Last year Dan Wren wanted to put on an event that combined his love of music with his support for the LGBT community. The result was The Other T Party, a benefit for Transformations Iowa featuring performances by North of Grand, Patrick Tape Fleming, Ladysoal and others.
The event went well, and this year Wren, a music blogger and transgender support group facilitator with Transformations Iowa, decided to try a similar event — This Music Is So Gay, a benefit concert for OneIowa. The event is Friday at House of Bricks and unofficially ties into PrideFest.
“I wanted to do something for the GLBT community and show people we’re out there and making music in different genres, not just alternative,” Wren said. “Hopefully we can raise some money for OneIowa and add something else to the weekend.”
Wren said his initial goal was to assemble a lineup that spanned as many genres as possible with acts that feature LGBT members. Tracking down musicians in jazz, metal, country and other categories who identify as LGBT proved difficult, but Wren put together a show featuring four acts with a variety of styles.
Performers include the all-female “old timey synth pop” act Vaj of Courage, electronic musician The Olsen Twinns, piano rock band Shady at Best and electro/hip-hop act Vill.
“I don’t make the fact that I identify as part of the LGBT community part of my public persona. I don’t shy away from it, but I present myself as just a person making music,” said Mickey Davis, who performs under the name The Olsen Twinns. “However, I do think it’s important to have shows like these where we can comfortably say, ‘Yes, we are playing and we identify as part of the LGBTQA community.
“I feel privileged to be able to identify as such and not face repercussions, but that isn’t the case everywhere. I hope things like this showcase change that.”
Rachel Gulick of Vaj of Courage said the show seemed like a perfect fit for the band.
“Since the beginning Vaj of Courage has always had a lot of support from the LGBTQA community,” Gulick said. “We wanted to be a part of a show that is supportive of that community and the diversity therein.”
Wren said that if he has the time and possibly some co-organizers he would like to continue with similar showcases at either next year’s PrideFest or at other times of the year. But for now he’s focused on making the most of this event.
“I would like to try it again, if I think I can do it properly,” Wren said. “I just want to make sure I can give it the time an event like this deserves.”