Hotter Than July Preview

By Shelby Clark Petkus

Hotter Than July, Detroit's black gay pride festival, celebrates 19 years this month. with a week long event from July 22-27. The theme of this year's festival is "Happy Together."

A Candlelight Vigil at the Bruce Spruce Memorial Tree in Palmer Park, Detroit will begin the pride fest. The free event runs from 6 p.m. until dusk.

A celebratory Boat Ride comes the following day on the 23rd, with boarding at 6:10 p.m. and sailing promptly at 7 p.m. The boat will be docked at Rivard Plaza on Downtown Detroit's Riverwalk. The three hour cruise includes a dinner buffet, cash bar, dancing and more. Tickets are $55 per person. That night, Menjo's Complex will host a free House Party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Menjo's is located at 928 McNichols Road, Detroit.

HTJ's famous Film Festival runs from 5:30 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. on July 24 at Cinema Detroit, 3420 Cass Ave. Featuring the best in black LGBT cinema, the event will run movies like "Friend of Essex," premiering for the first time in Michigan. "Still Black: A Portrait of a Black Transman" is a candid 2008 documentary, "Stud Life" is the story of a British stud lesbian and her gay "pretty boy" best friend and "The Young and Evil" is a short film of a sexually promiscuous black gay teen pursuing HIV through unprotected sex. Other short films will include "Echoes," examining sexual identity and personal power, "On The Low," exploring the emotional consequences of a secret relationship between two African-American high school boys and many more. Tickets are $20 per person.

The Annual Gathering for LGBT Issues runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 25. The event, with suggested registration of $20 and free for students with required ID, features dignitaries, a keynote address, panel discussion, special recognitions, workshops and continental breakfast and lunch. According to KICK Executive Assistant, David Nelson, Jr., this is one of the key highlights of the entire Hotter Than July roster, featuring a gathering of LGBT, young and old, to share their stories and experiences.

The gathering will be at Michigan State University Detroit Center, 3408 Woodward Ave. Friday Night Heat at the Woodward finishes Friday events, beginning at 9 p.m. Woodward Bar & Grill is located at 6426 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Admittance is $10 until 11 p.m.

HTJ's Palmer Park Picnic begins at 9 a.m. on July 26 in Palmer Park, Detroit. The free event attracts many LGBT and allies every year and features a variety of events. Performances include Abigail Stauffer, Natural Muse Agency, Logan Mario, Crystal Grundy and more. Cierra Malone and Ramon Harris host.

A highlight of the picnic is the "Status Sexy Ball." Open during the picnic, the ball features competitions open to anyone (OTA). The categories for the event include, Best Performance, Sex Siren, Runway, Realness which includes "just bringing it!" and Sneaker vs. Sneaker, which is less about labels and more about looks. Additional OTA categories include Face, Best Dressed, Virgin Vogue (wearing white with a touch of red) and Virgin Runway ("bringing it in all black with a touch of red").

Also on that Saturday, HTJ will run "Saturday Night Swagg at the Woodward." With $10 admittance until 11 p.m. that day, the event will be at Woodward Bar & Grill, 6426 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Hotter Than July closes out on July 27, beginning with a special Worship Service at 11 a.m. The free service will be held by WHOSOEVER Ministry at 2940 Woodward Ave., Detroit. At 1 p.m. is Sunday Brunch. The event is $40 per person or $70 per couple and will be held at They Say, 267 Joseph Campau Ave., Detroit. A Tea Dance will be held at the same location and date at 3 p.m.; tickets are $5.

Dates are subject to change. To keep tabs on events, or for more information, call 313-285-9733 or visit http://www.hotterthanjuly.org.

For Hotter Than July and other LGBT Pride Fests in Michigan, visit BTL's Pride Guide at http://www.pridesource.com/prideguide.html.

The Sunday Worship Service was previously listed as beginning at 1 p.m. The service will begin at 11 a.m.
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