Taking ‘Pride’ in inclusivity

Pride Month continues with local offerings

Westchester and Fairfield counties are going all out for Pride Month.

After a sell-out performance by Nick Petrone kicking off Pride Month at the Merryall Center for the Arts in New Milford, trans singer-songwriter Namoli Brennet takes to the stage there at 8 p.m. Friday, June 17. A four-time Outmusic Award nominee, Brennet released her latest “Light it Up” to rave reviews by fans and critics alike. Her music has been featured on NPR as well as in the Emmy Award-winning film “Out of the Blue.”

Says Merryall board member Robert Brereton, “I was first intrigued by Namoli, because she was part of Merryall’s Pride celebration. When I started hearing her music, though, all that faded into the background, and I was captivated by her music alone. It is not a label that makes Namoli an artist; it’s her singing, playing, honesty and songwriting skills.”

Skills that Brennet almost abandoned.  “I wanted to give up music, was having vocal problems and felt like I was unable to tour because of my intense anxiety. So, I backed off a little bit but kept writing … found some happiness and stability and wrote one of my favorite albums to date, “Black Crow.” It came together so effortlessly and magically, a complete gift.” Not giving up paid off. She has reached many milestones, including touring the United States and Europe for 12- plus years, recording 13 albums, receiving four nominations for the Outmusic Awards and winning the Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Award.

The Connecticut duo Violet Willows (Brianne Chasnoff and Mary Gardner) closes out Merryall Pride 2022 at 8 p.m. June 25. For tickets to Namoli Brennet and Violet Willows and more, visit merryallcenter.org.

 Before or after the concerts, why not dine at The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, where you can toast pride with Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s special “Love Wins Every Thyme,” available at his area restaurants throughout June?  For reservations, click here.

The Clay Art Center in Port Chester shows its Pride with the online exhibit “tender/queer” (through June 30). It showcases the work of ceramic artists in the LGBTQ community who are deeply committed to their practice and to
supporting the community at large. Dustin Yager is the guest curator. Participating artists include Heather Mae Erickson, phile, Anika Major, Shea Burke, Maya Vivas and Aaron Caldwell. For more, visit clayartcenter.org.

Meanwhile, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (Empire City) in Yonkers is once again lighting its signature porte cochère in rainbow colors each night throughout the month of June to show its pride in being an inclusive organization. For more, visit empirecitycasino.mgmresorts.com.

However you celebrate, Happy Pride from all of us at WAG.

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