Kansas News

Wichita author delves into new territory with gay romance novel

The Main PainterBy Trevor Reichle

WICHITA - A local writer has just released his first foray into the gay romance novel world – The Maine Painter – with hopes of telling a story of love and triumph on the east coast. L.W. Clark of Wichita is a retired university theatre professor with his Ph.D. from Kent State University. He was Chair of the School of Performing Arts at Wichita State University from 1990-2000 and has published two books on playwriting, Writing for the Stage and Practical Playwriting.

Liberty Press: What made you want to write a novel in the first place?
Leroy Clark: Well, I read them all the time. I’m a playwriter and a theatre director. I’ve directed over 110 productions and I’ve written about 30-something plays. I’ve had about a dozen produced in 25 different theatre productions. Plays need a lot more work, so I thought I would try writing novels.

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Bree Newsome to deliver keynote address at Wichita State’s Welcomefest

Bree-NewsomeBy Trevor Reichle, staff reporter

WICHITA - “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently,” so goes the quote from Maya Angelou. And in the last year of racial tensions in America, one person has stood out to many as a symbol of that courage: Bree Newsome.
    Newsome, a political activist and filmmaker, famously climbed to the top of a 30-foot flag pole on the grounds of the South Carolina State House to remove the Confederate flag with the help of fellow activist James Tyson. The act resulted in both of their arrests, but furthermore spread a message throughout the country that symbols of hate should not be tolerated.
    This was not, however, the first time Newsome had made headlines as an activist. Newsome will be bringing these experiences with her as she delivers the keynote address for Wichita State University’s Welcomefest on Aug. 30, titled “Tearing Hate from the Sky.” The event will take place at 6:45pm in the Rhatigan Student Center Beggs Ballroom.

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ICT Roller Girls to host 200 skaters for flat track playoffs

Roller DerbyBy Emily Beckman, staff reporter

WICHITA - The ICT Roller Girls will host this year’s International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (IWFTDA) Playoffs in August. The playoffs will be held Aug. 19-21 at the Wichita Sports Forum, located at 2668 N. Greenwich Road.
    Kalee Hildreth, Co-director of the ICT Roller Girls, who skates as Rachel Rage, answered questions about the event:

What are the IWFTA Playoffs?
The WFTDA Playoffs are a series of six playoff tournaments and a championship tournament of the top 60 roller derby teams in the world.

How many teams will be at the event? How many skaters?
There will be 10 teams and 200 skaters. They include: Jet City Rollergirls, Houston Roller Derby, Nashville Rollergirls, Brandywine Roller Derby, Kansas City Roller Warriors, Tucson Roller Derby, Blue Ridge Rollergirls, Boulder County Bombers, Chicago Outfit Roller Derby and Carolina Rollergirls.

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Burlesque workshop and show make for a sultry August

AmRoseTheatreBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

WICHITA - August is shaping up to be one of the hottest months on record – and not just because of the weather. On Aug. 20, Jamie Rhodes, (burlesque name: Victoria Voluptuous), and Shelly Palmer (burlesque name: Chellena Star) will be hosting a burlesque performance workshop at Care to Dance in Wichita, where participants will learn the basics of the sultry art form and unleash their inner burlesque.
    On Aug. 27, the group will host a burlesque show centered on the theme “Disrobing the Decades” at the Scottish Rite. Liberty Press had the chance to ask Ms. Voluptuous about the workshop and performance.

Liberty Press: How did the burlesque workshop and show come about, and what is your role?
Victoria Voluptuous: American Rose Theater was founded in 2012 by LeBarroness Rubis, myself and Shelly Palmer. We all have performance backgrounds and found a love for the glamour and freedom that comes with performing burlesque. We’ve put on over a dozen shows.

