Teens help House of Mercy

BELMONT, N.C. — Earlier this summer, teen volunteers from Catholic Heart Workcamp volunteered at House of Mercy, a non-profit residence caring for low-income individuals living with AIDS.

Youth from Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey and North Carolina spruced up the residence by spreading mulch, cleaning windows, as well as meeting House of Mercy residents.

Catholic Heart Workcamp started in 1993 in Orlando, Fla., with 100 participants and has grown to over 13,000 serving communities annually. It provides opportunities to “restore homes and hearts, feed the hungry, lift the spirits of children, bring joy to the elderly and disabled and offer assistance while partnering with social agencies.”

In other news, the board of directors welcomed new members Jim Hall and David Guidry, in addition to hiring Nidia Esparza as House of Mercy’s bilingual coordinator of resident recreation and volunteers.

info: thehouseofmercy.org.

Freedom Center seeks new staff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Freedom Center for Social Justice is expanding its staff and broadening their scope of work in the area and region and are seeking applicants for a part-time (with advancement to full-time) media specialist, full-time, salaried faith coordinator and a full-time, salaried trans program coordinator. Deadline for submittal is July 30.

Note: Any of the positions may be already filled as time closes in on the deadline.

See the website for complete details. Send resumes and references to opportunities@FCSJ.org.

info: fcsj.org.

Dance lessons available

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — OutStep will provide free salsa/shag/swing lessons on Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m. sharp, at L4 Lounge, 2909 Central Ave.

A professional instructor will be on hand to demonstrate and teach dance steps. No experience is necessary.

Admission is free for those who register by Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. A confirmation number and further details will be provided.

For those who simply show up, a $2 assessment will be collected at the door in order to participate.

Every attempt will be made to pair dance partners based upon gender preference. Pre-partnered dance couples are also welcome.

Doors open at 7 p.m., followed by the one-hour lesson time. Afterward, stay and practice to dance music until 10  p.m.

Food and beverages are available for purchase.

info: outstepcharlotte@gmail.com.

Response by artists frames exhibit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Open Occupancy: Artists Respond to HB2” will be held from Aug. 19-Sept. 10 at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 721 N. Tryon St.

Provoked by recent attacks on LGBTQ rights by our state government (HB2), Charlotte area artists and advocates began a conversation about reclaiming the narrative of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; from one of fear, bigotry and public exclusion to one of respect, tolerance and public inclusion. This conversation has grown into a series of provocative temporary art installations in seven of the public restrooms at the McColl Center, organizers said.

Each restroom features the work of a McColl Center alumni artist, inspired by dialogue with local LGBT advocacy groups. Their responses range from the serious to the whimsical, and show that creativity can be a powerful response to prejudice.

Special hours will be made available during the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade on Aug. 19, 12-5 p.m., Aug. 20, 12-8 p.m., and Aug. 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Artists who are participating in the exhibition are D’Angelo Dia, Raymond Grubb, John W. Love, Tom Thoune, Andrea Vail, Jason Watson and Rosalia Torres Weiner.

info: mccollcenter.org.

Arts celebration featured during Pride

flourishCHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Flourish: A Celebration of LGBT Arts + Culture” will take place on Aug. 20, 12 p.m., at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St.

The “festival within a festival” is presented by the Queer Arts Consortium and provides an opportunity for LGBT artists, writers, dancers, musicians, poets, subject-matter lecturers, etc., to present, exhibit and perform during the annual Charlotte Pride Festival.

“We have established criteria for selecting artists, exhibitors, performers and presenters, and we are working to present a combination of performers from past years along with performers who are new to “Flourish” in order to fully represent varied aspects of LGBT arts and culture,” said John Quillin, event organizer.

Proposals were submitted by a July 22 deadline and the consortium will release its selections in the near future. Visit their website in August to learn who will be featured.

The organization’s members are: Charlotte Pride Band, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, Gay Charlotte Film Festival, One Voice Chorus of Charlotte, Queen City Theatre Company, Stillout Photography, Triptych Collective and the University of North Carolina Multicultural Resource Center.

“The Queer Arts Consortium is a loose confederation of Charlotte’s gay and lesbian arts community. We started out just to coordinate performance calendars, but we’ve evolved to something much more. We promote operational and performance collaborations, help arrange reciprocal marketing, and joint audience development,” said Gerald Gurss, artistic director of One Voice.

info: queerartsconsortium.org.

People, local station feature chorus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte was recently showcased in a July 17 feature in People magazine, as well as on WCNC-TV.

The chorus had spent time in Southpark Mall serenading shoppers on a Saturday afternoon. They chose individuals whom the group felt were in need of a song, giving listeners some solace and even resulting in having a smile being returned.

