Tag Archives: pridefest milwaukee

PrideFest Milwaukee reports record crowd

PrideFest Milwaukee reported a record-breaking 31,295 people attended the three-day celebration held June 6-7 at the Summerfest grounds on Milwaukee’s lakefront.

The attendance was an increase of 3 percent from the record 30,385 visitors who celebrated at PrideFest in 2010.

Festival organizers said revenue results, including the funds raised for the Plus One campaign benefiting the ACLU of Wisconsin, were not available.

The festival opened at June 6 shortly after news broke that a federal district judge had overturned Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

“We are so deeply humbled by what we’ve seen and heard this weekend,” said Kate Sherry, festival co-producer. “Our visitors, volunteers, and performers shared how excited and proud they were to be here, with us, during this historic weekend. You have been heard and we are feeling the love. Thank you for all the photos, emails, voicemails, tweets, Facebook posts, and hugs.” 

She continued, “It makes us so very proud to know how much PrideFest Milwaukee means for the LGBT community, city, state and region. The festival is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers, many of whom work year-round to make PrideFest possible. Your kind words mean the world to us.”

PrideFest organizers said they worked with Visit Milwaukee, Pabst Theater Group, BMO Harris Bradley Center and the Milwaukee Pride Parade to organizer create a four-day weekend for LGBT Pride celebrants in Milwaukee and traveling to the city.

“PrideFest is extremely pleased with everything that happened this weekend: wonderful weather, outstanding programming and such beautiful crowds,” PrideFest Milwaukee president Scott Gunkel said in a news release. “The timing of the marriage equality news was a great gift to the people of Wisconsin and our PrideFest visitors. Love won out, pure and simple, this weekend.”

PrideFest workshop focuses on ‘feminine gender’ presentation

PrideFest, at 4 p.m. on June 7, will feature a presentation on the Stonewall Stage about “feminine gender” presentation. Led by local filmmaker and transwoman Ashley Altadonna and Tool Shed owner Laura Stuart, the presentation will explore “options in make-up, clothing choices, body language, transition-related products, and more.”

WiG recently connected with Altadonna to learn more about the program.

You’ll be presenting on the Stonewall Stage, one of the more intimate settings at PrideFest. What can people who attend expect from the talk? We’ll be hosting an honest conversation about the challenges of female presentation. We’ll have useful tips for the participants on clothing choices, hair styling, voice modification and products like gaffs and breast forms.

Do you do these presentations on a regular basis, or is this event a one-of-a-kind experience for PrideFest goers? I have done several presentations on trans issues before, but this is my first time presenting on this particular topic. I’ll be doing another presentation on transgender sex topics at The Tool Shed later, in the fall.

It seems there has been an increase, at least online, in resources and retailers catering to LGBT customers and our fashion preferences and styles. Still a relatively small number, but an increase. Are there some resources you’d like to recommend? One of the best ways to find out about fashion resources is to connect with other members of the community. One of my goals with this event is to help facilitate those connections. For local transition-related needs, The Tool Shed has a wide selection of products and an LGBT-positive setting

The PrideFest promotion for the program says the targeted audience will be people assigned male at birth who are exploring feminine and/or female presentation, but everyone is welcome. What would you like the “others” in the audience to take away from the presentation? I hope others take away a great appreciation for the challenges facing those beginning their transitions and that they can be an additional source of support for the trans community.

You’ll be presenting the program after a drag makeover involving the Miltown Kings and before a performance by Funkin Wassels comedy troupe. Do you plan on catching these shows? What’s your favorite element of PrideFest? I’m certainly hoping to catch the Miltown Kings. My favorite activity at PrideFest is people watching. 

Besides preparing for this presentation, what are you working on these days? I’m finishing my documentary Making the Cut, which looks at trans health issues and the insurance industry and what it means to be trans and male or female bodied in our culture. More about the film can be found at www.tallladypictures.com.

PrideFest Milwaukee to feature Macy Gray, Sandra Bernhard, Steve Grand

PrideFest Milwaukee will feature Lisa Lampanelli, Sandra Bernhard, Macy Gray, Chad Michaels, Steve Grand, Mary Lambert, Bruce Vilanch, Big Freedia and more, according to an announcement from organizers released on March 10.

The event will take place June 6-8 at Henry W. Maier Festival Park — the Summerfest grounds — on the Milwaukee lakefront.

