Love. Red. Ribbons. Lots of them. Smiles. Embrace. Voices carry. Dancers tango on an orange dusk wind across the stage. Children sing innocently just moments before a seven foot drag queen discos her Last Dance across the stage to Donna Summer. Front porch soliloquies so southern they make you want to throw in The Color Purple. At last the jazz heats up the stage a frying pan simmering rendition while strings collide melodically and prose weaves together our heartstrings, our hands held over the arms of our seats in the auditorium. Ribbons. Red. Lots of them. Love.
Spotlight 2010…A magical journey and cacophony of 18 of the best performers in Indianapolis all together tonight at Clowes Hall, raising over $300,000($4 Million in the last 15 years)for HIV/AIDS prevention and education. All proceeds benefiting the Indiana AIDS Fund.
We had our favorites, of course. The Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and the Kenyetta Dance Company. Absolutely amazing. And Milicent Wright from IRT. No words can explain…especially Tasha Jones, whose words about Love…LOVE…inspire us even tonight.
What an amazing time we had, running into people from all of different worlds, in one place, for one reason. It was a little hard to understand, then, that to our dismay, the evening would take an interesting twist. As the Indianapolis Men’s Choir sang softly and tenderly from the stage, the two women in front of us would decide to begin calling their friends on their cell phones. For several minutes we tolerated this, coughing under our breath and slightly tapping their chairs, all decent signs, to please…be quiet. Even from rows behind and in front of us, the small chatter of uncomfortable coughing could be heard. Finally, we had had enough. “Shut up!” We said. The response, a twist of a weave, head flip, flip phone closed with one hand. “Did he just tell me to shut up? Oh, no! I’m grown!” And we were silent.
Until she said quietly, but audible enough to be heard for several rows, “Faggot”. Silence. Until the man next to her said, “You didn’t really just say that did you.” I mean…let’s be for real, we no longer corner the market on HIV and AIDS propaganda but quite a few seats were filled by the gay men-nation, not to mention lesbians, bisexual and several, several transgendered people. And then they laughed.
But maybe we’ve been silent long enough. So we complained. Trying to remain classy and not say what we would have really liked to have said. Class is the true sign of a “grown” person. And the poor, older, white haired woman seating people said, “Oh my, I’ve never dealt with anything like that before.” But the two women got progressively louder and louder, until they were asked to leave.
And love for the respect of the performers persevered. And somebody grown got told.
And after the show, the man in front of us said, “can you believe she said that?” and a woman behind us said, “you did the right thing.” And for years and years, so many of us sit by idly and don’t say anything and allow this kind of injustice. But not tonight. And not from now on. And maybe because rows of people, and performers donating their time and organizers and planners got together and said, “shut up” to HIV/AIDS, maybe…maybe…one person’s life will be saved…and that makes all the difference.
All because of love baby. All because of love.
Ain’t it great!