It’s early in the morning the day our Pride Issue finishes going to press. I can remember writing a similar “From the Editor” letter when I first started this job, over 24 issues ago. The relentless two-week print schedule coupled with the round-the-clock website schedule often means I’m finding time to write when the hours are wee. Doing the math with 24 issues in mind, I joined the Lavender crew the weekend of Pride last year. Not beforehand, not after, but during the Main Event. Now, this morning, I’m laughing my fool head off that we ran Solera out of Ketel One at our First Thursday event which doubled as the Pride Kick-Off Party last night. What a wild ride, Pride.
My first task at this new job was self-appointed. I photographed (double-fisting my iPhone and my SONY camera) the entire Pride Parade, live-tweeting it as it passed us by on Hennepin outside of Lavender’s brunch. As all of the floats and cars and marchers and walkers went by, I marveled. The colors, the anime, the excitement…well, the pride…was exciting. It was both a blur and in stop-motion with each photo I snapped. I’ve thought of those photos often in this past year as I’ve met new people and been introduced to organizations in the community. Working on the Local Music Issue last year, I could recall seeing and hearing both the Women’s Drum Center and the Minnesota Freedom Band in the parade last year. I could visually recall their photos. Attending OutFront’s 25th Anniversary, I could mentally pull up photos of their brightly colored superheroes zooming along Hennepin in the parade. It’s as if my life flashed before my eyes during the Pride Parade of 2011 but I didn’t realize that until just now.
As the editor, my email inbox runneth over. Recently, an email message came in via the “email@example.com” address that was short, but to the point. The writer expressed disappointment that we never covered the Pride Committee who works so hard to put on these events for us.
I’ve become accustomed in this last year to what I think of as neglect critique (statements like “I don’t know how that wasn’t in Lavender,” or “Lavender never covers this or that group,” or “Lavender doesn’t cover anything that applies to me”). Every criticism has merit. Every person who critiques us has a valid point of view. Every critique gets investigated by me. Some don’t quite shake out exactly as stated, some do.
This one? I usually replace any “nevers” with a big grain of salt. But, thinking about the last year, no. Starting at Pride and now coming full circle, I have not given a proper shout-out to the group that throws our biggest party of the year. I certainly can’t recall their float or appearance in the Pride Parade like I can with most of the other organizations because THEY COORDINATED THE PARADE. They’re the ones who are volunteering their time and talents to celebrate this community, and they do a smash-bang job. They do great work and I can’t wait to enjoy the hell out of it again this year. This list doesn’t include countless folks who aren’t mentioned on the TCPride.org website, but I’d like to give a big hand and cheer of encouragement to the Pride Staff (paid and volunteer): Dot Belstler, Andi Otto, April Maye, Dana Karpinske, Darcie Baumann-Fern, David Judd, Dillon Gherna, Eric Zimmerman, Eric Zucker, Jo-Ellyn Pilarski, John Bigger, Karen Broman, Matt Shaw, Michael Olson, Nicholas Wicklund, Rochelle James, Ron Lischeid, Roxanne Anderson, Steve Haussy, Tasha Villette, and Zach Kingen, as well as the Board of Directors: Scott Feldman, Brian Harper, Jason Ledeboer, Lisa Anderson-Gaber, LaToya Scott, Rob Anderson, and Daniel Zillmann.
Even last night at Solera, I had a lovely exchange with a Pride volunteer and ended up leaving the event with a temporary tattoo of the Pride logo between my shoulder blades. Now that’s dedication.
So, as I said last night to many, many people, I’ll see you soon. We’ve got a great many opportunities to encounter each other during the multitude of events this June and I couldn’t be more excited. Please look for me during the Parade and smile when I take your picture to tweet to the masses.
In terms of content, don’t forget that we’ve got loads of space online where I put what can’t fit into the magazine. You want more pictures of you? We now put all the photos from each event in the Photo Gallery section of our website–more than has ever fit on our pages. For each magazine we print, we also use the same layout to publish the Online Magazine as well as the iPad and iPhone app…but we add more pages to the Online Magazine. In this issue alone, we’ve added more fashion pages, more articles (read about Marriage Equality from the stance of the MN ACLU), more photos of Corey and Jason’s Lavender Love, more gratuitous pictures of Channing Tatum and the guys from Magic Mike, and videos (including just HOW Ross Sveback stacks and frost and sprinkles that six-layer rainbow cake). You can hear Justin Jones read his “Through These Eyes” column with his soft North Carolina drawl. And, in particular, this issue’s Pride Planner will come in handy (what a pun) when you pull it up on your smartphone to check what’s going on where during Pride. We do this for you, our audience.
Finally, a shout-out to John, who asked my permission to use the restroom last night at Solera: A clear nod to my last “From the Editor” in which I mentioned that I used to do the same at my first job, such a subtle joke has never gotten me to laugh as long as that one. Please, John, be my guest.