From the moment Kelly Frances West and Michelle Solorzano Daly (aka. Lesbutante + The Boss) picked up the phone, I knew exactly why they are considered “the premier lesbian event producers in Austin, TX.” They are personable, funny, open, great conversationalists… in short, an interviewer’s dream. I loved them!
During our call, the two of them talked freely about how they met, formed Lesbutante + the Boss and ended up planning and hosting this year’s official women’s party during the Austin Pride Festival.
The business relationship kicked off in the fall of 2013 when a married lesbian couple who had met on a speed date asked Kelly to help them set up a speed dating event to “pay it forward.” They had about 75 people attend and afterwards everyone went to a separate space in a bar to hang out. The event was a huge success and the guests wanted more.
Kelly and Michelle realized there was demand for events where women could meet other women and hang out in a safe environment; so they set up their first monthly happy hour in December 2013. These monthly events, held at Sellers Underground in downtown Austin
, have grown to 300 attendees – a number that includes a steady group of regulars along with newcomers every month. Through the years, L+B have maintained their focus on community building – they do not charge for the events and they always make sure to have a DJ as well as a photographer to memorialize each happy hour. To make people feel welcome and included, Michelle often stands at the door to greet guests and make introductions so it is easy to come as a single person.
Now that they are back from their European travels, Kelly and Michelle are busy preparing for their next big event. On August 10th from 8pm to 1am, the two will be hosting the Womxn’s party of the year right here in Austin, Texas. Appropriately dubbed “YEAR OF THE WOMXN”, the party is this year’s official women’s party during the 2018 Austin Pride Festival.
This is L+B’s 4th straight year to host Austin’s official “Women’s Party” and they have something really special planned. Committed to Austin Pride’s 2018 theme – REVOLUTION – L&B’s focus for 2018 is on breaking down racial and social barriers, creating a safe place for WOMXN to be themselves for the night, and showcasing influential WOMXN of different cultural backgrounds, specifically WOMXN of color.
During a regional Pride Conference last February, Kelly emphasized that it is important to have spaces and places dedicated to women. She cited that cities that hosted a separate party specifically for WOMXN, had double or triple the attendance at their Pride events. “The women’s community is particular about where they spend their money. They need to feel included.” So that’s what L+B set out to do – create an event which is welcoming and inclusive for women.
The party, which will take place in the parking lot on the corner of 4th St. and Congress Avenue downtown (a space from which they can also watch the parade the next day), will feature a fantastic lineup of WOMXN entertainers including Chulita Vinyl Club, DJGiiQ, and headliner DJ Citizen Jane along with professional dancers and Angel SUPASTUD Hamilton as the celebrity host. Sponsors include Tito’s and Deep Eddy Vodka, Lonestar Beer, Torchy’s Tacos, Soul Cycle, Gypsy Spirit, NSSI, and many more. Holding the party in a fenced off parking lot will allow them to accommodate 1000+ attendees – a much bigger number than other event spaces in Austin.
The Official WOMXN’S Party on Friday night is just the beginning of the celebration for the weekend. L&B will also have an Official Parade float in the Pride Parade on Saturday, August 11 and then on August 12 will be hosting a rooftop pool party at the Westin Azul Rooftop Pool & Bar from 1pm – 6pm. Further details can be found on the L+B Facebook page.