Parties With a Girl Flavor: Dyke Nightlife
'It's so white here," laments a late-twenties white girl from her corner perch atop the Middle Eastern–inspired cushions of the hookah bar Sultana, the home of Choice Cunts. "All the black girls go to one party, all the Puerto Rican girls go to another." But a look around Choice Cunts—thrown by Ellie Conant, a Korean promoter who styles herself "The Gaysha"—actually reveals a pretty good mix of people: a smattering of black girls, Latinas, and Asians swirled in with the white-skinned majority of what one patron calls "the trendy, hipster lesbians of Brooklyn," plus a few tranny boys. Top 40 hip-hop spins, to the displeasure of some, but generally to success: The dance floor is packed. Asymmetrical hair, white T-shirts, and Chuck Taylors blend seamlessly with tight tube tops and low-rise jeans in a gyrating throng while Rihanna blasts through the front doors onto a Williamsburg street. It's homogenous, yes, but not remarkably so.
Just as hetero women get divvied up between Sex and the City haters and wannabes; just as the gays have spawned their own categories like twinks, bears, and leather daddies; so in the lesbian scene's micro-worlds, everyone—from the goth poet and non-shaving organic gardener to the high-femme bleached blonde and the suburban mom—can find a place to call home. Sometimes, true, the divide is racial, but it's also age-related, and almost always geographical: How often is a Williamsburg dyke found at Cattyshack [249 Fourth Avenue, Park Slope, 718-230-5740, cattyshackbklyn.com] or a Park Sloper at Metro [559 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg, 718-599-4444]? So what better occasion than Pride to spend some quality time checking out the many faces of the community coming together under the auspices of gay history, solidarity, and a penchant for getting ecstatically wasted?
The big momma of the weekend is the official women's Pride party on Saturday, June 28, Rapture on the River [Pier 54, 13th Street at the West Side Highway, 800-494-8497, 6 p.m., $20–$40]. Hosted by Heritage of Pride, the organization behind the next day's march, Rapture lets you watch the sun go down in the company of a few thousand gals to the tunes of DJ Susan Levine, a Fire Island fixture. Head up to Rapture's massive after-party, Pier Pressure [Pier 59, 18th Street at the West Side Highway, lover girlnyc.com, 9 p.m., $20–$25], co- produced by LovergirlNYC and Henrietta Hudson. Over 2,000 women will dance on two floors in a 12,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor venue to DJs Kim Dazy and Stacy. Dani Campbell—spurned by sometime lezzie Tila Tequila on MTV's A Shot at Love—will also appear.
Alternative chicks will enjoy Dee Finley's follow-up to last year's loud-and-proud rock show Heavy Eyeliner [Friday, Don Hill's, 511 Greenwich Street, time and price TBA], featuring Team Gina, GSX, and more: "It's a party for outsiders, not the kind of girls that wear ponytails through their softball hats," Finley says. On Saturday, hipster fete Choice Cunts [160 North 4th Street, Williamsburg, firstname.lastname@example.org, 8 p.m., $10–$15, 18+] welcomes DJs Lesbian van Halen and Sophia H. Sarah FM raises money for RightRides and employs a strict no-'80s, no-irony playlist at Laid [Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, rightrides.org, 11 p.m., $10, 18+], with DJs Bianca and Noa D. On Sunday, the mother of all alternative gender-queer Pride parties, *snapshot*'s annual Proud as F-ck [35 East 13th Street, snapshotnyc.com, 6 p.m., $10–$15], returns to the roof deck of Bar 13.
If Laid is no-'80s, West End Girls [HK Lounge, 523 Ninth Avenue, 212-947-4208, Monday at 7 p.m., free], one of the few lesbian events above 14th Street, is—as the name implies—all-'80s, with classic films from the Reagan years like Flashdance. Uptown girls—and by that we mean fancy—can also be found at Showstopper [BLVD, 199 Bowery, myspace.com/showstopperparty, Friday at 10 p.m., $10–$12], a fashion-forward, erotically charged event (synchronized pole dancers, anyone?) brought to you by Wanda Acosta (who also runs Starlette). Other schmancy affairs include Stiletto [18 Ninth Avenue, myspace.com/stilettoevent, Sunday at 11 a.m., $5], an outdoor soiree for upscale femmes at the Hotel Gansevoort's Garden of Ono, and Shescape's holding three events: Kick-Ass Kick-Off [Mannahatta, 310 Bowery, shescape.com, Friday at 10 p.m., $15], The Main Event [I Tre Merli, 463 West Broadway, Saturday at 10:30 p.m., $20], and Climax [Aspen, 30 West 22nd Street, Sunday at 8 p.m., $10].
