Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A light in the darkness

Probably not the best thing to share before going to bed, but this is going to be one of those not so inspirational or light-hearted posts...however it's what's on my mind right now...

So I recommend you stop reading this right now, unless you're up for it. The video's less than 7 minutes. And if you're already familiar with this story (which is only my own, as I can't speak for the rest of my family), thank you for having listened in the past. I'm only sharing again, because, as I was reminded tonight, not all of my friends have necessarily heard it yet. And I don't share it that often...

Three years ago, the Monday after Thanksgiving '10, I had little idea that I would wake up to what was one of the darkest days of my life, if not THE darkest one.

And I share this, because for many of us the holidays can sometimes be a bit of a mix of emotions, especially when tragedy and loss are involved and memories are heightened because they've occurred during times which were supposed to be joyous and celebratory.

So I share this in part to say thank you, because if you are seeing this (I set the privacy setting for this post to "Friends" instead of my usual "Public"), whether we've known each other for a moment or what might feel like a lifetime, you've been one more light in the darkness, one more reason to be thankful to be a part of each others' lives, one more person who has helped me understand and value friendship, family, and community, one more individual who makes me look forward to the next day because of the one we first met or last saw each other.

The other part? As much as each day might seem like just another day, take some extra time and energy to appreciate the ones you love during the winter. And I know I'm preaching to the choir. But I just say it anyway, because the daytime in this hemisphere is still getting shorter, at least for another 2 1/2 weeks. And some of us don't deal as well as others, with the change of seasons...usually without even knowing it.

And it takes surprisingly little, in ways you might not even realize, to be a light in someone else's darkness. <3 .="" p="">

JR Russ tells true story at SpeakeasyDC - June 2012 from SpeakeasyDC on Vimeo.

Thank you for taking the time to check this post out. Let me know what you think in the comments,


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why I would use the Google Wallet Card

Hey there,

So this post is somewhat of a cheat. A friend of mind posted about +Google Wallet card.

And so I went ahead and ordered my own.

After a quick identity verification, of course.

So I did some research, aka Google'ing, and came across this Forbes article about it, which I then posted to Facebook.
"The card, dubbed the Google Wallet Card, will be tied to a user's Google Wallet account, will have no monthly or annual fees and will be available free of charge." 
But obviously anything that's free comes at a price, in this case yet another set of data for Google to mine. The question is, do the pro's outweigh the con's? 
And yes, I already ordered mine. Not because I have an answer to the question, but I want to find out my own answer first hand :-)
To which a friend of mind still stated that he didn't know why anyone would use it, and just use your actual debit or credit card. Now I don't have it yet, so any answer to that is just speculation, and any reasons are personal. So I replied with this:

Honestly, the only answers I could give you...would be the same reason I use square's wallet at the coffee place right by my work, the three main reasons being: 
-I'd personally like to get to a point where I'm not carrying my credit card around at all, not that I'm prone to loosing my wallet, but in case it ever gets lost or stolen, there's a lot less work to deactivate a third-party card like this, than replacing your card as well as any payment accounts you have set up with it (for bills, utilities, etc.) 
-Less wear and tear on my actual card, which lets me use it longer, and prolongs having to get a new one, requiring going through the process of updating payment accounts
& last 
-fewer people are handling and have access to my actual credit and debit cards
So those are my personal reasons. Not major, life-changing ones, but enough to make me consider using something like this.
And those were just the ones I could think of, off the top of my head. Another benefit is an easier way of checking in on your purchase habits.

And being able to remotely disable the card or the app, which I already mentioned in my reply.

But I'm also really biased, and a bit of a Google fanboy/early adapter. Not as early as others, but for a casual user, I'd say I'm relatively on top of things.

So yeah, there's my reasons for being curious enough to check out using Google Wallet Card. What do you think?

- JR

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Bondage" #ThroughGlass

Hey there,

First off, this might not be what you think!!  I do want to thank +Pinky Swear Productions for being part of a WONDERFUL Production.

And it's the first time I got to check out exactly how I would use Google Glass as a performer in a show.  That show was Bondage, and here's what had happened.

I documented the last night before the first show.

I used it to take viewers on a trip entering the space.

I introduced my partner in crime, French Maid Boy, in 140 characters or less.

Here's a video of Jon Jon, gettin' his hair ready

And here is a peak into the "Peep Show" room.

