Artisphere to Host Gay and Lesbian Holiday “Kiss-In”

by ARLnow.com November 23, 2010 at 8:48 am 4,714 54 Comments

Artisphere is hosting an event called Holiday Hugs & Kisses next month “to demonstrate broad community and regional support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people.”

The event, being held on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will feature arts and cultural performances, culminating in “a large public display of affection by people from all walks of life.”

“We expect 300-500 people to attend, including many straight allies,” the event’s Facebook invitation reads. “A YouTube video will be produced from live footage recorded at the event… Our video will be premiered at the Artisphere Dome Theatre on December 20th along with an opening reception and will then be posted on YouTube.”

Cookies and hot chocolate will be served between video shoots.

The event is sponsored by the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

Flickr pool photo by Afagen

  • el fat kid

    glad to see public money is going towards activism and public makeout sessions…

    i’m 110% in favor of equal rights but this is not the place nor the method for advancing the cause.

    • V Dizzle

      What public $? Isn’t it sponsored by an outside group like many performances?

      • Arlington, Northside

        It is a county building isn’t it? Should we let the HS kids have a kiss-in in the gym for Valentine’s Day?

        • V Dizzle

          I think you’ll agree that this is NOT a school building, so I don’t follow your logic in the least. Would you complain if they hung artistic portraits of nude women on the walls at the venue? I’m sure the PTA would if this was a school, and I would understand. This goes in the ‘who-cares’ category for me. Kissing hasn’t been more than rated-PG to me since I was 13, but maybe that makes me a liberal, or an adult.

          • Arlington, Northside

            So kissing is an art, I know it is not science, as many girls told me in my younger days I was doing it wrong no matter how well I followed the instructions in magazines. But this is just turning what should be a venue for artistic talent and turning it into a political soapbox. Think that National Gallery of Art should hold a Hug and Kissing Event? Should the anti-gay marriage folks be allowed to hold a “Hugs and Kisses for Traditional Marriage” event there?

          • V Dizzle

            Just saying that all public buildings aren’t held to the same standards. I have not problem with the Smithsonian doing something similar. Again, “who cares”?
            Is it art? I’m not a critic, and I can’t say either way. I hope that Artisphere is open to all groups, even if they are in oposition to what I believe.

          • Justin Russo

            The Smithsonian currenty has a great exhibit up about gay artists at the NPG:


            Everyone should check it out.

      • Arlington, Northside

        * Equal Rigths or not, this is inappropriate and does little to help the GLADD folks to convert the skeptical.

        • Mark also

          Yes, and Rosa Parks should have given up her seat. Just think of all the people she offended.

    • Greg

      It would be much worse if the Artisphere only dealt in white-washed, dumbed down “art”.

      I think there’s a valid debate as to whether money supporting the arts could be better used elsewhere.

      But unquestionably the Artisphere is a failure if it becomes handcuffed in the types of projects it can take on.

      • Greg

        Let me clarify my earlier comment. I think there is a debate as to whether the County concentrated too much money in one location to the detriment of community arts programs. I’m not trying to say that arts spending in general would be better used somewhere else.

  • Mark also

    Awesome! Arlington is a great place to live, and continues to lead the way in Virginia for equal rights.


    if an art venue isn’t the place for making out, what is??

  • SoCo Resident

    Don’t let anyone fool ya, HOMOPHOBIA IS ALIVE AND WELL IN ARLINGTON!!!!

    • el fat kid

      alright… i kind of get it. shouting this out is your form of activism following any perceived slight. Unfortunately, pushing people into a defensive or offensive reaction is not the way to get things done or change mindsets.

      In my opinion, a person’s personal business is their personal business and all relationships deserve equal treatment. What’s the point of this event though? If it’s some convoluted idea to win over the small percentage of Arlington residents still stuck in the 50’s, it’s not going to work and will more than likely backfire like some of the pride parades that are hijacked by a bunch of over the top queens who portray gay america as twisted, hypersexual weirdos with father issues.

