Bringing In The Holiday Season With A Big Gay Show.

Bringing In The Holiday Season With A Big Gay Show

Reviewing the Snowbound concert by North Coast Gay Men's Chorus.

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The North Coast Gay Men's Chorus (NCMC) bought the Christmas 2018 season in with a concert on December first at the Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square. I received a free ticket due to their outreach to local Gay Straight Alliances on college campuses. I had never been to one of their formal concerts — I've only seen them perform at Cleveland Gay Pride Festivals.

The theater was packed with people in floor seats while I didn't see too many people in balcony seats. As with any show there, people partook of the cash bar, and many people were dressed up in expensive fancy clothing for the evening.

I was surprised at just how many men were in the choir, it looked to be 100 men on that stage but it was actually only 74 — not including the director, two pianists, and three American Sign Language interpreters, and a man playing the double bass. The choir performed 25 songs, with 10 solo performances, three dancing and singing numbers, and a 15 minute intermission.

I used to be part of a Gospel choir at Cleveland State University back in 2003-2004, so I know the tremendous amount of work it takes to remember lyrics of songs during concerts, yet these men had to remember so much more and did it without looking like they broke any sweat over it. They kept the show going through two performance time slots that day, wardrobe malfunctions, and paying respect to their executive director, retiring after 11 years of service. Through it all, there weren't shy about interacting with fans, guests, and hanging out with those of us from the Gay Straight Alliances during Intermission.

I was happy to see quite a few men I knew personally from the Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays Support Group (PFLAG).

All the choir had beautiful angelic voices, but the 10 solo numbers were really something. Marc R. Copler who sang
“Please Come Home For Christmas” blew the audience away with his solo — he seriously needs to either audition for American Idol or pursue a solo singing career!

The “Insubordinate Claus” and “Reindeer Tango” skits were hysterical. One was about the reindeer going on strike because Santa was busy on social media, didn't recognize some of the reindeers different religious practices, and kept getting Blitzen's name wrong. The other was Mrs. Claus fed up with Santa giving presents and affection to other women and declaring how she'll be looking for someone new.

The handwork that the Coastliners of the choir performed during their first skit “Snowfall” was mesmerizing and entertaining. The audience was generally impressed with their chorus line dance-like routine. Plus since I'm a fan of snow in general, having the crew sprinkle snow down the front stage during certain numbers enhanced my enjoyment of the show that much more.

I definitely look forward to seeing more of their concerts in the future. This concert not only started the Christmas season but also started their concert season of 2019. Their next concert will be their 10th Annual “Mardi Gras” on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Windows On The River in the Powerhouse of The Flats.

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Bethel Church's Gay Conversion Program Is A Huge Problem And We're Not Talking Enough About It

Religion doesn't give us a right to purposefully abuse a community.

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About a year ago, in May of 2018, Bethel Church in Redding, California came out publicly against a set of proposed laws which would make it illegal for a licensed mental health professional to perform 'conversion therapy' in order to change the sexual orientation or same-sex attractions of a person. The head pastor of the church asked for members of Bethel Church to act against the three bills (California AB 1779, AB 2943 and AB 2119), urging them to contact their congressmen and ask for them to prevent the laws from passing, all in order for them to continue their harmful ex-gay ministry.

Today, Bethel Church is under scrutiny for the role out of their ex-gay conversion initiative, CHANGED. The website of the initiative movement claims that any change is possible through Jesus, and encourages those who identify as LGBTQ+ to abandon the "pain, rejection, and despair," of being LGBTQ+. (CHANGED website). This movement is not the first, but just the next in a long line of organizations claiming to provide change for those who identify as LGBTQ+, despite this being an impossibility. Ex-gay programs, in actuality, only serve to push those who go through them farther away from the love of God.

Conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people has been proven not only to be completely ineffective but has also been found to cause intense mental issues and in many cases, a strong correlation to suicide. Those who have gone through ex-gay therapy programs such as Exodus International or Focus on the Family's Love Won Out have admitted that even after successfully completing the program they had not experienced a change in their same-sex attraction. The founder of Exodus International even claimed that by his estimation, 99.9% of those who had gone through his organization's therapy had not experienced any change in their orientation. Exodus International was considered intensely controversial, and their methods considered by most, if not all, mental health professionals to be incredibly damaging. Those who come out of conversion therapy experience intense feelings of depression and often experience a lack of self-worth.

