When I recently worked an art museum fashion show, I met the wonderful Chayla Hope.
After years spent fronting and singing in alternative rock bands, including Emmy and multiple ADDY award-winning band Seafair, pop music is where Chayla was meant to be. “Pop is the music that raised me, the music my mom used to listen to while cleaning the house,” she says on planting her musical flag in the genre. “It’s always been there for me as an anchoring and joyful force. It is me.”
A proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community who found her performance identity doing drag, it’s no surprise Chayla was selected to sing the theme song for Care Bears: Unlock The Magic and has numerous features in the show’s soundtrack and merchandise, embodying its core themes of empowerment, inclusion, and self-understanding through her music.
Chayla and I frequently text back and forth and she invited me as a VIP to her first ever concert at Golden Hour (during sunset, spectacular views) in Cleveland’s Battery Park neighborhood, July 22,2022.
Chayla went on stage at 8:30. I got there at about 5:30 and had my dinner and a cocktail in the blistering 90 heat. So I went to the restroom, which was in an empty apartment where she also had her dressing room and we got caught up. She showed me her outfits for the show and introduced me to many of her band members.
So as not to melt in the heat, I went to a nearby brewery, Terrestrial Brewery. I sat at the bar and enjoyed a few more cocktails. As I left the woman who initially greeted me, Stephanie, asked how I liked the place and told me this was their first day in business.
The place was packed and everything was wonderful and reasonably priced. Of course, as is my motis operanti, hugs ensued.
Back to the roof top and a band called Post Saga was brilliant. A rock, pop, soul and 70’s R&B vibe. They played a Bobby Caldwell song, “What You Won’t Do For Love” that was spectacular! Their show wrapped and I walked up the the lead singer and told her I actually remembered the original song (her existence on the planet was much later than that) and I got to meet many of the band members. I will check them out again!
So I am talking with various people (I went alone, as usual) and I meet Chayla’s very best friend, which I did not know when we met. Anna and I immediately bonded and we stood right up front for this crowded concert. Anna was one of the models in the fashion show where I met Chayla, so we talked about modeling. Chayla was amazing! I notice a woman about my age singing along, knowing every word. After the show, I asked if she was Chayla’s Mom. Yep! I had such a great time. Here I am with the star of the night! See, I don’t make this stuff up….
Now back to Terrestrial Brewery for a nightcap. I walk in, hug Stephanie again and take my seat at the bar, near a couple. The shitfaced woman to my left starts calling me a weirdo, in what I believe she thought, was a playful manner. We chatted a bit, but she was blind drunk and kept calling me a weirdo. Well, her husband/boyfriend told her to shut the fuck up (his words) and quit being so hateful. He apologized profusely to me and told the bartender he would pay for my drink. It was more uncomfortable sitting next to a couple who are arguing than it was being called a weirdo.
Long story short, the boyfriend did the right thing, although I question the future of that relationship. Stephanie basically told the woman to get out and comped my drink. Another woman seated to my right came down, asked if I were okay, hugged me and said she would have covered my drink and told me I was beautiful (damn, two free drinks I didn’t get). While an odd experience, so many people had my back, it was rather life affirming! I never felt uncomfortable or disrespected except being near this odd relationship. I promised Stephanie I would be back and would be back often, which I will!
A hot day, interesting experiences, a great evening and an adorable dress! I got so many compliments on it! I have had so very little negative feedback when out, almost none, so I was quite surprised by it. But when so many people have your back, the love is palpable.
Check out our latest video: Oh, The Places She’ll Go!