      Acting like a bunch of overstimulated teenagers isn’t about love, equal rights or acceptance – it’s about acting like an overstimulated teenager. And labeling everyone you disagree w/ a “homophobe” is in many ways more of a detriment to equal rights than an advancement of the cause. It’s a rational and just cause, and acting in such a manner will do more to sway the opinions of those still left behind than luring them into fights w/ insults and accusations.

  • Jealous

    Are hetero’s welcome? I would love to join in with my husband, who is a great kisser.

    • Yes, the event is open to individuals of all backgrounds, according to organizers.

  • KalashniKEV

    Believe it or not (and I’m sure some of you won’t) I’m actually in support of this.

    I will say that it DOES reinforce a stereotypical image of homosexuals that is on the farther end of the spectrum though. But hey… if that’s what they want to do…

    • SoCo Resident


    • George McC

      Kissing is a stereotypical image? I think kissing is a definitional image of couples (gay or straight). Not sure what you mean by spectrum. Would holding hands be in the middle and sitting six feet apart be on the other end?

      • KalashniKEV

        No. I’ll spell it out though. If AGLA wants to hold an event and shoot a video complete with hot chocolate and “arts and cultural performances, culminating in a large public display of affection” then they would lose the ability to complain when someone stereotypes the gay community as “flaming,” promiscuous, inclined toward art and cupcakes and dramatic public displays.

        • KalashniKEV

          I want to pre-empt any nasty responses too, by just saying, “let’s wait and see what the video is like…”

        • SoCo Resident


          • The Pope of South Arlington


            Stock Drivel

          • The Imam of North Arlington

            You can take that stock to the bank.

          • Lesbian

            Me too!

        • Vinh An Nguyen

          If heterosexuals wants to hold an event and shoot a video complete with hot chocolate and “arts and cultural performances, culminating in a large public display of affection” then they would lose the ability to complain when someone stereotypes the straight community as promiscuous, inclined toward art and cupcakes and dramatic public displays.

    • KalashniKEV

      I would again like to say that I’m totally in support of this event.

      • SoCo Resident

        ..and totally HOMOPHOBIC!!!

    • CrystalCity’er

      oh, kalash. you say you support the event and follow up by suggesting it reinforces a stereotypical image of homosexuals.

      so, is this why you support it?

      • KalashniKEV

        I’m searching for an analogy that will help you guys to understand where I’m coming from… let’s say a veteran’s organization was holding a “Hadji Hatin’ Happy Hour” at Whitlow’s next Wednesday. While it reinforces the idea for outsiders that “all vets are angry,” it’s obvious that that is not always the case… just a reinforced stereotype.

        I’m also not a homophobe, and have several close gay friends. (yes, I know it always sounds silly when people say that!) Shouting out “-phobe” all the time at someone who doesn’t agree with your opinion is on the same level as a “your mama” joke… some of you guys have obviously not matured past the playground, and need to grow up.

        Really, there’s no reason to attack me… we’re on the same side of this issue.

        • George McC

          It’s fine, I hear you when you’re saying you support the event, and that’s cool.
          I just think equating kissing with “stereotypes”, “flaming”, and “promiscuous” are a little extreme. People in relationships kiss — gay or straight. I don’t think it is extreme behaviour.
          So there will be a video, I agree to wait and see what it looks like, but I suspect it will be tame by standards of flaming promiscuous gays.

          • KalashniKEV

            I think you’re missing the point here- the very fact that the event is branded as a “Kiss-In” is a key detail to the story.

            For example- I’m having an office Holiday Party next month that is billed as “an evening of dinner, cocktails, and dancing…” some people may kiss there, and there will even be a same sex couple in attendance. The event is not billed as a “Public display of rhythm and kissing.”

        • Arlington, Northside

          What KEV said…

        • Arrrrlington

          I get what you are saying and can agree. The analogy that came to my mind was to think of high school kids who want to have a prom at the local hotel instead of in the school gym. Parents and administrators are freaking out! “We can’t let them have a prom at a hotel! They’ll all sneak off, get rooms, and the hottest item for back to school next year will be maternity wear!” Kids are mad so to protest half the class marches into the next school board meeting and has a “kiss-in.” Did it rile some feathers, express their anger at the board, show that they are sexual beings? Sure, all of those things. Did it move them any closer to getting the prom they want? Hell no. The sight of their kids dry humping and locking lips only cemented the resolve of the board.