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Pear Tree Jeet Kune Do free self-defense training in September

peartreejeetkunedoBy Grayson Barnes, staff reporter

WICHITA - On Sept. 10, Pear Tree Jeet Kune Do, under the direction of 4th Degree Master Sifu Joe Hutchings, will host a free self-defense workshop for the LGBTQ community at Cavalry Chapel, 901 S. Rock Rd. This one-day training is designed to provide people with the skills to protect themselves and others from attack in various situations. Participants do not need to have previous martial arts skills or be physically fit. The techniques Sifu Hutchings and his students will share are Homeland Combatives, which are used by the military. They can be learned quickly and require simple movements, not finesse.

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Mother and son produce regional premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig-timesBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

WICHITA - Mother-son duo Deanne and Dalton Zogleman are not just family, they are business partners who share a passion for theater. Deanne and Dalton launched DZ Productions four years ago; Deanne is co-producer and leads the business side of the company, and also provides creative input. Dalton serves as the company’s artistic director.
    He says the production company was a way to keep active in theater while home from college for the summer. I have always had teachers who say that the only way to constantly be working in the theatre is to create your own work, your own opportunities to work,” he says. “So my mother and I gathered some friends and produced Glory Days, a small four-guy musical about friends coming back together after their first year away at college.”

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Fair-trade/American-made gift store opens in Mulvane

NaughtyTiger2By Blake Hampton, staff reporter

MULVANE - Two years ago Janice Smith and Michael Kasselman looked for a way to bring money to Janice’s animal sanctuary. So they decided to travel and sell different crafts around the region. They went from craft show to craft show raising money, meeting artists, and learning new tricks of the trade. After a couple of years on the road they were ready to settle into a more permanent spot.
    On April 15 they opened a store in downtown Mulvane, KS. “It’s different, but nice to have a store. We both like what we do and the work we do, it makes it really fun, and Janice and I like working together,” Kasselman said.

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A group for gender non-conforming children: Kids Connect

handsBy Grayson Barnes

WICHITA - Morgan Beisner refers to herself, her husband, and her kids as “one of the founding families” of Kids Connect, a support and activity group for children 12 and under who are gender non-conforming, transgender, gender fluid, or who identify early as gay. “It is so good for the kids to have peers that really get their situations and they just click,” Beisner said. “It relieves a lot of stress for them because it’s like the kids say, ‘I don’t have to explain anything to you and we can just play.’”
    The parents also get a chance to talk and share their experiences. According to Beisner, this comes in three forms, the parents need to decompress a bit in general (because . . . PARENTING), talk about what they can do to help their kids, or mentor each other.

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Songbird Juice Company reflects “real food attitude”

songbird-juiceBy Grayson Barnes, staff reporter

WICHITA - On the back of Marty Spence’s business card, it reads “owner, activist, mom.” She was engaged in the throes of the final classification – spending time with her new baby – when I interviewed her about her business, Songbird Juice Company, at 1142 N. Bitting in Wichita.
    Songbird opened in September of last year and Spence managed to couple “owner and activist” during the festivities by also making them a fundraising event for a mother in the community who was fighting cancer. These categories continue to be combined in her business by her focus on organic ingredients, healthful and healing combinations, and the best method of juicing for optimum benefit.
    “If you mix something with a regular countertop juicer, you need to drink it within 45 minutes to an hour, because the vitamins and minerals will be gone,” Spence said. There is also a lot of pulp left which means good stuff gets tossed and it’s messy. Another type of juicer is one that cuts everything up. “Even though this doesn’t compromise the nutrients, everything still gets slightly heated up, reducing the shelf-life. It will only be good for about three days,” she explained.

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College, clubs, and comfort

college-kidsBy Isabella Parker, staff reporter

Going to college is fun, exciting, and often liberating, but for some it can also be terrifying. The anticipation of a new school, new people, and a new environment is often more stressful if you don’t know where to go for a healthy community. Finding clubs and friend groups who are supportive and kind to the LGBT community is extremely important for people to feel comfortable and happy in their college environment.
    For those going to state colleges, usually the larger colleges, finding clubs that fit their needs is not usually difficult because of the increase in diversity, but private and community colleges tend to have a lower variety of clubs and organizations for people to choose from. That is why it’s so important to research groups available at your college before that first day.

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