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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Books to Burlesque: Gainesville’s guide to pride

Five places to indulge in the colorful cheer throughout June

Though the first week of Pride Month flew by, Gainesville is still jam-packed with festive activities throughout the rest of June. Here’s a guide to five events throughout the city to celebrate Pride Month. 

Hipp Pride Week at the Hippodrome Theatre

From June 10-16, the Hippodrome Theatre will host its first-ever Hipp Pride Week. The theater will hold a variety of events to celebrate.

The week begins with the first anniversary of “Scene Queens,” a drag and burlesque show meant to promote local artists, at 8 p.m. June 10. Nyq Smith, the front-of-house manager at the Hippodrome, is a drag queen producing the show. 

Putting their bias aside, Smith said they are most excited for “Hipp Unplugged,” a staged reading series. June 11 will feature the play “Dike”and play “Saint Brigid” will be held June 12, both at 7 p.m and by Hannah Benitez 

On June 13, Hipp’s basement sessions will feature a Pride edition, a space where local artists test out new sounds to grow their audience and mingle. The event welcomes LGBTQ+ musicians, crafters and visual artists to showcase and sell their work. June 14, a curated selection of LGBTQ+ movies and documentaries will play in their art-house cinema.

Smith was one of the few people who kicked Hipp Pride into motion, they said. 

“We found that it would be a great opportunity for the Hippodrome to stand firm on some of our founding pillars, which is that all people are welcome,” they said. “It is a project that touches very close to my heart.”

The week will end with “Story Time With A Mermaid” June 15, a children’s story hour meant to welcome and include all ages into the celebration.

The Lynx Pride Celebration with Pride Community Center of North Central Florida (PCCNCF)

The Lynx is holding a monthlong book drive concluding with a celebratory PowerPoint party June 28. The recently opened bookstore wanted to fill in the gaps in the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida’s free library, said Gina Marks, The Lynx’s events and community relations manager.

“We really want to get out into the community and be a space that helps make books and information accessible,” Marks said.

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Anyone can buy a book from PCCNCF’s list or a book important to queer identities for 15% off to donate to their library. 

In just a day and a half, 50 titles were already donated, Marks said.

“I knew people would be excited. I just didn’t realize the scale,” she said. “We’re blown away.”

At the end of the month, volunteer staff from both organizations will present PowerPoints about books important to them as queer people. The celebratory night is a thank you to the community and wraps up with a hand-off of the donated books.

Harn Museum of Art’s Museum Nights: Art and Pride 2.0

On June 13, the Harn hosts its second annual Art and Pride Museum Night from 6 to 9 p.m. The event, which includes tabling, interactive art activities, guided tours, and a performance by drag queen Inertia Darling, invites all to rejoice with and learn about the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Guests will have a chance to serve fashion, celebrate themselves, their communities, loved ones,” said Errol Nelson, the student engagement manager at the Harn. “We encourage folks to come out, dress out and display whatever pride looks like to you.”

‘Muses,’ museum university student educators, volunteer to provide hands-on activities. The museum’s docents will give tours with short presentations and conversations articulated around the themes of different colors on the pride flag. Community partners like the Pride Student Union, PCCNCF and the Equal Access Clinic will table to educate about themselves and what resources they offer.

“While we will be recognizing LGBTQ+ individuals in our connection and in our community, we hope that that’s applicable to everybody across the board,” Nelson said. “Just that human connection is something we really prize at the Harn.”

Black and Proud: A Juneteenth Burlesque and Drag Show at Brennan’s Irish Pub

Phoenix Midnight has been doing burlesque performances for ten years and producing for almost eight years. Dubbed the Congolese Tease, Midnight is producing a drag and burlesque show at Brennan’s Irish Pub at 9 p.m. on June 15. 

When asked what makes this celebration different from other Pride events, she responded “melanin.” 

“I think, personally, when people think of Pride, they think white, cis men,” she said. Not only does she feel Pride events lack burlesque, but a lot of burlesque lacks Black people, she said.

“We’re here, we’re queer, we’re seasoned and we have washed legs,” she said.

Except for the show’s special guest Barbarella Brown, she said it will be an all-black cast and crew. Performers will include Kelly T. Kelly and Shauntel Black, who regularly perform at Gainesville’s University Club. 

Besides the main event of drag and burlesque, the night will include black-owned companies vending and even a raffle.

Goldenrod Parlor’s Gender Euphoria Extravaganza

Goldenrod Parlor is a gender-inclusive hair salon valuing creativity, community, individuality and sustainability. On June 30, the salon welcomes the community to an afternoon of free, gender-affirming haircuts.

The self-care day aims to support the LGBTQ+ community. Individuals can book in advance for their free haircuts. In addition, chair massages and pride flash tattoos will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

While that event runs from 12 to 4 p.m., they will be collecting gender-affirming care items for donations throughout the month until June 29.

Contact Noor Sukkar at nsukkar@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @noorsukkarr

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Noor Sukkar

Noor Sukkar is a third-year journalism major with a minor in Arabic. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely talking to her cat or overwatering her plants.


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