          As you said, you support the event and are for rights, but you also understand that in 50 years when kids are reading about the achievement of rights the accompanying picture will likely be of some quite mundane looking couple and not of a man in leather chaps.

          I totally support their right to have the event. It’s a fun gathering around a worthy issue. There promises to be food and entertainment, performances and works from the LGBT community. The kissing aspect isn’t particularly artistic, creative, or productive. “Decadent” comes to mind, but people are free to do as they please. I expect the reaction from most patrons will be, “eh” and they’ll move on to the next instillation.

  • Jane

    I don’t see a problem, it is not closed to straight people and since when kissing in public a problem? If you don’t want to see same sex people kiss don’t go, I am not going. My taxes are paying for dog parks and I don’t have a dog, maybe I should be mad that I am paying for dogs to have their play dates with other dogs.

    I don’t see anything different with this group using the building than any other group.

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  • SamsontheCat

    We may be getting caught up in the headline. It’s open to all not just the LGBT community. And Artisphere “hosting it”, as far as I seem to understand it, is the equivilant of “Holiday Inn to Host Northeastern States Association of Financial Accountants Seminar on How to Better Fill Out The Newest Tax Forms…and Kiss-In” meaning Holiday Inn (or in this case the Artisphere) didn’t organize the event, they are just the venue for a program organized and funded by someone else. Correct me if I am wrong there.

    There appears to be art and performances so I think that meets the minimum criteria for doing something at the Artisphere – “It has art.”

    If the the week after the Northern VA Christian Alliance (don’t know if they exist or not) wants to have a display of handcarved creche’s for Christmas is that wrong? It’s art. Not everyone who paid taxes may agree with it, but the facility is there to house and facilitate the creative exchange of ideas.

    • The Pope of South Arlington

      “…the facility is there to house and facilitate the creative exchange of ideas.”

      But its being used to house and facilitate the creative exchange of bodily fluids.

      • Queen of NOVA

        Go back to the Vatican, dumbass.

        • The Pope of South Arlington

          Now dont get crunchy sweetheart, if I can control the dry heaving, I’ll come down and drink hot chocolate with ya. 😉

          • AllenB

            Please don’t bother. Most gays don’t want to have anything to do with any kind of pope.

          • Justin Russo

            I’m sorry hot chocolate makes you dry heave. What a curse!

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            If vampire bats were capable of reason, they would undoubtedly describe their blood-sucking as a righteous exercise and identify as diabolically evil any animal (including man) who would interfere with it. Get my drift?

          • AllenB

            The only drift that is coming my way is the stench of your homophobia.

  • Novanglus

    The headline is misleading, and gives the wrong impression of the government’s role here. AGLA is sponsoring the event, not the county — Artisphere is merely the venue AGLA has booked for it.

    Artisphere is scheduled to become a non-profit instead of a County agency within a few years — the sooner that happens the better.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Shame on you ARLNow for censoring my comments, what are you afraid of? Would you like me to write you a disclaimer? You wont drive traffic this way. If you wanna keep it benign stick to bakery openings and book clubs.

    • Gratuitously offensive comments will not be tolerated.

      • The Pope of South Arlington

        My comments are Gratuitously offensive but a public 500 man make-out session isn’t? I must be on the wrong pills!

        • V Dizzle

          If kissing is gratuitous, I must be doing it wrong. You’re forgeting the women too. 300-500 usually means 200, and I’m sure it won’t be all dudes since women kiss too.
          Is there a new book club somewhere?!

  • Skeptical

    Sigh. What ever happened to “Make Love Not War?”

    Just think: every minute that someone (straight or gay) is kissing at the Artisphere, they’re not posting putdowns on a perfectly nice news blog.

  • Bender


    Yet another manufactured controversy. And an overdone, by now totally boring, tactic being used yet again.

    Yeah, we know. You’re here. You’re queer. WE GOT USED TO IT AGES AGO!


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