Here I am getting into costume.

After a wonderful week 1, I shared the beginning of week 2 of performances.

And then before we knew it, week 3.

And then the next to last show!!

I decided to record part of a conversation about a guy who kicked my cage.

And on the final night, for fun, thought we'd show what happened to audience members who took photos or videos of the "Observation Session".

And after our last Parlour trick, some final thoughts from +Jon Jon Johnson

Definitely resorted to more vlogging via G+ towards the end. But still, got a chance to play with Glass as a means to share the process and some of the behind the scenes stuff.

Again, very grateful to the Pinky Swear Productions family, and curious to see what you think, especially other theatre professionals, bloggers, those who walk in both worlds, and folks who just enjoy seeing theatre in general. So leave a comment,


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Amazon Smile: Online shopping for Nonprofits

Amazon is giving folks another reason to smile. Haven't heard about AmazonSmile yet?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

You might have noticed if you looked closely that in the screenshot above, it says that 0.5% of my purchases will go to the Foundation Center. This is because a Foundation Center post is how I found out about it.

So, if you want, you can select another charitable organization.

You can even search by name, location, or keyword, which I did for "Washington, DC".

It gave me over 8,000 results in the DC area.

And if you're an organization, you can register here.

To do so, the site first asks you to find your charitable organization. It also states, "you must be an authorized representative of the organization."

There've already been a number of articles written about this, offering different bits of context and insight.
The high-level message is clear: Amazon wants people to know it cares about people and communities. But there’s an underlying message that seems just as apparent: we’ll keep giving as long as you keep buying. (read more at TechCrunch)
 "AmazonSmile allows us to reach millions of existing and new supporters who can help us find cures for cancer and save children," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "At St. Jude, we're leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer while ensuring no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Working with AmazonSmile gives us a new way to support our mission that's simple for both us and our supporters." (read more at the Wall Street Journal)
So...what do you think? For those who use Amazon regularly, do you think you will take advantage of this
philanthropic option as a consumer?

Leave your thoughts in a comment below!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

DCCAH FY14 Grantees on Twitter

Hey there,

So in my duties at work at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, one of my most recent projects involved creating a list of our FY14 Grantees on Twitter.

Here they are:

If you're on Twitter, and want to keep up with them, definitely subscribe to the list!!

Even got a shout-out from the Mayor, about it!!

So, what do you think? And do you know of any other similar granting organizations that utilize Twitter in similar ways, to recognize their grantees? Please share in the comments.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My latest ink: St. Albans and Burning Man collide

Hey there,

I went to St. Albans School for Boys for 8 years. I was there from 5th-12th grade, 1991-1999.
From the top of Mount St. Alban, St. Albans School looks up to the Washington National Cathedral and out to the United States Capitol. Our location serves as an embodiment and constant reminder of the School’s motto: Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria, for Church and Country. Since the School was established in 1909 by the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, our mission has been to prepare boys to develop and use their spiritual, intellectual, artistic, and physical gifts not for themselves alone, but in service of the greater community.
Needless to say it was a very formative experience of my life, which, at the age of 32, accounts for a bout 25% of it. Here is our high school emblem:

Want to know more about the school? Check out the Wikipedia entry for it.

So I'd been wanting to get the emblem for a while...and I have to be honest, partly because I actually lost my class ring. But that's besides the point, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that the emblem would make a good tattoo.

That leads us to the week or so before I had my appointment scheduled. I went to Burning Man for the first time this year. Although only 8 days and not 8 years, my time at Black Rock City was very life-changing. If you're not familiar with Burning Man, I would start by checking out the Ten Principles:
  • Radical Inclusion
  • Gifting
  • Decommodification
  • Radical Self-reliance
  • Radical Self-expression
  • Communal Effort
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leaving No Trace
  • Participation
  • Immediacy
So I threw the logo to Blake Becker, the tattoo artist who's done all my work actually, and asked him if he could incorporate the logo into my high school emblem.

My appointment day came up, and I went to the Tattooery, Blake's shop in College Park. He showed me what he came up with, I thought it was perfect, and this is what it looked like:

What I like is that it definitely reflects my playa name, which I found thanks to Playa Name Help. Here's a photo of me with my helper, courtesy of their Facebook page:

It's actually kind of meta now that I think of it. What kicked of the discussion which led to my name, were actually my existing tattoos. I shared that beyond their meaning, I also got each one done on a significant date related to it.

