Kate Clinton

Passion Weekend

Filed By Kate Clinton | March 25, 2008 1:55 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Arizona, Bill Richardson, Easter, Passion Week

Because of my lapsed Catholic state, just as I was leaving for the airport I realized that I was going to be traveling on Easter weekend. I'm still thrown off by the three weeks earlier than usual spring-ahead clock change, and, excuse me, but it seems like Jesus got here at Christmas and just three months later, he's outta here. It would inspire the faithful a bit more, if he wouldn't busta move out so soon.

So it was me, Easter pilgrims and spring breakers headed out to the Southwest. I landed in Phoenix, AZ, and got a quick ride to Tempe with Barbara McCullough who caught me up over lunch on local politics and the schemes of Equality Arizona. That night I performed at their amazing new Arts Center. Neil Giuliano, now executive director of GLAAD, was in the audience. When he was mayor of Tempe, he had secured the funds and broken ground for the theater. It was great to see him in his old home town.

For a few years, I've been talking about a rumor I'd heard about a gang of old dames, circling up the silver airstreams and making a community north of Phoenix. Well, dang if 96 of them didn't come down from AJ, short for the p.i. Apache Junction, and come to the show. I was surrounded by them after the show in a jostling, scrum of radiant crones. Next time I'm out that way, I have to make a pilgrimage. I don't know what they're doing up there in their sweat lodge, but they all look amazing, transcendent.

The next day I went to the state next door, New Mexico, and did a show at The Human Rights Alliance dinner in Santa Fe. The dinner is an annual tradition by activists and for activists who are working to transform their state. They transformed a huge tennis center into a festive catered meal and a huge silent auction space. After that, the state should be easy.

One of their awards went to their Governor, Bill Richardson, just two days after he'd announced that he was supporting Barack Obama. It was the talk of the dinner. He graciously accepted the award, midst a too-small chorus of hisses. He was sporting a new beard. I think he was hoping it would disguise him.

While in booming Santa Fe, I stayed at the new Rainbow Visions a retirement community for senior LGBTs. My favorite amenity was the Billie Jean King recreation center housed in the main building with full restaurant and a lovely theater. The staff was friendly and fun, and I wanted to sit and hear the life-stories of many of the residents I met.

Even though the amateurs were traveling back home on Sunday, I made it time to see the last episode of the L-Word season. Talk about a perfect end to Passion Week. And thank goodness for another season, even if it's a shortened one. A lot of old story lines were resurrected and I don't know about you, but I need some closure.

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I love reading your stuff, Kate!

Kate, random note about Mayor Neil. He was responsible for a lot of virulent anti-homeless legislation while he was in office. He and the Downtown Tempe Commission got rich off of development deals that pushed independent business owners out of the downtown area, changing the face of the old Mill Avenue forever. It's essentially a crime to be homeless in Tempe now. And you would think that when Mayor Neil was approached with statistics showing that the majority of homeless youth are there because they're LGBTQ, he would have a heart. Not so much. But hey . . . protesting him at his house on Christmas Eve made for the best Christmas I've ever had. So at least that's a feather in his cap.