Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Gay Are We: Out and About During GG9

Let the games begin. Yes, Gay Games 9, kicking off Friday, offers more than 35 sporting events, but it's also one hell of a coming out party. In addition to these three epic soirees and five diverse cultural events, this week is packed with these 16 can't-miss prideful events — from a drag show in the water to a poignant photo exhibit of LGBT families — that are wickedly fun but also socially conscious.

Aug. 8
Night Before 9: Out in Art
Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-707-6875, $25, 8 p.m.-midnight
Escort, described as a powerful party disco orchestra, performs its critically acclaimed tunes for LGBT A-listers and allies at this kick off bash. Disc jockey Darrell Stout opens.

To Be Takei
Nightlight Cinema, 30 N. High St., Akron, 330-252-5782, $8.50, 9:30 p.m., Aug. 8, 5 & 9:30 p.m., Aug. 9, 9:15 p.m., Aug. 15, 5 & 8:45 p.m., Aug. 16
You may know him as Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek, or if you’re like us, Kaito from NBC's Heroes. But he’s also an openly gay man advocating for LGBT rights on social media and making his way onto your newsfeed. This documentary addresses his crusade, plus his time spent in a Japanese-American internment camp during WWII.

Aug. 9
International Rainbow Memorial Run
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 1100 E Ninth St, Cleveland, 216-479-6470, Free, 8:30-10 a.m.
Before each Gay Games, hundreds of people across the map participate in rainbow runs with the final leg being ran at the host city on the opening day of the games. This 1-mile run, which begins at the Rock Hall and loops around FirstEnergy Stadium, is in memoriam of all the members of the Gay Games family lost, particularly to AIDS and breast cancer.

Love Makes a Family
Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., Second floor gallery, Cleveland, 216-479-6470, Aug. 9-17
Having been used to prevent bullying in schools, universities and other settings, this poignant traveling exhibit chronicles LGBT families through pictures and interviews.

Neon Party
Bounce, 2814 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-357-2997, 9-11 p.m.
The popular gay club has a party every night of the games, but be sure to stop by this one featuring drag divas Varietese and Pepper Mashay. Lance Bass and some GG9 athletes are expected to show, plus look out for specials on Svedka, $3, and Three Olives, $5.

Aug. 10
Festival Village
Mall C, 602 St. Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, 216-479-6470, Free, Aug. 10-15
RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Pandora Boxx hosts events Monday through Friday, but don't miss electro-pop musician Bright Light Bright Light Tuesday and Detox, a fellow RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, Thursday.

Hot in Cleveland Casino Night
Horseshoe Cleveland, 100 Public Square, Cleveland, 855-746-3777, Free, 8 p.m.-midnight
At Vintage 51 on Level 2 of the Horseshoe Cleveland, DJ Smoov spins as male models and showgirls mingle with guests and special drink Taste the Rainbow, $5, gets served in a commemorative glass.

Trans* Pride Party
The Velvet Dog, 1280 W. Sixth St., Cleveland, 330-240-1600, Free, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Transgender people from throughout the world can meet to talk about issues or just kick back and relax on the roof of the Velvet Dog in an inclusive environment. A local DJ spins and free hors d'oeuvres are provided.

Aug. 12
Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future
United Church of Christ Amistad Chapel, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, 216-736-2177; Free, 2:30-3:30 p.m
Hosted by UCC, Pilgrim Press and R.W. “Obie” Holmen, author of Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism, this symposium addresses the LGBT journey toward inclusion within the church. Panelists include the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, a national officer of UCC, and the Rev. Don King of Hope Lutheran Church.

Aug. 13
The Victory Party for Women
The Velvet Dog, 1280 W. Sixth St., Cleveland, 216-664-1116, $25, 8 p.m.
GG9 organizers handpicked Club Skirts' the Dinah, the largest girl party and music festival, to roll out the games’ official female pride party. The massive gathering features Robin S, three floors of DJs and go-go dancers and  an appearance by comic Erin Foley.

Del Shores: My Sordid Best!
Highland Theater, 826 W. Market St., Akron, 330-253-0100, $25, 8 p.m.
Comedian Del Shores, who was a writer and producer for Queer as Folk, came out to his Southern Baptist family and later created the play, TV series and film Sordid Lives, which is based on the community he grew up in. He tells his favorite sordid stories and some new ones.

Gay Games 9 Choral Extravaganza
State Theatre, Playhouse Square, 1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-444, $60, 7:30 p.m.
Artistic director Dennis Coleman leads more than 400 singers to celebrate the Gay Games in the “Big Cleveland Sing.” Festival and Ohio choruses join with host chorus the North Coast Men’s Chorus.

Black Party
House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-523-2583, $20 advance, $25 day of show, 9 p.m.-2:15 a.m.
See eclectic DJ Honey Dijon, who mixes Chicago, New York and other metropolitan sounds to create the ultimate party atmosphere. As a producer, she runs the label Digital Disco and, along with Sebastian Manuel, has remixed everyone from R.E.M. to Cyndi Lauper.

Pink Flamingo
Robert F. Busey Natatorium at Cleveland State University, 2451 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-479-6470, $30, 7:30 p.m.
Consistently one of the games’ most popular events, Pink Flamingo is essentially a drag show in water. The only rule is that nudity, feathers and sequins are off limits, but don't worry it's still a good time.

Aug. 14
Negative Spaces Gallery, Asian Town Center, 3820 Superior Ave., Cleveland, Free, but register on Eventbrite, 8-11:30 p.m.
Nosh on Asian appetizers in a dance club atmosphere presented by Asians and Friends Cleveland, the city’s Asian LGBT organization.

Gold Party
House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-523-2583,;  $20 advance,  $25 day of show, 9 p.m.-2:15 a.m.
Two-time Grammy Award-nominated DJ, producer and singer-songwriter Tony Moran, who has worked with artists from Rihanna to Madonna, spins his renowned house beats. 

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