So from talking about how time and place being significant to me, it led to a conversation about how my artistic and creative work is also about an intersection, but of communities. Anyway, long story short, they ended up helping me find my playa name, Nexus:
A means of connection; a link or tie; the core or center.
And so, my latest tattoo...kinda brings it all full circle.

What do you think?

JR aka Nexus

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Furloughed deals in the arts in DC

Hey there!!

After seeing the Washington Post start a list of Happy Hour Specials during the government shut down around the city, I thought I'd start compiling a list of all the arts specials, prompted by one post this morning.

Here they are!!

Time sensitive deals:

For 10/3 & 10/5

For 10/6

Deals until the government shutdown ends:

Last updated: 2:40pm, October 3, 2013.

Any others? Let me know, either in a comment below or an email at a.way.of.life.0@gmail.com. And thanks in advance!!

- JR

Friday, September 27, 2013

Original posts are editable on Facebook now!!

Check it out, in case you haven't heard/read yet!!

We can edit our original posts/status updates on Facebook now!!

Even George Takei posted about it:

Pete Pachal wrote about it on Mashable yesterday, with different news for Android and iOS users:
The editing feature will roll out to Facebook users on the web and Android devices over the next day, Facebook confirmed to Mashable. The editing feature is not included in the latest iOS app, but will likely get pushed out in the next update. Users will see the option to "Edit Post" when they click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post.
You can read the rest of the article here. Or see more news about it via this google search for "Facebook edit posts".

As you can see, all you have to do is click on the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of your post, and now "Edit Post" has been added to your "Delete" & "Embed Post" options.

I'm sure this'll be of particular relief to all the grammar and word nazis who occasionally slip up with their own posts!! Just thought I'd share. TGIF!! :-D

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 things I've done more since Burning Man

So I went to Burning Man for the first time this year. Hit the road to head home from it two weeks ago today. And, honestly, Exodus was one of many highlights from my time there.
Photo op during pulsing at Exodus

And I noticed that my life has been a little bit more since I got back. No, this isn't the summation of all my experiences there. I think I could process and blog about it for the whole year and still not be able to completely communicate what happened in my time there.

But I thought I'd start with this, in no more particular order. Since I've returned from the playa, I've noticed I:
  • Say hello more
  • Stay hydrated more
  • Give of myself more
  • Take my time more
  • Say thank you more
  • Find myself in the moment more
  • Communicate honestly and openly more
  • Accept and understand my emotions more
  • Let go, in general but particularly of expectations, more
  • See the world as wonderful more
It was like being there for a week, for me, this year, gave me a chance to reset my personal humanity by  switching off my autopilot, all the mental things that I might do seemingly to save my time and energy, day to day, but at the expense of doing less of the things I just mentioned.

And this is not to say that there is no other ways to be more self-aware about things like this, it was just one way for me. A very unique way, I'd argue, for anyone. And as the word "more" would describe, these are things that I have done and try to do anyway, but a week at Black Rock City reinforced the foundation.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Definitely NOT a comprehensive list. If you've been to the playa, and you'd like to add to the list, please do so in a comment!!

JR aka Nexus

P.S. If you've never been, and even if you know friends who have, a good place to start would be by checking out the ten principles, if you haven't already heard of 'em.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoon: The TV Show

Hey there,

Just thought I'd share a cartoon, specifically an animated short.

I used to love watching cartoons as a kid. Saturday morning cartoons were a quintessential part of my weekend. In addition to reading, and other activities.

Anyway, just thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite cartoons that I come across or are shared with me. Specifically shorts because unless I'm committed to a show, that's all I have time for.

So thinking about doing this weekly, and here's the first one I wanted to share.

It was directed by Sugimoto Kousuke with music by Manabe Takayuki.

Let me know what you think,


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

I found my dance home at Nation

Hey there,

Just wanted to share something I posted on my Facebook, regarding Nation (the DC night club):
So as I'm sharing this I'm actually starting to get a little emotional. For those that don't know, I didn't find my dancing feet as an adult in the studio, but found my dance home underneath strobe lights to house music, and other EDM subgenres. 
In fact when I took a break from college/university, dancing at Nation on a weekly basis is not only what kept me looking forward to the next week, but what made me realize how much I needed dance in my life, not even on a performing level in concert form, just as a person that was part of a community. 
Anyway, RIP, Nation. Thanks to all the wonderful memories. And very grateful to all the wonderful people I've met, kept in touch with, and have even been reconnecting with now that we're all grown up, with jobs, families, and other responsibilities :-D
This was inspired after a friend posted a link to a Flickr  album of photos from the venue's demolition, which are beautiful!!

