Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary Brings Added Pride; Drag Shows, Dance and More are on the Itinerary.

Philadelphia welcomes the warmer-weather season with a host of exciting LGBTQ events this spring. Pride dominates: April brings Philadelphia Black Pride; May means New Hope Celebrates’ Pride Festival in Bucks County; and June brings the PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival, which promises to be bigger than ever for the 50th anniversary of the history-making Stonewall riots that launched the gay civil rights movement. Also marking the half-century milestone: a performance by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and the multimedia exhibition Civil Disobedience: Celebrating Queer Resilience at International House Philadelphia.

The rest of the season is peppered with an eclectic range of live performances by LGBTQ icons Betty WhoEddie Izzard and Patti LuPone. LGBTQ-centric plays [Untitled Project] #213 and How to Catch Creation put locals in the spotlight. And fans of drag will enjoy visits from RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen, a birthday roast for local drag queen Bev and a boisterous Mr. Philly Drag King 2019 pageant. Here’s a look at what to expect from Philadelphia’s LGBTQ scene in spring 2019:

Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

1. Philadelphia Black Pride – This annual celebration of Black LGBTQ communities and allies marks its 20th year in 2019. The event packs a lot into a four-day timespan: the annual family picnic, topical discussion panels and pop-up shops by day and thumping nightlife events into the wee hours. VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is proud to be the lead sponsor of this year’s Philadelphia Black Pride. April 25-28. Various locations,

2. New Hope Celebrates’ Pride Festival – During this Bucks County parade, a 100-foot-long, eight-color equality flag makes its way along the event route, beginning on one side of the Delaware River in Lambertville, New Jersey, and ending on the other in New Hope, Pennsylvania. An outdoor Pride Fair and a host of events throughout town and at The Raven Resort keep the party going all weekend. May 18-19. Various locations, New Hope,

3. Philadelphia Pride Kick-Off Party – Pride weekend in Philadelphia kicks off with a block party in the Gayborhood that features outdoor food and drink stations, live street performances and carnival-like game booths. June 7. Gayborhood, 12th & Locust Streets, (215) 875-9288,

4. Philadelphia Dyke March – Dyke-identified people and allies hit the streets of Philadelphia with protest signs and raised voices calling for more visibility and equality for marginalized queer voices within the community. The march begins and ends at Louis I. Kahn Park, where a stage is set up for speeches, live bands and gender-bending burlesque and drag performances. June 8. 328 S. 11th Street,

5. Philly Pride Run 5K and 1.5 Mile Fun Run – Both serious racers and casual joggers run along the PrideDay LGBT Parade route (see below) before the procession steps off. The fun run follows the route exactly, ending at the festival at Penn’s Landing, while the 5K loops back to finish at the William Way LGBT Community Center. June 9. 12th & Locust Streets,

6. PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival – Organizers project 2019 will become Philadelphia’s best-attended PrideDay ever, as Philly commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The event begins with a rollicking parade that starts in the Gayborhood and ends along Penn’s Landing, where celebrants enjoy a huge lineup of vendors and live performances, including Donna Summer and Cher tributes. June 9. Parade starting point, 13th & Locust Streets; festival, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 875-9288,

Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

7. GayBINGO! – Spring brings four chances to rake in some prizes during a monthly game night hosted by a troop of campy drag queens. The Loews Philadelphia Hotel hosts Black-Tie GayBINGO! (March 23), a formal-ish affair featuring a sit-down dinner, open bar and live music. After that, it’s back to the regular venue, Congregation Rodeph Shalom, for three theme nights: Swingin’ Sixties (April 13), Royal Wedding (May 11) and the season finale, Goddesses of GayBINGO! (June 22). Proceeds benefit local HIV/AIDS service organization AIDS Fund Philly. Loews, 1200 Market Street; Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad Street; (215) 731-9255,

8. Bob the Drag Queen – RuPaul’s Drag Race season eight winner sashays into a sure-to-be-stunning evening of live performances featuring top Philly queens like Bev, Iris Spectre and Sutton Fearce. March 31. Tabu Lounge & Bar, 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675,

9. Mr. Philly Drag King 2019 – Faux moustaches appear in abundance for this annual pageant to crown the region’s best amateur drag king. The audience decides which male impersonator reigns supreme after judging boisterous runway, live performance and Q&A competitions. April 6. William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street,

10. A Night of Negativity: The Birthday Roast of Bev – Philly comedy queens come out to roast longtime local drag performer Bev on her birthday. The night promises to be full of witty putdowns balanced with enough jokes to keep the mood light and sassy. April 6. Tabu Lounge & Bar, 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675,

11. Miss Philly Pride 2019 – Ambitious local drag queens and female-identifying performers compete in a showcase of costumes, live performances and Q&A sessions. Besides a crown, sash and hefty cash prize, the lucky Miss Philly Pride 2019 is guaranteed a coveted spot on the grand marshal’s float in the PrideDay LGBT Parade. April 7. Tabu Lounge & Bar, 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 875-9288,

Spring Social Calendar:

12. I’m From Driftwood Brunch – Do-gooders looking for ways to party for a cause this spring can indulge in a Saturday brunch in a lush Gayborhood courtyard. Mimosas, bloody Marys and the live sounds of the Justin Sekelewski Jazz Trio flow freely at the event, which benefits I’m From Driftwood’s mission to collect and share the stories of LGBTQ people across the world. April 13. John C. Anderson Apartments, 251 S. 13th Street, (267) 428-0269,