PrideFest is nation’s largest showcase of LGBT talent, according to organizers, who are promising headliners joined by nearly 100 national, regional and local performers on eight stages.

“We truly believe PrideFest Milwaukee offers something for every visitor,” Kate Sherry, festival co-producer, said in a news release. “This year, we’re thrilled to host a dynamic mix of musical, comedy, and drag performances that reflects the diversity of LGBT culture and community. We’re honored to have access to such stunning talent — and our showcase continues to grow every day.”

The schedule includes:

• June 6:   Bruce Vilanch, Chad Michaels.

• June 7:   Steve Grand, Mary Lambert, Big Freedia, Macy Gray.

• June 8:  Lisa Lampanelli, Sandra Bernhard.

Tickets for PrideFest Milwaukee go on sale March 14, with an option for festivalgoers to add $1 to the purchase price to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which has sued the state to overturn the constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

Tickets are: $30 for a weekend pass, $13 per day in advance and $16 at the gate. VIP passes are $100 per day or $225 for the weekend.

Organizers also are planning a design contest for the annual PrideFest Milwaukee T-shirt — rules will be announced on April 1.

On the Web…

A link to the Miller MainStage line-up.

Lesbian fund seeks to build assets, grow community

It’s a tradition at PrideFest Milwaukee for the Lesbian Fund to take the community’s pulse with a question like, “What would you do if you had all the money in the world?”

A couple of years ago, one woman after another answered that she’d invest in building and strengthening the community.

And that’s exactly the goal of the Lesbian Fund, but without all the money in the world.

A group of women established the fund in 2006 as a community resource built and advised by lesbians. Donations are used for direct grants to programs that benefit lesbians and support lesbian leadership, as well as to grow the fund’s investment assets.

“We’ve been doing very worthwhile work,” said Leslie Salas, co-chair of the fund steering committee, which meets monthly. Other members include Chris Doerfler, Ann Ellingboe, Velvet Moore, Kathy Prodoehl, Eren Turk and co-chair Dalila Cardona.

Salas joined in early 2012, impressed with the mission and the uniqueness of the fund, one of several under the umbrella of the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee. “I’ve been doing my research and I cannot find another lesbian fund in the nation,” Salas said.

Since 2009, the fund has awarded more than $55,000 for a number of efforts, including, most recently:

• The Grow Great Women program at Diverse & Resilient.

• Fair Wisconsin’s annual conference.

• The employment of a school nurse at the Alliance School, the year-round Milwaukee Public school established to provide a “safe place for students regardless of sexuality, identity, appearance, ability or beliefs.”

“We really value our partnership with the Alliance School,” Salas said. On Nov. 3, the LF partners Alliance on a drag extravaganza to raise money for the school and the fund. A Night to Remember: A Night to Celebrate Diversity begins at 8 p.m. at Montage Lounge, 801 S. Second St., Milwaukee. The lineup includes DJ Kelly and some of the state’s most popular drag performers. “We have some fabulous queens and we promise off-the-charts fierceness,” Salas said. 

Ahead on the calendar is a town meeting. Also, in early 2014, the fund plans to issue grants. The group fell short in 2013 and postponed the grant cycle until early next year to focus more time on fundraising. “We really need the community to come out and support us at this critical time,” Salas said.

Make a date

The Lesbian Fund and the Alliance School in Milwaukee are the beneficiaries of A Night to Remember: A Night to Celebrate Diversity at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Montage Lounge, 801 S. Second St. Admission to the drag extravaganza is $15 per person or $75 per table. For more, call 414-277-8092.

On the Web

For more on the Lesbian Fund and the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee, go to www.womensfundmke.org. To connect, look for The Lesbian Fund on Facebook.

Preview the music of PrideFest

Recent releases from some of PrideFest’s most interesting acts include:

Summer Osborne performs June 7 at 6:30 p.m.

What’s not to love about a song titled “Happy” that incorporates a child’s laughter and a message about finding one’s bliss? That’s how St. Louis lesbian singer/songwriter Summer Osborne chose to open her 2012 album “The Scenic Route” (summerosborne.com). Osborne is at her best on similarly upbeat original numbers, such as the rousing “Love Looks Good on Me” and “I Love Your Shine.” A singer of great power and confidence, Osborne presents a subtly shaded cover of “True Colors,” which is bracketed by the disc’s dramatic centerpiece “Don’t Leave Me Here” and the roof-raising “The Reason I Sing.” If you want more of Osborne, her next disc, “As I Am,” is due out in June.

