LGBT happy hour kicks off Cincy Pops concert

Posted at 8:00 AM, Jan 20, 2016

With winter weather chilling us these days, almost anything described as “hot” sounds appealing.

But there’s a lot more to Sunday’s Hot Pink T-Dance, followed by a Cincinnati Pops concert featuring Pink Martini and the von Trapps.

Let’s start with that T-Dance, happening at the new Transept event center at 12th and Elm streets. T-Dances are a variety of happy hour popular in gay communities such as Key West, Fire Island and Provincetown, often held late on Sunday afternoons — such as this gathering, which features drinks and eats, including gourmet grilled cheese, plus dance music spun by DJ Thaddeus. CSO Spectrum, the Cincinnati Symphony’s LGBT support group, is sponsoring this one; it’s a social event as well as a fundraiser.

Kathy Nardiello is one of Spectrum’s co-chairs. “Our group was created to encourage LGBT engagement with the symphony, especially support for LGBT artists," she said. "Rather than having one night every year — perhaps during Pride events in June — we decided to hold more varied events two or three times per year.”

Nardiello, who works in software sales for Oracle Corp. and is a CSO board member, has spent much of her volunteer time supporting HIV/AIDS causes, especially AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati.

“This was something different for me,” she said enthusiastically.

She plans events with a committee that includes Tim Giglio, Jared Queen, Will Stenger and Brett Stover. A year ago they coordinated a party around the Indigo Girls' gig with the Cincinnati Pops. Spectrum also has been a big proponent of Steven Reineke, an openly gay conductor who has a long history with the Pops. (A native of Tipp City, north of Dayton, and a graduate of Miami University, Reineke is music director of the New York Pops. He will conduct this show.)  

“When we heard about this Pops concert with Steve conducting, it seemed like a natural connection,” Nardiello said. "Our goal is to offer more events and choices for Spectrum supporters, rather than one expensive evening.”

As to why the T-Dance is hot pink, well, that’s to underscore maestro Reineke’s and the Pops’ special guests this weekend, Pink Martini. The 12-piece “little orchestra” specializes in an international mix of cabaret, samba and jazz. Activist and musician Thomas Lauderdale launched the group in 1994 in Portland to offer entertainment for political fundraisers for civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. Over the past two decades Pink Martini has released several recordings featuring singers China Forbes and Storm Large, and the group has performed with more than 50 orchestras around the world.

Pink Martini’s concert will feature its frequent vocal partners the von Trapps — four siblings in their 20s who are the singing grandchildren of one of the kids from "The Sound of Music." Their harmonies are featured on Pink Martini’s 2014 recording "Dream a Little Dream."  


The concert also will feature Ari Shapiro, an openly gay media professional who co-hosts NPR's "All Things Considered." A Portland native, he occasionally moonlights as a solo singer with Pink Martini. In addition to performing, he plans to drop by the T-Dance at the Transept before the concert.

The dance will be awash in pink: décor and, of course, a featured pink martini drink. T-Dancers are urged to add a dash of pink to their attire — or go all out with that pink suit, shirt, blouse or dress.

Want to join in? T-Dance tickets are $35; Pops concert tickets (starting at $25) are available separately; contact the CSO box office at 513-381-3300. Supporters who join CSO Spectrum are entitled to admission to these events and concerts. For more information, contact the CSO’s Todd Bezold at 513-744-3320.

If You Go
4 p.m. Sunday: Hot Pink T-Dance. The Transept, 1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
7 p.m. Sunday: Cincinnati Pops featuring Pink Martini and the von Trapps. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine