Tuesday, June 28, 2016

KC Cares Benefit for Pulse Victims

Written by: Mikhael Sublett

              On Saturday, June 25, the LGBT community came together at Missie B’s for a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida. The benefit was hosted at Missie B’s but included several LGBT nightclubs including Sidekicks and Hamburger Marys.  The event hosted several vendors and local musical acts all serving the same purpose: To raise money for the Pulse shooting victims in a celebration of their lives. The event held a silent auction, drag shows, vendors, and live performances from local acts such as The Philistines, Holmes Street, and Vigil and Thieves.
               Massev caught up with Jan Allen, the general Manager of Missie B’s to discuss the event and community. When asked how the community has been affected by the Pulse incident Jan said “People are more aware of their surroundings” and “has seen more displays of affection, more ‘I love you’s’”
                Sidekicks Bartender Devin Young stated that the Pulse shooting “has made the community stronger and to be a community again, which is the purpose of the event. “Devin also said the shooting is not an LGBT issue but a human issue.  He also praised the contributing businesses for putting together a phenomenal benefit.
                 Love was the common theme of the evening. Comments from the patrons ranging from community strength, outpouring of love, affection, and compassion were common, and all had a central theme of family. This is what they could do for their brothers and sisters affected by this horrible act. Throughout the evening that sentiment was repeated, from the vendors, to the bartenders, from the performers to the patrons. Family, community, support.
               That same support was shared among the performers as well. During Vigil and Thieves set, when Steph Castor’s guitar malfunctioned, Susanna Barchak of the band Holmes Street provided her own instrument so Vigil could finish their set. It was an amazing illustration of the type of support this community discovered in the wake of this tragedy.
               Sources at Missie B’s report that over $25,000 was raised for the Pulse victim fund and the Pulse employee recovery fund. They were also quick to say the donations are still coming in and may not have an accurate number until later this week.
              The following evening, I returned to Missie B’s and spoke with Vince Gonzalez, security for Missie B’s, about his take on the previous night’s events. He stated “the event went well” and “there is a lot of love that comes through this bar.”
             The Kansas City LGBT Community came through for their brothers and sisters in Orlando. Their strength and compassion know no boundaries, and love for one another is their mantra.

            If you missed the event, photos can be found here Below, you will find interviews with Pam Allen, general manager of Missie B’s, Devin Young, bartender at Sidekicks Saloon, and Vince Gonzalez, security for Missie B’s. As usual they are unedited, so you experience what I did. Check them out:

                                         Jan Allen, GM of Missie B's

                                         Devin Young, Bartender, Sidekicks PT1

                                          Devin Young, Bartender, Sidekicks PT2

                                          Vince Gonzalez, Security, Missie B's

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BBQ, Live Music, and Senator Greg Smith all at one event!

     The Great Lenexa BBQ battle is in its second day at Sar-Ko-Trails park at the corner of Lackman and 87th street in Lenexa. The event runs until 5:00pm today and Admission is free. 

     I wasn't going to cover this event because of how busy my weekend has been. I decided to go check it out. What I found was live music, great vendors, and amazing bbq throughout the event. So, if you find yourself with nothing to do this afternoon, head over to the BBQ Battle and join your neighbors in an afternoon of fun. Here are some shots of the event.

     As I was leaving I ran into none other than Senator Greg Smith! We had an amazing conversation that I will write about later. Smith is a favorite among Johnson County conservative voters and seems to be turning the tides with a few liberal voters as well. His genuine nature makes him incredibly easy to speak with so, if you make it out there make sure you stop in and say hi. I will warn you, though, Senator Smith has a way of making you feel as if you are not talking with a law maker, but one of your neighbors. More on that conversation later.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Vigil and Thieves

    Written by: Mikhael Sublett

      The live experience of this four piece indie/alternative/punk band from Kansas City is something not to be missed. I caught their show during my coverage of KC Pride 2016 and got a video interview. But, before we get into that, let me tell you about the show itself.

      When they came on for their set, I was actually taking a break by the river, a couple hundred yards from the stage. Covering Pride, minus my PA, was tiring to say the least. However, they got my attention. So, I scarfed down my 'festival good' burnt end sandwich and headed over to check them out. 

