DECKED OUT: Pride Week is an ideal occasion for queer gear and confetti.
Boston Pride Week 2008 is shaping up to be a joyous smorgasbord of celebrities, literati, dancing, singing, boozing, schmoozing, friends, family, and joyful noises galore. From Friday, June 6, through Sunday, June 15, join the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in celebrating its continual visibility and thriving presence in Boston, by participating in a slew of events across the city as part of the 38th anniversary of Boston Pride.
This year, the Boston Pride Committee sought citizen input in choosing the Pride Week theme: "Sustaining Our Community, Conserving Our World."
"It's 'green' leaning, but it's also about preserving and sustaining the world we live in as a [LGBT] community," says Keri Aulita, the vice-president of the Boston Pride Committee's Board of Directors, "We're thinking about how we can be vital and cohesive and relevant. We're doing a lot of things this year to incorporate our theme into the week." In addition to reducing this year's use of paper by moving promotional and registration materials online, event organizers are encouraging attendees to make a conscientious effort to recycle.
There are tons of events at a variety of venues to check out, designed to entertain all ages, cultures, and orientations. Whether you're six or 60 years old, you'll find something that fits your celebration style. We've described some of the highlights below, but for a full schedule of events, check out bostonpride.org.
Wave the flag
Kick off the festivities at noon on Friday, June 6, rain or shine, for the ceremonial flag-raising at City Hall Plaza, which signifies the official start of Pride Week and introduces revelers to the 2008 marshals. Celebrity Marshal LESLIE JORDAN — an Emmy Award–winning actor and author — joins Grand Marshal TIM MCFEELEY, a lawyer and civil-rights and political activist. The posthumous accolade of Honorary Marshal is this year awarded to CORPORAL CIARA DURKIN, an active member of the Boston LGBT community who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in September 2007.
They made history as the first couple ever to compete on Bravo's smash reality series Top Chef, and now chefs JEN BEISTY and ZOI ANTONITSAS will add plenty of high-powered spice to Boston Pride. From noon to 2 pm on Tuesday, June 10, hit up Macy's in Downtown Crossing for an afternoon of stargazing and culinary tidbits while Jen and Zoi whip up a tasty cooking demonstration as part of the second annual "Out in Downtown" event. It's the perfect way to show your pride during the workweek while you're stuck at the office. Pop in during your lunch break for a quick glimpse of Jen and Zoi, and maybe pick up some quick tips for dinner while you're at it.
Downtown Crossing is actually seeing a lot of Pride action this year, thanks to the second annual book-signing series at the Borders bookstore (10-24 School Street, Boston, 617.557.7188). Authors SCOTT POMFRET (Since My Last Confession), JOHNNY DIAZ (Boston Boys Club), and RICH MERRITT (Code of Conduct) can't wait to scrawl their John Hancock across your title page.
Also hit up the Back Bay Borders (511 Boylston Street, Boston, 617.236.1444) to see authors TERRANCE DEAN (Hiding in Hip-Hop) and Celebrity Marshal LESLIE JORDAN (My Trip Down the Pink Carpet) in the literary flesh. Specific dates and times of these author appearances can be found online.
All lit up
After you satisfy your inner bookworm and latent celebrity gawker, it's time to party! Don't miss "Pridelights," a free outdoor event that's co-sponsored by the AIDS Action Committee. At dusk on Tuesday, June 10, "Pridelights" unites proud celebrants with local leaders and entertainers for an evening of music and fun, kicking off the evening with the lighting of a 60-foot pine tree. Pink lights will bathe the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza (539 Tremont Street, Boston) in soft, rosy glory, reminiscent of Rockefeller Center at Christmastime.
Of course, no Pride Week experience would be complete without rockin' the sidelines at the Pride parade! This year, the parade falls a little bit later than usual: on Saturday, June 14, at noon. In 2007, the streets of Boston teemed with 10,000 marchers, 35 floats, 65 motorcycles, and 300,000 spectators. This year, the parade settles further into its new route — which caused quite a stir when it was announced in 2007 — winding from Tremont Street in the South End, through Back Bay, up Beacon Hill and past the State House, before spilling out onto City Hall Plaza and culminating in a huge festival that lasts until 6 pm.
"Marching past the State House and having the festival on City Hall Plaza is really meaningful for us," says Aulita. "There's a political statement in that. Our Trans brothers and sisters are still fighting for their rights, and the Pride Committee has made a strong commitment to remembering that."