Director John Quillin shared that the chorus serenaded as a way to help alleviate the darkness that recent world events had presented. “We’re just out spreading a little bit of happiness and joy,” Quillin told People.

WCNC-TV’s Michelle Boudin documented the serenading. Visit bit.ly/2a1IEh5 to see the video.

The chorus were participants in the Charlotte #KINDNESSMatters initiative. The “grassroots social media movement” asked people to “perform acts of kindness” and to document them with a challenge for “others to do the same.”

info: people.com. wcnc.com. gmccharlotte.org. facebook.com/make.kindness.matter.

Derby gals hit 10

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Roller Girls (CRG) are hitting a milestone this season as it marks its 10th anniversary with a home bout on Aug. 13, 5 p.m., at the Grady Cole Center, 310 N. Kings Dr. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Playing homage to the home teams, ‘Fraid Knots vs. the Block ‘em Sock ‘em Rollers, the bout will be an intra-league event. Teams will consist of current Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars and B-Dazzlers skaters.

All former CRG skaters, referees and non-skating officials are invited to attend the bout and will be recognized at the half-time ceremonies. Additionally, bout attendees can participate in Chuck-a-Duck by purchasing rubber ducks that will be thrown toward a target, for an opportunity to win CRG merchandise and prizes.

During the bout, fans are encouraged to seek out the “Ask Me” girls who will be on hand to answer questions about roller derby action, rules and players, the organization shared.

Beer, wine, soft drinks and food concessions are available for purchase.

An after-party will be held at The Barn at Pure Pizza, 1911 Central Ave., and is open to all skaters and fans.

Advance tickets are $12/adults and $7/children ages 6-12 and are available for purchase from team members, The Common Market, 2007 Commonwealth Ave., Sleepy Poet, 4450 South Blvd., and online. Onsite tickets at the center’s box office will be sold at $16/adults and $10/children, cash only.

Sponsors for the season are OrthoCarolina, Pure Pizza, Husqvarna, The Common Market, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Dr. Tony Peters, Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, Be Yoga and 9 Round.

info: charlotterollergirls.com.

One Voice featured at GALA

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One Voice Chorus of Charlotte (OVC) was selected to perform at the closing ceremonies of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses) quadrennial festival held July 2-6 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex in Denver, CO.

GALA Choruses represent 225 LGBT and allied choruses internationally and the festival drew over 6,500 singers.

One Voice Chorus’s performance of “Glenda and Lauree: Certain Kinds of Love Never Die,” was selected by the GALA board of directors for an encore “Showstopper Performance” to close the international festival in front of an audience of 4.000 attendees. The performance was also broadcasted live on the GALA Choruses website.

Gerald Gurss, artistic director of One Voice Chorus, composed the song after first hearing the story Glenda Elliot shared through the StoryCorps/OutLoud broadcast on National Public Radio. Gurss was moved by Elliot’s reflection on the love she shared with a woman named Lauree in the 1940s. At that point in history, the cultural ideal of “The American Family” did not include gay couples, and Glenda and Lauree did not know how to “understand their love.” As Glenda noted, “There were certainly no role models of what it meant to love someone of the same sex.”

Gurss’s composition featured Caroline Cave as the voice of Glenda, while the chorus assumed the voice of Lauree. Elliot, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., joined One Voice Chorus at the festival and was brought to the stage following One Voice’s closing performance with a standing ovation from the audience.

Upon hearing the song recounting her love, Elliot told Gurss, “You brought Lauree back to me.”

In addition to the performance by the 31 singers representing One Voice Chorus at the festival, One Voice’s small ensemble Sotto Voce performed and Gurss conducted a joint chorus performance of a new commission by Mari Esabel Valverde that highlighted the experience of transgender people.

Other North Carolina choruses performing at the GALA Festival included Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, Common Woman Chorus (Durham), Cantaria (Asheville), Triad Pride Men’s Chorus (Greensboro) and Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus (Raleigh).

A video of the One Voice performance of “Glenda and Lauree” is available for viewing at youtu.be/jyRJdvClmVg.

info: onevoicechorus.com. galachoruses.org.

Church social action work continues

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte, 7121 Orr Rd., is asking the community for help for a few ongoing social action projects.

Their food pantry is in need of items for their food bank. Bring contributions on Sundays at worship services at 10:45 a.m. The pantry is open from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Thursdays.

Additionally, soda can tabs are being gathered on Sundays to support the Ronald McDonald House. Proceeds from the sale of tabs help provide medical treatment for a child at the house.

Metal and aluminum cans are also being collected and the monies received for them at the recycling center provide additional income for the church.

The church is also searching for a piano player. Interested parties should email Rev. Wanda Floyd at revwfloyd@aol.com. A stipend will be provided.

info: mymcccharlotte.org.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

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.