Peter Monn and Alex Paredes

Spotlight 2010: Love Conquers Slurs

Filed By Peter Monn and Alex Paredes | May 11, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

Love. Red ribbons. Lots of them. Voices carry. Dancers glide like an orange tango on the wind. Strings collide in a unity of subtle joy. Children sing moments before a giant sized drag queen dances a last dance. Kenyetta.JPGSmiles everywhere. Hugs everywhere. Ribbons. Lots of them. Red. Love.

Spotlight 2010.

Weeks ago we were invited to come to this event and experience 18 of Indy's best performers to raise money for the Indiana's AIDS Fund. And raise money they did - over $300,000 with a collective amount of $4 million dollars in the last 15 years. We really didn't know what to expect (let alone that we would run into so many people we knew from so many different parts of our world all together in one place) and when we walked through Clowes Hall and saw all of the people - they almost sold out - we couldn't stop from continuing to smile and smile and smile. All of us together for one reasons. Love.

Tasha Jones probably said it best as her spoken words triumphantly garnished the corners of the auditorium sampling the reasons we were all there, together. All of us from different backgrounds. Love.

Except two women who wanted to make homophobic slurs. It's all after the jump.

Of course we had our favorites of the event. The Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and the Kenyetta Dance Company made us want more, more, more. Asia Labouche discoed her way around the stage in a two foot head dress to Donna Summer's "Last Dance" almost immediately following the innocently moving voices of The Indianapolis Children's Choir. We were amazed.

And then, not to put a damper on things, while we were enjoying the soft simplicity of the Indianapolis Men's Choir, the two women in front of us began talking and calling people on their cell phones. For several minutes we, along with several people behind us, tolerated this behavior until it became a disruption to our evening and disrespectful to the performers donating their time. We'd had enough.

"Shut up!" I said. Followed by a hair flip and "Don't talk to me that way. I'm grown." and then, ever so quietly, but audible to everyone around us, she said, "Faggot."


And we've been silent too long.

The man next to her looked at her and, with the wonderful voices of the men on stage echoing as the backdrop, said, "I know you didn't just say that." And thus, the spotlight became row Z, seat 121.

This went on for several minutes as the two women made several homophobic remarks, until they became so loud they were asked to leave, and we were able to re-join the performance.

As we were leaving, the woman behind me tapped my shoulder and said, "You were right to say something." And the man next to her told Alex and I, "She was horrible to have said those things." And all of that is true. And maybe we've all stayed silent too long.

Because that night love persevered and hopefully many, many people will find joy in the money that was raised for HIV/AIDS education and prevention. And maybe, because we weren't silent and 18 amazing performers and many more visual artists donated their time, maybe, we'll save just one life.

All because of love.

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A. J. Lopp | May 19, 2010 2:15 PM

It was unfortunate that the two women decided to act up during the Indianapolis Men's Choir --- the men in the Choir were virtually pitch-perfect and one of the most enjoyable acts of the evening. Another honorable mention goes to the two women from the Indianapolis Opera who sang the now-famous Flower Duet from the Delibes opera Lakmé.

Although I enjoyed the show this year, I must say it was not as good as it was when I attended two years ago. For one thing, the acts tended to be smaller, meaning fewer performers in each of the acts. But it was indeed a thrill to see them almost sell out Clowes Hall, so much so that I didn't mind sitting in a left box on the third terrace.

A. J. Lopp | May 19, 2010 8:13 PM

Now that I have found my Spotlight 2010 program, I can post that the musicians from the Indianapolis Opera who performed the Delibes Flower Duet so beautifully were Abigail Mitchell, Soprano; Paulette Maria Penzvalta, mezzo-soprano; and Eric Andries, pianist.