Peace & Possibility Project Speaker Series Thrives

Hosted at the Weber State University’s LGBT Resource Center, the Marquardt Peace & Possibility Speaker Series continues to work to improve the university’s culture of tolerance and acceptance by inviting leading LGBTQ activists and advocates to campus. This work aims to nurture a sense of inclusion and allyship. Jane and Tami donated a substantial sum to ensure the project is properly funded to achieve this important goals.

When she spoke at the center, Jane shared, “For decades, Weber State has been the leader in northern Utah in promoting conversations surrounding diversity and the LGBT community.   I am so proud of the leadership demonstrated by Weber State, and the opportunities the university is opening for people of all backgrounds throughout Utah.”

The LGBT Resource Center Coordinator, Jayson Stokes, stated the value of their donation in empowering the center to stay open and to eventually expand. It was the first large endowment granted to the newly minted LGBT Resource Center and represents what will hopefully be just the first in a long line of symbolic investments in the center’s mission. Jane Marquardt had previously gifted the university a sum which became the Phoenix Achievement scholarship for Women. Jane is closely associated to the university, a relationship which dates back to the 1980’s when she taught as an adjunct professor there, as well as served on the Board of Trustees.

Since opening in the beginning of 2015, the LGBT Resource Center has organized and cosolidated campus resources available for LGBT students and allies who need them. They also invest in organizations that provide access to legal support for communities in need.

Jane Marquardt in the Huffington Post

Jane Marquardt and TamiMarriage is a major moment in most anyone’s life. Naturally, there is the tradition, the ceremony, and the celebration. All of these receive vast amounts of attention in pop culture. People pour their money, time, and effort into bringing the dream of a perfect wedding to life. However, the wedding itself is only ever symbolic. It represents something much bigger than the sum of its parts.

A marriage is the commitment of two individuals to join into a union. Two become one in a perfect partnership of love. That’s the true reason the day is so often described as “the perfect day,” regardless of what anyone wore, how the food tasted, or what music was played. Recently, Jane Marquardt shared with the Huffington post how she came to have more than a week’s worth of perfect days.

Jane’s story is winding and inspirational, especially for people who may not yet understand the huge advances in LGBT rights that have only been witnessed recently. These developments have had very real, positive, and immediate impacts on the lives of so many Americans. In celebration of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling which finally put to rest the dwindling debate on this civil rights issue, Jane spoke candidly about what it was like to grow and find love with her longtime partner, Tami. These two women proudly fought time and again to express their love and confirm their partnership in the eyes of what was, at the time, an ever-changing legislative landscape. Ultimately married six times in multiple states, as well as in Canada, before the U.S. Supreme Court decision this year cemented their union’s legal legitimacy, Jane and Tami continue to work towards wider acceptance and empowerment of the LGBT community in their home state of Utah and beyond.

Read Jane Marquardt’s full story in her own words on the Huffington Post here.

The 2015 Utah Pride Festival Is Poised For Success

janemarquardtDowntown Salt Lake City is buzzing with eager anticipation as this year’s Utah Pride Festival approaches. Held this week from Thursday, June 4 to Sunday, June 7, the celebration showcases our state’s proud lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Organized and managed by the Utah Pride Center, the event hosts a massive array of exciting and positive activities, including Utah’s second-largest parade, the Pride Parade. The theme for 2015 is Pride Is…, purposefully designed to encourage everyone to reflect on and embrace the meaning of Pride for them personally.

The Utah Pride Festival began in 1974 as a small, informal gathering in City Creek Park of proud residents who were ready and willing to celebrate their community. Joe Redburn and the staff of the Sun Tavern loosely organized it. In the decades since, it has grown to meteoric proportions and become a staple of the city’s annual calendar, serving as a bright and bold opportunity to come together, educate, and revel in the robust diversity of the community. These days, the Festival attracts over 35,000 participants – and that number grows every year! Nearly 1,000 volunteers will cover 1,400 shifts and vendors will staff hundreds of booths. The Pride Parade alone included 143 entries last year and drew about 25,000 spectators.

The 2015 iteration includes a number of exciting activities for LGBTQ community members, families, friends, and allies. On Thursday, the Community of Christ will host an Interfaith Service at First Baptist Church. The following evening begins with the Grand Marshal Reception. This year’s Grand Marshal is Janet Mock, the prominent advocate, speaker, and New York Times bestelling author. In addition to receptions, the Grand Marshal leads the Pride Parade. Afterwards, there will be poster making and rallies, followed by a kick-off party and Opening Ceremonies.

Saturday afternoon, the Festival Gates open at 3pm. Festival organizers have planned a number of “zones” for different activities and to cater to different visitors, including a SAGE Zone (for everyone), a Youth Zone, a Family Zone, a Gender Zone (to celebrate and support transgender identities), a Health Zone, a Pet Zone, a History Zone, and several more. At 8pm headliner DEV will take the stage. The rest of the evening is dedicated to a dance party. Sunday starts with a Pride Day 5k Fun Run at 9 in the morning, followed by the beloved Utah Pride Parade at 10. The Festival Gates open again at 11am, with entertainment scheduled (including headliner XELLE) until the Festival closes at 7pm.

The Utah Pride Center oversees the Festival, in addition to a growing portfolio of ongoing and annual services, events, and activities that support the state’s LGBT community. The Center evolved from the Utah Stonewall Center which was founded in the early 1990s.

Plan-B Theatre Announces New Season

In celebration of its 25th anniversary season, The Plan-B Theatre Company will produce five new pieces by Utah playwrights. One of these four plays will be the company’s first ever original musical production. Tickets for the season are $70.

The company’s work promoting socially conscious narratives at the local level has earned recognition from Governor Gary Herbert as true art leadership. The new season will include the tenth edition of a radio play, a co-production with musical accompaniment from the NOVA Chamber Music Series, and a dark, new Christmas comedy.

Between October 18 and November 9, they will present “The Kreutzer Sonata.” Adapted by Eric Samuelsen from Leo Tolstoy’s classic, the play tells the tale of a man driven to violent insanity by Beethoven’s music. Co-produced with NOVA, it will feature live performances by esteemed pianist Jason Hardink and Utah Symphony associate concertmaster Kathryn Eberle.

On October 30, Plan-B will showcase Mathew Ivan Bennett’s “Radio Hour Episode 10: Otherwise.” The production features music by David Evanoff and KUER’s Doug Fabrizio conversing with the book’s author about paranormal activity. The performance will take place at 11 in the morning on RadioWest and be rebroadcast at 7 that evening.

Beginning on December 3, Rob Tennant’s black comedy “Booksmart” will run for ten days. The play details the holidays from a retail perspective, as a bookstore clerk attempts to incite a seasonal protest amongst his co-workers.

In 2016, from February 25 until March 6, the theatre company will share the story of a woman trapped in the future, totally removed from her husband and normal life, in Elaine Jarvik’s “Based on a True Story.” The play investigates how the way in which a story is told can impact and alter both the past and the future.

Between March 31 and April 10, Plan-B will produce “Kingdom of Heaven” by Jenifer Nii. The piece describes the life of Mormon housewife on a mission to learn true self-acceptance, all while dressed in drag.

The Plan-B Theatre Company sits poised to gift the community with thought-provoking and sincerely entertaining work in the coming season.

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