Big Bad Gina performs June 7 at 8 p.m. and  June 8 at 7 p.m.

The members of queer, all-female trio Big Bad Gina (Renee Janski, Melodie Griggis and Jori Costello) describe themselves as “genre hoppin’, folkin’ rockin’ with a driving girl-groove edge.” And that sums them up pretty well. Their latest disc “Lake of Dreams” (bigbadgina.com) is awash in musical styles. From the blue bluegrass of “Canoe Built for Two,” which is sure to make listeners hot under the collar, to the spellbinding “Butch Wytch,” which is pure Womyn’s Music Festival jazz/pop (complete with a rap break), Big Bad Gina makes good on their description’s promise. The torchy “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” is a top-notch tearjerker, while “Set Me Free” is a bluesy boogie-woogie number. Big Bad Gina also shows respectable taste in cover tunes, with their smooth interpretation of Janis Ian’s “Hunger,” and the group finds the grind in the gears of Melissa Ferrick’s “Drive.”

Sophie B. Hawkins performs June 7 at 9 p.m.

On “The Crossing” (Inakustik/Trumpet Swan), her first album in a number of years, omnisexual singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins sounds so excited to be back that she wants to get as much on the record as she possibly can. Hawkins unleashes an edgier rock side on “Betchya Got a Cure for Me.” She updates her trademark pop sound on tunes such as “Georgia” and “Missing” and belts out a respectable rendition of the spiritual “Sinner Man.” The disc also has some unexpected surprises, including acoustic versions of Hawkins’ biggest hits “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “As I Lay Me Down.” 

Rocket Paloma performs June 8 at 3 p.m.

“Great” is a pretty good description of the four-song debut disc by Milwaukee’s very own Rocket Paloma aka Joanna Kerner. A twangy acoustic folk project buoyed by fiddles, banjos, “gee-tars” and such, Rocket Paloma features local musicians John Blohm, Dustin Christian and Joey Runte. This group would be right at home performing at the upcoming Country Thunder fest. Rocket Paloma soars on the delightful “Staring at Polaris” while the bouncy “Mr. True Love” is a song that anyone who’s experienced a broken heart can appreciate. However, it’s on the EP’s closer “Haterstown” that Rocket Paloma achieves greatness. Directed at “haters who just want to get in your face for no real reason,” “Haterstown” allows Kerner to show off her vocal versatility. It’s the acoustic folk equivalent of a rap track. 

Jayme Dawicki  performs June 8 at 5 p.m.

Milwaukee favorite Jayme Dawicki (who returns to PrideFest for the second time) sounds like she’s spent some time listening to Aimee Mann. Her “72 ½ Toyota Truck,” from her most recent full-length release “Love Love” (jaymedawicki.com), would fit right in on any of Mann’s albums. But there’s so much more to keyboard queen Dawicki. Not content to come off like another Tori Amos or Regina Spektor clone, Dawicki writes and performs unique, refreshing songs. “Take My Heart” is as emotional as its title suggest. It’s the kind of song that gets your eyes watery as you sing along. The same is true of the beautiful “Battle.” Dawicki crafts memorably upbeat tunes, too, including “Happy New Year” and “One More Year.” But balladry is her forte, and she shines on “Shout Out Loud” and “Save Me.” (Be sure to hang on for the “Cricket Symphony” hidden track.) 

God-Des & She performs June 9 at 6 p.m.

Wisconsin’s world-famous homegrown queer hip-hop duo God-Des & She has been perfecting rhymes and beats since the dawn of the 21st century. Not known for shying away from such provocative subjects as sex and politics (sometimes in the same song), the duo still proudly waves a freak flag on “United States of God-Des and She” (god-desandshe.com). The sizzling, take-no-prisoners title track kicks things off like a boot to the teeth. Suggestive nose-wrinkler “Ew She Said That” is sure to tickle more than a few fancies, and “Between the Sheets” will leave you hot and bothered. “You Know My Name (YKNM)” slides in on a retro groove and “I’m a Bitch” has anthem potential. The generic modern soul of “Don’t Look Back” slows things up, and “God, I Know You Love Me” is surprisingly awkward. But those are minor complaints about a mostly solid effort. 

