When a rainbow flag rises at Tacoma City Hall this afternoon, it will mark the beginning of nine days of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender pride in Pierce County. The main event, Out in the Park, takes over Broadway on Saturday in downtown Tacoma. This marks the second year for the new location and affirmation that the move from Wright Park was a successful one, said Michelle Douglas, executive director of the Rainbow Center. The center is the main organizer of the LGBT festival. Douglas said 5,000 people attended last years Out in the Park, and this year organizers have worked to broaden its appeal. Weve really focused on the richness and diversity we have in the community here.
The nine days of events are more than just celebrations. The festival is coming between the end of dont ask, dont tell and this falls referendum on same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage has embedded itself in a lot of activities here in Pierce County, Douglas said. Pride spotlights it, but its what were doing all the time.
Out in the Parks headliner and closing show is Seattle transgender band The Nasty Habits. Theyll be playing punk, glam and pop covers. Other entertainment includes drag performer Vivian LeCher, Mod Carousel (an all-male burlesque group) and singer Christina Brewer.
The festival will also feature 90 vendor, nonprofit and artisan booths, food and a childrens area.
Out in the Park will be followed by a block party at The Mix bar.
A three-film LGBT-themed series begins Monday at the Grand Cinema with Question One, a documentary that chronicles Maines granting and subsequent rescinding of same-sex marriage. In 2009, the Maine legislature passed a bill granting gays and lesbians the right to marry, but it was subsequently rescinded by a referendum. The film was shot from within both campaigns.
A staged reading of Landford Wilsons Fifth of July, a play with both gay and military themes, will be held Thursday and Friday. The Tony Award-winning play will be directed by Broadway Center executive director David Fischer and features a local cast and music. Thursdays reading will be followed by a discussion of creating an inclusive military in the post-dont ask, dont tell era. Fridays show will be followed by a discussion on LGBT history in Tacoma.
Here are some of the other highlights. Go to tacomapride.org for a complete calendar.
Rainbow flag-raising at Tacoma Municipal Building on St. Helens Street at 4 p.m. A kick-off event follows at B2 Fine Art Gallery, 711 St. Helens Ave. Tacoma, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Free.
Out in the Park (see box) features entertainment, food and vendors.
The Mixs 4th Annual Pride Block Party features Kim Archer and other local singers/bands, plus divas from Ru Pauls Drag Race, 5-10 p.m., The Mix, 635 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma. Cover: $10.
Question One a documentary film on same-sex marriage. Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma.
Put This On The Map a documentary film that examines the changing dynamics of gender and sexuality of LGBT youth in Washington state. The film will be followed by a discussion with the directors/producers; 7 p.m. at the main Tacoma Public Librarys Olympic Room, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S. TUESDAY
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, a lesbian sci-fi comedy that spoofs the black-and-white B-movies of the 1950s. At the Grand Cinema.
Cloudburst Olympia Dukakis stars in this film about a lesbian couple who escape from a nursing home and head to Canada to get married. At the Grand Cinema.
THURSDAY and JULY 20
Staged reading of Landford Wilsons Fifth of July. 7 p.m., Broadway Center, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. $14.
Oasis Proud Outloud an evening of dinner, dessert and performances to benefit Oasis Youth Center. 7-9 p.m. Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. $25 for dessert, $50-125 for dinner.