Every year at the end of June, Gay Pride is honored in cities big and small all over the world. It’s a time to celebrate successes, reflect on past struggles and of course, to have fun. Pride parades take the party to the streets, drawing crowds as large as 3.5 million people in Sao Paolo and as humble as a few hundred in small-town America.
Pride festivals in major cities can span a whole week of performance art, dancing, activism and much more beyond the parade. Just like burlesque, Pride is about pushing for gender equality and taking control of one’s own sexuality. Burlesque and Pride are natural partners – from boylesque to drag to queerlesque – and in celebration of Pride-week I ‘ve chosen to highlight some of the most interesting, gender-bending burlesque in the birthplace of post-Stonewall Pride: New York City.
Maysles Cinema is celebrating Pride in Harlem this Thursday, June 27 with T.V. Transvestite & The Show Must Go On: The Story of Snookie Lanore. This is your chance to learn about the tough history of Pride in Harlem and how the black pride community is thriving in face of it all today. T.V. Transvestite was filmed in 1982 and hasn’t been publicly screened in decades. It documents early neo-burlesque performances at a Harlem bingo hall and will be followed by The Story of Snookie Lanore – a short documentary film about a drag performer in Harlem picking up where they left off.
The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, a non-profit arts group in the South Bronx, brings their Out Like That Festival to a close on Friday, June 28 with Queerlesque. BAAD is boldly bringing Pride week to the outer borough of the Bronx, where every day LGBT youth are harassed as pride centers struggle to stay open.
This Saturday, June 29, Viva La Fevah Burlesque presents Attack of the Cross Dressers: a new show hosted by Alfie Bunz at the Parkside Lounge in the Lower East Side. Women will be imitating their favorite male personalities, men will be in drag and the audience is invited to participate. This is your chance to get up and lip-sync for your life, just as the great Ru-Paul has taught you.