Quilt Magic #3–Meet Chili Crane

Chili Crane

My name is Kevin Crane, but everyone knows me as Chili. My role with The Names Project Foundation is as the warehouse manager. I have worked with The Quilt on and off for about seven years during World AIDS Day (WAD), helping to get all the displays pulled from the shelves, packed, and shipped out. I took on the position of warehouse manager this year.

My favorite “Quilt Magic” story happened about five or six years ago. It was during WAD, and I was hired to help Deneice Garland, who was the warehouse manager, with the daily stressful tasks that are involved every WAD. This was back when I was an entertainer, so I would do my shows and come to The NAMES Project afterwards—usually around 3 a.m. Deneice would have a list of things she needed done, so I would get to it. One particular night, everything was going smoothly except for one display. There was one block that I could not, for the life of me, find. I went down the checklist we have in cases like this. For instance, check if it’s in sew repair; check the shelves to see if numbers got mixed up; etc. I went through this list three or four times, and about two hours later, I had passed the frustration point… I was now pissed!!

Quilt storage at the Atlanta Warehouse

So, keep in mind, it’s now about 5 a.m., and I’m the only one in the warehouse. I started talking out loud to The Quilt, saying things like, “I know you’re here, so quit hiding,” and “If you wanna go to the show, we’re leaving tomorrow.” Just crazy stuff like that. A few minutes after I calmed down, I heard this crash and immediately got in protection mode. I walked over to where the crash was, and there was all this Quilt that had fallen off the shelf onto the floor. I checked around to make sure no one else was there, and I was alone. I started picking up each block and folding it correctly and putting them back on the shelf. The very last block that was on the floor was the block that I had been looking for for the past couple of hours. It was totally misplaced! I had to open the block to see what panels were inside. When I opened the block, three of the panels were entertainers like myself. And anyone who knows a drag queen knows WE AIN’T MISSING NO SHOW, HONEY!!

Since then, I’ve had quite a few extraordinary experiences with The Quilt, and they have all been a little weird and magical.

Come meet Chili Crane at the Festival this summer in the Creativity and Crisis program area.