On July 27, as proud and powerful people pump up the jams at Halifax Pride's OutDancing event at the Garrison Grounds, a proud and powerful woman will be taking to the Casino Nova Scotia stage, down the street, to celebrate Halifax's true colours.
Cyndi Lauper is coming to town. Lauper is a very big deal. She has been known for decades as a girl who likes to have fun, and her no bullshit sassery and unmistakable New Yorker twang endear her to millions of fans around the world.
But, in addition to her no-holds-barred attitude and power ballads, Lauper is also known for her LGBT activism. In 2008 she founded the True Colours Fund, whose mandate is, "to inspire and engage everyone, especially straight people, to become active participants in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality and to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness." Last year she cut the ribbon on the True Colours Residence which will provide permanent supportive housing for LGBT youth in New York City with a history of homelessness.
Her latest campaign, GiveADamn, has garnered attention with a series of public service announcements with celebrities like Elton John, Susan Sarandon and Wanda Sykes speaking about how they do, in fact, give a damn about queer youth who live on the street. The related website provides resources for youth in need and for parents looking for more information on the issues.
"She is a strong ally," says Adam Reid, who sits on the board of directors of Halifax Pride and is coordinator of the Queer Acts Theatre Festival. "She has a history going back a couple decades of being a really strong supporter of pride communities around the world, and I think that the LGBT community recognizes and appreciates the work she's done."
Though Lauper's show is not an official Pride event, Casino Nova Scotia is a financial sponsor of the festival. The choice to seek out Lauper to play during Pride was a conscious one, says Amie Moore, entertainment manager at the casino.
"We host a lot of concerts throughout the year," Moore says, "And we try to target specific genres when it suits. So last year we brought in Serena Ryder at the same time as the Pride Festival and it did fantastic. Based on that success we decided to go out and look for someone for this year. Our first choice was Cyndi Lauper and lo and behold we made it happen."
And what a happening it will be. Lauper's first album was aptly titled "She's So Unusual," and for 25 years she's been living up to that title with jaw dropping outfits and the best hair ever. Reid explains that it's Lauper's attitude that inspires as much as her activism. "Pride is really all about the acceptance of individuality and diversity," he says. "Her art really reflects that, especially with 'True Colours' which really touches people in the community as a real story of that desire to be loved, that desire to be known and our fear of not being known."