Savannah Pride Fest gets Red Hot and 'Ru' 

Over the past 4 years, Savannah’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities have worked together to educate the public on their lifestyles, and celebrate the cultural diversity and tolerance that Savannah has always been known for.

In that time, their annual showcase has earned both local and national recognition as one of the premier events of its kind anywhere in the South.

Each time out, organizers have assembled a large group of musicians, DJ’s and songwriters to help entertain and illuminate the large number of locals and tourists who flock to this party.

But now, in its 5th year, the Savannah Pride Festival (or simply SP as it is increasingly known) has nabbed its most well-known headliner to date.

Famed singer, actor, author and TV host RuPaul Charles will close out the all-day event, with a concert that will focus on his brand-new album, RuPaul Red Hot.

It’s only fitting that RuPaul should appear this year, as the theme of the festival is “Breaking Through.” By all accounts, this multi-talented star has done more to break through and destroy the negative stereotypes of both female impersonators and openly gay men than most anyone in America’s public eye.

In fact, between his 1992 hit single "Supermodel (You Better Work)" and his featured roles in such mainstream motion pictures as A Very Brady Sequel, RuPaul has transcended many of the perceived boundaries that much of society places on its public figures.

He has gone on to pen a successful autobiography (Letting It All Hang Out), place a duet with Elton John in the Top 10 on the British singles charts, and be immortalized in wax by the famed Madame Tussaud’s in Times Square.

Through it all, he’s maintained a famously upbeat worldview that is focused around spreading unconditional love and positive energy to everyone around him regardless of any perceived societal or cultural differences.

It is this outlook that is at the root of the adoration which many people (gay, straight or otherwise) have for the one-of-a-kind entertainer.

The glamorous star made time to speak with me via phone from New York.

Connect Savannah: You’ve said that by dancing, you can start a revolution. What sort of a revolution?

RuPaul: The revolution of the spirit, which is the most important one. Especially in a culture like the one we live in today, which refuses to recognize anything below the waist, let alone below the shoulderblades.

Connect Savannah: Who’s a bigger bitch, you or Elton John?

RuPaul: Oh, I’m a sweetie pie. People call me a diva, but I’m so low-key and chill.

Connect Savannah: So, Elton John.

RuPaul: (laughs hard) Let’s just say it wouldn’t be me! (laughs)

Connect Savannah: Are you looking forward to this show?

RuPaul: All the years I’ve lived in Georgia, I’ve never even been to Savannah.

Connect Savannah: How important is Gay Pride in 2004?

RuPaul: It’s very important for the kids. It’s all for them. My first Pride Festival was 1982 in Atlanta, and that showed me what life could be. Today, when we have a very ignorant man in the White House who has very closed-minded ideas, it’s important for the older gay people to stand up and mentor the teens.

Connect Savannah: So which candidate will get the majority of the drag vote?

RuPaul: (laughs) I just pray that all my fellow “dragoons” will hit it up for Mr. Kerry. Not that he’s so fabulous. It’s just that we must trim the Bush. You know, people seem to forget that drag queens started the Gay Rights movement. They threw the first brick at Stonewall. Gay people always try to downplay that aspect of our history, because somehow we’re like the nig**** of the gay world. It’s sad. I’d like to remind people that if it wasn’t for us sissies that had the guts to put on a pair of high heels and a wig, they wouldn’t be where they are.

Connect Savannah: In Savannah we have our own drag celebrity, the Lady Chablis.

RuPaul: We’ve never met, but I saw her perform at Club Illusions back in 1982. I’ve been a fan of hers for years.

Connect Savannah: Which one of you would win in a catfight? I mean, you’ve definitely got the reach...

RuPaul: Well, I’m not a fighter. I’m a lover.

Savannah Pride begins at 11:30 am Saturday, September 18th at the Historic Roundhouse off MLK, Jr. Blvd, by the Visitor’s Center. RuPaul headlines the festival with a live show at 7:45 pm. The event is free and open to all ages.


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Jim Reed

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