Thursday, June 19, 2008

Music With A Powerful Message: True Colors Review

The following review of the True Colors Tour comes from friend Chuck Henson, the Executive Director of CLIP - The Tampa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

It's a wonderful film festival with fabulous people involved! To see coverage from my visit to the festival last year, click here. (it's worth it just to see the architecture, plus all the crazy antics of the visiting filmmakers!)

Chuck is also involved with an incredible web site full of news, politics, blogs and entertainment for LGBT folks that originates from the South but is of interest national to all queer folk.

True Colors Tour - June 18th, 2008, Ruth Hall, Clearwater, FL

by Chuck Henson

Cindi Lauper is my new hero.

I know the True Colors Tour is on its second trip around the country, but since it was all new to me last night, I felt as though I was at opening night.

Cindi came out between Deborah Cox and Rosie O'Donnell to speak to the audience.

She spoke from her heart and gave the audience exactly what they came for, a private audience with one of our favorite Pop Icons turned activist. She talked frankly and clearly about the importance of being involved in the political process and implored us all to vote in the fall.

Music with a powerful message. Since Woodstock, like minded people have gathered to send a single message through the many talented voices of our generation's artists. The True Colors Tour did just that last night in Clearwater, Florida.

From Carson Kressley's welcome, through the "all skate" sing-along of our new anthem "True Colors" at the end, the message was consistent and spoken by every artist who took the stage. Together we CAN make a difference this fall... VOTE. Even better was the fact that both Rosie O'Donnell and Cindi Lauper denounced the impending vote on Florida's Amendment 2.

In the same week when our brothers and sisters in California, join the fair-minded people of Massachusetts at the wedding chapel, the True Colors Tour makes one of its two Florida stops. This fall, Florida voters will decide whether ANY relationship that even resembles a marriage, gay or straight will ever be recognized.

Florida already has an anti gay marriage law on the books, but if Amendment 2 passes, this even stricter hate-inspired legislation will ensure Florida stays in the dark ages of civil rights initiatives. As Rosie put it, "Amendment 2 is Doo Doo. - Vote NO on 2"

The 4-hour concert event (with no intermissions) featured The Clicks, Deborah Cox, Rosie O'Donnell, The B-52's and of course Cindi Lauper. Carson Kressley, as the emcee did an excellent job of keeping the audience involved during stage resets. He gave his presentation a great local spin by memorizing some of the names of our smaller area towns. "How you doin' New Port Richey?... I've decided I'm taking on a new drag name... Courtney Campbell Causeway! Sounds like a new Weather Girl on TV!" His light banter and fabulous fashion/costume changes at every appearance were great. The rest of the Fab 5 would have been proud.

All of the performers were quite enjoyable, The Click opened the show and rocked out like seasoned pros, however, the first ROAR of the evening belonged to Deborah Cox. Magnificent! Could she have performed with any more passion? "Absolutely Not".

Rosie was also fantastic.

Having never seen her stand-up act in person, I was very impressed; not only by how funny she was but how easily she shared some very personal parts of her life (the death of her Mother), and in doing so, was able to bring the audience along on her journey as a woman searching for her identity.

What can you say about "America's Party Band"? The B-52's did not disappoint. While the audience did not seem to make a full connection to the new music the group has produced, the old favorites (Private Idaho, Love Shack, Rock Lobster) had the entire hall up and dancing! I must admit finding my eyes diverted to the very cute lead guitar player for much of their set...seems my husband zeroed in on the keyboard player.

In the end, Cyndi Lauper ROCKED. Old favorites (Change of Heart, I Drove All Night, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Time After Time) and some great new songs to fill out a very entertaining and energetic set. She was extremely casual with the audience, speaking as if we were all her best friends; yet when it was time to play, she was all business, making sure we not only got our money's worth, but knew that Cindi Lauper is still an amazing force in music and culture. More than 20 years after first arriving on the scene, she's still got it, and now has channeled her energy and influence into the most noble cause of all, making the world a better place for everyone. Bravo!

When I arrived at Ruth Eckerd Hall to see the show, I was excited about the music as you'll see if you watch any of the interviews we did for and, however, when I left the building 4 hours later I felt empowered and much more aware.

The True Colors Tour IS our Woodstock - All grown up and ready to take our soap box rants directly to the ballot box in November. Go see it when it comes to your town. And to my family here in Florida... remember, 2 is Doo Doo!

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