13. Dining Out for Life – If there’s ever a reason to splurge on a fancy dinner, it’s this: One night each the year, 200 restaurants throughout the Delaware Valley donate 33% of every diners’ check to local HIV/AIDS nonprofit Action Wellness. Reservations are recommended for the lineup of eateries, which include Bud & Marilyn’s, Audrey Claire and Fond. April 18. Various locations (215) 981-3367,

14. QOTA 10th Anniversary Party – OG South Philly LGBTQ networking group QOTA (Queers on the Avenue) takes it back to where the party began in 2009 with an anniversary bash at Paradiso. Chef-owner Lynn Rinaldi expects a full house at her East Passyunk eatery, offering discounted wine, cocktails and beer and Italian-inspired light bites. April 23. 1627 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-2066,

Concerts, Performances & Theater:

Photo courtesy Shut Up & Dance

15. How to Catch Creation – Philadelphia Theatre Company presents this local premiere by Lorraine Hansberry Award-winning playwright Christina Anderson. The imaginative work follows four artists and intellectuals living in San Francisco. Their lives begin to intersect in surprising ways after one of them discovers a deeply moving work by a queer Black feminist writer. March 22-April 14. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street, (215) 985-0420,

16. Get Pegged Cabaret – Performance art troupe Bearded Ladies Cabaret, led by John Jarboe, helm this semi-monthly queer cabaret/burlesque showcase spotlighting outstanding LGBTQ artists from Philly and beyond. The Naughty Femme Edition (March 22, 2019) stars Alice Yorke of Lightning Rod Special, and punk-piano cabaret troupe Glitter & Garbage (May 17, 2019) take the stage later in the spring. FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-1318,

17. Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC)  The singers of PGMC heat things up with the adult-themed cabaret Risqué (March 22-23) at International House Philadelphia (IHP). In May, the chorus heads to the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion for Anthem, a night of iconic ballads (May 3-4). In June, it’s back to I-House with the ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir for Stonewall (June 22), a one-night-only tribute to the New York riots that kickstarted the LGBTQ rights revolution. IHP, 3701 Chestnut Street; church, 2110 Chestnut Street; (215) 731-9230,

18. Mariah Carey – The golden-voiced diva hits Philly’s newest music venue for a night of song spanning Carey’s three-decade career. Fans can expect hits such as Fantasy and We Belong Together, along with tracks from her sultry new LP, CautionApril 3. Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad Street, (800) 653-8000,

19. Shut Up & Dance – Drag queen Martha Graham Cracker and performance artist John Jarboe host this annual fundraiser featuring a performance by the Pennsylvania Ballet. The event benefits MANNA, a Philadelphia nonprofit that delivers meals to people in the region who are living with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. April 13. Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut Street, (215) 496-2662,

20. Eddie Izzard WUNDERBAR – Transgender British comedian brings audiences into his fantastical world by sharing his theory of the universe and talking dogs and animal superheroes. May 15. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999,

21. Indecent Straight from Broadway, this regional premiere by Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel tells the true story of the 1923 Broadway debut of God of Vengeance. The drama, written by Sholem Asch, broke ground and ignited a controversy when it was revealed that the story depicted a love affair between two women. May 22-June 23. Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2ndStreet, (215) 922-1122,

22. Betty Who – An Aussie singer-songwriter known for her performances at international Pride festivals comes to Philly on the heels of her third studio album, Betty. One dollar from every ticket sold benefits the Trevor Project, the nonprofit focused on suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. May 23. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street, (215) 232-2100,

23. [Untitled Project] #213 Barrymore Award winners Steve Pacek, Dan Kazemi and Jenny Rose employ music, clowning, dance and theater magic to tell this deeply personal story of finding love after heartbreak. The show returns to the local stage after creating buzz at the 2010 Fringe Festival.May 31-June 2. Theatre Horizon, 401 DeKalb Street, Norristown, (610) 283-2230,

24. Patti LuPone: Don’t Monkey with Broadway – The feisty, phenomenally talented two-time Tony winner presents her latest one-woman concert of classic showtunes by the likes of Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Irving Berlin. During the performance, LuPone tells the story of her love of Broadway and shares her concerns of social media’s impacts on the Great White Way. June 9. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999,

Art & Film:

25. Long Light: Photographs by David Lebe – Philadelphia College of Art (now, University of the Arts)-trained photographer David Lebe gets his first major retrospective in an exhibition that showcases, among other things, his 1994 documentation of his and his partner’s daily struggle with AIDS, shots from 1987’s Great March on Washington for LGBTQ rights and more experimental offerings that utilize a technique called light painting to make his images, many of which are homoerotic in nature, almost jump out of the frame. Through May 5. Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100,

26. qFLIX – Philadelphia’s only LGBTQ film festival kicks off at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with the U.S. premiere of the locally shot film, From Zero to I Love You, followed by the Black & Pink Gala at One Liberty Observation Deck. From there, the week unfolds with a host of mixers and international LGBTQ-centric films screened on screens across Center City. March 25-31. Various locations,

27.Civil Disobedience: Celebrating Queer Narratives – This thoughtful joint project from the Da Vinci Art Alliance and International House Philadelphia (IHP) caters to art lovers and cinema buffs alike, with a small gallery exhibition and complementary series of new and historic films at IHP’s Lightbox Film Center. Using the Stonewall riots as its backdrop, the exhibit conveys a message about the importance of protest, particularly how public dissent changed the game in the fight for LGBTQ rights. April 3-June 29. (Reception June 2.) 3701 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-5125,

Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

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