Sunday, August 16, 2009

H-Wood and Love Out Loud West

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 makes 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 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 in New York City and Los Angeles.

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 have stepped up to give it life, especially in New York.

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 is 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 achieved new heights with the addition of John Pagano who graced Bacharach to the Future.

Christopher Meloni of NBC’s Law & Order: SVU took time out of a very busy schedule to greet his many fervent fans. He actually left to attend yet another charity event for Sloan Kettering.

Now it’s time for 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.

This year the kind folks at H-Wood are providing the space for us. It's October 15, 2009 from 6:00 to 9:00 fro $25.00 come visit and have fun while helping a worthy cause. Special guests scheduled to appear include actress Ilene Kristen (One Life to Live), Sherri Lewis ( Straight Girl in a Queer World, Divas Simply Singing), Anne Walker (Sordid Lives), Stacy Haiduk (The Young and the Restless), Eileen Davidson (The Young and The Restless) Taylor Spreitler (Days of Our Lives), Patrika Darbo (Days of Our Lives, Charlie Wilson’s War), Kate Linder (The Young & the Restless), Sean Kanan (The Young and The Restless), Ted Detwiler(Sordid Lives), David Moretti (The Lair), and singer John Pagano (Pure Imagination).

Good friends Amy Beard and Diane Nilsen are on hand to help with the preparations. If you can't make it, don't forget you can always make a donation--click here--to our team and if you are coming out, let us know! and 212.938.2045

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