Here's just one of 'em:


I recommend going to the album to see the rest!!

Anyway, did anyone else find their dancing feet and/or family at Nation? Please share your story in the comments below!!

- JR

Monday, July 01, 2013

Federal Furlough Fun on Facebook

Hey there,

So I realize some of you might be thinking what could possibly be fun about being affected by the Federal Furlough.

Well, one person decided that one way would be to start a Facebook group called "How I Spent My Furlough Day".

It's an open group, and this is part of what it's about:
This group was created to share stories, photos and reflections about how we spend our furlough days. It is a deliberate effort to bring a little laughter and levity to an otherwise difficult situation.
There's even an event on Monday, July 8th, the Federal Furlough Five Mile Fun Run for Freedom.

If you're around (and affected), definitely click on the link to RSVP on Facebook. And keep an eye out for any of your friends who might be affected, as there are a number of profile pics which were created and share to spread the word about the group and the event.

So check out and let me know what you think in the comments. Especially let me know if you plan on joining the group and even participating in the run. Would love to hear your story.

And if you have any other comments, even if just about the group in general (for better or for worse), please share.

- JR

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What happens if you google "Gay" today?

Hey there,

So on their Facebook page, MoveOn.org's status just 15 minutes or so before this post was:

"Google the word 'gay'. Just do it :)"

As of the time I saw it, it had been shared 384 times, and liked 1,656 times. And this is what happens:

The rainbow visualization of the search bar also works if you Google:

  • lesbian
  • bisexual
  • transgender
  • lgbt
In case you didn't hear via one channel or another, I'll just quote the Reuters piece that pops up first in the search results:
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for gay rights on Wednesday by forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal and paving the way for it in California, the most populous state.
You can read the rest here.

Will post about my own personal experience singing with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington only minutes after we heard about the rulings outside the Supreme Court later, but just wanted to blog about this awesome example of Google's constant efforts to show how aware and engaged they are with the lives of their users.

- JR

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

At the Supreme Court for Marriage Equality

Hey there,

So this is a bit of a hip shot, a term I first learned of regarding reviews for the Capital Fringe Festival, that weren't necessarily comprehensive, but whose priority was immediacy, to get the word out and something up online as soon as possible, with integrity.

That being said, I wanted to post something on my first day on the steps of the Supreme Court, with particular interest on the outcomes regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, yesterday. And the reporters were lined up and ready, as there were a number of rulings that would be made this week.

I even changed my profile pic the night before, to once again join the Human Rights Campaign's red picture equality campaign.

Actually attended a wonderful event organized by DC Chapter of AIGA, a professional craft and design membership organization, hosted and presented by HRC, called "The Art of Advocacy", which I still have to blog about, and will do so in the next week or so.

But I digress.

It was great seeing Aram Vartian, on staff at local LGBT publication Metro Weekly with their multimedia, in action.

And there were a number of community members representing, either with signs of their own story or waving the rainbow flag with pride.

And very grateful I got to join my friend, Sklyer Mays, a friend and service member from Arkansas. He was actually quoted in this Huffington Post piece from March, among other media outlets and platforms.

Oh. And that gay mormon in the picture earlier?

One of two gay mormons who are members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, David Baker. He's actually one of our newest members, and a fellow gaymer. I didn't want to interrupt his advocating, but he indulged me with a photo.

As did Aram, as we were calling it a day, finding out that the rulings on Marriage Equality would not happen until later in the week.

But still glad I was there. Even if to help record and document that first day, just as a member of the public. Which is honestly a bit empowering, being there with other citizens, this collection of LGBT folks, allies, interns, tourists & reporters.

There was even one guy across the street who was not in support of same-sex marriage...and that's really all the space he deserves.

And although I got to call it a day, having heard what I needed to about the issues I was primarily there for, I had nothing but respect and appreciation for the reporters who are seemingly forever poised to do their job, even if it means waiting at length, just for something to happen.

What's that quote about a well-informed electorate?

