Main | Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Less Gay Days: One Mighty Weekend Booted From Disney World

One of the nation's most popular and longest-running series of circuit party events, One Mighty Weekend, will not take place on Disney World property during Gay Days this year in a financial dispute between events producer Johnny Chisolm and the theme park giant. But the details of the dispute are, uh, disputed by two warring circuit party websites. Via South Florida Blade:
Tony Hayden, founder of and self-proclaimed “watchdog” of the circuit scene, said that Chisholm is not allowed to throw his parties at Disney this year after failing to come up with the necessary cash to make a deposit to hold the venue. “His parties are insulting to the original reputation of the people who founded the circuit parties so many years ago,” Hayden said. “He got all the pieces to the puzzle and within five years completely desecrated the entire franchise.” Hayden said this is not the first year that Chisholm has encountered problems with Disney. [snip] Hayden has also reported on his website about Chisholm’s previous problems with investors, include a $2.8 million lawsuit against him for an event in Paris., a sponsor of One Mighty Party, says differently:
Victor Mauro, owner Just Circuit, which is a sponsor of One Might Weekend, gave a different story: he said that Disney tried to charge Chisholm additional fees this year that he said were unjustified given the amount of money the theme park has made off the GLBT community over the last two decades. “For all the money that is spent during the Gay Day’s week, Disney has not once given back to the community,” he said.
For his part, events producer Chisolm is now suing (PDF) Tony Hayden (the owner of The Circuit Dog) for $15,000, claiming the site defamed him and published unsubstantiated reports that One Mighty Weekend would not go on as in previous years, which appears to be what will happen after all. (Disclosure: I've known Hayden personally for about 25 years.)

The circuit party scene, which originally developed in the '80s as a series of local AIDS fundraisers at a time when a collective celebration of gay culture was desperately needed, morphed in the '90s into a massive for-profit national juggernaut widely (and often, properly) criticized for drug excesses.

In the 21st century we've seen the end of many of the most popular events for a broad array of reasons, although noted fundraisers such as the Winter Party and Fire Island's Ascension Party, for example, remain very popular. One Mighty Weekend, the big boy on a shrinking commercial party block, will continue at non-Disney venues this year and 150,000 homos are expected to attend the various Gay Days events. But the above news may indeed signal a coming final gasp of the for-profit circuit party scene.

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