By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
This year, Pride is laden with heavy political context—Stonewall's 40th anniversary, Prop. 8, marriage victories in Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, and the continuing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" fiasco. But good, old-fashioned demonstrating won't keep thousands of gayboys from squeezing into their skinny jeans and muscle tanks and hitting New York's dance floors. The pickings are especially good this year, as a VIP lounge–worth of promoters have piggybacked on Pride.
Start with 1984's long-running East Village Pride staple, the 'Madonnathon' [June 26, at 9 p.m., Pyramid, 101 Avenue A, 212-352-3101, spincyclenyc.com, $8]. Apparently, this Madonna is some singer who must be really big with those trendsetting downtown hipster gays. Get into the groove as DJ Chip Duckett spins nothing but Madge's hits all night long. Expect lots of fingerless lace gloves, bedazzled cowboy hats, and rhinestone wrestling belts on both sexes. Holiday! Celebrate!
No nostalgia but plenty of daddies at Blowoff [June 26, at 10 p.m., Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street, 212-414-5994, highlineballroom.com, $15–$25, 18 and over]. D.C. DJs Bob Mould and Richard Morel kick off Pride Weekend for the beards-and-bellies set (with plenty of musclemen and twinks squeezed in between). They'll all be shaking to this superstar DJ duo's signature mix of power pop and heavy electronica. This shindig is for people 18 and over, so Daddy's bois will definitely be coming along for the ride—'cause it's hard to find a sitter during Pride.
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The real hard-core partying starts Saturday night before the big march down Fifth Avenue. The Saint at Large kicks Pride into high gear with 'Love Ball' [June 27, at 10 p.m., Nokia Theatre, 1515 Broadway, saintatlarge.com, $30–$130]. DJs Alyson Calagna, Chris Cox, and Vjuan Allure provide the beats while commentator Jack Mizrahi oversees a special runway tribute to the original gay icon, Judy Garland. Work, bitches! There's a massive 'Stonewall: The 40th Anniversary Commemorative Concert' [$35–$125] before, with everyone from Ari Gold and Colton Ford to Jen Urban & the Box, and many more out musicians. Best of all: That ticket can get you into the dance-a-thon afterward.
Meanwhile, a few blocks up at the mammoth Roseland Ballroom, star (and *69) DJ Peter Rauhofer will be celebrating Pride with the best and brightest of his *69 crew at 'Work: We Can!' [June 27, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, star69records.com, $80–$150]. There won't be a clothed torso in the house, so check your shirt at the door and sweat to beats provided by DJs Paulo, Offer Nissim, and Oscar G, with live performances by Maya Simantov and Kevin Aviance.
Downtown, Chip Duckett, Daniel Nardicio, Chris Ryan & Co. encourage you to embrace your sinful side at the Pride edition of their monthly '7 Deadly Sins' party [June 27, at 11:30 p.m., Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, spincycle.com, $15]. Pride is a cardinal sin, and nobody knows how to be sinful like a roomful of New York queers. DJ Drew G spins as out-and-proud go-go sluts shake their shit. You can repent tomorrow.
The mega event is the annual 'Dance on the Pier' [June 28, from 4 to 10:30 p.m., Pier 54, 13th Street and Hudson River Park, nycpride.org, $70–$150], which caps the march. Dance with 7,000 of your best friends to local hero DJs Phillip Kimball, Jack Reina, and Corey Craig. After the fireworks fade over the Hudson River, Circuit queens and partyboys will be tearing up the dance floor to the sounds of DJs Tony Moran, Abel, and Micky Friedmann at Ric Sena's packed-to-the-rafters 'Alegria in Wonderland' [June 28, at 11 p.m., M2, 530 West 28th Street, alegriaevents.com, $80–$90]. Susan Morabito's 'Love' party [June 28, at 10:30 p.m., 179 MacDougal Street, susanmorabito.com, $30] is more intimate, but features her signature groovy mixing style.
For an ongoing party, head to Splash [June 28, at 4 p.m., 50 West 17th Street, splashbar.com, $25–$30, cover varies after 10 p.m.]. On Sunday night, New York's largest gay dance club features not only DJs Ian Ford and Max Rodriguez, but dance music diva Deborah Cox, who performs her hits at midnight.
At Cielo, the fur will be flying as burly badass DJs Rich King and Gustavo team up with promoter Josh Wood for 'Supersnaxx VI' [June 28, at 10 p.m., 18 Little West 12th Street, cieloclub.com, $25]. But leave it to the evil geniuses behind Mr. Black to take Pride into the darkest hours of the night—and the morning—with 'Climax: The Junior Vasquez Closing Party' [June 28, at 4 a.m., 251 West 30th Street, wantickets.com, $20–$30]. That's right: The original superstar DJ takes you well into Monday afternoon. Better plan on a sick day.