Dangerous Muse performs June 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Formerly a duo and now a one-man operation, queer electro act Dangerous Muse (not to be confused with producer/musician Danger Mouse) continues to embrace the EDM (electronic dance music) esthetic on the new five-song disc “Red” (dangerousmuse.com). Dangerous Muse plays with some of the newfangled recording toys on “Homewrecker,” doing techno tricks with the vocals. “I Can’t Help It” sounds a bit like Ministry in that group’s pre-heavy industrial period, and fans of that era won’t be able to help but like it. The album’s centerpiece, “Fame Kills,” goes on a bit too long at almost seven minutes, but it gets points for recalling the mood and energy of vintage 12-inch disco singles.

For complete PrideFest schedule,  click here.

PrideFest Milwaukee grows its lineup

PrideFest Milwaukee has announced that Amanda Palmer and Dangerous Muse as the stars of the Miller Lite Mainstage headline show on June 9.

PrideFest described Palmer as an outspoken support of equality who “has never blinked in the face of controversy.”

She started her career as half of the The Dresden Dolls in 200 and engineered her own musical repertoire, ranging from performance art to punk cabaret.

Dangerous Muse opens the Sunday night show with “electro-pop dance sounds and sexy stage theatrics never before seen on the Miller Lite Mainstage,” according to the PrideFest team. With a musical style described as “electronic past meets electronic future,” Dangerous Muse has been an indie music favorite for half a decade.

The New York-based band, which describes itself as “heteroflexible,” debuted in 2006 with front-page national recognition from Logo TV, The Advocate, Perez Hilton and the New York Daily News.

Dangerous Muse are partners in H&M’s worldwide Fashion Against AIDS campaign. 

“For over a decade, PrideFest has been known as the nation’s largest showcase of LGBT talent,” stated president Scott Gunkel. “This year, we are proud to present a line-up reflecting both long-time, well-known community favorites and exciting next-generation musical discoveries as well.”

PrideFest previously announced June 7 headliner Andy Bell of Erasure and June 8 headliner The Indigo Girls, as well as God-Des & She, Sophie B. Hawkins, ABBA Salute, Big Bad Gina, Bad Romance, the Wisconsin Royalty Drag Show, the Windy City Beauties, Furrlesque, Chicago legends DJ Teri Bristol and Psycho Bitch and more.

On the Web …


Indigo Girls to headline at PrideFest Milwaukee

PrideFest Milwaukee announced the Indigo Girls will headline at the three-day LGBT celebration, performing on the Miller Lite Mainstage at 10:30 p.m. on June 8 – the second night of Pride at the Summerfest grounds on the lakefront.

A news release said, “With a recording career spanning 25 years, the Indigo Girls stand tall as one of the longest-running female folk-rock acts in the country. A long-time community favorite, the Girls last visited PrideFest Milwaukee in 2008, where they played to sold-out reserved seating crowds.”

PrideFest Milwaukee president Scott Gunkel stated, “We are excited to have the Indigo Girls at PrideFest Milwaukee. Their outspoken devotion to social issues, including marriage equality, anti-discrimination laws, and legal protections for LGBT families, is as commendable as their musical talent.”

He continued, “PrideFest Milwaukee is proud to host and showcase these icons of our community.”

PrideFest previously announced the performers for the first night of Pride on June 7. They include: Andy Bell of Erasure, God-Des & She, Sophie B. Hawkins, ABBA Salute, Big Bad Gina, Bad Romance, the Wisconsin Royalty Drag Show, the Windy City Beauties, Furrlesque, Chicago legends DJ Teri Bristol and Psycho Bitch and more.

For details on tickets, which go on sale April 15, go to www.pridefest.com.

The organizers plan on offering festival-goers an opportunity to add $1 to the ticket price to support the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center’s greatest needs fund.

For more information about volunteering, sponsoring or serving as a vendor, email  or call 1-414-272-3378.

PrideFest Milwaukee announces opening night acts

Andy Bell and Sophie B. Hawkins are two of the performers featured on the opening night of PrideFest Milwaukee in June. Organizers also have booked ABBA Salute.

Bell, of Erasure fame, will perform on the Miller Lite Mainstage on June 7. That night also features Hawkins and ABBA Salute, as well as the Wisconsin Royalty Drag Show, the Windy City Beauties and Chicago DJ Teri Bristol and Psycho Bitch. 

“We are honored to bring you another amazing festival experience in 2013,” PrideFest president Scott Gunkel said in a news release. PrideFest organizers will announce additional performers in the weeks ahead.

