Nothing like the right kind of White House occupant — or the wrong kind, depending on your perception — to arouse one’s civic pride and a call to action.
Hence last fall’s Scary Times Sunset Cruise in Santa Barbara, organized by supporters of and benefiting the Diversity Collective of Ventura County, along with Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation. And hence, the upcoming Maypole Magick Harbor Cruise in Ventura Harbor, benefiting the DCVC’s Community Resource Center in Ventura.
“Donald Trump has re-energized us as activitists,” proclaims Neil Coffman-Grey, the May 5 cruise’s co-organizer and host, who had taken a 19-years-long break from organizing and hosting party cruises.
Until, that is, he and others saw the current federal administration as, well, less than friendly to the LGBTQ community and its struggle to attain and maintain rights accorded to the rest of society (marriage, to name one).
“I decided I had to get back into the fight because it’s not over with,” says Coffman-Grey
Last September, Coffman-Grey, his husband, Keith, and longtime collaborator Cindy Copeland Burrell of Cinderella Productions emerged from “party cruise hiatus” to organize the event in Santa Barbara. “We called it ‘Scary Times,’ ” says Coffman-Grey, “because, well, Trump is just scary.”
The May 5 cruise, undertaken in conjunction with boat operator Island Packers, will include boarding gifts (ribbons, crowns and fairy wands), a raffle and a costume competition. A “scrumptious smorgasbord” featuring maypole cake pops, drinks, dancing and music from DJ Steve Sharp are also scheduled. Electric wheelchair access will be provided.
The beneficiary is the DCVC’s new Community Resource Center, which opened last summer on Portola Road and promotes diversity, education and mental and physical health via community outreach to Ventura County’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population and the HIV/AIDS-affected community, as well as the general public.
“They provide a really good and necessary service to the whole community,” Coffman-Grey says.
Moreover, he adds, the fight being waged now on behalf of the LGBTQ community has ramifications for the future.
“I think the burden is on us to support, to advise, to be there for younger people, to really mentor the younger generations,” he says. “The transgender community is so attacked these days, and this cruise, like the Community Resource Center, is a safe and celebratory space where you can be comfortable.”
The Maypole Magick Harbor Cruise takes place on Saturday, May 5, 7-9:30 p.m. Boarding starts at 6:30 p.m. at Island Packers in Ventura Harbor Village, 1691 Spinnaker Drive. For tickets and more information, call 455-4788 or visit www.eventbrite.com/e/maypole-magick-sunset-harbor-cruise-tickets-41879924983 or the Maypole Magick Harbor Cruise Facebook page.