If you know me, you know I’m all about community. I generally spend more time commenting on my friends’ YouTube videos than I do making my own. I worked for a battered women’s shelter for two years and my job almost specifically involved reaching out to people all around the community and building support for our non-profit. I volunteer constantly and lead by example.
So when I heard about The Q’s Outstanding Awards – an awards ceremony to celebrate members of the Albuquerque LGBTQ community and its allies for their exceptional contributions to bettering the lives of individuals across our city and state – I was elated.
And when I found out that tickets were only like $10, I was even more elated. So I treated myself and took my Canon. Because this is my life now.
The Outstanding Awards is run by a board of directors that chooses categories for each award. The awards granted change each year by demand. Feedback is welcomed from the community of Albuquerque if categories need to change (like adding new ones or removing irrelevant ones).
Examples of the categories for this year were outstanding photographer, hair dresser, individual performer, drag queen, drag king, gay bar, major corporation, non-profit organization, media personality, social influencer, DJ, bartender, and so on. I think the wide array of categories shows the nature of Albuquerque’s gay community: yes, we have a nightlife, and yes, we love our nightlife, and the LGBTQ nightlife in Albuquerque is incredible! But we also all have jobs. Hell, most of us have two jobs.
Nominations are open to the general community, under supervision of the board, who has final say over who makes the cut in case there are any issues (conflicts of interest and whatnot).
Once nominations are in, two or three nominees are chosen for the final slate, and voting is opened to the public.
Now for the event itself.
The 2016 Outstanding Awards had a prom theme, so everybody wore really fancy ball gowns and dressed to the nines. We also had a red carpet with a background for some great portrait shots.
You actually may remember Tre from previous posts talking about the You Can’t Stop Me Project. He’s the creator-director, so I’ve worked fairly closely with him over the last couple months. To the point where you should be looking forward to a full, 900-word profile on him shortly.
The funny thing about Cherri Heartattack is that I hadn’t actually met her until the Outstanding Awards, despite a loooong and impressive list of accomplishments that make me feel like an utter slacker of a 25-year-old.
Lady Shug and Tre kind of make me feel like a slacker, too, but there’s nothing like meeting someone several years younger than you that kicks all the asses. All. The. Asses.
Now, I was excited to hear the winners from several different categories (as I said, like 10 of my friends were nominated for something), but perhaps none was as excited for me as outstanding bar.
My home bar, Sidewinders Bar in Albuquerque, was up for outstanding gay bar. Its owners, Renato and Michael Estacio-Burdick, have only been running it for one year (like legitimately we just finished celebrating their one-year anniversary!).
They’re also two of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I helped move some stuff around the bar and I got a free t-shirt (and pizza) out of it. Renato is the opera singer you’ll hear in the background from the vlog from the first day of filming for the You Can’t Stop Me project. They’ve very graciously let us use their facilities for filming (as well as other events – there’s always something happening there!), so I wanted them to win.
And guess what?
And because we’re all very serious people, here’s a very serious photo for good measure.
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Want even more from the event? Of course you do.
Here’s the full vlog, including Mr. New Mexico Pride 2016 Tre Brewbaker’s full, 6-minute performance for the awards ceremony. This performance was intended to start building support for the You Can’t Stop Me project, which is set to premiere on April 13 at Sidewinders Bar.