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In Philly, Spring Kicks Off With Pride
Philadelphia’s Current Season Of LGBT Events Includes Festivals, Theater, Bingo, Marches & More
In Philadelphia, warmer temperatures bring more than outdoor life: They also bring new life to the LGBT scene. The year’s LGBT festival season kicks off with Philadelphia Black Pride in April and continues with New Hope Celebrates Pride in one of Bucks County’s gay-friendliest boroughs. Much-anticipated LGBT-centric theater performances include Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Forrest Theatre, and the poignant The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Lovers of visual art and travel can whet both appetites at The Journeys of John Laub: Fire Island and Beyond, an exhibition of works by the late, out landscape painter. Spring culminates in June with a slew of Pride month activities, including Philadelphia Dyke March and the massive PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival at Penn’s Landing. To maximize the season’s offerings, visitors can book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, featuring free hotel parking, at visitphilly.com.
Here’s a look at what to expect from Philadelphia’s LGBT scene this spring:
Festivals, Gatherings & Fun:
- The campiest, most irreverent game in town—20 years in the running—GayBINGO gathers hundreds each month for a most rousing rendition of raffle-meets-tic-tac-toe, as led—and, at times, sung—by the famed drag queen Bingo Verifying Divas, to raise money for AIDS Fund Philly. April 22, May 20, June 10. Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street, aidsfundphilly.org
- LGBT pride gets started a little early in Philadelphia, thanks to the 18th annual Philadelphia Black Pride, taking place over the course of four days at the end of April. The diverse lineup of events—from concerts and late-night ragers to exercise classes and art exhibitions—are meant to bring together black LGBT communities and their allies in the name of raising awareness and networking. Multiple locations. April 27-30. phillyblackpride.org
- Only about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, the annual New Hope Celebrates Pride is a week’s worth of festivities in one of Bucks County’s gay-friendliest boroughs. The festival includes a pig roast, drag shows, all-male revue and culminates with a parade down Main Street and the rollicking Pride Fair on the Delaware, which draws crowds of up to 15,000. May 14-21. newhopecelebrates.com
- The historic Philadelphia Dyke March returns for a rally that calls—no, yells—for equal rights for women Dyke-identified Philadelphians. The day begins at Khan Park with a parade through Center City that loops back for an all-out rally featuring speakers, live performances and fired-up voices raised for the cause. June 10. 11th & Pine Streets, facebook.com/philadelphiadykemarch
- The Pride Kick-Off Party officially launches Philadelphia’s Pride celebrations with a jam-packed block party in the heart of the Gayborhood. Local gay bars hold their own parties indoors, while outdoors, dancing in the street and live performances take place all evening. June 16. 12th-13th & Locust Streets, phillygaypride.org
- Philadelphia pulls out all the stops for its massive PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival, which features a lively parade that winds its way from Center City to Penn’s Landing for a bash along the Delaware. The festival’s center is a booming stage featuring drag shows and musical performances. Guests can also browse booths by area businesses and nonprofits and try their hands at carnival-style games. Parade starts at 13th & Locust Streets. June 18. phillygaypride.org
- John Jarboe, artistic director of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, presents a spring version of his popular Get Pegged cabaret series. During this go-round, avant-garde LGBT artists from Philly and beyond take the stage for uncensored, glitter-filled musical performances invoking early-19th-century French and German cabarets. April 14, May 12, June 16. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-1318, fringearts.com
- The Spring 2017 LRC Showcase features a night of musical performances from women, trans and gender non-binary/genderqueer adults who just finished a weekend of musical training and fellowship at Girls Rock Philly’s spring camp, LRC. Throughout that time, the campers formed bands and wrote an original song that will be performed at this eclectic concert. May 7. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th Street, girlsrockphilly.org
- The city’s only LGBT and ally choir, Philadelphia Voices of Pride, gathers for an evening of song to promote justice, peace and equality for all. Freedom’s Cry comprises tunes that have inspired hope in rocky times, evoking Nina Simone, Simon & Garfunkel and Sweet Honey in the Rock. May 20. Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2122 Spruce Street, pvop.org
- Philadelphia’s preeminent live-singing—and very hairy—drag queen Martha Graham Cracker waltzes into FringeArts this June for a cabaret performance on the venue’s expansive main stage. The towering diva takes on covers of pop and jazz hits alongside guest performers Molly Pope, a singer and actress from New York, and Philly trombonist extraordinare Ernest Stuart. (Graham Cracker also performs at L’Etage in Bella Vista on the second Thursday of each month.) June 12. 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-9006, fringearts.com
Theater & Visual Arts:
- The late Philadelphia native and landscape artist returns to his hometown via The Journeys of John Laub: Fire Island and Beyond. On display at the Woodmere Art Museum, the paintings inspire wanderlust with vibrant portraits representing Laub’s travels to places including Coral Gables, the Adirondacks and gay-friendly summer beach destination Fire Island. Through August 13. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org
- John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s iconic rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch arrives at the Forrest Theatre for six day in April. Known for its soaring rock anthems and gender-bending performances, the story centers around a transgender rock goddess who struggles with identity and a complicated relationship while on tour with her East German band, The Angry Inch. Through April 23. 1114 Walnut Street, (215) 670-2300, kimmelcenter.org
- Inis Nua Theatre Company’s season-ender Swallow catches up with three young adults as they face different, life-changing crossroads. One of those characters, a transgender man named Sam, embarks on a journey to face life for the very first time as a male. April 26-May 14. Proscenium Theater, The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street, (215) 454-9776, inisnuatheatre.org
- Philadelphia Theatre Company closes its season with master storyteller James Lecesne’s The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. Lecesne inhabits nearly a dozen characters in the story of a tenaciously optimistic 14-year-old boy who goes missing from a small Jersey shore town. Pelkey is the co-founder of The Trevor Project and 1996 Oscar winner for his short film, Trevor. May 17-June 4. The Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street, (215) 985-0420, philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
- As part of Pride Month, the Historic District becomes home to a first-in-the-nation exhibition of art glass exclusively by LGBT artisans. Transparency: An LGBTQ + Glass Art Exhibition explores the themes of identity and freedom. June 2-August 6. National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800, libertymuseum.org
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
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Marks Of Pride:
- On July 4, 1965, Independence Hall was the site of the United States’ first major LGBT rights demonstration. A state historical marker at 6th and Chestnut Streets commemorates this peaceful protest and the four that followed each July 4 through 1969, known collectively as the Annual Reminders. nps.gov/inde, phmc.state.pa.us
- Nearly 70 rainbow street signs proudly adorn the Gayborhood, a Center City neighborhood of LGBT restaurants, bars, businesses and homes spanning 11th to Broad Streets and Pine to Chestnut Streets. Another neighborhood notable: rainbow crosswalks, at 13th and Locust Streets.
- Giovanni’s Room is
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