In the spirit of togetherness and love in all forms, William Way LGBT Community Center will host its annual Love + Solidarity festival on Feb. 12, 2022. For this year’s virtual event, William Way staff put out an open call inviting a variety of different LGBTQ+ artists and professionals to grace the proverbial stage; drag and performance artists, food demonstrators, tutorial creators, health and wellness experts. Anyone who would like to contribute their talent or skills is welcome.
“We wanted more of a communal aspect to it,” said William Way Communications and Events Specialist Kiki Griffin, who’s leading the charge in organizing the event. “That’s why we decided to have the open call because you never know what kind of talent is out there in the community until you ask and see.”
For this year’s festival, Griffin and her colleagues hope to see more drag kings and performers that don’t always get the spotlight. “We wanted to get in the more nontraditional performers — just anyone who wants to share their talent that we wouldn’t otherwise see from having a list of the same performers from last year,” she said.
Drag performer and events producer Icon Ebony-Fierce, who organized last year’s Love + Solidarity festival, has been instrumental in advising Griffin on how to plan the event smoothly, she said. A few artists have answered the call thus far, including trans activist and drag queen Tiffany Uma Mascara, who won season one of the competition Snatcheralla 3000. She will be headlining the event.
Griffin also said they are still hoping to get more submissions.
Since the narrative around Valentine’s Day typically emphasizes romantic love above all else, Griffin and the WWCC team hope to foster all kinds of love through this community-oriented festival.
“I personally feel like [this event] is important because Valentine’s Day can be a really hard day,” she said. “There’s the commercialization of [the day] where you’re being told by society that you need to have found the one, you need to be in love. But there’s all kinds of love — there’s platonic love, there’s love for yourself, love that the community gives you. It’s nice to celebrate all those different aspects instead of just focusing on the romantic side of things. I think it’s really important that we don’t forget that as a community we can come together and show love for one another, it doesn’t have to be a one-on-one relationship.”
Those who wish to contribute their artistry or expertise to the festival can inquire by Feb. 1 at tinyurl.com/LoveandSolidarity2022. General tickets for the festival range from $25-$75. A $100 flat rate ticket will contribute to the provision of food for residents of the John C. Anderson Apartments, as well as production support and participant remuneration; a $150 ticket will back continued virtual arts and culture production, the center’s employment resources, recovery meetings and space rentals, and “empowerment programming” including senior and trans programs; and a $200 ticket will help center staff amplify virtual programs, produce hybrid programming when the center reopens and help the center remain open on a limited basis down the line. For more information, visit https://www.waygay.org/.