Reviewer: Charles O'Neill

This Saturday, April 19, the Diversity Center is hosting a benefit for Santa Cruz Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (GLBTIQ) Pride at the Santa Cruz Veterans Hall. This Saturday’s benefit for Santa Cruz Pride (slated for Sunday, June 1) is a variety show of sorts entitled the “Santa Cruz Queer Arts Festival.” The show’s producers are Ranka Milojkovic and Vnes deSmilo, both longtime activists and organizers in the community.

Featured musicians will be local singer/songwriter Leesa Gomez and Casey Holford and Jenn Lindsay, two well-known Anti-folkers from New York City. Holford and Lindsay are taking time out of their cross-country tour to stop in Santa Cruz and help benefit the local queer scene.

“We have to continue to carry on a tradition of community building,” Lindsay says. “And it’s an opportunity to share experiences in a way that lets people know that if they are confused [with] whatever in the hell they are, that others are the same way and its all to be celebrated.”

They describe Anti-folk as an assorted collection of diverse musicians whose main similarities is their New York geography and their lack of respect for the mainstream music scene.

“I think we all have issues with music that’s well packaged but ruined by mediocre songwriting,” Holford says. “Songwriting should be honest and that honesty is what we strive for.”

The Queer Arts Festival is 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19 at the Santa Cruz Veterans Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $10-$100, sliding scale, and all proceeds will benefit Santa Cruz Pride. Tickets are available at Herland, 1014 Cedar St., The Diversity Center, 177 Walnut Ave., (both in Santa Cruz) or at the door on April 19. The purchase price of tickets is tax deductible for any amount above the $10 starting cost. This is a fragrance-free event.