 Broadway musical season brings both the new and the old. It gets under way when Wicked returns by popular demand for a six-week run August 11-September 19, 2010—watch for a two-part cover feature in the July 16 Lavender. Next up is Rock of Ages, October 19-24, 2010. Debuting locally is Billy Elliot The Musical, winner of 10 Tony Awards, December 16, 2010-January 9, 2011—look for a cover feature in the December 3 Lavender. Following are Shrek The Musical, February 1-6, 2011, and Tony Award-winner HAIR, March 1-6, 2011. Jersey Boys, the winner of Tony, Grammy, and Olivier awards, returns April 21-May 8, 2011. Finally, always-popular West Side Story ends the season July 12-17, 2011. Tickets go on sale in late May. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on a great year of Broadway hits. For more information, visit

A Word in Edgewise

They’re Broadcasting Through My Tinfoil Hat

Are other people’s computers beaming in the same news stories that I’m receiving? Lately, my usually docile laptop has been channeling Tim Burton mingled with the spirits of Federico Fellini and Ernie Kovacs. I pass this sample along for a reality check.

Texas Hold ’em—Till Death Do You Part

It seems that the Lone Star State—Grand Guignol theater with a drawl—not only won’t let same-sex couples marry within its borders, but also won’t let same-sex couples legally married in other states or countries get divorced within its borders, either.

Does this mean that, like California, with its 18,000 legally married same-sex couples forming a peculiar archipelago of legally sanctioned islets in a heterosexual ocean, Texas will accumulate married gay couples who, when they reach critical mass of seeking divorce—as do more than half the legally fettered heterosexuals—cannot claim the same relief?

Are they considered married till that point? Does Texas figure it can’t dissolve something that isn’t real in its blinkered eyes? Or does Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott simply enjoy punishing queers? He currently is working to invalidate divorces already granted by other judges in Austin and Dallas.

Research seems to bear out Option Two: The state feels it can’t grant a divorce for an illegitimate marriage. But the couples didn’t marry illegitimately in Texas—they legitimately are married elsewhere. To complicate things, Abbott has decided that these same gay marriages can be voided legally in Texas.

Perhaps if the Attorney General pushes the envelope a bit more vigorously, he can find a way for gay marriages also to be…um…validated, creating new “V & V” legislation for creation and dissolution of Texas same-sex nuptials. But hasn’t the “separate but equal” thing been done before?

“This Is Alabama; We Speak English”

No, I’m not going to touch that one with any length pole.

Has Alabama’s Republican Governor, Tim James, really adopted that line as a campaign slogan to argue that the state driver’s license exam be given in English? Only in English? “This is Alabama; we speak English. If you want to live here, learn it.”

I only can point out that “Alabama” derives from the indigenous population’s Muskoegan language, not from English, which the original natives well might have added to the 13—Chinese and Farsi among them—which the Governor wishes to drop.

Australian Restaurant Fined After Employees Refused To Admit a Blind Man, Thinking His “Guide” Dog Was a “Gay” Dog

At this point, I logged off, and opened a Jules Verne novel.


Rikke Mananzala and Ash Hammond Advocate GLBT Youth Issues

For Ash Hammond, coming to the United States from Zimbabwe was more than a chance to get an education—it allowed her to be herself at last, and come out of the closet. For Rikke Mananzala, coming out meant a complete change in his life.

Mananzala says, “When my parents found out I was queer, I was asked to leave our house. From age 16 on, I was figuring out things on my own—like how to go to high school, and still have food, a place to stay, and to go to college. I had to endure a lot of unsafe situations, and a lot of things I didn’t expect or think I deserved as a young person.” Read the rest of this entry »

Big Gay News

National News

Louisiana Legislature Rejects Gay Adoption Expansion

The Louisiana State Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-1 to reject a proposal that would have allowed unmarried and same-sex couples the right to adopt children jointly in the state. Louisiana currently allows only married couples or single individuals to adopt. Senate Republicans on the committee opposed the bill, which also was opposed by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Read the rest of this entry »

Lavender’s Summer of Pride Returns For Sixth Year!

Summer may not start officially until June 21, but that doesn’t mean we must wait to start acting like it’s here. This is Minnesota, after all. Summer begins when we say it does. With a little help from Lavender, things get under way June 3, when we launch the best season of the year with the greatest Pride kickoff. Read the rest of this entry »

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