Rainbow Round-Up - July - September 2016

Five Questions With: KJ Mohr, Film Curator, Rainbow Fest at the Creative Alliance

KJ Mohr
Photo by Nick Cardello

For the 5th anniversary of the LGBTQA Film Festival, the Creative Alliance is rebranding and turning it into Rainbow Fest. This year, in addition to the thoughtfully curated films, the festival will include performances, readings, a drag party, happy hours, and more. The film festival is one of Creative Alliance's signature 21st Birthday programs and is part of its ongoing support of the LGBTQA community of artists and activists in Baltimore.

1. Why has Creative Alliance's LGBTQA Film Festival changed names for its 5th year?

We changed the name from Charm City LGBTQA Film Festival to Rainbow Fest because this year we wanted to be inclusive of other art forms besides film. Rainbow Fest is a celebratory, all-encompassing' name, welcoming and warm, accurately conveying the spirit of the festival.

2. What is special about this year's Rainbow Fest?

In the past we were strictly a film festival, but this year we're including comedy, spoken word, performance, music, receptions and even a drag show. It's going to be a big ol' party, because we need one. Pride month has renewed gravity this year and we want to celebrate queerness like never before. We'll have a bunch of special guests too, satirist Isaac Oliver, filmmaker Brian O'Donnell, a queer archivist panel, fabulous performer Betty O'Hellno and more.

3. Why should visitors attend this festival?

There are so many reasons for visitors to attend Rainbow Fest, not the least of which is the opportunity to visit the Creative Alliance, an arts and community center that is unparalleled – there's nothing like it anywhere I've been. Folks can come see our galleries, hang out at the bars, talk to resident artists, enjoy our theater and performance space and get to know Highlandtown. Since I came here five years ago, I have found Baltimore to be so welcoming and the Creative Alliance and Baltimore's queer community are that first and foremost. So this is a great excuse to get to Charm City and participate in the smart, artsy quirkiness that is Baltimore.

4. What makes Baltimore a great location for a festival like this?

Every city and every community needs an LGBTQA film festival and for the past five years, Rainbow Fest is Baltimore's. Baltimore is the home of John Waters and Divine and a thriving cutting-edge arts community, not to mention revolutionary queers who are doing great things. Rainbow Fest is our time to celebrate and showcase these aspects of Charm City, to revel in our unique perspective and to enjoy great LGBTQA films and other forms of queer expression. Baltimore is a particular flavor of fun, and that is reflected in the Rainbow Fest programming.

5. What are you most looking forward to at Rainbow Fest?

As a curator, I always look forward to audience reactions, both during the screening and hearing what people have to say afterwards. This kind of film really affects people, touches their lives. So it's super fun to hear responses to films, whether it's laughter and audience bonding or moans or tears. The shorts are always particularly good, and this year is no exception. I'll probably be lurking in the back of the theater, gleefully observing the shorts programs for sure.

Special Events & Exhibitions

The Carnivalesque Roadshow
Creative Alliance
July 10, 2016
Far more than your run-of-the-mill burlesque or nightclub event, The Carnivalesque Roadshow offers an immersive experience into the enticing world of acrobats, freaks, roustabouts, barkers, dandies and women of questionable virtue.

Mount Royal Avenue & Charles Street
July 15-17, 2016
The nation's largest free arts festival is back to celebrate its 35th anniversary with the theme of "Space: Explore What's Out There." You'll find continuous musical performances by local, regional and national talent on multiple outdoor stages; indoor and outdoor visual arts exhibitions; sculptures; art cars; film; theater; crafts; opera; dance; street theater; and children's activities. Headliners include Wyclef Jean, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Burning Spear.

Baltimore Pride
Mount Vernon and Druid Hill Park
July 19-24, 2016
Baltimore Pride has celebrated the diversity of the community in Maryland and throughout the Mid-Atlantic for more than 40 years. Attended annually by an estimated 30,000 people, Baltimore Pride is recognized not only as the premier LGBTQ event in Maryland, but also one of the largest festivals in Baltimore city. The parade and block party are held in Mount Vernon, one of the most historic areas of the city and one of the centers of LGBTQ life in Baltimore. The festival takes place in a lakeside setting in beautiful Druid Hill Park, which provides a pleasant and casual environment for the festivities of the day. Pride headliners include Crystal Waters, George Lovett and Band, and CeCe Peniston.

Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week
July 22-31, 2016
Baltimore offers a unique dining experience that encourages guests to dine their way through the city. Participating restaurants offer specially selected three-course lunch and dinner prix fixe menu options as the city celebrates its diversity in dining.

Rainbow Fest!
Creative Alliance
July 29-31, 2016
For the fifth anniversary of the fabulous annual LGBTQA Film Festival, the Creative Alliance is expanding this high quality event to include dazzling performances, stand-up comedy and a drag party!

Baltimore Seafood Festival
Canton Waterfront Park
September 17, 2016
The second annual Baltimore Seafood Festival is a family-friendly event that features live music, cooking demos by Baltimore's top chefs, oyster- and crab-eating contests, a family area, a crab feast tent, and Baltimore's favorite restaurants serving their signature seafood dishes.

Baltimore Book Festival
Inner Harbor
September 23-26, 2016
The mid-Atlantic's premier celebration of the literary arts showcases more than 200 renowned authors, book signings, poetry readings, workshops, panel discussions, cooking demos, children's activities, exhibitors, food and live music. Confirmed authors include Terry McMillian and Glen Weldon.

Where to Stay

With more than 25 TAG-approved hotels and over 10 IGLTA partner accommodations, choices range from quaint B&Bs and boutique hotels to larger upscale hotels and extended stay properties.

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
202 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

With an unbeatable waterfront location in the bustling Inner Harbor, modern hotel rooms and suites, and intuitive, accommodating service, the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel provides a luxury experience beyond compare in the heart of downtown Baltimore.

Where to Dine

Baltimore's culinary scene is drawing rave reviews from around the globe, including those from Zagat and Wine Enthusiast naming Baltimore a top food destination. From the Inner Harbor to our trendy, historic and hip neighborhoods throughout the city, dining options in Baltimore have expanded in recent years to feature a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines and a range of stylish environments to suit every taste.

La Cuchara
3600 Clipper Mill Road
Baltimore, MD 21211

La Cuchara's menu changes daily with delicious wood-grilled dishes, tasty two bite "pintxos," crudos and charcuterie inspired by the simplicity of Basque cuisine. The 40 seat bar features a unique selection of Basque, Spanish and French wine, cleverly-crafted cocktails, and favorite local beers. La Cuchara's wine selection was recently recognized by Wine Enthusiast as being one of the best in America.