Anyway, just wanted to post this, before getting ready for day 2!!

Really grateful, on days like this, that I live in Washington, DC.

P.S. You can see more photos:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My first burn: Freeform Arts Festival

Hey there,

So I went to my first burn related event last weekend, Freeform Festival. The best way to understand what the festival was like, would be to check out the Event Guide. And if you're not familiar with burns and burners, it refers to and is related to Burning Man, to varying degrees.

What I thought was really cool, were the principles set out in the guide, a foundation of expectations for this event:
  • Volunteer Based Community
  • Accountability
  • Inclusion and Expression
  • Gifting and Zero Commerce
  • Self Reliance
  • Leave NO Trace
More details in the guide.

Here's a vlog from the day I got back:

As you can tell, I was almost speechless. It was just an amazing experience.

Just a good time with good people.

If you're interested and on Facebook, I highly recommend that you "Like" Freeform's Facebook page:

More posts to come, as I process different aspects of my first burn, so keep an eye out for them.

In the meantime, already looking forward to my next burn, which might be the big one!!


Thursday, June 06, 2013

A mobile Capital Pride

Hey there,

Lately I've been wondering how to live a mobile-optimized life. Yes, the bulk of this is examining just how many of my financial transactions I can make paper and plastic-less.

And so this particular post is geared towards Capital Pride. It was actually inspired after going to the website and seeing that they had an app, available at Apple's iTunes store & Google's Play store.

Obviously I had to download it and check it out. After all, a mobile app represents (if done well) represents significant buy-in from leadership as well as time and resources devoted to it's development, implementation, and management.

So, for any other app folks, check it out, let me know what you think in the comments.

My next couple of apps are actually venue specific, because they're the only LGBT establishments I know of, that use 'em. But obviously please correct me, if I'm wrong.

The first is one of my faves, TabbedOut, which you can use at Nellie's Sports Bar. It's funny, it's name
almost screams LGBT Pride. But that's just a coincidence.

What I love about this app is:

  • it opens up a tab simply by providing a code, so no having to give your card
  • it keeps track of your orders on your smartphone
  • it allows you to close your tab via your phone, even AFTER you've left
  • it even lets you split up one tab among any other friends who have the app set up on their own phone
So Nellie's. Yeah.

I actually blogged about it with a walk-through of the whole process back in January, if you want to check that post out.

The other app is a new discovery, AMI. It's a jukebox app. And I discovered it at Dupont Italian Kitchen, known as D.I.K. Bar by the locals.

It made me very happy a couple of nights ago. I realize it's probably a control thing, but it was just very nice being able to request songs from wherever I was sitting.

And last, but not least, is actually an app for people who don't want to drive, but also might want
something a little more cost effective than Uber, and more community oriented. For that, there's Sidecar.

I actually blogged about it when the service had just hit the streets of DC, in a post from April. A disclaimer, I'm actually a driver too. And if you want, you can use my Jumpstarter code, "JR14597js", for a $10 credit for signing up!!

The app provides a suggested donation at the end of the ride, which you can pay exactly, less, or more than, 80% of which goes to the driver. All drivers go through an in person training after submitting ID, registration, and insurance information, and the drivers and riders each rate each other after reaching the destination.

Anyway, that's it. Any apps you use, which you'd recommend others check out in particular, for this weekend? Please mention 'em in the comments!!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

DC Youth Pride 2013

Hey there,

Yesterday was DC Youth Pride, organized by the Youth Pride Alliance.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, was just one of many organizations which had a table set up around the Dupont Circle Fountain. In case you didn't know, I sing with GMCW, and you can check out my last post about an event we were invited to be a part of, singing at the Human Right Campaign's Out for Equality event, HRC's inaugural ball this year.

But I digress. I got there right as it was getting started, and got to catch the tail end of Tom Goss' set on the main stage.

Up after him was an adorable band from Baltimore, Basement Instinct. Check out their Facebook page here. As much as I wanted to stay at the stage, I returned to the circle to keep walking around.

HRC had a table set up along with a wheel to engage youth and adults who stopped by.

Here are some of GMCW brothers, sporting our red polos as they manned the table all afternoon.

And guess who stopped by Youth Pride and our table? Ward 4 councilmember, Muriel Bowser. In case you didn't know, she's running for Mayor. Check out this piece in the Washington Post.

