HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com
JUNE 24, 2005 3
Festival entertainers wax philosophical on Pride
By JOHNNY HOOKS
The Houston Pride Parade garnered
national attention several years ago when
it became the first nighttime gay pride
parade in the United States.
In keeping with the searing political
climate in Texas, the 2005 Pride Festival
is making a bold statement by bringing in
headliners Sophie B. Hawkins, queer
punk pioneers Pansy Division, Latin pop
star Jade Esteban Estrada and cupie doll
crooner Rachael Sage among others.
"We searched the GLBT music universe for artists who are known for their
energetic live performances," Festival Co-
Chair Matthew Stone said.
The Houston Voice spoke with the head-
liners about what pride means to them and
what to expect from their shows.
Sophie B. Hawkins
Sophie B. Hawkins is a familiar name to
gay and straight music fans. In 1992, she
burst onto the scene with her mega-hit,
"Damn! I Wish I Was Your Lover," a song
where she openly sang, "I lay by the ocean
making love to her with visions clear."
Interestingly, nothing was made of the
line and Hawkins went on to have several
top-five singles on the Billboard charts.
After a falling out with Sony, her
record label, Hawkins founded her own
record company. Trumpet Swan, so
named because "I was on a photo shoot at
a lake and heard this incredible sound. It
was a trumpet swan singing, and I knew I
had my label name right there." Her latest CD "Wilderness" is out now
Recently Hawkins appeared on the hit
NBC summer series "Hit Me Baby One
More Time" singing "Damn" and glam-
ming it up for the her second song, a re-
imagination of the song "100 Days" by
Hawkins describes herself as part of
If MORE INFO
Bud Light Stage
Pride Day Lineup
presented by Montrose Diner
3:10 Rachael Sage
4:05 Jade Esteban Estrada
presented by Twisted Mister
4:55 Sarah Pinsker
& The Stalking Horses
5:55 Pansy Division
7:00 Sophie B. Hawkins, introduced by special
guests, Roula St Ryan of Mix 96.5
Tickets $10 online at www.pridehouston.org
Sophie B. Hawkins
the gay and lesbian family, but uses the
word "omnisexual." Asked to define it,
Hawkins said, "I was the first person to
use that phrase, I invented it for lack of a
better word. It just means that when I am
attracted to someone it is more about
them as a person, about their soul and
their inner beauty, not what physical
equipment they have."
Hawkins, still the pioneer, loves playing Pride festivals across the country and
is excited about Houston. "The Houston
market really broke the single "Damn,"
so I will always have a special place in my
heart for Houston."
She's philosophical about Pride. "So
many people sacrificed so much so that
we can go out and have Pride fests and
parades, and I love honoring those people.
And when someone comes up to me and
says 'Thank you Sophie, because of your
song, or because of you I was able to be
the person I am today,' I consider that the
our last studio album."
The group will decide whether or not
to do occasional live performances here
and there, "Depending on who asks, but
as all of our lives have changed, like the
world, we think now is the time to let others carry on what we started."
Ginoli said Pansy Division has always
enjoyed playing in Houston, usually to
packed houses in the Heights at
"We love Houston," he said. "Your city
has always been there for us, and with
the way your Governor Perry has been
acting, not to mention that fine former
Governor Bush you sent the country, its
important we come and take a stand with
you at your Pride Festival."
released the group's first
two singles, "Bill & Ted's
in 1993 and "Fern In A Black
Christmas/Smells Like Queer
Spirit," in 1992. The band has
always been out and proud.
Founding member Jon Ginoli recalled,
"You sing about what you know, about the
experiences that happen day to day. If you
attempt to write a song that you think is
going to be a hit, that's when you lose perspective."
Asked if he is disappointed that Pansy
Division never achieved the kind of runaway success that other bands from the
1990's "grunge scene" had, he laughed
and said, "Well, we're still waiting. No,
actually the band and I couldn't be happier with the success we have achieved."
Ginoli said success is measured in
many ways. "We have done it our way
and have a tremendously loyal fan base to
stow for it," he said. "We've talked about
it and really think that our last album
"Total Entertainment" will probably be
Jade Esteban Estrada
Jade Esteban Estrada
Jade Esteban Estrada is a true renaissance performer. In his one-man show,
"ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History
of the World, Vol. 1," he performs as
the characters of Sappho,
Michelangelo, Oscar Wilde,
Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Rivera and
. Ellen DeGeneres among others.
£\ He is also a talented singer
l\ and comedian. "Well back in
HP\ the day, a performer had to be
i^-g, able to act, sing dance and
tell a few jokes between
A.sked what he'd pick if he had to
choose only one medium for his artistic
talents he purses his lips together and
thinks aloud, "Hmmm. I hate this question. People that are creative have no
choice. It's like breathing to us. I guess I
would say I would choose singing, as I
can't imagine not being able to tell my stories through song. But if you had asked
me a few years ago I would have said
dance, so if you ask me again at another
time, expect another answer maybe!"
The Estrella award-winning singer
was born and raised in San Antonio. The
son of a U.S. Army officer and a stage
actress, Estrada won a scholarship to the
American Musical and Dramatic
Academy in New York. Estrada studied
dance (alongside Jennifer Lopez) with
Slam, the lead dancer from Madonna's
Blonde Ambition Tour among other
Genre Magazine calls him "the most
exciting Latin pop artist ever to emerge
onto the music scene." He has performed
in seven languages and in 33 countries,
and his music can be heard on the Golden
Globe and Emmy award-winning police
drama "The Shield" on FX. He has also
been seen on the "Graham Norton Effect"
on Comedy Central.
Estrada is currently working on the
third and final installment of his "Icons"
trilogy that will premiere at the
Columbus National Gay and Lesbian
Theatre Festival in 2006. Estrada said,
"Many people think gays and lesbians
only came about in the 1960s or '70s and
that is so not true.
It's important to know where we came
from so we can see where we are going."
Rachael Sage may not be a household
name yet, but with six albums under her
belt, she is certainly working on it.
While growing up, the former Lilith Fair
Talent Search winner attended The School of
American Ballet performing in such classics as "The Nutcracker" and "Coppelia."
But it was the music she heard in class
that held her attention more than the
steps, and by the age of five she had
taught herself to play piano. She remembered pounding out the times of a renegade accompanist who played Beatles
songs with classical arrangements, "Until
they kicked me out of the building."
Her early admiration for classical composers shifted toward confessional lyricists with her discovery of Laura Nyro,
Elvis Costello and Patti Smith.
Sage has a wonderful memory of meeting artist and activist Keith Haring when
she was about 13.
"Keith came backstage after and brought
posters of his version of the American flag,
and signed them for us," she said. "We didn't really know who he was then. And it just
struck me that he was starting with these
kids, a new generation that was trying to
come into their own, and make their own
opinions and not just what the parents had
instilled in them."
It was an early lesson in what Pride really means. "It means celebrating freedom,
the existing ones we have and the projected
future ones we are going to achieve."