Monday, May 28, 2018

LGBT Bold Introduces Amie Klujian and Christina Wiesmore, the co-founders of Back Lot Bash

Amie Klujian and Christina Wiesmore are the co-founders of Back Lot Bash -  the Midwest’s most-attended women’s festival taking place every Pride.

Now celebrating 15 years of producing events for and celebrating Chicago’s LGBTQ community, powerhouse duo, Kujian and Wiesmore-Roberts continue to be inspiring female daredevils and trailblazing local voices in their community. 

In 2017 HRC recognized Back Lot Bash by awarding the duo with an esteemed Chicago Community Service Award. The duo was also featured in GO Magazine’s 2017 list of 100 Top women influencers, tastemakers and trendsetters who are making a difference for the LGBTQ community. 

"Our goal is for our attendees and performers to leave inspired and to stay invigorated and involved in the community until they come back next year." -Christina Wiesmore. 

"We are motivated and driven by the positive energy Back Lot Bash creates. That energy is harnessed by all who attend and used to ignite momentum, engagement and advocacy of issues that matter to the LGBT Community," -Amie Klujian

Back Lot Bash has established itself as one of the nation’s top destinations during Pride Weekend celebrations. Founded in 2004 by Amie Klujian and Christina Wiesmore-Roberts, the hottest, most rockin’ festival for queer women spans over two weekends - June 15, and June 22-24 - in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.  

Showcasing local and emerging talent as well as established performers of different genres, Back Lot Bash highlights unity, equality and inclusiveness in an environment that is festive and celebratory of everyone in the LGBTQ community. 

Since 2004, the event has grown from a single-day event to a 4-day weekend party drawing immense crowds from all over the Midwest and across the US. Co-founders Christina Wiesmore Roberts and Amie Klujian strive to bring the community together and to be active citizens by raising money for community organizations.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

LGBT Bold Introduces Ji Strangeway

Ji Strangeway is the author of "Red As Blue” -  a hybrid graphic novel that combines prose and screenplay with illustrations.

The throwback tale of an angsty, teen girl who stumbles her way through her sexuality and the repercussions of a small town mentality is chock full of quippy one-liners, gorgeous graphic artwork, and edgy sex scenes.

Red as Blue offers a raw and realistic take on the Teenage experience for LGBTQ Youth and teenagers tackling a variety of relevant, current and very real issues that teenagers (still) face today: suicide, gender identity, love & sexuality, social classes and acceptance, and school shootings.

Ji’s story manages to feel both like a real reminder of the world we live in and as a freeing escape into a prior generation.  Unfortunately, the story is also a stark reminder that things haven’t changed all that much over the last three decades.

Ji’s immediate family lived in diaspora in Laos during the Vietnam War. They escaped a violent country and immigrated to America, only to be met with prejudice in Denver, Colorado. Torn between her Vietnamese and American identity, she also struggled with growing up gay. Her traumatic childhood left her with a soft spot for LGBTQ youth who don’t fit in or who experience bullying.

Set in a fictional Colorado desert town in the 1980s, the book follows 15-year-old June Lusparian, a Mexican-Armenian teen struggling to make sense of everything—her life, her sexuality, and her future.

“Red as Blue,” Strangeway explains, “is a story that was huge for me to write because it covers so many things that were burning in my heart. It covers the teenage angst I felt growing up gay in a conservative, violent, toxic, and closedminded environment.”

What makes Red as Blue different than most classic American Teen Dramas is that it is not frivolous nor juvenile, and offers a much more raw and realistic take on the teenage experience.

With a unique, genre-bending style that is sometimes lyrical, sometimes sharp as a razor’s edge, and always engaging;  Red as Blue, beckons LGBTQ youths and X-gens to beautifully come of age all over again.

The story world uniquely takes place in the Chicano culture in America...and that part of society is rarely illustrated in high school stories unless specifically written for the Hispanic community.

Raised in Colorado, Strangeway faced racism, bullying, and homophobia throughout her childhood. During that time there were few role models, as openly-LGBT characters were largely absent from books, TV, and movies.

 “When you don’t have anything to fit you into the picture of the society you live in,” she says, “you have no hope.”

Strangeway created Red as Blue to offer a beacon of light for those struggling to find meaning in life. 

At its core, Red as Blue is about the power of love rather than the love of power. Ultimately, she wrote the book as a healing journey for many generations of LGBTQ Youth.

“ Every young, inquisitive, soul-searching lesbian and bi woman should have Red as Blue on her nightstand, to serve as both a comforting reminder that she’s not alone and a zany escape from everyday life,” says Beth McDonough (

She hopes it will inspire readers, especially the youth to learn how to transform their creative and often destructive energy into something powerful.