I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about some of the things I’m proud of this year. At the forefront I want to say I’m proud to be from Salt Lake City and hope that each of you understands how lucky we are. Though true it might be an embarrassment to deal with the stupid things the church elders come out and say, but we really have it good here and it’s only getting better. A couple weeks ago an article popped up on my Facebook feed that was touting that the writer felt Salt Lake was quickly becoming the next San Francisco; that’s quite a terrifying thought with the way things have gone awry with its ridiculous cost of living,
My friend from San Francisco and his wife had been violently attacked by a gang of ruffians just blocks from their house in the Castro district — an attack so brutal they were left severely beaten, broken and scared of big cities. I might feel stared at and maybe even looked down upon by certain citizens of Salt Lake City but I don’t feel unsafe. I love how, for the most part, I feel accepted and safe. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with a fucked up government telling me where I use the bathroom and I’m glad to have the support of both the straight and gay communities.
I’m proud to live in a city that is an artistic mecca. Once in great while there emerges an artist that shines so bright that you can’t help but bask in their afterglow. Artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.
We have one in our midst right here in lil ol’ 801. His name is Andy Simmonds and chances are you have seen him or his work on Instagram. With nearly 45 thousand followers @heyrooney? this sprite little pocket-sized homo is becoming quite the media giant by simply doing what he loves and has unwittingly crossed cultures within the gay community to destigmatize femme culture. To quote the Out magazine feature from last September http://www.out.com/entertainment/2015/9/03/need-know-andy-simmonds-aka-hey-rooney: “The result of these supposedly clashing interests is a sprightly brand of bubble letters and highly distinct illustrations, which turn common phrases like “Masc-4-Masc” into something that looks like it was peeled off a My Little Pony poster.” If you ask Simmonds himself he’ll tell you, “It’s offering a critique against the masc4masc mentality by, celebrating the things I love about girly-ness. Pink, bubbly girly-ness.”
What I really love about this and other artistic characters in this pretty great state are the back stories that make us all that much more interesting than any other place. For example, this bitch can speak Zulu! Fucking Zulu, okay! He served his mission in Johannesburg, South Africa where he regaled me in a story of graffiting the Zulu word for ‘white boy’ mlungu on the wall of a jail cell (corrupt government bullshit), She has a drag name Dorothy (though hes never done drag) and I hope she’ll take my advice and use the surname Mlungu. You can see and purchase his highly popular tees and such at http://heyrooney.bigcartel.com.
I’m very proud to say that yours truly will be featured in RooneyToon and I will be the first local gal to have such an honor. Simmonds is making me stickers to hand out at my annual rooftop Pride day party at the Green Pig. DJs Artimis and Nick James will spin, and this year, the Green Pig owner Bridget Gordon has gone above the call and secured a street fair permit on Cactus Street. So I’m proud to announce that I’ll be taking it to the street, in association with the Utah AIDS Foundation, to bring you the biggest and baddest party of the year. And what I’m most proud of is I don’t take one dime for planning and throwing this party because I want to do something special for all of you, of whom I am most proud of for being you.
We’ll see you out there my little Kennedarlings, Happy Pride!