Real Talk DC showed up with their van. If you're not familiar with Real Talk DC, they're a subsidiary of Metro Teen Aids, funded by DC's Department of Health.

And as it was Youth Pride, Capital Pride was present.

At the next table was the National Black Justice Coalition.

If you're not familiar with NBJC, here's the blurb from their About section:
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Got to chat with the two lovely ladies at the table, and looking forward to possibly talking to them more, particularly about their Emerging Leaders program.

The DC government was present, via the One City Action Plan (OCAP).

The OCAP has three goals, grow and diversify the District economy, educate and prepare the workforce for the new economy, and improve the quality of life for all.

SMYAL was also present, obviously. It stands for Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, of which I am an alumn.

It provided a much needed safe space and community for me (where I also met my first boyfriend), the summer before my junior year of high school.

Casa Ruby, had a table. For those just getting to know Casa Ruby:
Casa Ruby is the first community, social and resources center run by LGBT queer Latinos in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.

And, small world, GMCW's last GenOUT visit was at Georgetown Day School, as part of their annual pride week activities. And when we asked the students what some of their favorite moments were, one mentioned the speaker they had just that day, an amazing transgender woman, Casa Ruby's founder and director, Ruby Corado.

In addition to the performance stage and the tables ringing the fountain, people had the chance to customize their own t-shirts. Check out my raver sister from another mister, Jen, working on hers.

And this is where I ran into one of my favorite people, Aram Vartian, who is the multimedia producer for Metro Weekly, doin' what he does best: capturing moments and telling our stories.

And just to show that half of life is simply showing up and being present, I had been walking around with current chorus president, Marcus Brown, also ex officio member of GMCW's Board of Directors so Aram took the opportunity to get Marcus' thoughts and feelings regarding youth pride and representing the chorus there.

So I captured the set up, and keep an eye out in the comments when Aram finalizes the piece.

So just some other highlights of organizations present. Here were a couple of folks with the Trevor Project who let me capture their smiling faces.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone, the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR. Set in 1981, TREVOR is a timeless coming-of-age story about love, loss, and learning to be yourself.
Definitely recommend checking out their website for the rest of the organization's history, and more.

Speaking of checking out, I love that the ultimate place to check out books was present and presented themselves as a resource for LGBT youth, DC Public Library.

The DC Center, another great resource, was also there.

The Mayor's Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Affairs had a table, almost on the opposite side of the circle from One City.

DC Public Schools and the Youth Advisory Committee also participated in today's event.

And SMYAL had a couple neat engagement pieces set up. One was a photo booth, which you got to write a message to hold in the picture with you.

And the other was a board asking "who is your hero?"

Overall just an awesome day, with some beautifully perfect weather. And if you're on Facebook and you'd like to like Youth Pride Alliance's page, make sure to do so.

 It's also one of those things where when I think back to my own youth, and the world as I knew it when I graduated from high school in '99...

Whoa...how far things have come. Yes, still plenty of work to do, but sometimes when you get caught up in the day to day, it's hard to really take a step back and reflect. Just glad that I could be part of moving forward as a community through GMCW's GenOUT program.

More than anything, I value it as a chance to really get to know the youth we're visiting with. In fact my goal is to make sure that we listen to them and know more about their world, than they do about us. Because they can check out our website, and come to our concerts, and talk to us after. But that's really one of the few chances and opportunities we have to listen to them. And it speaks to one of our values in the chorus:
We honor the unique backgrounds and experiences of our members
But I digress, I'm looking forward to next year. I'm really excited because I want to see how GMCW can take our own presence to another level with fun and surprise.

But until then, I wanted to share a music video a good friend just shared with me, that was particularly timely and relevant, which I hadn't seen until this wekend, Macklemore's music video for his track, "Same Love".

Where you at DC Youth Pride? How was it for you? What'd you think of the song and video, especially if you've never heard or seen it before. And if you have any photos or videos that are online and public, please share the link(s) in the comments. You can see my album for DC Youth Pride 2013 here on Google+here on Facebook, or here on Flickr.

And, just in case, with Flickr, if you decided to order prints, please consider throwing some change my way. PayPal's good and my email is a.way.of.life.0@gmail.com.

Also, I did not get pics of all the wonderful organizations that were there for Youth Pride. If I did not mention you in this post, please share you organization with a link to your website and any social media in the comments.

With love, yours in song,