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Capital Pride 2012 Preview

by Troy Petenbrink
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Saturday May 26, 2012
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With same-sex marriage and other gay rights issues at the forefront of today’s local and national political debates, the organizers of Washington, D.C.’s Capital Pride don’t take their job lightly.

"We are very conscious of the fact that we are holding Capital Pride in the capital of the United States -- that is part of the excitement," says Capital Pride Executive Director Ryan Bos. "There is a constant desire to position Capital Pride as the nation’s pride and a destination event."

Capital Pride traces its history to the first LGBT festival in Washington, D.C. held in 1975. That year, the owner of a local gay bookstore organized a one-day community block party.

Since those humble and groundbreaking beginnings, Capital Pride has grown into a series of activities and celebrations held over eleven days that attract hundreds of thousands of participants.

The 2012 Capital Pride, to be held May 30 to June 10, will feature a wide array of assorted screenings, marches, parades, and festivals.

Keeping an event fresh that has been around for more than two decades is not easy, and that is why organizers have added a number of new items to the schedule.

A picnic and "screening on the green" will be held for the first time on Saturday, June 2, from 6-10 p.m. at Stead Park, near the intersection of 17th and Church Streets, NW. The community is being invited to pack their own picnic baskets and enjoy the independent feature "READY? OK! Don’t break the rules. Change them." The film was the winner of the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature Film at the 2008 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

Music of the Night will be another first for Capital Pride. Local performers such as Helen Hayes Award winners Will Gartshore and Matthew Delorenzo will showcase their talent on Monday, June 4, from 8-9:30 p.m. at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th Street, NW.

The Official Capital Pride Party is a recurring activity, but the venue for 2012 is certainly new. The recently restored historic Howard Theater, located at 620 T Street, NW, will play host to its first LGBT event. The night’s entertainment will include Amanda Lepore, JD Samson (Le Tigre/MEN), Big/Bright, Natty Boom, and DJ MAJR. The party is being produced in partnership with Brightest Young Things.


Capital Pride Parade/Festival a Big Draw

While the new activities are a welcomed addition, the main draws for Capital Pride remain the tried-and-true Pride Parade and Pride Festival.

More than 150 contingents will be participating in this year’s parade that will weave its way through the city’s traditional LGBT neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, 17th Street, and Logan Circle. Aaron Gilchrist, a reporter and anchor for the local NBC station, will serve as a guest judge, and Monte Durham, star of the TLC reality series "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta," will serve as a grand marshal. The parade will be held on Saturday, June 9, stepping off at 4:30 p.m.

With the U.S. Capitol Building as its backdrop, the Capital Pride Festival will be held on Sunday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. along a three-block stretch of Pennsylvania Ave., NW (the festival entrance will be located at 7th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW).
The festival will offer a full day of entertainment, food, drink, education and celebration.

In addition to the many business and community exhibitors, there will be an expanded family area and inaugural art fair. In addition, attendees will be able to enjoy food from local LGBT-friendly restaurants as part of the newly added Taste@Pride.


Multi-platinum selling and multi-talented entertainer Deborah Cox will be the headliner closing act for the festival. Loved for her many dance hits, Cox is a regular on the LGBT Pride circuit and last appeared in D.C.’s Pride in 2005.

In a 2011 interview with Fenuxe Magazine, Cox said, "Well, music is deep, to me, ya know, so to have such a following in the gay community is flattering because I know that they are the trend setters and they are the ones who set the standard of what is hot. I love that the fans have been so loyal throughout the years."

Additional entertainment will be provided by singer Crystal Waters, the DC Cowboys dance troupe, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and the cast of the Signature Theatre’s production of "Xanadu."


For complete details for all of the Capital Pride activities and celebrations, visit www.capitalpride.org.

Troy Petenbrink resides in Washington, DC and is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/thegaytraveler

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