As a Christian, I grieve every single time someone claiming to believe what I do comes out and condemns the LGBT community. It hurts to see one community I am a member of being hateful towards another community I am just as proud to be a part of. This news stung a little harder because I for a long time have loved Bethel Church's worship band. Their songs have spoken to me in ways I cannot fully describe, helping to bring me closer to the God I believe in. A God who I can say for certain would never advocate for something as damaging and destructive as conversion therapy. The same Jesus who Bethel's songs worship is the same Jesus who calls us to love everyone. Bethel Church is not following this call, and it is important that we speak out against conversion therapy, and not allow our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to carry out such a harmful program.

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Warped Tour: The Best Music Festival That Ever Was

Rest in peace Warped, you will be greatly missed

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What is Warped Tour?

Warped tour is (now was) a music festival that about 80 different bands would play in. The bands would go from little known to well known which play under many different genres from bands ranging from Sleeping With Sirens to Ice Nine Kills. It was founded in 1995 by Kevin Lyman and ended it's tours in 2018.

Why is Warped Tour the best there ever was?

That's easy, Warped Tour has tons of reasons why it's the best music festival ever. My favorite are

1. The variety of bands

Okay, i *think* there are about 80 different bands, that may not be the correct number, but there are definitely a lot. The bands range from alternative to many types of metal. So it's perfect for this range of music lovers.

2. The meet and greets

There's tons of bands that play at Warped, and there's tons of people who sell their merchandise! There are also tons of people who buy their merch and want to meet the band, and meeting your favorite band is so easy at Warped. There are usually signing times on their tables or sometimes, they will hang out and help sell their merch and are always happy to sign it or take pictures with you. They also bring out YouTubers like Jeffree Star, Brennen Taylor, Elton Castee, and Bradlee Wannemacher who are also just as easy to meet- if you're willing to stand in line.

3. Cheap tickets

Tickets aren't *that* cheap but they are cheap for the amount of bands that you get to see. I went to Warped Tour about 5 times and my tickets would range from $80-$140 as the years went on. These prices are definitely cheaper than going to one really famous person's concert.

4. The people

Usually, the people that listen to this kind of music are really caring of others. No one will steal your things and, if you ask, people will usually move a little bit so you can see. It feels kind of like a culture of people are all together so it's usually easy to talk to other people there. No matter what you're dressed like, you'll just be accepted. We're all just here for a good time.

5. The opportunities

There are some band members who also give lessons on the side. Sometimes there are people walking around asking if some people are interested, if so, you get to spend about thirty minutes to an hour with your favorite drummer,while they teach you what they know. There are usually promotions going on where people give you free stuff like sunglasses, CDs, or shirts. Sometimes even meditation books. You could even promote your own stuff if you really wanted to. Plus, who knows when you'll get to see your favorite band or YouTuber again, or even meet them.

6. The water slide

Warped Tour happens during the summer, so everyone is hot. The Warped Tour employees would set up a water fountain with cold, purified water to fill your water bottles, soak towels, or spray at you with an inflatable water slide right next to it to help cool you down.

7. Multiple stages

There are usually five main stages with a various number of small stages. There are a couple of bands that play on the same stage after one another. The only things that are bad about this is if two of the bands you want to see are playing at the same time and running back and forth between all of the stages. Having multiple stages is the key for having all of your favorite bands, even though sometimes you have to choose.

8. Merch Galore

Almost every band sells merchandise along with YouTubers and companies. There are multiple mazes of merch tables, some of which not many people have heard of but sell good product. If you needed it, you could probably find it. There are also tents that promote things while letting you do something fun, like the tent promoting art that let you paint on yourself.

9. It's all ages

Anyone can go to Warped and they have some cool things for different age groups. They had the water slide that was mentioned earlier, a tent for parents to cool down in that had chairs and fans, Truth Orange was always having dance contests or playing games in front of their tent, and if you were under 18 years of age, your parent got a free ticket to go with you.

10. The mosh pit experience

For some people, Warped Tour is the only time they go a concert. For a lot of people, Warped is the first concert they have moshed or crowd surfed at. If you get knocked down, there is always someone who will help you up, if you get hurt, someone will usually ask if you're okay. If you get dropped while crowd surfing, someone will catch you. Sometimes you see the biggest mosh/ circle pit you've ever seen and you get to be a part of it. I think it is one of the safest places to mosh, I once saw a child about 6 years old running in a circle pit and everyone who passed her was making sure she was safe (they were also in awe).

Although Warped Tour is hot and crowded with expensive food, like any other festival, I think it ranks as the best. It's cheap to get in, you can meet your favorite people easily, get all of the merch (even exclusives), and you are around like-minded people. Warped Tour was a music festival that was as perfect as it gets. Although Warped Tour is hosting anniversary shows, it isn't like the tour. It will be missed.

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