Pride Week Rundown

[PRIDE] It never quite goes without saying that every week ought to be Pride Week. Every week of the year the LGBTQ community and “straight” allies ought to celebrate the grand spectrum of our loves and lives, whatever shade of the rainbow best identifies us. And it likewise is worth reminding ourselves, year after year, that Pride parades were born of a revolutionary moment, in the wake of the Stonewall riots, when the LGBTQ community rose up and demanded the attention of the country and an end to violent oppression. Of course, bromides and lectures aside, this really is the week. If you want the full experience, open up your calendar and enter these events: If you’re reading this in print, you missed the flag-raising ceremony in Niagara Square (Tuesday, May 30, noon-1pm) but there’s no reason you can’t swing by during the week to pay your respects to the flag, then turn toward City Hall and wish its inhabitants would do better on basic human right issues. On Wednesday, May 31 at 8pm, there’s the Big Gay Sing at Evergreen Commons (part of the ever-expanding campus of Evergreen Health), at which the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus leads participants in a sing-along. Admission is $10, but wouldn’t you pay that to meet Miss Figgy Pudding? Next, break out your gym shoes on Thursday, June 1 and participate in the Gay 5K run. This Friday, June 2 happens to be a First Friday gallery walk in Allentown, the sentimental epicenter of Buffalo’s LGBTQ community, and you can expect the galleries and bars to outfit themselves for the occasion. Pine Apple Company at 224 Allen Street has designated itself the headquarters for the night’s perambulatory pleasures, and their centerpiece is FantaSHE—Pride: A Unicorn Story, featuring performances by Max Darling, Visalia May, Fifi LaFlea, Cherry Brown, and Little Cake. (See cover and centerfold art for a taste.) It’ll be a good time: Doors open at 6pm, performances begin at 9pm. Later that night, the Waiting Room will host Flex, an after-dark dance party featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Jiggly Caliente—it’s an 18-and-over event, because the kids need a place to be themselves, too. The annual Dyke March lines up at 4pm and Grant and Potomac and steps off at 5pm on Saturday, June 3. It ends with a rally at Bidwell and Elmwood. If all you ever do is observe or take part in the big parade, do yourself a favor: The Dyke March will remind you why this week, and what this week represents, ought to be in your heart all year long. The main Gay Pride Parade, of course, is the city’s biggest street festival of the year, by a goddamned long shot. It steps off at noon on Sunday, June 4 at Elmwood and Forest and ends at Allen and Elmwood. Folks move on to Canalside, for a rally and dance party that runs 1-7pm, headlined by Australian pop singer Betty Who. At the front of the main parade, always, are kids from the region’s high-school gay-straight alliance groups; they are legion, they carry flags identifying themselves, and if they don’t inspire both tears and hope for the future, there’s something broken in you. (A tip of the hat to Gay and Lesbian Youth Services and Marvin L. Henchbarger, along with Marvin’s many associates in that and allied organizations.) If you need help with those tears, fortify yourself pre-parade at the Big Gay Brunch, special Pride Week edition, beginning 11am on parade day at Thin Man Brewery. If you’re early enough (or wily enough) to get a seat on the second-floor patio, you can watch the parade from there. If you can’t swing that, who cares. Rich or poor, out or private, wherever you might fall on the many color wheels: Get yourself to the parade and associated events. Here’s the great thing about the LGBTQ community: Despite (or perhaps because of) the slings and arrows its individual members endure, they seem to have rooms in their hearts for everyone, for every way we live our loves and lives. This is, by a goddamned long shot, the best and most affirming week of our short, beautiful summer season. Build connections, the Pride Center reminds us, because connecting is this year’s theme: Reflect, plan, and connect. Be there and/or be queer.


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