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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

There Will Be a Pride Celebration at Seattle Center After All

posted by on May 9 at 8:44 AM


In today’s Stranger, I have a story about Egan Orion, a local promoter who has quietly stepped in to try to do what past Pride organizers couldn’t do: Put on a successful, financially-sustainable celebration at the Seattle Center after the downtown Gay Pride parade.

Orion, backed by a group of investors that includes a former Microsoft vice president, is calling his event PrideFest. He’s just signed a contract with Seattle Center and he’s just launched this web site. Here’s an excerpt from my story:

Add one more reversal to this season of reversals regarding plans for Gay Pride celebrations in Seattle. First it was the downtown Pride Parade, which in recent weeks was off and then back on again after its organizers declared, and then un-declared, that they were filing for bankruptcy. Now the post-parade celebration at Seattle Center, which was cancelled after losing $100,000 last year and failing to come up with a workable business plan this year, is back on, but under new management.

On Wednesday, May 8, local promoter Egan Orion, 35, announced that he has secured the Center’s Fisher Pavilion, and adjacent lawns, for what he is calling PrideFest. Egan’s event will be a somewhat scaled-down version of last year’s celebration at the Center, which involved the non-profit group Seattle Out and Proud renting out the entire Center facility. Dave Heurtel, spokesman for Seattle Center, confirmed that Egan had entered into an agreement to use some of the Center’s grounds after the June 24 downtown Pride Parade, but he said the new event would be “completely different” from the money-losing event put on last year.

Orion agreed, and said he was inspired to step forward after plans for an event at the Center collapsed two weeks ago under the weight of Out and Proud’s debts.

“I’m not trying to be a hero here,” Orion told The Stranger. “But in the aftermath of the Out and Proud debacle at the Center, it was clear that there was no organization that was going to come in and pick up the pieces and throw an event after the parade at the Seattle Center. What was going to happen? A parade downtown with nothing at all at the Center? Pride Sunday is too important to the community to just leave it at that.”

Orion says he’s secured the Los Angeles D.J. Brian Pfeifer to play his event, which will run from noon to 6 p.m. He’s also working to add several “diva type” performers and political speakers. There will be food vendors, a beer garden, booths for gay organizations and interest groups, and a number of big-name sponsors, he says. Orion hasn’t rented the Center’s fountain, which became a popular dance spot at last year’s post-parade celebration, but the fountain, which is right outside Fisher Pavilion, is open to the public. Heurtel, the spokesman for the Center, confirmed that Pride celebrants would be allowed to use the fountain again this year.

RSS icon Comments


So now we have three organizations?

But good news on the after parade party :)Is there a place site we can donate to help out yet?

Posted by CodyBolt | May 9, 2007 9:15 AM

His surname is spelled "Orion"


Posted by PaulB | May 9, 2007 9:16 AM

Oops, fixed, thanks PaulB.

Posted by Eli Sanders | May 9, 2007 9:19 AM

this is good news. How long before the other gay groups start attacking him?

Posted by Fnarf | May 9, 2007 9:25 AM

Well, he's not a gay "group", so they may not attack. A lot of the "community" sniping, when you get right down to it, has to do with who slept with who - or who refused to sleep with who.

But maybe he's been a tramp. Then all bets are off ;-)

I'm certain, however, that there will be comments about private control of the festival, being at the mercy of rich Microsoft people, blah, blah, blah....

Wait for it.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | May 9, 2007 9:39 AM

Yeah, because being at the mercy of the earnest, well-meaning volunteers that have traditionally controlled pride events has worked out sooooooo well...

Posted by EXTC | May 9, 2007 9:53 AM

Have patience, Fnarf. We've only known about this for about a half hour. No doubt there will be screaming about the lack of "process" and "openness" and "inclusiveness" about this obviously nefarious behind the scenes private deal, which Orion is surely doing just to line his pockets with gay cash. Underlying the whole thing is an obvious attempt to undercut the Capitol Hill political rally in Volunteer Park the day before. I'm pretty sure Karl Rove is mixed up in this somehow too.

Posted by SDA in SEA | May 9, 2007 9:55 AM

Damn That KArl Rove he's mixed up in every thing!

Posted by CodyBolt | May 9, 2007 11:14 AM

That seals it. This whole Pride Parade drama was completely staged. Everyone on the inside knew there was going to be a parade and rally after all. Egan had his money ready to drop in since day one and SOaP knew it, but went ahead and created their public drama about bankruptcy and bullshit anyway to stir up media and political attention.

The LGBT community takes a step backward every time they perpetuate the Gays Create Drama stereotype.

Posted by Gomez | May 9, 2007 11:15 AM

Egan is really cute.

Posted by monkey | May 9, 2007 11:43 AM


Posted by craig | May 9, 2007 12:02 PM

I just came here to say that.

Posted by sniggles | May 9, 2007 12:11 PM

Dear People Organizing the New Pride Parade(s),

Please refrain from discussing plans with the press until a final decision has been made. My head is spinning!

Thank you,
Pride Fan

Posted by yo | May 9, 2007 12:21 PM

Gomez: I wish it were true. It's nice that you see order--which is what a conspiracy theory is--in this chaotic clusterfuck. But you're imposing it, my friend, it's not there. There was never a question that there would be a pride parade. What was up in the air was where, who, when, and how. That was the controversy.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 9, 2007 12:59 PM

Okay, Dan. I'll take your word for it ;)

Posted by Gomez | May 9, 2007 1:20 PM

I love it... Any whif of Pride drama consistently stirs up 40-plus comments on Slog.

Enter an apparently capable promoter with funding and, it seems, a track record of being able to get the job done -- and all you hear are crickets from the Peanut Gallery.

Here's raising a drink tonight to... to... oh, it doesn't even matter what his name is.

Here's hoping he's running this whole thing as a for-profit venture and he makes a mint on the combined events he has lined up for Pride Weekend.

Posted by good_governace | May 9, 2007 4:25 PM

Egan is H O T !!! Whew!!!

Posted by pride diva | May 9, 2007 10:37 PM

With all these surprise developments, I would like to remind the public of some very important facts.
There are multiple businesses supporting Pride events (and I hope there are more)
but Egan and SOAP are not tax-deductable non-profits.
The LGBT Community Center is tax-deductable and has oversight (even as imperfect as they are).

Keep in mind not one penny of fees and revenue for a downtown parade and Seattle Center party will go back into helping the LGBT community in any manner. It will go into private pockets.

As much as I love a good party, there is something to be said for who, when and where a person supports.

Posted by Dorothy | May 10, 2007 1:42 AM

yeah! What Dorothy@18 said!

Posted by phil | May 10, 2007 8:54 AM

Why do you say: "not one penny of fees and revenue for a downtown parade and Seattle Center party will go back into helping the GLBT community in any manner"? The “One Mighty Pride Fest” organization is explicitly saying a minimum of 25% of net profits will go back to the community and actually lists the organizations. Is this because you feel there will be no net profits from the parties or are you saying that they are probably flat out lying? Or is it bitterness because the Seattle LGBT Center is not listed and there could be long term consequences for them being a pawn to the bar owners in an effort to generate 10% more profits for Rosebud that weekend. this is rather than support a fun and feasible event that can accommodate the large crowd that wants to participate.
The gay bars and restaurants will still make 90% of what they would have but maybe far less people will line up to eat at Magic Dragon on Broadway.

Posted by touring | May 10, 2007 11:17 AM


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