PrideFest Milwaukee is heading into spring with a re-launched website, a new regional ad campaign and a special advance ticket campaign for the three-day celebration that takes place June 7-9 at the Summerfest grounds.

PrideFest said this year’s event celebrates the strength and pride of families – families of birth and families of choice.

“Last year was not only one of our highest-grossing festivals, but also our most profitable festival in our 25 year history,” said Gunkel. “Across the board, our entire team made smart and responsible cost reductions. Those savings allowed us to deliver the best return on our community’s investment last year.”

General admission to the event includes access to live entertainment, including headliners, on eight stages.

For 2013, PrideFest Milwaukee is offering advance ticket packages:

• Single-day admission is $13 advance ($16 at gate).

• Three-day weekend pass is $30 advance.

• Single-day VIP passes, which include access to the exclusive Potawatomi Bingo Casino VIP Deck, will be $100 advance or $225 or the three-day weekend.

Tickets go on sale April 15, with an option to add $1 to the pricetag to support the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center’s “greatest needs fund.”

For more about PrideFest, go to www.pridefest.com.

Lounging by the lake | PrideFest hosts Wom!nz Spot Lounge and Café

 A new lounge is opening in Milwaukee – an intimate space with an impressive entertainment lineup.

The open sign goes up June 8. And it comes down June 10.

The Wom!nz Spot Lounge and Cafe is a new, 25th anniversary amenity for PrideFest. Organizers invite festivalgoers to stroll toward the south end of the festival grounds, take the stairs or elevator to the second level and relax in an open-air space with a hoppy brew in the lounge or a coffee brew in the cafe while listening to an acoustic set or a poetry reading, watching a dance performance or visiting with women artists and activists.

In the volunteer-staffed lounge, the menu includes bottled water, soda pop, beer and wine. Tips benefit the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.

The cafe offerings include coffee, tea, H2O, cookies and scones provided by Bella Caffe. Also on the café menu are the Soup Market’s vegetarian tomato bisque, African peanut and chicken soup and chicken dumpling soup.

PrideFest board member and women’s outreach director Stephanie A. Knuteson says Wom!nz Spot was designed by women for women.

But, she stresses, Wom!nz Spot is not a separatist stronghold. “It’s a space accepting of all,” Knuteson says. “We’re not segregating ourselves. …The premise is this is a women’s space, a place celebrating women’s culture and women artists. And we’re saying, if you want to celebrate that with us, you are welcome.”

PrideFest president Scott Gunkel adds, “while  the area is built around women, it is not gender exclusive – men are more than welcome to attend. Matter of fact, I encourage men to be part of this experience, you just might learn a thing or two.”

Knuteson, a former board member at the community center, joined the PrideFest board in September, when organizers were reviewing a community survey. “We were seeing that a lot of women are attending the festival and finding that there aren’t a whole lot of things to do,” Knuteson says. “We took notice.”

She suggested the women’s space and the concept quickly caught on – with both the PrideFest committee and the community. Within 36 hours of a shout-out to women artists, the weekend schedule was filled.

The cafe will feature an open mic for spoken word, discussions on wide-ranging issues, performances by the NomadicLIMBS dancer Troupe, women’s Voices Milwaukee and a showcase for Riverwest artists. Lounge performers include LeAnna Eden, BrewCity Boiz and Babez, Lezy Desy, Annie B., The Dots, Jude Kinnear, 2 Girlz, V-Squared, Roxie Beane, Miltown Kings, Jennifer Cintron Cuevas, Lisa Ridgely, Mandy Cappleman and Big Bad Gina, who’s performing an acoustic show.

In booking performers – all of them are volunteering their time – there was a focus on local and regional talent, says Knuteson, who was Wisconsin-raised. There also was a focus on bringing new voices and faces to PrideFest, such as BrewCity Boiz and Roxie Beane, an acoustic funk-rock artist who has a strong Milwaukee following but has never performed at PrideFest.

While she probably won’t be lounging, Knuteson is likely to spend much of the event in Wom!nz Spot Lounge and Cafe with misty Jaeschke, her partner.

An effort has been made to create a family-friendly environment, says Knuteson, who with Jaeschke is raising two teenagers.

She also promises a space that appeals to young LGBT Pride-goers and where newcomers to PrideFest are encouraged to get involved.

Volunteers, Knuteson says, are needed for the weekend, but also for post-PrideFest, as Wom!nz Spot supporters plan for pride 2013 and organize other events – maybe a picnic, maybe a concert. In the survey that led to PrideFest sponsoring Wom!nz Spot, women expressed a desire for more activities year ’round.

Belinda Carlisle | From the Go-Go’s to PrideFest Milwaukee

Rocker and equality advocate Belinda Carlisle opens PrideFest Milwaukee’s 25th anniversary weekend with an 8 p.m. performance on Friday, June 8. Other event headliners include Taylor Dane, Berlin and GOD-DES & She.

in advance of Carlisle’s Milwaukee appearance, she spoke with WiG’s Gregg Shapiro about her reunion tour with the Go-Go’s and becoming a gay rights supporter following the coming-out of her son James duke Mason.

Gregg Shapiro: Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Go-Go’s major-label debut disc “Beauty and the Beat.” Where did the time go?

Belinda Carlisle: (Laughs.) I have no idea. It feels like yesterday. It’s so scary. First of all, when I look back, we formed the band in 1978. So, to go from zero to 100 in three years, without really knowing how to do anything, other than plugging guitars in amplifiers, is a pretty incredible feat. To think of that being in the course of three years, beyond that, it’s been a whirlwind, for sure.

The Go-Go’s reunited for a tour to commemorate the anniversary, and the group is back on tour. What’s the best part of the experience?

Since 1990, we’ve toured consistently pretty much every year. We did break up in 1985, and then at the end of 1989 we got together for a benefit. We are like one big happy dysfunctional family. We know each other really well. It’s family. It’s not even like work colleagues, it’s beyond that. There’s a camaraderie that you don’t get, that I can’t ever get working solo, because I work solo all the time. The Go-Go’s are a special band and we have special relationships with each other.

As the first of the Go-Go’s to launch a solo career, you had a number of hit singles. How did you know it was the right time to embark on your own?

I just got right into it as soon as the band broke up. The band didn’t break up because I left, it broke up for other reasons. I always knew that I had the opportunity to have a solo career, so I got into it right away. I had met my husband. I was newly sober, sort of. I should put “sort of ” in parentheses. (Carlisle detailed her epic battle with cocaine addiction in her memoir “Lips Unsealed.”) It was the right time. I knew I had this big support system behind me.

You are coming to Milwaukee in June to perform at PrideFest. Were you conscious of having an LGBT following?

The Go-Go’s have always had a gay audience from its inception. It has always been like that. I don’t know really how you can say why or define that. Maybe there’s a little bit of the “Valley of the Dolls” element (laughs) thrown in there. Also, gay people have better taste than straight people, generally. They do. We’ve all been aware that we’ve always had a gay audience.

What can your fans look forward to during your PrideFest set?

I’m doing all of my solo hits and throwing in a few Go-Go’s hits. That’s quite a few songs. Generally the music is anthemic and upbeat, and I think people will have a good time.

You became something of an LGBT activist after your son James Duke Mason came out, and you made a ‘No on One’ video that ran on youTube.

I believe in equal rights for everyone – and that means everyone. Even if I didn’t have a gay son, I probably would be involved. But since my son is gay, of course, that makes it even more important to me. Because he’s my baby.

What did you think of President Obama’s statement of support for same-sex marriage?

It’s about time. I’m glad he said it. It was a really brave thing to do. I think of my parents, for instance, who love Obama but can’t come to terms with gay marriage. That’s just the way it is, even though they have a gay grandson. There’s a lot of people out there who are like that, so it was a brave thing to do.

If there was a film version of your 2010 memoir Lips Unsealed,” who would you want to play you in the movie?

Elizabeth Olsen. I think she has an edge. I think she’s a great little actress. There’s a similarity. When I saw “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” I thought she was amazing. And I thought, “She could probably do me.” I know it’s in the works. But having a book in the works as a film, you never know if it’s going to come to pass. But if it was going to happen, I would love for her to play me.

Finally, is heaven really a place on earth?

(Laughs.) There are certain places on this planet that absolutely are. I would say Hawaii, I would say Kashmir in India, I would say Rome is heaven on Earth, too. And I would say San Francisco is pretty close to it.

On stage

Belinda Carlisle is the opening night headliner on June 8 at PrideFest Milwaukee 2012. For more information about the nation’s largest LGBT music festival, go to www.pridefest.com.