For the cheap girls, there are no covers at these lezzie institutions—on Pride or ever. Starlette [Angels & Kings, 500 East 11th Street, starlettesunday.com, Sunday at 8 p.m., free] is the East Village's long-running Sunday-night party. Slopers of all shapes and sizes can enjoy a garden BBQ and a Bud at the old-reliable lesbian pub Ginger's [363 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, 718-788-0924, gingersbar.com, Sunday at 2 p.m., free].
Women of color flock to LovergirlNYC's Fifth Annual Pride Event [Mars 2112, 1633 Broadway, Friday at 10 p.m., $20–$35]; Extravaganza [Pacha, 618 West 46th Street, Saturday at 10 p.m., $20–$25]; and Grand Finale [Shadow, 229 West 28th Street, Sunday at 10 p.m., $20]. DJs Mary Mac, China, Missy B, Trini, and Tease spin the best hip-hop, r&b, house, and reggae, while dancers Oohzee and Mona could melt the poles with their moves. Snack on the buffet and elegant eye candy at A Taste of Honey 3 [Iguana, 240 West 54th Street, xclusive-ent.com, Saturday at 10:30 p.m., $20–$25], where rapper Charlie Baltimore and r&b songstress Chrystal Atmosphere perform. At Cirrah [Sultana, 160 North 4th Street, Williamsburg, 718-218-8547, myspace.com/cirrahfridays, Friday at 10 p.m., $10], Miss Sugah and her dancing divas do a special performance, putting a burlesque spin on the wildly popular party.
Queens' two Latina lesbian bars both move to Manhattan for Pride. Chueca presents Sinful at the Chelsea club Prime [511 West 28th Street, myspace.com/chuecabar, Saturday at 10 p.m., $20–$25], while the Bum Bum Bar collaborates with Hudson Heels to present Last Call [Porch, 115 Avenue C, myspace.com/hudsonheels, Sunday, free, time TBA], with DJs Charo and Boli.
Sporty gals will hit up the after-party for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby game on Saturday. The Queens of Pain take on the Brooklyn Bombshells, followed by post-game inebriation at Manitoba's [99 Avenue B, gothamgirlsrollerderby.com, Saturday, free, time TBA]. For those who'd rather participate in indoor sports, play parties for women and transfolk provide a safe space for some hot BDSM action. Lesbian Sex Mafia's Pumped Up With Pride [call for location, 212-726-3844, June 22 at 5 p.m., $20] also serves as the after-party for New York's leather festival, Folsom Street East. Scores of people ranging in age from 21 to fiftysomething turn out for Felice Shays's Submit [call for location, 718-789-4053, submitparty.com, Saturday at 10 p.m., $15–$20]. "At the end of each party, we have to pull folks apart like junkyard dogs in heat!" Shays says. Or you can dig into the Ibiza nostalgia at Foam Party [Club Remix, 24 Murray Street, nikkis remix.com, Sunday at 6 p.m., $15].
If you're looking for a sugar mama (or are one), these parties draw maturer crowds than those who play in the foam: Q-Girls [the Eagle, 554 West 28th Street, q-girls.net, June 25 at 7 p.m., $5] gets an early start mid-week on the rooftop for the 30-plus set, while Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is hosting a post-march cool-down at the Center [208 West 13th Street, 212-620-7310, sageusa.org, Sunday at 4 p.m., free].
The bars of the West Village are notoriously crowded but notoriously fun on Pride Sunday as the masses reach Christopher Street. At Cowgirl [519 Hudson Street, 212-633-1133, cowgirlnyc.com], just about everybody and their mother (seriously—there's a huge PFLAG contingent in the parade) congregates for much-needed margaritas, while the nearby Rubyfruit [531 Hudson Street, 212-929-3343, rubyfruitny.com], Henrietta Hudson [438 Hudson Street, 212-924-3347, henriettahudson.com], and Cubby Hole [281 West 12th Street, 212-243-9041, cubbyholebar.com] are packed with revelers joyously toasting LGBT unity.
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