March 23, 2018

Spring Sprouts Beloved LGBT Acts & Pride Festivities

Pride Events Pour Into The Streets; Bucks County Playhouse Hosts Hunky Quartet; qFLIX Returns

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PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival takes place during International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and features live music, DJs, food and drinks. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Each May, the New Hope Celebrates Pride festival includes the Pride Parade, athletic events, musical performances and a dance. Photo by A. Sinagoga for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Philadelphia Black Pride annually coincides with the Penn Relays, with workshops, panels—and parties—throughout the Gayborhood and Philadelphia. Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia
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Spring is the season of rebirth—for nature, of course, but also for Philadelphia’s LGBT scene. Performers take to the streets for PrideDay and for New Hope Celebrates Pride. Music gets a whole lot more colorful with concerts by Melissa Etheridge, Patti LaBelle and Pink. Indulgent brunches shimmy outside to patios or, as with the I’m From Driftwood – Spring Brunch, a happening courtyard. This season of theater includes the moving, poetic Seancers by Nigerian-American queer performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko at FringeArts and the eye and ear candy of quartet Well-Strung, who elicit some much-needed smiles at the Bucks County Playhouse. Here’s a look at some of Philly’s best LGBT spring happenings:

Festivals, Gatherings & Fun:

  • I’m From Driftwood – Spring Brunch – Springtime is brunch time, and this fifth annual alfresco brunch buffet held in a Gayborhood apartment courtyard is the season’s star. The public, ticketed event benefits I’m From Driftwood, an inspiring online archive of personal LGBT narratives and includes an open bar and jazz from the Justin Sekelewski Trio, of which talented pianist and Pennsylvania native Billy Tes is a member. April 14. John C. Anderson Apartments, 251 S. 13th Street, (267) 428-0269, pennrose.com
  • Philadelphia Black Pride – For the 19th year, Black Pride coincides with the historic Penn Relays, making this weekend an incredibly busy one for hotels. This year, the event’s theme of Unchained: A Revolution of Love, also coincides with a smattering of parties hosted at venues throughout the city, panels and workshops discussing wellness and racial equity. April 26-29. Various locations, phillyblackpride.org
  • New Hope Celebrates Pride – Adopting a theme of The United Colors of Love for its 15th year, New Hope celebrates pride two weekends in a row. On May 12, there’s the unveiling of the hundred-foot Rainbow Equality Flag. The main festivities, with the parade and a lineup of performers, happens the following Saturday, May 19, as love is celebrated through a march over the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge, culminating in Sunday’s Wet & Wild Party at The Raven and Ladies’ Pride Party at Havana. May 12-20. New Hope, newhopecelebrates.com
  • Philadelphia Pride Kickoff Party – Held the Friday before Pride’s festivities, the annual block party shuts down and lifts up a portion of the Gayborhood for dance parties, drag performances and other outdoor activities. June 8. 12th & 13th Streets and Locust Streets, phillygaypride.org
  • PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival – Philly Pride Presents puts on one of the country’s largest parades, starting in the heart of the Gayborhood and marching to Penn’s Landing’s Great Plaza, along the Delaware River. A celebrity headliner is typically announced later in the season, along with a lineup of other performers who will, in commemoration of 30 years of Philly Pride, join four Miss Philly LGBT Pride acts: Sandy Beech, Finesse A. Ross, Les Price and Marcello Brening Barrera. June 10. Parade starts at 13th & Locust Streets, phillygaypride.org

Live & In Concert:

  • Patti LaBelle – Philadelphia’s own multi-Grammy Award winner, soulful songstress, cookbook author and actor is an ever-fierce presence in LGBT pop culture. LaBelle’s Godmother of Soul Live! tour has only 10 shows—making her hometown stop sure to stand out. April 5. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
  • Pink – Known for pure spectacle as a live performing artist, opting to translate many of her popular songs through circus arts, Pink brings her Beautiful Trauma tour to the Wells Fargo Center in support of her Billboard chart-topping 2017 LP of the same name. The Philly native has long been an advocate of LGBT rights, if not through public speaking then through songs like “Dear Mr. President.” April 13. 3601 S. Broad Street, (215) 336-3600, wellsfargocenterphilly.com
  • Heather McDonald – Best recognized by LGBT fans as a consistent panelist on Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” on E!, McDonald appears in a special one-off event at Helium Comedy Club. The host of TLC’s “All About Sex” isn’t shy about sharing a raunchy joke or two. June 2. 2031 Sansom Street, (215) 496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com
  • Melissa Etheridge – The long out-and-proud singer-songwriter, best known for hits, “Come to My Window” and “Somebody Bring Me Some Water,” takes her international, political Make Rock Great Again tour, with Sarah McLachlan, to the newly opened Xcite Center at Parx Casino. June 21. 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, (888) 588-7279, parxcasino.com/xcitecenter

Art Exhibits:

  • Keith Smith at Home – The Philadelphia Museum of Art gives this American bookmaker, photographer and craft-centered artist his first major monographic exhibit in 50 years, along with a related exhibition on his book-making process in the museum library. Smith’s pieces are highly personal, dealing with his home, coming out and change. Through July 8. Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
  • Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward – Artist and guest curator Nayland Blake organized this exhibition on the impact of the expansion of technology, fandom and art on queer identification. The idea: Approaching identity through play can change reality beyond the game. Through August 12. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th Street, (215) 898-7108, icaphila.org

Theater:

  • Well-Strung – The cheekily named singing string quartet consists of two violins, a cello, a viola and some seriously sharp good looks. Well-Strung transforms pop music from Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Adele and Beethoven, feeling like Pentatonix meets One Direction meets the cast of “Glee.” May 5. Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main Street, New Hope, (215) 862-2121, bcptheater.org
  • Seancers – A profound showcase from Nigerian-American, queer-identifying poet, performance artist and curator Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, this performance dives into the fantastical states of the black imagination, connecting with the dead and dying, drawing on themes of intersectionality of race mixed with gender and orientation. The piece—which will certainly leave audience-goers thinking—is a blend of movement and lyrical poetry. May 10-12. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-9006, fringearts.com

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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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