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Pride Parade: “I’m ready for it!”

Thu 6 Sep 2012 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

Jonathan Smith Jonathan Smith is no stranger to the glbti community and no stranger to running events, two things which put him in the best stead for the mammoth task he has: to get a mind-blowing Auckland Pride Parade together by mid-February. The good news the newly-appointed Parade Coordinator has hit the ground running. Smith is well-known as alter-ego Bimbo in the double act he’s created with real-life partner Kevin Baker, Buffy “It’s good. I’m ready for it. I’m ready for it.” Smith is so ready that he has already been waking up at 5AM with ideas. His original vision has gone out the window due to the fact the parade will be at four in the afternoon, rather than at night. “The thing that I had in mind about a month ago when I was interviewed and I didn’t know that I had a job – I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do. But since then I have found out that it’s been changed to the afternoon, so I have to re-think it. But I think I’ve got my design concept in place. And it fits around the design concept that I gave to the Board about the way I want the parade run, which is a ‘One Community’ basis,” he says. “It’s about thinking if us as one community, and thinking of Auckland as one community, and the fact that we have merged and integrated within that community. And that’s where I want to come from,” Smith says. An online registration form will be up and running within the next couple of weeks. More information about the style of the parade and its rules and regulations is also forthcoming. “It’s an afternoon parade so we have to be mindful,” Smith says. “I’m also establishing some rules and guidelines with regards to corporates and people outside our community that want to be involved. So I’m going to have a ruling in place which says ‘you’ve got to prove to me that you’ve got a connection with our community’. I don’t want people in there just to promote their marketing brand.” In the meantime Smith wants anyone who wants to get involved or has a brainwave to get in touch by emailing him here: “Anything you want, any idea, just contact me,” he says. “I think over the last 11 years of being with Queen of the Whole Universe I know how to work with people in an artistic way. Because whatever they do has got to be artistic. I don’t want people to be in the crowd thinking ‘oh it’s just another walking group’. I don’t want that. I want to see something that brings people alive and really demonstrates who we are as a community, which is really important to me. “ The final question he takes, with a laugh, is whether he has enough time? “Let’s just say, normally for a parade of this size you’d have about 14 months. I’ve got five months. However I must acknowledge the Auckland Pride Festival Trust that have done a lot of the groundwork. And also ATEED and Auckland police – police have been unbelievable.” Smith has in fact come full circle – he is working with a sergeant he did the first HIV Walk for Life with in 994. “He was my policeman, and he remembered me when he walked into the door so that just gives an illustration that there’s a really strong connection there as well.” Smith will be working with the overall Festival Coordinator Julian Cook, who is currently tied up with demanding Fashion Week commitments and yet to fully sink his teeth into the task. The well-known pair was (re)introduced to the community at a Gay Auckland Business Association event in Ponsonby last night, where Auckland Pride Festival Trust member Megan Cunningham-Adams said the Trust is absolutely convinced it has the two best people in the country to do the job. She added that as soon as Cook is able to “disentangle himself from frocks and get on with the serious business of queers,” one of the first things he will do is draft up a submission form for Festival ideas. “But don’t wait for that, just tell me,” Cook added. He can be emailed at: Jacqui Stanford - 6th September 2012    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Thursday, 6th September 2012 - 11:32am

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