Welcome to Liberty Press’ third annual Best of Gay Wichita! Located to the right is the ballot to vote for your favorites in the LGBT community in Wichita. Voting is open Jan. 1-Feb. 8, 2015. Votes will be tallied and the winners will be announced in the March 2015 issue.
Some notes: If you are unsure if your favorite would qualify, refer to the helpful title: Best of Gay Wichita. We want to know what the LGBT community thinks, with a focus on LGBT people, places and things.
Feel free to fill out as many, or as few, categories as you like. Only one ballot per person will be counted.
Click Read more to Vote
By Blake Hampton
WICHITA - Local artists Lindy Wiese and Sean Christopher Ward have opened the doors to a new commercial art gallery on 430 Commerce Street. It’s called the Hue Gallery. With works of realism, impressionism, sculptures, and chalk there is a piece that any fan of art can appreciate. In a recent interview with Wiese, she shared more about the gallery and its plans for the future. Ward is currently traveling the country showing more of his art.
Wiese and Ward have worked on their art forms for many years, and both have features in the gallery. Wiese specializes in impressionism painting taking inspiration from Claude Monet and other contemporary artists. She has taken classes from The Wichita Center for the Arts and Artist Central.
Ward has works that combine techniques in graphic design and painting. He also does photography, and has some pictures on display at the gallery. Ward has taken classes from The Wichita Center for the Arts, has an associate’s degree in graphic design from Cowley County Community College, and is working on a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and painting at WSU.
By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
WICHITA - 412 1/2 E. Douglas holds a lot of history for downtown Wichita and the overall community; for 22 years, Cabaret Old Town entertained Wichita with musicals including Always, Patsy Cline. When the theatre closed in May of this year, Roxy’s Downtown CEO and operating manager John Hammer instantly saw the stars align. The closing of Cabaret Old Town came at a time when Hammer was looking to expand his creative outlets.
“I was working in the tech industry from my home office, developing educational content for the animation and game sectors. Granted, I was able to travel and work with some of the most creative individuals in the world, but there was something missing,” Hammer recalls. With a background in studio art, he was used to creating tangible pieces and wanted to build in a real space once again. “I saw the announcement of the possible closure as an opportunity - I thought, ‘I can do something with this; I can bring something new not only to the venue, but to Wichita.”
In last month’s column I mentioned that I had created a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for my film Will You Take This Man, a feature-length romantic comedy to be shot in Wichita. The film tells the story of an interracial male couple and how their decision to wed after a decade together creates opportunities for friends and family to recognize where they are less than honest and “come out of the closet.”
The campaign ended on Dec. 6, sadly short of its financing goal. The way that Kickstarter works is that if the goal isn’t met in the time frame allotted, you get none of the money raised. This was disappointing for sure. Backers had pledged over $11,000. It felt like our beautiful early Christmas present was taken away before we even got to open the package.
In reality, even though we didn’t get all the money, I gained so much more from the campaign: exposure for the film; support and encouragement from some surprising sources; a knowledge of how better to run a crowdfunding campaign; and more than half of that $11,000 via individual checks and PayPal payments.
As a gay man of a certain age, I am constantly in awe of how much society has evolved. This evolution became very evident to me when I posted information about the film’s Kickstarter campaign on the Facebook page for my graduating class.
Evan Wolfson: "What we hope will be the last chapter" of the freedom to marry movement
New York - Following its decision last fall to effectively green light same-sex marriage in 11 states, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear six consolidated marriage cases out of Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky this term, with a ruling potentially by June. The Court's review will take place on a transformed legal landscape, with gay couples being able to marry in 36 states, covering two-thirds of the American people, and with nearly 60 federal and state courts having struck down discriminatory marriage bans in the past two years.
"The Supreme Court's decision today begins what we hope will be the last chapter in our campaign to win marriage nationwide - and it's time," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. "Freedom to Marry's national strategy has been to build a critical mass of marriage states and critical mass of support for ending marriage discrimination, and after a long journey and much debate, America is ready for the freedom to marry.
New York – Today January 12, 2015 U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier ruled that denying marriage for same-sex couples in South Dakota is unconstitutional. The ruling is stayed, meaning same-sex couples cannot yet receive marriage licenses in South Dakota.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
"Today’s ruling out of South Dakota affirms what nearly every court in the past year has held: loving and committed same-sex couples are guaranteed the freedom to marry by the U.S. Constitution. Every day of denial is a day of tangible hardships for same-sex couples and their families. The Supreme Court should take up a case as soon as possible and end marriage discrimination once and for all.”
New York, January 5, 2014 – At midnight tonight, a federal district court ruling in favor of the freedom to marry takes effect in Florida, allowing committed same-sex couples to marry throughout the state. The ruling takes effect after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to extend a stay that was put in place last year. Miami-Dade County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier today, a result of a judge’s order in a separate case. The 11th Circuit has yet to schedule a date to hear appellate arguments.
“Today joyous gay couples began marrying in Florida, and tomorrow will be marrying all across the state -- the nation's third largest state and the largest in the South where gay couples can now share in the freedom to marry -- even as the 11th Circuit prepares to hear argument in challenges to Florida's discriminatory ban,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “The Supreme Court sent an unmistakable signal when it declined to prolong the stay and opened the door to couples marrying, but we are not done until marriage discrimination is finally ended in the 11th Circuit and nationwide. It’s time for the Supreme Court to affirm the freedom to marry and bring our country to national resolution for all loving and committed couples in every state.”
KEY WEST, Fla., January 4, 2015 -- Two Key West men, whose lawsuit helped pave the way for same-sex marriage equality in Florida, had their tuxedos fitted Monday afternoon in preparation for their wedding very early Tuesday.
Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, who completed their marriage license application paperwork at Key West's Monroe County Courthouse Friday, plan to exchange vows just after receiving their license at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in the Keys' first same-sex wedding.
"I'm a big ball of nerves right now -- my stomach is in knots -- but I'm so happy that I finally get to marry him," said Jones as he stood beside Huntsman.
In July 2014, in response to the couple's lawsuit protesting Florida's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage, Florida Keys Judge Luis Garcia ruled that the ban was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
But the state appealed, putting wedding plans on hold for Huntsman and Jones until New Year's Day, when U.S. Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that Florida's county court clerks can issue licenses to same-sex couples beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday..