Opulence will reign at Tampa’s Pride and Passion May 18

By : Steve Blanchard
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Tampa On May 18, the LGBT community and its supporters will gather at the Tampa Museum of Art to celebrate diversity, pride and creativity at Pride and Passion 2013. This marks the eighth year for the event, and organizers are expecting a capacity crowd.

The museum can hold about 850 people, and Pride and Passion event chair Marc Retzlaff predicts no problems with hitting that number this year.

“And we don’t want to go larger than that,” Retzlaff explained. “The whole experience would be less if we were all jammed into that space.”

In 2012, 847 tickets were sold, up from 650 the year before. Pride and Passion has gained traction over its lifetime and what was originally merely a membership drive for the museum has taken on a life of its own, Retzlaff said.

“Initially this was an outreach from the museum into the LGBT community to attract that demographic,” Retzlaff said. “Now it’s an incredible party that continues to surprise and impress everyone who attends.”

This year, Pride and Passion organizers are going with a “Reveal” theme, meaning that surprises will be unveiled throughout the evening. Without giving too much away, Retzlaff explained the reveal that specifically thanks this year’s sponsors.

“There is a room that is closed off that will be a big reveal,” he explained. “At 9:30, we’ll unveil that space and show the first real spectacle of the evening. It will also be our dessert and coffee lounge. Other reveals will involve musicians and DJs, and strolling minstrel-type characters.”

The aesthetic of Pride and Passion 2013 is a “modern re-interpretation of Baroque aesthetic,” Retzlaff said.

“There is lots of drama, grandeur and costuming,” Retzlaff said. “And a lot of wigs!”

A group from Penguin Entertainment out of Orlando will help make the night one to remember, Retzlaff added, and local Tampa Bay designers like Helen Guero and Ivanka Ska will showcase their creations throughout the night.

The party itself may be organized by the LGBT community, but it’s the community as a whole that has embraced it and made it one of the Museum’s signature events of the year.

“It was designed to help broaden the base and get more people in the community supporting the Tampa Museum of Art,” Retzlaff said.

“The success has been amazing because of the way the community has taken ownership of it. This is the party of the season and an incredible event for everyone. We wanted it to be an all-inclusive event. I think that’s where a lot of us have gone when striving for equality.

“Equality doesn’t mean separate. This is a party the LGBT community is throwing for the community at large.”

Tickets to Pride & Passion 2013 are available at PrideAndPassion.org and are $85. That includes membership to the museum for a year as well as food and drinks the night of the party.

The dress code is “Dress to Impress,” Retzlaff said, adding that the colors of Pride and Passion are black, white ate hot pink.

“The decor is opulent but pared down to a modern taste level,” he added. “It should inspire people to dress in their must-see outfits.”
Doors open at 8 p.m. and the party runs until midnight. Organizing of Pride and Passion fell to a team of 13 people, and each member of the committee has different areas of expertise, Retzlaff explained.

“This is by far the most ambitious event we’ve put on, at least it is in the five years I’ve been involved,” Retzlaff said. “And we couldn’t do it without the support of the museum staff.”

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