Friday, March 13, 2009

A Bit of History: Love Out Loud

The first Love Out Loud took place at Prohibition in 2006 due to the generosity of Rich Herschenfeld and Ian Duke in affording the opportunity. It stands to reason, given that the locale itself was part of the inspiration. In 2004 Kamar de los Reyes held a benefit for Gabriel Project and packed the place, which also stands to reason, given that Daytime fans are very loyal.

Having experienced the AIDS crisis from the very beginning made it a life changing experience. Another source of inspiration, the We All Have Aids Campaign which launched on World AIDS day December 1, 2005 brings the perfect attitude into an arena where combat has taken place for over two decades.

In the movie Spartacus when all the rebellious slaves were captured and the Roman overseers wanted to punish their leader it was asked who among them was Spartacus. All of them declared themselves to be Spartacus in solidarity with their charismatic leader. “I Am Spartacus” has come to mean “I identify with you.” A similar moment in the movie In & Out met with better consequences when the students declared their solidarity with their gay teacher by declaring themselves to be gay.

It’s what the New York AIDS Walk is all about, viz. declaring solidarity with the HIV-positive population. The logical progression is for a company like Smart + Strong to have a presence there.

Fund-raising can be accessed via a team identified as a corporate entity, if you will, and/or individuals using their personal resources to do so. There is strength in numbers. A team with a strong identity can utilize events and other fund raising opportunities so easily accessible here in NYC.

In 2005 with the help of Chris Meloni's participation in eBay auctions it was easy to raise funds as an individual. It seemed a natural progression as a member of the POZ family to raise the bar as far as fund-raising was concerned. When it happened it was gratifying. Ilene Kristen was the very first to step up and when Thorsten Kaye came on board the event started to take shape because his loyal fans stepped up to give it life.

Michael Clay of Austin, TX helped provide the theme. Michael could tell you many a tale of his close friends from his Nashville years and more than one has inspired his original material. They were years full of creativity and connecting personalities. The list seems endless and certainly memorable.

Michael Clay’s signature song at one time was the incomparable "Love Out Loud," a paean to loving as one’s nature dictates. It arrived at the very end of the set starting out unassumingly with an autobiographical sketch of how the emotional struggles of youth brought the singer to musical expression a metaphor/simile for loving and living. It was that part of the show where everyone in the band had the opportunity for self expression. It was cathartic and exhilarating.

I was born with bugle horns and trumpets in my heart,
Mandolins & accordions & voices in three parts
Pounding drums and guitar strums
And choirs singing out
I was born to love, love out loud

It became the theme of the event. Michael came up with his band and filled Prohibition with a joyous noise along with Ilene Kristen. In 2007, Ken Lundie became part of the musical tapestry. John Kouri and Tremors became the band of the hour, so to speak, with Ilene Kristen, Barbara Porteus and Mr. Lundie once again. In 2008, there were even more celebrities in attendance with CBS shows coming on board with Marj Dusay taking stage to address the attendees. It has become an Upper West Side tradition. This year the musical experience will achieve new heights with the addition of John Pagano who graced Bacharach to the Future.

This year there will be the usual suspects along with stars from here! TV and Broadway. There is also a Love Out Loud West. Los Angeles, a tough nut to crack, provided a memorable evening at East/West Lounge for AIDS Walk Los Angeleslast October. Sherri Lewis, Ted Detwiler, Kristoff St. John, Patrika Darbo and, of course, Ilene Kristen were there among a large crowd of celebrities who came out to support the cause.

By now, you know where it is. If you can't make it out there is a donation page for the POZ Team and, of course, the Meloni auctions are taking place. Like this one

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