Food, fun and fundraising to benefit Positive Directions
By Beth Wasson
WICHITA - If you’re looking for a little fun after the holidays the Winter Fire and Ice Gala might be the event for you. Happening Jan. 19 at Abode Venue, the evening promises fun, food, and a fundraising auction for Positive Directions Inc. (PDI), a local non-profit organization committed to the prevention of HIV.
Tickets, only available online at postivedirectionsks.org, are $80 for the main event starting at 7pm, or $100 for early entry as a VIP at 6pm. Beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres and what Executive Director Brett Hogan describes as “eye-popping ambient entertainment” are included with the admission price.
Without revealing too much, Hogan promises a “fun, funky night” with the likes of magicians, singers, and dancers performing continuously throughout the gala. Attendees are encouraged to dress for fun whether that is formal attire or a more casual choice.
Underwriters for the gala include Spirit AeroSystems, XY Bar, Abode Venue, Douglas Design District, and B Young Salon along with many private donations. The fun continues with an after party at XY in Old Town. One hundred percent of the ticket price goes to PDI for funding its services and community outreach.
By John Dalton-White
WICHITA - Signature Theatre will begin its 2018 theatre season with Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, to be presented at the Wichita Scottish Rite Theatre Jan. 19-20 at 8pm and Jan. 21 at 7pm.
A boisterous, ribald and ultimately devastating story of a mental hospital and its inhabitants, Nurse Ratched (played by Teri Mott) runs her ward with icy efficiency. With a firm hand on medication, treatment and basic necessities, her word is law and dissent is punished. Into this isolated world struts Randle P. McMurphy (played by Quinn Warren), a charming rogue who has chosen a stint in the mental institution rather than face prison. Brash and rebellious, McMurphy soon ignites a power struggle that can only end in their mutual destruction.
WICHITA - The ABBA tribute band ABBA MANIA returns to Wichita’s historic Orpheum Theatre at 7:30pm on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The band formed in 1999 and the show has been selling out theatres and concert halls internationally ever since. ABBA MANIA will be touring the U.S. again in 2018 with 30 shows over five weeks including a prestigious date in Las Vegas.
It’s a very exciting time for all things ABBA as there is talk of an ABBA reunion concert in 2018 and a sequel to the hit movie Mamma Mia.
By Greg Dalton-White
WICHITA - Are you a male between 18 and 80? Do you like to sing? Do you enjoy choral music? Then the Heart of America Men’s Chorus (HOAMC) might be the place to start. HOAMC is looking for men to join the ranks of the bass, baritones, 2nd tenors and 1st tenors for their Spring concert that will feature the songs of Disney.
It is easy to join. Just show up for the first rehearsal on Jan. 16 at 7pm in the vocal music room located on the second floor of the DeMattias Performance Hall at 3100 W. McCormick. The chorus’ artistic director, Deanne Zogelman, will ask you to sing a bit with a small group to fit you into the right section of the chorus. That’s all it takes.
Chorus members do pay a $40 fee (tax-deductible) to help support the financial obligations of purchasing music and accompanist fees. This concert will not require tuxes, but if you stay with the chorus a tux will be necessary. We have some scholarships available to help with this if it will cause a burden, or you can search at the various thrift shops in town to find one.
By Jamie Rhodes
WICHITA - Wichita Community Theatre opens its 2018 season with Hugh Whitemore’s play Breaking the Code. Directed by Leroy Clark, the production focuses on Word War II hero Alan Turing. Two predominate things stand out with Turing: one, he was a brilliant mathematician who invented the computer and helped put an end to WWII by breaking Nazi Germany’s secret Enigma Code, and two, he was a homosexual.
Due to Turing’s classified work during the war, most were not aware of his role in ending it until many years later. He didn’t receive any public credit for his brilliancy. What the public chose to see was his “crime” of homosexuality during a time when it was outlawed in Great Britain. After his conviction, he was punished with chemical castration undergoing a series of dangerous hormonal therapy drugs which left him impotent and incapacitated both physically and mentally. Turing died alone and forgotten after committing suicide.
The beginning of the play takes place in 1952. Throughout the play, the audience can expect to see flashbacks of Turing’s life starting from 1929. Although the play does address Turing’s role in the war, it focuses primarily on his personal life as a gay man.
On Oct. 7, hundreds of dogs and their people will converge on Sedgwick County Park for the Kansas Humane Society’s annual fundraiser, Woofstock. This is for them:
When I was 16 my little brother and I went halvsies on a new dog. It was a Pomeranian, who my granddad named Grizzly, because he looked like a little bear. He wasn’t a very well-behaved dog. He chewed on everything in the house, carried stray socks everywhere, ate anything he could reach, and was sooo ornery.
But oh, how I loved that dog.
He was my constant companion who hung with me through college and several moves after. He bounced between my mom’s house and wherever I landed through my 20s. He was my roommate when I struggled to come out.
One night I was getting ready to go to a movie and had just stepped out of the shower when I noticed Grizzly was choking. There was a piece of rawhide he had been chewing stuck in his throat. It was slimy, chewed down to the gooey white stuff that rawhide turns into, and I couldn’t get a grip on it. It seemed like forever before I could dislodge it from his throat and by that time he was limp.
I started CPR. I know what you’re thinking, so let’s just start by saying, I don’t know how in the hell to give a dog CPR. But I had learned in high school gym class how to do CPR on a baby, so that’s what I did.
I was home alone, and wanted to go to the emergency vet clinic, but I thought I couldn’t risk stopping until I got him to breathe.
However, rigor mortis was setting in. Grizzly was bleeding out of his nose, his stomach was swelling/hardening, he had thrown up and he had peed all over. At this point, he had been without oxygen for 20 minutes. And I thought to myself, “Kristi, you are breathing into the mouth and nose of a dead dog, covered in puke and pee. You should probably just let him go. Even if you get him to breathe on his own, he’s going to be brain dead.”
And then the most amazing thing happened. He coughed.
I scooped him up, threw him in the car, and drove 90mph to the emergency vet. He laid limply in the passenger seat beside me, still bleeding out of his nose, but with his eyes open.
I rushed into the vet’s, forgetting that I was still in boxer shorts, with no shoes, no bra, wet hair, and covered in all sorts of dog excrements. I sat in the lobby and bawled. When the doctor came out and said Grizzly was going to be okay, I couldn’t believe it.
He kept him for an hour for observation and when I returned, Grizzly was sitting on the counter shaking. He was completely freaked out. I thanked the vet profusely.
“You’re the one that saved him, not me,” he said.
Grizzly spent the next week with a hoarse bark, never letting me out of his sight.
Fast forward several months. I was going through a particularly rough time. Depression was getting the best of me as I struggled with my sexuality. Unhappy in my job, recently estranged from my dad, broke and broken, I stood in the bathroom with a bottle of pills in my hand.
And there in the doorway stood Grizzly.
“Hey! You wouldn’t let me die and now you’re going to leave me? What am I going to do without you?” he asked.
Out of all of the people in this world that I love and care about, I just couldn’t leave my little buddy.
Grizzly’s brush with death didn’t seem to have any lasting effects; he lived to the ripe old age of 17. AND he didn’t get any less ornery. Thank goodness. He died peacefully at home in my arms. This time I told him it was okay to go.