Carmen McKay has a long history of creating life-altering events for struggling social groups. As a child, her first events were Barbie doll striptease shows in her driveway – Ken was never invited. At 25 she was the assistant producer for the 1987 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington, which attracted over 750,000 attendees. During that time she also created and produced the largest outdoor women’s festival, Women’s Weekend, on the Russian River in Northern California. Fast forward to today: Carmen’s successful one-woman show, “Elvis’ Secret Dyke Daughter” has been on tour recently and will resume on the West Coast in 2014.
What first attracted you to being an event producer?
Well, it kind of attracted me to it rather than the other way around! Back in 1986 I was setting up for a women’s festival in Yosemite and there was a huge forest fire surrounding our camp, and 150 workers were trapped. I happen to have a Wonder Woman outfit with me and a motorcycle, so, when the fire blew off the road and we had one chance to escape I led the women out on my motorcycle and took everyone to a resort in Guerneville, Ca – hours away – and diverted the festival goers to Guerneville and had the festival there. It all took off from there.
I hear from friends that your ‘She She’ events are a fabulous way to meet great women. Whats it all about?
She She is a classy, FUN way for women over 40 to meet. We have three day retreats just for singles or couples that are designed to allow women to connect in a meaningful way while having a blast. We also have a nightclub/dance once a month in San Diego for women over 35 and are expanding to LA soon.
Tell us about your passions in life, what drives you?
Well, you might call me a “Funsultant”. I really feel like no one ever has enough fun. You never hear anyone complaining that they need to have less fun. I’m passionate about people have real fun, serious fun … like the kind of fun people think was reserved for childhood. Connecting is fun, playing together is fun, belonging is fun when it’s done right.
Would any of your ex-girlfriends still sleep with you?
Not if my current girlfriend has anything to say about it!
Women’s Weekend at Russian River is coming up! Tell us about your vision for this fantastic event and why we shouldn’t miss it.
I founded Women’s Weekend back in 1987 and built it up to 6,000 women attending twice a year. I turned it over to the community in the mid 90s and it has since become a smaller, different event. My partner, Annie, and I are taking it back and creating a fun, enlightening festival with 2 days of music and comedy in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater and 2 nights of dancing fun at our private nightclub. The festival theme is “Practice random acts of kindness”. The design of the festival is to allow women to really play and connect and not hide out in cliques. The 20 and 30 somethings will naturally gravitate to the festival and we are doing a big outreach to the over 35 market with a golf tournament, wine tasting, a Jazz and Blues day, etc. Other highlights are “The Largest Single Lesbian Mixer in the World”, a flash mob dance, color drop and wonderful headliners like Beverly McClellan of NBC’s “The Voice”, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Julie Goldman. There is camping or hotels available to suit different lodging tastes. It’s a woman-only space … I think we need that from time to time and the other 2 large festivals happening in NorCal this summer and fall are co-ed.