I had a moderately busy weekend that started Friday at noon with the opening lunch for the West Coast LGBT Travel Summit hosted by the Greater Seattle Business Association at The Renaissance Hotel. The highlight was a speech by Glenn Johnson, the out President of Horizon Air which is part of Alaska Airlines Group, who stressed that Horizon and Alaska are a “values based company” who are dedicated to serving all members of the communities they serve. Mr Johnson remarked that he is proud that the company has recently received a 100% rating from HRC and equally proud that he fought for Alaska to participate in Seattle PrideFest. The company’s decision to spend $5000 to sponsor a float in the parade and distribute travel coupons to the crowds along the parade route led to $1 million in sales to Alaska Air, an excellent return on their investment and proof that the LGBTQ community can be a vital part of a company’s success. Mr Johnson also remarked that a recent study has shown that 85% of the gays and lesbians surveyed in a recent poll indicated that they are more likely to purchase from companies that advertise in gay media. At that point, I had to refrain myself from immediately lunging at Mr Johnson and hitting him up for an ad for SGS, but I was a prudent journalist and sat quietly enjoying my mousse.
I’m horrible at smoozing so I didn’t linger after the lunch, but I did learn from table mates that things are improving locally in the travel and tourism business with cruise bookings up significantly from last year. The attendees at the Travel Summit all seemed committed to bringing LGBTQ visitors to the West Coast and branding specific cities and regions as gay friendly. And, all the participants seemed expectant that all businesses wanting “queer money” should realize that “equality is good for business”. It only makes sense.
Friday continued with the opening night of Seattle Shakespeare’s Chamber Cymbeline at the Centerhouse Theater at Seattle Center. I’ll have a review up for that soon, (it’s one of Shakespeare’s oddest plays) and just want to note that the after party in the lobby was great fun. Happily, Three Dollar Bill’s Jason Plourde has season tickets to Seattle Shakes and we always have a gay old time after the show snarfing down canapes and merlot. He clued me in on the location for their Big Oscar Party next month; it’s not officially released yet so I won’t tell you where it is, but it’s an amazing locale. It should be a lot of fun…almost as much as the merlot induced hangover I had on Saturday morning…
Saturday night was a bit annoying; never got confirmation on a show I was supposed to see at 8pm, so I wasted the early part of the evening watching crap TV, but I did make it to ACT by 10:30pm to check out the latest installment of 14/48 the local biannual theater event where local theater makers gather to write, design, produce and present 14 plays over the course of two days. Themes are picked, then seven playwrights go off to write 10 minute short plays on that theme. The finished scripts are delivered in the morning of the show, seven directors pick titles from a hat and then actors are randomly assigned and rehersals begin while stage technicians design sets, props, costumes and music for each show which is presented twice that same night. THEN, the process begins all over the next day so a total of 14 different shows are presented each weekend. Saturday’s show was HIGHLY entertaining, (full review to come) with tons of local theater talent on display including playwrights like Scot Augustson, Scotto Moore and Maria Glanz; directors like Erin Kraft and K. Brian Neel; and actors like Shawn Law, Jason Sharp, Ryan Higgins, Ashley Bagwell, Terri Weagant, Kate Jaeger, Joseph P. McCarthy, Charles Leggett and Patrick Lennon. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced acclaimed Seattle actor Charles Leggett simulate an on-stage orgasm! (Kudos also to the excellent 14/48 band; they alone were worth the price of admission.)
14/48 continues NEXT weekend with 14 NEW shows and a whole new line-up of talent. Tickets are still available. Check it out.