In a 1998 interview, Sylvia Rivera, a prominent transgender activist, recalled being at the 1969 Stonewall uprising and thinking, as Molotov cocktails flew through the air, “My God, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!”
It has been 50 years since the clashes at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village ignited the modern gay rights movement. And while many of the movement’s trailblazers, like Ms. Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, a fellow transgender activist, have died, other leaders have followed in their footsteps.
The energy of L.G.B.T.Q. activism and pride is reverberating throughout New York as the city hosts its annual Pride festivities and, for the first time, WorldPride. The monthlong celebration crescendos this week with a 50th anniversary Stonewall commemoration on Friday and the annual Pride parade on Sunday.
This month, The New York Times has covered Pride events throughout the city, featured perspectives from L.G.B.T.Q. celebrities, written long-overdue obituaries for L.G.B.T.Q. history makers, reviewed L.G.B.T.Q. art and much more. Still, we’re not done.
Join us this week as we continue our coverage of Pride events and scenes from around the city.
— Aaron Randle
Friday, June 21
Leading into Pride’s final week, Ladyfag hosted the Pride and Paradise party at the recently opened Paradise Club, inside the Times Square Edition Hotel. The sold-out event, with its tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen reference (its tagline was “Not intended for Jane Austen, nor the faint of heart”) lasted until nearly 4 a.m. Guests enjoyed drag performances, an abundance of lights and lasers, and music from the D.J.s Michael Magnan, Greg K. and Dicap.
Monday, June 24
To start off the week, WorldPride partnered with the L.G.B.T. Center for its annual Garden Party, billed as the official kickoff to WorldPride. Guests flocked to Pier 97 at Hudson River Park in Manhattan, where they were treated to an evening event with seasonal food from local chefs. Proceeds from the party went to the center, a Manhattan-based community organization that offers advocacy, health and wellness programs to New York’s L.G.B.T.Q. community.
Bertha Mason, a pie-baking drag queen, had fans of pie covered (possibly in dough) on Monday. Michael D. Bowen, who has been performing his “Baking With Bertha” act for 20 years at the Church of the Village on West 13th Street in Manhattan, bakes pies while dishing out sassy, funny and sometimes dark tales. The church has its own piece of gay liberation history: Pflag, the first American organization aimed at uniting allies with members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, was founded there in 1972.
[Take our Pride Walk to learn more about the Church of the Village, the L.G.B.T. Center, and other important places in gay New York.]
Tuesday, June 25
Susanne Bartsch, the night life impresario and self-described “patron saint of transformation and inclusion” of New York City, became famous by throwing parties that have tested the limits of the word “extravagant.” Since the 1980s, her events — in New York, and in Paris and Tokyo — have been a magnet for the cool and colorful. The WorldPride edition of her monthly party “On Top,” held at Le Bain at the Standard High Line hotel, was no different. Under disco balls and largely unfettered by the confines of clothing, the crowd danced — and swam — into Wednesday morning at the rooftop club in Manhattan.
It was a showdown between two realms of live entertainment: Stars from Broadway were pitted against stars from drag at the Lip Sync Roulette at Slate NYC in Chelsea. Audience members were treated to a face-off between Frankie Grande (“Rock of Ages,” “Mamma Mia!”) and Marti Gould Cummings (“Shade: Queens of New York,” “Watch What Happens Live”). Other Broadway performers included Justin Sargent, Lesli Margherita and Noma Dumezweni, while the stars from drag included Bootsie Lefaris, Jacklynn Hyde and Chelsea Piers.
Wednesday, June 26
Organizers have referred to WorldPride as the “Olympics of Pride,” and so, fittingly, the event kicked off with an opening ceremony. Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the three-hour concert benefited Immigration Equality, an immigration nonprofit; SAGE, an L.G.B.T. senior advocacy group; and the Ali Forney Center, an agency for homeless L.G.B.T. youth. The comedian Whoopi Goldberg hosted the evening, which featured performances from Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan and a bevy of former cast members from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The evening came to a close with a final, glitter-bombing performance by Billy Porter.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, revelers clad in neon and metallics laced up their skates and rolled to to the rink in the southeast section of Prospect Park for the Big Gay Roller Skate party. A D.J. spun tunes as the sun set, giving a soundtrack for those who wanted to strut their stuff on four wheels. Skaters came dressed to impressed, with some hoping to snatch prizes for their flamboyant outfits and roller-skating skills.
Thursday, June 27
The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, held a four-hour panel, “After Stonewall: 50 Years of Black and Brown Resistance,” in which leading black L.G.B.T.Q. activists discussed the Stonewall uprising and contemporary activism. The symposium created the hashtag #BlackStonewall50 to highlight “the black and brown roots” of Stonewall. The event also featured musical performances and a cocktail reception.
Lincoln Center held a pre-parade disco party, DiscoVogue, featuring music from members of the Qween Beat collective, including MikeQ. When the speakers shut off at 10 p.m., the silent disco began. For the rest of the night partygoers danced and bobbed their heads to music blaring from their headphones.
Superchief Gallery NY, an art gallery in Queens, held a “Choke hole,” billed by the organizer as a “no rules, no holes barred, queer wrestling xxx-travaganza.” Cultivated in New Orleans, the immersive, multimedia performance combined lip sync performances and wrestling matches.
By The New York Times