Roanoke's current Pride organization has made many enemies. A lot of this has to do with their current president who has been a divisive force in the local LGBT community for a couple of years now. They have separated the community into the "bar people" and the "non-bar people". Roanoke Pride has basically turned into "Bar Pride". This is not healthy and certainly not conducive for a thriving LGBT community which in itself is diverse with many cultures, backgrounds and ideas.
I honestly think it was a mistake for the nightclub, The Park, to be donated to Roanoke Pride. When it was still owned by a separate individual, the Roanoke Pride organization had someone with the power to tell them what would fly or not. Now, everything just flies for better or worse and it has been worse than better in my opinion especially since the beginning of 2016. A lot of the negative influences which were pretty much left out on the street in 2013, when the new management took over, have now returned and are again entrenched. The last time I went to The Park, about a year ago, the atmosphere had returned to the dark feeling I used to feel in the mid-1990s and into the mid-2000s. Time is just repeating itself and I have a feeling it won't end well.
I have sources, which will remain unnamed, telling me The Park has not bringing in the people it once did. Sometimes when I'm out and about on a Saturday night, I drive past The Park to scope out the parking lot. There are not that many cars in the parking lot. The LGBT community got tired of the scandalous mess that was there before and it seems it's getting tired of it now.
It is interesting there will not be a Roanoke Pride in September this year. A posting on the Roanoke Pride Facebook page said it was due to catching up on some bills while also blaming an employee, who hasn't worked there for nearly two years, for running up debts. Just another divisive tactic on the part of Roanoke Pride. Strange they never mentioned any of this until this month. I believe what comes out of Roanoke Pride about as much as I believe what comes out of the mouth of Donald Trump.
I certainly believe it's time for a new Pride organization to get started in Roanoke. One that is truly for and by the community and one that doesn't have to worry about running bars. The practice of running a non-profit organization owning what is usually a for-profit business spells trouble all around. It's also time we have a Pride organization that doesn't specialize in the pettiness the old one deemed so necessary in the past.
I also would like to see the LGBT community embracing real musicians more. I have nothing against drag queens, but there are entertainers who don't lip sync and use they real voices in this city. They pretty much get lost in the shuffle and overlooked for the glittery lip syncing queens. All kinds of talent should be made available and no one should feel excluded it they're not a drag queen.
I am so flabbergasted with the developments over the past ten months I have trouble finding the words to say how I feel. The world has changed in a very negative way and though I usually try to have a positive outlook for the future, I'm afraid my optimism has begun to dry up.
We have a president who constantly lies, has been and is probably working for the Russians who want nothing more than to destroy U.S. democracy and everything we believe in. What's even sadder is we have millions of so-called Americans who are happy to help them. I know there are many people who feel their government has let them down but selling out to a hostile foreign power is not the answer.
In spite of it all, I have been taking guitar lessons for the past year and eight months and although I'm striving to get better, I'm getting to the point of being not too bad. I have always wanted to take up an instrument. I have studied voice in my early days but always regretted not being able to play an instrument except some very simple keyboard. I have been orchestrating songs since 1999 and trained myself to be a sound engineer and taught myself to record vocals and background vocals and how to use the various sound effects. So I feel pretty solid in the tracking and recording part.
I've been trying my hand at more song writing. I have been releasing music now since 2013 with one full album and a few singles. In June 2017, I released a cover of the song "I Can't Let Go" which is from the TV series "SMASH". I have not been performing live very much though. I did a couple of small things in 2016 but haven't been singing out at all in 2017.
I am so tired of doing free performances that I really don't want to perform live anymore. It is nearly impossible to get clubs or other venues around town, in Roanoke , VA, to pay local artists but they roll out the big bucks for out of town acts, many who have much less musical experience than I have. In 2018, I will have been singing for 50 years. I'll be 55 years old at the end of 2017 and I started singing in public when I was five years old.
My recordings are now being heard regularly in 37 countries so I'm not worried about getting exposure. I'm getting exposure just by putting my recordings out into the world and at least I get paid royalties from the streaming services and also from the tracks I sell on iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.
I have been keeping myself busy and trying to weather the Trump storm until it hopefully and finally comes to an end one way or the other.