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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Pride flag finally flies over city

by KATIE McQUAID
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 16. 2018 12:09AM
People cheer and clap as the gay pride rainbow flag is raised at City Hall Plaza in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Robb Curry and his life partner Kyle Davis chose to move their family to Manchester to open Madear’s restaurant after falling in love with the community while visiting friends here. They liked the family-friendly atmosphere with a city vibe, but something was missing.

“I’m like, why don’t these people have Pride flags?” said Curry, the culinary mind behind the contemporary Cajun tapas served at the 175 Hanover St. restaurant that opened last year. “For me, that was kind of strange, coming from Boston. They’re everywhere.”

Madear’s has draped its windows in Pride flags for the month and has been celebrating with special events. Curry reached out to Mayor Joyce Craig to find out if the city might take part.

“I asked her to put up a flag,” he said. She said, “Of course.”

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig walks with business owner Robb Curry to Friday's flag raising ceremony for Pride Month at City Hall Plaza. (DAVID LANE/NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER)

Craig shared the story of how Manchester came to raise its first Pride flag with a group of about 150 people outside City Hall Friday afternoon. She read a proclamation declaring June 2018 Pride month in Manchester and got cheers when she announced the lights above City Hall will shine rainbow colors for the rest of June. Because of work being done to City Hall, the flag was raised in front of the building instead of on top of it.

Roz Russell and Maddy Medina, both of Manchester, wear their gay pride flags during a Pride Month rally at City Hall Plaza in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

I asked Craig why it took so long for Manchester to officially commemorate Pride month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the United States.

She said she doesn’t know, adding any community in Manchester can raise a flag at City Hall. They just need to contact the City Clerk to make arrangements.

“The residents own City Hall,” she said. “This is their building, their property.”

Curry said he is happy Madear’s could play a role in making more Manchester residents aware of Pride month, and he thanked other local businesses for supporting the cause, including Julien’s, Doogie’s, Cabonnay and Element.

Curry invited all members of the community to visit Madear’s to celebrate the month and try the Southern comfort food he learned to cook from his grandmother “Madear” in Baton Rouge, La.

Manchester business owners Robb Curry, left, and Kyle Davis raise a gay pride flag during a Pride Month rally at City Hall Plaza in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Manchester business owner Robb Curry hug at a gay pride flag raising ceremony for Pride Month at City Hall Plaza in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/Union LEADER)

As fathers to three children and also grandparents, Curry and Davis have designed Madear’s to be a family-friendly restaurant.

“We are not a gay restaurant,” said Curry. “We are a restaurant that happens to be owned by two gay men, and we are proud of that.”

And they love their part of downtown, even though it’s a couple blocks from Elm Street.

“We’re not on the most desirable side of Hanover Street,” Curry said. “We like that. It’s a great area, people just need to see it.”

Plus, there’s plenty of parking.

Check out www.Madears603.com or search for Madear’s Manchester on Facebook to find other Pride events scheduled for the remainder of June, including a “Pajamas, Heels and Drag” brunch Sunday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Danielle York's entry into the Create the Next Kayem Fenway Frank contest is called "The King." The concoction was inspired by the Elvis statue that sits in her Manchester home. (Courtesy)

HOT DOG!

Doggone it, she’s done it again. City resident and hot dog aficionado Danielle York is a finalist in the Create the Next Kayem Fenway Frank contest — for a second time.

Her wonderful wiener recipe is one of five chosen from a field of about 800 entries. Called “The King,” the toppings include sliced bananas, peanut butter, chopped bacon and a drizzle of honey.

“So I have this Elvis statue in my living room and it must have been the last thing I saw before I went to bed,” she said. “The recipe came to me during the night and when I woke up the next morning, I bought the ingredients and made the hot dog. After I tried it, I knew it was a worthy submission.”

While the combination may make some queasy, York promises the “salty & sweet combination of the ingredients on top of the mild Fenway Frank make for a dynamic flavor experience.”

“Le Chien Poutine,” York’s 2016 entry that included french fries, beef gravy and cheese curds was a finalist in 2016.

Voting for the 2018 top dog opens this Monday, June 18, at www.Kayem.com and runs through July 1. The winner gets $1,000, a year’s worth of Kayem products, and a night out in Boston to see the Red Sox.

York said if she wins, she’ll donate the $1,000 to the New Hampshire Food Bank. I think she’s really only in it for the free hot dogs.

Books for kids

Families can enjoy a free day at the Currier Museum of Art today, June 16, for the opening celebration of the exhibit Beyond Words, featuring book illustrations by David M. Carroll, Tomie dePaola and Beth Krommes.

The exhibit shows more than 100 original drawings and sketches that trace the process of creating an illustrated book. The Currier Museum has also created a dedicated reading space featuring books by the New Hampshire artists.

Today’s celebration is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes family-friendly activities, art-making, tours, performances, and remarks from the artists at 3 p.m.

Visit www.currier.org for more information.

Do you have an interesting item for The Scene? Email it to Katie at scene@unionleader.com.


Social issues Manchester



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