Band forming

CHARLOTTE — An organizational meeting will be held on Jan. 14, 2010, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 1510 E. 7th St., to discuss the formation of the Queen City’s first LGBT band.

Topics up for review include plans for finding a conductor and rehearsal space and discussing auditions, rehearsal day and frequency. The group will also consider options for a name for the band. Initially the focus will be on concert band repertoire. The band also hopes to participate in Pride celebrations in Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and other communities. The North Carolina Pride Marching Band (Raleigh/Durham) and D.C.’s Different Drummers have offered to assist the Charlotte band.

In November, a survey was taken to get a pulse on the amount of interest available. It asked responders for information such as interest in joining the band, instruments played, experience playing, preference on rehearsal night, etc.

There are 30 bands in the International Lesbian and Gay Bands Association.

For more information, email Don Niehus at

Come celebrate

CHARLOTTE — Join Shelita Hamm on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at a Deck The Balls Holiday Extravaganza at Tutto Mondo, 1820 South Blvd.

This special takeover holiday celebration is sure to be just what the season ordered. Takeover Friday is celebrating its sixth anniversary in what is called “the fullest of style.”

Admission is free. Drink specials will be available along with complimentary appetizers throughout the evening.

For more information, visit

DP benefits set for discussion

CHARLOTTE — Almost a year after initial discussion of the issue, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners will place official discussion of domestic partner benefits on their Dec. 15 regular meeting agenda.

The board initially discussed the issue at a retreat in, placing the item under consideration and instructing the county human resources department to research and analyze cost, legality and other issues.

A new report by professor Diane Juffras of the University of North Carolina School of Government says state “statutes allow local governments to buy insurance and other benefits for employees and dependents, as well as create policies to ‘foster the hiring and retention of a capable and diligent work force,’”according to The Charlotte Observer.

The county was waiting on the results of Juffras report before making any official decision on the matter.

Republican County Commissioner Bill James has opposed any move to extend domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners of county employees. He says the state’s crime against nature statute makes homosexual behavior and relationships illegal, pointing to the arrest of some 50 men over a three-year period in several public parks in Charlotte. He says local government would have to take a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to whether “committed couples‚” were engaging in sexual relationships and would be complicit in illegal behavior by offering benefits to same-sex couples.

“People always get into trouble when they spend time trying to skirt the law and Mecklenburg County is headed in that direction,” James wrote in an email on Dec. 4. “Marriage in NC is ‘one man-one woman.’ Offering Domestic Partner insurance ignores and undermines the law while using the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell tell approach that most homosexuals oppose at the Federal level.”

’Tis the season

CHARLOTTE — Join the Charlotte Business Guild for its Annual Holiday Party and Gift Drive on Dec. 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. McDowell St., from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Old, new and prospective members are encouraged to attend.

DJ ’lil Betty from Hartigan’s will be on deck spinning dance tunes. Buff Faye will be presenting a number of special guests who will be mingling and performing all evening long.

The event is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and Aprille Shaffe, as well as Hartigan’s, Petra’s, Buff Faye and Waddell and Reed.

Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available.

Members in good standing or renewing or joining before this date are admitted free. Reservations are required.

And, continue the party afterward at Petra’s.

Cost for guests and non-members is $25 ($20 added for members without reservations).

Reservations should have been made by noon on Dec. 11, 2009 by email to or by phone to 704-565-5075. Individuals making reservations who do not attend will be charged for the event.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.