This Sunday, Midtown Kansas City’s Crosstown Station will host the Human Rights Campaign fundraiser “Battle of the Bands, Part II”, the second annual presentation of an event that brings together dozens of female musicians on two stages under one roof.
Local favorite Dirty Dorothy and the Emerald City All Stars will emcee the proceedings.
The competition, which will feature two categories of musical contestants—electric and acoustic, the latter on the upstairs stage, and the former on the downstairs main stage—is the brainchild of HRC volunteer member Christine Main, who has taken a lead role each year in producing the show. Recently I spoke with her about the event and how it came about.
“It’s for the Human Right Campaign, which is the nation’s largest organization focusing on LGBT rights…it’s going to be six electric and six acoustic bands…And we are primarily getting women as patrons to this event—however, men are absolutely welcome to come.”
The event evolved out of parties HRC had been holding for the annual premier of The L Word, the Showtime series that followed a group of lesbian characters. “For the past five years up until last year, women had been getting together nationwide in these various cities to do The L Word premier parties, sponsored by HRC and Showtime,” Main said.
“So when The L Word went off the air, HRC realized that we did not want to lose this weekend as the driving force to get gay women out in communities. Kansas City is unique in that we actually have a large, active lesbian community.”
Indeed, a quick check of the webpage devoted to Her HRC, the umbrella title given to the nationwide celebrations, reveals that, of the 29 U.S. cities holding Her HRC events this year, Kansas City’s celebration appears to be the most elaborate and promises the widest display of talent. Only Orange County, California’s Her HRC Music Festival, to be held at a Huntington Beach club, seems to come close.
So what about that talent gracing the Crosstown stage this weekend? “We’ve got quite a range,” Main said. “We’ve got bluegrass, blues, we’ve got folk, we’ve got some players that are barely old enough to walk into the bar—just barely 21—we’ve got some super seasoned performers…We’re going to have the full range.”
A few of these bands boast some priceless monikers, too—“Dumptruck Buttlerlips”, “Kathleen and the One Night Stand Band” and “The Cave Girls” stand out for originality.
These and their fellow competitors will be judged by a variety of local politicians, celebrities and arts and entertainment figures, including this writer. Judging categories include technique, originality, audience participation and showmanship, and cash prizes will be based purely on the judges scores.
But Main describes an additional award to be given out on Sunday. “There’s also going to be a secondary award that’s given out—they are custom-painted guitars by the guy who did ZZ Top’s guitars, they were donated by Loomis Interior Painting…These guitars are going to be donated to the band that raises the most for HRC in tips while they are onstage.”
Other companies that have provided support for the event include the local law firm Bruner Law, LLC, the lesbian magazine Curve and KC Hopps Restaurant, which is donating food.
Tickets are $10 before this Friday, January 14, and include membership to HRC; and $15 after Friday and up until showtime. Visit the Her HRC webpage for tickets and more information, and support a good cause while rocking out this weekend.