      As I made my way to the stage, I first noticed the audience reaction to the band. All eyes were on them. The audience moved to the rhythm of the music and singing  along with vocalist Sarah Storm. I made my way past the audience, and around the barricade to the front of the stage. As Sarah sang and gazed out into the audience, it was as if she was making eye contact with every patron, serenading them with her gritty and honest lyrics. Matt Muckenthalers moved around the stage living his rhythm, eyes closed, lost in the music. Steph Castor, the guitarist played, mostly stationary, with an intensity and precision that manifested in her music.  Andrew Flaherty's unique beats seemed to be the driving force on all the songs on their set. His unusual approach was playing his beats to the lyrics. The band doesn’t interact much on stage, but it works. It was a stripped down, daytime, festival show with no special effects but they captured the crowd and had them fully participating in their show.  

     At one point, between songs, the KC Pride Crowd responded with enthusiastic cheers when singer Sarah Storm announced that she and Guitarist Steph Castor were girlfriends.

     Once home, I had a chance to listen to their recordings. The production quality of their recordings did not bring forth the intensity of their live performance, and that makes sense once you understand the album was self -produced in a living room. I would encourage the audience to see them live to get to truly experience all this band has to offer.

     When the show was over I approached them for an interview. Though they were leaving for a regional tour, promoting their debut, self produced album, Neverland, they took the time to talk to me. The interview is raw footage, simply because I want you guys to have the same experience I had. Check it out below:

 Vigil and Thieves will be playing the KC CaresPulse Victims benefit at Missie B's Saturday, June 25 at 7pm, followed by another show at Californos. Don't miss them!

Their album can be found here. Support your local artists. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The band played on

Written by:Mikhael Sublett      

   The Kansas City LGBT community held a vigil tonight in support of the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando Florida, where 50 people lost their lives and another 53 were wounded. The vigil was hosted by Like Me Lighthouse and The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project at Barney Allis Plaza. 

The  event began with a few words from Kansas City Mayor Shy James. The Mayor was met with applause as he said "We can't roll over on this, We can't say someone else is going to fix it. We must take control of this issue." He went on to say "if we do nothing it will happen again. Enough is Enough"

Normally, I would carry on with this story. You would all get a good 500-1000 words of my rhetoric about the importance of  solidarity among the LGBT community. However, like most of you, I am at a loss for words. My heart breaks for the families of the victims of that shooting. Those people, who were targeted simply because they were gay. Who were simply having a good time with friends and loved ones. Lives with hopes and dreams. Lives that matter,  All cut short by a cowardly homophobe with a gun. 

The vigil was communal mourning. Each speaker, each spectator, and those of us in the press all drew strength from one another to get through it. The Kansas City Police department stood watch at the four corners of the plaza, in tactical gear and prepared  to stand between us and those who wish to do us harm. To allow us to fellowship and to mourn without incident. 

The strength of the LGBT community is beyond measure. Though this is the worst assault, it was not their first. 

My daughter is gay. The Godfather of my children is Gay. Both I love dearly and beyond measure. I can only imagine the pain the families of the victims are going through, and it is more than I can imagine. In truth, it is more than I can bear.

Devin Young writes:

 "Steps have been taken, leaps and bounds made in the fight for equality, yet the fight for tolerance, acceptance, and understanding has got a long way to go.
50 dead, 53 injured, countless scarred and left damaged. All for what? Again question, and no answer...
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, families, and survivors. No words will ease your pain or take it away, this we know, however the support will help.
To the GLBT community at large, I ask be aware, be vigilant, be unintimidated and unafraid. Don't let the actions of one cause you to be afraid, be strong and be one with each other."

Truer words never spoken. You are right, Mr. Mayor.  Enough is Enough. Never Again.

If you missed the vigil check out the photos below. Don't forget to click on the video at the bottom to view Massev's interview with Mayor Sly James. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To pee or not to pee

         Last weekend the LGBT of Kansas City celebrated Gay Pride 2016. Massev was there to cover it. Below is the first of several video interviews, led by the special guest anchor Kailyn Ash, of some attendees.  The first is of Ashton Graybill. Ashton discusses a wide variety of topics ranging from his role in the LGBT community to the fact that all he “really wants to do is pee”! 

Check it out.