Press release from Count Basie Theatre
On the evening of Tuesday, June 10, the Count Basie Theatre will be the setting for Two River Pride, an annual Pride Month gathering that was created for LGBTQ youth and their allies — and that centers on LGBTQ history and celebration, by giving specific voice to area youth.
The event represents a partnership between local civic, cultural, and community leaders and groups, including Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich, Make It Better for Youth and others. Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna will attend, to deliver a proclamation in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. This year’s event will also feature live music, a sampling of wares from some of Red Bank’s food purveyors, and screenings of three acclaimed shorts from young filmmakers.
“During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, people were fighting to be recognized as equal citizens,” notes Councilman Zipprich, the first openly gay elected official in Red Bank’s history. “Today, it is up to the young members of the LGBTQ community to learn from history and urge the movement forward. “
“As Red Bank’s mayor, I always compliment the diversity that our community represents and celebrate its tolerance and inclusion,” Mayor Menna said. “Advancing LGBTQ issues strengthens us as cohesive community, and I am grateful that Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank have come together to celebrate Pride Month, because everyone deserves the realization of their full potential and recognition of their dignity.”
At 5:30 pm, the big Basie screen will feature a program of shorts that kicks off with The Language of Love, a YouTube sensation (written and performed by Kim Ho) depicting a character that falls in love with his male best friend. It’s followed by director Michael Morgenstern’s Shabbat Dinner, a “Short Film About Coming Out,” that won for “Best Short Film” at the 2012 Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The short program concludes with Dating Sucks, designed by animator and film festival curator Sam Berliner to provide “a positive voice for the trans, genderqueer, androgynous and gender-fluid folks not yet represented on screen.”
Following these screenings, attendees will enjoy refreshments provided by Red Bank eateries Dish, Via45, Teak, Temple and cupcake shop Sugarush. MusicianJosh Zuckerman and DJ Mister Zero will perform in the Count Basie Theatre courtyard, and attendees will be invited to help create a fabric banner representing a timeline of global, national and local events, on which participants can contribute their own personal histories.
“I’ve been working with teens in high schools for 16 years and have long recognized a need to both demonstrate acceptance to all students and to provide historical context for why acceptance is hard won in our culture,” said event organizer Kathryn Okeson, an art teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven High School. “This event is a way to discuss, share, and spotlight the people that have created change, and how younger generations can make lasting change moving forward.”
After the reception, the public is invited to a free screening of Jonathan Demme’s groundbreaking film Philadelphia. The 1993 film was one of the first Hollywood productions to address HIV/AIDS and homophobia, and earned a “Best Actor” Oscar for costar Tom Hanks, as well as a “Best Original Song” win for native son Bruce Springsteen.