Our first stop for Sunday, July 27th, was the La Sagrada Familia-Latin American Cultural Festival. We arrived there just as the noon mass in Spanish was concluding. We asked our friend Father Reidy and festival coordinator Ms. Mimi Colon if we could pass out our bilingual cards whose heading is “Know Your Rights: What To Do If You’re Stopped by Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI” and both of them said “yes” so we took advantage of the sizable crowd and gave out approximately 80 or so cards in 15 minutes! We also stopped to eat a marvelous vegetarian burrito.
Later in the day, we challenged the rainy weather and drove over to Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Avenue where we saw a series of paintings commemorating the 1960’s produced by Ms. Renata Schmidt Zahuranec who was born in the former Czechoslovakia, immigrated to the United States in 1971, and became a citizen in 1978.
Ms. Zahuranec always wanted to be an artist, but family obligations were a priority for many years. She never lost sight of her goal, and she eventually got the opportunity to study at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she received her Certificate of Completion in 2004.
The official title of the exhibition was “Homage to the Art of Fashion” Series 1960’s and underneath the title was “It is not about who they were…but what they wore…and how it influenced what people were wearing.”
Ms. Zahuranec was very charming and explained her work to us; she was particularly proud of a painting that she did of actress and model Jean Shrimpton who was prominent in 1965. She was very happy to pose for a photo for our blog between the her two paintings, one of Jean Shrimpton, and one of the Beatles that she did also. We talked to her about her ties to Czechoslovakia and she said that she still stays in touch with her cousins there but she has really embraced the American way of life and loves living in the United States.
Our last stop for the day was one mostly for pleasure at the 2014 Blossom Music Festival at Cuyahoga Falls where the Cleveland Orchestra treated us to an evening of “Broadway Standing Ovations” and we got to listen to selections from such classics as “West Side Story,” “The Music Man,” “Wicked,” and “Les Miserables.”
Our main reason for being here though was, as the program stated, that this concert had been “designated as an official pre-games kick-off cultural event of the 2014 Gay Games,” coming up on August 9-16 in Northeast Ohio. Accordingly, there were quite a few people here tonight wearing Gay Games 9 shirts, and there was a table with a big welcome card for the Gay Games which attendees could sign if they wanted to and, happily, many people did.
We were also glad when conductor Jack Everly said to everyone that he hopes “tonight sets the stage for the Gay Games.” And since tonight’s concert was spectacular, it would be great if it did – and we have a feeling that it will be.