Rainbows Over Tacoma Proved To Be A Great Evening
by Terry Rhines
Tacoma PFLAG's first large scale social
event at the Washington State History Museum proved to be a great evening for those venturing out on a stormy February night.
Over 200 individuals and couples from across a wide spectrum of the non-GLBT and GLBT communities attended the evening, with
many dining at one of the five sponsoring restaurants before entering the Grand Lobby of the museum. Indochine was by far
the most widely patronized restaurant by those completing an after-event survey but others also stopped by the Harmon Brewery,
Rock Pizza, The Swiss or Paddy Coyne's either before the start of the evening's activities or afterward for a drink with friends.
Our thanks to all 5 restaurants for supporting PFLAG in this endeavor. A special thanks also to the other members of the community
who helped out with their advertising dollars.
The temporary galleries of the museum
were open from 6 to 7:30 PM for our private party. Guests had an opportunity to view two unique exhibits: one of specially
created art works around stained glass fragments collected by an Army Chaplain from bombed churches during WWII and one of
unique works of art which were the basis of many US postage stamps created over the past few decades. Guests could also just
meet friends in the Mt Tahoma auditorium lobby for a drink and chat before the evening entertainment.
The entertainers for the evening were
an eclectic mix of mostly local Tacoma talent, with the one exception being Sylvia O'StayForMore, who fought Friday night
traffic from Seattle to entertain the audience with two sets of banter and song. The evening opened with a performance art
piece by Roberto Souza in Brazilian sign language to a song by Josh Groban called “You Are Loved”. John Hoover
and James Maltos followed with three songs written by John, the first of which got everyone thinking about putting on their
“Happy Pants” for the rest of the evening. John was followed by Sylvia, then Doni Phillips, who also performed
original music before concluding with “Me and Bobby McGee”. The Oasis Youth Group took the stage after Doni with
an original ensemble piece performed by 6 youth from Oasis. The first half of the program concluded with Galen Wicks and Taylor
Richmond from Tacoma's School Of The Arts (SOTA) performing two numbers from the Broadway Musical “Avenue Q”.
After a brief intermission, the emcee
for the evening, Lady Chablis, assisted representatives from each of the 5 affiliated organizations in the raffle ticket drawing.
Raffle ticket sales brought in an additional $600 which was split among the 5 organizations, along with proceeds from admission
Sylvia came back at the start of the
second half with more banter and songs, followed by pianist David Horton who played a Rachmaninov Prelude to a totally enraptured
audience. David then accompanied Shelly Cooper as she performed “Old Friend” and “Get Here”, both
from Broadway shows. John Hoover and James Maltos came back for two more of John's original songs and Roberto Souza concluded
the evening, performing to Cyndi Lauper's version of “True Colors” and a haunting song by Canadian Singer Loreena
McKennitt called “Never Ending Road”.
This was primarily an evening for fun
and socializing with people from all sexual orientations and all age groups, where they could just have a classy place to
meet at an affordable price, view unique works of art, enjoy a drink (or not) with friends and be entertained by local artists.
But it was also a fundraising event for the 5 organizations. After all expenses were paid, each organization received a check
for just over $600, thanks to all of those who supported this first ever Tacoma PFLAG social evening with their advertising
dollars, by purchasing an admission ticket or a raffle ticket.
As one survey responder commented, “
It was a great evening and PFLAG is to be thanked a million times for doing this – the idea of doing a show for the
community was outstanding. We realize how much time and effort it takes to put this together, and we are deeply appreciative.
It was a wonderful evening and we saw a lot of friends.”
And for those who asked if this type
of event will be repeated again next year, the answer is yes. Look for announcements in early 2009. Based on survey feedback,
it will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2009 at the same venue, with gallery viewing from 6:15 to 7:45 PM and
entertainment from 8 to 9:30 PM, with no intermission.